Tough New York Gun Law Takes Effect Sept. 1

Many public, private spaces will be off-limits for those carrying firearms

Tough New York Gun Law Takes Effect Sept. 1
A police officer crosses the street in a nearly empty Times Square in New York, on March 12, 2020. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
Matthew Vadum

A new law that creates huge "gun-free" sections of New York state takes effect on Sept. 1, after the state’s Legislature doubled-down on gun control policies following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that expanded Second Amendment rights.

The sweeping New York law, called the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), is already under challenge in the courts by civil rights groups. Supporters say the law is a much-needed public safety measure in an age of violent crime, but the New York State Sheriffs’ Association has denounced the law as a “thoughtless, reactionary action.”

On June 23, the Supreme Court recognized for the first time a constitutional right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. The high court struck down part of New York’s tough concealed carry gun permitting system because it only grants public-carry licenses “when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense.”

The Bruen ruling also requires seven other blue states—California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—to drop the requirement that applicants show “good cause” in order to be issued carry permits. Several of these “blue resistance” states—a term coined by critics—are defying the Bruen ruling or are slow-walking making changes needed to comply with the ruling. Hawaii has reportedly issued just one permit since the high court ruled.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks in New York on June 24, 2022. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Pride Live)
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks in New York on June 24, 2022. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Pride Live)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said on Aug. 26 that state lawmakers took action days after the Bruen decision because it “destroyed the ability for a governor to be able to protect her citizens from people who carry concealed weapons anywhere they choose.”

Previously, Hochul said the ruling was “a reckless decision removing century-old limitations on who is allowed to carry concealed weapons in our state—senselessly sending us backward and putting the safety of our residents in jeopardy.”

Critics say the law rushed through the Legislature in Albany is confusing and violates Second Amendment rights.

Attorney Jonathan Corbett has applied for a carry permit and is suing over the law.

'Preventing People From Getting Guns'

The law seems “designed less toward addressing gun violence and more toward simply preventing people from getting guns—even if those people are law-abiding, upstanding citizens, who, according to the Supreme Court, have the rights to have them,” Corbett told The Associated Press.

The new law inhibits the public-carry right articulated in Bruen by designating much of the Empire State as so-called sensitive areas, or gun-free zones, making them off-limits to concealed weapons. Critics say there are so many prohibited places that it will be hard for carry permit holders to go about their daily business in public.

Airports, establishments that serve alcohol, day care facilities and playgrounds, schools, entertainment venues, libraries, hospitals, houses of worship, polling locations, public demonstrations and rallies, public transit, and Times Square, a tourist mecca in the borough of Manhattan, are on the list.

Signs announcing the prohibition on guns “will be placed at every entry point” in Times Square, said Robert Barrows, the New York Police Department’s executive director of legal operations, according to TimeOut.

Temporary placards will read "gun-free zone" and "licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a gun unless otherwise specially authorized by law." Those who ignore the signage may face felony charges.

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, a Democrat, reportedly said she was looking forward to seeing authorities move to “protect New Yorkers and visitors who frequent Times Square.”

The law also frustrates the public-carry right by creating a “no carry” presumption for private property that can only be rebutted if the property owner posts signage saying concealed carry is allowed.

Jennifer Elson, owner of the Let’s Twist Again Diner in Amsterdam, New York, said she has posted her own sign stating: “Per 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 pretty strongly that everybody’s constitutional rights should be protected,” Elson told AP.

NYPD officers gather in front of the Barclays Center prior to a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 29, 2020. (Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
NYPD officers gather in front of the Barclays Center prior to a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 29, 2020. (Justin Heiman/Getty Images)

'Magnets for Attacks'

Those who lawfully carry guns in public aren’t the problem, according to academic John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Gun-free zones attract would-be murderers, Lott wrote recently at The Federalist. “Ninety-six percent of all the mass public shootings occur in places where guns are banned,” wrote Lott, author of the influential 1998 book “More Guns, Less Crime.”

“Some people mistakenly think that if you ban guns from areas, you make them safer. But gun-free zones serve as magnets for attacks. The murderers depend on the victims being defenseless.”

The CCIA also increases to 16 hours from 4 hours the required time spent in classroom instruction, which is roughly the same as Maryland already requires for applicants.

Applicants will also be required to undergo a “character and conduct review,” in which they must provide access to three years of their social media accounts. CCIA supporters say such a review is needed because murderers sometimes hint at planned acts of violence before carrying them out.

Law enforcement officials in charge of processing permit applications say reviewing applicants’ social media will be time-consuming and will add to processing times.

“It says three years worth of your social media,” Fulton County Sheriff Richard C. Giardino, a Republican, told AP.

“We’re not going to print out three years of social media posts by everybody. If you look at my Facebook, I send out six or 10 things a day,” he said.

Sam Paredes of Gun Owners of America, which is suing over the law, previously told The Epoch Times that the social media inspection requirement in the CCIA is worrisome.

On social media, “people will say stuff that they don’t understand what it means, or they do understand, but they want to express something. And they have the First Amendment right to do so,” Paredes said.

“You cannot use a constitutional right to invalidate another constitutional right.”