Bruen Is Making Things Better for Some NYC Bodega Workers

(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

The Bruen decision may not have ended the debate over the right to carry, but despite the “carry killer” bills introduced in anti-gun states and some activist judges twisting the Supreme Court’s opinion beyond recognition in order to uphold anti-gun statutes, progress is being made… albeit not as quickly as we’d like.


The fact is that Bruen really didn’t change much in the vast majority of states, which were already “shall issue” when the Supreme Court struck down New York’s subjective “may issue” scheme. It’s in those restrictive states where we’ve been able to see the biggest changes; tens of thousands of new concealed carry holders in Maryland, the first concealed carry licenses issued to non-law enforcement employees in Hawaii, and permits finally being approved in anti-gun jurisdictions like San Francisco, to name just a few successes.

Even in New York City, where Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have done their best to turn the metropolis into one big “gun-free zone”, Bruen is having a positive impact on the right to armed self-defense.

Hundreds of bodega owners across New York City are now armed with guns.

The bodega owners say violent thefts continue to plague their businesses, and they need to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers.

The United Bodegas of America organized the push to get more of the business owners to get concealed-carry licenses.

The organization also provides the grocers with gun training.

ABC 7’s Joe Torres recently spoke with Fernando Mateo and Radhames Rodriguez of the United Bodegas of America about the push to arm bodega workers. The pair say at least 250 workers have applied for their permits, and some of them have already been approved and are now carrying on the job… including Rodriguez.


“I have a gun because I don’t want anything to happen,” Rodriguez said. “So I did my research and took my training so I could have one.”

“Having a gun isn’t going to make me Superman,” he added. “I think now I have more responsibility, I’m more careful about how I’m going to talk with people, just in case anything happens in my store or in the street or wherever I am.”

Mateo told Torres that it’s still “almost impossible” to get a carry permit in New York City, and even alleged that post-Bruen you still have to have a “good reason” to carry, which shouldn’t be the case. The Supreme Court ruled that permits based on “justifiable need” or “good cause” requirements violate the Second Amendment’s protections, but the city is still trying to make applicants demonstrate “good moral character” before approving license applications. That particular provision was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge John P. Cronan last October, but the city has appealed Cronan’s opinion to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Despite the many barriers the state and city are erecting between citizens and their right to keep and bear arms, the United Bodegas of America staff say there’s a growing interest among bodega workers who are looking for an added layer of protection. Mateo told Torres that he knows not everyone is happy with the fact that some bodega workers are carrying on the job, but declared, “we’re not the ones to fear.”


“Gun owners are not the ones out there committing crimes. They’re the ones that can save a situation when it’s going on, so you know, people speak about ‘more guns and more shootings’. No, absolutely not. If the right people have the guns, then there are a lot less shootings,” Mateo asserted.

Restricting the average New Yorker from exercising their right to bear arms certainly didn’t make New York City crime-free, and allowing (however reluctantly) average citizens to carry a firearm in self-defense hasn’t turned the city into the Wild West. The Big Apple still has a long way to go before it truly recognizes and respects the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but for those bodega workers who are now lawfully carrying when they’re behind the counter the Bruen decision has already had a major, and life-saving, impact.

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