Biden Signs Safety Bill 2 Days After US Landmark Gun Rights Law


What is the landmark decision issued by the US SC on gun rights?

In over ten years of the gun debate, the United States Supreme Court (US SC) overruled a New York law on the 23rd of June, 2022, and allowed citizens unrestricted access to carry and own a gun. This decision by the US SC puts in jeopardy similar judgements and regulations in the states of New Jersey and California since now more sections of the population will be able to legally carry guns with them. It means that gun rights will expand in the midst of a burning national debate over this issue.

Minority members of the court considered the case for carrying of guns by New York residents as violating the US Constitution. The writing of Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the 6 conservative judges, ruled that it is the right of Americans to carry firearms for personal defense, while the liberal justices, who were in the minority, dissented from the opinion. Even the US Senate leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, sided with the decision in favor of allowing gun rights to individuals.

Major Eric Adams, who is the Mayor of New York City and formed the minority in the bill, stated that he would work out alternative ways of restricting gun access by way of making the application process for buying firearms stricter. He also said he would consider bans at certain locations to prevent New York from becoming the “wild, wild west”. The NRA (National Rifle Association) was, however, in full celebratory support of the decision by the SC. Even President Joe Biden was extremely disappointed by this ruling. He responded to the ruling by saying that amidst rising instances of violence by gun, it was his duty to look into the matter and do everything in his power to ensure safety in the community by eliminating gun violence.

Biden’s signing of a gun safety bill into law

Two days after this ruling, Biden signed a major gun safety legislation on Saturday. This bill was the first of its kind to be passed by Congress in almost 3 decades. Biden believes that although this measure does not incorporate everything, it does have certain terms that can help save lives. As a result of his signing, buying guns will not be an easy matter anymore. People who are perceived as a threat by the community or those who have been involved in domestic abuse cases will now be considered thoroughly before being allowed a pass. Moreover, people under the age of 21 seeking to buy guns will undergo proper background checks.

Gun safety groups as well as President Biden have put forward requests for greater reforms which would include the banning of assault weapons or increasing the license age for acquiring them, since these are the few common weapons used in fatal shootings (such as in the Texas and Buffalo shootings). The NRA is opposed to the bill as it believes that it infringes on the rights of Americans to buy guns lawfully and will not be helpful in reducing violence.

The burning issue of gun rights: Why is it a big deal?

The decision by the court passed on Thursday was feared to further spur regulations on gun rights in states like Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland. The reasons for this decision being a big issue are primarily the rising number of gun-shooting cases in the United States, leading to deaths and injuries. Such shootings have occurred in a Texas school, a New York supermarket, an Alabama church meeting, etc. within a span of the last 30 days. This raises a concern over whether gun rights should be expanded so easily.

As of the year 2020, more than 45,000 Americans died because of firearms-related injuries. These included both homicides and suicides. Since the beginning of 2022, reports of over 275 mass shootings have already been reported, which makes an average of over 1 shooting per day.

What fueled this long-held review of gun rights was an incident where two people appealed to own guns. They applied for concealed carry permits, where one put up the reason that there had been a string of cases of robberies in their neighborhood, while the other wanted to own a gun for their own self-defense. Both of their requests were turned down and they were denied permits. This made them appeal to the NYSRPA (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association) and thus this case travelled all the way to the Supreme Court which drove the passing of such an important judgement.

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