December 9, 2023

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A federal judge in New York on Thursday temporarily blocked parts of the state’s new gun law to allow Gun Owners of America, an advocacy group, to pursue a trial challenging the law.

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Order It marks one of the most major victories by gun-owners rights groups around the United States since the US Supreme Court’s landmark June decision, which for the first time ruled that Americans should be allowed to carry weapons in public. is a constitutional right.

New York law It came into force on September 1 and is being closely watched by other states across the country where gun violence has recurred. It establishes new requirements for obtaining a license, including submission of social media accounts for review, and creates a long list of public and private places where gun possession has become a serious offense even for license holders. .

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Lawmakers in the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature passed the law during an emergency session in July, when a US Supreme Court ruling also found unconstitutional the state’s licensing regime for firearms, a move by a New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association. The challenge was after. Powerful gun-owners’ rights groups.

Chief Justice Glenn Sudabi of the US District Court in Syracuse agreed to issue the order at the request of six New York residents who are members of the Gun Owners of America, which competes with the National Rifle Association in political influence.

He said his order would not take effect for three days to allow the New York government to appeal his decision to the High Court. The governor and the New York attorney general’s office, whose lawyers are defending several challenges to the law in courts across the state, did not respond to requests for comment.

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Sudabi ruled last month that the new law was unconstitutional after it dismissed an earlier lawsuit filed by Gun Owners of America, in which it found that neither the group nor any of its individual members were eligible to sue before the law came into force. stood for. The group later filed a second lawsuit pursuing similar arguments but with additional plaintiffs.

New York’s legislative leaders and Governor Cathy Hochul, a Democrat, said they were shocked by the June decision of the US Supreme Court’s conservative majority. He warned that more people carrying guns in public would further fuel gun violence.

Nevertheless, they agreed to remove a provision in state law that the Supreme Court said wrongly gave government officials subjective discretion to deny gun permits to New Yorkers.

‘Sensitive place’

At the same time, the state’s new Covert Carry Reform Act also added new restrictions and requirements. It said applicants must submit their social media accounts for review by a government official and provide at least four character references.

Sudabi’s order bars the state from enforcing those new licensing provisions.

The lawsuit, filed by members of the Gun Owners of America against the governor and other state law-enforcement officials, says the new requirements violate constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly.

The new list of ‘vulnerable places’ where carrying a gun is a crime is comprehensive. This includes schools and colleges, government buildings, medical facilities, public transportation, bars or restaurants serving alcohol, the “area commonly known as Times Square” and parks.

Sudabi’s order sharply reduced the list of sensitive places: he said that under the new law, schools, colleges and government buildings could remain sensitive places, but many other categories could not.

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The law also made it a felony to have a gun on one’s personal property, unless the owner or lessee has posted a sign saying that guns are welcome, assuming the property is not a sensitive location. , such as a bar or doctor’s office. Sudabi threw out this provision by making an exception only for private fenced-in farmlands.

“Instead of crafting this comprehensive list of so-called ‘sensitive places’, it would have been easier for the legislature to list those places that New York, in its grace, allows common law-abiding citizens to exercise their rights.” ,” the plaintiff said in the lawsuit.

He called the new law an attempt by state lawmakers to “enforce retaliation on New York’s gun owners for successfully challenging its earlier law.”

The New York Attorney General’s office said in its response that the Supreme Court ruling allowed laws that were “in line with this country’s historic tradition of firearm regulation,” and defended the new state law “from Anglo-American history and doctrine.” as being firmly grounded in”. ,