ALBANY, NY ( Associated Press) – New York lawmakers on Friday approved a sweeping review of the state’s firearms licensing rules, with the goal of enforcing certain restrictions on firearms after the Supreme Court ruled that most people have the right to own a firearm wear for personal protection.
The measure, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul after passing both chambers by a wide margin, will almost certainly draw more legal challenges from gun rights advocates who say the state still places too many restrictions on who can get weapons and where they can carry them. .
Hochul, a Democrat, recalled the Democratic-controlled Legislature to Albany to work on the law after last week’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned the state’s years of licensing restrictions.
Backers said the law, which takes effect Sept. 1, strikes the right balance between complying with the Supreme Court’s ruling and keeping guns out of the hands of people who are likely to use them recklessly or with criminal intent.
READ MORE: Supreme Court passes New York legislation restricting firearms outside the home, with implications for other states
But some Republican lawmakers, opposed to stricter restrictions, have argued the law violates the constitutional right to bear arms. They predicted that it would also be overthrown.
The state’s new rules will require, among other things, people applying for a handgun license to hand over a list of their social media accounts so officials can verify their “character and behavior.”
Applicants will have to show that they “have the necessary character, temperament and judgment needed to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a way that does not endanger yourself and others.”
As part of that assessment, applicants must provide a list of social media accounts they have maintained over the past three years.
“Sometimes they telegraph their intent to harm others,” Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul told a news conference.
Advocates of gun rights and Republican leaders were outraged, saying the legislation not only violated the Second Amendment, but also privacy and free speech rights.
“New Yorkers’ constitutional freedoms have only been trampled on,” said Republican President Nick Langworthy.
The legislature-approved bill does not specify whether applicants will be required to give licensees access to private social media accounts that are not visible to the general public.
People applying for a handgun license will also need to provide four character references, 16 hours of firearms safety training plus two hours of practice at a track, undergo periodic background checks and contact information for their spouse, housemate or any other adults living in their household.
Hochul’s chief prosecutor, Elizabeth Fine, maintained the state set out ‘a very clear set of eligibility criteria’ and noted that the legislation included an appeal process.
The measure, which was signed into law on Friday, also enacts a recently passed law banning the sale of some types of bulletproof vests to the general public. The previous law inadvertently omitted many types of body weapons, including the type worn by an armed man who killed 10 Black people in a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket.
The Supreme Court’s ruling last week destroyed a 109-year-old state law that required people to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety to qualify for a license to carry a handgun outside their homes. That restriction generally limited licenses to people who worked in law enforcement or had another special need that went beyond routine issues of public safety.
Under the new system, the state will not authorize permits for people with criminal convictions to drive while drunk, threatening or third-degree assault within the past five years.
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People will also not be allowed to carry firearms at a long list of “sensitive places,” including New York’s tourist-laden Times Square.
That list also includes schools, universities, government buildings, places where people gathered for public demonstrations, health care facilities, places of worship, libraries, public playgrounds and parks, day care centers, summer camps, addiction and mental health centers, shelters, public transport, pubs, pubs. , stadiums, museums, polling stations and casinos.
New York will also ban people from bringing guns into any business or workplace, unless the owners put up signs saying guns are welcome. People who bring guns to places without such signs can be prosecuted on charges of crime.
This is a reverse approach from many other states where businesses that want to keep firearms out are usually required to place signs indicating that guns are not allowed.
Gun advocates said the law infringes on rights upheld by the Supreme Court.
“Now we’re going to let the pizzeria owner decide if I can express my constitutional right or not,” sen said. Andrew Lanza, a Republican from Staten Island, said. “It is a disgrace. See you in the courts. ”
Maysoon Khan contributed to this report.