Various pistols displayed at the 2022 NRA Annual Meeting
Various pistols displayed at the 2022 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

New York’s New Gun Laws Cause Confusion

Problems with the gun laws New York state passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s latest gun decision have begun to surface.

Governor Kathy Hochul (D.) signed new gun-control legislation last week in response to the Supreme Court overturning the subjective “proper reason” clause in the state’s gun-carry licensing regime. Hochul condemned the ruling and pledged to use state power to institute new restrictions. But officials in at least one county have found many of the new rules confusing or impossible to enforce.

“[Judges] of each county have to review three years of social media of each applicant and have to meet in person with each applicant,” Oneida County assistant pistol licensing officer Dan Sullivan told WKTV. “It’s not a possible task.”

The potentially unworkable procedures relate to the state’s new “good moral character” clause, which allows permitting officials to deny an applicant if they are unsatisfied with their references or find their social media posts objectionable. The Court had previously tossed the state’s “reason clause” for being too subjective. The state’s decision to double down on the subjective nature of the “good moral character” clause is likely to bring it back before the Supreme Court.

The issues with the law don’t stop there, according to Oneida officials. The law requires applicants for a pistol license to go through two hours of live-fire training. However, Sullivan said it’s difficult to see how this requirement can be legally fulfilled.

“How do you provide live training to somebody that doesn’t have a pistol license?” he said. “In New York State, you cannot possess a handgun and shoot a handgun unless you have a pistol license.”

Additionally, the law Hochul signed is full of restrictions even for those who are granted gun-carry licenses. Among the provisions is a first-of-its-kind policy making all businesses presumptively off-limits to gun carry and requiring owners to post signs to allow people to carry inside.

Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado (D.) said didn’t mince words about the state’s goal with the new restrictions.

“With this action, New York has sent a message to the rest of the country that we will not stand idly by and let the Supreme Court reverse years of sensible gun regulations,” Delgado said in a statement.

Meanwhile, some Republicans in Albany have dismissed this gun-control push as an overreach.

“This law is going to be thrown out in court,” Assemblyman Michael Lawler (R.) told CBS News.

“No data has been presented that shows concealed carry permit holders are drivers of gun violence,” Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo (R.) told the outlet.

Sullivan said the Oneida County office has been flooded with calls from people seeking clarification. But that may be part of the point for some of the legislators who backed the new restrictions.

In touting the law Hochul explicitly condemned the Court’s “reckless” ruling and said increased deaths result “when citizens are given the right to carry handguns.”

Join For Sober, Serious Firearms Reporting & Analysis

Free Weekly Newsletter

Get the most important gun news

  • Weekly News & Analysis Newsletters
  • Access to Exclusive Posts
  • Early Access to the Podcast
  • Commenting Privileges
  • Exclusive Question & Answer Sessions
Buy Now
Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

Comments From Reload Members

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Get your copy of our FREE weekly newsletter!