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Times Square to become 'sensitive' gun-free zone

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Pawel Gaul/Getty Images

As of this Thursday, visitors to Times Square in New York City will not be able to carry concealed firearms, even if they have a permit.

City and state leaders have announced that certain locations, including Times Square, have been designated as "sensitive areas" — a euphemism for "gun-free zones." Other "sensitive" places include government-owned buildings, medical care facilities, theaters, restaurants, houses of worship, and parks.

"As governor, my number-one responsibility is keeping New Yorkers safe," Governor Kathy Hochul (D) stated on Wednesday. "That's why when it came down to the Supreme Court decision, we were ready for it."

Hochul is referring to the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision, in which the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a New York state law that had put severe restrictions on gun permits.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams seemed both supportive of and bemused by the "sensitive area" restrictions newly imposed on his city.

"I never thought, from the days of watching cowboy movies as a child, ‘leave your gun at the door’ becoming reality in the state of New York," Adams said in the press conference.

"The area is a gun-free zone," Adams added. "Think about that. We actually have to say that in our city."

There are some exceptions to the law. Area residents and those who work in the area will be exempted, as will those who "are transiting" through it, according to CNN, though what the term "transiting" means is unclear.

It is also unclear whether these exemptions extend to other aspects of the new law, which include 16 hours of required classroom training and two hours of live-fire training, according to Fox News. Applicants must also submit a list of their social media accounts from the last three years so that officials may assess their "character and conduct."

Gov. Hochul insisted that the new restrictions would be enforced immediately, although no new resources have been allocated and no additional NYPD officers will be dispatched to Times Square specifically for this purpose.

"We always evaluate where we deploy our resources," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. "If there is a need to increase those resources, we will do so. But as it stands now, we have a robust detail that is assigned to the Time Square area."

To alert visitors to the new policy, several written notices will be posted around the area, as will some video messages.

The New York Post reports that gun permit applications in New York have jumped 54% since the SCOTUS ruling in June. However, sheriffs elsewhere in the state note that the new gun restrictions law will likely create a paperwork bottleneck that will delay the processing of new permit applications.

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