The Last Word
updated 4/15/2013 2:19:37 PM ET 2013-04-15T18:19:37

As the Senate wades deeper into the intense gun control debate, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case over the right to carry gun in public.

As the Senate wades deeper into the gun control debate, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case over the right to carry guns outside of the home.

The justices opted Monday against hearing a challenge to a New York State law around concealed weapons in public. Under the law, individuals must prove they need to carry a gun in public for special protection before they are granted a permit. Some other states like California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland have similar restrictions.

Five gun owners who are challenging the state law argued their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment extends to outside of the home.

Lower courts have come up split on this issue. An appeals court in Illinois struck down a law that banned carrying concealed weapons, saying “the Second Amendment right to bear arms implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home.” 

The Supreme Court declared that the Constitution guarantees an individuals’ right to own firearms at home in the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case. But, the justices appeared to leave the door open for some restrictions.

“Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court’s majority.

While the justices decided to take a pass on this case now, legal analysts say the court could still weigh in at a later date.

The Senate could vote on new gun control legislation this week.


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