The CEO of Kars4Kids, a Jewish charity with a catchy advertising jingle, is challenging New York state’s concealed carry law in court — claiming that it leaves children vulnerable to antisemitic attacks.
Eliohu Mintz, who heads Kars4Kids, is also the CEO of Oorah, a Jewish outreach nonprofit funded by Kars4Kids that runs a summer camp in upstate New York. In a federal lawsuit filed Friday, Mintz and a camp administrator, Eric Schwartz, say the law exposes the camp to antisemitic attack because it bans private citizens from carrying guns in places where religious activities are conducted.
“The violent attacks on Jewish people targeting places of worship and places where children are — the most vulnerable of the population — are random and provide the victims with no notice or advance warning,” Mintz said in a declaration attached to the lawsuit. “I cannot be left unprepared and unarmed in the event that an evildoer decides to attack one or both of the [camp’s] campuses nor can the other licensed staff members.”
The suit is one of several challenging the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which was passed last year after the Supreme Court struck down an earlier firearms ban. The act limits where New Yorkers can carry firearms, including a ban on carrying in “sensitive locations” such as schools, medical facilities, or houses of worship, among others. Another lawsuit has been brought by two pastors seeking to carry weapons in church, and in May, lawmakers amended the act to allow pastors and designated security personnel to carry weapons in houses of worship.
The lawyer who filed the lawsuit for Mintz and Schwartz, Amy Bellatoni, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email that the amendment would not apply to her clients.
“The plaintiffs are staffers who have carried for personal protection and want to continue carrying,” she said. “They are not designated security personnel and, therefore, not part of the exemption.”