Supreme Court could strike down law that restricts NYers from carrying gun in public for self-defense
New York’s tough gun laws are in the crosshairs of the Supreme Court.
The high court could strike down a law that restricts people from carrying concealed handguns outside the home for self-defense.
On Wednesday, the court was hearing arguments in its biggest guns case in more than a decade, a dispute over whether New York's law violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
Chief Justice John Roberts and other conservative members of the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, suggested New York's law goes too far. Why, Roberts asked, does a person seeking a license to carry a gun in public for self-defense have to show a special need to do so? “The idea that you would need a license to exercise a right is unusual with regard to the Bill of Rights,” he said.
But Roberts was also among the justices who pressed a lawyer for the law's challengers on where guns might be prohibited.
Paul Clement, arguing on behalf of New York residents who want an unrestricted right to carry concealed weapons in public, replied that while government buildings and schools might be off limits, bars “might be a tougher case for the government.”
The court's liberals seemed willing to allow the state law to remain in place, especially focusing on differences between rural areas and more densely populated cities and suburbs.
The law's defenders have said that striking it down will lead to more guns on the streets of cities including New York and Los Angeles.
The court last issued major gun rights decisions in 2008 and 2010.
Those decisions established a nationwide right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.
The question for the court now has to do with carrying a gun in public for self-defense.
AP wires contributed to this report.