(I can't find his earlier statement that a pro-RKBA decision would affect his ability to pass his bills in NY.)
As the Co-chair of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns (SLAIG), a national organization of state lawmakers working to prevent the proliferation of illegal guns, I believe states have the right to regulate public safety through reasonable gun laws. While I disagree strongly with the court’s reasoning, I am confident that the decision does not contradict that belief.
While the Court struck down the District of Columbia’s total ban on handguns or any operable firearms in private homes, Section III of the decision makes it clear that the right to bear arms is not unlimited.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, states:
Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose… For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.
…nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26
We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms…the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”
New York’s gun laws, including those that I worked to enact in 2000 banning assault weapons, requiring trigger locks, establishing a ballistics database for handguns and requiring background checks for firearm sales at flea markets and gun show, all fall within the limits that the Court found to be acceptable under the Second Amendment. They will remain in force, and all New Yorkers are safer as a result.
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence has also stated that today’s Supreme Court decision should encourage law abiding gun control advocates to continue to fight for strong gun laws to save lives.
Moreover, the efforts of my colleagues and I, through Legislators Against Illegal Guns, to rein in the 1 percent of gun dealers who supply over half the guns used in crimes, clearly falls within the scope of “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms”.
SLAIG is founded on the notion that there are common sense solutions for protecting public safety in the face of a flood of illegal guns, and that such solutions can cut across regional and partisan lines. Perhaps by putting to bed the specious notion that government is trying to take guns away from law abiding citizens, this decision will help to refocus public attention on the much more real and urgent problem of how to get guns out of the hands of criminals.