Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell revealed new state laws Wednesday as concealed carry is set to go into effect.
As speakers gave a rundown of new safety procedures as concealed carry permits are set to become law on Sept. 1, the mayor stopped mid speech as he addressed a legion of media cameras inside the governor’s Midtown office on Aug. 31. While underscoring that Times Square will be off limits to firearm holders, hizzoner grew silent for a few moments.
“Times Square is a gun-free zone… we have to actually say that. In our city we have to actually say gun-free zone,” Adams sighed.
The new rules are the city and state’s response to a Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned New York state’s 109-year-old law against concealed carry, with the conservative majority declaring the law a violation of Second Amendment rights to self-defense.
In order to ensure the safety of New Yorkers and tourists alike in the pedestrian heavy Times Square, the elected officials and the NYPD — having the ability to declare certain areas of the city as gun-free zones — have deemed the Crossroads of the World as one such location, meaning a carrier entering the space will be subject to arrest.
“The NYPD is the firearm licensor for New York City and we take this responsibility very seriously,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “While the landscape may be changing when it comes to illegal firearm possession in New York City, our goal was always to ensure public safety and responsible gun ownership as part of this public safety.”
As a part of this security plan, signs declaring Times Square as a gun free zone will be erected around the iconic tourist hub to showcase the point of no return.
Officials also state that those applying for a concealed carry permit will have to undergo a stringent vetting process, such as having to supply all of their social media accounts. Sewell also strove to remind the city that unlicensed guns will remain illegal, and the NYPD will continue their efforts to remove them from the streets.
Many of those in attendance harshly criticized the Supreme Court of the United States for overturning New York’s century old gun law. Governor Hochul called it “reprehensible.”
“We don’t need guns on our streets, we don’t need people carrying guns on our subways, we don’t need people carrying guns in our schools,” Hochul said.
During the press conference, the governor also revealed that permit requests have sharply risen since the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the law. Still, Hochul has faith that the vetting process will do its part to help weed out those with violent intentions.
“There has been an increase in pistol permits applied for, but it is a lengthy process because there’s multiple levels involved with mental health background checks, state police background checks, FBI checks,” Hochul said. “That won’t make a difference, because it’s who has a permit on the date that you’ve applied, because that could take many months. I don’t know how long it takes in the city. I know upstate, it could be three months, it could be a year depending on how long the backlog is.”
Still, all officials declared the overturning a slap in the face of the long work they say they have done to recover hundreds upon hundreds of illegal guns from the street.
“So far this year, our city has seen nearly 900 shooting incidents resulting in over a thousand victims of gun violence. And we must never forget the victims of gun violence and the efforts to meet their needs,” City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said.