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New York's iconic Times Square is now a 'gun-free zone'

New York's iconic Times Square is now a 'gun-free zone'

Times Square in New York is now a gun-free zone after being designated by the state as a 'sensitive' place

New York’s iconic Times Square is now a ‘gun-free zone’ after a new state law came into effect today, 1 September.  

The popular tourist attraction is one of a number of designated ‘sensitive’ places where guns will be off-limits, as part of a measure that was passed after a US Supreme Court decision in June expanded gun rights.

The 6-3 decision said there was a constitutional right to carry weapons in public, in turn throwing out the gun license laws of several states for denying people those rights. 

Police in New York started hanging temporary signs on street poles using zip ties, with plans to roll out digital signs across the area today. 

Times Square, New York.
lucky-photographer/Alamy Stock Photo

Mayor Eric Adams, who appeared baffled that such notices had to be displayed to keep guns out, said at a news conference yesterday: "You actually have to say that: A gun-free zone.” 

Gov. Kathy Hochul added: "I wish this wasn't a topic we needed to talk about today. Had there not been a decision by the Supreme Court at the end of June, we would not be having this conversation.” 

In July, New York state lawmakers passed a law overhauling licensing requirements and collated a list of ‘sensitive locations’ where possessing a gun would become a new felony, including parks, schools, courthouses, public transit and bars. Times Square was the one place on the extensive list that was singled out by a specific name. 

Map showing the boundaries of Times Square's gun-free zone.
SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Stock Photo

Hochul had previously said she and other Democrats in the state Legislature took action because they felt the ruling ‘destroyed the ability for a governor to be able to protect her citizens from people who carry concealed weapons anywhere they choose’. 

The thousands of people who live in the Times Square area are still allowed to carry a gun lawfully to and from their homes, but police said this is only if they travel through the location in a ‘continuous and uninterrupted manner’. 

While the changes have been met with some backlash from gun advocates, Robert Barrows, executive director of the NYPD's Legal Operations and Projects, said in a statement: "Times Square is a dense, complex and highly trafficked area and the state and the city are right to act to protect this iconic piece of New York City."

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: US News, Police