New Yorkers had mixed feelings Thursday about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a century-old state law that limited who could carry guns in public — with some celebrating the decision and others left concerned for their safety.
“I just got my license, my pistol license, two months ago. I applied for it at the very beginning of the pandemic,” Nick Arpino, 51, told The Post outside of the Woodhaven Rifle and Pistol Range in Queens. “Will I apply for a carry permit? Immediately!”
“I was so excited when I heard this morning,” Arpino added. “I’m immediately going to apply when I can, whenever I’m able to … My wife and all her friends want to apply now, [too].”
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The 6-3 ruling handed down Thursday morning found New York’s Sullivan Act, which has been on the books since 1913, violated both the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and the Fourteenth Amendment prohibition on states abridging the Bill of Rights.
The law 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.
Now that the Sullivan Act has been overturned, it could be easier for people to carry guns in public, news that left Brooklynite Anthonia Lucas feeling queasy.
“The crime rate in New York has gone up exponentially these past few years, and it’s only going to make it worse,” she said.
“We’re already afraid of taking public transportation daily and now we have to deal with people potentially having a weapon on them. Outrageous.”
Oumou Haidara, 25, agreed.
“I don’t think that is the best decision given the shootings that have been taking place. Some are racially motivated, others are happening as a result of their proximity to the crime,” she said.
“As diverse as New York is, it’s also very segregated. This is the definition of terrorizing people. Having people live in fear of what’s to come is a form of terrorism.”
Mayor Eric Adams cautioned during an afternoon press briefing that nothing will change for now — but once the lower courts digest the ruling, many more New Yorkers could be toting guns in public life.
Alliyah Brown, 27, called the decision “reckless” due to the high rates of violence the Big Apple is already grappling with.
“This puts our people in even more harm’s way. We already have to worry about random acts, now adding fuel to fire [is] having to be concerned if each individual is carrying a gun,” said Brown. “This decision will cause mayhem in our city.”
Anaxson Labissiere, 35, supports gun rights and told The Post that while he is licensed to carry in other states, he’s not so sure it’s a “good idea” in the five boroughs.
“There are a lot of guys here who are not licensed and carry anyway, so I think the underworld might be happy today, but we’ll have to see. We’ll have to see how they do the licensing,” said Labissiere.
Matthew Ariyashi, 46, who owns a Queens deli, said the decision is “opening a door that is going to cause chaos.”
“A lot of people are going to get killed by permitted guns. Instead of getting punched or stabbed, now you’re going to get shot,” he said.
Back at the Queens shooting range, an employee seemed unfazed about the ruling and said it’ll be a while before anything, if at all, changes.
“This is going to be constant litigation,” the worker said.
“They’re worried about gunmen in the subway, gunmen in the ballpark. They have that now.
“Nothing is going to change.”