Late night, no deal: New York Dems still working on gun control bill

Photo Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to call lawmakers back to Albany for an “extraordinary session” where they would swiftly approve new restrictions on the right to carry hasn’t exactly gone as the governor had hoped. After spending much of the day behind closed doors working on the details of the legislation, Democrats weren’t able to vote on the bill or even produce legislative text on Thursday, forcing them to adjourn late Thursday night and reconvene Friday morning.

The delay won’t change the ultimate outcome of the bill, which will likely sail through the Democratic-dominated legislature before being signed into law by Hochul, but it is embarrassing for the governor, who told reporters shortly after the Supreme Court handed down its decision that declared the state’s “may issue” concealed carry laws unconstitutional that she and her team had been working on a legislative response for several months. That’s more than enough time to have drafted a bill, but amazingly it seems like lawmakers hadn’t done much if any work on an actual bill until they started their closed-door negotiations Thursday morning.

The Albany Times-Union reported late Thursday evening that the final language of the anti-gun measures had been agreed to, and Republicans were less than impressed by what they saw and the sausage-making that went into the legislation.

Senate Republicans read draft bill language before Senate Democrats called it a night.
Republicans were irked by the language and the manner in which it arrived to them. Democrats were frustrated with how long the night went, looking toward debates on mayoral control of New York City schools as a factor.
“For the governor to call us down here with no bill. She had days to prepare it. That tells you all you needed to know. It’s all politics and not about policy,” state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt said Thursday night. He added that he thought it would “not withstand legal scrutiny.”
Hochul says she’s been working with “experts and think tanks” (i.e. gun control activists and organizations) on the legislation to ensure that it passes muster with the courts, but Democratic lawmakers know that lawsuits are likely coming as soon as Hochul signs the bill into law.

“With this Supreme Court, it’s anybody’s guess. They’re destroying this country one decision at a time,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said.

Gianaris thinks whatever comes out for the special session will be subjected to a lawsuit.

The proposed law bars gun permits for people with a history of dangerous behavior, requires background checks for ammunition purchases, updates gun storage laws, and bans guns in bars and restaurants unless a sign that says they’re allowed is posted.

“We’re trying to do the maximum we can within the restrictions and the handcuffs that the Supreme Court has put on us. But we absolutely intend to make it as difficult as possible for the wrong people to get their hands on guns,” Gianaris said.

The bill also bans guns on subways and mass transit, along with other locations.

“Places where children gather, schools, colleges, universities, houses of worship, polling places,” State Assembly Member Charles Lavone said.

The public still hasn’t been able to take a look at the legislation, but there are reports that the proposed 15 hours of live fire training has been reduced to two hours, along with more than a dozen hours of classroom time. That’s definitely a step in the right direction, but there are still going to be major issues with the number of places Democrats want to make off-limits to concealed carry and other aspects of the bill.
While Sen. Gianaris says the goal is to make it as difficult as possible for the “wrong people” to get their hands on guns, the real intent of the legislation is to keep average New Yorkers from exercising their right to carry a firearm in self-defense in as many ways as possible; both in terms of who can obtain a license and where they can carry if they receive one. That’s going to be a problem for New York once their secret statute is challenged in court because that attitude flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s decision, but for now it’s full-steam ahead for the anti-gun politicians hellbent on keeping the right to bear arms out of reach of most of their constituents.