NYC to put up "gun free zone" signs throughout Times Square
New York, New York - The cops are copying signs declaring Times Square’s gun-free status after local lawmakers banned firearms in the Crossroads of the World.
Robert Barrows, the NYPD’s executive director of legal operations, held up one of the signs – which reads "GUN FREE ZONE" – at a City Council hearing on Tuesday focused on securing sensitive spaces after the Supreme Court gutted the state’s concealed carry handgun law.
After the June ruling from the nation’s highest court, state lawmakers passed and Gov. Kathy Hochul signed laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons in various high-risk settings including Times Square, subways, buses, and bars. The rules take effect Thursday.
City Council members also introduced their bill this month to redefine the Times Square area as a sensitive location after the ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
Noting that more than 360,000 people – roughly the population of Cleveland – pass through Times Square daily, Barrows said the state law and city bill "recognize that Times Square is a dense, complex and highly trafficked area."
And he said the Police Department is working to educate cops and the public alike on 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."
He said sign installation will begin Thursday. The placard also bears language saying, "Licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a gun unless otherwise specially authorized by law," and warning that violation of the rule is a felony.
Gun-free signs could be placed elsewhere in the city
Before the Supreme Court ruling – which marked a historic expansion of federal gun rights into the public sphere and leveled a law that stood for more than a century – New Yorkers needed to show specific self-defense needs in order to acquire concealed carry handgun licenses.
The new state rules introduced after the decision make concealed carry a crime in sensitive places that include libraries, poll sites, schools, and entertainment venues.
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, a Queens Democrat, smiled at the signs set to pop up in Times Square, and urged that they be placed elsewhere too.
"I’d like to see those signs in a lot more areas around the City of New York," Adams said at the hearing.
Cover photo: Noam Galai / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP