Lambda Legal Reacts After Supreme Court Strikes Down New York’s Gun Law

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June 23, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court today reversed a lower court ruling and struck down the State of New York gun regulation that required individuals carrying guns to show proper cause for doing so. Lambda Legal and the law firm Williams & Connolly LLP had filed an amicus brief on behalf of LGBTQ+ rights organizations urging the Court to affirm the lower court ruling and uphold the gun law, arguing that LGBTQ+ people — and especially transgender and LGBTQ+ people of color — are disproportionately impacted by gun violence, and that sweeping away regulations entirely would further endanger the lives of LGBTQ+ people who have been targeted with deadly hate crimes. 

Lambda Legal Counsel Omar Gonzalez-Pagan issued the following statement: 

“It is unconscionable and dangerous for the Supreme Court to strike down a reasonable gun law regulating the ability to conceal carry firearms, such as New York State’s law, as the country staggers from yet multiple mass shooting such as the one in Uvalde, Texas that claimed the lives of 19 elementary schoolchildren and the one in Buffalo that was motivated by racial hatred. The LGBTQ community is sadly too familiar with the costs of gun violence – being disproportionately targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Pulse nightclub massacre of six years ago is perhaps one of the most indelible and horrific examples, but all too frequently, LGBTQ people, particularly those of color and especially transgender women of color, are the victims of gun violence. 

“The facile assertion that ‘the only way to stop a bad man with a gun is with a good man with a gun’ holds no water, as the tragedy in Uvalde clearly demonstrates. The Court’s distorted understanding of the Second Amendment can only result in more Uvaldes, more Buffalos, more Pulse nightclubs, and more children, people of color, and LGBTQ people, especially transgender women of color, targeted, shot, and killed."

Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist Richard Saenz added: 

“Individuals bent on doing violence all too easily can purchase assault weapons and wreak destruction and devastation in shopping malls, grocery stores, churches, nightclubs, and in elementary and high schools. Reasonable restrictions such as New York’s represent just a modest but necessary step in controlling our country’s epidemic of gun violence. Clearly more, not less, is needed. 

“New York’s law could have served as a model for other states to build on. What the Supreme Court has done is take away an important tool to fight against gun violence. We urge states and the federal government to work with the communities most impacted by gun violence to develop real solutions that help prevent gun violence and are faithful to our Constitution. More policing and passing new laws that will lead to criminalizing marginalized communities are not the answers.” 

Read Lambda Legal’s friend-of-the-court brief filed on behalf of LGBTQ civil rights organizations in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/new-york-state-rifle-and-pistol-association-inc-v-bruen