Mass. lawmakers react to Supreme Court ruling on New York gun law

Mass. lawmakers react to Supreme Court ruling on New York gun law
Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A major move by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a New York gun law. The ruling will have an effect on the nation’s gun laws, including in Massachusetts.

With their decision, the Supreme Court said Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. Local legislators said this vote does not directly affect Massachusetts gun laws at this time, but the decision puts them in jeopardy.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to strike down a New York gun law regulating concealed carry, calling it a violation of the Second Amendment.

“I think it’s a wrong decision. I think legally it’s wrong. I think overturning the state’s own legislature and legal process, especially something that has been settled for nearly 100 years, is just patently wrong and I think it’s going to make our families less safe,” said State Senator Eric Lesser.

The 6-3 decision means Americans have a right to carry firearms in public. Supreme Court justices also said the New York law left too much discretion to New York officials.

In Massachusetts, the chiefs of local police departments hold the discretion to grant someone a gun license. That’s why Lesser is worried this vote puts Bay State gun laws in jeopardy.

“They also mention Massachusetts has a similar law, so this puts in jeopardy a lot of the protections we have in place here in Massachusetts,” Lesser added.

The concern is that someone in the state can now challenge Massachusetts law and the same decision could be made.

“Given the Supreme Court decision that already happened and some of the language, you might not even need that challenge to go all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Lesser explained.

Lesser, who is also a candidate for lieutenant governor, told Western Mass News that he’s now calling on his colleagues to help move forward legislation that will protect the state’s current laws.

“We have an urgent issue in front of us, which is doing what we need to do to make sure that our laws stay on the books here in Massachusetts and putting up every legal protection necessary,” Lesser added.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Attorney General and candidate for governor Maura Healey tweeted out her initial reaction to the vote and said:

“For centuries, local officials have regulated how firearms may be carried in public. SCOTUS is ignoring history and jeopardizing the safety of our public spaces. I stand by our commonsense gun laws. I’ll continue to enforce them because they keep our communities safe.”

U.S. Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey released a statement regarding the decision that read, in part:

“We know concealed weapons near schools or on street corners across Massachusetts – or anywhere in our country – won’t make parents or their children feel any safer. The supreme court has now placed the safety of these families at risk.”