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Gun Reform Bill Passes Senate after High Court Reverses New York's Century-Old Gun Law

Interior of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by Jackie Hope on Unsplash)

The U.S. Supreme Court's conservative majority of justices is standing by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, reversing a century-old gun law in New York that could have serious implications for other states as well. 

In a 6-to-3-vote Thursday, the high court ruled that New York's law requiring citizens to show proper cause to carry guns for self-defense violates the Second Amendment. 

Conservatives are applauding the court's decision, but liberals were quick to condemn it. 

Tom King, the plaintiff who took this case to the high court and the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association says responsible gun owners shouldn't be the issue –- and that politicians in New York need to focus on criminals. 

"What it's saying is, that if you're a legal, lawful citizen, they can't take your right to keep and bear arms away from you," King said. "I think it's just that simple." 

Top New York Democratic leaders on the other hand blasted the court's decision.

"The Supreme Court is sending us backwards in our effort to protect families and prevent gun violence," said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) shared a similar sentiment.

"This decision has made every single one of us less safe from gun violence," Adams said. 

Justice Clarence Thomas authored the court's majority opinion, writing, "The New York 'proper cause' requirement violates the Constitution because it only allows public-carry licenses when an applicant shows a special need for self-defense." It also says the Constitution protects, "an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home." 

The court's decision comes after the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, which triggered historic congressional action on gun control. 

In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer pointed to the recent rash of mass shootings as to why he voted against the majority. 

Just hours after the court's decision was released, the Senate passed a gun reform bill focused on background checks, red flag laws, and providing funding for school security and mental health programs. That bill now goes to the House. 

"We are not the problem," said King. "The problem is the criminals and the wrongdoers in the state, and politicians have to learn that." 

The court's ruling means similar laws in other states are likely to face legal challenges as well. 

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