ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders were finalizing an agreement Monday to amend New York’s concealed-weapons permitting process — adding 15-20 hours of training, including live-fire practice, for example — when the State Legislature convenes Thursday.
Lawmakers are planning to return to the State Capitol for an “extraordinary session” to address a US Supreme Court decision last week striking down the state’s century-old concealed-carry law. The court effectively said New York’s criteria for issuing permits was too subjective.
In reaction, the governor and leaders of the Senate and Assembly were planning to change the law in two major ways: Adding some objective requirements, such as a minimum amount of training and a background check, and detailing a list of “sensitive areas,” such as public transit, where concealed weapons would be outlawed.
Some of the terms being discussed include “live-fire training,” which the state doesn’t mandate now for a concealed-weapon permit, a source said. Applicants also might be required to complete an in-person interview with a licensing agent.
Sensitive areas might include transportation hubs, courts, schools, playgrounds, libraries, municipally owned stadiums and any place serving alcohol.
The governor indicated lawmakers want to give private businesses the authority to keep guns off their premises. Sources said businesses would have to affirmatively “opt in” to declare they are allowing guns. The default position would be for businesses to prohibit guns.
“We’re going to have sensitive places identified, where you cannot bring guns. It will not be on subways. It will not be on buses,” Hochul told reporters Monday. “We’re going to have a whole host of places restricted.”
She added: “We’re also looking at increasing the requirements for receiving a gun permit — enhanced training, safe storage.”
The Supreme Court struck down a New York law, on the books since 1913, that placed limits on carrying guns outside the home.
The court said the old state law was too restrictive because it required applicants for a concealed-carry gun permit to show “proper cause” and “good moral character,” which were too vague and subjective.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, said New York and six other states impacted by the ruling still “may continue to require licenses for carrying handguns for self-defense so long as those states employ objective licensing requirements” used by 43 other states.
Analysts zeroed in on that passage, saying it provides New York lawmakers a path for action.
“New York can still have a permit law. But will have to do it within the confines of the new … standard,” Robert Spitzer, distinguished service professor emeritus at SUNY Cortland and author of “The Politics of Gun Control,” told Newsday last week.
With Michael Gormley
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