The Supreme Court recently struck down New York's concealed carry law on Thursday, June 23, 2022, potentially making it easier for dangerous people to carry guns in public. The 6-3 ruling was divided among ideology lines, with the 6 conservative judges voting to strike down the law and the 3 liberals voting to uphold the law. I spoke with New York's Lt. Gov. Antonio Delagado about it, and he said,

The decision is reckless.

For residents who have been trying to stop gun violence across the state, the court's decision is a slap in the face. It's also quite disheartening for many people to have it come after a racist shot and killed 10 people in Buffalo on May 14. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said,

The federal government will not have sweeping laws to protect us ... our states and our governors have a moral responsibility to do what we can and have laws that protect our citizens because of what is going on — the insanity of the gun culture that has possessed everyone all the way up to the Supreme Court.

New York Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Strengthening Gun Laws
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New York's Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado Responds To Supreme Court Gun Law Ruiling, Details State's Efforts To Control Gun Violence

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Yasmin: "Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down New York's concealed carry law basically and essentially making it so much easier for people to carry guns and potentially making it a lot easier for people with bad intentions to carry guns in public and do damage, like we saw here in Buffalo on May 14. What is your response to the Supreme Court ruling?"

Lt. Gov. Delgado: "It's disgusting. The decision is reckless and has a very high probability of causing more harm. It is also completely divorced from reality in that we see all the trend lines in terms of even at the federal level, with the passage in the Senate of an attempt to deal with gun violence moving in a good direction in response to some real tragedies out in Buffalo and of course, in Texas. So you see a collective awareness to make sure we do this in the right way. At the same time, we have unelected actors in the Supreme Court dictating in a way that is no attachment to what's going on on the ground undermining this effort. And that's what's really frightening, because it shouldn't be that way. The people on the ground should dictate how we respond to this. And every state is going to be different. Every state has a different makeup of population, densely populated areas. And so there's a need for every state to be able to navigate through this in a way that is more tied to the dynamics on the ground. And if you read the Court's opinion, they don't even assess the dynamics on the ground. There's no analysis of why a state like New York might want to protect against folks carrying because she represents public spaces. The opinion itself is just in terms of how it is reasoned, is fundamentally flawed. And obviously, they have to respond and figure out how to address this moving forward."

Yasmin: "Absolutely. And I know that Governor Hockey plans to create new legislation. I know that the state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is drafting rules to keep weapons off of subways, trains, busses. What are the next steps for the state when it comes to gun safety and ensuring that this doesn't become the Wild, Wild West?"

Lt. Gov Delgado: "I think it's important for the listeners to understand that, yes, the Court made this ruling, but it does not immediately go into effect. The law, as it is currently written still stands. It was kicked down to the lower courts, who are going to then explain or give the timeline for when it applies. In the meantime, we're working, as you noted, with our state actors, with law enforcement, with mayors across the country to figure out what steps we can take that can mitigate the potential harm of rolling back this law. You spoke about transit systems, schools. We have to be able to designate certain public spaces that will require people to not be able to carry weapons or concealed arms into these spaces. So while the actual process of obtaining a concealed carry permit might have to be less burdensome as indicated by the Supreme Court, that does not mean that at the state level we are not able to enact the legislation and still protect folks in certain areas. And so we're looking at trying to make sure we can identify what those areas are and create some guardrails. The other piece of this is going to be making sure that training is more involved if folks are seeking a permit as well."

"So there are different ways for us to pursue how to get out in front of this. And we're working with the state body, like I said, local elected officials and law enforcement to best ascertain how to move forward in response to this horrible decision."

Yasmin: "And I know that there has been a massive effort by this administration to put resources in place to help fight gun violence in places across the state. Can you tell us about some of those moves that have been made and what might be happening in the future?"

Lt. Gov Delgado: "Yes, we certainly have been out front as the state trying to set the table and set the bar for the rest of the country to follow, whether it's raising the age from 18 to 21 for those who can purchase by automatics, whether it's tightening up our red flag laws which are very important in terms of how they're executed and implemented. I'll note that at the federal level, the bill that just passed the Senate actually is putting a lot of money towards incentivizing states to adopt that flag law. So that's a really good development and it's good to know that our lead is being followed and now the federal government will incentivize other states to take on these red flag laws. We were able to ban purchase of body armor as we saw with the last set of tragedies. We have killers being able to walk around with body armor and they shouldn't be able to possess. So that's something we've been able to do. And then of course, making sure that we put more and more money into violence prevention and violence interruption programs so that as these things are materializing in real time on the ground, we have the capacity to stop it so that it doesn't grow and scale beyond the immediate moment."

"And ideally we also want to get out of front of the act altogether. So that means investing in after school programs, before school programs, summer programs that are healthy for our young people as they navigate oftentimes dangerous neighborhoods."

Yasmin: "I appreciate just personally, I want to thank you and Governor Hochel for really getting out in front of this and making the efforts to keep us safe because we've seen these tragic situations just happened so many times, whether it's a mass shooting or whether it's shootings in our neighborhoods. And I appreciate the efforts that you guys are taking and making and the leadership that you're putting forth to make sure that we can stay safe, that we can enjoy our neighborhoods, that we don't constantly have to look over our shoulders and always wonder if today's the day. So I do appreciate that. Thank you."

Lt. Gov. Delgado: "I appreciate that sentiment. And we're definitely going to keep doing whatever we can. I know it's a process right now and it's a little bit concerning in terms of what the Supreme Court has done here, more than a little bit, but certainly here in New York, and me and you having Governor Hockel, two people who are going to do everything we can to protect our good folks here in the state and keep our community safe."

Thankfully, New York is a state that believes in strong gun laws to help protect residents from people looking to do harm with guns, both legal and illegal.

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