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US President Joe Biden embraces New York State Governor Kathy Hochul after a racist mass shooting in Buffalo in May, 2022

New York (AFP) – New York officials expressed shock and outrage Thursday at a Supreme Court ruling that strikes down a gun law, warning the move would undermine public safety.

The 6-3 ruling, which comes as the country grapples with a shocking surge in gun crime, overturns a New York state law that required a person to prove they had legitimate self-defense needs to receive a gun permit.

The ruling has repercussions across the United States, as it will prevent states from restricting people carrying guns.

New York’s governor Kathy Hochul said the decision marked a “dark day” while Big Apple mayor Eric Adams said it “may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence.”

“Shocking, absolutely shocking, that they have taken away our rights to have reasonable restrictions,” Hochul told reporters, breaking off from making a separate announcement. 

“We can have restrictions on speech — you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater but somehow there’s no restrictions allowed on the Second Amendment,” she said, referring to the constitutional amendment allowing Americans the right to bear arms.

Despite a growing call for limits on firearms after two mass shootings in May stunned the country, the court sided with advocates who said the US Constitution guarantees the right to own and carry guns.

Hochul, a Democrat, tweeted that the ruling was “outrageous,” accusing the six judges of acting “recklessly.”

Adams, who was elected late last year on a platform to make the Big Apple safer, said the ruling “will put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence.”

“This decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, but we will do everything we can to dam it.

“We will work together to mitigate the risks this decision will create once it is implemented, as we cannot allow New York to become the Wild West,” the Democrat said in a statement.

‘Everything in our power’

Hochul said the state would respond by “closely reviewing our options — including calling a special session of the legislature.” 

“Just as we swiftly passed nation-leading gun reform legislation, I will continue to do everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence,” she wrote on Twitter.

New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, also said she was reviewing decision.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers from gun violence and preserve our state’s common sense gun laws,” she tweeted.

The New York law said that to be given a permit to carry a firearm outside the home, a gun owner must clearly demonstrate that it is explicitly needed for self-defense — meaning those without the demonstrated need could not do so.

Gun-rights advocates said that violated the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which says “the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The ruling comes just over a month after an 18-year-old used an AR-15-type assault rifle to kill 10 African Americans at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and another gunman also aged 18 and using a similar rifle killed 21 people, the majority of them children, at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.