As the calendar turned to September, New York’s new web of “gun-free” (aka, “sensitive places”) zones went into effect; as a result, it is now illegal for even New Yorkers who have carry permits to bring their concealed, self-defense firearms almost anywhere they want to go.
New York state legislators wrote and passed these new restrictions—which extend from Times Square to churches to parks to even privately owned stores that don’t specifically say armed citizens can carry their firearms—as a pushback against the U.S. Supreme Court ruling NYSRPA v. Bruen. In NYSRPA, the high court ruled that, yes indeed, Americans’ Second Amendment freedom does extend outside their homes.
Now, in New York, if someone who obtained a carry permit accidentally walks into a “sensitive area,” they could face a felony charge—and then potentially lose their Second Amendment rights for life.
As we previously wrote, “Even if you don’t live in New York, this is important ... . Anti-gun lawmakers in other states may look to New York to determine if they should follow Albany’s lead of thumbing its legislative nose at the highest level of the judiciary when determining how to adjust their own laws.”
New York’s new gun-control law also requires in-person interviews for those seeking pistol permits; a 16-hour, in-person, live curriculum; and two hours of a live-fire range training course.
Those “applying” for their rights must also provide the licensing officer with four character references and “a list of former and current social media accounts of the applicant from the past three years,” so the state can check each person’s character. Okay then, will some partisan licensing official use this as an opportunity to bar people from their rights because of political comments made on social media? Maybe. The potential for abuse here is hard to quantify.
Much of the media is now reporting that on “electronic billboards across New York’s Times Square, city authorities are posting new signs proclaiming the bustling crossroads a ‘Gun Free Zone.’” But the list of no-gun zones is actually so broad it even includes parks, such as New York state’s Catskill (700,000 acres) and Adirondack Parks (6 million acres). About 137,000 New Yorkers live in the boundaries of the state’s Adirondack Park, and about 50,000 live in the state’s Catskill Park. So are these nearly 200,000 residents now denied their Second Amendment rights even though the U.S. Supreme Court just affirmed that they have the right to carry outside their homes?
What about the many people who travel to these beautiful locations?
I camped in the Adirondack Park in late August—just a few days before this law took effect. I was carrying. I do have a permit to carry in the state. Now that it is September, I would risk a felony conviction if I carry there today. I thought about this as I set a 9 mm pistol beside my sleeping bag. Like millions and millions of other armed citizens in this nation, I did not do this out of fear. I did this out of caution—the same reason I put a life preserver on my 10-year-old son as we canoed over lakes on that lovely adventure. As armed citizens, we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. This is what freedom is.
New York, however, has decided lawful armed citizens are the problem. Officials have now used crimes committed by those who are not lawfully carrying to justify this infringement on good citizens.
When asked about this new and onerous web of restrictions on lawful carry, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) recently said she and the state legislature wrote and quickly passed these Second Amendment infringements because the U.S. Supreme Court “destroyed the ability for a governor to be able to protect her citizens from people who carry concealed weapons anywhere they choose.” Hochul, like other anti-Second Amendment politicians, blames law-abiding gun owners for crimes even though crime data clearly shows that those with permits to carry concealed basically do not commit crimes.
On November 8, voters in New York and across this nation will have the chance to weigh in on whether they side with politicians like Hochul or whether they, instead, want their freedom.