U.S: State of New York passes law to ban guns from Times Square, places of mass movement
Washington/UNI: The State of New York has passed a law which bans the carrying of guns in public places, including places like Times Square, and also requires gun-license applicants to prove their shooting proficiency and submit their social media accounts for review, Khaleej Times reported on Saturday.
The law was passed in an emergency legislative session, after a landmark US Supreme Court ruling last week that struck down New York's restrictive gun-license 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 decried the ruling and the court, saying there will be more gun violence if there are more people carrying guns.
They therefore conceded that they have to loosen the state's century-old permit scheme to comply with the ruling, while keeping as many restrictions as they could in the name of public safety. Some will likely be targets for further legal challenges.
The Supreme Court had ruled that New York's former license 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.
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.
The court also made it easier for pro-gun groups to have a regulation overturned.
It ruled that a weapons regulation was likely unconstitutional if it was not similar to the sort of regulations around in the 18th century, when the US Constitution's Second Amendment which lets states maintain militias and defines a right to "keep and bear Arms," was ratified.
The law passed on Friday makes it a felony crime to carry a gun into a new list of sensitive places, including: government buildings, medical facilities, places of worship, libraries, playgrounds, parks, zoos, schools, colleges, summer camps, addiction-support centres, homeless shelters, nursing homes, public transit including the New York City subway, places where alcohol or marijuana is consumed, museums, theatres, stadiums and other venues, polling places and Times Square.
Republican lawmakers complained that the law, set to take effect on September 1, makes the right to carry weapons lesser than other constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech and of religion.
The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun-owners' rights group whose local affiliate was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, called New York's law a "flagrant violation" of the ruling by creating more barriers to New Yorkers' self-defense rights, indicating it may soon face legal challenges.