SCOTUS conservatives take aim at New York gun law

During arguments in a major firearms rights case on Wednesday, conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared willing to strike down New York state's limits on carrying concealed handguns in public.

"If the purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow people to protect themselves, that's implicated when you're in a high crime area, it's not implicated when you're out in the woods."

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts questioned the reasoning behind New York's practice of giving unrestricted licenses more freely in rural areas compared to densely populated centers like Manhattan.

"But how many muggings take place in the forest?"

New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, who was defending the law, highlighted the need to regulate concealed guns to promote public safety, noting that the prospect of proliferating firearms in the New York City subway system "terrifies" a lot of people.

"I take your point that there is a different risk in the city, but there is also a different public safety consideration."

But conservative Justice Samuel Alito suggested the law disadvantaged 'law-abiding' citizens.

"But the people are all these people with illegal guns, they are on the subway. They're walking around the streets. But the ordinary, hardworking, law-abiding people I mentioned, no, they can't be armed."

The court's conservative judges, who hold a 6-3 majority, appeared more sympathetic to a pair of gun owners, joined by the New York affiliate of the NRA, who brought the challenge against the state's restrictions.

The case could yield the most important gun rights ruling in more than a decade, potentially imperiling certain restrictions nationally.

Survivors of gun violence, including David Hogg of the Parkland massacre, spoke outside the court.

"We are fighting for the right to not be shot."

And former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011.

"Words once came easily. Today I struggle to speak, but I have not lost my voice!"

Advocates for gun restrictions fear that the New York case could threaten other state and local measures such as "red flag" laws targeting the firearms of people deemed dangerous by the courts, expanded criminal background checks for gun buyers or restrictions on selling untraceable "ghost" guns.

The Supreme Court's ruling is due by the end of June.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting