On Friday, New York State enacted legislation prohibiting the carrying of firearms in many public locations, including Times Square, and forcing gun-license applicants to demonstrate their shooting ability and submit their social media profiles for inspection by government officials.
The emergency legislative session was necessitated by a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision last week that overturned New York’s draconian gun-license regulations. For the first time, the court’s conservative majority concluded that the right to carry guns in public for self-defense is guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
New York’s Democratic leaders have slammed the verdict and the court, claiming that more individuals carrying weapons would lead to more gun crime.
They admitted they needed to relax the state’s century-old permit system to comply with the verdict, but they wanted to preserve as many limitations as possible in the sake of public safety. Some will very certainly face more legal hurdles.
The court decided that New York’s previous license scheme, which goes back to 1911, provided authorities far too much leeway in denying a permission.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who called the special session, claimed the state’s gun-licensing rules had resulted in New York having the fifth-lowest incidence of gun fatalities among the 50 states.
“Despite this setback from the Supreme Court, our state will continue to keep New Yorkers safe,” she said at a press conference in Albany, the state capital, while lawmakers were debating the bill. “They may believe they can transform our lives with a stroke of a pen, but we, too, have pens.”
The court’s decision permitted people to be prohibited from carrying guns in certain “sensitive settings,” but warned lawmakers against using the term too broadly.
In addition, the court made it simpler for pro-gun groups to get a restriction overturned. It concluded that a firearms control was likely illegal if it was not similar to the kind of laws in place in the 18th century, when the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was established, allowing states to retain militias and defining the right to “keep and bear Arms.”
Carrying a gun into a new list of sensitive places, including government buildings, medical facilities, places of worship, libraries, playgrounds, parks, zoos, schools, colleges, summer camps, addiction-support centers, homeless shelters, nursing homes, public transportation, including the New York City subway, places where alcohol or marijuana is consumed, museums, theaters, stadiums and other venues, polling places, and Times Square, is now a felony crime.
Exempt from the sensitive-place limits are law enforcement officers and certified security guards.
Republican lawmakers voted against the measure, which is slated to go into effect on September 1, claiming that it devalues the right to bear arms in comparison to other fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and religion.
During the discussion, Mike Lawler, a Republican Assembly member, stated, “Now, it’s going to be simpler to acquire a concealed-carry” license. “But you won’t be able to carry it anyplace.”