Instead of upholding New York’s laws which help combat gun violence, the U.S. Supreme Court has now overturned a 1913 New York statute which limits permits to carry firearms only to individuals who can demonstrate “proper cause” or the need to carry a firearm due to their employment.
This disastrous decision will result in exponentially more New Yorkers carrying a gun in public and will put all New Yorkers in harm’s way every day. It will also imperil the safety of law enforcement, paramedics, fire personnel and all those who work in the public safety sphere.
Our country experiences gun deaths on a daily basis. Most recently we had horrific mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, and even in the few weeks since then we have had several more. Given the seriousness of what we continue to face, the Court’s decision is beyond reckless – it is deadly.
Despite the Court’s profoundly disheartening decision, I will not be deterred from fighting to keep our communities safe. I plan to continue advancing the most stringent gun legislation possible to protects New Yorkers, and along with Senator Brian Kavanagh, I have just introduced several additional bills in light of the Court’s decision.
We now need to ensure that guns are prohibited from mass transit, entertainment venues, religious institutions, and bars and restaurants where alcohol is served, just to name a few. I have introduced a bill that will make it a crime to possess guns at these “sensitive places.”
I’ve also introduced a bill requiring a license to possess shot guns and rifles. This is common sense and should already be in place – there is no more time to wait to enact this law.
The third bill requires all firearm permit holders to have an evaluation from a mental health professional rather than merely stating that they are mentally fit which is what the current law requires.
Another bill requires completion of a training course in order to obtain a license for a firearm under New York State law, and an advanced training course which includes time on the firing range for those seeking a license to carry a weapon in public. Requiring thorough training for all permit holders will help increase public safety as more guns are now likely to be carried out onto New York’s streets.
Finally, I’ve introduced a bill which requires background checks prior to the renewal of a license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver. This will lead to license holders being screened every 5 years to ensure that they have no prior conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, have not been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility pursuant to NYS mental hygiene, criminal procedure, and correction laws, and have not been reported by a medical health professional to likely engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others. Reexamining all license holders’ eligibility to possess a firearm license every five years is an essential safeguard to help ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.
The Court has now made the utterly irresponsible and deadly decision to loosen gun laws in our country rather than tighten them. In New York we are going to fight this decision, and I’m committed, along with Senator Brian Kavanagh to doing so in the New York State Legislature by passing laws which restrict gun access and presence and increase gun safety.