California's governor condemned as "shameful" Thursday's Supreme Court ruling that could have a dramatic impact on half a dozen US states with strict gun carry laws.
Gavin Newsom, who overseas the most populous state in the union, and one with some of the most restrictive rules on firearms, said the 6-3 decision by the right-leaning court was "a dark day in America."
"This is a dangerous decision from a court hell bent on pushing a radical ideological agenda and infringing on the rights of states to protect our citizens from being gunned down in our streets, schools, and churches," Newsom said on Twitter. "Shameful."
Thursday's ruling strikes down a century-old New York law that required a person to prove they had a legitimate self-defense need, or "proper cause," in order to receive a gun permit.
Dozens of states already allow the almost unfettered carrying of weapons in public, but six Democratic-run states retain a high degree of control over who gets a permit. The court's ruling will curb their ability to restrict people from carrying guns in public.
These permits are generally issued only to people who can demonstrate "proper cause" as to why they need to be armed in public.
Alongside New York and California, the states of Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all require such permits, as does the District of Columbia.
The exact rules and how they are enforced vary by county in California because permits are issued by the local sheriff or police department, who have latitude to interpret "proper cause."
In Republican-run counties in rural parts of the state, there may be a presumption towards issuing a permit, provided the applicant takes a gun safety class and does not have a criminal record.
But in liberal-run cities like San Francisco guidelines show the sheriff will only issue a permit to someone at specific and "significant risk of danger to life" that cannot be mitigated by law enforcement officers.
Applicants must also prove they are of "good moral character," with no history of arrest or "moral turpitude."
The Supreme Court ruling does not immediately remove policies like this, but it opens the door to legal challenges that could reverse them.
New York City’s police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, said the ruling did not change the facts on the ground, for now at least.
"If you carry a gun illegally in New York City, you will be arrested," she said.
Maryland’s attorney general, Brian Frosh, said the state's more restrictive gun laws "have been proven to reduce gun violence."
"We will examine today’s ruling to determine its impact in our state, and we will continue to fight to protect the safety of Marylanders."
His opposite number in Massachusetts, Maura Healey said she stood by "our common sense gun laws, and will continue to vigorously defend and enforce them."
"Massachusetts has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country because we know that strong gun laws save lives," she said.
Healey was one of 20 attorneys general who last year enjoined the Supreme Court to confirm that the Second Amendment does not prevent local jurisdictions from making their own rules.
"A one-size-fits-all approach to regulating public carry would take away the ability of state and local officials to address the particular public safety needs of their residents," a statement said at the time.
New Jersey's acting attorney general, Matthew Platkin, took up that theme on Thursday, saying the court's decision "disregards centuries of practice."
"Although the majority’s ruling impacts our century-old justifiable need requirement for carrying firearms, it does not change any other aspect of New Jersey’s public carry law, " he said in a statement.
"To be clear: Carrying a handgun without a permit is still illegal in this state, and all other requirements for obtaining a carry permit still apply.
"We will continue to enforce our strict, common sense gun laws that have become a model for states seeking to address the epidemic of gun violence."