U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Nothing better illustrates the importance of elections and the language of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen than a string of federal court actions in recent weeks which collectively demonstrate how Empire State anti-gunners may have finally hit a Second Amendment wall.
When U.S. District Court Judge Glenn T. Suddaby ruled on October 6th, 2022, that major portions of the state’s new—and hastily written—gun control scheme to replace the century-old “good cause” requirement of New York’s now-defunct concealed carry law, it was a shot across Albany’s bow.
Now, with U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. exercising remarkable speed in granting both a temporary restraining order and then a preliminary injunction against enforcement of a “sensitive places” gun ban in places of worship, the days of New York essentially ignoring the right of its citizens to keep and bear arms appear at an end.
The importance of elections—including the one coming Nov. 8—has been underscored. Judge Suddaby, according to an online biography, was nominated to the bench in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush. Judge Sinatra was nominated in 2018 and again in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump.
Since taking office in January 2021, Joe Biden has been filling court vacancies with judges who may not be friendly to the Second Amendment, but thanks to Trump’s three appointments to the Supreme Court, the Bruen ruling, which did away with the two-step approach to deciding Second Amendment cases with emphasis on “means-end” scrutiny, lower courts can no longer play that game.
A GOP-controlled Senate can put the brakes on Biden’s gun control crusade.
While Judge Suddaby smacked New York’s anti-gunners with his early-October ruling, it has been the quick action by Judge Sinatra that has raised eyebrows even more.
On Oct. 13, the Second Amendment Foundation filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of New York in Buffalo, challenging a section of New York’s law that designated places of worship as “sensitive places” where even licensed guns could not be possessed. Joining SAF in this legal action are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc. and two private citizens, Bishop Larry A. Boyd of Buffalo and Rev. Dr. Jimmie Hardaway, Jr., of Niagara Falls. They are represented by attorneys David H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson, and John W. Tienken with Cooper & Kirk, PLLC in Washington, D.C., and Nicolas J. Rotsko at Phillips Lytle, LLP in Buffalo.
Historically, civil lawsuits in federal court—especially ones dealing with gun rights challenges—can drag on indefinitely. But Judge Sinatra is proving to be fast on the draw.
A week after filing their lawsuit, SAF and its partners filed a memorandum in support of their earlier motion for a temporary restraining order. Judge Sinatra quickly granted the TRO, declaring;
“Ample Supreme Court precedent addressing the individual’s right to keep and bear arms from Heller and McDonald to its June 22 decision in Bruen—dictates that New York’s place of worship restriction is equally unconstitutional.”
Just days ago, the SAF legal team filed further arguments in its motion for a preliminary injunction to go along with the temporary restraining order granted by the court last month. Thursday afternoon saw Judge Sinatra grant the preliminary injunction, writing in his decision;
“Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights are being violated…”
SAF founder & Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb quickly issued a statement: “We are gratified with the speed shown by the court in this matter. It shows the court is taking this case very seriously.”
In his 44-page ruling, Judge Sinatra noted New York’s new place of worship restriction is unconstitutional. The state has not demonstrated that the prohibition, under its newly enacted gun law, adopted in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling in the Bruen case, that the ban is “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of sufficiently analogous regulations.”
This may not seem important to anyone outside New York, but it is huge. Federal courts, now operating according to language in the Bruen ruling, have slammed the doors on one of the most restrictive states in the nation where gun control is concerned. It sends a signal to neighboring New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and California that they need to tread lightly. Naturally, anti-gun lawmakers in those states will continue trying to dance around the Bruen ruling, but they will likely be slapped down, though it may take a while and involve some expensive lawsuits by SAF and others.
This string of court victories may be the proverbial “beginning of the end” for Second Amendment infringements, but only if gun owners keep voting. A new governor in New York will mean a new direction in Albany for gun-related legislation. A GOP-controlled Senate and U.S. House of Representatives will take the wind out of Biden’s sails on guns, the economy, and other areas. For sure, his gun ban agenda will be toast.
Watch for political anti-gunners to bitterly fight these rulings.
And, there still must be a determination whether modern semi-auto rifles—the so-called “assault weapons” anti-gunners want banned as a piece of trophy legislation—are protected by the Second Amendment. The firearms community believes they are, and all logic points in that direction, but it may require a Supreme Court decision to cement that belief.
About Dave Workman