- Democrats on Thursday criticized the Supreme Court's decision expanding gun rights.
- The ruling "is an invitation for more gun deaths and chaos in America's neighborhoods," Sen. Dick Durbin said.
- The Supreme Court expanded Second Amendment rights to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense purposes.
Top Democratic leaders on Thursday tore into the Supreme Court's decision to expand gun rights — the most significant Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the nation's highest court "extremist" and "right-wing" in a statement released after the decision came down.
"With this far out-of-the-mainstream and dangerous decision that flies in the face of overwhelming public support for rational gun safety measures, it's no wonder the public is increasingly losing faith in the Roberts Court," Schumer said, referring to John Roberts, the chief justice who presides over the current Supreme Court and voted with the conservative majority in Thursday's decision.
The nation's highest court struck down a New York law that requires people who seek a license to carry a gun in public to demonstrate a "proper cause," or a special reason, to do so. The rule had been in place for more than 100 years.
The court's 6-3 conservative majority ruled that the law was unconstitutional, and declared for the first time that the US Constitution protects an individual's right to carry guns outside the home for self-defense purposes.
The decision comes as the nation grapples with a spike in gun violence. Democratic and Republican lawmakers are currently seeking to advance a bipartisan bill to respond to the crisis after years of inaction. Recent deadly mass shootings took place at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decried the Supreme Court's ruling, claiming the court's six conservative justices have "chosen to endanger more American lives."
"By making it more difficult to enact measures that reduce gun violence, the GOP Supermajority Court is condoning the horrific mass shootings and ongoing tragedy of daily gun deaths plaguing our nation," the California Democrat said.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the upper chamber, warned of the potential consequences of the ruling.
"In a nation of almost 400 million firearms, this Supreme Court decision is an invitation for more gun deaths and chaos in America's neighborhoods," he said in a statement.
President Joe Biden also commented on the ruling on Thursday, saying in a statement that "we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans."
"This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all," he said.
—Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) June 23, 2022
Democratic leaders across the nation vowed to continue to work on policy reforms to combat gun violence in light of the decision. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, criticized the Supreme Court as the state prepares to mount a response by reinforcing gun-safety regulations.
Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, called the court's ruling "shameful."
"These 6 justices have endangered New Yorkers and make us all less safe," Nadler said. "Overreach like this is exactly why the Court faces an increasing legitimacy crisis."
Other states besides New York that have similar concealed-carry licensing laws include California, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Hawaii, and are collectively home to about 73 million people. Legal experts say the decision is expected to bring more guns into public spaces.
Meanwhile, a slew of congressional Republicans celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling on Thursday.
"Today's ruling rightfully ensures the right of all law-abiding Americans to defend themselves without unnecessary government interference," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.