When the United States Supreme Court ruled in New York Pistol and Rifle Association v. Bruen, that subjective governmental means tests placed on a citizen’s right to get a concealed carry permit were unconstitutional, people on both sides of the gun debate knew it wasn’t over.
While states reformed their permit programs to conform to the ruling, simultaneously, their state and local legislatures worked to pass laws that would frustrate the law-abiding gun owners of their state.
New York Responds to the SCOTUS —
Not surprisingly, the New York State law that is effective starting today gives us exactly what we predicted at the time of the ruling. I’m not the only one saying recent slew of gun laws are a direct response to the SCOTUS ruling. Gov. Hochul proudly published this on the official Governor’s website:
Governor Hochul Announces New Concealed Carry Laws Passed in Response to Reckless Supreme Court Decision Take Effect September 1, 2022
It’s my opinion that through this law, the NY Legislature has signaled what pro freedom Americans have said all along. The politicians enact these gun laws knowing they have nothing to do with public safety. If the intent of this law was to make NY safer, why were the restrictions implemented as a response to a ruling granting LAW-ABIDING citizens the right to carry a firearm in NY? Are concealed carry permit holders the ones committing crimes? The only people these new laws affect are the ones who obey the law. Criminals have and will continue to bring guns and weapons into ‘sensitive places.”
I guess I was wrong. Maybe these laws are about public safety. The safety of the criminal to kill, rape and assault law-abiding citizens without fear of being shot.
A Letter to a Firearms Instructor in NY City —
I was forwarded a letter received by a firearms instructor in the City of New York. The letter came from the New York City License Department, which handles handgun permits. The department sent it as a courtesy to inform him:
You are being sent this letter because your place of business may now be a sensitive location under this new law and thus, continued possession of a firearm at this location is unlawful.
Boy, that stinks. It’s hard to teach people how to be safe and responsible with firearms, if you can’t possess a firearm inside your business. It’s also harder to get the training necessary required for a carry permit, if instructors can’t teach within the city. I don’t want to be flagged for creating a conspiracy theory, but it’s almost as if the legislature want’s to make it hard for people who live in New York to get a permit.
Well don’t fret, NY City officials are there to help. If the instructor’s business is in NY City, here are the options:
If this applies to your place of business, please bring your applicable firearm(s) to your local precinct in order for it to be safeguarded for you. Alternatively, you may bring your firearm(s) to another location where you are lawfully allowed to possess and store it. Lastly, you may contract with a Federally Licensed Firearms dealer (FFL) to store the firearm(s) for you – they may, however, charge for this service.
Additionally, if your place of business is located in Times Square or in the surrounding blocks, please consult sections 5-34 and 5-35 of Title 38 of the Rules of the City of New York. A copy of this rule is also attached. Some exceptions are made within the rules for transport in and out of the Times Square Sensitive Location Zone.
The License Division will endeavor to provide licensees affected by this change in law with alternative means to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. Questions may be directed to the License Division by email to [email protected].
I love the last line, provide “alternative means” to exercise their 2nd Amendment Rights. Thanks, I’d rather be able to exercise my 2nd Amendment Rights the normal way, you know, like how the Constitution says I can.
Here is the entire letter.
I’m sure instructors knew the changes to the law were coming, but the timing stuck me. The agency sent the letter August, 31st 2022, one day before the law is enforceable. Maybe I’m nitpicking and the instructor should be grateful the agency sent him a letter to remind him violation of the new law is a Class E Felony.
NY’s Sensitive Places —
The letter describes locations where in New York, law-abiding citizens, with state issued carry permits and a concealed handgun, can no longer go. As described in the New York CLS Penal § 265.01-e, the NY Legislature called these places “sensitive locations“. The statute lists the following 20 categories of sensitive locations. Some text I’ve made bold, to draw your attention.
(a) any place owned or under the control of federal, state or local government, for the purpose of government administration, including courts;
(b) any location providing health, behavioral health, or chemical dependance care or services;
(c) any place of worship or religious observation;
(d) libraries, public playgrounds, public parks, and zoos;
(e) the location of any program licensed, regulated, certified, funded, or approved by the office of children and family services that provides services to children, youth, or young adults, any legally exempt childcare provider; a childcare program for which a permit to operate such program has been issued by the department of health and mental hygiene pursuant to the health code of the city of New York;
(f) nursery schools, preschools, and summer camps;
(g) the location of any program licensed, regulated, certified, operated, or funded by the office for people with developmental disabilities;
(h) the location of any program licensed, regulated, certified, operated, or funded by office of addiction services and supports;
(i) the location of any program licensed, regulated, certified, operated, or funded by the office of mental health;
(j) the location of any program licensed, regulated, certified, operated, or funded by the office of temporary and disability assistance;
(k) homeless shelters, runaway homeless youth shelters, family shelters, shelters for adults, domestic violence shelters, and emergency shelters, and residential programs for victims of domestic violence;
(l) residential settings licensed, certified, regulated, funded, or operated by the department of health;
(m) 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 licensed under article one hundred one of the education law, charter schools, non-public schools, board of cooperative educational services, special act schools, preschool special education programs, private residential or non-residential schools for the education of students with disabilities, and any state-operated or state- supported schools;
(n) 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;
(o) 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 people consume alcohol is consumed and any establishment licensed under article four of the cannabis law for on-premise consumption;
(p) 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;
(q) any location being used as a polling place;
(r) 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;
(s) any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble;
(t) the area commonly known as Times Square, as such area is determined and identified by the city of New York; provided such area shall be clearly and conspicuously identified with signage.
Some Observations —
I highlighted some places that I thought were of special note. Places of worship should be allowed to institute their own policies when it comes to allowing licensed concealed carriers in their buildings. Public parks, zoos and playgrounds are often funded with taxpayer money, for the enjoyment of the people. It seems improper for the government to force a citizen with threat of imprisonment to pay money to fund a park, and then prohibit the same person from enjoying that space because they possess a permit and a concealed handgun.
Can you think of a reason someone in a domestic violence shelter would desire a concealed handgun for protection? How about a family or a veteran who’s lost their housing? Even a private residence licensed by the state’s Department of Health is a prohibited space for a licensee to possess a concealed handgun.
Schools as a whole in NY are left completely vulnerable to a psychopath with a gun. The law even dictates that a law-abiding citizen with a NY carry license and a concealed handgun is committing a felony if he does so at a private school, shocking.
Any place or conveyance of public transportation to include the buildings and subway system. I don’t live in NY but it seems the subway system is an extremely dangerous place, where stabbings, rapes, murders, shootings and strong arm robberies are commonplace. Almost like the very place someone would want to have a firearm to defend themselves from a deadly attacker.
Furthermore, the majority of people living in New York City use public transportation as their primary means of getting around. That is the case for the instructor who received this letter. For those of us who don’t live in a crowded metropolitan it may sound strange, but he doesn’t even own a car.
The law also prohibits firearm possession on a public sidewalk or public space anytime there is a “special event.” I can’t imagine anyone would abuse this provision, and make every event a “special event.”
It’s hard to pick out what is most concerning about what’s in this law, but this is at the top. The law prohibits lawful gun possession at:
(s) any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble;
As we’ve said, the goal is not public safety, or to narrowly address the Second Amendment. Here the attack on the First Amendment “… right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is clear. What is unpeacful about carrying a firearm? Law Enforcement Officers are called “peace officers” and carry guns. Are we to assume all officers are ‘unpeacful’ because they carry a firearm in a holster? It’s absurd and shows the disdain the NY Legislature has for the people of the state.
And finally, nobody can carry their firearm in Times Square. So, according to the law, someone must reference a map and note the official boundaries of Times Square. If you’re interested, I’ve included the document below that describes the boundaries of Times Square.
It’s important to note that people actually live in Times Square. But NY has this figured out. As long as you’re passing directly to or from your residence, you’re okay. But don’t stop to buy a coffee, BUSTED you felon! Here are the 4 ways you can pass through Times Square with your concealed handgun, legally that is.
(a) A carry licensee who resides in such zone may carry such handgun only directly to or from their dwelling and an area outside of such zone, provided that such transport must be continuous and uninterrupted;
(b) A business premises licensee whose place of business that is identified on such license is located in such zone, or a residence premises licensee whose residence identified on such license is located in such zone may carry a handgun to and from their place of business or residence, respectively, in accordance with the standards set forth in section 5-23(a) and such handgun must be unloaded and carried in a locked container and the ammunition for such handgun must be carried separately;
(c) A rifle/shotgun permittee whose residence identified on such license is located in such zone may carry such rifle/shotgun to and from such residence and a licensed range or hunting area, in a manner consistent with section 3-14(b); and
(d) A carry licensee or a premises licensee may transport such handgun directly through such zone while operating, or while a passenger within, a motor vehicle, provided that such transport must be continuous and uninterrupted; such handgun must be unloaded and carried in a locked container; and the ammunition for such handgun must be carried separately.
Wow, good to know NY Legislature made a way for those law-abiding citizens with firearms to live their lives in the city.
What to Do —
For those of you living in NY it’s going to be tough. I wish you the best and hope gun rights groups will help push back against these laws in NY and across the country. This won’t stop in NY, and we will see similar laws anywhere that legislatures think they can get away with it. It may get even worse as states try to one up eachother to show how seriously they take the cause of “stopping gun violence”.
Patchwork laws like these are not unique to NY. Every state has different laws as to what you can and can’t do with a firearm. We spent a lot of time creating the best legal resource that you can use to determine any state’s firearm laws, and much, much more. Our App called Concealed Carry Gun Tools provides legal information for every state and DC.