'It just takes one irresponsible person': SCOTUS gun ruling prompts fear, anger among New York City subway riders

‘It just takes one irresponsible person’: SCOTUS gun ruling prompts fear, anger among New York City subway riders

Within the instant aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Courtroom determination making it simpler to hold weapons in public locations, the ideas of many New Yorkers instantly turned underground.

Town’s subway system has lengthy banned firearms, with exceptions for legislation enforcement officers or the small variety of folks with hid carry licenses. These guidelines, officers mentioned, won’t instantly change.

However the 6-3 determination, which struck down a century-old New York statute that gave native officers broad discretion to disclaim hid carry permits, will seemingly pave the best way for extra folks to hold firearms in public areas. And town’s transit system, the place thousands and thousands of riders jostle one another in confined areas every day, might quickly see an inflow of weapons at a time when New Yorkers proceed to quote subway crime as among their prime anxieties.

“The more you load up everyone with guns, the more guns just go off,” mentioned Nathaniel Hendrix, a bottle collector in Occasions Sq..

He was among the transit riders and staff who expressed a mixture of concern and indignation within the wake of Thursday’s ruling – in some instances accusing the conservative-leaning court docket of imposing a harmful precedent in a dense city setting they don’t perceive.

“It’s not a small town community where there’s one messed up situation,” Hendrix continued. “There’s stuff happening here all the time, and now you want to put guns in everybody’s hands? Very smart.”

Bonnie Osborn, a producer in Bushwick, echoed the sentiment, noting that the addition of extra weapons would solely heighten the sense of hazard she’s felt whereas driving the subway because the begin of the pandemic.

“The train, in particular for women, is a little iffy,” she mentioned. “The idea of having more guns in general around makes me nervous.”

The ruling follows a spate of high-profile incidents on the subway, together with two shootings on subway trains within the final two months. Earlier this month, Mayor Eric Adams mentioned the looming determination had saved him up at evening.

“Can you imagine being on the 4 train with someone having a 9mm exposed?” he requested.

For some riders, the hypothetical conjured fears of an impending arms race.

“If everyone else is going to have a gun, why not?” mused one transit employee, who declined to present his title as a result of he wasn’t licensed to talk to the press.

Julia Cesar Diaz, who performs alongside a puppet in Occasions Sq. subway station, mentioned somebody had lately stolen his tools whereas he used the toilet.

“If they have it and I don’t have it, I have to defend myself,” he mentioned, by a translator.

Kristof Brandon, a vacationer visiting from Belgium together with his household, mentioned he was additionally perplexed by the current ruling – and would seemingly keep away from the subways on his subsequent go to if he was compelled to confront the sight of weapons.

“It’s weird that people are allowed to carry guns, for us,” he mentioned. “Every time we hear about a shooting we think: why don’t you change those gun laws to not allow people to carry guns and buy them in shops? But it’s your country.”

In a press release on Thursday, an legal professional for the MTA mentioned the company was within the technique of reassessing its present guidelines, which exempt members of legislation enforcement and people with a hid carry license from the ban on firearms.

Tony Utano, the president of the Transit Employees Union, referred to as on the company, in addition to metropolis and state officers, to “use whatever power they have to the greatest extent to restrict the prevalence of guns in our transit system.”

At a press convention on Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned she would reconvene the state Legislature to go a legislation stopping people from carrying weapons in sure areas, such because the subway, faculties and eating places.

The court docket has beforehand held that hid carry could also be banned in delicate areas. However Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the choice, famous that the state couldn’t merely “declare the island of Manhattan a ‘sensitive place,’” and any makes an attempt to roll again the ruling will seemingly immediate authorized challenges.

In Midtown on Wednesday, Channing Stewart, a vacationer from Kentucky, mentioned she had combined emotions in regards to the Supreme Courtroom determination. Whereas she and her husband each have hid carry permits, they famous their house state had lately performed away with a coaching requirement, leaving them uneasy.

“We have a gun safe and it’s locked up and there’s no access,” Stewart mentioned. “If you’re responsible that’s one thing, but it just takes one irresponsible person.”

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