New York plans opt-in rule for companies

ALBANY, NY (AP) — New York will ban people from carrying firearms in many businesses unless owners put up a sign explicitly stating that guns are welcome, Governor Kathy Hochul said Wednesday.

The Democrat said she and legislative leaders have agreed on the broad outline of a gun control bill slated to pass Thursday, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the state’s gun-license law.

The court’s ruling will allow ordinary New Yorkers to be licensed to carry a gun for personal defense for the first time in more than a century. It used to be hard to get an unlimited gun license unless you worked in law enforcement or security.

But Hochul said she also wanted to protect the rights of property owners who decide they don’t want firearms on the property.

Companies wishing to have guns nearby should put up a sign that reads “Hidden weapons welcome here,” or words to that effect, Hochul said. “Otherwise, in New York State, the presumption will be that they are not.”

“We are going to protect the rights of private property owners and make sure they are not subjected to someone walking into their workplace or a bar or restaurant with a concealed weapon,” Hochul said.

“She tells entrepreneurs how to run their businesses if they want to stay open. These are unconstitutional mandates and I believe they will be overturned by the courts,” said Aaron Dorr, the executive director of the New York State Firearms Association.

The push for new restrictions follows the Supreme Court’s decision to remove a provision in New York’s licensing law that requires people to display an unusual threat to their safety in order to carry a gun.

The state is introducing new requirements for obtaining a firearms license, Hochul said, including mandating 15 hours of personal fire training. The legislature will also enact new rules for the storage of firearms in homes and vehicles, she said.

Hochul and fellow Democrats also plan to draw up a comprehensive list of “sensitive places” where most firearms would be banned, including government offices, hospitals, schools and public transportation.

New York will also require background checks for all purchases of ammunition for licensed weapons, Hochul said.

Legislation in the pipeline in California would also impose further restrictions on concealed transportation permits:

  • Limit concealed transport to 21 years and older;
  • Require applicants to disclose all prior arrests, criminal convictions, and restraining orders or protective orders;
  • Require personal interviews with the applicant and at least three character references; and
  • Allowing sheriffs and police chiefs to consider applicants’ public statements when considering whether the individual is dangerous.

The California legislation was put forward by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday with a 5-2 vote on objections raised by gun owner advocates, who said it goes too far and predicted it would also be declared unconstitutional.

New York would be the first state to pass a law to allow concealed weapons only in companies that explicitly allow it, according to David Pucino, deputy chief counsel at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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