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Many on Long Island hail Supreme Court gun-carry law decision as major victory for law-abiding citizens

Gun rights advocates cheer decision on New York concealed carry law
Gun rights advocates cheer decision on New York concealed carry law 03:18

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- 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.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, supporters are calling this a victory for law-abiding citizens.

Many Long Islanders feel the state's rule was arbitrary, adding the more people carrying guns to protect themselves, the safer we'll all be. However, Nassau and Suffolk counties are split down the middle politically, so there are also serious concerns about what happens next.

Expect many more sales of small handguns able to be carried concealed in public places. The Supreme Court sided with gun rights advocates like those at Coliseum Gun Traders.

"Maybe it sends a message we can't keep twisting and turning the constitution to fit what we want. We have to come back to center, realize what the constitution, how it was written, why it was written, and abide by that," Coliseum Gun Traders owner Andy Chernoff said.

New York's more than century-old law was written to ensure safety in crowded public places. Those seeking a concealed-carry license had to prove a special need for self protection. Law-abiding gun owners say they shouldn't have to prove anything.

"If I'm walking down the street and I feel threatened, I'm in danger, at least I know I'm safe because I have a concealed weapon," said Patrick Jeanniton of Cedarhurst.

"Protect yourself, protect your family," added Lisa Vieto of Queens.

Marksmen at the Nassau Rifle and Pistol Range were hoping the law would be shot down.

"The only one I'm going to shoot is someone who needs shooting, someone who is a threat to me or someone else. Those of us who have permits, who have gone through the process of permitting, we are the most law-abiding people on the planet," said Steve Lollo, Nassau County's master firearms instructor.

But applying 18th century law to 21st century life, with daily mass shootings and an epidemic of gun violence, has Village of Hempstead Mayor Waylyn Hobbs Jr. alarmed.

"It doesn't make it safer just because everyone has guns. I disagree with that. I think it makes it more of a dangerous situation. Again, we will have people having shootouts in the street, like it's the Old West," Hobbs said.

Jorge Roig, a professor of constitutional law at Touro Law Center, calls the decision hypocritical, due to other American rights having limits.

"To think that we're going to give more freedom to people carrying weapons than we give, for example, to foul language on TV, seems not common sensical," Roig said.

But with the victory comes caution.

"I do think training it's a good idea, because just like cars, gasoline, chainsaws, they are dangerous objects. So with some with training, any American who is law abiding, like most of us, should be able to carry a handgun," gun owner Tom Tortoriello said.

The court's opinion leaves open room for New York to exempt sensitive places such as mass transit and schools. Nassau officials say they must digest the 135-page decision.

"I can assure you that we will comply with the letter of the law, but at the same time we want to make sure that we have a safe community, and those who should not have handguns will not have access to them," County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

The ruling doesn't change the fact that pistol licenses in New York do require background checks. Training is not required. People on both sides of the aisle say that now needs to change. 

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