Blue state leaders are scrambling to draft legislative fixes following a Supreme Court ruling that jeopardized state laws requiring people to show a ‘good cause’ for carrying a gun. fire.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat from one of the many directly affected states, signed an executive order on Friday directing all state departments and agencies to find ways to regulate how and when firearms can be worn or displayed.
Most notably, he plans to work with lawmakers to “increase the number and types” of so-called sensitive places where the public carrying of a firearm would be prohibited. New York leaders said they are considering a similar strategy as they try to remove guns from as many places as possible while avoiding blanket geo-bans that would violate the new ruling.
“While the Supreme Court may have waived common sense, it upheld long-standing rules that prohibit the carrying of firearms in certain sensitive places such as schools and government buildings,” Murphy said.
He detailed a long wish list of sensitive spaces including stadiums and arenas, public transport and bars or restaurants where alcohol is served. He also wants gun-free rules for child care centers, long-term care centers and hospitals, as well as gathering places like polls, courthouses and government buildings.
Mr Murphy also said firearms should not be carried on private property unless the owner specifically authorizes them.
Thursday’s 6-3 Supreme Court ruling struck down New York’s law governing concealed carry permits, which required applicants to show they had a particular fear justifying the need to carry a weapon. Living in a high-crime neighborhood, for example, wasn’t necessarily reason enough.
The ruling was overshadowed by another Supreme Court decision on Friday that struck down the nation’s abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. But the fallout from the firearms ruling, known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, had a more direct impact on blue states and will spark legislative debates across the country.
California, Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts have similar gun laws, as does the District of Columbia, although its law was suspended under a 2017 court ruling.
These places, along with New York and New Jersey, cover about a quarter of the country’s population.
Attorneys general in the affected states rushed to say they were considering ways to overhaul their restrictions while going under the ruling.
“Our office has been following this issue closely. We are working with the governor and the legislature to advance legislation that is both constitutional and will keep Californians safe,” California Attorney General Ron Bonta said. “In the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, and with the record number of gun deaths, it is more important than ever to ensure that dangerous people are not allowed to carry guns concealed.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh pledged to “determine its impact on our state, and we will continue to fight to protect the safety of the people of Maryland.”
“The epidemic of gun violence sweeping our country demonstrates daily the folly of introducing more weapons into this boiling cauldron,” he said.
Proponents of broader gun rights, meanwhile, see an opportunity.
State Sen. Edward Durr, a Republican who defeated New Jersey’s second-most powerful Democrat in November, said the court’s ruling paves the way for legislation that replaces the justifiable need requirement with enhanced training .
“New Jersey’s extremely restrictive concealed carry law is clearly unconstitutional for the same reason New York’s law was just struck down by the Supreme Court,” Durr said. “I have proposed eliminating the justifiable need requirement from our concealed carry law which the U.S. Supreme Court has found violates the Second Amendment. Additionally, I have proposed requiring comprehensive training to ensure that those who would carry in public are familiar with the safe handling, use and maintenance of their firearms.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh said states can impose training requirements or additional background checks on licensees, but the criteria must be “objective.”
Mr Durr’s bill may be in line with majority Tory opinion, but faces long struggles in the Democratic-controlled legislature in Trenton.
Mr. Murphy signaled that his team will focus on limiting the range of firearms where they can.
New Jersey State Police Superintendent Patrick J. Callahan said on his first day as a trooper, a motorist shot another on the side of the freeway after a rage incident driving.
“I always thought, what if the motorist who fired this shot did not have access to this weapon. It probably would have ended with a few hand gestures and they would be gone,” he said.
Garden State’s comments echoed a push by New York Governor Kathy Hochul described a day earlier.
Ms. Hochul, a Democrat facing re-election this year, said she wants to add new requirements to permits and expand the list of sensitive places where guns can be banned.
It is planning a special session in July to adopt legislative fixes.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said creating new sensitive areas would be important but also difficult, given the verbiage of the judges’ decision.
“The Supreme Court says you can’t lock down all of Manhattan. It’s problematic,” he told NBC 4. “Especially when you look at the Times Square area. We had over 300 some thousand people [who] visited Times Square last Monday. Our tourism is coming back. And when you say you can’t create these public or government areas as sensitive places, it just makes it extremely difficult for our city, our subway system.
Not everyone in New York is unhappy with the court.
Leading GOP gubernatorial candidates Andrew H. Giuliani and Representative Lee Zeldin hailed the decision as a victory for constitutional rights.
“As Kathy Hochul, the former A-ranked NRA Congresswoman, becomes more of a walking identity crisis with each passing day, she better not take her next step in this new attack. against law-abiding New Yorkers,” Zeldin said. “If Hochul does this, it will be even more likely that I will be elected to her position in November because New Yorkers need and deserve a governor who unabashedly defends liberties, liberty and the Constitution.”
• Alex Swoyer contributed to this report.