The Supreme Court has just delivered its most significant Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore explains the logic behind the Supreme Court decision and its impact on New Yorkers.
CLUTCH: Read the Supreme Court ruling | Listen to or read the arguments in the case
Current New York law says anyone seeking a license to carry a gun outside their home has a “good reason” for getting one, which state courts say is a “special need for self-protection.”
“The question for the Supreme Court is can New York do that? Do you have to demonstrate that you are at this risk of having a hidden carry, or can everyone on the R train now have a gun in their back pocket?” said constitutional attorney Andrew Lieb.
Opponents of the law argued that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms outdoors for self-defense, while supporters warn that invalidating the restrictions could lead to more firearms on the streets. Supporters also argue that the Second Amendment was passed to allow militias to fight the government, not allowing ordinary citizens to carry weapons for personal defense.
“The question here is very narrow: Can any state, not just New York, say you can’t have a gun when you’re walking around town unless you’re special? So the question is, is the standard rule that you can’t have the gun? and you only have to take it away for someone with a mental illness, or is the standard that you can’t have the gun and you can only have it if you have a special need for safety?” said Lieb.
Even after the shootings in Buffalo, Texas, Tulsa, Philadelphia and Chattanooga over the course of just a few weeks, the conservative court majority ruled that everyone should be allowed to carry a gun anywhere.
Lieb says New Yorkers should brace themselves for a shift in expectations.
“We’ve lived with a law since 1911 that says most people you talk to don’t carry a gun. Now you’re going to feel like most people you talk to do have a gun. Most of us in New York knew that if we wanted to live in that environment, we could move to Texas,” Lieb said.
But attorney David Schwartz says the Supreme Court ruling just allows common people to carry a gun in the state, not just the privileged few: celebrities, ex-cops, those with money matters as it is today.
“Someone who works late at night comes in late from work. That could be a nurse, that could be anyone who has to work late at night, they are currently not entitled to get a carrying permit, Schwartz said. “The idea that criminals are now going to apply for a permit to get a carrying permit is a bit illogical to me. It will be people who can’t demonstrate an extraordinary purpose, but still want to carry a weapon, and that’s really falling within the heart of the Second Amendment.”
Schwartz says the state can still regulate where people can carry firearms, and can exclude certain places like the subway system, baseball fields and schools.
The Supreme Court rejected the New York law because it is too strict and gives too much freedom to state officials.
The ruling comes as a disappointment to many New Yorkers who believe federal gun regulations should be stronger, not weaker.
“New York State has made progress in reducing gun violence and will continue to do so. We need the federal government to act and prioritize life-saving gun safety measures,” said Andrea Murray of Moms Demand Action.
The state of New York cannot appeal the Supreme Court’s ruling except for a change of judges or a constitutional amendment.
“Biden recently said that you’re not going to win the battle – I’m paraphrasing – about what the Second Amendment says, but what we can do is take away the liability protections at the federal level for the manufacturers. And even though then the government wouldn’t ban people from carrying guns. based on exposure concerns, the manufacturers themselves would ban people from having guns,” Lieb said.
Lieb pointed to the February settlement that forced Remington to pay $73 million after the Sandy Hook massacre. Remington was the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 school shooting.
The settlement bankrupted the arms manufacturer.