New York leaders are condemning the US Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to knock down a century-old state law that placed restrictions on carrying a concealed gun outside the home, with Gov. Kathy Hochul calling the ruling both reckless and outrageous.
“It is outrageous,” she said on Twitter, “that at a moment of national reckoning on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who can carry concealed weapons.”
The state is “closely reviewing our options – including calling a special session of the legislature,” the governor said, vowing to “keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence.”
The case was brought forth by an NRA-backed group and two individuals. The decision could potentially allow more guns to be carried in public and critics say the ruling will impair sensible solutions they think can curb gun violence.
“Put simply, this Supreme Court ruling will put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in his own statement.
But the city will continue to do whatever possible, Adams said, including conducting a “comprehensive review of our approach to defining ‘sensitive locations’ where carrying a gun is banned, and reviewing our application process to ensure that only those who are fully qualified can obtain a carry license.”
“We will work together to mitigate the risks this decision will create once it is implemented,” the mayor said, “as we cannot allow New York to become the Wild West.”
Decision ‘undermines public safety,’ Manhattan DA says
The law in question governed licenses to carry concealed handguns in public for self-defense and required a resident obtaining a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver demonstrate that “proper cause” exists for the permit. But the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 majority, struck down the law in a ruling issued as the US continues to grapple with gun violence and mass shootings.
Officials across New York state have been anticipating the ruling, worried it could make access to guns easier and gun crime more common – a sentiment echoed Thursday by the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Westchester district attorney’s offices.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg criticized the decision in a statement, saying it “severely undermines public safety not just in New York City, but around the country.”
However, Bragg said he was “committed to doing everything in my power to fight for the safety everyone in this city deserves.”
“New York still has some of the toughest gun laws in the country on the books,” Bragg said, “and we will continue to use these statutes to hold accountable those who commit gun violence.”
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez also condemned the ruling by the nation’s highest court, calling it a “nightmare for public safety.”
“New York’s strong gun laws have saved lives for more than a century, and the Supreme Court’s decision to open the door for millions of New Yorkers to carry a concealed weapon is a nightmare for public safety,” he said. “Evidence is overwhelming that states with permissive gun laws see much higher rates of gun deaths – from accidents to suicide, domestic incidents to street crime.”
Westchester District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah said the ruling “opens the door for other reasonable gun restrictions to be deemed unconstitutional.”
“Today’s ruling … will absolutely make it harder for prosecutors in New York and around the country to keep our communities safe from gun violence,” Rocah said.
New York lawmakers react
New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat who represents the state’s 10th Congressional District, criticized the six conservative justices who voted to strike down the state’s law, saying they had “endangered New Yorkers” and made them “less safe.”
“With gun violence skyrocketing across the nation, we should be making our communities safer,” he said. “This decision is shameful.”
Rep. Yvette Clarke, Democrat of the 9th Congressional District, used similar language, describing the Supreme Court’s decision as an “absolutely shameful decision.”
The Supreme Court has “decided that guns are more important than lives in this country,” Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the majority leader of the state Senate, said, evoking recent mass shootings like the one in Buffalo, New York, where an 18-year-old man targeted Black shoppers, shooting 13 people, 10 fatally.
“In these devastating times, when the nation is reeling from mass shootings that have shaken Americans to their core, we must stand united to address the laws that keep allowing guns to fall into the wrong hands,” Stewart-Cousins said. “New York will rise up to this latest challenge to pass additional gun safety legislation.”
Across the aisle, there were New York Republicans who praised the decision, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of the 21st Congressional District, who said the ruling was a “win for the Constitution” in an interview with Fox News.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholds the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” she said in a statement issued by her office, “and correctly declares New York’s shameful attempt to shred Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers unconstitutional.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin, who represents the 1st Congressional District, similarly portrayed the ruling as a victory for law abiding New Yorkers, whose Second Amendment rights, he said, “are under constant attack.”
And 22nd Congressional District Rep. Claudia Tenney said the Supreme Court had “at last righted a wrong against all New Yorkers, affirming that no government has the right to trample on our constitutionally protected rights.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani applauded today’s decision, saying the Supreme Court upheld the Second Amendment and “protected the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers to protect themselves.”
“The answer to violent crime lies in empowering law enforcement and NOT infringing on our rights as Americans,” Giuliani said.
CNN’s Peter Nickeas and Mark Morales contributed to this report.