Why, Chief Justice John Roberts asked, does a person seeking a license to carry a gun in public for self defense have to show a special need to do so.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed ready to strike down a restrictive New York gun permitting law, but the justices also seemed worried about issuing a broad ruling that could threaten gun restrictions on subways, bars, stadiums and other gathering places, the AP reports.
The court was hearing arguments in its biggest guns case in more than a decade, a dispute over whether New York’s law violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” The law’s defenders have said striking it down would lead to more guns on the streets of cities including New York and Los Angeles.
Supreme Court decisions in 2008 and 2010 established a nationwide right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. The question the court is now confronting is about the right to carry a gun outside the home.
During two hours of arguments conservative members of the court, where they have a 6-3 majority, suggested New York’s law and perhaps others like it in half a dozen other states go too far. Why, Chief Justice John Roberts asked, does a person seeking a license to carry a gun in public for self defense have to show a special need to do so.
“The idea that you need a license to exercise the right, I think, is unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights,” he said.
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