New York City has long been a breeding ground for anti-Second Amendment sentiment. That’s still the case, but it seems to be getting much worse, expanding to invading people’s privacy and telling crime victims to not call the police.
No Guns and No Privacy
New York City will implement new ways to harass law-abiding gun owners, according to a Sept. 1 report from the New York Post titled, “The one who knocks: Mayor Adams vows door-to-door checks on gun permits.”
Under New York’s new carry law, prospective licensees are required to be of “good moral character.” Further, applicants are required to furnish four character references and a list of their social-media accounts for police to look into. Gun owners have every reason to suspect that this “good moral character” standard is an attempt to re-enact the type of discretionary licensing scheme the Supreme Court rejected in NYSRPA v. Bruen.
According to the New York Post item, vetting prospective New York City licensees will include a door-to-door investigation involving the applicant’s neighbors. Speaking of the investigations, Adams stated, “And I think those are the same skills that’s going to be used to look at, not only social media but also knocking our neighbors’ doors, speaking to people, finding out who this individual is that we are about to allow to carry a firearm in our city.”
Impermissible Gun Bans
In August, Adams joined N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) for a press conference celebrating New York’s legislative effort to undermine Bruen. At the event, the pair announced that Times Square would be deemed a “sensitive location,” where law-abiding citizens would not be allowed to exercise their right to carry at any time.
A news release from New York City accompanying the press conference contained a map of the area where firearms are prohibited. While the thought of Times Square may conjure images of towering neon lights and Broadway for most Americans, the new gun-free zone extends well beyond these areas. Unfamiliar with the city? Just use an online map to peruse the largely residential blocks from W. 43rd St. to W. 48th St. between 8th Ave. and 9th Ave. to get an idea of what New York is attempting to shove under the Times Square umbrella.
A discussion of “sensitive places,” where it may be permissible to restrict the right to carry in some circumstances, featured heavily during the Bruen oral arguments, and even touched upon Times Square.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett suggested, “can’t we just say Times Square on New Year’s Eve is a sensitive place?” perhaps understanding the stringent security measures surrounding that event and that those measures are indicative of an actual “sensitive place.” NYSRPA counsel Paul Clement responded by stating, “the right way to think about limiting guns in Times Square on New Year’s Eve is not as a sensitive place but as a time, place and manner restriction.” Neither suggested that New York could prohibit firearms in Times Square at all times.
In his opinion in Bruen, Justice Samuel Alito rejected the notion that large swathes of a city could be designated “sensitive places” in the manner Underwood sought. After pointing to Heller’s reference to “schools and government buildings” as the type of “sensitive places” where firearms may be restricted, the justice also listed “legislative assemblies, polling places, and courthouses.” Alito went on to explain, … expanding the category of “sensitive places” simply to all places of public congregation that are not isolated from law enforcement defines the category of “sensitive places” far too broadly … Put simply, there is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a “sensitive place” simply because it is crowded and protected generally by the New York City Police Department.
Don’t Call the Cops
Two NYC-based Democrats, Assemblyman Zohran Kwame Mamdani and NYC council member Tiffany Cabán, have collaborated on a “public safety resource guide” distributed to small businesses, which urges constituents not to call the police and instead, use “better ways of solving problems … every time a challenge arises.”
In the event of a “conflict that appears to be escalating,” the guide recommends giving “the person causing harm the chance to correct their behavior,” and saying “no,” “stop” or “that is not okay.” “Repeat the same statement until the person causing harm corrects their behavior or exits (ex. ‘Have a good day!’).” If “naming the behavior” doesn’t work, another option is distracting the “person causing harm,” with a suggested script of, “Hey, didn’t I go to high school with you?”
Business owners scoffed at the guide, saying it was “irresponsibly endangering lives,” with one incredulous restaurant owner responding, “Are you kidding me?… Who does [Cabán] want us to call, Ghostbusters?!”