No, right to carry won't make gun violence worse

AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer

The Supreme Court is set to rule as to whether you have a right to carry a gun outside your home. This is likely to be the biggest ruling on the Second Amendment since the McDonald decision back in 2010.

Yet some are gearing up to argue that “gun violence” is going to be far worse if the Court rules the way everyone expects them to.

We’re seeing op-eds saying as much.

The carnage on New York’s subway unleashed when a lone gunman fired 33 shots inside an N train, an attack that resulted in nearly two dozen injuries and a public panic, brings into sharp focus the continuing danger of Second Amendment absolutism in contemporary America. What makes this horrific event even more chilling is the likelihood that the Supreme Court will in the coming months strike down a century-old New York law limiting permits to carry arms to those who demonstrate a specified threat or a heightened need for carrying a gun in public. Such a decision could easily lead to more guns on New York’s subways and on New York’s streets.

During the oral argument in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the most important Supreme Court case on the Second Amendment in over a decade, Justice Elena Kagan and former solicitor general Paul Clement debated whether New York had the authority to limit guns on the subway. “The idea of proliferating arms on the subway is precisely, I think, what terrifies a great many people,” said Kagan. When pressed, Clement hesitated to concede but reluctantly admitted that it might be permitted for the city or state to impose such a restriction.

Over the course of generations, gun rights advocates have embraced a radical libertarian ideology that does not expand liberty for Americans, it undermines it. And though Clement, Alito and Greene style themselves as defenders of the original vision of the U.S. Constitution, the authors of the Second Amendment were not opponents of gun regulation, but heirs to a long tradition of regulating arms in the public square.

However, what the author fails to note–after invoking the tragedy that took place on a New York subway platform–is that neither New York City nor New York state recognizes an individual’s right to carry. That’s the crux of the entire Supreme Court challenge.

Yet that refusal to recognize that right didn’t stop a madman from taking a gun onto a subway platform and opening fire. The rules meant to prevent just that simply didn’t work because laws only impact the law-abiding.

They sure didn’t stop the shooter in New York, now did they?

Who they did potentially stop were those on the subway platform who might have been interested in carrying a firearm but couldn’t due to the laws on the books at the time. They were disarmed and at the mercy of the man who eventually opened fire.

Those are the people disarmed by laws like New York, and it’s why we need the Court to overturn them.

So-called gun violence hasn’t gone away in New York City because of their restrictions on carrying firearms. Criminals do it all the time.

The “radical libertarian ideology” the author derides is based in part on an understanding that the criminals aren’t being stopped by such laws and gun violence continues to proliferate.

Gun violence won’t go away because you wish it away with laws that have long been proven to not work. Maybe the Court’s upcoming ruling will force places like New York to deal with the real issues rather than pretending gun violence is the inevitable result of gun rights.