State Senate passes sweeping gun licensing legislation, Gounardes and other Democrats fight back SCOTUS
File photo of Senator Andrew Gounardes Eagle of the Democratic State of Brooklyn by Steve Solomonson
In a bold move against a recent Supreme Court decision overturning New York Pistol & Rifle Association v. Bruen, Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Senate passed a series of reforms, the most sweeping in recent years, to address a sharp rise in gun violence across the country.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes spoke with the Eagle and mentioned that the Bruen decision indicates that the “just cause” or “may issue” doctrines that many states use to regulate gun licensing are considered too subjective for the Supreme Court, but change requires a reform “led by federal legislation” for a significant impact.
Additionally, Gounardes mentioned that the legislation includes requirements for 16-hour training periods, two hours of which must be live training, and a minimum pass mark on an exam. Interviews with the State Police Department, submission of character references, and review of social media and mental health records now preclude the possibility of acquiring a firearms license, a deserved response reflecting the strong public sentiment for gun regulation.
Gounardes also said the bill strengthens existing laws allowing victims of shootings to hold manufacturers accountable, such as in Sunset Park, where a woman sued Austrian gun maker Glock for her role in the April 12 shooting.
Legislation passed on Friday, July 1 strengthens licensing requirements, private property rights and storage law regulations surrounding gun ownership. The package further includes a list of “sensitive locations” that Mayor Eric Adams and other city political figures have called for over the past two weeks amid a sharp rise in gun violence. Legislation passed Friday, S51001, was introduced by New York State Senators Stewart Cousins (D–35), Myrie (D–20) and Kavanagh (D–26).
State Sen. 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 bill’s goals in a statement to the press Friday, July 1.
“Many factors contribute to gun violence, but there is always a common thread at its heart: access to a gun and the ability to carry it,” said Senator Andrew Gounardes.
“Today’s legislation to limit the ability to carry a gun outside the home in a concealed manner will reduce the frequency of the crucial thread at the heart of all mass shootings and protect New Yorkers from violence. 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.”
Legislation proposed by the Senate includes provisions to:
- Strengthen licensing requirements that any New Yorker seeking a firearms license must meet.
- Protect private property rights by requiring owners to “opt in” to allowing guns on their property.
- Strengthen secure storage laws by raising the age limit so that secure storage laws apply if a minor under the age of 18 lives in the home, and ensuring that no one cannot leave a gun in a car without being in their possession unless the gun is in a safe.
Sensitive locations include government properties, courts, medical offices or hospitals, 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 transport, places where alcohol or cannabis are sold, as well as demonstrations, polling places, educational establishments such as schools, kindergartens, daycare centers and summer camps are also designated as sensitive locations.
The passing of the bill comes as the nation reels from a series of rulings by conservative High Court activists.