On Thursday, Sept. 1, New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul’s new gun restrictions take effect. However, there’s one common feeling across the state of New York about the new gun laws: confusion.
New Gun Laws Cause Confusion Across the State of New York
The governor decried the decision when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Empire State’s subjective restrictive “may issue” concealed carry requirements. As a result, she was “shocked” and responded by pushing even more restrictions through the legislature.
Law-abiding gun owners have cried foul ever since, specifically noting the gun control laws don’t hold criminals accountable. Likewise, law enforcement and county officials charged with implementing and overseeing the rules have voiced concern.
First and Flawed
In Gov. Hochul’s rushed attempt to be first after the Supreme Court ruled against New York in its Bruen decision, her antigun bias has wreaked overall havoc in New York.
In Upstate counties that comprise the vast majority of New York’s geography, confusion reigns. Fulton County Sherriff Richard Giardino held an information session for law-abiding gun owners. The jampacked crowd included New Yorkers worried that Gov. Hochul’s gun control will ensnare them and turn them into criminals.
“We’re placed in an untenable position of enforcing laws that we might believe are unconstitutional, and as a former judge and DA, I still have my law license, I believe many provisions of this are unconstitutional and will be knocked down in the courts,” said Giardino.
In Greene County, Lisa and Richard MacLeod – owners of Recon Defense – have been swamped with calls, walk-ins and social media posts from concerned New Yorkers. “We are up to 13,00 hits on this already. Our phone has not stopped ringing. As far as what does this mean? Everyone is so confused no one knows what to do,” Lisa told local media.
New York Republican Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh told the New York Post, “A lot of times New York is trying to be first — the first to poke back at the US Supreme Court because they didn’t like the concealed carry ruling … So [Democrats] tried to be first and then they’re not best. It was sloppy drafting.”
The assemblywoman’s comments followed a scramble by the governor’s administration to reassure New Yorkers that prohibitions on recreational shooting sports weren’t included in the bill despite Assembly Codes Committee Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) telling Walsh the exact opposite during bill debate. “I guess that’s covered by this.”
One lawmaker in Albany is leading her colleagues in their fight back. In this case, she is attempting to shield lawful recreational and shooting sports activities from the flawed law. Republican N.Y. state Sen. Pam Helming introduced legislation to protect the shooting sports and to clarify the law with language to deem competitive shooting sports events, often held at sportsmen’s clubs, exempted from the state’s list of “sensitive places.”
“The language in our laws matters – and the language in the law that takes effect on September 1 unfairly puts these programs at risk,” Sen. Helming said. “Participation in these sports is growing, especially in our rural areas. Shooting sports programs and competitions are conducted safely and responsibly, with applicable training and education and they should be allowed to operate as they always have—safely and successfully.”
Lawmakers won’t be back in Albany until the 2023 legislative session begins in January.
Gov. Hochul’s new gun control law is a kitchen sink of constitutionally questionable restrictions. And they don’t do anything to stop criminals in her state from illegally obtaining and misusing firearms.
The law expanded the “sensitive locations” where law-abiding concealed carriers cannot carry firearms. These include federal, state, and local government buildings, health and medical facilities, daycares, parks, zoos and playgrounds, public transportation including subways and buses, polling sites, schools, and even publicly-utilized state forest preserves, including the 6 million acres of the Adirondack Park.
The law also allows the state to examine social media posts between neighbors to determine if an individual qualifies for a state-issued concealed carry permit. Court challenges are lining up fast.
Jane Havens, manager of Calamity Jane’s Firearms in Hudson Falls, N.Y., organized a recent townhall of her own. The townhall of a few hundred people covered the new laws.
Her message to law-abiding gun owners and those trying to become them was short and simple. No matter how frustrating the process is: “Don’t give up this fight. We will help you.”
The Effect on Retailers
Firearm retailers are in a bind too. New York passed an extensive security and record-keeping law that will also go into effect Sept. 1. NSSF met with the governor’s office and N.Y. State Police to obtain guidance for implementation guidance. But the only thing that was clear was the state’s not ready.
NSSF was told to advise member retailers that state police won’t conduct inspections without proper guidance in place first. Also, officials from the governor’s office didn’t want New York firearm retailers to spend their resources to comply until they publish regulations. State police informed NSSF that a Frequently Asked Questions page to assist retailers is coming soon.
The confusion wrought by Gov. Hochul has been purposeful and targeted at law-abiding gun owners and the lawful firearm industry. But New York gun owners, new and old, are sticking together in this fight against the new gun laws and not giving up. The firearm industry isn’t backing down either.
Story originally posted to NSSF.org.