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Queens Officials Condemn Supreme Court Decision That Overturns State Law on Concealed Handguns

Mayor Eric Adams says that the Supreme Court ruling will put New Yorkers at greater risk of gun violence.
ED REED/MAYORAL PHOTOGRAPHY OFFICE

June 23, 2022 By Christian Murray

Queens officials were quick to condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling today that overturned a century-old handgun law that many say could result in a flood of firearms hitting the streets.

The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled that the state’s handgun law that limits people from carrying concealed firearms is a violation of the Second Amendment.

New York’s laws are tight when it comes to carrying a concealed firearm—and residents need to go through a lengthy and arduous process to get a permit. Among the many requirements, they have to show that have a need for possessing the weapon.

Gun-rights advocates argue that the laws are too tight, noting that there is a vast number of illegal weapons on the street often used by criminals. They argue that regular New Yorkers should be able to carry guns to defend themselves without such restrictions.

The ruling, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, says that state’s concealed handgun law violates the constitution “by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”

The decision came as little surprise since the court’s conservative majority indicated their opposition to the law during oral arguments in the fall. The case was brought by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.

The ruling is likely to lead to more weapons on the streets–such as in subways and other heavily trafficked areas.

Many Queens leaders argue that the court’s ruling will put the public at risk.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court deals a major blow to our ongoing efforts to make NYC a safer city for all residents,” said Council Member Sandra Ung, who represents Flushing and adjacent neighborhoods. “Coming just a month after the tragic shooting and murder of 19 children in Uvalde, this decision is not only tone-deaf, but moves our country and our state in the wrong direction. It will cost lives.”

Meanwhile, Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, who represents Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, was short and to the point. “As a father of two, as a subway rider, as a New Yorker, the Supreme Court decision is absolutely terrifying.”

Councilmember Julie Won, who represents western Queens, tweeted that she was “Heartbroken by Supreme Court ruling.” “How many more lives will it take for us to see gun control as a constitutional right to domestic tranquility, justice, welfare, and freedom to leave our homes without the fear of getting shot?”

Forest Hills councilmember Lynn Schulman tweeted that the ruling sets a dangerous precedent and puts all New Yorkers at risk.

Meanwhile, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also was highly critical of the ruling.

“Today’s ruling is equal parts dangerous, delusional and a dereliction of government’s sacred duty to keep its residents safe,” Richards said in a statement.

“For years in states across this country, far-right radicals who fetishize firearms and worship at the altar of weaponry have prioritized the profits of gun manufacturers — and the campaign contributions they make in return — over public safety. With this cult-like obsession with firearms now forced upon New York by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, we are less safe today than we were yesterday.”

Mayor Eric Adams and police officials at a press conference last month calling on federal authorities to crack down on ghost guns (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Mayor Eric Adams, a retired NYPD captain, also issued a statement condemning the ruling.

Put simply, this Supreme Court ruling will put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence. We have been preparing for this decision and will continue to do everything possible to work with our federal, state, and local partners to protect our city. This decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, but we will do everything we can to dam it.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul railed against the ruling and said that she would fight to keep New York’s strict gun laws in place.

“Let me be clear: This is New York. We don’t back down, we fight back. New York is still home to the strongest gun laws in the country & I’ll keep doing everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe.”

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