It also defines “sensitive locations,” such as schools, polling places and certain public gathering areas, where weapons are prohibited for most permit holders.
“We’re trying to create uniformity, which is really what the Supreme Court asked us to do and … we got to that goal and we’re making New York a safe place,” Senate Majority Leader Mrs. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, ahead of the bill’s passage on Friday, adding that “people will be very clear about how they can get the permit.”
Lawmakers have been trying to thread the needle to narrowly tailor the application process without imposing subjective or arbitrary restrictions. And Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration said Friday that the “good moral character” requirement was not too subjective to pass.
“First of all, the moral character standard was not an issue on the Supreme Court, and it has been issued in other states,” attorney for the governor Liz Fine said during a news conference. “I don’t think there’s any question that the state has the authority and responsibility to review license applicants to make sure they don’t pose a danger to themselves if they can get a gun.”
Licensing agents will review each applicant, and people who are denied will have a chance to appeal, he said.
Applicants must participate in a firearms safety course, undergo an “enhanced assessment” with in-person interviews and submit social media reviews. In addition, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services will review permit holder records on a monthly basis for criminal convictions, criminal indictments, and orders of protection.
Purchasing ammunition would also trigger a background check by DCJS, and the bill further restricts the types of body armor that can be sold. And Hochul said on Friday that she break a deal hit under his predecessor Andrew Cuomo who stalled the implementation of an ammunition sales database.
The law also designates gun-free “sensitive locations” where the unlawful possession of a firearm constitutes a class E felony.
Such places include government buildings; any place that provides health, behavioral health, or chemical dependency care or services; any place of worship or religious observance; libraries; public playgrounds; public parks; zoos; the location of any state-funded or authorized program; educational institutions of both primary and higher education; any vehicle used for public transportation; all public transportation, including airports and bus terminals; bars and restaurants; entertainment, games and sporting events and venues; polling places; any public sidewalk or public area restricted for a special event; and protests or rallies.
The Supreme Court decision preserved the right to designate sensitive sites, but warned that lawmakers could not cover swathes of the city.
“Simply put, there is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare Manhattan Island a ‘sensitive location’ simply because it is overcrowded and generally protected by the New York City Police Department,” it reads. in opinion.
The law also prohibits the use of firearms on private property, unless the property owner allows it. Business owners may display a sign on their property to allow concealed weapons on the premises. If there is no sign, concealed carry permit holders should assume that firearms are prohibited.
Several groups are exempt, including current and retired law enforcement, law enforcement officers, security guards who have a special armed registration card, and active duty military. The law also allows hunting and hunting education, with the proper licenses.
Once signed by Hochul, the law will go into effect on September 1 and DCJS will have until April to implement a background check database and weapons training courses.