The emergency legislative session began on Thursday, a week after the Supreme Court's conservative majority struck down New York's restrictive gun-license laws and ruled for the first time that the U.S. Constitution grants an individual the right to carry weapons in public for self-defense. (Full Story)
New York's Democratic leaders have lambasted the ruling, saying there will be more gun violence if there are more people carrying guns. They conceded they must now loosen the state's century-old permit scheme but sought to keep as many restrictions as they can in the name of public safety, which may end up a target for more legal challenges.
The court ruled the law legislators are changing gave too much discretion to officials to deny a permit.
Hochul, who ordered the extraordinary session in the legislature, said the state's gun-licensing regulations had resulted in New York having the fifth-lowest rate of gun deaths of the 50 U.S. states.
"Our state will continue to keep New Yorkers safe from harm, even despite this setback from the Supreme Court," she said at a news conference in Albany while lawmakers were still debating the bill. "They may think they can change our lives with the stroke of a pen, but we have pens, too."