The law makes it a felony crime to carry a gun into a new list of sensitive places, including: government buildings, places of worship, libraries, parks, zoos, schools, summer camps and homeless shelters,

Law enforcement officials and registered security guards are among those exempt from the sensitive-place restrictions.
Law enforcement officials and registered security guards are among those exempt from the sensitive-place restrictions. (Reuters)

New York state has passed a law on banning guns from many public places, including Times Square, and requiring gun-licence applicants to prove their shooting proficiency and submit their social media accounts for review by government officials.

The law, passed in an emergency legislative session on Friday, was forced by a landmark US Supreme Court ruling last week that struck down New York's restrictive gun-licence laws. 

The court's conservative majority ruled for the first time that the US Constitution grants an individual the right to carry weapons in public for self-defence.

New York's Democratic leaders have decried the ruling and the court, saying there will be more gun violence if there are more people carrying guns.

They conceded they must loosen the state's century-old permit scheme to comply with the ruling, but sought to keep as many restrictions as they could in the name of public safety. Some will likely be targets for further legal challenges.

The court ruled that New York's former licence regime, which dates from 1911, gave too much discretion to officials to deny a permit.

READ MORE: What does Supreme Court’s gun ruling mean as US passes gun-safety bill?

Debating the bill

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who ordered the extraordinary session in the legislature, said the state's gun-licencing regulations had resulted in New York having the fifth-lowest rate of gun deaths of the 50 US states.

"Our state will continue to keep New Yorkers safe from harm, even despite this setback from the Supreme Court," she told a news conference in the state capital, Albany, while lawmakers were debating the bill. 

"They may think they can change our lives with the stroke of a pen, but we have pens, too."

The court's ruling allowed that people could be banned from carrying weapons in certain "sensitive places" but warned lawmakers against applying the label too broadly.

The court also made it easier for pro-gun groups to have a regulation overturned. 

It ruled that a weapons regulation was likely unconstitutional if it was not similar to the sort of regulations around in the 18th century, when the US Constitution's Second Amendment was ratified, letting states maintain militias and defining a right to "keep and bear Arms."

The law passed on Friday makes it a felony crime to carry a gun into a new list of sensitive places, including: government buildings, medical facilities, places of worship, libraries, playgrounds, parks, zoos, schools, colleges, summer camps, addiction-support centres, homeless shelters, nursing homes, public transit including the New York City subway, places where alcohol or marijuana is consumed, museums, theatres, stadiums and other venues, polling places and Times Square.

Law enforcement officials and registered security guards are among those exempt from the sensitive-place restrictions.

READ MORE: The US and Their Guns: An American Story | Storyteller

'Flagrant violation'

Republican lawmakers voted against the law, set to take effect on September 1, complaining that it makes the right to carry weapons lesser than other constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech and of religion. 

The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun-owners' rights group whose local affiliate was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, called New York's law a "flagrant violation" of the ruling by creating more barriers to New Yorkers' self-defence rights, indicating it may soon face legal challenges.

"Gov. Hochul and her anti-Second Amendment allies in Albany have defied the United States Supreme Court with an intentionally malicious rewriting of New York's concealed carry law," Darin Hoens, the New York NRA state director, said in a statement.

READ MORE: US senator begs for gun compromise after Texas school massacre

Source: Reuters