It’s been five months since New York’s ironically named Concealed Carry Improvement Act took effect, and according to the New York State Police they have received not a single complaint nor made even one arrest for violations of the law during that time period, despite the large number of “gun-free zones” created by the statute. But while the state is doing its best to curtail the right to bear arms, more and more New Yorkers are seeking access to their Second Amendment rights.
In August, the month prior to the enactment of the new law, the state collected a 10-year high in fingerprints for pistol permits —12,422 — which triple the monthly average over the last decade. The last six-month period, though, was superceded by the final six months of 2020, which overlaps with the COVID-19 pandemic and the win of Democrat Joe Biden as president over Donald J. Trump.
The crush of applicants shortly before the CCIA took effect shows just how much pent-up demand for concealed carry there is in New York. But what does the fact that there have been no arrests or even complaints about violations of the new law tell us?
Pro-gun groups contend the new rules marked an end-run around the Supreme Court’s decision and they have filed new court cases challenging the retooled statutes.
Despite the litigation, State Police acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli told lawmakers this week about the lack of issues regarding the state’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act that was passed last summer after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.
Nigrelli had been asked about the implementation of the law during a state budget hearing on criminal justice measures; he first noted there are “some court cases that are pending right now” before informing lawmakers that there have been no complaints under the concealed carry law.
“I will say that the New York State Police, as the law is written, will enforce the law,” Nigrelli said.
Changes to the law, so far, have resulted in no arrests by State Police and no reported concerns by individuals, who could offer complaints on a number of issues, including someone bringing a firearm into a “sensitive location,” such as a supermarket, restaurant or park.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said his department has also not received any complaints or made arrests related to the new law. Instead, most of the concerns he hears about on the issue are from people who now are required to obtain a permit for a rifle.
“The biggest issue we’re having is about people complaining about the whole process to get a rifle,” Apple said Wednesday.
Now, it could be that every single New Yorker licensed to carry a concealed firearm has been strictly obeying the prohibitions on carrying in “sensitive places,” but I think it’s far more likely that those who might bring their concealed firearm into a “gun-free zone”, either accidentally or with intent, simply aren’t causing any problems or giving anyone a reason to complain. And in many parts of the state beyond the New York City area, I suspect that strict enforcement of the “sensitive places” designations aren’t really a priority for local police and county sheriffs.
Still, if concealed carry holders were really the threat that New York claims they are, you’d think there’d be evidence of that, no matter how lackadaisical enforcement might be outside of the five boroughs. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, and other anti-gun politicians in the state have been fearmongering about the supposed dangers of legal gun owners for months now, while downplaying the threats posed by violent criminals who often face few consequences for their actions.
I’m glad to see that so far New York’s latest infringements on the right to bear arms hasn’t ensnared any responsible gun owners, but as long as the flagrant violations of a fundamental civil liberty remain on the books they continue to pose a threat to peaceable gun owners, and the sooner the courts step in and strike down these “sensitive places” the better.