By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to weigh in on whether gun owners have a constitutional right to carry handguns outside the home.
The court decided not to hear a challenge to a New Jersey state law that requires people who want to carry handguns to show they have a special reason before they can get a permit. The court has shown a reluctance to wade in on the issue in recent months, declining to hear cases that challenged similar regulations in New York and Maryland.
The gun owners challenging the law said that the right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not limited to the right to keep a handgun at home.
By declining to hear the New Jersey case, the Supreme Court left intact a July 2013 decision by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the law.
The high court has yet to decide whether there is a right to carry guns in public, a question left unanswered in its two most recent gun-related decisions.
In the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case, the court held that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to bear arms. Two years later in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court held that the earlier ruling applied to the states.
The case is Drake v. Jerejian, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-827
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Paul Simao)