Mayor Eric Adams led New York’s top elected officials in excoriating the Supreme Court for overturning a century-old state gun law — warning at a Thursday press conference that “this decision has made every single one of us less safe from gun violence.”
“There is no place in the nation this decision affects as much as New York City,” Adams said in response to the 6-3 ruling, which he added was “just not rooted in reality.”
In a separate statement, Hizzoner vowed: “This decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, but we will do everything we can to dam it.”
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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 can be legally banned.
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 carry license.”
The Sullivan Act, which has been on the books since 1913, required New Yorkers who wanted to get a license to carry a handgun in public to show “proper cause” that the weapon was needed specifically for self-defense.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and two upstate men challenged the law, claiming it violated their Second Amendment rights.
On Thursday, Justice Clarence Thomas sided with the plaintiffs and wrote the law’s requirements “violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”
During a press conference in Manhattan, Gov. Kathy Hochul called the decision “not just reckless” but “reprehensible” and “not what New Yorkers want.”
“My number one priority is to keep New Yorkers safe, but today, the Supreme Court is sending us backwards in our efforts to protect families and prevent gun violence and it’s particularly painful that this came down at this moment where we’re still dealing with families in pain from mass shootings that have occurred,” Hochul told reporters.
“I’m sorry this dark day has come where we’re supposed to go back to what was in place in 1788, when the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified,” she continued.
“I don’t think [the Founding Fathers] envisioned the high-capacity assault weapon magazines, intended for battlefield, as covered, but I guess we’re just going to have to disagree.”
When asked if she 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 later promised: “This is New York. We don’t back down. We fight back.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the decision “severely undermines” public safety in the Big Apple – and around 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 everyone in this city deserves, and we have been preparing for this decision for weeks,” Bragg said.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) vowed in a statement that New York “will rise up to this latest challenge to pass additional gun safety legislation.”
“The Supreme Court today decided that guns are more important than lives in this country. Today’s decision reinforces the fact that states must step up to protect our citizens best interests and lead the way on necessary reform,” Stewart-Cousins said.
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’s opinion on NY State Pistol & Rifle Association v. Bruen is completely out of touch and shows an extreme vision for life in the US,” Bloomberg tweeted.
New York’s leaders in Washington had mixed feelings on the ruling.
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) hailed the decision, declaring it “strengthens” Second Amendment rights in the Empire State.
“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,” Tenney said in a statement
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin agreed.
“Today, the United States Supreme Court 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-NY) tweeted that the ruling was “a direct assault on the safety of millions of New Yorkers, and will result in more dangerous weapons in our communities.”
Lawmakers in the five boroughs fumed over the ruling as they pointed to the city’s gun crisis that’s left behind a bloody trail of innocent victims.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling expanding gun access is devastating,” said City Councilman Keith Powers (D- East Side).
“Despite the nonstop 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 overturn New York’s gun laws is dangerous and puts New Yorkers at risk,” she said.
“Our country and city are already facing a gun violence crisis, and this ruling only threatens to worsen the harm inflicted on our communities.”
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who is challenging Hochul in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, called the ruling “painful and dangerous news.”
“NY already has way too many guns on our streets, so we need clear and immediate action from Albany, starting with the $1b investment we’ve called for to address daily street violence—instead of the $1b giveaway for a billionaire’s stadium,” he tweeted.
Even disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo chimed in to share his thoughts on the ruling.
“This is another devastating setback in our fight against gun violence and it only underscores the need for bolder gun reforms on the national level. Because of this ruling, we’re now back to where we were in 1910, but it doesn’t have to remain this way,” said Cuomo.
“Not only should combatting this decision be part of any final gun package before Congress, but so should assault weapon and high capacity magazine bans. Allowing unchecked concealed handguns in cities across the nation will only increase the number of lives lost to gun violence and avoiding real action to prevent more mass shootings like what happened in Buffalo and Uvalde will only lead to further senseless bloodshed. The American people have already suffered too much.”
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks