Gun Owners of America is back in court, challenging New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).
The CCIA was passed shortly after the Supreme Court knocked down New York’s “proper cause” statute in New York Pistol Rifle Association v. Bruen. In the decision, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, SCOTUS confirmed an individual’s right to carry a firearm outside the home for protection. All states effectively became “shall issue.”
The opinion also stated that states could designate certain areas as “sensitive,” such as government buildings and schools, but the designation must be used sparingly. The court notes that the sensitive area designation could not be applied to an area just because people gather there.
New York State then declared much of the State as a “sensitive area,” including Time Square, because people gather there. The State also replaced the “proper cause” clause with a “good moral character” clause, which required applicants to turn over all their social media to New York State officials for review. The State could use any post to disqualify a person from getting a concealed weapons permit.
In many ways, people with unrestricted concealed carry permits lost rights after Bruen. Since all businesses had to post signs allowing concealed carry, going to a gas station or a store with your gun could make you a felon. Churches could no longer have security details or let their pastors carry firearms. New York seemed to be thumbing its nose at SCOTUS.
This new lawsuit is the second time GOA has challenged the CCIA. Last month GOA lost its challenge to the CCIA in Antonyuk v Bruen. Although the judge found the law unconstitutional, he stated that GOA’s plaintiff, Ivan Antonyuk, had no intention of breaking the law and therefore did not have standing. Mr. Antonyuk was basically too law-abiding.
This time GOA is going back into court with multiple plaintiffs that have the courage to state that they are willing to break the law. One such plaintiff is a church pastor with a concealed carry permit and is willing to carry during services despite the CCIA.
Another plaintiff lives in a small town surrounded by the Catskill Park. To leave the town, the man must traverse the park. The CCIA basically disarms him. Since the CCIA makes all parks “sensitive areas,” he cannot leave his town with his firearms without committing a felony.
Another plaintiff, a grandfather of five, is planning a trip to Tennessee. He wants to take his gun with him. If he was to check it, it is legal to fly with a firearm under federal regulations, but the CCIA makes it illegal to bring a gun to the airport even if it is locked and unloaded.
An avid hiker signed onto the case. The hiker carries his firearm while hiking in the New York woods for protection from wild animals such as bears. The CCIA attempts to disarm him while carrying during his excursions.
GOA is asking for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and injunctive relief against the new law. If the TRO were to be issued, the law would not be enforceable. The judge has already stated that he believes the law to be unconstitutional, and all GOA was missing was plaintiffs willing to say they plan on violating the law. Now GOA has those plaintiffs.
Several other cases are challenging the CCIA. The NYSPRA v. Bruen 2 case has been filed in the Northern District of New York, but the lawsuit has been assigned to an Obama appointee. The other is the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) case in the Western District. That case was narrowly tailored to attack certain aspects of the “sensitive areas” listed in the CCIA.
A TRO is usually issued fast, so we should know something in the coming days.