‘Supreme Court just made us less safe’

Congressional candidate and former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio expressed outrage on Thursday that US Supreme Court has repealed New York State’s hidden-carrying lawunder which it was illegal to carry a weapon in public without a permit.

Obtaining a permit obliges applicants to show “good reason””, or a special need, to carry a gun outside their home. That requirement has now been overturned in New York and seven other states with similar limitations.

In a 6-3 ruling, which the court liberals disagreed, Justice Clarence Thomas argued: that state law robbed the plaintiffs – two men from upstate New York who wanted to carry their weapons in public regardless of special need – “by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stands at attention with a grim expression as an FDNY officer stands in front of him.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attends the New York Fire Department memorial service at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sept. 11, 2021. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

“This Supreme Court has only made us less safe,” de Blasio told Yahoo News in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon, predicting that while the ruling represents a victory for the right, the decision will in fact motivate the left.

“It will enrage people across the country, especially parents who are so afraid of their children,” de Blasio said. The former mayor is currently run for a newly redesigned seat in the US House in a crowded Democratic primary. If elected, he will represent much of lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn in Congress.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll showed that most Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws. Mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas, have sparked a rare consensus on Capitol Hill, where modest yet important gun law seems on the way to passage.

“NYPD adamantly, adamantly wanted to protect our current law,” de Blasio said, referring to the New York Police Department. He said the decision “spits in the face of our police officers”.

De Blasio’s successor at City Hall gave an equally scorching assessment of the decision. ‘We can’t let New York become the wild, wild west’ Mayor Eric Adams, himself a former police officer, said at City Hall:

Adams and the city’s police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, echoed other Democratic leaders across the country by pledging to find ways to continue to restrict the carrying of guns. An extension of the right to carry firearms in public does not mean that it is generally allowed.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Mayor Eric Adams behind a banner that reads, in part: Against Gun Violence, Action on Thoughts and Prayers.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, in orange shirt, and Mayor Eric Adams, center, during a gun control protest in Brooklyn on June 11 (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

“The most important thing to know today is that nothing changes,” Sewell warned. “If you illegally carry a gun in New York City, you will be arrested.”

But the city’s former police commissioner Bill Bratton told Yahoo News it’s too early to say what effect the Supreme Court’s decision will have on public safety in major cities like New York.

Police officers in the eight states whose covert transportation provisions have been annulled “may now be wary” about “their average encounters with civilians,” he said. At the same time, “there will be many places where you are not allowed to carry a firearm,” Bratton added, noting that biased opinions on the ruling may have lacked nuances in the law.

“We’re definitely going to have to let the dust settle a bit,” he said.

In a unanimous opinion Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that states can still introduce licensing requirements, regulate the sale of firearms and ban guns in certain areas, such as schools and government buildings. Kavanaugh’s opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court’s conservative voice.

“Like most rights, the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” Kavanaugh wrote, quoting late Conservative Judge Antonin Scalia.

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