After a federal judge said New York could enforce gun restrictions passed after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a century-old law, the state’s attorney general hailed “a victory in our efforts to protect New Yorkers.”
“Responsible gun control action saves lives, and any attempt by the gun lobby to tear down New York’s sensible gun control laws will be met with a fierce defense of the law,” said Letitia James on Wednesday night.
In June, following mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, the majority conservative party United States Supreme Court overturned a New York law passed in 1911.
The law stated that anyone wishing to carry a handgun in public had to prove “just cause”.
Judge Clarence Thomas said the 111-year law violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms as well as the 14th Amendment, which made Second Amendment rights applicable to states.
“Except for a few outlier jurisdictions in the late 19th century,” Thomas wrote, “American governments simply have not widely banned the public carrying of firearms commonly used for personal defense.”
In dissent, Stephen Breyer, a Liberal, wrote: “In 2020, 45,222 Americans have been killed by guns. Since the start of this year, 277 mass shootings have been reported, an average of more than one per day.
The same source, Gun Violence Archive, now puts that total at 450.
Breyer wrote: “Gun violence has now outmoded Road accidents are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents. Many states have attempted to address some of the dangers of gun violence…the court today weighs heavily on states’ efforts to do so.
Joe Biden said, “I call on Americans across the country to raise their voices on gun safety. Lives are at stake.”
Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York, said: “The Supreme Court is setting us back… This decision is not only reckless, it is reprehensible.
Hochul called the legislature back into session. It produced the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, or CCIA.
As defined by James, the CCIA “strengthens requirements for concealed carry permits, prohibits firearms in sensitive locations, allows private businesses to prohibit firearms on their premises, improves storage requirements in safe, requires social media screening before certain gun purchases, and requires background checks on all ammunition purchases to protect New Yorkers.”
The law was challenged by the Gun Owners of America and the Gun Owners Foundation. Wednesday, the GOA said the CCIA would “essentially make all of NY a gun-free zone and infringe on the rights of its citizens”.
Judge Glenn Suddaby, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, said the two groups of arms did not have standing to bring the case.
But Suddaby also indicated his support, describing “a strong sense of security that a licensed concealed handgun routinely provides, or would provide, to the many law-abiding, responsible citizens of the state too powerless to physically defend themselves in public without a handgun”.
An appeal is likely. The CCIA went into effect on Thursday.
On Wednesday, New York Mayor Eric Adams said“The United States Supreme Court decision…was the shotgun blast heard around the world that aimed to the death for the safety of all New Yorkers.
“New York City will defend itself against this ruling and, starting tomorrow, new eligibility requirements for concealed carry permit applicants and restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in ‘sensitive locations,’ such as Times Square, will go into effect.”
The new law has brought about a change in what New York City authorities officially consider Times Square. Like the New York Times reportedthe new frontiers extend far beyond the traffic-packed, neon-lit Midtown center, known to tourists from around the world but largely shunned by locals.
Under CCIA, Times Square’s “weapons-free zone” will stretch “from Ninth to Sixth Avenues and 53rd to 40th Streets and consists of approximately three dozen blocks,” the newspaper said.
A New Yorker interviewed by The Times dismissed the idea that the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Eighth Avenue could be considered part of Times Square, even to make it a gun-free zone.
“No,” Robert Govan, 62, told the city’s official newspaper. “Certainly not. It won’t happen.”