New York’s Restrictive New Gun Law Reinstated by Federal Appeals Court

New York’s Restrictive New Gun Law Reinstated by Federal Appeals Court
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces new concealed carry rules at a press conference in New York City on Aug. 31, 2022. (Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)
Matthew Vadum

New York state may resume enforcing its sweeping new gun control law after a federal appeals court temporarily lifted a stay on Nov. 15 that had blocked parts of the law that had been declared unconstitutional by a lower court the week before.

The judicial decision came as courts in states with restrictive gun laws are reviewing those measures in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June 23 decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which held that there’s a constitutional right to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense.

New York’s sweeping Concealed Carry Improvement Act was rushed through the state Legislature this summer and signed by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul after the Bruen decision invalidated the state’s requirement that a carry permit applicant demonstrate a special need for self-defense. Hochul denounced the high court ruling, calling it “a reckless decision … senselessly sending us backward and putting the safety of our residents in jeopardy.”

Some state law enforcement officials condemned the Hochul-backed law, which took effect Sept. 1, saying it would be difficult to enforce and may be unconstitutional. The New York State Sheriffs’ Association said the law was a “thoughtless, reactionary action.”

Syracuse-based U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby blocked sections of the law on Nov. 7. The case, brought by the Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America (GOA), is known as Antonyuk v. Hochul, court file 1:22-CV-0986.

But on Nov. 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit granted an emergency interim stay of Suddaby’s order while the state appeals it.

GOA expressed displeasure with the 2nd Circuit order, saying on its website that “anti-gunners are not going quietly into the night.”

“Anti-gunners are hoping to bleed us dry with legal fees until we reach the point where we can no longer fight back any longer.”

The Epoch Times reached out for comment on the 2nd Circuit ruling to New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, but hadn’t received a reply as of press time.

New Gun Rules

In the lawsuit, GOA objected to the raft of new gun rules in the state.
GOA board member Sam Paredes previously told The Epoch Times that by passing the law, New York lawmakers “gave Justice [Clarence] Thomas the middle finger,” referring to the fact that Thomas wrote the high court’s 6–3 opinion in Bruen.

The state law requires carry permit applicants to show “good moral character,” navigate a gun safety course, and surrender information from their social media accounts for background checks.

The law also inhibits the public-carry right articulated by the Supreme Court by designating much of the state as so-called sensitive areas, or gun-free zones, making them off-limits to concealed weapons. Critics say there are so many prohibited places that it’s hard for carry permit holders to go about their daily business in public.

Airports, establishments that serve alcohol, day care facilities and playgrounds, schools, entertainment venues, libraries, hospitals, houses of worship, polling locations, public demonstrations and rallies, public transit, and Times Square—a tourist mecca in the borough of Manhattan—are on the list.

Suddaby, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, had issued a preliminary injunction on Nov. 7 (pdf), writing in his 184-page order that the law imposed “unprecedented constitutional violations.”

Suddaby enjoined the requirement that a carry applicant demonstrate “good moral character” and produce the names and contact information of spouses and other adults in the applicant’s home. He blocked the rule forcing applicants to submit social media accounts for review by government officials.

Suddaby also enjoined the restrictions on carrying in public parks, zoos, places of worship, locations where alcohol is served, theaters, banquet halls, conferences, airports and buses, lawful protests or assemblies, as well as the blanket ban on carrying on private property without the consent of the owner.