Federal judge halts key parts of New York’s new gun law, says state turned constitutional right into ‘mere demand’

A federal judge on Thursday struck down key provisions of New York’s latest attempt to limit who can carry a gun in public and where they can carry firearms, saying several parts of a law the state passed this year are unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby focused on several parts of the lawsaying the licensing requirements — such as a rule requiring applicants to hand over information about their social media accounts — went too far.

“Simply put, instead of becoming a must-issue jurisdiction, New York State has further entrenched itself as a no-issue jurisdiction. And, in doing so, has further diminished a first-class constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense … in a simple request,” wrote Suddaby, who sits in Syracuse.

The ruling would uphold restrictions banning firearms in schools, government buildings and places of worship, but the judge said the state could not ban guns from other sensitive locations, such as Times Square.

The judge gave the state three business days to seek emergency relief before a federal appeals court.

The rules were part of a sweeping gun law that went into effect on Sept. 1, designed to protect public safety while keeping US Supreme Court decision which repealed New York’s old system of granting permits to carry guns outside the home.

The law increased education requirements for applicants and requires them to hand over more private information, including a list of everyone living in their household. Suddaby said the law’s requirement that a license applicant be of “good moral character” is unconstitutional as currently written.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature passed the law this summer shortly after the Supreme Court struck down a law that required people to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety to qualify for a permit to carry a gun outside their homes.

There have been several federal challenges to the law by gun rights advocates who argue that the legislation violates Second Amendment and free speech rights.

That lawsuit was brought by six upstate New York gun owners who claim the law violates their constitutional rights. Most of the plaintiffs have carry permits and argue that the law prevents them from carrying guns in designated sensitive places such as state parks or church.

According to the federal complaint, a plaintiff intends to apply for a carry permit but is reluctant to share social media posts or character reports with investigators.

New York is among half of the states whose gun laws have been struck down by the Supreme Court.

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