Phil Bryant signed a bill Monday that will allow gun owners to carry guns openly in New York state, setting the stage for a potentially historic gun debate that has divided Democrats and Republicans.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.
Va.), would allow New York City to adopt the law, which is already in place in Connecticut, Oregon, and Rhode Island.
The other states that already have such laws include New Hampshire, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Democrats are cautiously optimistic that New York’s new gun laws will pass, but are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the bill, as Republicans have a powerful veto power.
Democrats have said that their primary goal is to expand gun rights in New Jersey and Connecticut, and have made gun control a major campaign issue.
Cuomo, who is likely to remain governor, has said that the bill is a way to ease the burden of the state’s gun laws on the public.
The governor has repeatedly said that gun control legislation is not a priority, but he has not explicitly opposed the bill.
The bill now heads to the Democratic-controlled Legislature, which could decide to move it forward.
New York’s gun law has been criticized by the NRA, which argues that it is a “total giveaway” to gun traffickers and would be a boon to the gun industry.
The NRA also argues that New Jersey’s law would lead to more deaths and more crime.
The group has said it will continue to fight the legislation.
“The bill will have little to no impact on gun violence in New New York,” the NRA said in a statement.
“But the governor’s veto will do nothing to stem the tide of gun violence and increase safety for New Yorkers.”
The legislation would allow anyone 21 and older to purchase a firearm, though people over 65 would have to be 21 to buy a gun.
The legislation also would allow people to purchase ammunition without a license.
The legislation will not go into effect until the end of 2020, and would not apply to guns owned by individuals, like guns in the state of Vermont.
New York is one of five states with universal background checks, and all other states require a background check before a person can buy a firearm.