N.Y. Law Banning Gun Carrying in Churches (Including by People Authorized by the Church) Struck Down
From Hardaway v. Nigrelli, decided yesterday by Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. (N.D.N.Y.):
Eight days after the Supreme Court struck down New York’s unconstitutional “proper cause” requirement for conceal-carry licenses, the State responded with even more restrictive legislation, barring all conceal-carry license holders from vast swaths of the State. The complaint and motion in this case focus solely on one aspect of the new legislation, namely, the portion making it a felony for such a license holder to possess a firearm at “any place of worship or religious observation.”
Ample Supreme Court precedent addressing the individual’s right to keep and bear arms—from Heller and McDonald to its June 2022 decision in Bruen—dictates that New York’s new place of worship restriction is equally unconstitutional. In Bruen, the Court made the Second Amendment test crystal clear: regulation in this area is permissible only if the government demonstrates that the regulation is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of sufficiently analogous regulations. As set forth below, New York fails that test. The State’s exclusion is, instead, inconsistent with the Nation’s historical traditions, impermissibly infringing on the right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense….
Reverend Dr. Jimmie Hardaway, Jr. and Bishop Larry A. Boyd filed this lawsuit on October 13, 2022, and are joined by institutional plaintiffs, Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc. (“FPC”), and Second Amendment Foundation (“SAF”)…. Hardaway and Boyd, leaders of their respective churches, “wish to exercise their fundamental, individual right to bear arms in public for self-defense by carrying concealed firearms on church property in case of confrontation to both themselves and their congregants.” They allege that, as “leaders of their churches, they would be authorized to carry on church premises to keep the peace, and would do so, but for Defendants’ enforcement of the unconstitutional laws, regulations, policies, practices, and customs at issue in this case.” In particular, they seek to prevent the enforcement of New York’s new law
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