Albany looking at gun bills for special session in ‘next week or two’


New York businesses would have to opt in to allow guns on their property under one measure state policymakers are considering for a special session that could come within a matter of days.

The session and the legislation come in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday making it easier to legally carry a firearm in public.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday the measure is being discussed among her staff and legislative leaders as they weigh when to return to the Capitol to pass a slate of measures to dull the potential consequences of the court’s decision.

Hochul said her hope is lawmakers could be back in Albany before the July 4 holiday.

“I would love to see it done next week, but we also have people who have arrangements,” she told reporters in Manhattan. “I’m working very hard to get it done next week, before the holiday.”

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision invalidated a 1911 state law that required gun owners to show “proper cause” – basically a heightened need for self-defense – in order to obtain a concealed carry permit, which allows them to legally carry their weapon in public. The ruling will make it far easier for New York residents to obtain such a permit.

Hochul has laid out a number of possibilities for a legislative response in the past 24 hours, including a plan to ban concealed weapons in “sensitive places” like schools, houses of worship, high-capacity events and possibly the New York City subway system.

On Thursday, Hochul said she wants to approve a bill that would allow businesses and private property owners “protect themselves” in the event someone tries to bring a gun onto their property.

She elaborated Friday, saying her team is considering a system where guns would be prohibited in businesses unless they proactively allow them in their establishment.

“There could be a presumption that businesses, unless they put a sign welcoming someone with a concealed carry weapon, would be automatically excluded,” Hochul said. “So, we’re looking at a number of ways. Our judgment now is that those would be sound, but we’re just going to verify that.”

Speaking Friday on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said lawmakers do anticipate returning to the Capitol soon to take up firearm-related measures, which would be on top of a suite of 10 gun-control bills they approved earlier this year.

The timing is still being worked out, she said.

“It’s up to (Hochul), but I think it will happen very soon — I would say in the next week or two,” Stewart-Cousins said. “It could be next week.”

Hochul’s comments Friday came just minutes before the Supreme Court issued a separate decision overruling the historic Roe v. Wade decision, which had the effect of overturning federal abortion rights.

In New York, abortion rights remain established in state law. But an effort to bolster those rights by enshrining a clause in the state constitution by explicitly banning discrimination based on sex, gender identity or pregnancy outcomes has stalled in Albany.

In a statement, Hochul called the court’s abortion decision a “grave injustice.”

“Our state will always be a safe harbor for those seeking access to abortion care,” she said. “To anyone who is working to deny abortion access, our message is clear: not here, not now, not ever.”


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