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Hochul says 'millions of New Yorkers' at risk after SCOTUS nullifies state concealed carry law

Darren McGee
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at meeting of The Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns and hold a press briefing at New York State Intelligence Center on May 25 in East Greenbush, N.Y.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down New York’s restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon in public spaces. Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision “reckless and reprehensible,” and vowed to hold a special session soon.

The case, brought by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, took issue with New York’s laws, on the books since the early 1900s, that made it a crime to possess a firearm without a license, and that required anyone who wanted to carry a concealed firearm outside the home to obtain an additional permit. They could only receive one if they could prove that “proper cause exists” for them to carry the weapon.

The opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, finds that the law violates the U.S. Constitution, and prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

Governor Kathy Hochul, speaking moments after the ruling, called it deeply disturbing, and said it puts the safety of “millions of New Yorkers” at risk.

Hochul condemned the “insanity of gun culture” that has now reached even the Supreme Court. She said the timing is especially difficult, when people in Buffalo are grieving over a mass shooting in May that killed 10 people at a supermarket in an African American neighborhood.

She said her staff attorneys are working with leaders of the legislature to craft a remedy to the decision, and will announce details soon.

Hochul said she will be calling the legislature back into session in the coming weeks to address the issue.

“We are not powerless,” Hochul said.

The decision came as Hochul held a ceremony to sign a bill known as Alyssa’s Law, which requires school districts to install panic alarms so that school officials and students can immediately alert police if there’s a life threatening incident — including a mass shooting — at their school. It is named for Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old who was killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018.

And it comes just a few weeks after Hochul and the legislature approved a number of gun safety laws, including measures banning anyone under 21 from buying a semi-automatic rifle and strengthening the state’s red flag laws.

Law enforcement are now required to ask a judge for an order to seize the guns of anyone they think might be a threat to themselves or others.

Hochul and lawmakers also made illegal the purchase of body armor, except for law enforcement and people in potentially dangerous professions. Other new laws require gun manufacturers to allow for the microstamping of bullets to better trace weapons used in commission of crimes.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.