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New gun control law: Retired New York peace officers have less conceal carry rights

A concealed carry holster. (Alian Gear Holster/WikiMedia)

New York’s latest gun control package will restrict individuals with conceal carry firearm licenses from carrying their firearm in numerous places, which for some licensees will require thoughtful planning when they go out in public with their gun.

Retired peace officers licensed to carry are one group who will be exempt from one restriction — “sensitive locations” — but not from “restricted locations” when the law goes into effect on Sept. 1, 2022.

Peace officers is a broad term for law enforcement officers ranging in function, such as court officers and clerks, corrections officers, sanitation police, fire marshals and more.


The “sensitive locations” provision (Section 265.01-e) states: “A person is guilty of criminal possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun in a sensitive location when such person possesses a firearm, rifle or shotgun in or upon a sensitive location, and such person knows or reasonably should know such location is a sensitive location.”

The sensitive locations include schools; universities; government buildings; places where people have gathered for public protests; health care facilities; places of worship; libraries; public playgrounds and parks; day care centers; summer camps; addiction and mental health centers; shelters; public transit; bars; performance venues; stadiums; museums; polling place; casinos and Times Square.

Individuals exempt to the sensitive locations restriction include active and retired police officers, (as defined in section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law); active-duty military personnel; security guards; peace officers (as defined in section 2.10 of criminal procedure law); and law enforcement officers who qualify to carry under the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA).


Retired peace officers can apply for federal firearm license under LEOSA; therefore, retired peace officers with a federal license to carry are exempt from the “sensitive locations” provision.

The “restricted locations” section (265.01-d) states: “A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in a restricted location when such person possesses a firearm, rifle, or shotgun and enters into or remains on or in private property where such person knows or reasonably should know that the owner or lessee of such property has not permitted such possession by clear and conspicuous signage indicating that the carrying of firearms, rifles, or shotguns on their property is permitted or has otherwise given express consent.”

Private non-governmental offices and retail establishments, for example, would be considered “restricted locations.”

Both retired and active police officers, security guards, active peace officers and military personnel are listed as exempt from the “restricted locations” provision but LEOSA and retired peace officers are not deemed exempt.

Under the above policies, a retired peace officer with a federal firearm license under LEOSA would be able to legally carry on public transportation, but would be breaking the law if they stepped into a store whilst carrying.

John Driscoll, a former adjunct assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, asserted that state legislators may have deliberately excluded retired peace officers from exemption, noting that not all peace officers are licensed to carry.

“They didn’t say anything about the federal permit and they didn’t say anything about retired peace officers,” he said. “If they wanted to exempt them, they could have just done it like they did for sensitive locations.”

Driscoll, who is also an attorney and former president of the NYPD Captains Endowment Association, suggested the legislators will address conflicts in the law when it presents a challenge for law enforcement and the courts to enforce.


Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-South Shore), who is a retired NYPD lieutenant, referred to the exclusion as an “oversight” that will negatively impact numerous retired peace officers across the state.

Reilly sent Governor Kathy Hochul a letter last week expressing his concerns on the matter.

“There are many retired peace officers throughout New York who’ve worked for government agencies and who will now be negatively impacted because of this oversight,” he wrote.

He went on to suggest the policy be amended to include “persons who were employed and designated peace officers as defined in Section 2.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law, but are retired…” as exempt.

The assemblyman requested Hochul “work with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to issue guidance indicating that qualifying retired peace officers are exempt when the statute goes into effect on September 1, 2022,″ and to prioritize the law be amended when the state legislature is back in session next year.

Driscoll said the nuance and oversights in the policy are symptomatic of a “rushed bill.”

“It was in direct response to a runaway Supreme Court overturning a gun law that’s been in existence over 100 years,” he added.

Reilly also referred to the policies as rushed and leaving room for error.

“I remind my colleagues across the aisle all the time that we need to stop being so worried about being first in the nation when it comes to policymaking, and start striving to be the best in the nation. Once again, New York has failed to be the best in the nation,” he told the Advance/

The assemblyman said he ultimately believes the policy will not stick.

“I believe that this new law will be challenged in court and ultimately deemed unconstitutional,” Reilly said.


(c) 2022 Staten Island Advance

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