Friday, January 27, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

New York’s updated gun restrictions up for another fight at high court 

The conservative majority handed a big win to Second Amendment advocates last term but New York gun owners say the state has found a workaround to skirt the court’s ruling. 

WASHINGTON (CN) — Challenging new restrictions on who gets to carry a firearm in New York state, a group of gun owners asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to intervene. 

Just last term the Supreme Court handed down a landmark Second Amendment ruling after the previous incarnation of New York's law inspired a challenge. The conservative majority not only shot down New York’s law in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, it also created new criteria for evaluating all gun laws across the country. 

It took Empire State lawmakers just a little over a week to fire back. The updated statute, called the Concealed Carry Improvement Act or the CCIA, requires gun owners seeking a concealed-carry license to show good moral character. It also declares certain areas in the state — like churches, medical offices, public parks and entertainment venues — to be “sensitive places” off limits to firearm possession. 

Gun rights advocates claim the law deprives them of their Second Amendment rights. 

“Falling far short of complying with this Court’s Bruen decision, the CCIA instead extinguishes the right of ‘ordinary, law-abiding citizens … to carry handguns publicly for their self-defense,’” Stephen Stamboulieh, an attorney at Stamboulieh Law representing the gun owners, wrote Wednesday in an application to the court for emergency relief.

Led by Ivan Antonyuk, the gun owners went to the high court after the Second Circuit blocked a federal judge's ruling that struck down parts of the law. As the state’s appeal proceeded, the law is allowed to take effect.

“The CCIA stands in direct defiance to Bruen’s central holding that governments cannot keep ‘ordinary, law-abiding citizen[s]’ with ‘ordinary self-defense needs from carrying arms in public for that purpose,’” Stamboulieh wrote. “The Second Circuit’s stay of the district court’s preliminary injunction allows New York’s novel, anti-Bruen law to strip New Yorkers of their right to keep and bear arms in a sweeping and unprecedented way, along with the collateral damage of violating multiple other constitutional provisions.” 

Describing the ruling as unreasoned and knee-jerk, the firearm owners say the Second Circuit should have learned its lesson after the court’s repudiation in Bruen

“One might think that the Second Circuit — being the circuit whose opinion was recently reversed by this Court in Bruen — might find it appropriate to at least provide some basis for its decision to stay multiple lower court decisions which have faithfully applied the Bruen framework,” Stamboulieh wrote. “But one would be wrong.” 

The gun owners claim the CCIA all but eliminates concealed carry in New York. In addition to violating the constitutional rights of New Yorkers, the advocates argue, the law also provides a roadmap for snubbing the high court’s rulings. 

“Rather than complying with this Court’s Bruen decision, New York has thumbed its nose at this Court, creating a new statutory scheme wherein the concealed carry of firearms is far more restrictive, and the licensing process far more onerous, than before this Court’s decision in Bruen,” Stamboulieh wrote.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Loading
Loading...