Governor Kathy Hochul said while the decision necessitated no immediate change to New York state law, she anticipates a rush to get concealed carry permits, using the decision as justification. But people can’t immediately start walking around with a concealed weapon.
Governor Hochul will call a special legislative session to address the permitting process for concealed carry and attempt to limit places where concealed carry is allowed and to give businesses and property owners the ability to ban concealed weapons.
The state will be looking at “sensitive locations” where concealed carry will be banned. When asked if all of New York City is one, Hochul said, “In my opinion, they are.” However, the Supreme Court opinion seems to disagree.
New York City officials insist nothing will change immediately following Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling.
They note that the high court sent the case back to a lower court for further proceedings that could iron out implementation details.
Officials in the nation’s most populous city immediately began reviewing its gun permit application process and pondering how they now might legally define “sensitive locations” where civilians wouldn’t be allow to bring guns.
“There is no place in the nation that this decision affects as much as New York City,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference. “And we are prepared to set an example that will lead the country as to: how do we fight back on this decision?”
Adams, a Democrat and former police captain, raised the specter of everyday disputes turning into shootouts in New York’s crowded streets and subways. He suggested that police officers would face greater danger, as well as a greater burden of distinguishing between legal and illegal guns in public places.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark seconded that fear, believing that more guns in the mix will result in minor disputes escalating quickly in crowded spaces, especially in her borough of the Bronx, where there is already no shortage of gun violence.
“This decision severely undermines public safety not just in New York City, but around the country. While the Court has now made it more difficult to limit the number of guns in our communities, I am committed to doing everything in my power to fight for the safety everyone in this city deserves, and we have been preparing for this decision for weeks,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. “New York still has some of the toughest gun laws in the country on the books, and we will continue to use these statutes to hold accountable those who commit gun violence. At this very moment, my office is analyzing this ruling and crafting gun safety legislation that will take the strongest steps possible to mitigate the damage done today. Furthermore, we have already built detailed processes and put them in place to manage any litigation related to our ongoing cases. The Supreme Court may have made our work harder, but we will only redouble our efforts to develop new solutions to end the epidemic of gun violence and ensure lasting public safety.”
Several Republicans in New York cheered Thursday’s ruling.
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican running for governor, who has supported the lawsuit, said the decision marked “a historic, proper, and necessary victory for law abiding citizens of New York, whose Second Amendment rights have been under constant attack.”
Nick Langworthy, chair of the New York state GOP and a congressional candidate, called the ruling a win for the public over politicians.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is exactly as it should be — a final authority that protects the constitutional rights of citizens against a dictatorial government,” Langworthy said.
Langworthy, Zeldin and other Republicans criticized Democrats for what they see as threatening new restrictions on gun owners rather than passing tougher crime laws.
Sen. George Borrello, a Republican from western New York, called the ruling “a validation of the Second Amendment and a victory for law-abiding gun owners in our state.”
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik applauded the ruling and said it “correctly declares New York’s shameful attempt to shred Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers unconstitutional.” Stefanik is a Republican and staunch ally of former President Donald Trump,
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called the ruling “irresponsible” and “downright dangerous.”
“Our nation is in the middle of a gun violence epidemic and instead of working to protect our communities, this court has made it even easier for potentially dangerous people to carry concealed handguns in public spaces,” the Democrat said.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also weighed in and issued a statement saying,
“Based on a deeply flawed constitutional methodology, a right-wing majority on the United States Supreme Court has just said that states can no longer decide for ourselves how best to limit the proliferation of firearms in the public sphere. Let there be no mistake – this dangerous decision will make America a less safe country.
“But let me be equally clear that, here in New Jersey, we will do everything in our power to protect our residents. Anticipating this decision, my Administration has been closely reviewing options we believe are still available to us regarding who can carry concealed weapons and where they can carry them. We are carefully reviewing the Court’s language and will work to ensure that our gun safety laws are as strong as possible while remaining consistent with this tragic ruling.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s former longtime attorney general and a key participant in the bipartisan gun violence legislation negotiations, called Thursday’s ruling “deeply destructive” in a tweet.
He predicted it “will unleash even more gun violence on American communities.”
Blumenthal said the ruling will put more guns in public spaces instead of “upholding commonsense safeguards to reduce gun violence” This, he said in the tweet, will “open the floodgates to invalidate sensible gun safety laws in more states.”
At least one advocacy group urged lawmakers to avoid passing regulations that continue to make it too hard for members of Black and brown communities to own guns.
“New York’s gun licensing regulations have been arbitrarily and discriminatorily applied, disproportionately ensnaring the people we represent, the majority of whom are from communities of color, in the criminal legal system,” the Legal Aid Society said in a statement released by the nonprofit’s spokesperson Redmond Haskins.
The group recognized the ruling as “an affirmative step toward ending arbitrary licensing standards that have inhibited lawful Black and Brown gun ownership in New York,” stating that criminalization of gun ownership by people of color “has never prevented violence and serves only to further marginalize and incarcerate people from BIPOC communities.”
Some information from the Associated Press
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