State legislation is being developed that will ban guns in government buildings, health facilities, places where children gather and public transportation in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision making it easier to legally carry firearms in public.
The Gothamist reports Governor Kathy Hochul said that she and legislative leaders have agreed to a series of gun-control measures that are expected to be voted on today, when state lawmakers return to the Capitol for an extraordinary session.
She said the details and language are still being worked out. Hochul developed the policy following a meeting of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns with highlights including:
– A ban on guns in “sensitive places,” which also include polling places and educational institutions
– Preventing guns from being carried in private businesses unless the business owner explicitly allows them
– Expanding the list of criteria that disqualifies someone from obtaining a pistol permit, including if they have a “history of dangerous behavior”
– Expanding the state’s “safe storage” law to require guns are locked while in a car, or in a home with someone under the age of 18 (up from the current 16)
– And requiring a background check to purchase ammunition for a gun that requires a permit
The push for new gun-control legislation comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling last week in favor of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, which sued the state over its law requiring an applicant to show “proper cause” – essentially, a particular need to carry a gun for self-defense – in order to get a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public.
In the 6-3 ruling, the court found the century-old state law violated the U.S. Constitution, striking down the provision and making it easier to obtain a concealed carry permit.
But Justice Clarence Thomas’ ruling and a concurring opinion by Justice Brett Kavanaugh made clear that the state can still ban guns in “sensitive places,” such as government buildings.
Hochul said she and state lawmakers are in agreement on an expansive list of sensitive places. She also said they agree that guns should be presumptively banned from private businesses, unless the business owner proactively opts in to allowing them.
The presumption will be that they don’t want concealed carry unless they put out a sign saying, ‘Concealed carry weapons welcomed here,’” she said.
When asked if the state’s list of sensitive places would include places that serve alcohol, Hochul said they would be covered under the presumptive gun ban for private businesses.
Whatever lawmakers pass will be subject to strict legal scrutiny from gun groups – including the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association – that have been willing to sue in the past.
Governor Hochul is also hoping state lawmakers can pass the Equality Amendment during the special legislative session.
Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Hochul is urging agreement on the proposed, but stalled amendment to the state constitution that would put equality protections in place for New Yorkers.
The amendment has been stuck in neutral due to disagreements among Democratic lawmakers over religious protection language in the amendment. New York has protections in place for abortion rights and earlier this month legislation was approved meant to strengthen legal protections for women from outside New York seeking abortions as well as providers of the procedure.
Unlike legislation, a proposed constitutional amendment is not signed by the governor after passage in the Legislature. An amendment must be approved by two separately elected sessions of the Legislature and then put before voters in a referendum.
Hochul encouraged lawmakers to discuss the issue with her in an effort to broker an agreement.