The local reaction to Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling yielding the biggest expansion of gun rights in a decade broke along predictable lines.
People already inclined to favor a more permissive policy toward gun rights welcomed the ruling, and people who want more restrictions on guns shuddered.
The court overturned a century-old law from New York restricting concealed handguns outside the home. Under the ruling, no longer does the local government have the power to decide whether an applicant for a concealed carry permit truly needs one — curbing certain discretions authorities had in issuing the permits.
Carol Cushman, 78, of Patchogue — who’s had a concealed carry permit since her late 20s and currently owns a shotgun and rifle she uses mostly for target practice but self-defense if need be — said of current gun laws: “It’s too restrictive for the good guy.”
Cushman, a leader of the Sportsmen's Association for Firearms Education, she said that a criminal “walks around 365 days a year with an illegal firearm in their pocket, but they are so concerned about the legitimate gun owner who doesn’t break laws or anything and is there to possibly help and protect.”
Nicolette Carrion, 19, of Baldwin, an organizer of the March for Our Lives earlier this month seeking stricter gun regulations, said the ruling was “disheartening and frustrating for a lot of advocates.”
“The Supreme Court decided to prioritize the rights of guns over people, and it is really difficult to see, given that so many people are at risk,” said Carrion, a sophomore at Georgetown University who’s home for the summer.
One Long Islander, Miriam Fein, 40, of Plainview, a research scientist who expressed her views on social media, said later in an interview she wants to see more, not fewer, restrictions on guns, and greeted the ruling with disappointment.
“We’re at a point where it is extremely easy to access, own, carry a weapon, and this makes it easier to carry it. So, I think we’re going the wrong direction,” she said, adding: “We should only be looking toward making it more difficult to own and carry weapons, and I don’t feel that loosening any of these restrictions makes sense at this point.”
John DeLoca, owner of Seneca Sporting Range of Richmond Hill, Queens, said he saw an increase in gun sales, and inquiring phone calls about gun sales, even in the hours following the ruling.
Thursday’s ruling does not disturb existing requirements such as those disqualifying psychiatric conditions or bureaucratic hurdles needed in New York to qualify for a concealed-carry permit. DeLoca said, because of those protocols, he doesn’t believe the ruling will lead to a surge in armed New Yorkers.
At the very least, the ruling’s impact won’t be felt for a while, as the NYPD, which issues gun licenses in the city, must still put in place requirements consistent with the ruling, DeLoca said.
“It’s gonna take time for the New York City Police Department to revamp and redo the rules and regulation and the structure to maintain the way they can do the carry license,” DeLoca said.
DeLoca called Thursday’s decision “a very good ruling.”