MONTICELLO, NY — New gun-control regulations went into effect across New York State on September 1. That same day, the Sullivan County Legislature passed a resolution affirming support for the …
MONTICELLO, NY — New gun-control regulations went into effect across New York State on September 1. That same day, the Sullivan County Legislature passed a resolution affirming support for the second amendment.
The new regulations, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on July 1, restrict the list of locations where a properly licenced gun owner can concealed carry, and expands the licensing requirements for concealed carry permits.
One of the changes alters the way concealed carry works in New York State. The new regulations make it a criminal offense to bring a firearm, rifle or shotgun onto private property, unless the owner of the private property in question indicates their explicit consent.
According to the new regulations, private property is considered gun-free by default, unless a private property owner posts a sign or otherwise explicitly demonstrates that concealed carry is allowed.
The Sullivan County Legislature passed its resolution during a September 1 special meeting. The text of the resolution declared Sullivan County a gun-friendly county, and stated that “those properly licensed to possess and carry a handgun shall be able to conceal and carry a handgun throughout the county unless specifically prohibited by statute or owner declaration.”
Legislator Nadia Rajsz asked whether that change applied to county buildings or to the county as a whole. “The way the resolution is written, it almost appears that we have control over the whole county, making it like the Wild West,” said Rajsz.
It only applied to county buildings, explained members of the county’s legal representation. The county couldn’t override the state’s law, and the resolution didn’t try. It merely explained the county’s position in response to the new law.
The new law requires that any property owner must post signs on their property for concealed carry to be allowed. County manager Josh Potosek already had the discretion to do so for county property, explained county attorney Mike McGuire, but it was important for the legislators to make a statement of intention to direct his actions.
That analysis came into question following the meeting.
On September 2, legislative chair Rob Doherty released a statement on the resolution calling its effect on public buildings into question. “The resolution passed yesterday is symbolic of the majority of this Legislature’s feelings about the gun laws put into place by State leaders – laws we feel are overly restrictive and will not increase the safety of Sullivan County residents and New Yorkers in general. However, we do not have the ability to supersede State law. We are researching the State legislation’s language to determine if we have any discretion with these rules. Regardless, Sullivan County will abide by the rules as set forth, including those for public buildings, which appear to be considered ‘gun-free’ zones.”
Sullivan County Communications Director Dan Hust clarified that concealed carry will not be permitted on any county property at this time, due to the state’s regulations, with an exception for law enforcement officers. “The County is reviewing the law to determine its breadth and scope as they relate to County properties. Legislators were not and are not seeking authority or discretion with private businesses or other municipal spaces and facilities,” said Hust.
The original draft of the county’s resolution attempted to raise Sullivan County’s voice in opposition to the state’s new concealed carry regulations. It stated that the legislature opposed the recent concealed carry law “as being unduly burdensome to those individuals lawfully eligible to possess and carry a concealed firearm,” and called upon the New York State Legislature to repeal that law.
Legislator Alan Sorensen rewrote the resolution during a discussion period, removing that stance, clarifying the resolution’s direction to the county manager and re-naming it from “Declare Sullivan County a Gun Friendly County” to “Affirming Second Amendment Rights.”
Prior to the legislature’s proclamation, Sullivan County provided information to the public about the licensing requirements in the state’s new gun laws.
The new laws mandate an expanded firearms training course for concealed carry permit holders, including a 16-hour gun training course and a two-hour live-fire firearm safety training course.
These requirements do not apply to current permit holders, said Sullivan County Clerk Russell Reeves. “If you have a license in good standing, you don’t have to take the training. If an applicant only wants to possess a firearm in their residence, they are also not required to take the firearms safety training course.”
Other requirements in the new law: concealed carry applicants must provide officials with three years’ worth of social media accounts; individuals wishing to purchase a semi-automatic rifle must obtain a license; and a gun left unattended in a vehicle must be left in a storage container resistant to fire, impacts and tampering.
“We want [permit holders] to understand that this is a state process,” said Reeves. “The clerk’s office is only responsible for reviewing and processing paperwork—decisions are not made in my office. There will be an adjustment period with all the changes, and we ask for your patience.”
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