The "Sensitive Places" Civil-Liberties Battle Begins

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posted on August 27, 2022
Gov. Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul
Mary Altaffer/AP

In an “extraordinary” session, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed, and Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed, a sweeping new list of gun-control laws that seemed designed to nullify the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen, a majority opinion which confirmed that, yes indeed, the Second Amendment’s right to “bear arms” extends outside the home.

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 in the wake of the Bruen ruling.

New York state’s new list of “sensitive” areas off-limits to concealed carry includes:

Any place owned or under the control of federal, state or local government, for the purpose of government administration, including courts; any location providing health, behavioral health, or chemical dependance care or services; any place of worship or religious observation; libraries, public playgrounds, public parks, and zoos; in or upon any building or grounds, owned or leased, of any educational institutions, colleges and universities, licensed private career schools, school districts, public schools, private schools … ; any place, conveyance, or vehicle used for public transportation or public transit, subway cars, train cars, buses, ferries, railroad, omnibus, marine or aviation transportation; or any facility used for or in connection with service in the transportation of passengers, airports, train stations, subway and rail stations, and bus terminals; any establishment issued a license for on-premise consumption pursuant to article four, four-A, five, or six of the alcoholic beverage control law where alcohol is consumed and any establishment licensed under article four of the cannabis law for on-premise consumption; any place used for the performance, art entertainment, gaming, or sporting events such as theaters, stadiums, racetracks, museums, amusement parks, performance venues, concerts, exhibits, conference centers, banquet halls, and gaming facilities and video lottery terminal facilities as licensed by the gaming commission; any location being used as a polling place; any public sidewalk or other public area restricted from general public access for a limited time or special event that has been issued a permit for such time or event by a governmental entity, or subject to specific, heightened law enforcement protection, or has otherwise had such access restricted by a governmental entity, provided such location is identified as such by clear and conspicuous signage; any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble; the area commonly known as Times Square … .

In the Bruen decision, the Court did say that “because any permitting scheme can be put toward abusive ends, we do not rule out constitutional challenges to shall-issue regimes where, for example, lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.” 

This exhaustive list certainly feels like it constitutes “abusive ends.”

But wait, they didn’t stop there. The law also requires in-person interviews for those seeking pistol permits (that’ll slow down an already slow process in the state); a 16-hour, in-person, live curriculum; and two hours of a live-fire range training course. The time and cost factor of this is certainly “abusive.”

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 they can check each person’s character—might some partisan licensing official look for an opportunity to weed out people based on political affiliation? 

So the fight for freedom goes on, as it enters yet another phase.

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