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Supreme Court ruling on NY gun law draws praise, criticism

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 12:24 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WWNY) - Gun rights advocates praise the ruling. The governor calls it reckless. Strong reactions quickly followed after the Supreme Court said Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.

“The north country, this area, the residents here have had enough, which we have for quite a long time. It might be a small win, but like I said at least it’s a small win in the right direction,” said Joe Johnson, manager, Armageddon Arsenal Supply.

Owners of firearms in New York state now can carry and conceal permitted pistols in public areas. Previously, pistol permit holders had to prove a need to carry a concealed weapon.

“If you’re cleared to purchase, to possess, to carry, why have restrictions on you? I don’t see the reasoning behind it,” said Johnson.

Gun legislation remains a hot-button topic for elected officials across the state. Republicans are calling Thursday’s ruling a victory, Democrats say it’s deeply troubling.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning the state’s restriction on carrying concealed weapons “is sending us backwards.”

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik says the decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen allows New York gun owners to “exercise their Constitutional right to concealed carry to protect themselves and their families.”

State Attorney General Letitia James also weighed in. She called the ruling “incredibly disappointing.”

Hochul and James are Democrats. Stefanik is a Republican.

The justices decided 6-3 to strike down the law, which requires people to demonstrate a particular need in order to carry a firearm in public.

In the ruling, the conservative majority said the requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

Backers of the law argued overturning it would lead to more guns on the street and more gun violence.

Hochul said the ruling “has stripped away the state of New York’s right and responsibility to protect its citizens with a decision - which we are still digesting - which is frightful in its scope of how they are setting back this nation and our ability to protect our citizens back to the days of our founding fathers. And the language we’re reading is shocking.”

The governor said the decision comes at a “particularly painful” time. “We are still dealing with families in pain from mass shootings that have occurred; the loss of life of their beloved children and grandchildren.”

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholds the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and correctly declares New York’s shameful attempt to shred Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers unconstitutional,” Stefanik said.

“While the Far-Left continues to push unconstitutional gun control measures as New York’s failed bail reform policies have made our communities more unsafe,” Stefanik said, “this ruling comes at a crucial time.”

Stefanik has long opposed most gun restrictions. Her husband, Matt Manda, is Public Affairs Manager for the gun industry’s trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

James noted the law has been in place since 1913. “For more than a century, this law has protected New Yorkers from harm by ensuring that there are reasonable and appropriate regulations for guns in public spaces,” she said.

“We will work with the Governor and Legislature to amend our licensing statute that will continue to protect New Yorkers,” James said. “I want to reassure all New Yorkers that our robust gun protection laws remain intact and we will be working with our partners in government to further strengthen them.

Gun legislation has remained a focus in the Assembly’s River District. Ahead of their primary night showdown, Republicans Scott Gray and Susan Duffy said the ruling is a big factor on election night.

“That is probably the most single issue, biggest issue, on the minds of voters right now. It was a win today for the Constitution. I think Judge Thomas said it correctly. There is no other provision in the Constitution that requires an individual to show cause in order to exercise their right,” said Gray.

Duffy says she absolutely supports the ruling.

“Did you hear about the shooting in West Virginia that didn’t happen because a woman carrying a legal gun in her purse when somebody showed up to shoot up a graduation party, pulled her gun, shot and killed him and there was not another injury in there? So, yea, absolutely,” she said.

While many will see this as a victory, a Siena poll says 72 percent of gun owners polled were in favor of the now-overturned law. A similar number of registered voters polled said they felt the same.

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