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United States: the right to carry weapons outside the home enshrined by the Supreme Court

United States: the right to carry weapons outside the home enshrined by the Supreme Court

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The US Supreme Court on Thursday sanctioned the carrying of weapons outside the home by invalidating a New York state law. A decision taken as the country was recently marked by a series of deadly shootings, including one in an elementary school in Texas. The governor of New York lamented “a dark day”, while the NRA, a powerful arms lobby, hailed a “victory”.

The Supreme Court of the United States invalidated, Thursday, June 23, a law of the State of New York on the carrying of weapons, devoting in passing the right of Americans to leave their homes armed.

This decision, taken by a majority of six out of nine judges, all conservatives, comes as the country is still reeling from a series of deadly shootings, one of which, on May 24, killed 21 people in a primary school. from Texas.

“The Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority.

The Court acts “without considering the potentially fatal consequences of its decision”, regretted its progressive colleague Stephen Breyer in a separate argument, recalling that “in 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms”.

Following this decision, US President Joe Biden said he was “deeply disappointed” by a decision “contrary to common sense”.

NRA hails ‘victory’

The powerful arms lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), meanwhile immediately hailed a “victory”.

The decision, on the other hand, represents a strong snub for the supporters of a better regulation of firearms, whose efforts it will complicate. Concretely, it relates to a law which, since 1913, has limited the issuance of permits to carry concealed weapons to people who have reason to believe that they may have to defend themselves, for example because of their profession or threats against them.

It had been challenged in court by two gun owners, who had been denied permits, and an NRA affiliate.

The NRA advocates for a literal reading of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Ratified in 1791, it states that “a well-organized militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms will not be infringed”.

In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that it protected the right to use arms as part of a law enforcement force, such as the military or police, but was not an individual right to self-defense. She changed her position in a historic judgment in 2008 and established for the first time a right to possess a weapon in her home for self-defense.

It has, however, left it to cities and states to regulate out-of-home transportation, so the rules vary widely from place to place. Thursday’s judgment puts an end to this latitude by setting in stone the right to carry a weapon.

As a first step, it should bring down laws similar to that of New York in force in other states, including some very populated like California or New Jersey.

Other restrictions in force mainly in Democratic states could be challenged in court under this new legal framework.

The governor of New York laments “a dark day”

It is “outrageous, absolutely outrageous that they took away our rights to enjoy sensible restrictions” on guns, Kathy Hochul, the chief executive of New York, one of the US states, told reporters. strictest in terms of carrying firearms. “I am sorry that this dark day has come,” added the elected Democrat.

For his part, the mayor of New York, Eric Adams, said he feared that the Supreme Court’s judgment would fuel “a wave of violence by firearm”.

“We will cooperate to stem the risks created by this decision once implemented because we cannot let New York turn into the Wild West”, declared the elected Democrat, a former police officer who fought against the gun violence the backbone of his tenure.

In 2017, nearly 400 million guns were in circulation among the civilian population in the United States, or 120 guns for every 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey project.

Last year, more than 20,000 firearm homicides were recorded in the Gun Violence Archive website.

With AFP

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