New York lawmakers pass bill to block concealed weapons in Times Square and other public places

Applicants will also have to submit social media accounts to authorities for review

US Supreme Court strikes down New York restriction on guns

New York lawmakers have passed a bill to block the carrying of concealed weapons in Times Square and many other public places and will also require applicants for gun licences to let the authorities inspect their social media accounts.

State officials had promised to act quickly following the 23 June Supreme Court ruling that went against a century-old New York law requiring handgun owners to show “proper cause” in order to obtain a licence to carry a concealed weapon in public.

The state Senate passed the bill by 43 votes to 20 on Friday along party lines, with the state Assembly passing the legislation on Friday evening 91-51, according to CNN.

It was negotiated by New York governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, who has said she will quickly sign the bill, which will almost certainly face lawsuits, into law from 1 September.

The law would make it a felony in many cases to carry a gun on mass transit, in schools, court and government buildings, libraries, zoos, playgrounds, public parks, and other public places, says Bloomberg.

Also covered by the new no-carry law are health facilities, shelters, places of worship, polling places, places where alcohol or cannabis are consumed, protests, entertainment venues, sporting fields, and Manhattan’s Times Square.

Exceptions exist for law enforcement, military service members, security guards, and others who need to be armed professionally.

The law will see the creation of a statewide licence and record for ammunition sales, and allow concealed-carry permits to be issued only after the applicant completes a firearms safety course as well as a live-fire range training course.

In the Supreme Court ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court’s conservative majority, argued that laws banning concealed weapons in public spaces must “demonstrate that the regulation is consistent” with a “historical tradition of firearm regulation,” and determined that New York’s law violates the Second Amendment and the 14th Amendment “by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”

In his dissent in the New York case, Justice Stephen Breyer argued that it is both “constitutionally proper” and “necessary” for courts to consider the “serious dangers and consequences of gun violence” that compels states to regulate firearms before striking them down.

He condemned the majority’s decision for reaching its conclusion “without first allowing for the development of an evidentiary record and without considering the state’s compelling interest in preventing gun violence.”

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