United States: the Supreme Court enshrines the right to carry weapons outside the home

The New York exception is over. While the country is still reeling from a series of deadly shootings, the Supreme Court of the United States took action on Thursday in favor of the carrying of weapons. This decision, taken by a majority of six judges out of nine, invalidates a law of the State of New York which has limited, since 1913, the issuance of permits to carry concealed weapons outside the home. President Joe Biden Biden immediately said he was “deeply disappointed” by a decision “contrary to common sense”.

Since the end of the 18th century, the second amendment to the United States Constitution, relating to the right to own a weapon, has been the subject of several interpretations. Ratified in 1791, it states that “A well-organized militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms will not be infringed”.

In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that it protected the right to use arms as part of a law enforcement force, such as the military or police, but was not an individual right to self defense. 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.

It has, however, left it to cities and states to regulate out-of-home transportation, so the rules vary widely from place to place. Thursday’s ruling puts an end to that latitude by setting in stone the right to carry a gun in New York State.

The NRA hails “a victory”

“The Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside of his or her home,” Justice Clarence Thomas said for the majority on the announcement. of the verdict.

The powerful arms lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), which campaigns for a literal reading of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, immediately hailed a “victory”. The decision, on the other hand, represents a strong snub for the supporters of a better regulation of firearms, whose efforts it will complicate.

The Court acts “without considering the potentially fatal consequences of its decision”, regretted the progressive Stephen Breyer in a separate argument, recalling that “in 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms”. The mayor of New York said he feared “a wave of gun violence” after the Supreme Court ruling.

Initially, this decision should bring down laws similar to that of New York in force in other states, including some very populated like California or New Jersey. Other restrictions in force mainly in Democratic states could be challenged in court under this new legal framework.

Nearly 400 million guns were in circulation among the civilian population in the United States in 2017, or 120 guns for every 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey project. Last year, more than 20,000 gun homicides were recorded on the Gun Violence Archive. The country is still reeling from a series of deadly shootings, one of which, on May 24, killed 21 people in an elementary school in Texas.

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