Just eight days after a 6-3 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the Empire State's restrictive "may issue" concealed carry permitting scheme, state lawmakers rushed a salvo of new gun laws into place.
Kathy Hochul, New York's unelected governor, on July 1 signed what was touted by her office as "landmark" legislation to recast how legal concealed carry works in the state of 20 million. This came in response to the June 23 decision by the nation's high court in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which found the state's "good cause" test constitutionally suspect.
Shrugging off the court's ruling in the case, lawmakers contended they worked within the framework laid out in Bruen, which backed off the "good cause" language but in its place added layers of new red tape and prohibitions.
"Today, we are taking swift and bold action to protect New Yorkers," said Hochul. "After a close review of the NYSRPA vs. Bruen decision and extensive discussions with constitutional and policy experts, advocates, and legislative partners, I am proud to sign this landmark legislative package that will strengthen our gun laws and bolster restrictions on concealed carry weapons."
New hurdles to getting a carry permit
While the subjective and hard-to-quantify "good cause" test is gone, beginning in September, applicants for a concealed-carry permit must meet in-person with a licensing officer for an interview to determine "character and trustworthiness" to handle a firearm.
As part of the interview, the applicant will have to share the names of any partners, minors, or cohabitants who share their residence, provide at least four character references, certify completion of required training including live-fire testing, certify that they have no convictions for disqualifying offenses, and provide a list of all social media accounts for the last three years. All of this will be used by the licensing authorities before granting a permit.
Moving forward, disqualifying criteria includes misdemeanor convictions for weapons possession, recent treatment for drug-related reasons, and for alcohol-related misdemeanor convictions.
That's a sensitive place, so is that, and that...
Following up on Justice Brett Kavanaugh's two-page concurrence to the 6-3 majority ruling in Bruen citing the court's previous reservations in the Heller and McDonald cases on "carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings," New York's lawmakers last week found about everywhere in the state sensitive when it comes to guns.
Prohibited areas in New York where those with a permit cannot legally carry after September include:
Federal, state, or local government buildings, including courts.
Places providing health or medical care such as hospitals, nursing homes, domestic violence shelters, medical campuses, behavioral health, and chemical dependency facilities.
Houses of worship.
Places where children gather, including schools, libraries, daycare centers, playgrounds, parks, and zoos.
State-regulated facilities under OCFS, OPWDD, OASAS, OMH, and OTDA.
Public transportation facilities.
Establishments where alcohol or cannabis are consumed.
Locations being used as a polling place.
Educational institutions including schools and colleges.
Theaters, stadiums, arenas, racetracks, museums, amusement parks, performance venues, casinos, and venues for athletic games or contests.
Any public sidewalk restricted from access for a permitted special event.
Any gathering of individuals who are collectively expressing First Amendment rights of protest or assembly.
Times Square in Manhattan.
Further, rather than in most states where private businesses must post "no guns" signs to exclude lawful concealed carry, New York's law requires the opposite – that stores and restaurants post "guns allowed" signage and policies, an unlikely proposition in the blue state. This makes "no carry" the default for private property unless the owner specifically declares otherwise. Even if they wanted to, the requirements for the signage needed to be displayed has not been established.
Violation of carrying a legal firearm with a state or locally-issued permit in a "sensitive" place can lead to a four-year prison sentence.
Also signed into law by Hochul, who became governor following the resignation of disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year, were new mandates establishing an ammunition database requiring any seller of bullets or components to keep a record of all sales, as well as an expanded ban on consumer body armor sales.
Second Amendment groups were shocked by the moves of New York's governor and state lawmakers.
"With the stroke of a pen, Hochul has promised The Empire State that she wishes to lock more of its residents in government-run cages, with no regard for their personal safety, dignity, or liberty," said the Firearms Policy Coalition in a statement to Guns.com. "FPC refuses to stand idly by while the state of New York threatens peaceable conduct with imprisonment, injury, and death. We see this bill for what it is: a grave injustice upon the people of New York. Restoring New Yorkers’ natural rights is of paramount importance, whether the tyrants in Albany think so or not. The governor and her cadre of anti-rights legislators should have no doubt that FPC will utilize every available instrument to remedy this historic wrong."
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