Judge: Most of NY's New Carry Restrictions Unconstitutional
A federal court on Thursday issued a temporary restraining order against the State of New York, blocking most of the rushed concealed carry restrictions adopted earlier this year.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in July signed what was touted by her office as "landmark" legislation to recast how legal concealed carry works in the state of 20 million. This came just eight days after the June 23 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which found the state's "good cause" test constitutionally suspect and out of whack when compared to historical tradition.
The new and almost ironically named "Concealed Carry Improvement Act" erected fresh barriers to obtaining a carry permit in the Empire State, including a requirement that applicants disclose social media accounts for review during an in-person meeting with law enforcement and complete 18 hours of firearms training while at the same time putting most of the state off-limits to legal carry – including an entire 34-block swath of Manhattan around Time's Square.
A group of six New York residents, allied with the 2A group Gun Owners of America, fought the CCIA in court, and this week U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby found their case had enough likelihood of winning that he issued a restraining order blocking most of the new law from being enforced.
"Simply stated, instead of moving toward becoming a shall-issue jurisdiction, New York State has further entrenched itself as a shall-not-issue jurisdiction," said Suddaby in his 53-page opinion for the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. "And, by doing so, it has further reduced a first-class constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense (which, during the 19th and 18th centuries in America, generally came with an assumption that law-abiding responsible citizens were not a danger to themselves or others unless there was specific ground for a contrary finding) into a mere request (which is burdened with a presumption of dangerousness and the need to show 'good moral character')."
When it comes to carrying in New York City's Times Square area, or in places where alcoholic beverages are consumed, as well as carrying on public transport, or in the 10 "sensitive locations" spelled out under the law such as libraries, zoos, public parks, and the like, Suddaby didn't buy those restrictions and ordered enforcement restrained.
The judge also put the brakes on the mandate for in-person interviews with law enforcement, the requirement to disclose one's social media accounts, and a curious requirement that private business owners publicly post "guns allowed" signage to opt-in for lawful carry on their property.
Suddaby conceded that restrictions on carry in federal buildings and bases, schools, at public assemblies, or polling places during an election, had a historic basis and allowed "gun-free zones" there to continue, at least for now.
Meanwhile, Suddaby sat the fence on carrying in a place of worship, holding there should at least be a provision for those seeking to keep the peace in such locations, but in the end allowed the current restriction to remain.
The TRO is set to take effect next week, barring further court action.
"Anti-gunners like Kathy Hochul and Eric Adams lied and misrepresented the Second Amendment to the courts, putting New Yorkers at a great disadvantage in the midst of rising crime," said Erich Pratt, GOA’s senior vice president. "We are grateful to Judge Suddaby for his quick action to restore the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Once the TRO goes into effect, GOA encourages New Yorkers to exercise their rights and to defend themselves and the ones they love."
Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James plainly stated, "While the decision preserves portions of the law, we believe the entire law must be preserved as enacted. We will appeal this decision."
For their part, GOA seems ready to continue their fight against Hochul & Co.
Banner image: A well-worn S&W 642 Airweight J-frame in .38 Special, a carry classic. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)