The decision of six votes against three strikes down a New York law that required a person to prove they had legitimate self-defense needs to receive a permit to carry weapons and will prevent states from restricting the right of people to arm themselves.
Despite growing calls to limit firearms after two mass shootings in May shocked the United States, the high court sided with those who argue that the Constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.
It is the first Supreme Court ruling in a decade on the Second Amendment and a major victory for the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun lobby.
“I am deeply disappointed by the ruling of the Supreme Court,” the president reacted Joe Biden. “This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply concern us all.”
The Supreme Court’s decision “is a shame,” the governor of California, a state with some of the most restrictive laws on the subject, said Thursday. “It’s a dark day in america“Gov. Gavin Newsom, leader of the Democratic Party, tweeted.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a statement that “today’s ruling is a decisive victory for good men and women across America and is the result of a decades-long fight that the NRA has led.”
“The right to self-defense and to defend the family and loved ones should not end at home,” he added.
For the mayor of New York, Eric Adams, on the other hand, the ruling can fuel gun violence. “We cannot allow New York to become the Wild West,” she said in a statement.
Judge Clarence Thomaswho wrote the ruling for the Supreme Court majority, said “The Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home.”
“New York’s good cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense,” it added.
On May 14, an 18-year-old used an AR-15-type assault rifle to kill 10 African-American men at a supermarket in buffaloNew York.
Less than two weeks later, 19 children and two teachers were shot dead at a primary school in UvaldeTexas, by another teenager with the same type of high-powered semi-automatic rifle.
New York law says that in order to receive a permit to carry a firearm outside the home, the owner of the firearm must clearly demonstrate that the firearm is necessary for self-defense.
More than half of the states in the United States already allow the carrying of firearms without a permit. Most of them did it in the last decade.
At the other extreme, more than 20 states still maintain restrictions that they may now be forced to drop depending on the court’s ruling.
The court struck down a New York law dating back to 1913 based on the understanding that every state has the right to regulate the use and possession of guns.
In the past two decades, more than 200 million guns have reached the US market, led by assault rifles and personal pistols, fueling a surge in murders, mass shootings and suicides.