Guns are on Supreme Court's agenda days after mass shootings

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo the Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo the Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – A possible expansion of gun rights is on the Supreme Court's agenda, days after mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia.

The justices are meeting in private Friday to discuss adding new cases to their docket for the fall. Among the prospects is an appeal from gun rights advocates that asks the court to declare a constitutional right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-protection.

It's the first major gun case to come before the court since Amy Coney Barrett became a justice in late October and expanded the conservative majority to 6-3.

The case had been scheduled before a shooter killed eight people at massage businesses in the Atlanta area last week and another shooter killed 10 people at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday.

Georgia is among 21 states with Republican attorneys general calling on the court to take up the case and expand the rights of gun owners.

The court's consideration of gun rights comes as President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are pushing a variety of restrictions, including expanded background checks, that appear unlikely to win approval, for now.

The appeal comes from New York, which gun rights groups say is among eight states that make it difficult if not virtually impossible for people to get permits to carry guns in public. The other states are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

In the rest of the country, gun owners have little trouble legally carrying their weapons when they go out.