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Hochul vows special session following Supreme Court decision on carrying concealed weapons

 NY Gov Kathy Hochul holds up the US Supreme Court decision striking down the state's laws restricting the carrying of a concealed weapon, on June 23, 2022.
Kevin P. Coughlin/� 2022 Kevin P. Coughlin / Governor Hochul's Office
� 2022 Kevin P. Coughlin / State
NY Gov Kathy Hochul holds up the US Supreme Court decision striking down the state's laws restricting the carrying of a concealed weapon, on June 23, 2022.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down New York’s restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon in public spaces.

Gov. Kathy Hochul called the decision “reckless and reprehensible” and vowed to hold a special session soon.

The case, brought by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, took issue with the state's laws, which have been on the books since the early 1900s. The laws made it a crime to possess a firearm without a license and required anyone who wanted to carry a concealed firearm outside the home to obtain an additional permit. They could only receive one if they could prove that “proper cause exists” for them to carry the weapon.

The opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, finds that the law violates the U.S. Constitution and prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

Hochul, speaking moments after the ruling, called it deeply disturbing. She said it puts the safety of “millions of New Yorkers” at risk.

Hochul condemned what she called the “insanity of gun culture” that has now reached even the Supreme Court. She said the timing is especially difficult, when people in Buffalo are grieving over a mass shooting in May that killed 10 people at a supermarket in an predominately African American neighborhood.

She said her staff attorneys are working with leaders of the Legislature to craft a remedy to the decision, and will announce details soon.

Hochul said she will be calling the Legislature back into session in the coming weeks to address the issue.

“We are not powerless,” Hochul said.

The decision came as Hochul held a ceremony to sign a bill known as Alyssa’s Law. It requires school districts to install panic alarms so that school officials and students can immediately alert police if there’s a life-threatening incident, including a mass shooting, at their school.

The law is named for Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old who was killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018.

And it comes just a few weeks after Hochul and the Legislature approved a number of gun safety laws, including banning anyone younger than 21 from buying a semi-automatic rifle, and strengthening the state’s red flag laws. Law enforcement are now required to ask a judge for an order to seize the guns of anyone they think might be a threat to themselves or others.

Hochul and lawmakers also made illegal the purchase of body armor, except for people in law enforcement or others professions that could put them in danger. Other new laws require gun manufacturers to allow for the microstamping of bullets to better trace weapons used in commission of crimes.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.