It’s a “dark day” for gun control advocates in the United States and a ” victoire “ for the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Supreme Court invalidated, Thursday, June 23, a law of the State of New York on the carrying of weapons, devoting to the passage the right of the Americans to leave armed their residence.
This decision, taken by a majority of six (conservative) judges out of nine, comes as the country is still reeling from a series of deadly shootings, one of which, on May 24, left twenty-one dead in a elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. ” The 2e and the 14e amendments to the Constitution protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside of his or her home”writes Judge Clarence Thomas for the majority.
The Supreme Court acts “without considering the potentially deadly consequences of his decision”regretted his progressive colleague Stephen Breyer in a separate argument, recalling that, “in 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms”.
The Democrats are up against this judgment
Kathy Hochul, Democratic Governor of New York State (fourth in the country, with 20 million inhabitants) denounced a decision “absolutely outrageous” and she, too, a “dark day” for supporters of stricter legislation on the possession and carrying of weapons. Keechant Sewell, the chief of the powerful New York City Police Department (NYPD), tasked with implementing tough-guy Mayor Eric Adams’ gun control agenda, has previously warned that anyone “illegally carrying a weapon in New York will be arrested”.
Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, the most populous state in the United States, blasted on Twitter A resolution “shameful” and “dangerous” : a judgment of the highest American court which risks“to encourage a radical ideological program” while restricting “the rights of States to protect their citizens [du risque] to be shot in the street, at school, in the Church”.
For his part, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, wrote in a press release that “this decision contradicts[sait] both common sense and the Constitution”. He added :
“After the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, but also all these daily acts of violence that don’t make national headlines, we need to do more as a society – not less – to protect our fellow citizens. I have already taken more executive action to reduce gun violence than any other president in his first year in office, and I will continue to do everything in my power to protect Americans from violence. I urge states to continue to enact and enforce common sense laws. »
Literal reading of 2e amendment
In concrete terms, this decision relates to a law which, since 1913, has limited the issue 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 campaigns for a literal reading of 2e amendment to the United States Constitution. Ratified in 1791, it states that“A well-organized militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.
In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that this amendment protected the right to use weapons as part of a law enforcement force, such as the military or police, but was not an individual right to self defense.
Several existing restrictions threatened
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. However, it has left it to cities and states to regulate wearing outside the home, 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, he should bring down laws similar to that of New York in force in other states, some of which are very populated, such as California or New Jersey. Other restrictions in force mainly in democratic states could be challenged in court under this new legal framework.
Nearly four hundred million weapons were in circulation among the civilian population in the United States in 2017, or one hundred and twenty weapons per hundred people, according to the Small Arms Survey project. Last year, more than 20,000 gun homicides were recorded on the Gun Violence Archive.