The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a decision that kills state and local laws requiring gun owners to be licensed to carry concealed firearms in places outside of their homes. The ruling came in a case brought by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association against the Superintendent of the New York State Police. The court case challenged New York state laws that require a person to prove there is a special need to carry a concealed weapon for self-protection and obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon outside of the home.
The Supreme Court’s opinion was signed by Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas with Justices Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett joining in. Liberal Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan filed a dissenting opinion.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was among the first to react. Bragg said, “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.”
Bragg pointed out that New York can continue to use other gun statues to control guns.
The Supreme Court said that concealed carrying of guns still can be prohibited from sensitive areas, and it is expected that some states and municipalities will write new laws that define sensitive areas where they will continue to prohibit carrying concealed weapons. In the case of New York, these sensitive places might include the subway, Metro-North, Broadway theaters, schools, or dozens of other places. The Supreme Court was careful not to provide details as to the meaning of “sensitive” ad it is expected that there will be future court cases regarding the meaning of that word with respect to gun regulations.
“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,” Bragg said. “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.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called this a “dark day” because of the Supreme Court decision. She said legislation is being prepared to address definitions of sensitive locations and the licensing process. She also said the state would be looking to implement a system whereby businesses and property owners would have the right to protect themselves from people carrying guns.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to strike down New York’s proper cause requirement to carry a concealed weapon is incredibly disappointing. 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.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling, which guts state concealed carry permitting laws, is not just irresponsible, it is 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.”
According to Gillibrand, the majority of Americans, law enforcement officers and gun owners agree that “easing concealed carry permitting laws is a recipe for disaster.”