By Samuel G. Dobre, Esq.
On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued an historic ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that invalidated a century-old provision of New York’s concealed carry law requiring an applicant to show “proper cause” in order to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home. The Court held that the provision violated the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Employers should consider if they want to allow guns on their premises, and if so, they should post “clear and conspicuous signage” or otherwise provide express consent to visitors or patrons.
Following the Court’s decision, many New Yorkers—particularly those residing in New York City—braced for a possible wave of increased violence. Reports of crime have been on the rise the last few months in various parts of New York City, including the West Village. In April, New York Police Department data showed an 84 percent spike in major crime when compared to 2021 crime rates. As of mid-July, major crime rates remain high in the West Village with an 80 percent spike compared to last year, according to the latest data report out of the Sixth Precinct, which patrols the West Village. NYC business owners are especially frustrated with the increased violence as it places a strain on business during a time when many businesses are still recovering from difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of growing concerns about public safety in New York after the Supreme Court decision, the legislature promptly drafted the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which was recently signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. The new law will limit who can obtain a gun carry permit, how to obtain a permit and restrictions on where guns may be carried. It prohibits guns in certain “sensitive places” such as government-owned buildings, educational institutions, health care facilities, places of worship, any place where alcohol is consumed and public transportation. The law establishes additional limitations including new eligibility requirements for those seeking concealed carry permits and a more expansive disqualifying criteria (i.e., an interview with a licensing agency, firearms safety training, storage requirements in vehicles). The Concealed Carry Improvement Act took effect on September 1, 2022.
As a precautionary measure, business owners should strongly consider posting signs that explicitly state whether or not guns are allowed on the property, to make the potential presence of firearms on the premises known to all guests and patrons.
Should you have questions or are seeking assistance, please contact Bond, Schoeneck & King’s labor and employment attorneys.The attorneys would like to give credit to Bond’s Summer Law Clerk, Camisha Parkins, who assisted in co-authoring this article.