Supreme Court gun decision draws party-line response from NY governor candidates

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn New York’s longstanding restrictions on concealed-carry gun permits drew two distinct responses from the state’s major candidates for governor that, like the court itself, fell along ideological lines: The Democrats hated it and the Republicans loved it.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and her two Democratic challengers – New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi – all decried Thursday’s 6-3 decision, which struck down the state’s 1911 law requiring gun owners to prove they have a specific need for self-defense in order to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public.

“This is not well-regulated,” Williams said, referencing the Second Amendment’s reference to a well-regulated militia. “It is irresponsible, illogical, and immoral.”

On the Republican side, candidates Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani and Rob Astorino cheered the ruling, painting it as a major victory for Second Amendment rights.

Astorino, the former Westchester County executive who has a concealed carry permit in his home county, said the ruling affirms New Yorkers have a “right to carry firearms for protection.”

“This is a good day for law-abiding New Yorkers, and a lousy day for gun-carrying criminals who have been terrifying defenseless citizens and communities,” he said in a statement.

The fourth Republican candidate, businessman Harry Wilson, issued a statement that didn’t address the ruling but accused Hochul and her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, of “unconstitutionally restricting the freedoms of law-abiding citizens.”

Hochul responded to the decision minutes after it came down during a previously scheduled news conference in her Manhattan office.

She called the court’s actions “reckless and reprehensible,” and said she’ll call state lawmakers back to the Capitol to dull its effects by passing bills prohibiting guns in “sensitive areas” like schools and the New York City subway system.

“If the federal government will not have sweeping laws to protect us, then 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 now possessed everyone all the way up to even to the Supreme Court,” Hochul said.

But Hochul’s opponents on both sides of the aisle used the decision to highlight her past gun-friendly positions when she was a member of Congress a decade ago, representing a conservative district in western New York.

That includes a 2011 vote in favor of a bill that would have allowed anyone with a state-issued concealed carry permit to carry their weapon across state lines. (The bill died in the Senate and never became law.)

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