NY lawmakers call for clarification on new gun law

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 9:15 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 4:33 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - A new gun law went into effect in New York on Thursday but some gun owners in our region say they’re still confused about how it affects them.

It comes after a Supreme Court decision that invalidated a century-old law that required gun owners to prove they had a compelling need to carry.

Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay Lake, says clarification is still needed for the residents of the Adirondack Park and the surrounding areas. “Everyone is concerned about this, he said.”

“This is not a political issue, it’s a cultural issue,” said Jerry Delaney, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.

The law passed in an emergency legislative session earlier this summer and says carrying a firearm in a public park is prohibited. The Adirondacks span 6 million acres - the largest park in the contiguous United States. Gun owners in the park were unsure of what the laws meant for them and if they are subject to the felony charge for leaving their home with a firearm.

Calls have continued to come from local and state government officials for clarity from the governor. “We are law-abiding citizens and we want to follow the law, but we need to know the rules of the road,” said Assemblyman Matt Simpson/R-Horicon. “We need clarification and we need it immediately.”

Officials say an attempt at clarity is now available on the state’s new gun safety website. It includes a frequently asked questions page saying: “Certain areas of the parks are not considered “sensitive locations’ under the law, as the state-owned or managed lands are legally classified as state forest preserve or are generally private lands. There are areas inside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, however, that are classified as sensitive locations or restricted locations under the new gun law (e.g., libraries and government administrative facilities) and these specific locations are subject to the sensitive and restricted location restrictions under the law, which are detailed in Question 23. Please review the Department of Environmental Conservation’s FAQs for more information.”

Still, Assemblyman Simpson wants that writing in the law. “There are all sorts of different variables here and I think it needs to be in law, in statute, written in a way that can be enforced,” he said.