The fight for the rights of people in one state is a fight for the rest of America and, indeed, the union.
The constant struggle and tug of war between preserving the Second Amendment to its very core and decades of government policies dictating gun ownership and usage, continues.
The state of New York has arguably one of America’s strictest gun control laws. And yet, we learned in late June that the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) struck down a law that required the state’s residents to have “proper cause” to carry a handgun. The SCOTUS ruled that New York’s laws that made it difficult for residents to obtain a concealed carry permit were unconstitutional.
Republican Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion for a 6-3 majority, expressing that the New York law violated the U.S. Constitution. He also indicated that additional gun law regulations detached from America’s “historical tradition of firearm regulation” would need to be thoroughly examined in federal court.
The battle between government control and personal rights
Unsurprisingly, no sooner than early July and New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul had signed a new gun control bill. This latest legislation was quickly enacted into law shortly after New York’s Democratic-controlled Legislature passed the proposal.
The new gun law will require people trying to purchase a handgun license to provide a list of social media accounts held over the last three years so that New York officials can affirm their “character and conduct.” As a mandatory condition for anyone in the state seeking a concealed carry permit, social media screenings supposedly aim to assess their “good moral character.”
Individuals applying for a license to conceal carry a handgun will also be required to complete the following:
- provide four character references that show “the essential character; temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself and others,”
- perform 16 hours of gun safety training, and
- practice 2 hours of shooting at a gun range.
And if the above wasn’t enough, New Yorkers with concealed carry permits will be subject to periodic background checks; they will also have to provide social media accounts and contact information of adults in their household. And to top it all off, the law comments that licenses will have to be renewed after three years.
Where can New Yorkers carry a gun?
Under the law, which will take effect in early September, concealed firearms will be banned from “sensitive locations,” including Times Square and public transformation of subways and buses, as well as government buildings, churches, schools, libraries, parks—and bars. Moreover, firearms will also be prohibited inside private organizations unless business owners explicitly state that guns are permitted by posting a sign of approval.
At this stage, we might start wondering where exactly someone can carry a firearm in the state of New York?
The reasoning of New York’s governor
During a recent press conference, Hochul was asked if she had “numbers to show that it’s the concealed carry permit holders that are committing crimes?”
Hochul’s response: “I don’t need to have numbers. I don’t need to have a data point to say this. I know that I have a responsibility for this state to have sensible gun safety laws.”
So there we have the logic of New York’s governor. Without any data to support if people carrying concealed permits are gunning down people left, center and right, Hochul believes that her “sensible gun safety laws” will prevent mass shootings and the taking of innocent lives.
Consider New York City (NYC). Sadly, we learned that more than 50 people were shot in NYC over the 4th of July Independence Day weekend. According to the city’s crime statistics, there were 414 gun arrests in May 2022, raising the total number of gun arrests in 2022 to 2,007, which is a 4.4 percent increase compared with January to May 2021. For the month of May 2022, there were 118 shooting incidents in NYC, a decrease of 31.4 percent compared to the same month last year.
According to Hochul, knowing whether the firearms were obtained legally or otherwise in these incidents is totally unnecessary.
But wait, there’s more—a body armor ban
New York’s recent law has a ban on the acquisition of body armor by anybody beyond government-controlled professionals. As a result, such protective clothing, which is designed to keep oneself safe from physical attacks, will be unavailable for New Yorkers to purchase legally.
According to Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson, “Unless your profession puts you at risk of gun violence, there is no reason you need this kind of body armor.” He added that the bill will help to prevent bulletproof by those “who want to protect themselves from law enforcement or other security officers while harming others.”
The problem is that those who intend to harm others can use the same tools available to everyone else who have no intention of harming another person. Hence, what about the everyday decent American who is concerned about their safety and the safety of their loved ones?
A former police officer and current tactical trainer Greg Ellifritz expressed that “lots of legislators” were hinting about restricting the sale of body armor to private citizens but then added that “Obviously, that will do nothing to prevent an active killer attack but they feel pressed to ‘do something.’”
Indeed, a mentally ill or disturbed individual who intends to cause harm might as well illegally purchase anything and everything needed to commit the intentional act.
Yet, according to the representatives of four body armor companies, including UARM USA Corp., Spartan Armor Systems, Armored Republic and National Body Armor, there has been a rise in body armor sales following the tragic mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. They believe their customers seek protection because they feel increasingly unsafe and are buying covert bulletproof T-shirts, backpacks and standard bulletproof vests.
Dave Goldberg, the CEO of National Body Armor, said his company sales “went from having most products in stock, shipping same day, to now taking four to six weeks.”
Therefore, there is a growing demand from everyday Americans to buy body armor for self-defense, and yet New York’s gun control bill will restrict many decent Americans from protecting themselves and those they care about the most. Meanwhile, people with a deranged mental state intending to cause suffering without remorse will most likely illegally obtain their armors and weapons of choice. Or, in some cases, the shrewd-minded will find someone to help them purchase whatever they need from a different state—a perfect solution to all our “gun problems.”
No, seriously, the growing political gap between Republican and Democrat-controlled states is profoundly concerning. Nevertheless, Americans can take pride—and a sigh of relief—in knowing that our Second Amendment is better protected across many states. Conservative activists residing in states with the strictest gun laws could be supported in learning that their fight to preserve the right to protect ourselves is a fight not just for their state but for the rest of America—and indeed, the union.
By: Cameron Keegan
Cameron Keegan is a researcher and writer on U.S. politics, education, faith, and culture affecting young people through a conservative disposition. To learn more about Cameron’s work, visit https://ckeeganan.substack.com, and for comments or questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Casey Connell on Unsplash