WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its opinion in the case challenging .
Under the century-old law, residents seeking a license to carry a gun outside the home need to demonstrate a "proper cause," which state courts have said is a "special need for self-protection."
Challengers argued the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms outside the home for self defense, while supporters warned invalidating the restrictions could lead to more guns on the streets.
See live updates below for the latest.
Supreme Court overturns N.Y. law on concealed guns in public
Anti-gun activists rallied in Union Square on Thursday night while some gun proponents are celebrating.
"My reaction is relief and happiness," said Tom King, plaintiff and president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.
Thursday in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law requiring a person show a special need in order to legally carry a gun in public.
Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said New York's law prevents "law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms."
Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed her disdain for the decision once again late Thursday night.
"It's reprehensible. It's hurtful to all of us who are on the front lines of trying to have sensible gun safety legislation," she said.
King leads the New York group which fought to overturn New York's law.
"The lawful and legal gun owner of New York state is no longer going to be persecuted by laws that have nothing to do with the safety of the people," he said.
The decision could impact similar carry restrictions in a handful of states,.
Mere hours after the SCOTUS ruling, Caleb Ostolaza went to his local Jersey City gun store, to trade in his handgun for something more discrete.
"When it does happen, I wanna have something that's comfortable because that's not really a carry gun," Ostolaza said.
New York City officials are warning its residents against doing the same because the old rules are still in effect, for now.
"If you have a premise permit, it does not automatically converge to a carry permit. If you carry a gun illegally in New York City, you will be arrested. Nothing changes today," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.
City and state officials are now mobilizing legal teams to review New York's application process for obtaining a carry license.
"We will not allow our city to live in fear that everyone around us is armed and that any altercation could evolve into a shootout," Mayor Eric Adams said.
"We're already dealing with a major gun violence crisis. We don't need to add more fuel to this fire," Hochul said.
State lawmakers are also focusing on language in the majority opinion which allows them to ban people from carrying guns in so-called "sensitive places," such as public transit and the theater district.
"We do not need people entering our subways, our restaurants, our movie theaters with concealed weapons," Hochul said.
Attorney Phillip Hamilton, who closely watched the case, says "sensitive places" could be a crack in the door for state lawmakers.
"I think that it opens the door to a lot of future litigations in regards to what exactly does that mean, where exactly can you have checks?" he said.
Justice Thomas warns in the majority opinion, there is a limit to these sensitive places. For example, lawmakers cannot declare the whole island of Manhattan a sensitive place just because it's crowded.
The governor says she's prepared to call the state legislature back into session.
Reactions to concealed carry decision pour in from Brooklyn
CBS2's Hannah Kliger spoke to New Yorkers who are trying to understand how Thursday's Supreme Court ruling will affect public safety in a city already plagued by gun violence. While some applaud the move, others worry it could backfire.
Law professor breaks down Supreme Court's N.Y. concealed carry ruling
To better understand what the Supreme Court ruling means for New York City and the Tri-State Area, CBS2's Dana Tyler spoke to Professor James Sample from Hofstra Law School. You can watch the interview in the video above.
Hochul, Adams working to limit where guns will be allowed after ruling
Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams are already working on how to limit where people can bring weapons and how many people can obtain gun carry permits after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York's concealed carry law Thursday. As CBS2's Ali Bauman reports, local officials are emphasizing police will still be seizing illegal guns.
Adams: Gun permit rules still apply after SCOTUS ruling
For now, the mayor and NYPD commissioner are making it clear that the old rules still apply, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
Adams and his top aides wasted no time meeting to analyze the Supreme Court decision. But while the mayor said on a scale of one to 10 it was "very close to 10 as a major concern," he and his police commissioner warned New Yorkers that the ruling shouldn't be interpreted as the Supreme Court waving a magic wand and saying go forth and buy guns.
"The important thing to know today is that nothing changes. If you have a premise permit it does not automatically convert to a carry permit. If you carry a gun illegally in New York City you will be arrested," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.
Some gun owners already seeking more concealable weapons
The Supreme Court's ruling striking down New York's concealed carry restrictions could undermine similar restrictions in more than a handful of states, including New Jersey. Lawmakers there are already looking to prevent their rules from being changed.
Thursday's ruling strikes down the ability for cities and states to limit who can carry a concealed weapon, and that's already having an impact on what kinds of guns people are buying.
Check out Kevin Rincon's full report by.
New York State Rifle and Pistol Association relishes victory
After eight years of court battles, Tom King, the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, declared victory on Thursday.
"The lawful and legal gun owner of New York state is no longer going to be persecuted by laws that have nothing to do with the safety of the people and will do nothing to make the people safer."
Oral arguments at the Supreme Court last November made it clear multiple justices were skeptical of New York's pistol permit laws, which required applicants to prove they faced "special or unique danger" and had "proper cause" to get a carry permit.
"Why isn't it good enough to say, 'I live in a violent area and I want to be able to defend myself?'" Justice Brett Kavanaugh said.
"How is that consistent with the core right to self-defense, which is protected by the Second Amendment?" Justice Samuel Alito said.
Attorney Phillip Hamilton said the court decided you shouldn't have to prove a special need to exercise a constitutional right.
"Having to show, historically, have you had situations where people may have been trying to harm you, it's just going a bit too far, particularly when, historically, those regulations were not something in U.S. history that were applicable. You had the right to bear arms, and the court interpreted today New York's regulatory structure went well beyond constitutional protections," Hamilton said.
The case made for some interesting bedfellows.
Retired Judge Michael Luttig, a conservative icon, supported New York's pistol permit restrictions as "a historically rooted option for reducing... the harms (of) gun violence in public."
The progressive Legal Aid Society wanted the law struck down, saying it embodied "arbitrary licensing standards that have inhibited lawful Black and brown gun ownership in New York."
Many Long Islanders call ruling a big win for law-abiding citizens
The Supreme Court's decision on Thursday is being hailed by gun rights advocates who say New York's law was a blatant violation of the Second Amendment.
Many Long Islanders told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff the state's rule was arbitrary, adding the more people carrying guns to protect themselves, the safer we'll all be.
President Biden "deeply disappointed" by decision
President Joe Biden said in a statement Thursday he was "deeply disappointed" by the decision.
"This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all," Biden said.
"In the wake of the horrific attacks in Buffalo and Uvalde, as well as the daily acts of gun violence that do not make national headlines, we must do more as a society — not less — to protect our fellow Americans. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. I have already taken more executive actions to reduce gun violence than any other president during their first year in office, and I will continue to do all that I can to protect Americans from gun violence," Biden said.
Biden called on states to pass common laws to "make their citizens and communities safer from gun violence."
"As the late Justice Scalia recognized, the Second Amendment is not absolute. For centuries, states have regulated who may purchase or possess weapons, the types of weapons they may use, and the places they may carry those weapons. And the courts have upheld these regulations," Biden said. "I call on Americans across the country to make their voices heard on gun safety. Lives are on the line."
Justice Department comes out against SCOTUS decision
The Department of Justice released the following statement on the Supreme Court's decision to overturn New York's gun-carry law:
"We respectfully disagree with the Court's conclusion that the Second Amendment forbids New York's reasonable requirement that individuals seeking to carry a concealed handgun must show that they need to do so for self-defense. The Department of Justice remains committed to saving innocent lives by enforcing and defending federal firearms laws, partnering with state, local and tribal authorities and using all legally available tools to tackle the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our communities."
NYC says "nothing has changed"
Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell held a briefing to let New Yorkers know "nothing has changed" in terms of gun carry permits in New York City.
"If you have a target permit, that is not a carry permit. The thought that people may hear this ruling and believe they can openly carry or are legally allowed to have a permit of some sort," the mayor told reporters. "So we're going to send a very clear message -- Number one, nothing has changed. But number two, we're going to continue our pursuit, as we have removed over 3,000 illegal guns off our streets. We're going to continue to pursue that. This complicates matters."
Breaking down the ruling and local reaction
Watch our special report on the opinion and reaction from local stakeholders.
What does the ruling say about "sensitive places," like schools and government buildings?
There's been a flood of reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling.
CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer takes a look at some of what they have to say.
Gov. Kathy Hochul says the decision isn't just reckless, it's reprehensible, and she's working on a plan that she hopes will limit the places where people can carry guns.
"We do not need people entering our subways or restaurants or movie theaters with concealed weapons. We don't need more guns on our streets. We're already dealing with a major gun violence crisis. We don't need to add more fuel to this fire," Hochul said. "We have been working with a team of experts, legal experts all over this country and organizations like Everytown, true leaders to make sure we are prepared... we are not powerless in this situation."
Earlier, Kramer asked Assemblyman Charles Lavine, chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, just how soon the legislature will get to work.
"I would anticipate within a matter of days. I would anticipate by next week," Lavine said.
As state and local lawmakers pore over the ruling, they will likely focus on a concurring opinion by Justice Brett Kavanaugh that said nothing in the opinion should cast out long-standing prohibitions forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.
Lawmakers will have to determine whether places like shopping malls, houses of worship, subways and crowded locations like Times Square can be declared off-limits for those carrying guns.
Legal Aid supports Supreme Court's decision
Legal Aid released this statement supporting the decision.
"New York's gun licensing regulations have been arbitrarily and discriminatorily applied, disproportionately ensnaring the people we represent, the majority of whom are from communities of color, in the criminal legal system. This decision may be an affirmative step toward ending arbitrary licensing standards that have inhibited lawful Black and Brown gun ownership in New York.
"In this moment and always, we must honor and remember people who have lost their lives to gun violence - the overwhelmingly majority of whom are from BIPOC communities. We must also name the white supremacist and anti-democratic agenda of the gun lobby and the NRA and the hate-filled tragedies that have taken the lives of so many in Buffalo and across this country.
"As lawmakers consider next steps in response to this decision, let us be abundantly clear: it would amount to a historic disservice to both public safety and the best interests of the New Yorkers for Albany to reproduce a regulatory scheme that perpetuates the same disparate outcomes yielded under the previous law or to further criminalize gun ownership. Criminalization has never prevented violence and serves only to further marginalize and incarcerate people from BIPOC communities.
"The solution to public safety challenges can be found in the proven success of community-based, public-health models such as New York City's Crisis Management System and Cure Violence initiative. Community investment must lead this conversation, not proposals that harken back to an era that fueled mass incarceration and made our communities less safe. New York must find a way forward that will promote true public safety, while preserving the constitutional rights of all citizens."
Gov. Murphy condemns "dangerous decision"
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reacted with a statement, vowing to "do everything in our power to protect our residents."
"Based on a deeply flawed constitutional methodology, a right-wing majority on the United States Supreme Court has just said that states can no longer decide for ourselves how best to limit the proliferation of firearms in the public sphere. Let there be no mistake – this dangerous decision will make America a less safe country," Murphy said.
"But let me be equally clear that, here in New Jersey, we will do everything in our power to protect our residents. Anticipating this decision, my Administration has been closely reviewing options we believe are still available to us regarding who can carry concealed weapons and where they can carry them. We are carefully reviewing the Court's language and will work to ensure that our gun safety laws are as strong as possible while remaining consistent with this tragic ruling."
Many other states likely to be impacted by SCOTUS gun-carry decision
The Supreme Court's decision Thursday morning is expected to have far-reaching implications, impacting states beyond New York.
CBS2's Tony Aiello breaks it all down.
Two upstate men were denied pistol-carry permits in 2014. They challenged the denial in court after court. Eight years later, the Supreme Court has sided with them, striking down New York law. The high court said it violated the constitution by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
The decision reflected the 6-3 ideological split on the Supreme Court and was written by the most senior justice, Clarence Thomas.
"In 43 states, the government issues licenses to carry based on objective criteria. But in six states, including New York, the government further conditions issuance of a license to carry on a citizen's showing of some additional special need. Because the state of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the state's licensing regime violates the constitution," Thomas wrote.
For decades, obtaining a gun-carry permit in New York required proving to an official you face "special or unique danger" and have "proper cause" to get one.
Attorney David Schwartz said the Supreme Court's ruling simply allows regular people to get a permit to carry a handgun in the state for protection.
"Someone who works late at night that's leaving work late, it could be a nurse, it could be anybody that has to walk around late at night, they don't have a right, right now, to get a carry permit. The idea that criminals now will go out and start applying for licenses, for carry permits, I think is a little bit illogical," Schwartz said. "It's going to be people that can't show an extraordinary purpose, but still want to carry a gun, and that really does fall within the heart of the Second Amendment."
Supporters of the New York law predict many more state residents will now get concealed-carry permits.
"We've lived since 1911 with a law that said most people you're talking to don't have a gun on them. Now, you're going to feel like most people you are talking to do have a gun on them, and that creates a different energy going on. Most of us in New York knew if we wanted to live in that environment we could move to Texas," constitutional attorney Andrew Lieb told CBS2.
Advocates say the ruling adds urgency to bipartisan action in Washington to address gun-safety concerns.
"The state of New York has made strides in reducing gun violence and they continue to do so. We need the federal government to step up and to prioritize life-saving gun-safety measures," said Andrea Murray of the group Mom's Demand Action.
The case made for some interesting bedfellows. The progressive Legal Aid Society supports the court ruling, saying, "Arbitrary licensing standards have inhibited lawful Black and brown gun ownership in New York."
Meanwhile, numerous conservative legal scholars argued the New York law was well-grounded in history and precedent and good for public safety.
On the East Coast, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have gun-permit laws similar to the one struck down in New York. Those laws now are all vulnerable to legal challenges.
Everytown for Gun Safety and advocates for subway riders react to decision
Gun regulation advocates and a group representing subway riders are reacting to the decision to strike down New York's concealed carry law.
"There are already too many weapons in our transit system, and we're extremely disappointed with what the Supreme Court's ruling to change conceal carry laws in New York means for riders: in fact, we're alarmed. After the spate of recent shootings, riders have made it clear that they do not feel safer or comfortable with people more easily bringing guns into the transit system. The state, city, and MTA should continue to ban guns on transit and continue to fight against ghost guns and other illegal weapons. We urge the Governor and Mayor to pass laws emphasizing this ban, similar to the laws the Governor recently passed in anticipation of Roe v. Wade being overturned," said Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.
"Today's ruling is out of step with the bipartisan majority in Congress that is on the verge of passing significant gun safety legislation, and out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans who support gun safety measures," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. "Let's be clear: the Supreme Court got this decision wrong, choosing to put our communities in even greater danger with gun violence on the rise across the country."
"This decision won't stop our grassroots army from doing what we've done for a decade: fighting to keep our families safe," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. "Just as we're breaking the logjam in Congress, we're going to work day-in, day-out to mitigate the fallout in New York and any other states impacted by this decision and elect gun-sense lawmakers up and down the ballot."
New York City Mayor Eric Adams: Ruling "will put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence"
New York City Mayor Eric Adams released this statement on the Supreme Court's ruling:
"Put simply, this Supreme Court ruling will put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence. We have been preparing for this decision and will continue to do everything possible to work with our federal, state, and local partners to protect our city. Those efforts will include a comprehensive review of our approach to defining 'sensitive locations' where carrying a gun is banned, and reviewing our application process to ensure that only those who are fully qualified can obtain a carry license. We will work together to mitigate the risks this decision will create once it is implemented, as we cannot allow New York to become the Wild West.
"One thing is certain: We will do whatever is in our power, using every resource available to ensure that the gains we've seen during this administration are not undone, to make certain New Yorkers are not put in further danger of gun violence. This decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, but we will do everything we can to dam it."
New York AG Letitia James "reviewing the decision"
New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office is reviewing the Supreme Court decision and "New York's ability to regulate who can carry firearms in public."
Gun owners show their support
For those at the Nassau County Rifle and Pistol Range in Uniondale, the issue is a matter of common sense.
Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg: "This decision severely undermines public safety"
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg issued the following statement about the decision, saying it impacts not just New York City, but the entire nation.
"This decision severely undermines public safety not just in New York City, but around the country. While the Court has now made it more difficult to limit the number of guns in our communities, I am committed to doing everything in my power to fight for the safety everyone in this city deserves, and we have been preparing for this decision for weeks. New York still has some of the toughest gun laws in the country on the books, and we will continue to use these statutes to hold accountable those who commit gun violence. At this very moment, my office is analyzing this ruling and crafting gun safety legislation that will take the strongest steps possible to mitigate the damage done today. Furthermore, we have already built detailed processes and put them in place to manage any litigation related to our ongoing cases. The Supreme Court may have made our work harder, but we will only redouble our efforts to develop new solutions to end the epidemic of gun violence and ensure lasting public safety."
Assemblyman Lavine: "Tremendous chaos"
New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine spoke with CBS2 shortly after the opinion was announced, saying it will cause "tremendous chaos."
He went on to say the ruling "opens the floodgates" to generations-worth of litigation.
Watch his full interview in the video above.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Decision "not just irresponsible, it is downright dangerous"
"Today's Supreme Court ruling, which guts state concealed carry permitting laws, is not just irresponsible, it is downright dangerous. Our nation is in the middle of a gun violence epidemic and instead of working to protect our communities, this court has made it even easier for potentially dangerous people to carry concealed handguns in public spaces," Sen. Kirsten GIllibrand said in a statement.
"Studies overwhelmingly show that looser restrictions on who can carry a concealed firearm in public are associated with higher rates of violent crime and homicide. So it is no surprise that law enforcement officers as well as the majority of Americans and gun owners agree, limiting concealed carry permitting laws is a recipe for disaster.
"We need to act and we need to act now. And Congress must move swiftly to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation and ensure only those who are trained and trustworthy are allowed to carry loaded firearms.
"It's time we did what it takes to stop the rise of gun violence. The lives of our friends, our law enforcement officers, and our children are at stake."
Gov. Kathy Hochul calls decision "reckless" and "reprehensible"
Gov. Kathy Hochul is responding to the Supreme Court's decision.
"It is outrageous that at a moment of national reckoning on gun violence, the Supreme Court has recklessly struck down a New York law that limits those who can carry concealed weapons. In response to this ruling, we are closely reviewing our options - including calling a special session of the legislature," Hochul wrote on Twitter. "Just as we swiftly passed nation-leading gun reform legislation, I will continue to everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence."
Speaking shortly after the decision was announced, Hochul had more to say.
"Today the Supreme Court is sending us backwards in our efforts to protect families and prevent gun violence, and it's particularly painful that this came down at this moment. When we're still dealing with families in pain from mass shootings that have occurred -- the loss of life, their beloved children and grandchildren," she said.
"Today the Supreme Court is sending us backwards in our efforts to protect families and prevent gun violence, and it's particularly painful that this came down at this moment. When we're still dealing with families in pain from mass shootings that have occurred -- the loss of life, their beloved children and grandchildren.
"This decision isn't just reckless, it's reprehensible. It's not what New Yorkers want, and we should have the right of determination of what we want to do in terms of our gun laws in our state. If the federal government will not have sweeping laws to protect us, then our states and our governors have a moral responsibility to do what we can, and have laws that protect our citizens, because of what is going on and the insanity of the gun culture that has now possessed everyone all the way up to even the Supreme Court."
What's next for New York City?
CBS2 has learned that at present only about 1,700 people have the right to carry a gun when they leave home, and 1,400 more have carry licenses issued by other counties that need New York City endorsement to carry in the five boroughs.
But the big worry is the people who have been issued permits to have guns in their homes, which can also be used on a firing range. Conceivably, they could be turned into concealed carry permits.
CBS2 has learned that:
- 16,462 city residents have so called "premise residence" permits
- 773 have "premise business" permits
- 2,403 have "carry guard" permits that can be carried while working but have to be left at the place of business at the end of the shift
John Miller, the NYPD's deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, told CBS2 in a memo that a ruling against New York, "... does not mean that you wake up the morning of the ruling and the premises permit magically turns into a carry."
Miller said it could take a year or two to implement the changes, especially if the court allows New York to limit the places guns can be carried,
Supreme Court strikes down New York's concealed carry law
The Supreme Court has just issued its most significant Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade.
CBS2's Jessica Moore explains the logic behind the high court's decision, and the impact on New Yorkers.
Current New York law says anyone seeking a license to carry a gun outside their house demonstrate "proper cause" to obtain one, which state courts have said is a "special need for self-protection."
"The question before the Supreme Court is whether New York can do that? Do you need to show that you have this risk to have a concealed carry, or can anyone on the R train now have a gun in their back pocket?" said constitutional lawyer Andrew Lieb.
Challengers to the law argued the Second Amendment protects the right to carry firearms outside the home for self-defense, while supporters warn invalidating the restrictions could lead to more firearms on the streets. Supporters also maintain the Second Amendment was adopted to allow militias to fight the government, not allow everyday citizens to carry weapons for personal defense.
"The question here is just a very narrow one: Can any state, not just New York, say can you not have a gun when you're walking around town unless you're special? So the question is, is the default rule you can have the gun, and you need to take it away only for someone with mental illness, or is the default you can't have the gun and you can only have it if you have a special need for safety?" Lieb said.
Even after the shootings in Buffalo, Texas, Tulsa, Philadelphia and Chattanooga over the course of just a few weeks, the majority conservative court ruled anyone can carry a gun anywhere.
Lieb says New Yorkers should brace for a shift in expectations.
"We've lived since 1911 with a law that says most people you're talking to don't have a gun on them. Now you're going to feel like most people you're talking to do have a gun on them. That creates a different energy going on. Most of us in New York knew if we wanted to live in that environment we could move to Texas," Lieb said.
But attorney David Schwartz says the high court's ruling simply allows regular people to carry a handgun in the state, not just the privileged few: Celebrities, ex-cops, those with cash businesses as it is currently.
"Someone who works late at night, that's leaving work late. That could be a nurse, that could be anybody who hast to work around late at night, they don't have a right, right now, to get a carry permit," Schwartz said. "The idea that criminals will now and start applying for a license to get a carry permit I think is a little bit illogical. It's going to be people who can't show an extraordinary purpose but still want to carry a gun, and that really does fall within the heart of the Second Amendment."
Schwartz says the state will still be allowed to regulate where people can carry firearms, and may exclude certain places like the subway system, ballparks, and schools.
The high court struck down the New York law on the grounds it's too strict and gives too much discretion to state licensing officials.
The ruling marks a disappointment to many New Yorkers who think federal gun regulations should be stronger, not weaker.
"The state of New York has made strides in reducing gun violence and they continue to do so. We need the federal government to step up and to prioritize life-saving gun safety measures," said Andrea Murray of Moms Demand Action.
New York state has no recourse on the Supreme Court's ruling, barring a change in justices, or a constitutional amendment.
"Biden said it recently that you're not going to win the fight – I'm paraphrasing - on what the Second Amendment says, but what we can do is take away the liability protections on the federal level for the manufacturers. And even though then the government wouldn't be restricting people from having guns, the manufacturers, based on exposure concerns, would themselves be restricting people from having guns," Lieb said.
Lieb pointed to the settlement reached in February that forced Remington to pay $73 million after the Sandy Hook massacre. Remington was the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 school shooting.
The settlement bankrupted the gun manufacturer.