East Aurora Advertiser

Column: Rod, Gun and Game: Supreme Court Ruling on Handguns in NY – Does it Hurt or Help? 

In New York, a state law required anyone who wanted to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show proper cause for the concealed carry license. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the case of the NYS Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen that the state’s requirement for a special permit to carry a handgun in a concealed manner violates the 14th Amendment. 

The court said New York’s law prevented law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from practicing their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms in public places. One week ago, the United States Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution made it clear that the right of New York State citizens to keep and bear arms protects the right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. In a 63-page ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas explained, “The court should uphold gun restrictions only if there is a tradition of such regulation in U.S. History.” 

In short, New Yorkers still need to apply for a handgun license to purchase, possess and keep one. While handgun buyers still need to pass the National Instant Crime Background Check (NICS) to purchase one, the ruling eliminates the need for handgun permit owners to apply for a N.Y. Concealed Carry License where the applicant had to show “proper cause.” Now properly certified and licensed handgun owners in New York can carry their handgun outside of just in their home, on their own private property; they can carry it in public, too, without the special extra handgun license to carry a handgun in a concealed manner. That means women can carry a personal protection handgun in their purse, men can carry it in their pocket and so on. 

Of course, we need to understand that these certified and licensed handgun owners are legal, law-abiding citizens with a New York “License to Carry Pistol.” Those are the words on a NYS handgun license where the owner is not additionally certified for “Concealed Carry.” The ruling means that ordinary handgun permit holders can legally carry their handgun outside of their home in a concealed carry fashion, as well. Would it be scary for people who care about their families and others to carry a handgun in this manner?  

To purchase a handgun in NYS, the buyer must first become certified with a classroom course followed by a detailed application with three personal recommendations, followed by a local police department interview and approval.

You must meet specific gun law requirements to apply for a N.Y. handgun license. You must be at least 21 years old, a legal citizen of the United States of America, and be of good moral character (you need three personal references that the local police department will contact for verification).

The last two years have provided the perfect storm for tens of thousands of individual citizens to apply for a handgun permit in New York, as well as the rest of America. The rate of employment dropped with the pandemic, the rise in political unrest in some cities across the country, the release of felons with new no-bail laws to empty prisons and more. Many ordinary folks (new handgun applicants) felt a greater need for personal protection. A National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) survey in 2020 revealed that 58 percent of legal firearm purchases were among African American men and women (inner city), the largest increase of any demographic group. Women comprised 40 percent of first-time gun purchasers. Retailers noted a 95 percent increase in firearm sales and a 139 percent increase in ammunition sales over the same period from 2019 to 2020.

With a little more than 19 million people living in New York State, 2020 figures from the NSSF show that 19.9 percent of the population have a registered firearm in their home, the fifth-lowest percentage in the United States. In Montana, with just over one million residents, they rank number one with 66.6 percent of the population with a registered firearm in the house and the highest gun ownership rate. Guess they need protection from bears there.  

According to the NSSF: 

“Americans looking to defend themselves are turning to handguns to defend their homes and families. Which makes perfect sense; the handgun is the most logical choice for self-defense scenarios. It’s easy to conceal (either on your person or at home), easy to maneuver, and cheap to feed and maintain…[In New York, you cannot] purchase a handgun without police approval and registration. Some places (D.C. and Chicago in particular) make it nearly impossible to own a handgun, let alone carry one. When the buyer of a first-time firearm walks into their local N.Y. gun store and asks to buy a handgun, the sheer volume of paperwork required is likely to turn them off legal gun ownership. People want the ability to defend themselves. That’s their right and their responsibility. A handgun in the hands of a well-trained citizen is the right tool for the job. But for some reason, that idea (an armed citizen) scares the crap out of the gun control crowd. And that fear has led to an inability, in too many places, for people to be able to purchase the proper tools to defend themselves against crime. And that ain’t right.” 

Criminals have no legal permit for a firearm. 

The Supreme Court decision may affect any directional thinking about firearms in general. However, it comes at a point in our American history when issues of consensus come to bear. According to the SCOTUSblog (www.scotusblog.com/), Amy Howe writes, “The landmark decision (Supreme Court) came less than six weeks after a gunman killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, and less than a month after 21 people – 19 children and two teachers – were shot to death at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. In response to those shootings, the Senate reached an agreement on bipartisan gun-safety legislation that, if passed, would be the first federal gun-control legislation in nearly 30 years.” Governor Kathy Hochul is upset about the Supreme Court ruling, but maybe where we are in this time of history and what’s happening in America should help us ALL to think more clearly about the WHY. 

Perhaps gun control legislators should toss their politics into the air and come down to earth to meet the members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Maybe then we could make common sense on the real cause of these mass shootings. I’m not so sure it’s about guns and gun control. We must reinstall the conscience of love for one another, care and honesty in our young Americans. Somehow, it went stage left or stage right but has not been present for some time. We need to figure that out to solve the problem. 

Wishing everyone healthy and safe fun at home and in the outdoors! God bless America.

Outdoors Calendar: (Area Code 716)

July 2: Fly Fishing 101, Buffalo Orvis shop, 4545 Transit Rd., Amherst, 9 AM start, pre-register at www.orvis.com/buffalo, or call 716-276-7200. 

NOTE: Submit Calendar items to nugdor@yahoo.com at least 2-weeks in advance. 


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