In a 6-3 decision that ultimately will lead to more people legally carrying guns in America’s larger cities, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law requiring individuals to demonstrate a need to carry a gun before obtaining a license to carry in public.
The justices said the law violated the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
“The Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the conservative majority.
The decision comes in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings, including recent incidents in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
In Buffalo, a self-proclaimed white supremacist shot and killed 10 African Americans at a supermarket. In Uvalde, 19 students and two teachers were murdered by a gunman who blasted his way into a classroom at an elementary school.
The court’s ruling is expected to affect more than 25% of the U.S. population.
“Since the start of this year, there have been 277 reported mass shootings — an average of more than one per day,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in a dissenting opinion. “Gun violence has now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents. Many states have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds.”
New Jersey, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Hawaii have laws nearly identical to the New York law. Gun rights advocates are sure to now challenge those statutes.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the ruling “shocking,” opining that it set the nation back centuries and that the court “stripped away the rights of the state with a decision that’s frightful in its scope.”
Read the full ruling here.