Supreme Court rules Second Amendment guarantees right to carry guns in public
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The Supreme Court struck down a New York law restricting guns in public in its second major decision around the Second Amendment (Picture: REX)

The Supreme Court has struck down a New York law limiting guns in public, ruling that the Second Amendment provides the right to carry a firearm outside of home.

In a 6-3 ruling on Thursday morning, the high court took a broader interpretation of the Second Amendment, which safeguards the right to keep and bear arms. The decision will make it more difficult for states to place restrictions on guns outside of the home.

The New York law requires that individuals pursuing a handgun carry license show a ‘proper cause’ to be outside of their homes.

‘Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,’ wrote Justice Clarence Thomas for the court’s 6-3 conservative majority.

The three liberal justices dissented.

Thursday’s ruling is the court’s second major decision around the Second Amendment. In its , the court for the first time stated that the amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms. However, that ruling was limited to keeping guns at home for the purpose of self-defense.

The new ruling applies the amendment beyond the limits of the home, settling the issue that the court had declined to take up for years.

Besides New York, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have similar laws limiting guns in public, according to briefs in the case.

In an opinion concurring to Thomas’, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that New York’s law was ‘problematic because it grants open-ended discretion to licensing officials and authorizes licenses only for those applicants who can show some special need apart from self-defense’. The law essentially denies citizens the right to carry a firearm for self-protection, he wrote.

The ruling does not bar states from placing licensing requirements for carrying guns in self-defense, including background checks, fingerprinting and mental health checks, Kavanaugh said.

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