NEW YORK -- The Supreme Court is on the verge of ruling on a case that could overturn New York state's gun carry law. Records obtained by CBS2 show as many as 20,000 more guns could inundate the streets of the Big Apple, following such a decision.
But a high-ranking source tells CBS2's Marcia Kramer it could take the city years to comply.
Here's the good news: the NYPD already has a four-point plan to try to limit both the number of guns and the places it will be legal to bring them if the high court overturns our strict gun laws. The bad news is that more people may seek to get guns.
"The NYPD has always been quite careful about who they give permission to to carry guns and that has really kept the number of people carrying guns, lawfully, way down," said Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission.
Aborn is right when he says the NYPD has been careful, and some say admirably stingy, when it comes to issuing gun permits that allow New Yorkers to carry concealed weapons on the streets of the 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 with the Supreme Court poised to overturn New York's strict gun carry laws, 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 because of the Supreme Court decision.
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."
Depending on the ruling, it could take New York a year or two to implement, Miller says, especially if the court allows New York to limit the places a gun can be carried, so-called "sensitive places."
"The question becomes: what constitutes a sensitive place? So I think there are some obvious ones. Places where large numbers of people gather. Mass transit, the subway, stadiums, theaters, movie theaters, probably schools, probably houses of worship," Aborn said.
"Is it going to be Miss Kitty's on 'Gunsmoke'? Check your guns at the door?," Miller asks. "The reality is that other states that have gone to unrestricted carry licenses have had a shared experience of people who can't bring them in certain places, leaving them in cars and the guns being stolen in car break-ins. That just recycles legal guns into the hands of criminals."
"There is a question about whether or not the city will be able to restrict people from locking guns in their car. That's important because the thing we don't want to do is encourage an increase in car break-ins," Aborn added.
So if New York loses in the Supreme Court, which many here think is a foregone conclusion, the NYPD and the mayor would have to figure out how to adjust their permit rules. Aborn says another concern is whether relaxed permit rules will spark a demand for new permits from people who now don't own a weapon.
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