Fed Judge Blocks Enforcement of NY State Ban On Guns In Houses of Worship

P. Gardner Goldsmith | October 25, 2022
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MRCTV readers have been able to follow our coverage of patriotic legal challenges to the NY State Governor Kathy Hochul-led gun grab statute given the Orwellian name “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” (CCIA).

Starting October 4, we discussed how -- in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June “NY State Rifle and Pistol Assoc v Bruen” decision not going far enough to defend the inherent right to self-defense that is enshrined in the Second Amendment – Hochul and her leftist allies in both major parties swiftly passed the toweringly restrictive CCIA, claiming that certain places were simply too “sensitive” to allow the right to self-defense to exist.

One category of said “sensitive” places was the “house of worship” or anyplace that could be called a place of “religious observation,” where worship might be conducted (which, technically, meant anywhere). The statute went into effect on September 1, which meant that Hochul, who had pranced and danced a virtual political jig in August while signing a bill “honoring” survivors of the Holocaust, subsequently began threatening survivors of the Holocaust who wanted to carry firearms for self-defense in synagogues.


The NY State Jewish Gun Club sued to oppose the enforcement of the statute, but, as I reported on October 6, an Obama-appointed Federal District Court judge denied the gun club’s request for emergency injunctive action, thus leaving the door open for the Hochul anti-rights hocus-pocus.

But the NY Jewish Gun Club wasn’t the only group suing to stop enforcement of the NY CCIA. Just a day later, Gun Owners of America (GOA) emerged mostly victorious in its suit against NY State (and, again, against Kevin Bruen, the Superintendent of NY State Police, who just stepped down on October 18 in the midst of massive scandal).

That latter decision, coming from Glenn T. Suddaby, the Syracuse-based Judge for Northern NY Federal District Court, ruled on the GOA and Gun Owners Foundation (GOF)-assisted suit called, Van Antonyuk; et al v. Hochul, Bruen, et al, State of NY, and struck down many of the CCIA attacks, including its vague and arbitrary “good moral character” clause, which allowed the state to determine whether applicants for concealed carry permits had sufficient “good moral character” to get permission to exercise their inherent rights.

… which is kind of a dark irony, considering the “moral character” of many of those involved with NY politics – or politics in general.

But the judge ALLOWED the CCIA requirement that applicants provide multiple “character references” (what happens if one lists Andrew Cuomo, Hochul, and Bruen as such? Does that qualify?).

The judge also blocked a provision of the CCIA requiring applicants to provide info on anyone living with them, but he ALLOWED to stand the ambiguous “Other Such Information Required” provision (again, this potentially is infinite, and an absolute insult to the right to keep and bear arms), ALLOWED a provision mandating sixteen hours of expensive classroom training and two of live-fire training (done only in state-approved facilities), and DIDN’T STRIKE DOWN or block all of the ban on gun-carry in places of religious worship (he only allowed it for those “working” in such places).

Now, the latest. A THIRD suit has seen a judge in the Federal Western District Court of New York strike down ALL of the ban on visitors being able to conceal-carry in houses of worship.

In the case, “Hardaway, Boyd, Firearms Coalition, Second Amendment Foundation v. Nigrelli, Seaman, and Flynn”, Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. ruled not only that the plaintiffs had standing (Boyd and Hardaway are preachers in separate churches), but that that the NY CCIA blocking ANY non-felon (even released felons actually should be able to exercise their rights) from exercising his or her right to keep and bear arms in a house of worship was unconstitutional and represented an unquestionable “irreparable harm” – thus triggering Sinatra to issue an injunction to block CCIA enforcement.

Related: The Latest: Judge Strikes Down Most of NY Gov. Hochul’s Concealed Carry Gun Bans | MRCTV

Sinatra noted that both Hardaway and Boyd not only would carry when they gathered with congregants, they also would encourage congregants to do the same, and the judge came near to mocking the NY State argument that after Reconstruction, some locales began infringing on the right to keep and bear arms, so it was, somehow, okay to continue engaging in such activity. (As Sam Jacobs notes for The Libertarian Institute, “Reconstruction Era” anti-gun statutes generally were enacted to disarm freed slaves and further disarm American Indians.)

On page 35 of Sinatra’s ruling, he states:

“The Constitution requires that individuals be permitted (by any level of government) to use handguns for the core lawful purpose of self-defense. McDonald, 561, US at 767. And it protects that right outside the home and in public.”

And he adds:

“Nothing in the nations history or traditions presumptively closes the door to that right across every place of worship or religious observation.”

Sinatra also stressed that people with criminal intent do not care about so-called bans, saying about the CCIA, on page 37 of his ruling:

“Law-abiding citizens are forced to forego their Second Amendment rights to exercise their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion, or vice versa. And they are forced to give up their right to armed self-defense outside the home, being left to the mercy of opportunistic, lawless individuals who might prey on them and have no concern about the place of worship exclusion.”

As a result, Sinatra found in favor of the plaintiffs, and enjoined NY State from enforcing all of the CCIA.

This will not please Hochul. In fact, yesterday, the rights-attacking NY Governor announced her plan to expand her attack on that right (let’s avoid Judge Sinatra’s error of using the shorthand “Second Amendment right”, because, of course, the right preexists the Second Amendment – it’s not “created” by any government document).

As Joshua Solomon yesterday reported for The Times Union, Hochul Monday announced her new anti-rights plan – to expand so-called “Red Flag” attacks:

“Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $4.6 million will be available to the office of state Attorney General Letitia James to have her attorneys help State Police litigate emergency-risk protection orders that are filed in court to seize firearms from individuals believed to be dangerous.”

Hochul, who gets tax-paid, armed protection virtually any time she wants, appears to be shameless and utterly dismissive of her aggressive, anti-human stance.

One wonders when her Red Flag idiocy will be struck down in court. But regardless of what any court says, the facts remain: human beings have the God-given right to self-defense, and, by pushing ANY gun-ban, agents of the state automatically place themselves in the positions of threatening aggressors who are inimical to that right.

Related: RINO NY Congressman Pushes Federal License Mandate For 'Assault Rifle' Owners | MRCTV