The Supreme Court has been hearing the largest gun rights case for more than ten years

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Wednesday takes up the most important gun rights case in more than a decade, a case that both sides hope will clarify how much protection the Second Amendment provides for carrying a gun outside the home.

It is a question that the court repeatedly omitted after issuing a landmark 5-4 ruling in 2008 that said the second amendment guarantees an individual right to keep a weapon at home in self-defense. A decision in the current case, coming from New York, could affect the ability of state and local governments to impose a wide range of firearms rules.

New York openly prohibits the carrying of a handgun, but allows residents to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm if they can demonstrate a requirement that goes beyond a general desire for self-protection. Gun owners in the state sued, saying it makes it virtually impossible for ordinary citizens to obtain the license.

Among the law’s challengers are the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, an associate member of the National Rifle Association, and two men who applied for general licenses to carry a gun for protection but were denied. A federal judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed their challenge.

Under state law, anyone seeking a license to carry a concealed weapon must demonstrate “a special need for self-protection that can be distinguished from the general public or individuals involved in the same profession.”

It violates the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right “to keep and bear arms,” ​​said Paul Clement, a lawyer for the challengers. He told the Supreme Court in his written records that while the right to keep a weapon may have its greatest use in the home, “the right to carry a weapon outside the home extends.”

The two sides differ greatly in the kind of restrictions that have historically been allowed because the 2008 Supreme Court landmark ruling said the second amendment does not prohibit long-standing, traditionally accepted firearms rules.

Clement said the nation’s founders understood that people had the right to carry common weapons for self-defense. “Simply put, the state cannot reserve to some happy one a right that the Constitution protects for all ‘the people’.”

But New York Justice Minister Letitia James, who on Friday announced she is running for governor, said in her written records that local governments have long restricted the transportation of weapons in public. The state has a compelling interest in reducing violent crime and gun violence, and that law “produces these urgent goals.”

A decision for the challengers, she said, “would jeopardize the firearms restrictions adopted by all states and the federal government to protect the public in sensitive areas where people gather – environments such as courthouses, airports, subways, sports arenas, bars, games” facilities, houses of worship and schools. “

All states are allowed to carry a concealed handgun in public, although 34 require a state-issued permit. New York and seven other states give local officials more discretion to reject permit applications, and they will most likely be affected by the outcome of this case.

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