(The Hill) – The Supreme Court struck down a New York state law that made it difficult to obtain a handgun carry permit, marking the justices’ first major opinion on Second Amendment rights in more than a decade.
The decision to invalidate New York’s law throws into question the legality of similar restrictions in more than a half dozen other states that give licensing officials wide discretion over concealed carry permitting.
The ruling comes after recent mass shootings reignited a wrenching debate over how to balance a constitutional right to bear arms with Americans’ concerns for personal safety in a country with more than 390 million privately owned firearms.
The opinion builds on the court’s last major gun rights decision more than a decade ago. In a 2008 case called District of Columbia v. Heller, a 5-4 court ruled that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. The court in Heller noted that the Second Amendment is “not unlimited,” but left unanswered what restrictions are constitutionally allowed.