United States: the Supreme Court upholds the right to bear arms outside the home

The US Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York state gun law, enshrining the right of Americans to leave their homes armed.

This decision, made by a majority of six of nine justices, all conservatives, comes as the country is still reeling from a series of deadly shootings, one of which, on May 24, killed 21 people at an elementary school. from Texas.

The Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution protect an individual’s right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home.writes Justice Clarence Thomas for the majority.

The Court actswithout considering the life-threatening consequences of your decision“, lamented his progressive colleague Stephen Breyer in a separate argument, recalling that”in 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms“.

The powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), immediately hailed a “victoryThe decision, on the other hand, represents a strong snub to supporters of better firearms regulation, whose efforts they will complicate.

Specifically, it refers to a law that, since 1913, limits the issuance 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.

Self defense

The NRA advocates a literal reading of the Second 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 it protected the right to use arms as part of a law enforcement force, such as the army or police, but it was not an individual right to self-defense.

He reversed his position in a landmark trial in 2008 and established for the first time the right to keep a gun in your home for self-defense.

However, he left it up to cities and states to regulate transportation outside the home, so the rules vary widely from place to place.

Thursday’s ruling ends this latitude by setting in stone the right to bear a gun.

Initially, it should strike down laws similar to New York’s that are in place in other states, including highly populated ones 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 US civilian population in 2017, or 120 guns per 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey project.

Last year, more than 20,000 firearm homicides were recorded in the Gun Violence File.


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