How To Handle This

One week after the Supreme Court struck down a law limiting the spread of concealed handguns in New York, state Democratic leaders on Friday were expected to respond with new measures that would prohibit people from carrying firearms in many public settings deemed “sensitive places.”

The ban would apply to places like colleges, hospitals, subways, parks, stadiums and even Times Square — a last-minute addition in the late-night negotiations. It would also extend to any private property, such as a bar, restaurant or home, unless the property owner expressly allows guns, which they can do by placing a sign on their premises.

The expected legislation was seen as a forceful retort to the Supreme Court decision last week, and may be an early test of how far a state can go to limit the spread of handguns without violating the Supreme Court’s ruling.

By a 6 to 3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a broad right to carry weapons outside their homes, declaring that a century-old New York law was unconstitutional because of the way it limited those who could obtain carry permits.

Fearing that the decision would lead to a dangerous proliferation of guns amid an ongoing spike in gun violence that began during the pandemic, Gov. Kathy Hochul had ordered the Democrat-led Legislature to gather for an emergency session in Albany on Thursday to tighten the state’s gun laws.

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Lawmakers were also progressing on a broad equality measure that would enshrine a right to abortion in the State Constitution, following the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

The measure, which would require an amendment to the State Constitution, would place New York at the forefront of legal efforts to codify the rights to an abortion, ensuring that it could not simply be revoked by a future Legislature.

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The gun bill adds new requirements for New Yorkers to receive a concealed carry permit, including 16 hours of training on how to handle a handgun, two hours of firing range training, an in-person interview and a written exam, as well as a review of social media accounts.

Legislative leaders and the governor appeared to have reached an agreement on a list of locations where guns would be banned: health care facilities; houses of worship; colleges and universities; places where children gather, such as schools, day care centers, playgrounds, parks and zoos; public transportation; places where alcohol or cannabis is consumed; and theaters, concerts, casinos and other entertainment venues.

Lawmakers also moved to ban weapons at protests or places where people have congregated to express their rights to free speech.

Carrying a weapon in a prohibited area would amount to a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. But the legislation would not apply to properly licensed security guards at work, former military members or retired law enforcement officials.

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