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Change comes to New York's gun laws

Starting Thursday, New Yorkers must complete 16 hours of training, provide four character references, and disclose their social media history to obtain a permit.

WEST SENECA, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul is making New York State’s gun laws some of the strictest in the nation by implementing new statewide laws to bolster restrictions on concealed carry.

The change, which went into effect Thursday, comes after a federal judge denied a motion to block the rules from taking effect.

“The reality is that we're in the middle of a national gun violence crisis. It's claimed the lives of too many Americans, too many New Yorkers, and has inflicted trauma on communities all across our state,” Hochul said.

Starting Thursday, New Yorkers will now have to go through an extensive process to obtain a permit such as 16 hours of training, provide four character references, and disclose social media history.

The new laws also prohibit where you conceal carry with a list of sensitive locations now being off limits such as schools, restaurants, hospitals and entertainment venues. 

New restrictions that some Western New Yorkers like Thomas Roma feel are too limiting.

“I want to be able to have and consume weaponry. I should be able to protect my family,” Roma said.

A notion the Supreme Court upheld in its June 23 ruling of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen when it stated that the Second Amendment gives Americans the constitutional right to carry a gun outside of the home, voiding New York’s requirement that concealed permit applications must demonstrate proper cause.

“United States citizens have a Second Amendment right to carry weapons outside of the home for self-defense purposes. Even if they can't articulate a specific reason to want to have those weapons, just self-defense in and of itself is sufficient," said Barry Covert, who is a criminal and constitutional attorney in Buffalo.

Covert said Hochul’s news laws are contradictory.

“We have new regulations and laws coming into effect, which seemed to really undermine the Supreme Court's decision in Bruen,” Covert said.

The new regulations are already causing challenges in state and federal courts, which Covert believes could cause even more changes to occur.

“If the courts that are reviewing these challenges are following the Bruen Supreme Court decision, then most of these challenges have a very strong likelihood of success,” Covert said.

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