(Trends Wide) — Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday signed into law a bill restricting the concealed carry of firearms in places like government buildings and schools after the US Supreme Court struck down the century-old state law restricting the carrying a concealed weapon outside the home.
Hochul, who called the legislature into special session on Thursday to address the issue, announced that he had quickly signed the bill into law after it passed.
“I just signed a new law to keep New Yorkers safe, even in the face of a monumental setback from the Supreme Court,” he said in a tweet in which he thanked lawmakers for their “quick work and collaboration in passing these critical gun safety reforms.”
Lawmakers drafted the final text of the bill on Thursday and put it to a vote on Friday after debate, drawing criticism from Republicans for the short turnaround time. The state Senate approved the bill 43-20 on Friday on a party-line vote, and the state Assembly approved the legislation Friday night 91-51.
The new law establishes a strict licensing process to obtain a concealed carry permit and a list of places considered “sensitive” – including Times Square – where the possession of firearms will be illegal, according to the legislative text. Other areas defined as sensitive include government-owned buildings, schools, health care facilities, places of worship, and public transportation. People who carry a weapon in a prohibited location could be charged with a felony under the law.
During a press conference the previous Friday in Albany, Hochul shared the impetus behind the legislation and some of its details.
“With a stroke of the pen, (the Supreme Court) removed long-standing limitations that we were able to use in New York State to make smart decisions about who should have the right to carry a gun,” Hochul said. “We think gun laws like those have made New York safer.”
The law enacts a strict authorization process for concealed carry licenses. It requires background checks for ammunition sales, a policy that Hochul says is not intended to target legal gun owners.
Under the law, gun owners will be required to store firearms in secure locations in their residences if minors under the age of 18 reside in the home, an increase from the previously established age of 16.
Democratic leaders have said they hope gun advocates will challenge the legislation in court, but believe the bill’s language will stick.
New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said during a news conference Friday that lawmakers crafted the language carefully following the Supreme Court’s decision.
“We wanted to make sure our permitting process could stand up to scrutiny, and the technical aspects took a long time. But we are confident that we are giving New York, once again, an opportunity to not only be able to have its cargo hidden, but also to keep New Yorkers safe,” Stewart-Cousins said.
Last week, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s gun law that required a resident to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver in public and show there was “adequate cause” to obtain the permit.
Applicants had been required to show a “real and articulable” need for self-defense, rather than one that is “speculative or misleading.”
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, Hochul called it “shocking” and “terrifying in the scope of how they are setting this nation back and our ability to protect our citizens.”
He added that it was “particularly painful” that the ruling “come at this time, when we are still dealing with families who are suffering from the mass shootings that have occurred — the loss of life, their beloved children and grandchildren.”
In May, a gunman opened fire at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood, killing 10 people in a shooting that authorities said was a racist hate crime.
The governor called state lawmakers into a special session this week to pass gun legislation.
Last month, Hochul signed a legislative package to toughen state gun laws, including a law that raised the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic rifle to 21.
Trends Wide’s Mirna Alsharif contributed to this report.