Blue states scramble to find reforms after the Supreme Court relaxed rules on concealed carry

Blue state leaders are scrambling to craft legislative reforms in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that threatens state laws requiring people to show a “proper reason” for carrying a firearm.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat in one of several states directly affected, signed an executive order Friday directing all state departments and agencies to come up with ways to regulate how and when guns may be carried or displayed.

More importantly, he plans to work with lawmakers to “expand the number and types” of so-called sensitive locations where the public is prohibited from carrying a firearm. Leaders in New York said they are looking at a similar strategy as they try to block guns from as many places as possible while avoiding blanket geographical bans that would violate the new ruling.

“While the Supreme Court may have dispensed with common sense, it has affirmed outdated rules prohibiting the carrying of firearms in certain sensitive locations such as schools and government buildings,” Mr. Murphy said.

He detailed a long wish list of sensitive spaces that include stadiums, arenas, public transportation, and bars or restaurants where alcohol is served. He also wants gun ban rules in day care centers, long-term care centers and hospitals, as well as gathering places such as polling places, courts and government buildings.

Mr. Murphy also said guns should not be carried on private property unless expressly permitted by the owner.

Thursday’s 6-3 Supreme Court ruling overturned the New York law governing concealed carry permits, which requires applicants to show they have a special fear that justifies the need to carry a weapon. For example, living in a high-crime neighborhood wasn’t necessarily a good enough reason.

Another Supreme Court ruling on Friday overshadowed the ruling that overturned the nationwide abortion right in Roe v. Wade. But the fallout from the gun rule, better known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, has directly affected the blue states and will spark legislative debates across the country.

California, Hawaii, Maryland, and Massachusetts have similar gun laws that “might” be on the books, and so does the District of Columbia, although its statutes were suspended by a 2017 court ruling.

These places, along with New York and New Jersey, cover about a quarter of the country’s population.

Prosecutors in the affected countries were quick to say that they are brainstorming ways to adjust their restrictions while passing their mobilization under the ruling.

Our office has been monitoring this case closely. “We are working with the governor and the legislature to advance constitutional legislation that will keep Californians safe,” said California Attorney General Ron Ponta. “In the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Ovaldi, and with gun deaths at an all-time high, ensuring that dangerous individuals are not allowed to carry concealed firearms is more important than ever.”

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh pledged to “determine his impact in our state, and we will continue to fight to protect the safety of Maryland residents.”

“The epidemic of gun violence that sweeps our nation daily demonstrates the folly of bringing more guns into this boiling cauldron,” he said.

Meanwhile, proponents of broader gun rights see an opportunity.

State Senator Edward Dorr, a Republican who defeated New Jersey’s second-most powerful Democrat in November, said the court’s decision paved the way for legislation that would replace the justified need clause with improved training.

“Clearly, New Jersey’s highly restrictive cryptic pregnancy law is unconstitutional for the same reason that the New York law has just been struck down by the Supreme Court,” said Mr. Dor. “I have proposed repealing the justified need requirement from the concealed carry law which the United States Supreme Court has said violates the Second Amendment. Furthermore, I have proposed requiring thorough training to ensure that those who will be carrying in public are well versed in the safe handling, use and care of their firearms” .

Judge Brett Kavanaugh said states could impose additional training or background checks requirements on permit holders, but that the criteria should be “objective.”

Mr. Dor’s bill may align with the conservative majority’s view, but it faces longstanding disagreements in the Democratic-controlled legislature in Trenton.

Mr. Murphy indicated that his team would focus on limiting access to firearms where possible.

New Jersey Police Chief Patrick J. Callahan said that on his first day as a soldier, one motorist shot another on the side of the highway after a road rage incident.

“I was always thinking, what if the driver of the car who fired the bullet couldn’t reach that gun. Maybe he would have ended up with some hand gestures and then they were gone.”

The Garden State’s comments echoed a push that New York Gov. Cathy Hochhol outlined a day earlier.

Ms. Hochhol, a Democrat facing re-election this year, said she wants to add new permit requirements and expand the list of sensitive sites where the use of guns may be prohibited.

It is looking forward to a special session in July to pass legislative reforms.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said creating new sensitive areas would be important but also challenging, given the lengthening of the judges’ decision.

The Supreme Court says you can’t block Manhattan completely. He told NBC 4: “That’s a problem, especially when you look at the Times Square area. We had over 300,000 people. [who] Visited Times Square last Monday. Our tourism is back. And when you mention that you can’t create those public areas or government areas as sensitive sites, it makes it very difficult for our city, our subway system.”

Not everyone in New York resents the court.

The two top Republican contenders for the governor, Andrew Giuliani and Representative Lee Zelden, hailed the decision as a victory for constitutional rights.

Zelden said: “While former A-rated U.S. House of Representatives member (NRA) Kathy Hochhol becomes more and more a mobile identity crisis every passing day, it is best that she not take her next step in this once again attack on committed New Yorkers. by law.” “If Hochhol does, it will increase my likelihood of being elected to office in November because New Yorkers need and deserve a governor who will defend unapologetically liberties, liberty, and the Constitution.”

Alex Sawyer contributed to this report.

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