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Gov. Hochul vows special session to address high court's decision to end NYS concealed weapons ban

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Kevin P. Coughlin/� 2022 Kevin P. Coughlin / State
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� 2022 Kevin P. Coughlin / State
Governor Kathy Hochul signs Alyssa's Law to strengthen school safety June 23, 2022. The legislation is named after 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, who was killed in the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. School districts would be required to consider installing silent panic alarms in classrooms. Afterwards, Governor Hochul and her chief counsel, Elizabeth Fine, discussed the latest U.S. Supreme Court ruling against New York’s current concealed carry law.

The US Supreme Court has struck down New York’s restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon in public spaces. Governor Kathy Hochul, saying it is a “deeply disturbing day,” vows to hold a special session in July to create new laws that she says are needed to protect New Yorkers.

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 1900’s, 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 US 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 says it puts the safety of “millions of New Yorkers” at risk.

Hochul condemned that she says the “insanity of gun culture” that has now reached even the Supreme Court. She says 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 says her staff attorneys are working with leaders of the legislature to craft a remedy to the decision, and will announce details soon.

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

“We are not powerless,” Hochul said.

Hochul says the details are still being worked out. But she says options include placing many public spaces, like schools and subways, off limits for carrying a concealed weapon. And making it the default position of all private businesses to ban the carrying of guns. Businesses would be permitted to allow the carrying of concealed weapons on their property if they wished to. Hochul says the state could create a new permitting system for carrying a concealed weapon.

“We are also going to create a higher threshold for those who want to receive a concealed carry permit,” Hochul said. “We are going to require that they have specific firearm training.”

The decision came as Hochul held a bill signing ceremony to sign a bill , known as Alyssa’s Law, that require school districts to consider installing 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 a 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 banning anyone under 21 from buying a semi-automatic rifle, and strengthening the state’s Red Flag laws.

Hochul and lawmakers also made illegal the purchase of body armor, except for law enforcement and people in professions that could be in danger. Other new laws require gun manufacturers to allow for the micro stamping of bullets, to better trace weapons used in commission of crimes.

The state’s Conservative Party praised the Court’s decision, saying, in a statement, that it’s a “step in the right direction for millions of Americans who’ve been arbitrarily denied their Constitutional right to self-protection for decades,” and that the ruling will “give law-abiding New Yorkers the option of protecting themselves with a firearm in a state with significant crime issues.”

MEMBERS OF NY CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION WEIGHS IN

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling on state concealed carry permitting laws:

“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.

Studies overwhelmingly show that looser restrictions on who can carry a concealed firearm in public are associated with higher rates of violent crime and homicide. So it is no surprise that law enforcement officers as well as the majority of Americans and gun owners agree, limiting concealed carry permitting laws is a recipe for disaster.

We need to act and we need to act now. And Congress must move swiftly to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation and ensure only those who are trained and trustworthy are allowed to carry loaded firearms.

It’s time we did what it takes to stop the rise of gun violence. The lives of our friends, our law enforcement officers, and our children are at stake.”  

Meanwhile, Congressmember Claudia Tenney applauded the decision.

“The Second Amendment guarantees and protects the right of American citizens to keep and bear arms. Yet despite this, for nearly a century, gun owners in New York have endured numerous attacks on this constitutionally protected right, especially with regard to concealed carrying outside the home.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court reaffirms and strengthens our Second Amendment rights. As the defund the police movement goes mainstream in the Democrat Party and failed progressive policies like bail reform make our streets less safe, it is more important than ever to ensure law-abiding Americans can properly defend themselves inside and out of their homes. This vital issue was at the core of today’s ruling.

“Last year, I was honored to lead 175 of my colleagues in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs in this case, which challenged New York’s onerous, arbitrary, and unconstitutional concealed carry laws. I am grateful for the overwhelming support of my colleagues, and today, I am glad to see that it made a difference. The Supreme Court has at last righted a wrong against all New Yorkers, affirming that no government has the right to trample on and chip away at our freedoms.

“Make no mistake: the Second Amendment is still under attack by far-left politicians in Albany and Washington, including state lawmakers who have already pledged legislative action to undo the effects of this ruling. I will continue to strongly oppose these policies, which cut against our fundamental rights and make Americans less safe. I will continue fighting to protect the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, and I will always stand for the Second Amendment.”

NYS ATTORNEY GENERAL RESPONDS

New York Attorney General Letitia James, in a statement, called the U.S. Supreme Court's decision "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.

“The Supreme Court made its decision, but the fight to protect American families from gun violence will march on. In the days to come, my office will be taking action to address the potential harm that this ruling may cause, and we will continue to defend the constitutionality of our state’s laws, as we’ve always done. We will work with the Governor and Legislature to amend our licensing statute that will continue to protect New Yorkers. 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.

“Make no mistake: This decision will not deter us from standing up to the gun lobby and their repeated efforts to endanger New Yorkers. I vow to use the full force of my office to protect New Yorkers and American families.”

NYS SENATOR RACHEL MAY WEIGHS IN

Syracuse-area senator Rachel May, in a statement, called the decision "misguided and dangerous."

"While Congress seems poised to pass a package of modest, common-sense gun safety reforms, six Supreme Court justices are taking it upon themselves to gut states' rights to regulate guns. Make no mistake: New York's gun permit law is a broadly popular, common-sense policy that has worked for more than a century. The Court's majority wants to roll back a sound policy that makes our states healthier and safer. The State Senate, working with Governor Hochul and the Assembly, must come back into the session as soon as possible to reinforce the policies that help keep New York safe. I look forward to returning to Albany to update our laws now that we have seen this disgraceful decision.”