A federal judge halted key provisions Thursday of New York’s latest attempt to restrict who can carry a handgun in public and where firearms can be brought, saying multiple parts of a law the state passed this year are unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby focused on multiple, saying licensing requirements — like a rule requiring applicants to turn over information about their social media accounts — went too far.
“Simply stated, instead of moving toward becoming a shall-issue jurisdiction, New York State has further entrenched itself as a shall-not-issue jurisdiction. And, by doing so, it has further reduced a first-class constitutional right to bear arms in public for self defense … into a mere request,” wrote Suddaby, who sits in Syracuse.
The ruling would keep restrictions in place that bar firearms from being carried into schools, government buildings and places of worship, but the judge said the state couldn’t ban guns from other, such as Times Square.
The judge gave the state three business days to seek emergency relief before a federal appeals court.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said the state would appeal the decision.
“Common-sense gun control regulations help save lives,” James said in a statement. “I will not back down from the fight to protect New Yorkers from repeated and baseless attacks on our state’s gun safety measures. I will continue to defend our responsible gun laws and fight for the safety of everyday New Yorkers.”
On Twitter, Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “It is deeply disappointing that a Judge wants to limit my ability to protect New Yorkers and prevent gun violence.”
The rules were part of a sweeping gun law that went into effect Sept. 1 designed to protect public safety while adhering to athat invalidated New York’s old system for granting permits to carry handguns outside the home.
Eric Tirschwell, executive director of gun safety group Everytown Law, expressed confidence Thursday’s decision would be reserved on appeal.
“The ruling both misreads Bruen and misunderstands the Second Amendment – and it is certainly not where the American people stand,” Tirschwell said, referring to the Supreme Court decision.
The new law increased training requirements for applicants and requires them to turn over more private information, including a list of everyone living in their home. Suddaby said the law’s requirement that a license applicant be of “good moral character” is unconstitutional, as currently written.
Hochul and the state Legislature approved the law this summer shortly after the high court struck down a state law that required people to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety to qualify for a license to carry a handgun outside their homes.
There have been several federal challenges to the law from gun rights advocates who argue the legislation violates the Second Amendment and free speech rights.
This lawsuit was brought by six gun owners from upstate New York who claim the law infringes on their constitutional rights. Most of the plaintiffs have licenses to carry and argue the law keeps them from holding a weapon in designated sensitive places like state parks or church.
One plaintiff intends to apply for a carry permit but is unwilling to share social media posts or character references with investigators, according to the federal complaint.
New York is among a half-dozen states that had provisions of their gun laws invalidated by the Supreme Court.