President Biden on Thursday called on Americans “to make their voices heard on gun safety” following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that a New York state law requiring people to show “proper cause” to carry a firearm is unconstitutional.
Mr. Biden said he is “deeply disappointed” by the ruling viewed as a major victory for gun rights advocates.
“This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” Mr. Biden said, noting that New York’s law had been on the books for more than a century.
The Supreme Court’s 6 to 3 ruling earlier Thursday split the justices down ideological lines, with the court’s three liberal justices saying they would have upheld the law.
Mr. Biden urged “states to continue to enact and enforce common sense laws and make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence.”
“As the late Justice Scalia recognized, the Second Amendment is not absolute,” he said. “For centuries, states have regulated who may purchase or possess weapons, the types of weapons they may use, and the places they may carry those weapons.”
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Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned that the government must show that a regulation is consistent with the country’s history and treat the Second Amendment right equal to other constitutionally protected rights, such as the First Amendment.
“The government must affirmatively prove that its firearms regulation is part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms,” Justice Thomas wrote. “This Second Amendment standard accords with how we protect other constitutional rights.”
The ruling comes on the heels of two mass shootings in recent weeks. One in Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were gunned down at a grocery store and another in Uvalde, Texas, where a man opened fire on elementary school students inside a classroom, killing 19 students and two teachers.
“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans,” Mr. Biden said. “I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.”
“Lives are on the line,” he said.