For law-abiding New Yorkers, there is currently no quick and easy way to protect yourself in your own home with a firearm. Even if you have no criminal record, no history of mental illness, and no desire to carry a gun outside your home, you still need to apply for an expensive gun license. On June 23, the Supreme Court struck down an additional requirement to show greater need, or “good cause,” if you want to carry your gun in public.
An associate professor in the Department of Public Administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice told me that based on anecdotal evidence, generally retired police officers, people transporting large sums of money, those with an immediate and credible death threat, and those Celebrities are more likely to be approved for licenses to carry firearms in public. And given the high cost of the application process, gun ownership is really only available to those with means.
I support background checks, waiting periods, assault weapon bans, and gun control proposals that make it harder for people to get guns. We must fight for a world where the only people with guns are responsible citizens trained in gun safety who purchased their guns legally, stored them safely, and used them only for hunting or sport shooting, or as last resort for personal protection. Gun owners in New York should be required to take continuing education courses to renew their licenses. When gun owners are not properly trained and guns are not stored properly, there is a tremendous risk of injury to themselves and others.
But the truth is that the world we live in is awash with illegal weapons. Ghost guns, which are assembled from components bought online and cannot be traced, are prevalent in coastal states with strict gun laws, and hundreds have been seized by the New York City Police Department in recent years. New York’s onerous gun license requirements deter law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves. And while city officials boast that gun arrests are at their highest point in 28 years and shooting incidents are down last month, murders, rapes, robberies and assaults are up compared to the same period last year.
The unfortunate reality is that you are more likely to be shot and killed by a relative or someone you know than a stranger if you are female. While the majority of murders in the United States involve a gun, the majority of gun deaths in the United States are actually suicides, and preventing gun deaths is as much about investing in mental health and our communities as it is to enact purchase restrictions.
To be sure, estimates of defensive gun use, as The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia recently put it, “are so soft that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May removed all figures from its website.” He previously cited estimates ranging from “60,000 to 2.5 million defensive weapon uses each year,” but this is not typically a category tracked by law enforcement agencies, and the statistics presented largely depend on who is asking. and the study design.