New York State bans guns in many public places after Supreme Court ruling

The U.S. state of New York passed a law on Friday banning guns from many public places, including Times Square, and requiring gun-license 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, was forced by a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that struck down New York's restrictive gun-license laws. The court's conservative majority ruled for the first time that the U.S. Constitution grants an individual the right to carry weapons in public for self-defense.

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 license regime, which dates from 1911, gave too much discretion to officials to deny a permit.

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

"Our state will continue to keep New Yorkers safe from harm, even despite this setback from the Supreme Court," Hochul said at 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."

A 20-year-old woman died after being shot in the head on Wednesday while she was pushing a baby stroller on the Upper East Side of New York City, the latest in a string of attacks, some of them seemingly random, on the streets and subways of New York that have left residents on edge.

More than 21,500 people have died due to gun violence across the United States so far this year, according to the latest data from Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that tracks gun-related violence in the country. 

(With input from Reuters)

(Cover: View of the Times Square in New York, U.S., May 9, 2021. /CFP)

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