Gun sense: New York’s revised gun laws should make the state safer and pass constitutional muster

·2 min read

It was embarrassing that after Gov. Hochul called an extraordinary session to overhaul New York’s gun laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s evisceration, she and the Legislature took a day to show their cards. But the substance of the statute that emerged Friday is what really counts, and here, we have confidence that it’ll help protect police and civilians from the potential mayhem of concealed firearms everywhere.

In striking down New York’s 111-year-old Sullivan Law, the Supreme Court said the state could no longer require individuals to demonstrate a heightened need to carry a concealed weapon above and beyond typical public safety fears. So that’s out — but in is a rigorous new permitting regime required for all.

For the first time, the state will make all applicants pass firearm training. It will require four character references. It will scan “former and current social media accounts” of those seeking weapons, presumably to rule out those who are unstable or have shown a penchant for violence. There will be a new licensing system for and database of ammunition sales. Safe-storage requirements will get tighter.

Add it all up, and assuming these requirements survive inevitable court challenges, it’s going to remain fairly difficult to arm oneself legally in New York.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t address the bigger danger of the Bruen ruling, which is that those who’ve gotten guns elsewhere will increasingly be armed in public in New York City, endangering cops who will be forced to assume the presence of a weapon in almost every situation.

To mitigate that likelihood, the law liberally defines the court-approved “sensitive locations” where firearm carry can be restricted, including places of worship, educational institutions, “any place...used for public transit,” stadiums, polling places, any place where alcohol is consumed, Times Square, “any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble,” and more while making other private businesses presumptively no-carry zones unless their owners decide otherwise.

A coming flood of lawsuits will surely knock down some, but most will surely stand, saving many lives.