As of today, September 1, NYC Times Square is officially a gun-free area. After local lawmakers banned firearms in the Crossroads of the World, cops are copying signs declaring Times Square’s gun-free status.
At a City Council hearing on Tuesday focused on securing sensitive spaces after the Supreme Court gutted the state’s concealed carry handgun law, Robert Barrows, the NYPD’s executive director of legal operations, held up one of the signs that screamed “GUN FREE ZONE.”
Following the Supreme Court’s June ruling, state lawmakers passed, and Gov. Hochul signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons in high-risk areas such as Times Square, subways, buses, and bars. The new rules go into effect today.
Noting that more than 360,000 people — roughly the population of Cleveland — pass through Times Square on a daily basis, Barrows stated that the state law and the city bill “recognize that Times Square is a dense, complex and highly trafficked area.”
He also stated that the Police Department has been working to educate officers and the general public about developments since the conservative Supreme Court’s ruling.
“The signage will be placed at every entry point in the zone,” Barrows said. “This will be temporary. More permanent signage will be installed if, as expected, this bill becomes law.”
Sign installation will be taking place today. The placard also states that “licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a gun unless otherwise specially authorized by law” and that breaking the rule is a felony.
Prior to the Supreme Court decision, which marked a historic expansion of federal gun rights into the public sphere and overturned a law that had been in place for more than a century, New Yorkers had to demonstrate specific self-defense needs in order to obtain concealed carry handgun licenses.
The new state rules enacted in the aftermath of the decision make concealed carry a crime in sensitive locations such as libraries, polling places, schools, and entertainment venues.
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, a Democrat from Queens, praised the signs planned for Times Square and urged that they be placed elsewhere as well.
“I’d like to see those signs in a lot more areas around the City of New York,” Adams said at the hearing.
I think we’d all like to see more gun-free zones, not just in NYC, but the whole country.