A federal judge in October issued a temporary injunction against the state of New York to stop enforcement of a ban on guns in houses of worship.
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law in June that required law-abiding New York residents to show “proper cause” to obtain permits to carry concealed, lawmakers in the state passed a measure to ban residents from carrying guns in “sensitive” locations, which includes churches.
Two church leaders called the law an infringement on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and filed a lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge John Sinatra cited the high court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (2022) in his ruling in the churches’ favor in October. The Supreme Court in Bruen ruled that a state law requiring a “proper cause” to carry guns violated the Second Amendment. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote (PDF) that the right to bear arms is not “a second-class right.”
A second federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of New York’s gun restrictions. First Liberty Institute, which represents the plaintiffs in the case, announced that the United States District Court for the Western District of New York recently issued a preliminary injunction.
“Plaintiffs have demonstrated that the State permits countless other private actors hosting secular activities to do what a house of worship may not,” the court contended. “The houses of worship exclusion is not a neutral law of general applicability.”
First Liberty Institute lawyer Ryan Gardner praised the decision.
“Singling out houses of worship for total disarmament demonstrates hostility toward religion, leaves them defenseless to rebuff violent attacks, sticks the state’s nose into how religious services are conducted, and defies at least two recent Supreme Court rulings against New York. Thanks to the court’s action, New York must stop disarming its religious citizens and may no longer leave houses of worship vulnerable to violence.”
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