The Supreme Court appeared skeptical of a New York law limiting handguns in public, showing the court may be ready to expand even further on gun ownership.
A majority of justices seemed inclined on Wednesday to rule that the Constitution provides a right to carry guns outside of the home, but is willing to allow some restrictions on guns in crowded public places.
The law in question is a New York law that requires a special permit to carry a concealed handgun in public. Conservative Supreme Court Judges said they believe this may violate the Second Amendment giving Americans the “right to keep and bear arms.”
New York law stipulates that it is illegal to openly carry a handgun, but allows residents to carry a concealed handgun only if they can demonstrate a requirement that goes beyond general self-protection. The license necessary to carry the concealed gun was difficult to get, argued gun owners in New York. So they sued the state.
A lawyer representing the gun owners has argued that New York has turned the Second Amendment into a limited privilege, not a right, which the court’s conservatives seemingly agree with.
Members of the court on both the liberal and conservative sides indicated they would still favor restrictions on guns in sensitive or crowded places, such as Times Square on New Year’s Eve, or the New York City subways.
Arms on the subway is exactly what terrorizes people, argued New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, who defended the state law.
The Supreme Court has not had to weigh in on the Second Amendment since a ruling in 2008, which guaranteed an individual right to own a handgun in the home for self-defense. This decision could affect both state and local governments’ abilities to impose a wide range of firearms regulations.
A decision on the issue is not expected until late June.