The Supreme Court Might Claim Power Over Gun Carry Laws. That Would Be a Mistake.

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether Americans have a constitutional right to carry loaded concealed weapons in public and in public places, wherever and whenever they believe they might need their guns for self-defense. Practically, that could mean everywhere and at all times. The announcement of such an absolute and unfettered right would be shocking and disquieting to most Americans, not just to Americans in the many states where the people, through their elected legislatures, have for centuries restricted the carrying of handguns in public. It would also be concerning to many Americans who support gun rights. They, too, would understandably be unsettled and frightened by the idea that everywhere they went, their fellow citizens might be carrying loaded guns. At stake in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen is whether the Supreme Court will claim for itself the power to decide where and when Americans can carry loaded handguns in public — a power that the Constitution reserves for the people and their elected representatives. The court should affirm the constitutionality of New York’s public-carry statute and the other statutes nationwide that limit and restrict the public carry of handguns. The court has a newly reconstituted conservative majority who may want to expand Second Amendment rights and protections. But that would be a mistake in this case because the framers of our Constitution intended the people and their democratically elected legislatures to decide where and when to permit the carry of firearms in public, […]

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