Federal judge arrests key parts of New York’s new gun law

ALBANY, NY (AP) — New York’s latest attempt to restrict who can carry a handgun in public and where firearms can be brought was set aside Thursday by a federal judge, who ruled that several provisions of a state law spent this year are unconstitutional.

In a ruling that doesn’t take effect immediately, U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby struck down several key provisions of the state’s hasty attempt to rewrite its handgun laws after old ones were struck down by the state. Supreme Court in June.

Several of the state’s new licensing rules went too far, the judge wrote, including one that required applicants to be of “good character” and another that required applicants to provide information about their accounts. social media.

The end result was a licensing system that prohibited people from carrying a handgun for self-defense unless the applicant could persuade licensing officials that they would not use it to injure themselves or others, wrote the judge.

“Put simply, instead of becoming an issuing jurisdiction, New York State has asserted itself more as an issuing jurisdiction. And, in doing so, he further reduced a first-class constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense … to a mere request,” wrote Suddaby, who sits in Syracuse.

The ruling also rejected provisions that would ban people from carrying handguns in certain “sensitive places.”

Rules prohibiting most people from carrying guns in schools, government buildings, polling places and places of worship were acceptable, the judge wrote. But the state could not generally ban people from carrying handguns in New York’s Times Square, the subway system, summer camps or places where alcohol is consumed.

The judge based these decisions largely on “historical analogues” of these rules, or on the fact that guns have been banned in these places in the past.

Suddaby, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, suspended his decision for three days to allow the state to appeal to a higher court.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office will appeal.

“Today’s decision follows mass shootings and rampant gun violence that is hurting communities here in New York and across the country. Although the ruling preserves portions of the law, we believe the entire law should be preserved as enacted,” said James, a Democrat.

Governor Kathy Hochul, also a Democrat, defended the state laws as “common sense restrictions.”

“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.

Lawmakers rewrote state handgun laws this summer after a Supreme Court decision invalidated New York’s old system for licensing handguns outside the home. The High Court struck down the state’s long-standing requirement that people had to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety to qualify for such a licence.

The new law, which took effect on September 1, increased educational requirements for applicants and required them to provide more private information, including a list of everyone living in their home.

There have been several federal challenges to the new law by gun rights advocates who argue that the legislation violates the Second Amendment and free speech rights.

This lawsuit was bought by six upstate New York gun owners who claim the law infringes on their constitutional rights. Most of the plaintiffs have licenses to carry and argue that the law prevents them from carrying a weapon in designated sensitive places like state parks or the church.

According to the federal complaint, a complainant intends to apply for a transport permit, but refuses to share social media posts or character references with investigators.

Suddaby telegraphed his decision five weeks ago when he rejected a previous challenge to the law on technical grounds. The plaintiff in that case then teamed up with five other gun owners and sued again, expanding the list of defendants to include district attorneys and law enforcement sheriffs.

New York is one of half a dozen states whose provisions of gun laws have been struck down by the Supreme Court.


Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and David Caruso contributed from New York.

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