New York Legislators Seem To Think Posting ‘Gun-Free Zone’ Signs in Times Square Will Minimize Crime
As of yesterday, “gun-free zone” signs now adorn roughly 36 blocks of Midtown Manhattan, from 40th St. to 53rd St., between 6th and 9th Avenues, in what has rather expansively been deemed Times Square.
Though many New Yorkers have perhaps fantasized about shooting the vendors who hawk Lion King tickets, or taking aim at tourists in cargo shorts who seem too enthusiastic about the M&M store, Times Square was not up until this point a place rife with crime stemming from lawful gun owners. As such, this move should probably not be viewed as New York politicians using a data-based approach to solve an actual problem, but rather as a reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which in June overturned a New York law requiring that those seeking concealed carry handgun licenses demonstrate to authorities that they have “proper cause” to do so.
The decision in Bruen, while largely affirming Second Amendment rights, does allow for public carry to be limited in places deemed “sensitive,” reminds South Texas College of Law Houston professor Josh Blackman over at The Volokh Conspiracy (which is hosted by Reason). As even Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited….nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” But it’s unclear, at present, how narrow a “sensitive place” designation would have to be to hold up in court. What is clear is that New York politicians have hurried to signal, via signs installed yesterday, that vast swaths of Manhattan remain hostile to gun owners, even those attempting to follow every law currently on the books.
New York state passed a law in the immediate wake of the Bruen decision that designated certain spaces—subways, parks, playgrounds, public libraries, government buildings, churches, temples, and the like—where people would not be allowed to carry guns. Since much of that law goes into effect this week, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and city council have rushed to publicize the areas in which gun owners are barred from carrying. But there are still many carveouts, notes The New York Time
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