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New York’s gun-free zones don’t make ‘sense’ as experts call strategy ‘low hanging fruit’


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Law enforcement experts raise eyebrows over New York City’s ‘gun-free zone’ law, which established a perimeter lined with laminated signs prohibiting the public from carrying guns inside, as a longtime police executive said the new legislation doesn’t make “sense” and is “extremely confusing”.

“I didn’t like the idea of ​​creating special areas where authorized weapon bearers couldn’t go,” said Terence Monahan, a former highest-ranking uniformed member of the New York City Police Department.

“The people who commit crime in the city, the people who kill each other, are not the guys with the licenses.”

— Brooklyn City Council member Kalman Yeger, via NY1

Monahan spent just 40 months with the NYPD before retiring as department head in 2021. He said when he first heard the news of “gun-free zones,” it ” made no sense.”

“It’s going to make things very confusing for the police officers on the street dealing with it,” he told Fox News Digital. “If someone is a police officer, retired, they are allowed to have guns in these areas. But other permit holders must stop on a certain street and turn around if they have their guns , cannot enter certain stores or Locations.”

NEW YORK’S “GUN FREE” ZONES COME INTO EFFECT

A sign erected near West 47th Street and Sixth Avenue in New York City.
(Karlo Pastrovic/Fox News Digital)

Monahan further called it an “extremely confusing law” and said police should focus on illegal gun owners instead.

“In 40 years of policing, the main thing I’ve always wanted was this illegal gun carrier – someone who’s never had a license, someone who seeks to do harm with this weapon,” he said. “That’s what the police need to focus on.”

NEW YORK LAW DESIGNATES TIMES SQUARE A ‘GUN FREE’ ZONE

This map, provided by the New York City Mayor's office, shows the perimeter of the gun-free zone

This map, provided by the New York City Mayor’s office, shows the perimeter of the gun-free zone
(Office of the Mayor of New York)

Just last week, the New York City Council officially defined the perimeter of the area from Sixth to Ninth Avenues and from West 40th to West 53rd Streets, local news station NY1 reported. New York City Mayor Eric Adams first announced the state legislation in late August.

The law took effect Sept. 1 in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the state’s requirement that people show their specific need for a firearm in order to obtain a concealed carry permit in New York. The justices wrote that the warrant violated Americans’ Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

  People walk past a "Weapon free zone" sign posted on 40th Street and Broadway on August 31, 2022 in New York City.

People walk past a ‘Gun Free Zone’ sign posted at 40th Street and Broadway on August 31, 2022 in New York City.
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

While it has relaxed requirements for those who want to carry concealed weapons in New York, New York State has responded by adding more requirements for applicants for city permits – including asking applicants to sharing information regarding their social media accounts and attending training courses – and establishing “gun-free zones.”

In addition to Times Square, the city has also banned the bringing of firearms into other “sensitive areas”, such as churches, parks and theaters.

  A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.

A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.
(Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

But not without some hindsight. Brooklyn City Councilman Kalman Yeger argued Wednesday that the council had neglected to fully address gun violence across the city, NY1 reported.

“The people doing the crime in the city, the people killing each other, are not the guys with the licenses,” Yeger said, according to the report.

Signs read "Weapon free zone" in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York.

Signs read ‘Gun Free Zone’ in the Manhattan borough of New York.
(Jennifer Golotko/Fox News Digital)

Monahan echoed Yeger’s sentiment, telling Fox News Digital that a criminal who wants to bring a gun to Times Square “is going to take that gun to Times Square, the same way he’s going to take it to a development somewhere.” in Brooklyn in [Bedford-Stuyvesant].”

“You’re not going to stop this based on these laws, but you’re going to stop a law-abiding citizen who rightfully got his permit from entering this area,” he continued.

A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.

A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.
(Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Monahan also emphasized that he was “not looking to see citizens arming themselves or using guns.”

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“That’s not what we need. We have over 35,000 New York City police on the streets. We don’t need the confusion of someone pulling out a gun.”

‘THE GREAT WHITE WAY’

A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.

A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.
(Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

New York City is still recovering from the drastic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, both on the tourism industries and on the lifestyle of commuters – both of whom have effectively been shut down for months at a time.

According to the New York State Comptroller’s Office, a record 66.6 million nonresidents visited New York in 2019 and spent $47.4 billion there. The $72 billion tourism industry as of 2019 has plummeted, the data shows.

  A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.

A general view of Times Square in New York, United States, September 16, 2022.
(Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

About 34.6 million people visited New York in 2021, and 56.4 million are expected to visit by the end of 2022, the city’s tourism department NYC & Company reported.

Meanwhile, the city is also seeing the continued re-emergence of office workers returning to work, including those who will pass through Times Square.

NYPD data shows crime has declined over the past week-long period, which ended September 18. But the total number of recorded crimes remains up 34.2% on the 18th, according to police figures.

People line up outside "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Times Square on January 25, 2022 in New York City.

People line up for ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Times Square on January 25, 2022 in New York City.
(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Joseph Giacalone, an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, called gun-free zones a “low hanging fruit” and told Fox News Digital he thinks people take them as “a joke.”

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“Even though it stopped people in Times Square, stopped criminals in Times Square carrying guns, the subways are still a problem,” said Giacalone, also a former NYPD Detective Sergeant. “You can bring as many signs as you want. Listen, we still don’t have parking signs and people are still double parking…signs don’t do anything.”

Fox News Digital’s Matteo Cina contributed to this report.

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