As the nation reels from the Uvalde massacre, the Supreme Court should expand gun rights

As the nation reels from one of the deadliest school shootings in US history, the Supreme Court is set to hand down a ruling that would likely increase the number of guns in schools. public places.

The judges heard arguments last fall in New York State Rifles and Pistols Association vs. Bruenand the court is due to deliver its opinion in the coming weeks.

The case was brought by two New York men who challenged a state law that requires them to have ‘lawful cause’, or special need, in order to carry a gun outside their home. residence.

questions and judges’ comments during these pleadings revealed that the six conservatives of the court are all skeptical of the law.

Reverend Patrick Mahoney takes a stand against gun violence at a rally outside the Supreme Court. (José Luis Magana/AP)

The question, legal observers said, was not whether the court would overturn New York law, a decision that would require the support of five justices. Rather, what remained unknown was whether the court would still grant states the power to limit firearms in specially designated public spaces, and to what extent states could use that power.

If New York’s law is overturned, it would have a ripple effect on other states with similar restrictionssuch as California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution states“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms will not be infringed. The plaintiffs in the New York case argue that state law restricts their right to “bear arms.”

But supporters of the law said public safety, especially in densely populated urban areas, is also a state government mandate. They argue that states — rather than the Supreme Court — are better equipped to craft policies that balance gun rights with public safety concerns.

“The Anglo-American legal tradition for centuries included limits on the public bearing of arms, a tradition imported immediately into the colonies, and which existed to protect the public from harm,” writes Jeremy FeigenbaumNew Jersey state attorney last year.

Supporters and opponents of tough gun control laws rally outside the US Supreme Court

Supporters and opponents of tough gun control laws gather outside the Supreme Court, Nov. 3, 2021. (Sue Dorfman/Zuma Press Wire)

“The simple truth is that what works in rural Alaska may not work in an urban center of New York or New Jersey, and state legislatures are in a much better position to sift through safety evidence courts and hear from local law enforcement than one national court,” Feigenbaum said.

But the Court’s conservative justices seem to believe that the right to “bear arms” should not be fettered by the requirement of having a particular reason for carrying a weapon outside the home.

“Why isn’t it enough to say, ‘I live in a violent area and I want to be able to defend myself’?” Judge Brett Kavanaugh asked during the disputes last fall.

Barbara Underwood, Solicitor General of New York, responded that “what happens at these license hearings is that a question is asked: ‘What exactly do you mean?'”

“You could say, ‘I live in a violent neighborhood,’ and it could be all of New York City, or it could be your particular neighborhood,” Underwood said. “The closer it gets to your particular neighborhood, the better your claim.”

But the plaintiffs’ lead attorney argued last fall that the Court should shift the state’s power to restrict the ability to carry firearms outside the home and limit the exercise of that right in certain spaces such as schools, government buildings, sports arenas and at large public events.

New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood

New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood. (Hans Pennick/AP)

The real debate would therefore shift to the extent to which states could restrict the possession of firearms in public.

“It is the difference between regulating a constitutionally protected activity and attempting to convert a fundamental constitutional right into a privilege enjoyed only by those who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of an official that they have an atypical need for the exercise of that right,” attorney Paul Clement told the judges.

The majority of the court seemed to agree with Clement.

But after 19 children and two adults were massacred at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, a decision expanding gun rights will inflame many around the country and could further polarize the opinions of many Americans on the court.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that 47% of Americans think gun control should be stricter, while 44% think it should be either less strict or the same.