A federal judge on Thursday blocked large portions of a new New York gun law, jeopardizing a measure that was passed just three months earlier and underscoring the difficulty that states may face in restricting the public carrying of firearms after a major Supreme Court ruling in June.
In a 53-page order, the judge, Glenn T. Suddaby of the Northern District, said he would block the state from enforcing several provisions, writing that New York’s attempts to bar guns in a number of places deemed “sensitive” — including museums, theaters, stadiums, Times Square, libraries, places offering services to children and anywhere alcohol is served — appeared impermissible. He based his decision on the June ruling, which struck down a restrictive law that had stood for more than a century.
The judge agreed to a three-business-day delay of his order, pending an emergency appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. That panel could take the issue up and grant a significantly longer stay. If it does not, the order will take effect…
“This opinion is a signal to all the states enacting gun laws that the chances of those laws surviving in court are slim,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who specializes in constitutional law and gun policy. “It’s really a signal that courts are prepared to strike down many more gun laws than ever before.”
He added: “A case like this, even if it’s not the final word, encourages people across the country to challenge gun laws in search of a similar victory.”…
Erich Pratt, the senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, an organization to which all the plaintiffs belong, said in a statement that Ms. Hochul and Mr. Adams had “lied and misrepresented the Second Amendment to the courts, putting New Yorkers at a great disadvantage in the midst of rising crime.”
If the Second Circuit does allow New York’s gun law to remain in place, a spokesman for Gun Owners of America said that the group would consider an immediate appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Suddaby’s order continued a trying year for New York as it has sought to maintain some of the country’s most restrictive gun regulations. In June, after the Supreme Court, in the case called New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, struck down the state’s century-old law barring most people from publicly carrying guns, the state passed a new measure in an emergency session in Albany. Lawmakers placed lengthy and elaborate restrictions on the public carry of weapons and included a long list of sensitive locations from which they would be barred entirely.
The law was almost immediately challenged by Ivan Antonyuk, a New Yorker and a member of Gun Owners of America, but was dismissed by Judge Suddaby, who found that Mr. Antonyuk alone did not have legal standing.
However, in that ruling, the judge made his opinion of the arguments themselves clear, in a section he titled “substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” noting that several provisions of the new New York law were most likely impermissible.
Less than a month later, six members of Gun Owners of America, including Mr. Antonyuk, filed a new complaint. Judge Suddaby was ready with his ruling within little more than two weeks. He called the imposition of a “good moral character” test “fatally flawed.” He said of a requirement asking gun permit applicants to list three years’ worth of social media accounts: “No such circumstances exist under which this provision would be valid.”
He was particularly harsh in regard to New York’s list of sensitive locations. For the most part, Judge Suddaby found that many of those restrictions were likely to be impermissible. As mandated by the Supreme Court, his analysis depended primarily on comparing the new restrictions with laws that regulated guns in 18th and 19th centuries; he found few laws that established precedent for barring guns in the places the state put off limits…
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