Gun Laws & Legislation

New York Now Requires Social Media History For Pistol Permits

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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  • New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act comes into effect today.
  • The law, passed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York Firearms Association v. Bruen, raises the requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit, including that applicants must provide their social media history. It also bans guns from most public places and private businesses.
  • A federal judge, dismissing a challenge to the law, said that its provisions are ‘vague’ and ‘confusing.’

New York now requires all applicants for a concealed carry permit to supply social media history to authorities, per new laws, enacted by the state Legislature following a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo on May 14, that came into effect today.

The new rules, which were included in Senate Bill 51001 – known as the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) and signed by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul on July 1 — increase the requirements for New York residents to obtain a concealed carry permit for a pistol.

The new requirements mandate that new applicants for permits attend 16 hours of classroom instruction on firearm safety, as well as provide character references and three years’ worth of social media account history, including former accounts, to verify their “character and conduct” as suitable for firearm possession.

Additionally, the duration of firearm permits issued in New York City and surrounding counties, as well as all concealed carry permits in the state, will be shortened to three years, down from five years under previous rules. Renewal applicants must meet the new requirements.

The CCIA further prohibits the carrying of any firearms into a wide variety of public locations deemed “sensitive locations.” These include entertainment venues, playgrounds, parks, public demonstrations, educational institutions, houses of worship, election polling sites, hospitals and all public transportation systems in the state. In conjunction with an ordinance passed by the New York City Council, the laws impose a firearm quarantine zone over Times Square in Midtown Manhattan – from 40th Street to 53rd Street to the north, and 9th Avenue to 6th Avenue to the east.

The CCIA also bars the carrying of weapons into any private business unless expressly granted permission by the owners. This “reverse onus” approach is different from laws in other states, where business owners are required to post signs prohibiting weapons to prevent lawfully owned firearms from being carried onto their commercial property.

Possession of a firearm in these areas will become a Class E felony under state law, punishable by up to four years of imprisonment, the law says. However, retired police officers, persons engaged in hunting activity and active-duty military personnel, among others, are exempt from the restrictions.

Another law, set to take effect on Sept. 4, will raise the minimum age required to possess or borrow a semi-automatic rifle to 21 and require a special permit for all forms of possessions. Those possessing rifles before the law, however, will be exempt.

Hochul in July had convened an extraordinary session of the New York Legislature to pass the CCIA, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which struck down the state’s century-old requirements that applicants for a concealed carry license prove that a “proper cause” exists for requesting one.

In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that the requirement violated the Second Amendment. Writing for the conservative majority, Justice Clarence Thomas noted that “The exercise of constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate some special need.”

Hochul had previously called the Court’s decision “negligent and reprehensible.” On Aug. 31, a day before the law took effect, she remarked at a press conference that New York would “continue leading the way forward and implementing commonsense gun safety legislation.” Echoing those comments, Democratic Mayor Eric Adams of New York City called the Bruen decision a “shot heard around the world that took dead aim at the safety of all New Yorkers.” (RELATED: ‘I’m Prepared To Go Back To Muskets’: New York Gov. Hochul Rages Over SCOTUS Overturning Concealed Carry Law)

The new laws have faced heavy criticism from Republicans and firearm rights groups, who have vowed to challenge their constitutionality in courts. “New Yorkers’ constitutional freedoms were just trampled on,” said state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, who is also the party’s nominee for the 23rd Congressional District in this November’s midterm election, according to the Associated Press. Republican State Sen. Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, meanwhile, said they were “a disgrace.”

An initial challenge to the law in federal court from the Gun Owners Association of America, seeking a preliminary injunction, was dismissed on Aug. 31, the night before it came into effect, on grounds of standing. However, in his ruling on the plaintiff’s motion, Chief Judge Glenn Suddaby of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York wrote that the CCIA was “vague” and “subjective” and that the challenge had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.

Neither the Gun Owners Association of America nor Hochul’s office immediately responded to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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