© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

SCOTUS ruling strikes down NY gun law, could have far reaching consequences

Most gun crimes are committed by men, but women also help buy, hide and sell guns for others.
Most gun crimes are committed by men, but women also help buy, hide and sell guns for others.

SUNY Buffalo State College political science professor Peter Yacobucci discussed the Supreme Court decision allowing the carrying of firearms in public and its potential effects moving forward with WBFO's Thomas O'Neil-White.

Thomas O'Neil-White: So talk to me about this ruling from the Supreme Court the impact of it, how momentous is it?

Peter Yacobucci: Well, I think it continues a trend that started in 2008. With the Supreme Court recognizing gun rights, the rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment as a personal right, not a right connected to a well-regulated militia is the first clause and the Amendment states. That's a revolutionary decision in itself in 2008. And today's decision is just a furtherance of that. And it will be used in the future to knock down gun control laws across the United States.

O’Neil-White: So in essence, it's saying that this doesn't really have a bearing on the Second Amendment?

Yacobucci: What it says is, if there are two parts to the Second Amendment, which reads are well regulated militia being necessary to the security of the Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That first clause a well-regulated militia is now and it has been since Heller was decided in 2008, largely perfunctory not even read into the Constitution. Now the entire emphasis is on the second half of the amendment. And that right is a personal right, meaning that individuals cannot be restricted, and their ability to protect themselves using a firearm.

O’Neil-White: So reasonably, I could bring my firearm into work, right?

Yacobucci: And so here comes the question, like I teach at a university, that is a gun free zone, will those limitations where an individual is not allowed to bring a gun to our campus? Will those be upheld, I have not had a chance to read all 135 pages of this ruling. But I have a feeling those type of limitations on place, and limitations on which individuals are allowed to have a firearm are going to be under challenged in the future.

O’Neil-White: I know you just said you haven't read all 135 pages of the ruling. But is there anything else that stands out to you?

Yacobucci: A couple points. One, this is another indication, and you're gonna see another series of cases released tomorrow. And as wire cases released Tuesday, the country is divided is growing and continues to grow between red states and blue states. And we see that on the Supreme Court. If you look at the difference between the majority opinion in this case written by conservative Clarence Thomas, and the dissenting opinion written by the soon to be retired, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, they're talking past each other, and they're not even discussing really the same constitutional principles as each other. And that's an indication of our politics right now in the United States, and for the Supreme Court and specific, and for our country in general. That's a very, very bad thing.

O’Neil-White: Anything else? Overall?

Yacobucci: Let me just say one more thing is why why don't we have so many important cases before the Supreme Court. And that's the result that we have a dysfunctional federal government, we have a federal government right now at least it's the last decade, that can't solve problems. We either have the Republicans or the Democrats denying either side any chance to pass legislation and the way our system is set up by the founding fathers, it's designed to force compromise. And if compromise doesn't occur, the government can act. So these types of issues, gun issues, or religious rights issues, get forced into the court. And then the courts, which is becoming more political has to decide these issues, and that is clearly against the design of the founding fathers.

O’Neil-White: So what's the solution to this?

Yacobucci: If I knew that answer, I wouldn't be writing books right now and be appearing on national television.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
Related Content
  • In the wake of last week's high school shooting in Santee, California, NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr provides historical insight into the calls for gun control.
  • The nearly two-dozen Executive Orders President Obama issued in an effort to prevent more mass shootings include directing the Centers For Disease Control…
  • Commentator Richard Rosenfeld compares the upcoming presidential election to the election of 1800, when Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were running against each other. Rosenfeld says back then, gun control was also a big issue.
  • New York’s senior Senator is taking issue with the NRA in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings. Senator Charles Schumer appeared on…
  • 53 percent of Americans favor more restrictions on the purchase and ownership of firearms and 90 percent support universal background checks.
  • In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., mayors are a key part of the debate over the country's gun laws. Host Michel Martin speaks with two leaders who frequently encounter issues of gun violence and gun ownership; Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sylvester James and former Cincinnati Mayor Kenneth Blackwell.