As the Supreme Court struck down a New York state law that strictly limited the carrying of handguns, the decision sparked frustration among some in Buffalo, the state’s second-largest city where 10 people were shot and killed in a grocery store last month.
The 18-year-old shooter was armed with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle purchased legally from a store near his hometown. Ten days after the attack, another high-profile massacre took place at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people were killed.
Zeneta Everhart, whose 21-year-old son Zaire Goodman was shot in Buffalo but survived, said in an interview Thursday that “as a mother, I am heartbroken that this country is not protecting Zaire. “.
“It’s ridiculous,” Ms. Everhart said. “When is that going to be enough? What else needs to happen before this country wakes up and realizes that the people of this country don’t feel safe. The government, the courts, the legislators, they are there to protect us – and I don’t feel protected.
She added that while she supports the principles of the Second Amendment, she believes “people should have the right to handle a gun in this country.”
In his concurring opinion, Judge Samuel Alito directly cited the May 14 massacre, suggesting it showed state law was not improving safety.
“Will a person determined to commit a mass shooting be arrested if they know it is illegal to carry a handgun outside the home?” he wrote. “And how does dissent explain the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop this author.
Garnell Whitfield Jr., whose 86-year-old mother Ruth Whitfield was killed in the massacre, said in an interview Thursday that he thought the reference to Buffalo was inappropriate.
“If he wanted to talk about Buffalo, he should have talked about white supremacy,” he said in reference to the racist ideologies championed by the shooter. “The court is illegitimate at this point. It’s completely politicized.
Mr Whitfield Jr. said he felt the nation was taking “one step forward and two steps back”, given that the decision came on the same day the Senate moved closer to approving the bill. bipartisan gun safety legislation.
“It’s a kick in the teeth. It’s hurtful,” he said.
New York became the first country to pass new legislation earlier this month in the shadow of the Buffalo and Uvalde killings, approving several bills, including one to raise the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21 years old.
Wayne Jones, who lost his mother Celestine Chaney, 65, in the Buffalo Massacre, said Thursday he had mixed feelings about the decision. He sympathizes with residents who might worry about carrying guns, he said, but shares the view of public defenders that the current law disproportionately affects people of color.
“My thing about the gun situation is that they targeted the black community,” Jones said in an interview. “The big fight has got to be those assault weapons. You don’t need it. And we have to get them off the streets.