(New York) Amid the giant screens and neon signs of New York’s famous Times Square, new signs now proclaim the busy area a “gun-free zone.”
This popular spot for tourists visiting Manhattan is part of a list of “sensitive” places – which includes parks, churches and theaters – where the carrying of a firearm will be prohibited under a New York State law set to go into effect as early as Thursday. This measure was adopted in reaction to a decision of the United States Supreme Court which invalidated, last June, a New York law on gun control dating back to 1913.
The new law also seriously tightens the criteria governing the issuance of a license to carry weapons.
With 50 million tourists visiting Times Square each year, the public square is one of the busiest and most densely occupied in the United States. The place is designated, authorities said, to be declared a “gun-free zone”.
“We really have to say this: this is a gun-free zone,” said Mayor Eric Adams, who admitted to being stunned that the City must put up signs around the perimeter of its business district to to remind people not to carry arms.
The police have started to put up temporary posters along the streets. On Thursday, digital signs will be added to clearly indicate the entry into force of the ban.
“I would love to see this not be a topic we have to talk about today,” Governor Kathy Hochul said at the same press conference. Without the Supreme Court ruling at the end of June, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. »
New York is one of half a dozen states that have seen their laws governing access to firearms invalidated by the court.
The Supreme Court struck down the law because it required the plaintiff to show that he had “reasonable cause” for possessing a firearms license. Last Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul revealed that she and her fellow Democrats acted within a week of the verdict because the decision “destroys the governor’s ability to protect his citizens from people who choose to carry guns everywhere.” or they will “.
This new law, however, is already facing legal challenges from gun owners who claim to be restricted in their constitutional right.
“It seems to be designed less for the purpose of preventing gun violence and more for the purpose of preventing people from having guns – even if those people are dignified, law-abiding citizens who have the right to bear arms according to the Supreme Court,” criticized Brooklyn attorney and license applicant Jonathan Corbett who is among one of many opponents challenging the law in court.
According to the criteria of the new law, applicants for a license to carry weapons will have to undergo 16 hours of training in the classroom as well as a two-hour training in the handling of weapons.
Keeping New Yorkers safe from gun violence is a nonpartisan issue.
— Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) August 31, 2022
Ordinary citizens will also not be allowed to carry a weapon in a school, in a church, in the metro, in the theater or in an amusement park – among a list of places deemed sensitive by the authorities.
In addition, applicants will also be required to provide a list of social media accounts they have contributed over the past three years to allow authorities to perform an analysis of their personality and behavior.
This requirement was added to the procedure because many perpetrators of killings posted evidence of their violent behavior online long before they opened fire on their victims.
In some counties, sheriffs have advised that this additional verification work could result in longer wait times in processing permit applications.