Government Relations Newsletter— Vol. 6

By Department of Government Relations

March 21, 2023

Government Relations Newsletter— Vol. 6


By Department of Government Relations

Welcome to NYSBA’s Government Relations Newsletter. Stay informed about what is happening in the legislative arena and learn about NYSBA’s advocacy on policies that matter to members.

Supreme Court Decisions on Guns and Abortion spurs State Extraordinary Session and Congressional Action:

Although State Legislators were set to remain in recess and their districts until January 2023, the recent United States Supreme Court ruling New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, striking down part of New York State’s concealed carry law caused Governor Hochul to call lawmakers back to Albany just weeks after the informal “end of session.”

State Legislators passed a series of gun measures intended to respect second amendment rights to bear arms, while also ensuring public safety as gun violence in this county has become a daily tragedy.

The full legislative package that was signed into law by the Governor can be found here and includes detailed and comprehensive changes to the laws that spurred a robust debate amongst lawmakers. The new law will largely take effect September 1, 2022. Broadly, the package includes provisions that will:

  • Expand on eligibility requirements in the concealed carry permitting process, including completing firearm training courses for applicants;
  • Expand disqualifying criteria from those seeking conceal carry permits to include individuals convicted of certain crimes;
  • Create an appeals process for applicants who are denied a license or licenses which are revoked;
  • Extend safe storage requirements to vehicles;
  • Allow the state to regulate and standardize training for license applicants, including proficiency testing;
  • Restrict the carrying of concealed weapons in sensitive locations, including but not limited to: government buildings, schools, daycares, protests or rallies, performance or sporting venues, public transportation, Times Square, and any establishment that can serve cannabis or alcohol. (An exhaustive list of sensitive locations can be found in the newly enacted law linked above);
  • Establish that private property owners must expressly allow a person to possess a firearm, rifle, or shotgun on their property;
  • Creates criminal penalties for Individuals who carry concealed weapons in sensitive locations or against the wishes of an owner of private property;
  • Establish state oversight over background checks for firearms and regular checks on license holders for criminal convictions;
  • Require background checks for sale of ammunition;
  • Create a statewide license and ammunition database, and
  • Amends the law relating to the sale of body armor to include hard body armor.

In 2020, NYSBA adopted the Report and Recommendations of the Task Force on Mass Shootings and Assault Weapons which called for more extensive firearm training, broader exclusions for those eligible to possess a firearm, and more extensive background checks. Prior to the passage of the gun package, President Levin Wallach and Co-Chair of the Task Force, Peggy Finerty, met with lawmakers to provide legal feedback and guidance on gun reforms consistent with the recommendations of the 2020 report.

While in town, the legislature also responded the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs overturning Roe v. Wade by passing an amendment to the state constitution that would codify the right to an abortion. The passage of the resolution is only the first step in a multiple year process to amending the constitution.

In addition to the “extra ordinary” session in Albany, Congress took extraordinary action in passing bipartisan gun safety legislation. It had been almost 40 years since the House and Senate agreed to such measures. Signed into law by President Biden on June 25th, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will, among other things:

  • Provide $750 million to assist states in implementing crisis intervention programs, including mental health courts, drug courts and veterans courts as well as red flag programs.
  • Close “the boyfriend loophole” meaning individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence crimes against spouses, partners with whom they shared children or partners with whom they cohabitated, will now be prohibited from having guns
  • Establish grants to incentivize states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and utilize these records
  • Increase funding for mental health programs and school security
  • Institute new federal criminal penalties for people who make straw purchases, engage in gun trafficking, or dodge licensing requirements.

For a more detailed discussion about the Bruen decision and the State Legislature’s response, tune into NYBSA’s recent “Miranda Warnings” podcast featuring NYSBA’s Co-Chair of the Mass Shootings and Assault Weapons Task Force, Peggy Finerty. Also keep your eyes peeled for upcoming CLE programming discussing the expansive changes to the firearms law that took place this session.

The Government Relations Newsletter will return with the restart of the legislative session in 2023. However, please contact our Government Relations Team with questions or concerns about specific legislation or the legislative process generally.

Department of Government Relations Team:

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