US to hear major case on carrying guns

·1-min read

The US Supreme Court has stepped back into the heated debate over gun rights, agreeing to hear a challenge to New York state's restrictions on people carrying concealed handguns in public.

The justices will take up an appeal by two gun owners and the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association of a lower court ruling throwing out their challenge to the restrictions on concealed handguns outside the home.

Lower courts rejected the argument made by the plaintiffs that the restrictions violated the US Constitution's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The lawsuit sought an unfettered right to carry concealed handguns in public.

The case could lead to the most consequential ruling on the scope of the Second Amendment in more than a decade.

A state firearms licensing officer had granted the two men "concealed carry" permits but restricted them to hunting and target practice, prompting the legal challenge.

The court's 6-3 conservative majority is seen as sympathetic to an expansive view of Second Amendment rights.

The debate over gun control in the United States has intensified in the wake of a spate of recent mass shootings, including one at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on April 15 in which a gunman killed eight employees and then himself.

There were also two mass shootings in March in less than a week, one in Georgia and the other in Colorado, which left a total of 18 people dead.