'It gives me a lot of closure': B.C. woman reconnects with couple who saved her life

WATCH: Three British Columbians are happy to be reunited almost a year after tragic circumstances first brought them together. Last summer, when a young Lower Mainland woman was seriously injured in a horrific crash, a Salmon Arm couple stopped to help. In the aftermath the rescuers were left wondering if she had survived. Recently the crash victim was able to find a way to reconnect with the couple she credits for saving her life.

Three British Columbians are happy to be reunited almost a year after tragic circumstances first brought them together.

Last summer when Katie Potts was seriously injured in a horrific crash on the Coquihalla Highway, a Salmon Arm, B.C. couple stopped to help.

Read more:

‘It gets worse and worse every year’: Truckers rally in B.C., citing unsafe highway conditions

In the aftermath, the rescuers didn’t know Potts’ name and were left wondering if she had survived.

However, in June, almost a year after the collision that nearly took her life, Potts was able to find the couple she believes saved her.

It all started on the morning of July 11, 2021 when Potts and her boyfriend were returning home from a camping trip. Their vehicle went off the road near Larson Hill and Potts along with her seat were ejected from the vehicle.

“My boyfriend fell asleep behind the wheel and from what I remember I was also asleep and then I woke up and I was in the grass,” said Potts, during an interview from her home in Maple Ridge.

“It was just a really scary feeling. I looked down. I saw that my leg was amputated at the scene. My hand felt pretty wet like it was in a puddle or something and I ended up losing three fingers.”

Read more:

Driver dies in fiery crash in Burnaby, B.C. despite ‘heroic’ efforts from witnesses

Only later would Potts learn she also had injured her back.

“It was really scary, the doctor told my dad he wasn’t too sure if I was ever going to be able to walk again because of the damage on my back. I was three millimeters from being paralyzed,” she said.

Potts said her boyfriend picked her up and brought her up to the highway.

“We were waving down cars trying to get people’s attention the best we could and there was probably about five to seven cars that passed us, didn’t even take a glance or whatever, until Marilyn and Jarrod were the ones who stopped,” recalled Potts.

Read more:

Heroes rescue couple from vehicle crashed into a swimming pool in Surrey, B.C.

Marilyn and Jarrod Thomas were on the way to Vancouver to see their daughter that morning when they saw smoke near the highway.

“A young fellow was waving his arms so we pulled over. Didn’t even know that there was another person there until he had thrown her into the back seat of my car,” said Jarrod Thomas.

Feeling faint, like she was dying, Potts said she called out for her boyfriend.

“Jarrod took out his hoody string right away as soon as I said, ‘I feel like I’m going to die!’ He ripped out his hoody string and then tied off my leg, and then my boyfriend grabbed his hoody string and tied off my hand to stop all the bleeding,” Potts said.

Marilyn Thomas said she tried to wet the young woman’s lips to make sure she wasn’t dehydrated.

“You just go to work and you just say, ‘Well, now we have to take care of her and do whatever we can,'” Marilyn Thomas said.

When first responders arrived Potts was taken for medical care and Marilyn and Jarrod Thomas were left worrying about what happened to the seriously injured young woman whose name they didn’t know.

They wondered if she had made it.

“We tried to find out about this accident on the highway and we couldn’t find out anything,” Marilyn Thomas said.

Read more:

‘Hold onto me’: B.C. Mountie reflects on rescuing couple from car submerged in swimming pool

Potts was also thinking about the couple that had stopped to help.

“I wouldn’t be here today if they wouldn’t have stopped because the time that the ambulance came and when I said to everybody, ‘I feel like I am going to die!’….They wouldn’t have been there in time because I would have lost way too much blood,” Potts said.

In June, almost a year after the crash, Potts was able to find the pair she credits with saving her life thanks to a viral social media post by a family friend.

“She made a huge post and it just went viral. I didn’t expect it but I am so thankful to everyone who did this for me because it gives me a lot of closure to finally know what and who I am living for. It is for them,” Potts said.

They’ve spoken on the phone and Potts hopes to visit the couple later this summer.

“As soon as I heard her voice, I just started breaking down into tears,” Potts said of speaking with Marilyn Thomas.

The rescuers were equally happy to find out Potts had survived and is recovering.

“She is so brave and just so resilient. She is just a wonderful young lady,” said Marilyn Thomas.

“We are no guardian angels. We are no heroes. We are just regular people who did anything that any regular people should be doing and that’s stopping and helping.”

Despite her doctor’s concerns, Potts is walking again and after getting her first prosthetic water leg she is looking forward to swimming with her niece.

“If it wasn’t for Marylin and Jarrod, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy these little things. Every morning I just wake up and I say thank you to them,” Potts said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Pro-life float at Alberta town's Canada Day parade generates surprised reaction

Hundreds of people lined the streets in Olds, Alta., on Friday to watch the Canada Day parade, something they haven’t been able to do since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For the most part, they were treated to the usual parade fodder: fire trucks, Mounties and various entries by local sports teams and community groups.

But one float in particular caught some spectators by surprise.

The float displayed the message “let the beat go on” and was entered by Red Deer Pro-Life.

While it did carry a pro-life message, the float didn’t display any graphic images.

One resident, whom Global News has agreed not to name, questioned the appropriateness of the float — and the subject matter — at a family-friendly event.

Another resident spoke to Global News about the float as well. Jody Hegel has lived in Olds for the past five years and attended the parade with her husband and their four-year-old daughter. She said she was surprised to see the float in the parade.

“Just because of everything happening in the (United) States with Roe v. Wade, I was like, ‘Oh that’s interesting,'” Hagel said.

The Olds parade came after a float in Sundre was the centre of controversy last weekend. It was heavily criticized for its depiction — and disrespect of — the Sikh culture.

READ MORE: Controversial float in Sundre, Alta. rodeo parade causes outrage

Premier Jason Kenney was asked about parades becoming more political at a Canada Day celebration in Calgary.

“Well that’s up to the parade organizers to set the criteria,” he said. “I would say that obviously what happened last week was gross. It was mocking a particular faith community, and that doesn’t have a place in any kind of parade.”

Kenney went on to talk about the pro-life group’s float.

“I think that falls well within freedom of speech in a free society for people to express their deeply held views about the value of human life,” the premier said. “I don’t think that’s analogous at all to mocking people and expressing hatred for a particular religious community.

“I wouldn’t draw a connection between those two things.”

Hagel said while she was surprised by the float’s appearance, she also saw it as a freedom of speech issue.

“I feel like it’s a platform for people to share their opinions, and people can take it or leave it,” she said.

Global News reached out to the Town of Olds to ask about criteria for entries into the parade.

Red Deer Pro-Life was also contacted.

If the town or pro-life group respond, this article will be updated with comment from them.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Costly fumble keeps Hamilton Tiger-Cats winless

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats fumbled away their first potential win of the 2022 CFL season in a sobering 29-25 loss against the previously winless Edmonton Elks 29-25 in a Canada Day clash at Tim Hortons Field.

Ticats quarterback Dane Evans fumbled at the Hamilton 14-yard-line and Edmonton’s Jalen Collins scooped up the football and took it back for the game-winning score as the Elks picked up their first win of the season.

The Elks scored 17 points off four Hamilton turnovers, including two interceptions of Evans who finished the game with 197 passing yards on 20-of-31 throws.

Edmonton rookie QB Tre Ford made his first career start and completed 15 of his 26 passes for 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran the ball six times for a game-high 61 yards.

Hamilton jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 2:31 into the contest when Edmonton punter Matt Mengel conceded a safety instead of kicking into the wind from the Elks end zone.

On the ensuing drive, Evans tossed a 21-yard touchdown to Steven Dunbar Jr. to increase Hamilton’s lead to 9-0 with 7:46 to play in the opening quarter.

Edmonton got on the board with 30 seconds left in the first quarter when Kai Locksley capped off a 13 play, 79-yard drive with a one yard touchdown run but kicker Sergio Castillo missed the extra point.

Hamilton’s Lawrence Woods took the ensuing kickoff 72 yards for a touchdown to put the Ticats up 16-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Michael Domagala made it 19-7 for the Ticats with 1:28 remaining in the second period when he booted a 25-yard field goal, but Hamilton conceded a safety on their next drive to make it 19-9 at halftime.

Read more:

Danny McManus to join Hamilton Tiger-Cats Wall of Honour in the fall

After both teams traded field goals late in the third quarter, Elks linebacker Brady Shelton intercepted Evans at the Hamilton 40-yard-line which led to a Castillo field goal that cut the deficit to seven points.

Evans was picked off again at the start of the fourth quarter and five plays later rookie QB Tre Ford threw his first career touchdown, a 10-yard toss to Kenny Lawler, to even the game 22-22.

Domagala kicked a 33-yard field goal to put the Cats up 25-22 with just over three minutes left in the game before Collins’ scoop and score that gave the Elks the victory.

Hamilton is now on its first bye week of the season and next plays July 16 at home against the Ottawa Redblacks.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

At least 5 dead after magnitude 6.1 earthquake rocks southern Iran

At least five people were killed by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in southern Iran early on Saturday, state media reported, with the area also hit by two later strong quakes of up to 6.3 magnitude.

“Five people have died in the earthquake … and so far 12 are hospitalised,” Mehrdad Hassanzadeh, head of emergency management in Hormozgan Province on Iran’s Gulf coast, told state TV. “Rescue work has been carried out and we are now providing tents as emergency housing.”

Read more:

Aftershock rattles Afghanistan as earthquake death toll hits 1,150

The state news agency IRNA said a magnitude 6.3 earthquake and a magnitude 6.1 quake followed the 6.1 quake that flattened the village of Sayeh Khosh near Iran’s Gulf coast. There were more than a dozen aftershocks.

“All of the victims died in the first earthquake and no-one was harmed in the next two severe quakes as people were already outside their homes,” said Foad Moradzadeh, governor of Bandar Lengeh country, quoted by the state news agency IRNA.

Major geological fault lines crisscross Iran, which has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in Kerman province killed 31,000 people and flattened the ancient city of Bam.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese, Sandra Maler and Kenneth Maxwell)

© 2022 Reuters

Tre Ford and Edmonton Elks win 29-25 over Tiger-Cats in Hamilton

Tre Ford was in his happy place Friday in Hamilton.

The Edmonton Elks quarterback got a win in his first career CFL start 30 minutes down the Queen Elizabeth Highway from his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ont.

The Elks came from behind to beat the Tiger-Cats 29-25 in front of 20,233 at Tim Hortons Field.

“To come back to Hamilton and have all my family watching me get that first start and that first win has been fantastic,” Ford said.

Among Ford’s supporters were his wife, parents, sister, sister-in-law and mother-in-law, his high school football coach from A.N. Myer Secondary, his University of Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia, eight of his former university teammates and more friends.

Ford was shaky at times as the Elks trailed by 13 points early in the second half.

But the 2021 winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy winner that goes to the most outstanding Canadian university football player threw a game-tying touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler early in the fourth quarter.

The winning play for the Elks (1-3) arrived with 1:38 remaining when defensive back Scott Hutter tackled Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans and knocked the ball loose.

Jalen Collins recovered for a 14-yard touchdown.

“I saw him tackle him and thought, ‘please punch the ball out,” Collins said.

“All we needed was an opportunity to close the game out. We were fighting all night. It was ugly.”

Hamilton Tiger Cats wide receiver Papi White (4) cannot catch Edmonton Elks defensive back Jalen Collins (33) who runs the ball into the end zone after recovering a fumble by Hamilton Tiger Cats quarterback Dane Evans (9) late in the fourth quarter of CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont., Friday, July 1, 2022.

Hamilton Tiger Cats wide receiver Papi White (4) cannot catch Edmonton Elks defensive back Jalen Collins (33) who runs the ball into the end zone after recovering a fumble by Hamilton Tiger Cats quarterback Dane Evans (9) late in the fourth quarter of CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont., Friday, July 1, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

The winless Tiger-Cats opened a season with four straight losses for the first time since 2017 when they started 0-8.

READ MORE: Edmonton Elks’ game against Hamilton Tiger-Cats to be battle between struggling CFL clubs

“I want to apologize to all the guys. I put both home losses on me,” Evans said. “I just have to take care of it, and we win the game.”

Evans was 20-for-31 in passing for 197 yards and a touchdown throw. He was intercepted twice.

Ford’s numbers didn’t sparkle, although he did rush for 61 yards on six carries. The 24-year-old competed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.

Edmonton Elks wide receiver Derel Walker (87) dives for yardage after being tackled by Hamilton Tiger Cats defensive back Richard Leonard (23) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022.

Edmonton Elks wide receiver Derel Walker (87) dives for yardage after being tackled by Hamilton Tiger Cats defensive back Richard Leonard (23) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Edmonton’s defence helped out with interceptions by Sheldon Brady and Matthew Thomas, as well as the pivotal late-game recovered fumble by Collins.

“A big shout out to the defence,” Ford said. “They won us that game. They made what, three or four turnovers? They did super well.

“I have room for improvement. I’m not going to complain because we did win. But I’m going to hit the film room to see what I can critique and where I can get better.”

READ MORE: Canadian QB Tre Ford starts for Edmonton Elks on Canada Day in Hamilton

Hamilton went after the rookie with various blitzes in the first half.

“My legs are going to open things up for my arm,” Ford said.

Ford credited teammate and quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who started in Edmonton’s three losses this season, for advising him during the game on defensive reads.

“He’s been like that since Day 1, even though we’re competitors for the position,” Ford said.

He admitted to early jitters as Hamilton led 16-6 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime.

“I always get nervous for the first play of every game,” Ford said. “I think it’s a good thing because it means I care and that I want to win.”

Evans hit Steven Dunbar for a 21-yard strike, and Lawrence Woods returned a kickoff of 72 yards for Hamilton’s first-half touchdowns.

Edmonton Elks running back Sherman Badie (28) fends off Hamilton Tiger Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence (21) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022.

Edmonton Elks running back Sherman Badie (28) fends off Hamilton Tiger Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence (21) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Edmonton’s Kai Locksley scored on a one-yard plunge.

Elks kicker Sergio Castillo made two of his three field-goal attempts, while Hamilton counterpart Michael Domagala nailed his three and gave the Ticats at lead with a 33-yarder with 3:10 remaining in the game

“We’re not good enough right now,” Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer said. “We’re not executing at the level which needs to happen. We’re just not making those plays we need to make.”

Hamilton Tiger Cats defensive back Lawrence Woods (37) isn tackled by Edmonton Elks defensive back Mike Dubuisson (29)and Ante Milanovic-Litre (34) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022.

Hamilton Tiger Cats defensive back Lawrence Woods (37) isn tackled by Edmonton Elks defensive back Mike Dubuisson (29)and Ante Milanovic-Litre (34) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

© 2022 The Canadian Press

FC Edmonton's 3-0 victory over York United FC gives team its 2nd win in 3 games

Despite the team’s difficult start to the Canadian Premier League season, FC Edmonton is starting to see more success on the pitch as of late.

The Eddies won 3-0 over York United FC while playing at home on Clarke Field on Friday. While the victory was just the team’s second win of the year, it’s also the Eddies’ second win in their past three games.

READ MORE: FC Edmonton captures 1st win of of CPL season

While York United FC had the edge in possession in Friday’s match, FC Edmonton dominated in shots on goal, six to one.

Edmonton midfielder Bicou Bissainthe opened the scoring when he headed in a cross on a corner kick in the 24th minute of the match.

The Eddies’ Mamadi Camara scored the team’s second goal in the 57th minute. He broke away from several York defenders to accept a pass and score right in front of the Ontario team’s net.

Gabriel Bitar scored FC Edmonton’s third goal in the 59th minute.

Despite Friday’s win, FC Edmonton remains at the bottom of the CPL standings with two wins, four draws and eight losses on the season.

The Eddies’ next match is on Saturday, July 9 when they host Pacific FC at Clarke Field.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Regina celebrates Canada Day at Wascana Park

Regina locals came together for the first time in three years to celebrate Canada Day in public.

Canada Day celebrations returned to Regina this year after a three year hiatus due to COVID-19.

It was a Canada Day full of fun, food, performances and a love for the country. Hundreds of people lined the areas by the legislative building in Wascana Park on Friday to take in the festivities.

Read more:

Canada Day events in Regina packed with family fun activities

One of those attendees was Daniel Schmidt, who says he was having an incredible time.

“I’m hanging out, enjoying some sun, enjoying some festivities, this is a fantastic celebration,” Schmidt said.

The delay in public celebrations has made this year’s bash an above-and-beyond effort. Carrie Hackel, the director of marketing and communications for Regina’s Canada Day committee, says there were hurdles to bring this year’s celebration to life.

“Unfortunately, over the last couple of years we lost over half of our committee, so we’ve all had to do extra duties this year to pull things together,” Hackel said. “We’re just really happy that families can come out and just have a really enjoyable day.”

That happiness is echoed by Schmidt.

“It’s been crazy, but the nice thing about being out now for Canada Day is that we’re in public with everybody just enjoying Canada Day and celebrating, it feels fantastic…it almost feels like a new experience,” Schmidt said.

The day was packed with fun for the whole family. Attendees were treated to performances ranging from concerts, to dance performances to magic shows.

Read more:

Two charged in Canada Day break and enter

The streets were also lined with many vendours and food trucks with a variety of different options, such as barbecue, hot dogs, ice cream and slushies.

But for some, Canada Day had a more important meaning than simply taking part in fun activities. On a day set aside for patriotism, it’s important to remember Canada’s Indigenous history and the reconciliation efforts being made.

Evan Whitestar, the Indigenous advocate from Mother Teresa Middle School, along with other Indigenous students from the school, were invited to Wascana Park to put on a First Nations drumming and dance performance as a part of the day’s festivities.

“We’re choosing not to celebrate Canada Day and recognize or acknowledge all the genocie it took, but we’re choosing to recognize our resilience as a First Nation community,” Whitestar said. “We found our education, along with our culture and identity through our hallways and we’re choosing to embody what we want to be.”

 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

B.C. Canada Day celebrations focus on reconciliation

Truth and reconciliation were central to many Canada Day celebrations across B.C. Kylie Stanton reports.

Thousands of British Columbians gathered on Canada Day around the province, however, celebrations had a different tone this year.

After the discovery of the unmarked graves across the country last summer, the City of Victoria decided it was time to do Canada Day a little differently.

Read more:

As it happened: Canada Day celebrations, protests held across the country

The city’s mayor crossed the inner harbour, before the opening of Victoria’s Canada Day celebrations, in a traditional Indigenous canoe. It was a new beginning for Canada Day in the capital.

“It really means a lot for the Lekwungen people to have that happen today,” Margaret Charlie said, a Songhees First Nation Elected Council member.

Along with the national anthem, traditional dancers took centre stage and a moment of silence was held – a stark contrast to typical fireworks.

“It’s about having western culture and in our case in these lands Lekwungen culture live side by side.  It’s not either or, it’s a both and I think that we’re really seeing that today,” Lisa Helps said, Victoria’s mayor.

Read more:

Thousands gather in Ottawa for Canada Day celebrations, protests amid tight security

In other communities across the province, the theme of truth of reconciliation was at the forefront.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was at Canada Day festivities at Edmonds Park in Burnaby.

“We reflect on the injustice that the country has committed and commit to making sure we build a better country,” said Jameet Singh.

While there is still much work to be done according to the NDP leader,  this Canada Day marks another step on the path to reconciliation, setting a precedent for years to come.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament returns

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament & Music Festival in Vernon is making a return.

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament & Music Festival in Vernon is making a return.

From June 30 to July 3 there will be 112 teams from all over Canada and the U.S. competing in one of North America’s largest slo-pitch tournaments. Each team requires five men and five women on the field, and there are over 4,500 players registered.

According to the Funtastic Sports Society president, it took a valiant effort from everyone involved to ensure the tournament would play on.

Read more:

Russell Martin bids farewell to Blue Jays fans

“There was a ton of work by our board, and you know I can’t say enough about the hard work that they put into this event, but this event would be nothing without our volunteers,” said Jamie Austin, Funtastic Sports Society president.

“I mean you look around here and all you see is yellow shirts everywhere and that’s 100 per cent volunteer hours. We could not have this event we could not make this event function without the volunteers.”

The tournament attracts a variety of different skill levels — from the more serious to those who just want to dress up and have fun. One man from Calgary playing in the competition for the first time says he couldn’t be happier about spending a weekend with friends out on the field.

Read more:

Vernon will still host 2022 BC Winter Games, postponed to 2023

“Our teams been around for a little while. I’m the new one to the team but they’ve been waiting to get back to this tournament for a long time,” said Tristan Wright.

“They’ve been really excited to get out and play ball so it’s just a good time to vacation, get team bonding and stuff in and just have some fun trying to win some baseball games.”

Then there are others like Diana Kelly and her family who are playing for so much more than just wins. This is her 10th year playing in the tournament, and her and her team are dedicating this weekend to her late father.

Read more:

Forrest named North Okanagan’s athlete of the year

“He passed away this year from cancer, so I just wanted to have a little tribute this year to him, so we made these shirts for him, and he loved to come watch the family try their hand at ball, so it’s always been quite enjoyable for all of us,” described Kelly.

The tournament wraps up on Sunday with two teams from each division competing for a championship.

For a schedule of events, check out the Funtastic website.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

New York passes new limits on concealed gun permits after U.S. Supreme Court ruling

WATCH: U.S. Supreme Court expands gun rights, strikes down N.Y. firearm safety law

New York lawmakers approved a sweeping overhaul Friday of the state’s handgun licensing rules, seeking to preserve some limits on firearms after the Supreme Court ruled that most people have a right to carry a handgun for personal protection.

The measure, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul after passing both chambers by wide margins, is almost sure to draw more legal challenges from gun rights advocates who say the state is still putting too many restrictions on who can get guns and where they can carry them.

Hochul, a Democrat, called the Democrat-controlled Legislature back to Albany to work on the law after last week’s high-court ruling overturning the state’s long-standing licensing restrictions.

Read more:

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down New York gun law, expands rights to carry firearms

Backers said the law, which takes effect Sept. 1, strikes the right balance between complying with the Supreme Court’s ruling and keeping weapons out of the hands of people likely to use them recklessly or with criminal intent.

But some Republican lawmakers, opposed to tighter restrictions, argued the law violated the constitutional right to bear arms. They predicted it too would end up being overturned.

Among other things, the state’s new rules will require people applying for a handgun license to turn over a list of their social media accounts so officials could verify their “character and conduct.”

Applicants will have to show they have “the essential character, temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself and others.”

As part of that assessment, applicants have to turn over a list of social media accounts they’ve maintained in the past three years.

“Sometimes, they’re telegraphing their intent to cause harm to others,” Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said at a news conference.

Gun rights advocates and Republican leaders were incensed, saying the legislation not only violated the Second Amendment, but also privacy and free speech rights.

“New Yorkers’ constitutional freedoms were just trampled on,” state Republican Chair Nick Langworthy said.

The bill approved by lawmakers doesn’t specify whether applicants will be required to provide licensing officers with access to private social media accounts not visible to the general public.

Read more:

U.S. President Joe Biden signs landmark gun safety bill: ‘Lives will be saved’

People applying for a license to carry a handgun will also have to provide four character references, take 16 hours of firearms safety training plus two hours of practice at a range, undergo periodic background checks and turn over contact information for their spouse, domestic partner or any other adults living in their household.

Hochul’s chief lawyer, Elizabeth Fine, insisted the state was setting out “a very clear set of eligibility criteria” and noted that the legislation includes an appeals process.

The measure signed into law Friday also fixes a recently passed law that barred sales of some types of bullet-resistant vests to the general public. The previous law inadvertently left out many types of body armor, including the type worn by a gunman who killed 10 Black people in a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket.

The Supreme Court’s ruling last week struck down a 109-year-old state law that required people to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety to qualify for a license to carry a handgun outside their homes. That restriction generally limited the licenses to people who had worked in law enforcement or had another special need that went beyond routine public safety concerns.

Under the new system, the state won’t authorize permits for people with criminal convictions within the past five years for driving while intoxicated, menacing or third-degree assault.

People also won’t be allowed to carry firearms at a long list of “sensitive places,” including New York City’s tourist-packed Times Square.

That list also includes schools, universities, government buildings, places where people have gathered for public protests, health care facilities, places of worship, libraries, public playgrounds and parks, day care centers, summer camps, addiction and mental health centers, shelters, public transit, bars, theaters, stadiums, museums, polling places and casinos.

Read more:

Here’s what’s in the U.S. bipartisan gun deal, including a few surprises

New York will also bar people from bringing guns into any business or workplace unless the owners put up signs saying guns are welcome. People who bring guns into places without such signs could be prosecuted on felony charges.

That’s a reverse approach from many other states where businesses that want to keep guns out are usually required to post signs indicating weapons aren’t allowed.

Gun advocates said the law infringes on rights upheld by the Supreme Court.

“Now we’re going to let the pizzeria owner decide whether or not I can express my constitutional right,” said Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican. “This is a disgrace. See you in the courts.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

You May Also Like

Top Stories