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Supreme Court avoids debate on guns in public

Refusing to hear a challenge to a New Jersey gun law, the Supreme Court walked a narrow line for allowing strict regulation of gun carry outside the home.

By Gabrielle Levy
Supreme Court avoids debate on guns in public
Greg Tropino Jr. displays a popular semiautomatic pistol manufactured by Springfield Armory at G. A. T. Guns in Dundee, Illinois on June 28, 2010. The Supreme Court held Monday that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live, striking down Chicago's nearly 30-year-old handgun ban but leaving the door open for other gun-control legislation. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 5 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court on Monday shied away from tackling a case limiting the extent of the Second Amendment, declining to review a challenge to a New Jersey law prohibiting most people from carrying a gun in public.

The court's decision not to hear the case -- Drake v. Jerejian -- lets stand several lower court rulings to uphold a law that requires gun owners to demonstrate an urgent need to be approved to carry a handgun outside the home for self defense, openly or concealed.

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Backing the challenge, the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners Foundation argued before the court that the law violated the Second Amendment right that "guarantees the right to carry weapons for the purpose of self-defense -- not just for self-defense within the home, but for self-defense, period."

But demonstrating "justifiable need," the state said, "qualifies as a presumptively lawful, longstanding regulation that does not burden conduct within the scope of the Second Amendment's guarantee."

New Jersey's law requires applicants for handgun permits to get approval from both a police official and a judge.

While the court has turned away similar cases on at least two occasions, it ruled in 2008's District of Columbia v. Heller in favor of allowing D.C. residents to keep handguns within their own homes for self defense.

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