Store owners wary of alienating customers amid changing state gun rules

Several small business owners spoke with News 12 Long Island about the state’s new gun rules signed into law Friday by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The new rules will require people who apply for a handgun license to submit a list of their social media accounts, so officials can verify their “character and conduct.” Additionally, people applying to carry a handgun will also be required to provide four-character references, complete firearms safety training, and undergo periodic background checks.

The state will also prohibit people from bringing firearms into a business or workplace unless the owners put up signs that say guns are welcome.

Some store owners told News 12 they are hesitant to speak up because this is a burning issue and they don’t want to alienate their customers on either side of the debate. Residents also feel it places an unnecessary burden on store owners who are just recovering from the pandemic.

“Even security can’t carry guns,” said Mark Siegel, Blum’s Swimwear & Intimate Apparel. “So how can someone carry a gun even if they have a license unless your policeman is good for the village?”

“It’s not our responsibility to say whether you have a gun or not and not come in, everyone is allowed if they have a permit,” added Joe Italiano of Delfiore Pizza. “It takes a long time to get a permit, not everyone can just get a handgun.”

The new laws come into effect on September 1.

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