Federal judge temporarily blocks key parts of New York's gun law

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Friday, October 7, 2022
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A federal judge has temporarily blocked key parts of the state's new concealed carry gun law to allow an advocacy group to pursue a lawsuit challenging the legislation. Josh Einige

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A federal judge has temporarily blocked key parts of the state's new concealed carry gun law to allow an advocacy group to pursue a lawsuit challenging the legislation.

Six residents who are members of Gun Owners of America sued the state over its new law, which went into effect Sept 1.

Chief Judge Glenn Suddaby of the U.S. District Court in Syracuse agreed to issue a temporary restraining order, but delayed it taking effect for three days to allow the state to appeal to in a higher court. He scheduled an Oct. 20 hearing.

Suddaby specifically blocked the portion of the law that outlined new requirements for background checks for gun permits, including the disclosure of all of an applicant's social media accounts.

He also blocked the bans on guns in some public and private properties.

In rejecting the provision that an applicant must have evidence to demonstrate they have "good moral character," the judge said it is up to the licensing agency to prove the applicant does not have good moral character, and not the other way around.

He said the state cannot require applicants to have an in-person meeting with a licensing officer, disclose the names and contact information of all adults residing in their home or provide a list of all current and former social media accounts from the past three years.

He said while guns can remain banned from any place of worship or religious observations, individuals providing security should be permitted to carry firearms.

Suddaby had previously ruled that much of the new law was unconstitutional, but said he could not take action but that filing was flawed. Gun Owners of America, led by primary plaintiff Ivan Antonyuk of Schenectady, tried again.

New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement affirming that the state will appeal:

"Today's decision comes in the wake of mass shootings and rampant gun violence hurting communities here in New York and across the country. While the decision preserves portions of the law, we believe the entire law must be preserved as enacted. We will appeal this decision. Common-sense gun control regulations help save lives. 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."

NYC Mayor Eric Adams also reacted to the ruling:

"Once again, the courts have opened up another river leading to the sea of gun violence, making it harder for us to protect New Yorkers. While the city is not a party to this case, we are willing to support the state in any way possible as it pursues an appeal."

And Gov. Kathy Hochul released a statement calling the ruling, "deeply disappointing."

"In the wake of the Supreme Court's reckless decision that reversed decades of established law amid a national gun violence crisis, the State Legislature and I acted decisively to keep New Yorkers safe. The Concealed Carry Improvement Act was carefully crafted to put in place common-sense restrictions around concealed carry permits. While this decision leaves aspects of the law in place, it is deeply disappointing that the Judge wants to limit my ability to keep New Yorkers safe and to prevent more senseless gun violence. We are working with the Attorney General's office to review the decision carefully and discuss next steps in an appeal. I will continue to do everything in my power to combat the gun violence epidemic and protect New Yorkers."

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