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Supreme Court Declines Gun Law Case

by ADAM LIPTAK, The New York Times  |  published on April 16, 2013

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would not weigh in on a major Second Amendment question that has divided the lower courts: May states bar or strictly limit the carrying of guns in public for self-defense?

The justices turned down a case concerning a New York State law that requires people seeking permits to carry guns in public to demonstrate that they have a special need for self-protection. In urging the justices to hear the case, the National Rifle Association called the law “a de facto ban on carrying a handgun outside the home.”

As is their custom, the justices gave no reasons for declining to hear the case.

In November, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, upheld the law. California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey have similar laws.

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own guns, and it struck down a District of Columbia law that barred keeping guns in homes for self-defense.

“We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in the decision, District of Columbia v. Heller. “But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

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