Federal Judges Drop Massive 261-Page Ruling Tearing Apart Conceal Carry Laws


While permitting the state to establish “sensitive sites” that restrict the locations where lawful gun owners can carry, a three-judge panel has struck down significant portions of New York State’s anti-gun legislation.

However, the panel’s 261-page ruling rejected the state’s attempt to forbid gun owners from bringing their weapons into churches, synagogues, and other places of worship.

The verdict stated that since there is still litigation pending, which may result in appeals to the US Supreme Court, its ruling is unlikely to be the last word. The decision makes it clear that it did not evaluate the legislation itself but rather concentrated on granting a preliminary injunction to stop the statute, as Gun Owners of America and other plaintiffs requested.

According to the law, applicants for handgun permits had to show up for an interview with a government representative to verify their moral character. The provision “is not facially unconstitutional,” according to the appeals court. A person who, if armed, would be a threat to the public, other people, or themselves should have their carry license denied with good reason. This is in keeping with the long-standing custom of keeping dangerous people away from firearms.

It acknowledged, nevertheless, that there might be valid objections to that clause.

In a similar vein, the decision allowed gun-free zones in supposedly sensitive locations like schools, hospitals, and public transportation.

However, the law that prohibited firearm carrying in publicly accessible, privately held spaces was struck down. The clause would have applied to shops, eateries, and other establishments where a gun owner could only have brought their weapon inside provided a sign indicating that doing so was permitted was displayed.

“No matter how expansively we analogize, we do not see how a tradition of prohibiting illegal hunting on private lands supports prohibiting the lawful carriage of firearms for self-defense on private property open the public,” the 261-page decision said, rejecting a state claim that laws banning hunting on land someone else owned applied in this case.

The statute required applicants for firearms licenses to provide a list of all their social media accounts, even those they use under pseudonyms, but the court rejected this demand.

“Although the review of public social media posts by a licensing officer poses no constitutional difficulties, requiring applicants to disclose even pseudonymous names under which they post online imposes an impermissible infringement on Second Amendment rights that is unsupported by analogues in the historical record and moreover presents serious First Amendment concerns,” the ruling said.

“Anyone familiar with most social media platforms knows that nearly all handles are pseudonymous, at least to the extent that the poster’s identity is not immediately apparent. Requiring disclosure of handles is thus to demand that applicants effectively forfeit their right to pseudonymous speech on social media (where so much speech now takes place). That significant burden on the right to bear arms is not one for which we see persuasive historical analogues,” the ruling said.

The ruling also tossed out a ban on churches arming their parishioners.

“The state of New York can’t tell houses of worship how they protect their people,” said Jeremy Dys, senior counsel at First Liberty Institute, which is representing a pastor who is a plaintiff in the case, according to WNYW-TV.

“At this stage, the State has not demonstrated that allowing church leaders to regulate their congregants’ firearms is more dangerous than allowing other property owners to do the same,” the ruling said.

“It is hard to see how the law advances the interests of religious organizations, as a whole, by denying them agency to choose for themselves whether to permit firearms,” the ruling said.

Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America, issued a statement on the website of Gun Owners of America saying, “Governor Hochul and her cabal in Albany never seem to get the message, and in turn, GOA is proud to have played a major role in rebuking her unconstitutional law. Nevertheless, this was not a total victory, and we will continue the fight until this entire law is sent to the bowels of history, where it belongs.”

Sam Paredes, speaking for the Board of Directors of the Gun Owners Foundation, said, “Frustratingly, much of this Court’s opinion reads like an insubordinate rebuke of the Supreme Court, which is a disgrace and cannot be allowed to stand. We are weighing action at the nation’s High Court.”


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