And just like that, they’re back.
The New York Legislature is in session in Albany Thursday, just weeks after they departed following the end of New York’s regular session in early June.
They’ll be discussing New York’s response to a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a component of New York gun law, which required a person show “proper cause” for carrying a handgun.
"We are going to make sure we have the strongest protections possible," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday at a media briefing, adding that New York already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.
The Supreme Court ruled that the "proper cause" requirement was unconstitutional in that it keeps citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment rights, according to the opinion. Hochul railed against the decision, saying the Court “recklessly” struck down the law at “a moment of national reckoning on gun violence.”
The case was closely watched in New York, as it came on the heels of a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket in May. An 18-year-old gunman opened fire in a Tops Friendly Markets store in a historically Black neighborhood, killing 10 and injuring three more in what authorities called a racially-motivated killing.
It also came just before the passage of landmark, bipartisan gun control legislation at the federal level, which was signed by President Joe Biden on Saturday. The new laws bolster background checks for prospective gun owners under 21 and provides more funding for states to implement red flag laws and intervention measures, like mental health programs.
As New York prepared for a High Court ruling against the “proper cause” law earlier this year, Hochul vowed to call lawmakers back into session to craft legislation that would be in keeping with the decision, but would further focus gun control efforts.
She followed through on that promise, scheduling a session for Thursday over legislation she says will look at restrictions on guns in sensitive locations.
“Just as we swiftly passed nation-leading gun reform legislation, I will continue to do everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence,” she said on Twitter last week.
Other parts of the gun licensing process, including fingerprinting, background checks and training in firearms, remain constitutional, according to the Court’s ruling, and will therefore remain in place in New York and other states.
What might the new NY gun legislation do?
Hochul said her administration has been consulting with legal experts to craft restrictions on carrying handguns in public that would survive any legal challenges under the recent Supreme Court decision. Without them, she said, New York would face a “wave” of concealed firearms in parks and other public places.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement that she looked forward to being back in Albany Thursday.
"As I have said over and over again, states must be the front line of defense," Stewart-Cousins said. "We are ready to take action.”
Hochul spoke of potential elements of the legislation Wednesday, saying that it would likely tackle the following proposals:
Restrictions on carrying guns in sensitive locations, such as healthcare and medical buildings, public transit, zoos, polling places and educational institutions.
A policy that would declare that private businesses, including restaurants and bars, also are off limits to guns unless the owners declare otherwise by posting a sign saying that concealed-carry weapons are welcome.
Strengthening the list of disqualifying criteria to carrying a concealed gun, including if you have a "history of dangerous behavior," she said.
Strengthening safe storage laws by adding a requirement to lock up guns in vehicles while traveling. Current law dictates that guns must be safely stored in a household with children ages 16 and under, but Hochul said she wants to raise that threshold to households with kids ages 18 and under.
Requiring in-person, firing range training to receive a concealed carry license
Requiring a background check for all purchases of ammunition for guns that require a license in New York. Purchasers will need to show their license at the time of purchase.
Hochul excoriated the court for overturning a century-old state law, but called the decision a “temporary setback” that would be mitigated through the impending legislation. She said her administration was still weighing several difficult questions, such as whether to grandfather existing concealed-carry permits or exempt certain license holders such as retired police officers from the new restrictions.
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: NY lawmakers back in Albany to address Supreme Court gun ruling. What to know