Reason calls out NYT for glossing over carry law impact

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

I don’t always agree with what I read at Reason, but I have always respected that the positions detailed there are at least well-thought-out.

On the subject of the Second Amendment, though, I tend to find little disagreement there. After all, they’re libertarians who value the right to keep and bear arms and so am I. Why wouldn’t I agree?


Recently, Jacob Sullum, who writes a lot of pro-gun stuff, set his sites on the New York Times. You see, the Old Gray Lady kind of glossed over the impact of New York state’s new concealed carry law.

“New York’s Gun Laws Sow Confusion As Nation Rethinks Regulation,” says the headline over this morning’s lead story in The New York Times. But after implicitly (and correctly) blaming state legislators for the “confusion,” the Times identifies a different culprit in the subhead: the Supreme Court’s June 23 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which “overturn[ed] century-old New York gun regulations” and “produced scores of new lawsuits,” leaving “jurists and citizens” to “sort out what’s legal.”

In Bruen, the Court held that the right to bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment precludes states from requiring that residents “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community” before they are allowed to carry handguns outside their homes. The New York State Legislature responded with a law that eliminated the state’s “proper cause” requirement for carry permits but simultaneously imposed new restrictions on public possession of firearms.

“Anticipating more gun-toting,” Times reporter Jonah E. Bromwich says, the legislature “made certain areas off-limits to firearms.” That gloss makes the new restrictions sound prudent and modest. In reality, they are so sweeping that they create a risk of felony charges for anyone who tries to exercise the right recognized in Bruen while engaging in quotidian activities. The Times barely hints at the breadth of New York’s location-specific gun bans, which is crucial in understanding why federal judges have deemed many of them unconstitutional.


We’ve outlined a lot of those restrictions, and most of you are already familiar with them, so I won’t reiterate them yet again. Besides, Sullum outlines them quite well at Reason.

In short, though, they’re so extensive that it’s pretty much a no-gun to carry even with a permit.

And yes, judges have deemed them unconstitutional, because while they followed the letter of the instructions given to them in the Bruen decision to not make the whole island of Manhattan a sensitive location by not doing so explicitly, they missed Justice Clarence Thomas’s point and kind of did it anyway.

With those carrying facing up to four years in prison for carrying where they’re not supposed to, there’s reason for concern.

And yet, the Times apparently missed the fact that according to the law passed, damn near the entire state is off-limits. They kind of glossed that part over, seemingly pretending that the exceptions were somehow greater than the rule.

They were not.

As it stands, the state of New York is off-limits and the New York Times really should have acknowledged that fact.

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