SYRACUSE, New York -(Ammoland.com)- Gun Owners of America (GOA) scored a major victory in Antonyuk v. Hochul when a federal district judge knocked down most of New York State’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).
After the landmark Supreme Court Bruen decision knocked down the Empire State’s “proper cause” clause in its concealed carry law, The State passed the CCIA, which saw most of the State become off limits to concealed firearms carriers. The law made most of the State a sensitive area. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the Bruen decision, said that certain areas could be marked “sensitive,” such as schools and government buildings. Still, the determination had to be used sparingly. He noted that a state could not designate an area as sensitive just because it is where people gather. The CCIA made Time Square a sensitive area just because people gathered there.
Another place that the CCIA made a sensitive area was religious organizations. One of the GOA plaintiffs was Pastor Joseph Mann. Pastor Mann held an unrestricted concealed carry permit before the CCIA went into effect. After the CCIA became the law, Pastor Mann’s church became a sensitive area. Pastor Mann also lived on church property, which means he would have to commit a felony if he wanted to carry in his own home.
New York tried to disqualify Pastor Mann by claiming he didn’t have standing. Even though the local law enforcement agency said they would enforce the CCIA, New York claimed that since there wasn’t a direct threat by law enforcement to arrest Pastor Mann, he didn’t have the standing to sue. The judge rejected that argument and let Pastor Mann stay on the case.
Not only did New York expand the number of sensitive areas in the State, but it also made all private businesses restricted areas. That means that guns are banned unless a business displays a sign stating that firearms are welcome. The judge found that the requirement violated New Yorkers’ property rights.
The judge also struck down the social media requirement of the CCIA. Under the law, applicants must turn over three years of social media. The judge found that this requirement violated the gun owners’ Second and First Amendment rights. The judge also knocked down the condition to turn over the names of every adult living at the residence of the concealed carry applicant.
Last month GOA won a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the TRO. New York State appealed the judge’s decision and asked the Circuit Court for a stay against the TRO. GOA had to argue against the stay and for the injunction simultaneously. The judge issuing the preliminary injunction means that he believes that the plaintiffs will win a permanent injunction against the law.
“Just like we warned politicians after the Bruen decision, fall in line, or we will force you to,” Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of GOA, said. “We are excited to see Kathy Hochul finally served a plate of humble pie, and we are fully prepared to continue the fight should she again attempt to disarm the citizens of her state at a time when her party’s policies are only escalating the danger that everyday citizens face.”
If GOA wins a permanent injunction against the law, it could foreshadow decisions in other states, such as New Jersey. The case shows that judges are willing to apply the Bruen ruling to Second Amendment cases.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.