Saying he was “deeply disappointed”, President Joe Biden has issued a statement condemning the supreme court’s ruling that greatly expands the right to carry concealed weapons across the United States.
“Since 1911, the State of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self-defense and to acquire a license. More than a century later, the United States supreme court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens. This ruling contradicts both common sense and the constitution, and should deeply trouble us all,” Biden said.
He backed efforts by states to respond to the court’s ruling with new regulations.
“As the late Justice Scalia recognized, the Second Amendment is not absolute. 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. And the courts have upheld these regulations,” the president wrote, referring to the conservative justice who died in 2016.
Concluding with an appeal for action, Biden said, “I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line.”
Gun control groups have vowed to continue fighting despite the supreme court’s expansion of concealed carry rights, including by finding legal avenues for states to limit gun possession.
In a statement, John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said, “Today’s ruling is out of step with the bipartisan majority in Congress that is on the verge of passing significant gun safety legislation, and out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans who support gun safety measures. Let’s be clear: the supreme court got this decision wrong, choosing to put our communities in even greater danger with gun violence on the rise across the country.”
“The supreme court misapplied fundamental constitutional principles in ruling against New York,” chief litigation counsel at Everytown Law Eric Tirschwell said. “Even so, states can still pass and enforce a wide array of laws to keep public spaces safe from gun violence, and we’re ready to go to court to defend these laws.”
The supreme court finished issuing opinions for the day with its blockbuster ruling on gun access, but across the street at the Capitol, the Senate is in the midst of considering a gun control bill that would be the most significant in decades.
Senator majority leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech on the chamber’s floor that passing the measure, which cleared a crucial procedural vote on Tuesday, is his top priority.
“It’s been a long time, but this breakthrough is welcome. So, I urge my Republican colleagues, let’s get this bill passed, and pass it today,” Schumer said. “Americans have waited long enough. Let’s finish our job today.”
The bill represents Congress’s response to the massacres in Uvalde and Buffalo, and appears to have enough support from both parties to pass the evenly divided Senate, as well as the House of Representatives. However its lacks many of the more stringent measures Democrats hoped would be enacted following those mass shootings, including raising the age to buy an assault weapon to 21 from 18. It also would have no impact on the supreme court ruling that opens the door for almost all Americans to carry concealed weapons.
Gun rights have been in the news for weeks following two shocking mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York — a fact that has not escaped the supreme court.
In his concurrence with the majority opinion, conservative justice Samuel Alito connects the latter shooting with the concealed weapons regulation that the court struck down. “Will a person bent on carrying out a mass shooting be stopped if he knows that it is illegal to carry a handgun outside the home? And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator,” wrote Alito, who was also the author of the draft opinion overturning abortion rights that leaked in May.
You can read the full decision here.
Calling the supreme court’s ruling overturning its regulations on concealed weapons “absolutely shocking” and hypocritical, New York governor Kathy Hochul said the state will look at ways to craft legislation that can shield the public from gun violence.
“They have taken away our right to have reasonable restrictions. We can have restrictions on speech — you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater — but somehow, there’s no restrictions allowed on the second amendment,” Hochul said in a speech minutes after the court’s decision was released.
Hochul said that her government had a “whole lot of ideas” for dealing with the ruling. “Our new laws are going to be looking at restrictions on sensitive locations, changing the permitting process… we’re gonna have training requirements, we’re going to make sure that people (who) have concealed weapons have specified training.”
“This is New York. We don’t back down. We fight back,” she said. “I’m sorry this dark day has come.”
The supreme court’s just-announced decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen is a major win for advocates of gun rights, and will allow most everyone across the United States to carry a concealed weapon. The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington takes a closer look at its implications:
The US supreme court has opened the door for almost all law-abiding Americans to carry concealed and loaded handguns in public places after the conservative majority struck down a New York law that placed strict restrictions on firearms outside the home.
The majority decision renders the New York law an unconstitutional violation of the second amendment right to bear arms. The law had required anyone wanting to carry a handgun in public to prove that they had a “proper cause” to do so.
The ruling has profound implications for the safety and conduct of up to 83 million people who live in New York and seven other states plus Washington DC, which have similar “proper cause” laws. They include some of the most heavily populated states in the country such as California and New Jersey, which between them account for roughly three out of every four Americans.
In a major decision affecting gun rights nationwide, the supreme court has invalidated a New York law that regulated who is allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public:
The decision split along the court’s ideological lines, with the three liberal justices dissenting from the ruling upheld by the court’s six-justice conservative majority.
The supreme court has issued two more opinions, one dealing with the rights of prisoners on death row, and the other regarding lawsuits over Miranda warnings, which police typically read to people when they’re arrested.
The court is continuing to announce opinions, with the next set for 10.30am Eastern time.
The supreme court has begun issuing its latest batch of opinions, and the first decision deals with a lawsuit over North Carolina’s voter ID law, as SCOTUSblog details:
The court has more opinions to release, and you can follow along here.
Outside of Congress, people who participated in the January 6 insurrection are facing the music. Nina Lakhani reports on the latest sentencing connected to the attack:
A West Virginia lawmaker who participated in the January 6 attack on the Capitol while live-streaming the deadly insurrection has been sentenced to three months in prison.
Derrick Evans, 37, was arrested and charged shortly after the attack, in part thanks to self-incriminating video footage he shot of himself leading and egging on rioters who overwhelmed police at the Capitol.
He resigned, then pleaded guilty to the felony of committing civil disorder in March, but was given bail and appeared virtually from his home for sentencing on Wednesday.
Evans, who had been sworn into the Republican-led legislature less than a month before the attack, is among 21 lawmakers known to have joined the rioters trying to overturn the 2020 election. He is the only one to be prosecuted so far.
While the FBI works behind the scenes, the January 6 committee will today hold its fifth public hearing, this time focusing on what was going on at the justice department around the time of the 2020 election. Hugo Lowell takes a look at what to expect:
Donald Trump pressured top justice department officials to falsely declare that the 2020 election was corrupt and launch investigations into discredited claims of fraud as part of an effort to return him to office, the House January 6 select committee will say on Thursday.
The panel investigating the Capitol attack is expected at its fifth hearing to focus on how Trump abused the power of the presidency to twist the justice department into endorsing false election claims – and potentially how the Republican congressman Scott Perry sought a pardon for his involvement.
The finer details of the hearing were outlined to the Guardian by two sources close to the inquiry who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details ahead of the hearing. They cautioned that the details might still change.
The FBI had a busy Wednesday. As the January 6 committee has publicly aired more and more evidence of Donald Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 election result by creating slates of “alternate electors” and trying to get Vice-President Mike Pence to use them to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, agents have been executing search warrants and serving subpoenas to Republican officials allegedly involved in the plot.
These include the top Republican party official in Nevada, Michael McDonald. Agents seized his phone when they executed a search warrant on Wednesday that 8 News Now said was in connection with his involvement in creating a list of fake electors. The FBI was also looking for the state party’s secretary James DeGraffenreid, the Las Vegas outlet reported. Biden won Nevada, but the state Republican party nonetheless had its electoral college voters create fake, non-legally binding certificates saying Trump won the state, according to 8 News Now.
Agents also visited the home of Brad Carver, a lawyer in Georgia who signed a document saying he was a Trump elector, and Thomas Lane, who worked for the former president in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post reported. The Georgia GOP chair, David Shafer, also received a subpoena, as did a group people who claimed to be Trump electors in Michigan, the newspaper reported.
Separately, a top justice department official during Trump’s final weeks in office has said that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. “Some argued to the former president and public that the election was corrupt and stolen,” Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general during the attack on the Capitol, said in opening remarks to the January 6 committee obtained by the Associated Press.
“That view was wrong then and it is wrong today, and I hope our presence here today helps reaffirm that fact.”
Rosen will be a witness during today’s hearing.
Good morning, US politics blog readers. Washington will once again start its day on tenterhooks ahead of the supreme court’s release of decisions at 10am eastern time, in which the justices could announce major changes to abortion rights as well as gun and environmental regulations. Then at 3pm eastern will come the January 6 committee’s fifth hearing, in which lawmakers are to explore former president Donald Trump’s efforts to get the justice department to comply with his scheme to overturn the 2020 election.
Here’s what else is happening today: