Fearing Supreme Court will overturn right-to-carry gun law in New York, Mayor Eric Adams scrambling to get limits in place


NEW YORK — With the Supreme Court poised to overturn all or part of New York’s right-to-carry law, Mayor Eric Adams is devising a plan to get lawmakers to pass federal, state and local laws to limit as much as possible the places where gun owners can bring their weapons.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday, the mayor is trying to get out ahead of a possible ruling that he says is giving him nightmares.

Think about it, the people who now can only bring their weapons to a gun range may soon be able to openly carry them wherever they go. That is, if the high court overturns a state law that has been on the books for 108 years.

They could bring them on the subways, to sports stadiums, banks, schools, churches and synagogues, and all kinds of places.

“This keeps me up at night. If this right-to-carry goes through the Supreme Court, becomes the law of the land, can you imagine being on the 4 train with someone having a 9mm exposed? Everyone on the train is carrying? This is not the wild wild West,” Adams said.

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Legal experts feel that the New York right-to-carry law may very well get tossed.

“The consensus based on the oral arguments is that they will probably strike down New York’s law, which has been on the books for a century,” Saul Cornell, the Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History at Fordham University, told CBS2’s Dick Brennan on Monday.

Those oral arguments took place in November, and, indeed, the conservative majority did not seem inclined to side with New York state.

“Why isn’t it good enough to say I live in a violent areas and I want to be able to defend myself?” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said.

Adams is trying to get ahead of the curve in the event the Supreme Court does rule against the law. He said he has already reaching out to officials in other cities to help craft a joint response.

“We want to build up a real, a task force across the country — Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, New York, San Francisco — all of these places that are dealing with violence. We want to put our legal minds together and come up with some real legislation on the federal level, our state level, and our city levels to get prepared for this,” Adams said.

The response will depend on the nuances of the ruling. New York officials are hoping the court allows exceptions for so-called “sensitive places.” That would allow the state Legislature or the City Council to pass laws preventing people from bringing weapons into businesses, schools, mass transit, and even Times Square. Signs like “No loaded guns” in Arizona and “No weapons allowed” from New Hampshire could pop up here.

“People hear of this right to carry. They should focus on it,” Adams said.

The issue came up during a news conference on gang violence and the steps the city is taking to deal with the expected summer increase in bloodshed.

During the November oral arguments, the justices did not seem ready to allow people to carry guns wherever they wanted.

“If you concede, as I think the historical record requires you to, that states did outlaw guns in sensitive places, can’t we just say Times Square on New Year’s Eve is a sensitive place?” Justice Amy Coney Barrett said.

The high court could also issue a more narrow ruling that still leaves room for strong regulations.

“Will they make it impossible to do anything sensible on guns, or the more moderate part of the right of the court, which is basically John Roberts, will he try to nudge them into a some kind of middle position,” Cornell said.

Adams said, as usual, he is putting officers assigned to desk duty back on the street, adding the NYPD will also beef up subway security.

Gov. Kathy Hochul will have to call a special session of the Legislature for any state changes.



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