Brooklyn Boro

State Senate passes sweeping gun license legislation, Gounardes and other Dems strike back against SCOTUS

July 1, 2022 Daniel Cody
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In a bold move against a recent Supreme Court decision striking down New York Pistol & Rifle Association v. Bruen, Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State Senate passed a series of reforms, the most sweeping in recent years, to address a sharp increase in gun violence across the country.

State Senator Andrew Gounardes spoke with the Brooklyn Eagle and mentioned that the Bruen decision indicates the “proper cause” or “may issue” doctrines that many states use to regulate firearm licensing are considered too subjective for the Supreme Court, but change requires reform “driven by federal legislation” for significant impact.

In addition, Gounardes mentioned that the legislation includes requirements of 16-hour training periods two hours of which must be live training, and a passing minimum score on an examination. Interviews with the State Department of Police, the presentation of character references and the review of social media and mental/health records now preclude the ability to acquire a firearm license, a merited response reflecting deep public sentiment for the regulation of firearms.

Gounardes also said that the bill reinforces existing laws allowing victims of shootings to hold manufacturers accountable, like in Sunset Park, where a woman has taken action against Austrian firearm manufacturer, Glock, for its role in the April 12th shooting.

The legislation passed on Friday, July 1, bolsters licensing requirements, private property rights and storage law regulations surrounding the ownership of firearms. The package additionally includes a list of “sensitive locations” which Mayor Eric Adams and other figures in city politics have pushed for over the last two weeks amidst a steep increase in gun violence. The legislation passed Friday, S51001, was introduced by New York State Senators Stewart Cousins (D–35), Myrie (D–20) and Kavanagh (D–26).

State Senator Andrew Gounardes of the 22nd District – which covers Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach and Marine Park, Brooklyn – outlined the goals of the bill in a statement to the press on Friday, July 1.

“There are many factors that contribute to gun violence, but there is always one key thread at its heart: access to a gun, and an ability to carry it,” said Senator Andrew Gounardes.

“Today’s legislation to limit the ability to carry a weapon outside the home in a concealed manner will decrease the frequency of the crucial thread at the heart of all mass shootings and will keep New Yorkers safer from gun violence in all places throughout our state. I am grateful that we were able to work quickly to protect New Yorkers, and I look forward to continuing our work to end gun violence in our communities, once and for all.”

The legislation advanced by the Senate includes provisions to:

  • Strengthen the licensing requirements that any New Yorker seeking to obtain a firearms license must meet.
  • Protect private property rights by requiring owners to “opt in” to allowing weapons on their property.
  • Strengthen safe storage laws by increasing the age limit, so that safe storage laws apply if a minor under the age of 18 lives in the home, and ensuring that a person cannot leave a weapon in a car outside of their possession unless the weapon is in a lockbox.

Sensitive locations include government property, courts, a doctor’s office or hospital, places of worship such as churches, synagogues and mosques, as well as libraries, parks, playgrounds and zoos. Times Square, places with “entertainment value” such as theaters, museums, public transit, places where alcohol or cannabis is sold, as well as protests, polling places, educational institutions such as schools, pre-schools, childcare providers and summer camps are also established as sensitive locations.

The passage of the bill package comes as the nation reels from a slew of conservative activist decisions from the high court.

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