The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in what is being called a major Second Amendment case on Wednesday over whether gun restrictions will be loosened across the nation.
According to a report in Law and Crime the court eventually boiled the issue down to whether New Yorkers should be allowed to carry firearms on the subway in the Big Apple, and Justice Samuel Alito confirmed that he believed the answer was, yes.
“All these people with illegal guns: They’re on the subway, walking around the streets, but ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding people, no,” Alito told the Empire State’s solicitor general Barbara Underwood. “They can’t be armed.”
The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, takes up the issue of two men being denied a concealed carry license by the state of New York under an old law that allows denial to anyone “of good moral character” who “lacks a history of crime or mental illness,” or in any other situation in which “good cause exists for the denial of the license.”
Denials like this have caused a challenge to New York’s notoriously strenuous gun control laws under the Second Amendment which clearly guarantees citizens the right to both “keep” firearms at home and the right to “bear” (or carry) arms outside their home.
Discussions about actual application of more guns out in real life in New York City with the justices taking expected sides, including debate about how much weight history should have on their decisions, and what the impact would be on places such as New York University:
Justice Kagan asked how this policy could be applied to places like the NYU Campus that are “open for anybody to walk around,” to which petitioner’s attorney, Paul Clement responded, “Well, NYU doesn’t have much of a campus” which was met with “guffaws from the bench,” according to L&C.
The exchange continued with several hypothetical situations when Justice Alito, a native of New Jersey, put in his defense on behalf of all the law-abiding working New Yorkers who often need to be able to defend themselves when working late at night:
“There are a lot of people armed late at night on the streets of New York and on the subways late at night right now, aren’t there?” Alito pressed. “I don’t know that there are a lot of armed people there right now, ” answered Empire State’s solicitor general Barbara Underwood.
“No?” interrupted Alito with seeming disbelief, before continuing, “how many illegal guns were seized by the New York Police Department last year?” To which Underwood responded that “It’s a substantial number.”