Engaged and outraged, activists rallied in Union Square Thursday following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that will allow more people to legally carry concealed guns in public spaces, including New York City streets.
In the 6-3 ruling split along ideological lines, the court struck down a portion of the law that required handgun owners applying for concealed-carry permits to show “proper cause.”
New Yorkers already concerned about gun violence in the city said this could make things even worse. At the protest on Thursday, advocates from various gun violence prevention groups denounced the Supreme Court decision, and expressed frustration at the it’s dismissal of a law they say most New Yorkers want.
“It’s a really horrific mix of emotions. Even though we knew this was going to happen, we’re still dumbfounded by it.” Jay Walker from the gun violence prevention advocacy group Gays Against Guns told Gothamist. “As much as I do want, um, our state government to do whatever they can, fortunately we have a Democratic supermajority in New York State, without very, very strong federal legislation it’s going to be undermined by the fact that people can travel from state to state.”
The group also included members from gun violence prevention advocacy groups Moms Demand Action and Brady United. They held signs that read “don’t gut our gun laws,” and “we can end gun violence.”
Shannon Van Esley said she was afraid of what the city might look like with more legal weapons in the streets.
“We’re in New York City,” she said. “You don’t mess around with that. You put a gun, a loaded gun, in the middle of anywhere, and it’s not going to make things better. It’s just plain not.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul was amongst New York’s elected officials who denounced the decision on Thursday. The governor said she was working with lawmakers to restrict firearms in “sensitive places” like schools and possibly the city's subway system.
“We must stand united to address the laws that keep allowing guns to fall into the wrong hands. New York will rise up to this latest challenge to pass additional gun safety legislation,” she said.
The news from the Supreme Court came after two high-profile shootings on subway trains in the last two months, and had New Yorkers weary about what the ruling could mean for everyday people doing everyday things like riding the subway or walking in public.
Eric Davidson also rallied with Brady United and said he found the prospect of more guns in New York City devastating.
“You’re just asking for people to shoot more people,” he said. “I mean, it’s a simple one-plus-one-equals-two. You’ve got more guns, more people are going to go get shot.”