MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — New restrictions against carrying guns in Times Square were formally signed by Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday, even as a legal battle over the issue remains ongoing.
The ordinance establishes the borders of the Gun Free Zone outlined by Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul in late August, in response to a Supreme Court ruling in June striking down a New York State requirement that firearm permit applicants demonstrate “proper cause” to carry.
“This is the heart of our city,” said Adams in remarks prior to signing the bill at the Crossroads of the World. “You don’t want a city, particularly here, that people are carrying illegal or, based on the Supreme Court, legal guns in this area.”
Seizing on a provision of the Supreme Court decision that said guns could still be restricted in certain “sensitive locations,” New York lawmakers moved shortly after the ruling to bar firearms from locations including airports, houses of worship, schools, libraries, parks, and restaurants serving alcohol, as well as Times Square.
But a federal judge in upstate New York ruled Thursday that some of the provisions likely violated the Second Amendment, ordering their temporary suspension following a delay of three business days to allow for potential appeals. That ruling came in response to a legal challenge of a state law by the Gun Owners of America group, arguing that New York’s restrictions went too far. State Attorney General Letitia James has vowed to appeal any stay of the state legislation.
Should the state legislation not survive the legal challenge, Adams said that the city would do what it could within the limits of the law to preserve the Times Square gun-free zone.
“This is what we want to do, but we’re going to be in complete compliance with whatever the courts hand down,” he said.
Adams said that the effort was a matter of protecting both New Yorkers and the millions of tourists who visit the city and Times Square every year.
“We’re not going to live in fear, and we’re going to make sure we create an environment where those who visit the city, such as Times Square, won’t have to be paralyzed with the fear of knowing that someone is carrying a gun in this area,” he said.
The mayor also signed a second bill at the Tuesday event, aimed at cracking down on the flow of illegal guns into the five boroughs. It will, among other things, mandate a report on the details of firearm seizures in New York City, gather data on dealers who sold guns used in crimes, and identify ways that New York can work with other states to curtail interstate gun trafficking.