NBC and ABC on Thursday broke in with alarmed coverage of the 6-3 gun rights victory in the Supreme Court, worrying about whether the out of touch conservatives on the Court will get people killed.
ABC acknowledged that the ruling was “big” and “major.” The decision makes it much harder for liberal states like New York to just refuse to issue a concealed carry permit to residents. But journalist Pierre Thomas speculated about more death as a result: “The question is will this make it much more easy for people to have weapons in public, concealed weapons and will that lead to more shootings and accidents and different kinds of things?”
ABC Supreme Court analyst Terry Moran worried:
What about taverns where people are drinking? Are there limits to this? But the sweeping ruling issued and written by Justice Clarence Thomas says that the history of the Second Amendment is crucial and that states must presume that there is a constitutional right to carry a firearm outside the home.
Over on NBC, reporter Hallie Jackson lamented, “The New York City Mayor Eric Adams said this would be, in his view, ‘a real mess for police.’ He said this keeps him up at night.” Reporter Yamiche Alcindor deriding the Supreme Court as out of touch:
Now we have the Supreme Court weighing in on the biggest Second Amendment case in more than a decade. It really does show that the Supreme Court is taking a stand on this issue but also that Americans might be even more out of step with the justices' decision in this case.
Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more.
ABC News Special
10:36 AM ET
DAVID MUIR: Good morning, everyone. We're coming on the air with breaking news from the Supreme Court. The justices handing down a major decision on guns in America, striking down New York's licensing regime when it comes to carrying a gun outside the home. The concealed carry law which could have an impact nationwide and on seven other states. The decision comes amid this renewed debate in our country over gun safety in the wake of mass shootings across the U.S. This opinion written by Clarence Thomas. It was a majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts onboard. The opinion says New York's law violates the 14th Amendment, and apparently they have -- yes. Struck down New York's licensing regime. It's a 100-year-old law on the books in New York state, and the question now is how quickly it affects other states in this country. Let's bring in Terry Moran who covers the Court and has covered it for quite some time. This is a major ruling, Terry.
TERRY MORAN: It is a big ruling on gun rights in the United States, and a victory for those who advocate for those rights. New York state required people who wanted to carry a firearm concealed outside the home to show proper cause which the state defined as a special need different from ordinary citizens for self-defense. Today the Supreme Court says that's not good enough under the Second Amendment, that the Second Amendment presumes the right to carry, keep and bear arms is the language in the Constitution and in this case the Supreme Court says that bear arms means the right to carry. Now there is an important caveat here.
While this is a sweeping decision, two crucial justices, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts sign on and limit the opinion a little bit saying that the Second Amendment isn't a blank check. They want more cases in the future that will define where people can carry a firearm outside the home. There was a lot of discussion about what about football stadiums. What about taverns where people are drinking? Are there limits to this? But the sweeping ruling issued and written by Justice Clarence Thomas says that the history of the Second Amendment is crucial and that states must presume that there is a constitutional right to carry a firearm outside the home.
MUIR: And Terry, we had an indication that this is where the Court could be headed back when they heard the case. Chief justice John Roberts at the time saying that the idea you need a license to exercise a right is unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights.
MORAN: That's right, David. New York did have one of the strictest gun conceal carry laws in the United States. It is 100 years old, and it does have that unusual mechanism, that you apply for the right to carry a firearm outside the home, and that you need to show proper cause, and that New York state courts had to find that as a special need. And what the Court is saying here is that constitutional rights, you don't need a special need to demonstrate. You can exercise. That does not as the concurrence by chief justice Roberts shows you can carry anywhere, but those boundaries have yet to be determined and on the foundation of Justice Thomas' opinion, it says that the Supreme Court is saying that the states must presume the right to carry a firearm outside the home across this nation.
MUIR: This was on the books for 100 years in New York State.
DEVIN DWYER: More than 100 years. This was passed in 1911, and the state of New York actually argued that history was on their side, that the state of New York and many other states had a rich history of restricting the ability of citizens to carry guns. But the supreme court today looking a little further. Clarence Thomas seeing the broad sweep of American history supports a different view on this discretionary requirement that state officials were limiting from carrying weapons.
PIERRE THOMAS: We have seen a 30 percent increase in homicides, many of them by firearm. Many of them by handguns. We've seen a 60 percent surge in mass shootings that we've talked about over and over on the air. So the question is will this make it much more easy for people to have weapons in public, concealed weapons and will that lead to more shootings and accidents and different kinds of things? That's the thing law enforcement has been concerned about, regarding these types of cases and David, I can tell you that law enforcement believes that we're in the midst of this, and they are trying to push down these numbers by focusing on career criminals. But the notion that people could be walking around with concealed weapons is something that law enforcement is concerned about, and will continue to be, David.
NBC News Special
HALLIE JACKSON: We will bring in Yamiche. The New York City mayor Eric Adams said this would be, in his view, “a real mess for police.” He said this keeps him up at night. You look more broadly at the political context. A recent Sienna College poll found 79 percent wanted the Supreme Court to uphold this law. That obviously did not happen. Talk about the implications down the road here.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, this really does come at a publicly tense time in our nation. Particularly with these high-profile mass shootings that focused our attention on the access of guns. Poll after poll shows they want to see new gun laws to restrict the idea that anybody can go in a store, get a gun and then, of course, do mass damage and mass casualties to all sorts of places. I think our eyes are now going to be on the states that have similar laws to New York including, as Pete mentioned, Hawaii. They tell me that really America has a unique problem year. And that is that every single year we see more and more mass shootings and more and more gun deaths. In 2020, we hit a record high for gun deaths. Now we have the Supreme Court weighing in on the biggest Second Amendment case in more than a decade. It really does show that the Supreme Court is taking a stand on this issue but also that Americans might be even more out of step with the justices' decision in this case. I should also note, of course, this is coming as lawmakers, as Peter said, lawmakers are debating whether or not they can finally go through and have a bipartisan deal on guns. We have not seen that of course with so many other mass shootings. After Uvalde, where we saw so many people killed, elementary school students killed, even Republicans came out saying that they wanted to change the way people access guns in this country. So this ruling, of course, changes that conversation. It will be interesting what sort of impact, of course, that has on negotiations.