NEW YORK: The New York state passed a law on Friday banning guns at many public places, including Times Square, and requiring gun-licence applicants to prove their shooting proficiency and submit their social media accounts for review.

The law, passed in an emergency legislative session, was forced by a landmark US Supreme Court ruling last week that struck down New York’s restrictive gun-licence laws. The court’s conservative majority ruled for the first time that the US Constitution grants an individual the right to carry weapons in public for self-defence.

New York’s Democratic leaders have decried the ruling and the court, saying there will be more gun violence if there are more people carrying guns.

Law is set to take effect on Sept 1

They conceded they must loosen the state’s century-old permit scheme to comply with the ruling, but sought to keep as many restrictions as they could in the name of public safety. Some will likely be targets for further legal challenges.

The court ruled that New York’s former licence regime, which dates from 1911, gave too much discretion to officials to deny a permit.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who ordered the extraordinary session in the legislature, said the state’s gun-licensing regulations had resulted in New York having the fifth-lowest rate of gun deaths of the 50 US states.

“Our state will continue to keep New Yorkers safe from harm, even despite this setback from the Supreme Court,” she told a news conference in the state capital, Albany, while lawmakers were debating the bill. “They may think they can change our lives with the stroke of a pen, but we have pens, too.” The court’s ruling allowed that people could be banned from carrying weapons in certain “sensitive places” but warned lawmakers against applying the label too broadly.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022

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