New York City Supports New York State In Fight Against Gun Violence

January 20, 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix today took action to protect New Yorkers from gun violence.

The New York City Department of Law has filed two amicus briefs with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in support of New York state’s legal fight against gun violence in two cases — Antonyuk v. Hochul and National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. v. James (NSSF v. James— that seek to invalidate common sense gun laws that protect the public. One amicus brief — in the case Antonyuk v. Hochul — argues for the reversal of a court ruling blocking provisions of the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) that prohibits guns in sensitive locations and sets new gun-licensing requirements for concealed carry permits. A separate amicus brief — in the case NSSF v. James — argues in support of a lower court ruling upholding a state “nuisance” statute, which was used by New York City to stop retailers from illegally selling ghost guns and the kits used to make them to city residents.  

“Gun violence is sadly something we’ve all seen and felt too often in New York City, and across our state,” said Mayor Adams. “The Concealed Carry Improvement Act and the state’s nuisance statutes are both critical to damming the rivers feeding the sea of gun violence and keeping us all safe. Under our administration, we have already been able to stop the sale and delivery of illegal ghost guns to our city from five online retailers, and the New York City Police Department continues to take illegal guns off our streets every day. We are proud to support Attorney General James and the state in the fight against gun violence and in ensuring our streets are not riddled with gun violence.”

“While New Yorkers grapple with a gun violence problem, gun groups are trying to bring an end to a reasonable measure that prohibits guns in sensitive places and sets sensible requirements to apply for a concealed-carry license — regulations of a type that have a long history in the state and across the nation,” said Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix. “The gun industry is also attempting to strip away common sense gun laws that are a critical part of the solution, by wiping a law off the books that the city used to stop retailers from illegally shipping deadly ghost guns into the city. The city of New York stands with the attorney general in defending against the misguided efforts of the gun industry that threaten the health and safety of our communities.”

The CCIA was enacted following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which ruled that a state law requiring proper cause to carry a concealed weapon in New York state was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs obtained a court ruling blocking certain pieces of the CCIA’s “sensitive location” restrictions and licensure requirements, which the Second Circuit has stayed pending New York Attorney General Letitia James’ appeal. 

In the Antonyuk v. Hochul amicus brief, New York City supports the appeal filed by Attorney General James, arguing that the district court erred in its ruling because it ignored a long tradition of local regulations of firearms, which existed since the state’s founding. The brief argues that these regulations provide strong evidence that the original public understanding of the right to bear arms tolerated appropriate limitations in certain sensitive locations, similar to the sensitive location provisions in the CCIA. The brief also makes the case that the CCIA’s good-moral-character licensure standard, and attendant disclosures required of license applicants, were fully consistent with the recent Supreme Court ruling in Bruen because they work to ensure that only law-abiding citizens are authorized to carry firearms. 

In the NSSF v. James amicus brief, the state’s largest cities — New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse — join forces to support New York state in its defense of a state law allowing cities and private individuals to sue a member of the gun industry for unlawful or unreasonable business practices that cause harm in the state. Last year, New York City sued five online ghost-gun retailers under this “nuisance law” to stop the companies from illegally selling these guns and the kits to make them to New Yorkers. To date, New York City has negotiated agreements with four companies and obtained a preliminary injunction against the fifth to stop the illegal sale of these ghost guns and kits.

The amicus brief supports Attorney General James — who is defending the law in a challenge brought by the gun industry — arguing that a lower court was correct in holding that the statute is consistent with federal law and constitutional. The brief states that, on average, in New York state, 870 people die and thousands more are wounded every year from gun violence, and the law helps cities target the sources of illegal firearms. Improving even a single gun dealer’s sales practices can materially reduce the availability of illegal weapons in an entire community, according to the amicus.  

Mayor Adams has made combatting gun violence and removing illegal guns from New York City streets a top priority of his administration. In the first year of his administration, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) removed more than 7,100 illegal guns from New York City streets. Additionally, thanks to the NYPD’s efforts shootings over the course of 2022 reduced by more than 17 percent compared to 2021, meaning hundreds of fewer people were shot over the course of the year, Additionally, there were more than 4,600 gun arrests in 2022 — a 27-year high.

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