NEW YORK (AP) — Amidst the bright lights and electronic billboards of New York City’s Times Square, city officials are posting new signs declaring busy intersections “gun-free zones.”
The sprawling Manhattan attraction, one of many “sensitive” sites including parks, churches and theaters, will be gun-free under a sweeping new state law that goes into effect Thursday. The measure, passed after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June expanded gun rights, also sets strict standards for issuing concealed carry permits.
New York is one of six states where key provisions of gun laws have been overridden by the High Court because applicants must prove they have “good cause” for a permit. Governor Kathy Ho-Chol said Friday that she and fellow Democrats on the state legislature took action the following week because the ruling “destroyed the governor’s ability to protect citizens from people hiding weapons wherever they wanted.” rice field.
But the rapidly-adopted law has led to confusion and challenges from gun owners who say it inappropriately limits their constitutional rights.
Jonathan Corbett said, “Rather than address gun violence, it appears to be designed simply to prevent people from acquiring guns, even if those people are law-abiding and virtuous.” “Even if you are a good citizen and have the right to own a gun according to the Supreme Court,” said Jonathan Corbett. , a Brooklyn attorney and license applicant, is one of several individuals challenging the law in court.
By law, applicants for concealed carry permits must complete 16 hours of classroom training and two hours of live-fire practice. Ordinary citizens will be barred from bringing firearms into places authorities deem “sensitive,” such as schools, churches, subways, theaters and amusement parks.
Applicants must also provide a list of their social media accounts from the last three years as part of the “Personality and Behavior” review. This requirement was added because shooters have leaked hints of violence online before shooting people.
Sheriffs in some upstate counties said the additional work of investigators could add to the existing backlog of processing applications.
In Rochester, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said it now takes two to four hours to conduct a “clean” candidate’s pistol permit background check. We estimate that an additional 1-3 hours will be added to The county has about 600 pending pistol permits.
“Everything will be a little slower,” he said.
In the Mohawk Valley, Fulton County Sheriff Richard C. Giardino asked questions about how digital investigations are progressing.
“That means 3 years of your social media. I’ll send it,” said the former district attorney and judge sheriff.
The list of places banning guns has drawn criticism from proponents that it is so extensive that it makes it difficult for those with permits to move around in public. A person could enter a private business with permission, such as a sign posted in a window.
Giardino has already started putting out signs to local businesses that let people carry legal firearms on their premises. I said I posted one of my readings. Any law abiding citizen with a legal mobile permit is welcome here. ”
“I feel strongly that everyone’s constitutional rights should be protected,” she said.
But in Times Square, which receives about 50 million tourists a year, carrying guns will be illegal in many uncrowded areas starting Thursday.
New York City Council Speaker Adrian Adams said Tuesday that he looks forward to seeing authorities take action to “protect New Yorkers and visitors who frequent Times Square.”
One lawsuit challenging a provision of the law alleged that regulations made it difficult for license holders to leave their homes without violating the law. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on the motion to challenge multiple provisions of the law.
The Supreme Court ruling also led to a flurry of laws tightening gun ownership rules in California. This includes new laws that allow gun dealers and manufacturers to be held liable for damage caused by those who “have reasonable grounds to believe that they are in grave danger”. . about the illegal use of guns.
Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill requiring gun license applicants to undergo a personal interview with a licensing agency.
New Jersey requires training before a permit can be obtained, and new residents must register guns brought in from out of state.
Hawaii, which has the lowest number of gun deaths in the nation, is still weighing its options. The state has only granted one new gun license since the Supreme Court ruling.
New York does not keep statewide data on pistol permit applications, but there have been reports of long queues at county clerk’s offices and other indications of a surge in applications before the law took effect. There is evidence of
In Mohawk Valley, Pine Tree Rifle Club president Paul Catucci said interest in the club’s volunteer-run safety courses “exploded” late this summer.
“I had to get rid of them by the hundreds,” he said.
Maysoon Khan is a member of the Associated Press/Reports for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover unreported issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on Twitter.
Hill and Khan contributed from Albany, NY.