Black leaders in New York denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday (June 23) that struck down an Empire State law that limited the right to carry firearms in public.
The justices, in a 6-3 split decision, delivered their ruling against the backdrop of recent mass shootings in Buffalo and a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, as lawmakers in Washington scramble to pass modest gun control legislation.
According to the Associated Press, about one-quarter of the U.S. population lives in states expected to be affected by the ruling, likely prompting more people to legally arm themselves.
New York Attorney General Letitia James called it “incredibly disappointing” that the high court struck down a law that protected New Yorkers for more than a century. In a statement, she said New York has required residents to obtain a license to carry a handgun outside their home since 1913. She vowed to continue the fight for gun control measures.
“Make no mistake: This decision will not deter us from standing up to the gun lobby and their repeated efforts to endanger New Yorkers,” James said. “I vow to use the full force of my office to protect New Yorkers and American families.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has been battling a surge of gun violence across the city, said after the ruling “every single one of us is less safe."
“The decision ignores this shocking crisis of gun violence every day, engulfing not only New York but engulfing our entire country,” Adams continued, adding that although the opinion claims to be based on the nation’s historical past, it “does not account for the reality of today. It ignores the present, and it endangers our future.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, called the court’s decision “devastating and potentially dangerous.”
“This ruling could not have come at a worse time, as we have been working to de-escalate gun violence in the city. It has never been more important for Congress to pass meaningful legislation to combat the epidemic that is gun violence in this nation,” the civil rights activist stated.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat who represents areas of the city that have the most gun crimes, said, “The decision reached today by an extreme, radical and runaway Supreme Court defies common sense and is an assault on the Constitution and New York’s right to decide how to keep its citizens safe.”