A New York state law takes effect Thursday, designating many highly populated areas such as schools, houses of worship, polling places, homeless shelters, theaters, subways and mass transit as “sensitive spaces.” This means no guns are allowed, even with a concealed carry license.
The City Council designated Times Square as a sensitive location on Tuesday, adding it to the list of places already noted on the legislation. Small, glossy signs — no bigger than 8 ½ by 11 — will be placed around the public areas, reminding people the popular tourist spot is now a gun-free zone.
Some officials believe the signs should be much bigger.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of New York’s concealed carry law in a 6-3 ruling. The provision now requires applicants to show “proper cause” in order to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun outside their home.
“I think that it’s a sensitive issue so we have to work with the NYPD to make sure the rules are followed,” New York City councilwoman Kamillah Hanks said.
Among the requirements, an applicant must have 16 hours of hands-on gun training, and they must turn over three years of social media posts to demonstrate they have “good moral character.”
“We’re enhancing our background checks to make them more substantial so we can identify people who don’t have the ability to carry a weapon so we’ve been working tirelessly on this,” Hochul said.
The city plans to launch a series of public service announcements letting people know about the changes in Times Square, because if caught with a gun, regardless of permit status, concealed gun carriers can be charged with a felony.
Both Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams are expected to speak Wednesday to highlight the important rules and changes that are going into effect.