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The US Federal Right of Private Citizens to Bear Arms

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Today the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (who is the NY Police Supt.) and hearing address of the question: “whether the state’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.”

Under the present NY gun-control law two citizens not felons were denied licenses to carry handguns at all times. They were authorized to carry them for target practice and hunting away from home, and one of these two challengers of the law was authorized to carry a gun to and from work.

Defenders of the NY law have argued that public carry of guns has been variously prohibited and regulated across several centuries of American law and antecedent English law. They argue that the statue of NY fits well within that tradition of firearm regulation. “One of the longest continuous traditions in Anglo-American law are limits on the public carry of arms in populous areas.”

Challengers to the NY law argue that the discretionary element in it makes it effectively impossible to get an unrestricted license to bear arms. They maintain that local officials should not have the power to determine who is fit to carry a gun. “The Second Amendment makes the right to carry arms for self-defense the rule, not the exception, and fundamental rights cannot be left to the whim of local government officials.”

About a quarter of the US population lives in a state having gun laws similar to New York’s.

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