Right to bear arms in public left in doubt
By The Los Angeles Times
Published: Monday, April 15, 2013, 6:15 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court left uncertain on Monday whether gun owners have a Second Amendment right to carry a firearm in public.
Without a comment or dissent, the justices turned down a gun rights challenge to a New York law that strictly limits who can carry a gun on the street, leaving states and cities, at least for now, with broad authority to regulate guns outside of the home.
In a pair of decisions in 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court struck down ordinances in Washington and Chicago that prohibited all private possession of handguns. However, the justices did not address whether the Second Amendment also protected gun owners who want to carry a weapon in public.
Most states allow law-abiding gun owners to obtain a “concealed carry” permit.
However, at least seven states, including New York, California and Illinois, have laws on the books that make it difficult or nearly impossible for gun owners to obtain a permit that allows them to be armed in public.
Those laws are under challenge in the lower courts.
In December, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago struck down the Illinois law as violating the Second Amendment. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has pending several Second Amendment challenges to the laws by which California counties deny most “concealed carry” permits.
To obtain a “concealed carry” permit, New Yorkers must convince a county official that they have a “special need for protection” that goes beyond living or working in a high-crime area.
Only about one-tenth of 1 percent of New Yorkers have concealed carry permits, compared with more than 6 percent in the neighboring states of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the court was told.
Several gun owners who were denied a “concealed carry” permit sued, arguing they had a Second Amendment right to carry a gun for self-defense.
Rather than hear their appeal, the high court let stand a ruling by a federal appeals court that held states have the authority to decide the issue.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the decision keeps in place the state's “sensible and effective regulations of concealed handguns. This is a victory for families across New York who are rightly concerned about the scourge of gun violence.”
The court's refusal to hear an appeal does not set a legal precedent.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Court upholds EPA emissions restrictions
- National Portrait Gallery features abstract expressionism of familiar faces
- Immigration activists threaten Obama, Democrats
- Imam’s influence detailed as NYC terror trial begins
- Husband accused in slaying ate pot candy, police say
- Another arrest made in abduction of N.C. prosecutor’s father
- Scientists achieve cloning advance for use in treating diseases
- Deal reached in Ukraine crisis talks, but U.S. remains wary of Russia’s end game
- Heroin-related deaths set record in Ohio
- Obamacare estimates beaten by 1M
- Law firm that cleared Christie recently gave $10K to GOP governors group