US Supreme Court eases gun laws

In an eagerly awaited decision, the US Supreme Court has cleared the way for relaxation of gun laws.

Six out of nine chief justices on Thursday ruled that a century-old New York state law that requires private individuals to provide good cause to obtain permission to carry (concealed) handguns on the street is unconstitutional.

In the eyes of the six conservative judges, this violates two amendments to the constitution because it prevents “law-abiding citizens” from exercising their right to own and bear arms, according to the verdict.

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Roughly a month after the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres and as the US Senate grapples with tougher gun laws, this is a major setback for advocates of stricter regulation. The ruling could set a precedent for other states.

Two gun owners and the NRA lobby organization had sued. The NRA celebrated their “victory” on Twitter.

US President Joe Biden said he was “seriously disappointed” that the decision went against common sense and was “worrying”.

New York governor Kathy Hochul also spoke of a “shocking verdict” and a “black day”. “It is outrageous that at a time when gun violence is being debated nationwide, the Supreme Court is ruthlessly overturning a New York City law restricting the concealed carrying of guns,” the Democrat said.

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Conservative justices have dominated the Supreme Court since former President Donald Trump was in office. Three of the judges were appointed by Trump, who campaigned for gun owners and is a life member of the NRA.

In the coming days, the Supreme Court will also announce an important decision on abortion rights. The conservative majority of the Supreme Court is expected to accept the landmark Roe v. Wade,” which secures the federal right to an abortion.

The decision on gun law falls in the decisive phase in the fight for a planned tightening of gun law. The 80-page bill drafted by senators from both parties, which includes expanded background checks on gun buyers under the age of 21 and billions for school safety and better mental health care in the country, cleared a first hurdle on Wednesday evening. In a preliminary vote, 64 senators voted in favor and 34 against.

The fact that it has already been significantly relaxed speaks in favor of the law being passed. For example, US President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to ban the sale of assault rifles to private individuals is not included.

Two serious attacks in May had fueled the debate in the United States about tightening gun laws. In the state of New York, an 18-year-old murdered ten people in front of and in a supermarket with an assault rifle, apparently with racist motives. A few years later, an 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in the small Texas town of Uvalde.

The number of guns sold in the United States continues to increase. According to a Justice Department report, between 2000 and 2020 US gun manufacturers alone produced more than 139 million firearms for the commercial market. In addition, there are 71 million imported weapons. More pistols and rifles were purchased in the United States in 2020 than ever before.

The number of people killed by firearms is also increasing. In 2020, almost 35 percent more people were shot than in the previous year.

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