New York City officials insisted Thursday that the US Supreme Court’s decision to ease the way for people to carry handguns for self-defense wouldn’t immediately affect the Big Apple — but acknowledged they’ll need to “use every legal resource available” to blunt its future impact.
“This case has been remanded back to the lower court but the important thing to note today is that nothing changes,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a City Hall news conference.
“If you have a premises permit, it does not automatically convert to a carry permit. If you carry a gun illegally in New York City, you will be arrested.”
Around 16,000 New Yorkers now have permits that allow them to keep handguns in their city homes and 700 business owners have permits to have handguns where they work, according to the NYPD.
And some 3,500 people are allowed to carry guns because of their jobs while 2,400 security guards can be armed at work but can’t bring the weapons home with them.
When asked if the NYPD would step up its use of “stop and frisk,” random bag checks and employ “more direct measures” during public protests, Sewell said, “Nothing has changed as it stands now.”
“Obviously, we’ll look at the way we do civilian encounters when people are allowed to carry if that came to pass,” she added.
Mayor Eric Adams called the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision “appalling,” saying, “There is no place in the nation that this decision affects as much as New York City.”
“We will do everything in our power, using every legal resource available, to ensure that the gains we’ve seen during this administration are not undone and that New Yorkers are not put in greater danger of gun violence,” he said.
Adams said the city would start identifying the “sensitive locations” where gun possession can be banned and also review the application process for obtaining pistol permits “to ensure that only those who are fully qualified can obtain a carry license.”
Adams’ chief counsel, Brendan McGuire, also said that “all options are on the table” in terms of how the city would respond to the ruling that struck down a 1913 state law that required people to show “proper cause” why they should be allowed to carry a handgun.
“This opinion does not foreclose all gun regulation, to be clear,” he said.
Adams invoked the “Iron Pipeline” that’s used to smuggle illegal handguns into the Big Apple as he warned, “If this ruling implemented, the Iron Pipeline is going to be the Van Wyck [Expressway], not I-95.”
“The guns are going to be purchased here. People are going to be empowered to believe they can carry,” he said.
At a different news conference, Gov. Kathy Hochul also said the high court’s decision was “not an immediate change in any laws.”
“I want everyone to know if you are a permit owner in the state, you are not automatically a concealed permit owner. That is not what the Supreme Court did today,” she said.
During a news conference in her Manhattan office, Hochul also said she would summon state lawmakers back to Albany sometime after the Fourth of July to consider new gun restrictions.
They could include requiring additional training to obtain a carry permit and banning concealed weapons in places of business unless the owner “affirmatively” allows them.
“I’m gonna not predetermine those, but I think they’ll just be what people would consider a common sense,” Hochul said.
Warren Eller, associate professor of public management at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said he thought “the actual impact of [the Supreme Court ruling] is going to be far less than what the rhetoric would indicate.”
“The only thing that is going to change is how we decide who gets which permits for possessing a firearm in public,” he said.
Eller, who’s working on a book titled “Gun Violence: Evaluating Perceptions, Causes, and Consequences,” also said, “The literature is pretty clear that legal permit holders commit crimes of any type, at a far lesser rate than non-permit holders.”
“And I don’t think that there is literature that really demonstrates that there’s going to be more criminal activity,” he added.
“But the probability of accidents, regardless how small that probability is, is always going to increase.”