This article was originally published on June 23 at 3:11 PM EDT by THE CITY
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that New York’s restrictive gun-carrying laws are unconstitutional, sparking a struggle by state officials to find ways to create “sensitive locations” where guns will still be banned.
By a vote of 6 to 3, with liberal judges disagreeing, the court ruled that New York’s laws requiring gun owners to prove they have a “proper reason” to carry guns in public violates with both the Second Amendment constitutional right to “keep and bear”. weapons” and the 14th Amendment, which prohibits the violation of civil rights without due process.
In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul expressed concern about the ramifications of this long-awaited ruling, warning it could lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people walking around crowded places like Times Square and the subways with legal regulations. permitted firearms.
Hours after Judge Clarence Thomas’ decision was made, officials here were already talking about creating “gun-free” zones through new legislation.
In his decision, Thomas specified that states still have the right to create gun-free zones, albeit with limits. He rejected New York State’s argument that “the entire island of Manhattan” would be classified as a sensitive location.
That didn’t stop the city council from proposing state legislation today that would make the entire city of New York a “sensitive location.”
Council President Adrienne Adams said she would support a resolution calling on the state to “designate US Census-defined areas of highest population density of public roads, streets, sidewalks and trails where 10,000 or more people are within a square mile as “sensitive locations.”
As a whole, New York City has a population density of over 28,000 people per square mile.
“Given the high density that characterizes most of NYC, we need to significantly mitigate the damage,” she said at a news conference announcing the council’s resolution, calling on the state to consider the proposal, but not legally. is binding.
“We cannot afford to grow violent weapons and continue unabated.”
Speaker Adams goes even further and wants every area within 300 meters of public transportation systems, hospitals, parks, government offices, schools, childcare facilities, places of worship, cemeteries, financial institutions, theaters, bars, libraries to be declared “sensitive locations.” , homeless shelters and courts.
Mayor Adams — who said before the ruling the case “keeps me up at night” — also promised a legislative response, and his chief adviser, Brendan McGuire, cited the opportunity to create “sensitive sites” in the city.
McGuire said City Hall is looking at “every option available,” adding “that includes when we investigate sensitive locations and figure out how, in a way that will best protect the residents of New York City, and how can we do that.” in a way that complies with the law, in a reasoned and thoughtful way so that we can protect the people here in the city.”
Hochul said she was willing to convene a special session in Albany in July, although she did not outline possible legislation, promising details will be provided to leadership and the media “soon”.
“If the federal government doesn’t have sweeping laws to protect us, then our states and our governors have a moral responsibility to do what we can and have laws that protect our citizens because of what’s going on — the insanity of the gun culture that’s going on. has now possessed everyone as far as the Supreme Court,” Hochul said.
End of age-old restrictions
The issue of the “sensitive sites” came up when the case was argued in court last fall. Several judges, including Amy Comey Barrett, Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts, raised the possibility of allowing gun-free zones in particularly vulnerable areas.
The lawsuit, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, was filed on behalf of two rural New York state gun owners, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, who said their constitutional rights were violated when they were denied a license. requested to carry a gun for ‘self-defense’. For example, Nash mentioned a string of recent robberies in his neighborhood and said he was trained in the use of handguns.
Most states impose little to no restrictions on transportation permits. New York’s laws, in effect since 1911, gave local law enforcement officials a lot of latitude in determining eligibility, requiring applicants to demonstrate “of good character” and “have a legally recognized reason to wanting to possess or carry a firearm”. †
Supreme Court overturns New York state gun law that controls who can carry a firearm in public in a 6-3 decision
Applicants were specifically required to provide “proper cause”, which involved providing substantial evidence that they were facing a real and active threat to their security.
In addition to New York, seven other “charity” states — California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island — have some form of qualification about who is eligible to carry a gun in public, well for some 83 million Americans.
Several of these states are home to major U.S. cities, including New York City (population 8.2 million), Los Angeles (population 4 million), Boston (population 689,000), and Baltimore (population 602,000). The two plaintiffs, Nash and Koch, are from Rensselaer County, which has a population of 159,000.
Gun control proponents fear the court’s new ruling will lead to more people walking down busy city streets and entering those cities’ public transport systems with loaded firearms. They point to the potential for disaster with multiple-licensed pistols floating around the New York City subways, Times Square on New Year’s Eve, or during the Boston Marathon.
All eight states with such restrictions have a low rate of gun violence, according to an analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety, the nonprofit gun control organization funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
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Thursday’s Supreme Court decision on New York’s hidden-carrying law could pose challenges for other gun laws — if opponents can prove the laws aren’t rooted in historical precedent and the Second Amendment. Caroline Mala Corbin, a law professor at the University of Miami, joins LX News to explain.