A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of parts of a New York gun law that was signed into law following a Supreme Court ruling earlier this summer canceling certain protections.
Among the provisions of New York law that the state cannot enforce is one that defines Times Square as a “weapons-free zone.” The law aims to impose restrictions on the carrying of a concealed handgun outside the home.
Judge Glenn T. Suddaby of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York said the state had “further reduced a first-class constitutional right to bear arms in public in self-defence” to a mere “demand.” He said several provisions of the law had no historical justification, a controversial requirement put forward by the High Court last spring.
At the time, Judge Clarence Thomas, writing for a 6-3 tribunal, said a state must justify a regulation by demonstrating that the law is “consistent with this nation’s historic tradition of gun regulation.” .
Regarding Times Square, Suddaby cited the Supreme Court’s decision and said he “could argue” that historic laws prohibiting the carrying of weapons at “fairs or markets” are analogous to current law. . But, he said, he had only found two of these laws.
“Two statutes do not make a tradition,” he writes.
Critics correctly predicted that the Supreme Court’s decision – the broadest expansion of gun rights in a decade – would spark new challenges to gun regulations across the country.
The temporary restraining order will take effect in three business days.
In a statement, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said her office was working with the state attorney general to discuss an appeal.
“While this ruling leaves certain aspects of the law in place, it is deeply disappointing that the judge wants to limit my ability to keep New Yorkers safe and prevent more senseless gun violence,” Hochul said.
CNN has contacted the complainants for comment.
The plaintiffs, including at least one individual who wants to carry his gun to church, argue that the state is violating their Second and 14th Amendment rights by denying them the right to self-defense. They have already filed a preliminary injunction with Suddaby to eventually bar the state from enforcing its new set of laws.
The judge’s decision nods to the fact that carrying a handgun in public is generally constitutionally protected.
Provisions prohibiting the concealed carrying of weapons in polling stations and places of worship remain in place; however, the court created an “exception for persons who have been charged with the duty of keeping the peace at the place of worship or religious observance”. New York State may also restrict concealed carry in preschools, preschools, and other educational facilities, and at demonstrations or “town hall meetings.”
The state, however, cannot enforce a covert transportation restriction on public transportation, including subways and railroads; summer camps; during entertainment, games or sporting events; or zoos, libraries, parks, homeless shelters, residential programs for victims of domestic violence, and licensed child care programs, among others, in part because these places are in places where law enforcement or security are “presumably – readily available”.
Additionally, the state cannot enforce a requirement that would have required a prospective gun owner to turn over three years of their social media accounts.
The rightwhich came into force in September, was signed by Hochul in quick response to the Supreme Court strikes down New York gun law which required a resident to obtain a permit to carry a concealed pistol or revolver in public and demonstrate that there was “just cause” for the permit.
The law enacts a strict authorization process for concealed carry licenses and requires background checks for ammunition sales. It also limits the concealed carrying of firearms in places such as government buildings.
This story has been updated with additional details and reaction.