New York to restrict gun ownership after Supreme Court ruling

NEW YORK (AP) — Amid the bright lights and electronic billboards in New York’s Times Square, city officials are posting new signs declaring the busy intersection a “Gun Free Zone.”

The sprawling Manhattan tourist attraction is one of dozens of “sensitive” places – including parks, churches and theaters – that will ban guns under a sweeping new state law that takes effect Thursday. The measure, passed after a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expanded gun rights, also sets strict standards for issuing concealed carry permits.

A federal judge refused to put the new gun rules on hold Wednesday, a day before the law was set to take effect. Although the arguments for a preliminary injunction to halt the rules were persuasive, Judge Glenn Suddaby said the plaintiffs — a New York resident and three gun rights groups — lacked standing to bring legal action.

New York is one of a half-dozen states whose high court struck down key provisions of its gun laws because of the requirement for applicants to show they had “good cause” for a permit. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday that she and her fellow Democrats in the state legislature were taking action next week because the ruling “destroyed the ability of a governor to be able to protect her citizens from people who carry concealed weapons anywhere they choose.” .

The quickly passed law, however, has led to confusion and legal challenges from gun owners who say it inappropriately limits their constitutional rights.

“They seem designed less to address gun violence and more to prevent people from getting guns — even if those people are law-abiding, upstanding citizens who the Supreme Court says have the right to have them,” he said. Jonathan Corbett. , a Brooklyn attorney and license applicant who is one of several people challenging the law in court.

By law, applicants for a concealed carry permit must complete 16 hours of classroom training and two hours of live-fire exercises. Ordinary citizens would be banned from bringing guns into schools, churches, subways, theaters and amusement parks — among other places deemed “sensitive” by authorities.

Applicants will also need to provide a list of social media accounts for the past three years as part of a ‘character and conduct’ review. The requirement was added because shooters have sometimes dropped hints of violence online before opening fire on people.

Sheriffs in some upstate counties said the extra work for their investigators could add to existing delays in processing applications.

In Rochester, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said it currently takes two to four hours to run a handgun license background check on a “clean” applicant. He estimates the new law will add another one to three hours to each permit. The county has about 600 outstanding handgun permits.

“It’s going to slow everything down a little bit more,” he said.

In the Mohawk Valley, Fulton County Sheriff Richard C. Giardino had questions about how digital sleuthing would proceed.

“It says three years worth of your social media. We’re not going to print three years worth of social media posts from everyone. If you look at my Facebook, I post six or 10 things a day,” said the sheriff, former prosecutor and judge.

The list of prohibited places to carry guns has drawn criticism from advocates who say it is so extensive that it will make it difficult for people with a permit to move around in public. People who carried a gun could only go into private businesses with a permit, such as a sign posted in the window.

Giardino has already started putting up signs at local businesses saying people can legally bring firearms on the premises. Jennifer Elson, who owns the Let’s Twist Again Diner in Amsterdam, said she put up the sheriff’s sign, along with a note of her own that read in part “according to our governor, we have to post this nonsense. If you are a law-abiding citizen who obtained a legal permit to carry, you are welcome here.”

“I feel very strongly that everyone’s constitutional rights should be protected,” he said.

But in Times Square, which is visited by about 50 million tourists a year, and in many less crowded places to carry a gun, it will be illegal starting Thursday.

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said Tuesday that she looks forward to seeing authorities move to “protect New Yorkers and visitors who frequent Times Square.”

A lawsuit challenging the law’s provisions argued that the rules make it difficult for licensees to leave home without breaking the law. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on a motion challenging multiple provisions of the law filed on behalf of a Schenectady resident who holds a carry permit.

The Supreme Court ruling also led to a flurry of legislation in California to tighten gun ownership rules, including a new law that could hold gun dealers and manufacturers liable for any harm caused by anyone they have “reasonable cause to believe that is at significant risk.” illegal use of a weapon.

Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a measure that would require gun permit applicants to undergo in-person interviews with a licensing authority.

New Jersey required people to be trained before getting a license and would require new residents to register guns brought in from out of state.

Hawaii, which has the lowest number of gun deaths in the country, is still weighing its options. Since the Supreme Court ruling, the state has only issued one new gun license.

While New York does not keep statewide data on handgun permit applications, there have been reports of long lines at county clerks’ offices and other evidence of an increase in applications before the law took effect.

In the Mohawk Valley, Pine Tree Rifle Club President Paul Catucci said interest in the club’s volunteer-run safety classes “rocketed” in late summer.

“I had to turn away hundreds of them,” he said.


Maysoon Khan is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative corps. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on the hidden issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on Twitter.


Hill and Khan contributed from Albany, New York.

Michael Hill, Maysoon Khan and Bobby Caina Calvan, The Associated Press

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