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NY Governor Kathy Hochul Could Learn Something Important From the Indiana Mall Shooting. But She Won’t.


New York Governor Kathy Hochul
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

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The recent heroics of an Indiana man to neutralize a murderer in a mall shows the folly of New York’s new law restricting where law-abiding citizens can legally carry a firearm with a state-issued permit.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision struck down New York’s “may issue” pistol permit law. In response, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul pushed through a middle-of-the-night gun control bill that expanded new “gun free zone” designations. Recent events, however, are proving again that gun-free zones are deadly.

‘Mass Confusion’

The expanded list of “sensitive locations” included in Gov. Hochul’s law prohibits concealed carry in federal, state and local government buildings, health and medical facilities, daycares, parks, zoos and playgrounds, public transportation including subways and buses, polling sites, schools and even publicly-utilized state forest preserves. The new law has caused mass confusion.

Lisa and Richard MacLeod own Recon Defense, a business in Greene County, New York that sells firearms and provides training and education to customers. Since Gov. Hochul’s new laws went into effect, they’ve been inundated. “Our phone has not stopped ringing. As far as what does this mean? Everyone is so confused no one knows what to do,” Lisa told media. The MacLeods aren’t alone.

Law-abiding New Yorkers are concerned they’ll be entangled in the consequences of the law. New York Republicans, state Sen. Dan Stec and Assemblyman Matt Simpson, have drafted clarifying legislation.

“Adirondack Park residents deserve better than vague answers and conflicting statements from the governor’s office and state legislators over the intent and application of their gun control law,” said Sen. Stec. Assemblyman Simpson added their bill is necessary to avoid “frivolous prosecution of law-abiding citizens.”

Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond criticized the legislation, saying it will backfire and expose New Yorkers to more criminality instead of making them safer. “At this rate, it will not be long until we find ourselves in a state where only the criminals have guns,” Sheriff DuMond said.

SCOTUS is Leery

Gov. Hochul steamrolled her law in response to the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling. If she paid attention she’d know striking down the subjective law and protecting the Constitutional rights is exactly where the Court was headed.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh questioned New York’s solicitor general why the discretionary law should stand during Bruen’s oral arguments.

Justice Samuel Alito added, “Why isn’t it good enough to say I live in a violent area, and I want to be able to defend myself? All these people with illegal guns, they’re on the subway, they’re walking around the streets. But the ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding people I mentioned, no, they can’t be armed?”

Several lawsuits have already been filed, including another suit by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the winning plaintiff in Bruen.

A Watershed Moment

In Gov. Hochul’s home town, a deranged, racist criminal murdered 10 innocent New Yorkers at a grocery store in Buffalo. He choose the location, in part, because it was a “gun free zone” and New York’s restrictive laws would, “make it harder for someone to stop him,” reported the Buffalo News.

Halfway across the country, in Greenwood, Indiana, a deranged individual attempted to murder innocent Americans in a “gun-free zone” mall. However, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb had recently signed constitutional carry into law allowing law-abiding Indianans who pass an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification to carry concealed firearms.

A 22-year-old man also ignored the “gun-free zone” designation and returned fire within seconds of the attack, saving an unknown number of innocent lives. Indiana police labeled Elisjsha Dicken a “Good Samaritan” and his actions “heroic.”

There are countless examples of lawful conceal carriers putting a stop to criminals. They hardly receive the media attention that Dicken has. What’s clear is the two approaches here couldn’t be more opposite. While Governor Holcomb empowered citizens to protect themselves, Gov. Hochul chose to double-down on restricting rights and is emboldening criminals over law-abiding Americans. Again.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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