Pol Position: Conceal Carry Explained

Governor Hochul signed legislation on Friday, attempting to carve out restrictions on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn New York State’s conceal carry laws.

“A week ago, the Supreme Court issued a reckless decision removing century-old limitations on who is allowed to carry concealed weapons in our state—senselessly sending us backward and putting the safety of our residents in jeopardy,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “Today, we are taking swift and bold action to protect New Yorkers. After a close review of the NYSRPA vs. Bruen decision and extensive discussions with constitutional and policy experts, advocates, and legislative partners, I am proud to sign this landmark legislative package that will strengthen our gun laws and bolster restrictions on concealed carry weapons.”

On June 23, the Supreme Court reversed New York’s over century-old legislation that required Empire State residents to demonstrate a special need–such as past death threats–to defend themselves. Justice Clarence Thomas’ majority opinion argued that the legislature may have some leeway to ban guns in “sensitive areas” but defining entires cities, or Manhattan writ-large, is unconstitutional.

“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,” Justice Thomas wrote in the court’s majority opinion.

New York’s new legislation attempts to establish a list of sensitive places, within the judicial leeway provided by Thomas–but only time will tell whether it stands. The concealed carry law improvement act would ban concealed carry across many different areas: public transport, parks, preschools, houses of worship, protests, Times Square, and more.

The legislation also makes “no-carry” the default in private businesses, meaning that it is illegal to conceal carry a weapon in a private business unless they have signage directly notifying patrons that firearms are allowed.

Beyond the obvious runaround of the Supreme Court ruling, the legislation would set storage requirements, social media reviews to determine whether someone is of “good moral character,” and mandating training.

Other disqualifying criteria include misdemeanor convictions for weapons possession and menacing, recent treatment for drug-related reasons, and for alcohol-related misdemeanor convictions.

Another section of the bill expands upon bullet-resistant armor bans, by now being able to ban the equipment used by the racist gunman who unloaded on a Buffalo grocery store, that the legislation failed to adequately address the first time around.

Gun rights groups are almost certainly going to oppose the legislation based on specific rules or the entirety of the legislation.

The law will take effect on September 1, 2022. In addition, an appeals board will be created for those applicants whose license or renewal is denied or revoked, which will take effect on April 1, 2023.