Supreme Court bolsters gun owners' right to carry a weapon in public

David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

But the court’s majority stressed that in 43 states, lawful gun owners may carry a firearm in public. Some require a permit, others do not.

However, six blue states require concealed carry permits and only issue them to those who can show a “good cause” or special need to be armed.

The standards differ county by county, depending on the views of top law enforcement officials. In addition to New York and California, permits are required in Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

The decision comes following back-to-back mass shootings last month in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, and as Congress prepares to pass a modest bipartisan gun violence measure, its first in three decades.

The bill would increase background checks for would-be gun buyers aged 18 to 21, and close the “boyfriend” loophole by prohibiting anyone convicted of abuse against a spouse or domestic partner from buying a gun.

In a long dissent, Justice Stephen G. Breyer highlighted the terrible toll of gun violence in this country.


But Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was part of the majority, took issue with Breyer’s comments and argued that whether an adult may carry a handgun has little to do the wave of mass shootings. He said that the mass shooting in Buffalo cast doubt on whether New York’s restrictions on handguns were effective.

The case began when two men from upstate New York — Brandon Koch and Robert Nash — applied for a license to carry a concealed gun.

Thomas described them as law-abiding gun owners, but they were turned down. They did, however, obtain a permit to carry a hunting rifle. They then joined a lawsuit to challenge the permit restrictions.


(Los Angeles Times staff writer Jon Healey in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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