North Country officials say need to clarify impact of new concealed carry law on Adirondack Park

After New York’s concealed firearms law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, Governor Kathy Hochul called a special session to respond. A few days later, she signed new legislation banning the carrying of weapons in so-called sensitive places, including schools, churches, government buildings and parks. Officials from five of the 12 counties wholly or partially in the Adirondacks joined the region’s two Assembly Representatives today to seek clarification on how the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park will be affected during the implementation of the new law.

The new law goes into effect Thursday. Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, a Democrat representing the 115th District, said clarification is still needed on how the definition of “park” applies to Adirondack Park.

“Most people here are very frustrated with any response or non-response we get on this. We heard several different things from the governor’s office. I have made several requests to the governor’s office for guidance and advice on this. There are many questions regarding the interpretation of a public park and how does Adirondack Park translate into that.

Matt Simpson has had a concealed carry license for over 30 years. The Republican represents the 114th Assembly District, most of which is in the Adirondacks.

“Right now I can’t tell you if I’m legally allowed to have my handgun with me, as I have for the past 30 years. And here we are two days away from when it becomes law and we don’t know where we are but if we make a mistake it’s a class E crime. : if I was hiking the Northville trail in Placid, would I be able to carry my legally permitted handgun? The answer was no. Subsequently, there was a statement from the governor’s office that said that this is not Wasn’t true. But here we are. We still don’t know.

Adirondack Park Local Government Review Commission Executive Director Jerry Delaney said their concerns go beyond the park’s legal definition to include how the bill was passed.

“This law should have been commented on by the public. We have citizens who honestly worry about whether or not they will commit a crime while traveling. When you drive on a state highway with Forest Preserve on both sides, it becomes a park. How do we deal with private land that has conservation easements with signs clearly indicating that it is a New York State-administered recreational area? Is it a park or is it private land? »

A request for comment to Governor Hochul’s press office was not returned. On July 29, the Democrat was in Lake Placid and was asked about the definition of parks and regional concerns.

“When you think about the vast expanse of Adirondack Park, it’s not included as one of the parks under the definition because it’s unique. It has private property. There are businesses and town centers as well as the forest reserve. So people’s rights are protected here. We have made sure of that.

After hearing about his response a month earlier, Assemblyman Simpson said more than verbal assurances were needed.

“I don’t think we can say that’s really what we meant when it says in the record, drawn up in the Assembly, that the forest reserve is absolutely included. So we need legislation. I think if we don’t have legislation it will be litigated and I think it needs to be in the law, in the law, written in a way that it can be enforced.

The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board passed a resolution calling on the governor and legislative leaders “to exempt Adirondack Park as a sensitive area” in the new law.