New York to restrict gun carrying after Supreme Court ruling

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NEW YORK (AP) — Amid the bright lights and electronic billboards in New York’s Times Square, city authorities are installing 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 be off limits to guns under a sweeping new state law that goes into effect Thursday. The measure, passed after a June Supreme Court decision to extend gun rights, also sets strict standards for the issuance of concealed carry permits.

New York is one of six states where key provisions of the gun laws have been invalidated by the Supreme Court due to a requirement for applicants to prove they had a “good reason” for a permit. Governor Kathy Hochul said Friday that she and her fellow Democrats in the state legislature took action the following week because the ruling “destroyed a governor’s ability to protect its citizens from people carrying covert weapons wherever they please.”

However, the swiftly passed law has led to confusion and legal trouble from gun owners who say it improperly limits their constitutional rights.

“They seem to be designed less to address gun violence and more to simply prevent people from getting guns — even if those people are law-abiding, upstanding citizens, whom the Supreme Court says have a right to have them,” said Jonathan Corbett. a Brooklyn attorney and a licensee 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 drills. Ordinary citizens should not be allowed to bring weapons into schools, churches, subways, theaters and amusement parks – considered “sensitive” by authorities, among others.

Applicants must also provide a list of social media accounts over the past three years as part of a “character and conduct” assessment. The requirement was added as gunmen 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 backlogs in processing applications.

In Rochester, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said it currently takes two to four hours to perform a gun license background check on a “clean” candidate. He estimates the new law will add an additional hour to three hours for each permit. The county has about 600 pending gun licenses.

“It will slow things down a bit more,” he said.

In the Mohawk Valley, Fulton County Sheriff Richard C. Giardino had questions about how the digital scavenger hunt would go.

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

The list of prohibited places to carry weapons has been criticized by lawyers who say it is so extensive that it will make it difficult for licensed people to move around in public. People with a weapon were only allowed to enter a private place with permission, such as a sign on the window.

Giardino has already started handing out signs to local businesses stating that people can carry legal firearms on the property. Jennifer Elson, owner of Let’s Twist Again Diner in Amsterdam, said she had put up the sheriff’s sign along with part of her own text: “Our governor says we should post this crap. If you are a law-abiding citizen who has been legally licensed to wear, you are welcome here.

“I am quite convinced that everyone’s constitutional rights should be protected,” she said.

But Times Square, which is visited by some 50 million tourists every year, and many less crowded places with guns will be illegal from Thursday.

Adrienne Adams, chairman of the New York City Council, said on Tuesday that she looks forward to authorities taking steps to “protect New Yorkers and visitors who visit Times Square.”

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

The Supreme Court ruling also sparked a flurry of legislation in California to tighten gun ownership rules, including a new law that could hold gun dealers and manufacturers responsible for any harm caused by someone they have “reasonable reason to believe is at significant risk” using a gun illegally .

Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a law that would require gun license applicants to undergo face-to-face interviews with a licensing authority.

New Jersey required that people receive training before being licensed and that new residents must register for weapons brought in from out of state.

Hawaii, which has the lowest firearms death rate, is still weighing its options. Since the Supreme Court ruling, the state has granted only one new firearms license.

While New York doesn’t keep statewide records of gun license applications, there are reports of long lines at the city clerk and other evidence of a wave of applications before the law goes into effect.

In the Mohawk Valley, Paul Catucci, president of the Pine Tree Rifle Club, said interest in the club’s volunteer-run safety courses “rekindled” at the end of the summer.

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

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Maysoon Khan is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national, not-for-profit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercover issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on Twitter.

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Hill and Khan contributed from Albany, New York.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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