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How a Supreme Court Ruling and a Senate Bill Could Affect Gun Violence

How a Supreme Court Ruling and a Senate Bill Could Affect Gun Violence

Two major developments in Washington yesterday upended the terrain of the American gun debate. The first was a Supreme Court ruling striking down a New York State law that restricted people’s ability to carry guns in public. The second was the Senate passage of a bipartisan bill that would become the most significant change to federal gun safety laws in nearly three decades.

“Both of these things are very rare,” said Alex McCourt, a public health lawyer at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions who studies the relationship between gun policy and gun violence. “The Supreme Court doesn’t do Second Amendment cases very often, and Congress doesn’t pass major gun legislation very often.”

McCourt cautioned that it would take time to fully see the effects of yesterday’s events. But because the Senate’s bill is narrow — the result of a bipartisan compromise — he and other experts predicted that the court’s move to broaden gun rights would probably have a more significant effect on gun violence.

Today’s newsletter explains how yesterday’s developments may change the status quo.

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In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a century-old New York law that required people who wanted to carry a concealed handgun in public to demonstrate a need to do so. The law, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, prevented “law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”

The decision, in effect, says the Constitution guarantees the right to carry a firearm outside the home. The ruling will likely reverberate beyond New York.

California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey have similar laws that they will be forced to rewrite. “We can expect other…

Read full article on www.nytimes.com