ALBANY — Private businesses that choose to allow customers or workers to carry concealed handguns onto their premises would have to post a sign that publicly states: “Concealed-carry weapons welcomed here.”
It’s a new element to a package of gun safety bills that Gov. Kathy Hochul says is scheduled to be approved Thursday in the State Legislature’s special session.
The sign is intended to allow New Yorkers to identify private businesses that allow or prohibit concealed weapons by people who obtain a state concealed-carry permit under new restrictions in the legislative package. Sources have said businesses would have to affirmatively “opt in” to declare they are allowing guns.
Hochul didn’t say what penalties operators of bars, restaurants and other places of employment could face if they allow customers and workers to carry concealed weapons without posting the notice.
The governor said details of the bills are still being crafted with legislative leaders. They are expected to be made public Thursday, just hours before the vote.
Other firearms safety measures in the package would require 15 hours of gun safety training, including time on a shooting range, to secure a pistol permit, a requirement that firearms be locked in vehicles and that guns be securely locked in homes that include anyone 18 years old or younger.
The measures also would prohibit carrying concealed weapons in most public places, including government buildings, education buildings, sites that children frequent, voting sites and public transportation.
The measures and special session are prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down New York’s more restrictive requirements to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Now, the State Legislature and Hochul are trying to bolster state gun laws to incorporate many of the protections of the 1908 concealed-carry permit law that was struck down, yet able to withstand constitutional challenges.
“I will go right up to the line,” Hochul said.
Hochul has negotiated the bills with Democratic legislative leaders.
“We look forward to being back in Albany,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “As I have said over and over again, states must be the front line of defense. We are ready to take action.”
The Assembly’s Democratic majority was scheduled to discuss the bills in a closed-door conference Wednesday night.
Local governments, including New York City, will be free to try to enact more restrictions, Hochul said.
Hochul said she fears that domestic disputes and arguments could turn into shootings if people are allowed to routinely carry concealed weapons. She said she also fears the ready availability of firearms will increase shooting accidents and suicides.
“We take this deadly serious,” Hochul said.
Republican leaders in the legislature who have opposed most gun control measures didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.