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States prepare for battle over gun laws after Supreme Court ruling

PROVIDENCE, RI — The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a gun licensing law in New York has forced states with severe gun restrictions to respond on two fronts — to figure out what concealed-carry measures they can enact, while also preparing to introduce a variety of defend other gun control policies.

The language in the court’s majority opinion heightened concerns that other state laws, from setting an age limit for gun purchases to banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, could now be in jeopardy.

“The court has basically invited an open season on our gun laws, and so I anticipate litigation across the board,” said Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin, a Democrat. “We will defend our gun laws tooth and nail because those gun laws save lives.”

That court ruling on Thursday specifically repealed a New York law that had been in effect since 1913 that required individuals applying for a concealed carry license to show they were required to have a gun in public, e.g. B. an imminent threat to their security. The court’s conservative majority said this violated the Second Amendment, which they interpreted as protecting people’s right to carry a weapon outside the home in self-defense.

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While the ruling doesn’t address other laws, the majority opinion opens the door for gun rights advocates to challenge them in the future, said Alex McCourt, director of legal research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

Pro-firearms groups in several states said they plan to do just that.

Attorney Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said the group is preparing to expand its legal challenges based on changing the legal standard used to assess whether gun control laws are constitutional.

Courts now only need to consider whether a gun control regulation is consistent with the actual text of the Second Amendment and its historical understanding, according to Thursday’s ruling. Previously, judges could also consider a state’s social justification for passing a gun control law.

Michel said the standard will affect three key California laws. Court challenges to the state’s assault weapons restrictions, its requirement for background checks when purchasing ammunition, and its ban on selling ammunition online are pending in a federal appeals court.

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“All of these laws should be struck down under this new Supreme Court standard,” he said.

The Supreme Court is also considering adopting California’s law prohibiting ammunition magazines containing more than 10 bullets, as well as a similar law in New Jersey. He expects the court to consider these laws under the new standard.

The new restrictive gun law landscape outlined in Thursday’s majority opinion is not without escape routes for states, particularly those that may wish to impose some restrictions on concealed carry permits.

said Judge Brett Kavanaugh along with Chief Justice John Roberts states can still demand People getting licensed to carry a gun and making it conditional on things like background checks and mental health records. They can also restrict where guns are allowed, suggesting states can ban firearms in “sensitive locations” like schools, courthouses or polling stations.

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That leaves an opening for governors and state legislatures in New York and the other six states with similar concealed carry laws: California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

In California, lawmakers are changing the legislation to expand the qualifications people must have to obtain a concealed carry permit and to define the locations where guns are off limits. The revised bill will have its first hearing on Tuesday, and lawmakers hope to send it quickly to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who called Thursday’s Supreme Court decision shameful.

Other Democratic governors, lawmakers and attorneys general also pledged to defend or change their gun laws.

Most state legislatures are ending their sessions or have already ended the year, so a response would likely have to wait until next year. Rhode Island Assemblyman Robert Craven, an attorney, said he will study the submission in the New York case to determine whether it raises concerns that Rhode Island’s requirements could be challenged and whether it does so laws can be fixed.

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He questioned whether the Supreme Court would now apply a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment – that the right to bear arms is absolute – and apply it to other laws, such as those banning military weapons.

“I see the court going in that direction,” Craven said.

In Hawaii, Democratic state Senator Chris Lee said lawmakers will seek to determine how else to ensure public safety and address screening, training requirements and ways to keep guns out of certain public spaces — regulations that, according to judges would be allowed.

“The bottom line is that Hawaii is becoming a more dangerous place,” said Senator Karl Rhoads, a Democrat. “Hawaii is going from a place where the right to wear in public is the exception to a place where not having the right to wear on the street is an exception. I don’t see any limitation on the type of firearm.”

Gun rights groups in Hawaii and elsewhere welcomed the ruling. In Maryland, Mark Pennak, president of a gun rights group challenging that state’s concealed carry law, said he was “absolutely thrilled” with the High Court’s decision because there was “just no way” the law could be defended any longer.

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Democratic leaders in the Maryland General Assembly said they will pass legislation that conforms to the new precedent but still protects residents, if necessary.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, criticized the court’s opinion for restricting how states can address public firearms proliferation, but vowed to protect the state’s gun control measures. He said his government believed the state could still regulate who could carry concealed weapons and where they could take them.

He pledged that his government will “do everything in our power to protect our residents.”

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Associated Press writers Bobby Caina Calvan in New York; Mike Catalini in Trenton, NJ; Jennifer Kelleher in Honolulu; Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston; Don Thompson in Sacramento, California; Marina Villeneuve in Albany, New York; and Brian Witte of Annapolis, Maryland, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/24/states-brace-for-fight-over-gun-laws-after-high-court-ruling/ States prepare for battle over gun laws after Supreme Court ruling

Sarah Y. Kim

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