NEW YORK – For decades, New York leaders boasted that the strict restrictions on handgun ownership made it one of America’s safest places, a claim backed by statistics showing the state — and its largest city — consistently have one of the lowest death rates from guns in the country.
Now, following a Supreme Court decision that overturned key parts of the state gun license law, lawmakers will seek to keep as many restrictions as possible on who can carry a handgun and where they can take it.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, vowed Thursday to call the Democrat-led Legislature into a special session to pass new rules, including a law designating “sensitive places” where people cannot carry concealed weapons, like school zones , bars or hospitals.
Other options could be adding new conditions for obtaining a handgun permit, such as: B. the requirement for weapons training.
“Our new laws will deal with restrictions on sensitive sites and change the permitting process,” Hochul said after the court ruling. “We will have training requirements. We’ll make sure that people who have hidden weapons have special training, we have a lot of ideas.”
New York City Council Chair Adrienne Adams scheduled a vote asking state legislatures to ban people from carrying handguns in places with more than 10,000 people per square mile or in places within 1,000 feet of mass transit systems, hospitals, parks to ban government buildings. Schools, churches, cemeteries, banks, theaters, bars, libraries, homeless shelters and courts – practically the entire metropolis.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer and gun owner, said banning guns in densely populated areas will save lives.
“We will work together to mitigate the risks that this decision poses once implemented as we cannot allow New York to become Wild West,” Adams said.
Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said gun owners in his state and across the country “are not the problem.”
“The problem is the criminals and the bad guys in the state. And politicians have to learn that, and they have to get their butts off to do something to solve the crime problem in New York State,” King said.
Lawful New York gun owners, he said, are no longer “prosecuted by laws that have nothing to do with people’s safety and do nothing to make people safer.”
New York state law, in effect since 1913, states that a person applying for a license must demonstrate “proper reason” to carry a pistol outside the home, an actual need to carry the gun.
A similar standard exists in only a handful of other states, including California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Hawaii.
The law did not define what a reasonable cause means, and it gave local officials – often a police department – discretion in issuing a license. In practice, this meant that most applicants had to demonstrate a need beyond the usual public safety concerns, such as: B. the practice of a profession that exposes them to a particular risk.
In New York City, few people other than retired law enforcement officers and armed guards could obtain a license to carry a handgun.
The legal challenge was brought by two New York men who were denied permission to carry handguns outside their homes after they failed to show authorities they had a compelling reason to do so.
In Thursday’s ruling, penned by Judge Clarence Thomas, a majority of Supreme Court justices said the New York rules prevent “law-abiding citizens with ordinary needs of self-defense from exercising their right to possess and bear arms in public.” .
In a concurring opinion, Judge Brett Kavanaugh noted that the court’s decision did not prevent states from imposing licensing requirements for carrying a handgun, such as carrying guns in sensitive locations such as schools and government buildings.
The decision, he said, would place New York on relatively the same footing as 43 other states: If an ordinary person applies for a license to carry a handgun and meets the eligibility criteria, they cannot be refused at the discretion of federal licensing officials or because they do not have one be able to demonstrate a compelling need for defense.
New York City officials insisted nothing would change immediately, noting that the Supreme Court remanded the case for further trial to a lower court that could iron out the details of implementation.
But the decision immediately sparked fears among supporters of New York’s handgun restrictions, who said relaxing the rules could create a handgun market that now barely exists in the state.
More gun shops may open. Sales could increase. And that could inevitably lead to more pistols getting into the hands of illicit buyers like teenagers or felons.
In many states, it’s easy for banned buyers to get a handgun by simply having a friend go to a gun store and buy one for them. That’s not possible in New York. As a result, most criminal guns were purchased or stolen in another state with looser rules.
Gun control advocates have argued that this is one of the reasons New York has one of the lowest rates of firearm deaths in the nation, including suicides: 3.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019 and 5.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the year 2020
Manhattan, a symbol of urban America, had the lowest gun fatality rate in the state at 1.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2019, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
Adams, a Democrat, raised the specter of everyday disputes that led to shootings in New York’s crowded streets and subways. He pointed out that police officers would be at greater risk and a greater burden in distinguishing between legal and illegal guns in public places.
“That complicates things,” Adams said. “But we will continue to prosecute those who carry illegal firearms.”
Jeffrey Fagan, a professor at Columbia Law School and an expert on gun laws, said research suggests the rate of firearm homicides increases immediately in places where restrictions are lifted.
The creation of lists of weapon-free zones would have the support of some business groups.
Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said he suspects the vast majority of restaurants, bars and nightclubs don’t want patrons carrying handguns.
“We would certainly want policies to be put in place that would allow small businesses to determine what is or isn’t allowed in their facilities,” he said.
But lists of no-go places may not be a deterrent to the people most likely to kill with these weapons.
The court’s ruling comes not long after New York tightened gun laws following a May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo in which a white gunman killed 10 black people in a racist attack.
The state required a license to purchase a semi-automatic rifle for the first time and banned anyone under the age of 21 from applying. Individuals under this age may still own shotguns and other types of rifles. New York had already required someone to be 21 to own a handgun.
The court’s ruling did not deal with age limits.
Associated Press contributors Michelle L. Price and Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/23/ny-leaders-vow-new-gun-limits-after-supreme-court-ruling/ New York leaders promise new gun limits after Supreme Court ruling