NEW YORK (PIX11) — Starting Thursday, it will be a felony to carry firearms, licensed or otherwise, in “sensitive” locations across New York including Times Square, a change that Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, and other officials detailed in a Wednesday briefing.
The new restrictions are part of a suite of gun safety measures enacted by lawmakers in response to a Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down a New York State requirement that firearm permit applicants demonstrate “proper cause” to carry.
“The Supreme Court is taking dead aim at the safety of New Yorkers,” said Adams in the briefing. “They’ve placed us in the line of fire, and we must respond accordingly.”
Adams unveiled a map outlining the boundaries of the Times Square restricted area, which will be marked by signs declaring a “Gun Free Zone.” Local lawmakers have voiced concerns about the signs, questioning whether they are prominent enough or sufficient to deter people from packing heat in the Crossroads of the World.
Hochul said that the first step toward enforcing the new law, which also designates other “sensitive” areas including schools, libraries, restaurants that serve alcohol, and parks, is a campaign of education and awareness.
“It was an intense process, but necessary,” said Hochul of crafting measures to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling, which she labeled “reprehensible.”
Despite the governor’s initial emphasis on education, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell did not rule out the possibility of enacting physical searches or designated checkpoints within the Times Square zone when asked about steps beyond signage.
“If there is reasonable suspicion to believe that someone is carrying a firearm, our officers will take action,” said Sewell, speaking during the same briefing.
Other new gun safety measures beyond the restricted zones include expanded red flag laws, an updated application process, and, effective September 4, the raising of the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle to 21.