SYRACUSE, N.Y. -(Ammoland.com)- A recently changed New York State Fair policy will ban off-duty police officers from carrying concealed firearms.
The Department of Agriculture and Markets operates the State Fair. The state agency sent a memo to all police departments through the New York State Police Troop D Commander Major Michael TenEyck stating that off-duty cops must leave their guns at home if they plan on visiting the Fair. The New York State Fair runs from August 24 to September 5 in Syracuse. This ban is the first time in the Fair’s 181-year history that only police officers assigned to the Fair will be permitted to carry guns.
The Department of Agriculture and Markets did not consult with any police agencies before enacting the new prohibition on firearms. The Department also did not expand on why a new policy was needed at the State Fair. Many police officers in New York believe it to be a slap in the face to officers that put their lives on the line every day for citizens of the Empire State.
“I don’t go anywhere without my gun,” One New York Police Department member told AmmoLand News on condition of anonymity. “This is a slap in the face to cops everywhere. Do we become magically dangerous with guns once we are off duty? You would think they would want more cops with guns, not less. You are making a soft target, softer.”
Off-duty officers have stopped many crimes and mass attacks in the past. Just last month in Queens, New York, off-duty Correction Officer David Donegan shot and killed a man pointing a gun at a crowd of people. New York City Mayor Eric Adams hailed Donegan as a hero for saving the lives of his fellow New Yorkers. Under the Fair’s new rules, Officer Donegan would be disarmed. Other off-duty officers have stopped shootings and other crimes across the country.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s office is not saying how much input it had on the new rule. Governor Hochul has led a crusade against gun rights since the state lost the Supreme Court landmark case, New York Pistol Rifle Association v. Bruen, last June. The Governor championed The Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA,) which is currently being challenged in federal court by Gun Owners of America (GOA). If the challenge fails, then the new law will go into effect on September 1, making most of the state off limits to carrying concealed firearms.
Banning firearms from the New York State Fair might also be ripe for a legal challenge. Bruen stated that certain areas could be considered “sensitive” and enact a ban, but that designation should be used sparingly. Thomas wrote that just because a place is where people gather is not enough to be designated as “sensitive.” It appears that the Department of Agriculture and Markets ignored the Bruen decision and designated the entire State Fair as a “sensitive area” not only for average citizens but also for off-duty cops.
The Department of Agriculture and Markets did not respond to AmmoLand’s request for comment.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.