Mayor Eric Adams led New York’s top elected officials in criticizing the Supreme Court for overturning a century-old state gun law, warning at a news conference Thursday that “this decision has made us all but safe from armed violence.
“There is no place in the nation where this decision is as impactful as it is in New York City,” Adams said in response to the 6-3 ruling, adding that it “just isn’t rooted in reality.”
In a separate statement, Hizzoner promised: “This decision may have opened up an additional river that feeds the sea of gun violence, but we will do everything we can to contain it.”
Adams said his administration had been preparing for the decision and planned to do a “comprehensive review” of how to define “sensitive locations,” or places where carrying a gun may be legally prohibited.
The mayor added that he would also review the city’s application process “to ensure that only those who are fully qualified can obtain a carrier license.”
The Sullivan Act, which has been in place since 1913, required New Yorkers who wanted to obtain a license to carry a firearm in public to show “good cause” that the gun was needed specifically for self-defense.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and two men from upstate challenged the law, claiming it violated their Second Amendment rights.
On Thursday, Judge Clarence Thomas sided with the plaintiffs, writing that the law’s requirements “violate the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary needs for self-defense from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public”.
During a press conference in Manhattan, Governor Kathy Hochul called the decision “not only reckless” but “reprehensible” and “not what New Yorkers want.”
“My number one priority is keeping New Yorkers safe, but today, the Supreme Court is holding us back in our efforts to protect families and prevent gun violence and it is particularly painful that this has happened at this time when we are still dealing with families suffering from the mass shootings that have occurred,” Hochul told reporters.
“I am sorry that this dark day has come when we are supposed to go back to where it was in 1788, when the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified,” he continued.
“I don’t think so [the Founding Fathers] envisioned battlefield-bound, high-capacity assault weapon magazines as cutlery, but I guess we’ll have to disagree.”
Asked if he would call the state legislature back to Albany to craft a legislative response to the decision, Hochul said officials needed a moment to digest the ruling, but then promised, “This is New York. We don’t back down. We defend ourselves.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the decision “severely undermines” public safety in the Big Apple and across 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 that everyone in this city deserves, and we have been preparing to this decision for weeks. Bragg said.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) promised in a statement that New York “will rise to this latest challenge to pass additional gun safety legislation.”
“The Supreme Court decided today that guns are more important than lives in this country. Today’s decision reinforces the fact that states must step up to protect the best interests of our citizens and lead the way for necessary reform,” said Stewart-Cousins.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg shared his thoughts on Twitter, saying the ruling will make it harder for elected officials to combat gun violence.
“The Supreme Court opinion in NY State Pistol & Rifle Association v. Bruen is completely off the mark and shows an extreme view of life in the US.” Bloomberg tweeted.
New York leaders in Washington had mixed feelings about the ruling.
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) praised the decision, stating that it “strengthens” Second Amendment rights in the Empire State.
“As the police defunding movement becomes more widespread in the Democratic Party and failed progressive policies like bail reform make our streets less safe, it is more important than ever to ensure that law-abiding Americans can adequately defend themselves inside and outside their homes.” Tenney said in a statement
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin agreed.
“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in defense of the constitutional rights of law-abiding New Yorkers who have been under attack for far too long,” Zeldin said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-New York) tweeted that the ruling it was “a direct attack on the safety of millions of New Yorkers and will result in more dangerous weapons in our communities.”
Lawmakers from all five boroughs bristled at the ruling, pointing to the city’s gun crisis that has left a bloody trail of innocent victims.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling expanding access to guns is devastating,” said City Councilman Keith Powers (D-East Side).
“Despite ongoing tragedies, this decision only makes it easier to carry a concealed firearm in New York.”
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the body was “prepared to take action to protect New Yorkers.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down New York’s gun laws is dangerous and puts New Yorkers at risk,” he said.
“Our country and our city are already facing a crisis of gun violence, and this ruling only threatens to worsen the damage inflicted on our communities.”
Public defender Jumaane Williams, who is challenging Hochul in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, called the ruling “painful and dangerous news.”
“NY already has too many guns on our streets, which is why we need clear and immediate action from Albany, starting with the $1b investment we’ve asked for to address daily street violence, rather than the $1b gift to the a billionaire’s stadium,” he tweeted.
Even the former governor disgraced. Andrew Cuomo chimed in to share his thoughts on the ruling.
“This is yet another devastating setback in our fight against gun violence and only underscores the need for bolder gun reforms at the national level. Because of this ruling, we are now back to where we were in 1910, but it doesn’t have to stay that way,” Cuomo said.
“Fighting this decision should not only be part of any final weapons package before Congress, but also bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Allowing unchecked concealed firearms in cities across the country will only increase the number of lives lost to gun violence and preventing real action to prevent more mass shootings like what happened in Buffalo and Uvalde will only lead to more bloodshed without sense. The American people have already suffered too much.”
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks