Already this year, the New York Police Department has recovered more than 3,000 guns, a 28-year high.
Across the city and state, authorities are bracing for a Supreme Court ruling that could strike down a century-old New York State law placing strict limits on the carrying of handguns.
Overturning the law could make it far easier to carry a handgun legally n the state, which may have violent consequences for cities already struggling to tamp down a spike in gun crime that began two years ago, the New York Times reports.
“A lot more people are going to now want to go out and get guns. And for all the wrong reasons,” said Richard Aborn of the nonprofit Citizens Crime Commission. “I have people telling me they decided to get a gun that I never dreamed would go out and get a gun. They’re not going to use it illegally but they’re feeling this need to arm themselves in a way that I’ve not seen before.”
If more people are armed, what would otherwise have been minor confrontations could turn deadly.
When the Supreme Court heard arguments over the law in November, a number of justices appeared predisposed against it, leading experts to believe that it will be struck down.
Other states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts, have similar laws that could also be invalidated.
New York State requires anyone who wants to purchase a handgun to apply for a state license. There is an additional level of scrutiny for people who want a license that allows them to carry their gun outside their home. The two Supreme Court petitioners, both upstate New Yorkers, are challenging the laws governing the carrying of handguns. Gun control advocates worry that the rules for acquiring handguns will be next.
Twenty-five states now allow their citizens to carry guns without a permit. The majority of those laws have passed in the last decade, and a number have passed in the last two years, including those in Ohio and Georgia.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has said that she would consider calling a special legislative session if the law were overturned.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said his team was planning to work with Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and other district attorneys on new legislation to “protect New Yorkers and withstand legal challenge.”
Bragg's office is planning for a storm of litigation should the law be overturned, including lawyers filing motions to dismiss gun possession indictments and even convictions.