Justice Breyer issues scathing dissent as Supreme Court kills New York gun ruling
US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer answers a question during an interview at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 17, 2012 [AFP]

New York lost the Supreme Court case against a gun club that sued over their concealed-carry license requirement. The Court held that the state requiring a "proper cause" to conceal their weapon outside their home was unconstitutional.

But it was Justice Stephen Breyer's dissent that former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal called "ominous."

"In 2020, 45,222 Americans were killed by firearms...Since the start of this year (2022), there have been 277 reported mass shootings —an average of more than one per day... Gun violence has now surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents," Breyer wrote. "Many states have tried to address some of the dangers of gun violence just described by passing laws that limit, in various ways, who may purchase, carry, or use firearms of different kinds. The Court today severely burdens States' efforts to do so. It invokes the Second Amendment to strike down a New York law regulating the public carriage of concealed handguns. In my view, that decision rests upon several serious mistakes."

The details in Justice Clarence Thomas' argument claim, "the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home." He says that there can't be restrictions on the Second Amendment because historically there haven't been. The New York law is over 100 years old. The Second Amendment also doesn't mention anything about "self-defense" but cites only a "well-regulated militia." Many states use the words "well-regulated" to regulate the ownership of guns.

Other states also have similar gun restrictions on the conceal-carry permits requiring certain training. The Court didn't strike those down, but certainly opened the door for future complaints.

Friday is the one-month anniversary of the massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

Read Breyer's remarks below or at this link.

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