Adams says he won't let NYC become "Wild, Wild West," vows to "fight back" against SCOTUS carry decision

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

The good news for Eric Adams is that the Big Apple doesn’t have to become the Wild West as a result of today’s Supreme Court decision. The bad news for the mayor is that the city and state do have to adopt the same standard that’s already in place in more than 40 states across the nation, which means that he and other New York City officials can no longer pretend that the right to keep and bear arms doesn’t exist.

Adams held a press conference on Thursday not long after the Supreme Court struck down New York’s “may issue” carry laws, vowing to make it as difficult as possible for law-abiding New Yorkers to legally carry a firearm in self-defense and declaring he won’t let the city become the “Wild West”.

Adams says the city will be working to define “sensitive locations” where concealed carry will be banned, as well as “reviewing our application process to ensure that only those who are fully qualified a carry license.”

Interestingly, New York City doesn’t currently have any sort of training mandate before you can obtain a permit to carry, though you must take a basic pistol safety course before applying for a permit to own a handgun. As long as only a chosen few were permitted to carry, the city actually gave them broad leeway to do so (including carrying on public transportation), but now that the Supreme Court has said the average citizen must also be able to exercise their right to bear arms, you’d better believe the city is going to come up with all kinds of new and onerous training mandates and restrictions on where folks can legally carry; provisions that will almost certainly be challenged in court as soon as they’re approved.

“We will not allow our city to live in fear that everyone around us is armed and that any altercation could devolve into a shootout. We will not allow the men and women of the police department to be subjected to further danger, making their already difficult jobs even more harrowing,” Adams intoned before pledging to “fight back” against today’s decision recognizing the right to carry a firearm in self-defense.

New Yorkers have already been subjected to plenty of headlines about rising violent crime, including shootings and homicicdes, over the past couple of years, and that’s a trend that’s continued since Adams took office. In fact, here’s the New York Post just yesterday.

Six major cities nationwide, including New York and Los Angeles, are already on track to surpass last year’s staggering rates of violent crime, data shows.

Reports of homicide, rape, assault and robbery are on pace to break 2021 levels halfway through the year – with a 25.8% surge in violent crime in the Big Apple atop the list, according to a review of NYPD statistics.

A total of 189 murders have been tallied in New York City as of Sunday, the latest date of available data. That’s down more than 13% from 218 on the same date a year ago, but rapes, robberies and felony assaults are all up: 15.4%. 39.7% and 19.6%, respectively.

Altogether, the 19,972 reports represent an increase of nearly 26% from 2021 levels, data shows.

New Yorkers already fear that the person next to them on the subway or walking down the street is armed, or that any altercation could lead to someone pulling out a gun, in large part because violent criminals don’t give a damn about the “may issue” laws that were in place until today. It’s the law-abiding who are most impacted by New York’s restrictive and unconstitutional carry regime, and it will be law-abiding New Yorkers who most benefit from today’s ruling, at least in theory.

As we’ve seen in both Washington, D.C. and Chicago, however, a good ruling from SCOTUS doesn’t necessarily stop cities from continuing to make it as difficult as possible to exercise our right to keep and bear arms. Almost 15 years after Heller was handed down, there are still no gun stores in Washington, D.C., and no public ranges where folks can get the training required to obtain a concealed carry license. Chicago too is lacking gun stores and ranges, and I suspect that one of the first steps that Adams will take is to impose onerous training requirements that are impossible to meet without traveling outside of the five boroughs, and may not even be offered by most training instructors. Combine that with the city’s lack of gun stores and publicly accessible ranges and the city can still make it nearly impossible for the average New Yorker to get a carry license or even a legally-owned firearm.

The city can also slow-walk the issuing of permits by pulling staff from the NYPD Licensing Bureau or simply refusing to add staff in response to the increased demand for concealed carry licenses. Sure, you can apply for a permit, but the next available appointment is going to be 14 months from now. See you then!

Don’t get me wrong; today’s SCOTUS decision is supremely important and a huge win for gun owners and those hoping to exercise their Second Amendment rights. It will have far reaching implications beyond the right to carry. What it can’t do is force Adams and other anti-gun politicians to recognize that the Second Amendment is a real right that must be treated as such. As long as they still hold our right to keep and bear arms in contempt, they’ll continue to put up as many barriers as possible, and we’re in for more legal battles ahead to tear down those impediments and ensure that every law-abiding American has access to their Second Amendment rights no matter where they live or what political party is in control.