By ZACH WILLIAMS and BERNADETTE HOGAN
July 5, 2022 2:01 PM
New York City hotels are taking a hard line on firearms in response to the controversial US Supreme Court decision striking down century-old state rules on carrying concealed weapons.
Supporters say keeping guests from packing heat is key to bringing the New York City hospitality sector back to life amid rising crime.
“Public accommodations and tourism hubs may always be targets for people with guns to commit terrible acts of violence, but by achieving this agreement to keep guns away from these vulnerable areas, we can better ensure the security of workers and customers while also promoting the economic recovery of the hospitality sector,” Rich Maroko, president of the New York Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, which represents hotel workers, said Tuesday.
Individual hotels are responsible for informing prospective customers about the ban through signs, email, website notices or staff on their premises, who could lean on security or cops to remove violators.
High-profile establishments like The Plaza, New York Hilton, and the Marriott Marquis are covered by the deal in addition to hundreds of other hotels that cumulatively operate about three out of four rooms citywide.
The agreement with the Hotel Association of NYC (HANYC), which represents hundreds of hotels, means roughly three out of four rooms citywide will be off-limits to guns — concealed or not.
Hotels will begin enforcing the new rule in the coming weeks, according to a spokesman for the council. Hotels not represented by the association could still allow weapons on their premises at their own owners’ discretion.
Second Amendment expert Warren Eller, an associate professor who chairs the Department of Public Management at John Jay College in Manhattan, said the hotel industry-led effort in New York City sticks out in the national landscape on restricting weapons in public places.
“I cannot say I have seen an entire sector agreeing to do this in the past, however, the right for private business to regulate its own space is pretty common,” he said in a text.
“HANYC strongly believes in the safety of its customers and employees — and so we are partnering with the Hotel Trades Council to ensure that firearms do not enter into city hotels unless carried by bonafide, on-duty law enforcement officials,” said Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the association.
Albany lawmakers have already banned concealed weapons from a long list of places, including Times Square, schools, government buildings and zoos.
Banquet halls and businesses serving alcohol were also included on the list following a June 29 letter from Maroko to Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) urging such venues be made off limits to guns.
“While New York is once again beginning to attract visitors in higher numbers, it is also plagued by the perception that it is not as safe as it once was due to increased gun violence. Acting swiftly to restore sensible gun laws will send a message that New York is safe, responsible, and ready to welcome visitors from across the globe,” Maroko wrote in the letter.
The new law also bans concealed weapons from private businesses unless an owner affirmatively allows them, which will not be the case at the vast majority of hotels in the Big Apple.