It was embarrassing that after Governor Hochul called a special session to overhaul New York’s gun laws following the Supreme Court’s gutting, she and the legislature took a day to show their cards. But the substance of the law that emerged on Friday is what really matters, and here we are confident that it will help protect police and civilians from the potential chaos of concealed firearms everywhere.
In striking down New York’s 111-year-old Sullivan’s Law, the Supreme Court says the state can no longer require individuals to demonstrate an increased need to carry a concealed weapon beyond typical safety fears public. So that’s over, but a tough new licensing regime is required for everyone.
For the first time, the state will require all applicants to complete firearms training. It will take four character references. It will analyze the “old and current social media accounts” of those looking for weapons, likely to exclude those who are unstable or have shown a penchant for violence. There will be a new licensing system and ammunition sales database. Requirements for safe storage will be increasingly stringent.
Add it all up, and assuming these requirements survive the inevitable legal challenges, it’s still going to be pretty difficult to legally gun up in New York.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t address the biggest danger of the Bruen decision, which is that those who got guns elsewhere will increasingly be armed in public in New York City, endangering cops who will be forced to assume the presence of a weapon in almost any situation.
To mitigate this likelihood, the law freely defines court-approved “sensitive places” where the carrying of firearms may be restricted, including places of worship, educational institutions, “any place … used for public transit,” stadiums, polling stations, any place where alcohol is consumed, Times Square, “any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to demonstrate or assemble,” and more while making other private businesses presumed no-go zones unless their owners decide otherwise.
A flood of trials to come will surely overthrow some, but most will surely stand, saving many lives.