New York lawmakers on Friday approved a major overhaul of the state’s handgun licensing rules to retain some firearm restrictions under the lawthat most people have the right to carry a handgun for personal protection.
The measure signed byHaving passed both chambers by a wide margin, he will almost certainly draw further legal challenges from gun lawyers who say the state still places too many restrictions on who can get guns and where they can carry them.
Hochul, a Democrat, recalled the Democrat-controlled Legislature to Albany to work on the law after the Supreme Court last week lifted the state’s longstanding licensing restrictions.
Supporters said the law, which goes into effect on September 1, strikes the right balance between complying with the Supreme Court ruling and keeping guns out of the hands of people likely to use them recklessly or with criminal intent.
But some Republican lawmakers, opposed to stricter restrictions, argued the law violated the constitutional right to bear arms. They predicted that she too would be knocked over in the end.
Among other things, the state’s new rules will require people applying for a handgun license to provide a list of their social media accounts so officials can check their “character and demeanor.”
Applicants must demonstrate that they have “the essential character, temperament, and judgment required to be entrusted with a firearm and to use it only in a manner not endangering themselves or others”.
As part of this assessment, applicants must provide a list of social media accounts they have maintained in the past three years.
“Sometimes they wire their intent to harm others,” Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said at a news conference.
Gun rights advocates and Republican leaders were outraged, saying the legislation violated not only the Second Amendment but also privacy and free speech.
“New Yorkers’ constitutional liberties have just been trampled on,” said Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy.
The bill, approved by the Legislature, does not specify whether applicants are required to grant licensing officials access to private social media accounts that are not visible to the general public.
Individuals applying for a license to carry a handgun must also provide four character references, complete 16 hours of firearm safety training plus two hours of practice at a firing range, undergo periodic background checks, and contact information for their spouse, significant other, or anyone else in their household living adult.
Hochul’s chief attorney, Elizabeth Fine, insisted that the state establish “a very clear set of eligibility criteria,” noting that the legislation provides for an appeals process.
The measure, signed on Friday, also fixes a recently passed law that bans the sale of some types of bulletproof vests to the general public. The previous law inadvertently omitted many types of body armor, including the type worn by a shooter whoin a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket.
Last week’s Supreme Court ruling overturned a 109-year-old state law that required people to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety in order to qualify for a license to carry a handgun outside their homes. This restriction generally restricted licenses to individuals who had worked in law enforcement or had some other special need beyond usual public safety concerns.
Under the new system, the state will not issue permits to people with criminal convictions within the past five years for driving while under the influence, driving in a dangerous manner or for third-degree assault.
A long list of “sensitive places,” including New York City’s tourist-packed Times Square, also prohibits people from carrying firearms.
This list also includes schools, universities, government buildings, places where people have gathered for public protests, health care facilities, houses of worship, libraries, public playgrounds and parks, day care centers, summer camps, addiction and psychiatric centers, shelters, public transportation, bars, Theaters, stadiums, museums, polling stations and casinos.
New York will also ban people from bringing guns into stores or workplaces unless the owners put up signs saying guns are welcome. Persons bringing weapons to places without such signs could be prosecuted for criminal offenses.
That’s a reverse approach from many other states, where companies wanting to keep guns out are typically required to put up signs saying guns aren’t allowed.
Gun lawyers said the law violated rights upheld by the Supreme Court.
“Now we’re going to let the owner of the pizzeria decide whether or not I can exercise my constitutional right,” said Senator Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican. “That’s a shame. See you in court.”