Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Parts of New York Gun Law, Upholds Others

Michael Clements
By Michael Clements
December 9, 2023New York
Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Parts of New York Gun Law, Upholds Others
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at Antonio Delgado swearing in ceremony as N.Y. State Lieutenant Governor at New York City governor’s office on May 25, 2022. (lev radin/Shutterstock)

Both sides are claiming victory after a federal appeals court upheld some parts of New York State’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) but struck down others.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit combined four cases from lower courts as they overlapped one another. The court overruled three of the lower court rulings while upholding others in the decision released on Dec. 8.

The court struck down a CCIA ban on gun possession on private property unless the property owner posted signs allowing guns or the gun owner had express permission. The court lifted a gun possession ban at places of worship.

The court also shot down a requirement for concealed carry permit applicants to reveal their social media accounts to the government.

The judges noted that the ruling is probably only one step in the legal battle over New York’s law, which many expect to reach the Supreme Court.

“Our affirmance or vacatur of the district court’s injunctions does not determine the ultimate constitutionality of the challenged CCIA provisions,” a note at the end of the decision reads.

New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, released a statement claiming vindication of the law and vowing to continue upholding New York’s gun control statutes.

“Today’s decision to permit the state to enforce critical provisions of the Concealed Carry Improvement Act as the court process moves forward will help keep New Yorkers safe,” Ms. James’ statement reads.

“My office will continue to defend New York’s gun laws and use every tool to protect New Yorkers from senseless gun violence.”

The court upheld the requirement to demonstrate good moral character and to disclose household and family members on a permit application. The decision also preserves the right of private property owners, including places of worship, to prohibit guns.

The decision kept the ban on concealed carry in so-called “sensitive places,” except for places of worship. Requirements for an interview, character references, and 16 hours of training were also upheld.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which was involved in two of the four cases, wrote in a press release that the decision was a victory for the Second Amendment. SAF was involved in Hardaway v. Chiumento and Christian v. Chiumento, two of the cases the court reviewed.

The Christian case challenged a signage requirement in the CCIA, and the Hardaway case challenged the prohibition of carrying a gun in places of worship. The Hardaway case became moot after the state changed the law once the SAF lawsuit was filed.

“These are just two more examples of SAF carrying out its mission to win firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.

SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut said the ruling was the result of a focused legal strategy.

“Our challenges were narrowly constructed, allowing us to win a small but significant victory in the Christian case. Because the legislature changed the law after our lawsuit was filed in the Hardaway case, we consider that a victory as well,” Mr. Kraut wrote in the SAF press release.

NTD Photo
The Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse stands in Lower Manhattan, New York City on Jan. 18, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The CCIA was New York’s response to the June 23, 2022, U.S. Supreme Court decision in York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. In that case, the court ruled that citizens have a constitutional right to carry a gun in public for self-defense.

Since Bruen, 27 states have adopted so-called “constitutional carry laws,” which allow law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm without a license.

Some States Got Stricter

However, many blue states, like New York, took the opposite path and implemented more stringent firearm restrictions or reformed existing laws to the new standard.

The CCIA increased the training required for a license, expanded the number of places where concealed carry was prohibited, made in-person interviews and a review of an applicant’s social media accounts mandatory, and reduced the license recertification period from five years to three years.

The state set up a website to explain the new law.

On Friday, the Second Amendment advocates vowed to continue their fight.

“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,” Erich Pratt, senior vice president for Gun Owners of America, wrote on his group’s website.

From The Epoch Times

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