BUFFALO, N.Y. — In the wake of last week's Supreme Court ruling which struck down New York State's concealed carry gun permit law as being unconstitutional, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she wanted to move quickly to protect New Yorkers with new laws.
That's why a special legislative session was planned for Thursday in Albany.
Lawmakers did gavel in shortly after noon, but then the State Senate said it was standing at ease, and as of 11 p.m. Thursday, the session had not resumed. According to legislative staff, there was action happening behind the scenes, however.
Last week Governor Hochul unveiled her plan to revise the state's concealed carry permit law. Proposed items included 15 hours of required range training and background checks for those seeking permits. Some of that was suggested in a concurrent ruling from Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh.
There was also a provision for an in-person permit requirement check in the store to buy ammunition, and then a proposed list of sensitive public spaces that should be weapons-free: government buildings, health care facilities, places where children gather, and public transportation.
Finally, private businesses would be given an option on concealed carry for their customers but may be required to post a sign saying so.
Governor Hochul spoke Wednesday with reporters and said she was confident as is expected with a Democratic party majority in the Senate and Assembly that the legislation would pass quickly Thursday. That did not happen.
Republican State Senator Sue Serino, who represents the Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie area, shared a message on her Facebok page around 7:30 p.m. Thursday and called the delay "Albany dysfunction at its worst."
While it's not unusual to have late-night legislative sessions in Albany the appearance of a road map laid out by the Governor has led to some frustration.
"You know last week the governor called a special session day, today to start at 12 o'clock it is now 7:08 p.m. according to my computer. We have not seen a single bill yet," Serino said in the Facebook video. She shared another update around 11:00 p.m. echoing that statement.
Hochul had added Wednesday that her team had consulted with legal think tanks to help come up with the best proposals possible to protect state residents. But she also acknowledged there could be some legal challenges as she noted that the state gets used every day.
Hochul said this about the idea of private businesses having an option on concealed carry: "The presumption of the State of New York after we sign this bill into law will be the presumption that property owners will not want to have concealed carry weapons on their premises."
"But should they do they would actually have to put a sign in their window -- a bar, a restaurant, a gathering place -- concealed carry weapons welcome here."
There was some response in Buffalo on Thursday during a news conference from Long Island Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin. He won the GOP gubernatorial primary election nomination.
"They create a target for criminals," Zeldin said. "If you're going to identify a location and you're going to tell the criminal that at that location there will be no law-abiding New Yorkers who will safely and securely carry a firearm for their own self-defense, you are putting the safety of other people at that location at risk. So I actually think what they're doing in Albany will make New York less safe."