United States Supreme Court examines firearms case

The Supreme Court of the United States, profoundly overhauled by Donald Trump, examines, this Wednesday, an appeal against a law in New York that could allow all Americans to leave their homes armed.

The hearing, the largest devoted to firearms in more than ten years, arouses strong apprehension among supporters of stronger regulations who are wary of the conservative majority of the high court with six out of nine judges.

“Very bad potential consequences

“The stakes are very high” and the “potential consequences very bad,” Angela Ferrell-Zabala, vice president of Everytown For Gun safety and Moms Demand Action organizations, told a small group of protesters gathered outside the court ahead of the hearing. The decision of the nine wise men “could complicate the action of cities and states to fight the crisis” of violence by guns, she added, in reference to the nearly 20,000 people killed by gunshots in the United States. United in 2020 (excluding suicides) up 25% over one year.

The defenders of the carrying of weapons on the contrary see in these figures the proof that the Americans need to be armed more to defend themselves and are delighted to see the subject before a Supreme Court apparently sensitive to their cause. The temple of law, where the former Republican president brought in three judges, today has a “solid majority (..) of magistrates who think that the Constitution must be interpreted as it was understood when it was written”, a recently highlighted the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) arms lobby. The NRA is pushing for a literal reading of the Second Amendment to the 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 hold and bear arms will not be violated”.

A “huge” impact

In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that it protected the right to use weapons as part of a law enforcement force, such as the army or the police, but was not an individual right to self-defense. She changed her position in a landmark 2008 shutdown and for the first time established a right to own a gun at home in self-defense. However, it left cities and states to regulate transport outside the home, so that the rules vary greatly from one place to another. After ten years of refusing to return to the subject, despite numerous requests, the high court finally accepted an appeal filed by an NRA affiliate and two gun owners who are challenging a New State law. York.

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Since 1913, this law has restricted 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 aimed at them. If the Supreme Court invalidates this law, it could immediately bring down similar rules in force in seven other states, including some very populous such as California or New Jersey, underlines Joseph Blocher, professor of law at Duke University. “80 million Americans live in these states, so the real impact will be enormous,” he said.

A turning point

Beyond that, the case could “be a turning point in the way in which the courts examine cases related to the Second Amendment”, notes Eric Ruben associate professor at the SMU law school in Texas. Over the past decade, courts have generally held that restrictions adopted by states or cities may be justified by security concerns.

Proponents of the carrying of weapons ask the Court to take advantage of the New York case “to reject this approach and focus only on the text, history and traditions”, which is “disturbing because the violence by gun to fire was not a problem in the 18th century, ”emphasizes Eric Ruben. If the court ruled in their favor, it would “open the door to a series of new complaints against all existing regulations,” he said. The Supreme Court must render its decision before the end of June 2022.

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