New York governor signs bill to ban guns from Times Square, mass transit

Saturday, July 2, 2022
New York governor signs bill to ban guns from Times Square, mass transit
The Assembly Chamber is pictured as the house stands at ease during a special legislative session as lawmakers consider new firearms regulations for concealed-carry permits at the state Capitol, June 30, 2022, in Albany, N.Y.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday night she has signed legislation - just passed by lawmakers this evening - that was crafted in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling on concealed carry laws.

The legislation includes making concealed carry in "sensitive locations" illegal. Sensitive locations include airports and public transportation, entertainment venues, bars and restaurants, houses of worship and Times Square, among others.

"We are taking swift and bold action to protect New Yorkers. After a close review of the NYSRPA vs. Bruen decision and extensive discussions with constitutional and policy experts, advocates, and legislative partners, I am proud to sign this landmark legislative package that will strengthen our gun laws and bolster restrictions on concealed carry weapons," the governor said in a statement.

"I want to thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, and all of our partners in the Legislature for their willingness to take on this critical issue with urgency and precision. I will continue to do everything in my power to combat the gun violence epidemic."

The new bill will go into effect on September 1, 2022.

The bill was signed by Hochul after the New York State Senate passed legislation Friday that would ban the concealed carry of guns in a "sensitive location," including Times Square and all mass public transportation. The legislation was introduced earlier in the day during a special session.

The bill comes after a Supreme Court ruling overturned a state law that limited who could get concealed carry permits to people who had "proper cause."

"While this ruling issued by the Supreme Court's conservative majority invalidates the concealed carry permit restrictions, the decision allows states to issue licensing requirements for carrying a firearm. In light of this decision, the Senate Majority is taking action to address the invalidated provisions and counter the potential effects of this ruling on public safety," the New York State Senate Democratic Majority said in a statement.

Sensitive places where guns cannot be carried include the subway, trains, buses and ferries, as well as government buildings, houses of worship, schools, libraries, public playgrounds, public parks, zoos, homeless shelters and polling places, according to the legislation.

Gov. Hochul announced lawmakers' intent to establish "sensitive places" legislation on Wednesday. The legislation was introduced in the state Senate during a special session called by Hochul that began Thursday.

The bill also seeks to ban the carry of guns on all private property by default, unless the owner of the property has signage permitting guns or has otherwise expressed consent to guns being permitted.

The law makes exceptions for law enforcement, peace officers, active duty military personnel and security, who would be allowed to carry guns in sensitive places. Those engaging in lawful hunting are also allowed to carry guns in sensitive locations.

The law would make carrying guns in the banned areas a felony offense.

A state-wide license and record database created and maintained by police will be checked on a monthly basis to determine continued accuracy and whether a person is no longer a valid license holder. The records are to be checked against records for criminal convictions, criminal indictments, mental health, extreme risk protection orders and orders of protections.

The new legislation makes changes to an existing law that establishes an ammunition database to verify ammunition sales in New York.

Gun and ammunition sellers and dealers will also have to keep a record of all their transactions involving guns and ammunition.

The bill will also add a vehicle requirement to existing safe storage laws, requiring gun owners to lock up their guns in an appropriate safe storage depository out of sight from outside the vehicle and remove ammunition from the gun. Otherwise, gun owners would not be allowed to leave their firearm out of their immediate possession or in a car.

Hochul, in introducing the legislation on Wednesday, said this measure is meant to cut down on gun thefts from cars.

Currently, New York law requires gun owners to get safe storage for their guns, keeping them locked up, if they have children at home aged 16 or younger. The new legislation lifts that age requirement to 18 years old.

ABC News' Matt J. Foster contributed to this report.

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