The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) agreed to determine if states can regulate citizens’ right to carry firearms outside their homes.
The case is a major gun rights issue taken by the Supreme court since the court asserted Americans’ rights to keep firearms at home for self-defense in Columbia v. Heller, 2008.
The court postponed the decision to take the case several times after rejecting several Second Amendment petitions filed during the same period.
This was despite the court’s current composition of 6-3 conservative judges, including Amy Coney Barrett generally perceived as pro-2A.
The court tossed out New York City’s firearm transportation ban challenge in 2020 after declaring it moot. The ruling was after the city repealed the law prohibiting firearm transportation from residents’ homes to another location.
Justice Clarence Thomas criticized the court for rejecting Second Amendment cases. Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested taking up a Second Amendment case on citizens’ rights to bear arms outside their homes.
He suggested that the lower courts were not properly interpreting the court’s rulings on Second Amendment rights.
The current issue arises from New York’s restrictive licensing policies requiring residents to prove the need to bear firearms for other reasons apart from general self-defense.
The litigants in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett noted that the requirements make it “virtually impossible” for ordinary law-abiding citizens to obtain concealed carry licenses.
This prohibition is despite them legally qualifying to own guns and fulfilling other requirements, including completing gun safety training.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the state’s restrictive licensing requirements.
Consequently, New York Attorney General Letitia James urged SCOTUS not to take up the case claiming that 2A rights were subject to state regulations.
Such unwarranted restrictions are present in other seven states, including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
A fifth of U.S. citizens living in California, New Jersey, and New York would have more access to firearms if SCOTUS struck down the restrictions.
Up to 800,000 residents of California’s Los Angeles County would acquire firearms compared to the current figure of about 500, according to UCLA’s law professor Adam Winkler.
There is no doubt that the U.S. Constitution grants Americans the right to bear firearms. Those rights do not cease to exist when individuals leave their homes.
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