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Church security screen visitors to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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The forces of civilian disarmament aren’t having an easy time of it these days. It’s been particularly rough going in the Empire State. After ramming through punitively restrictive laws limiting concealed carry following the Bruen decision, Governor Kathy Hochul’s legislative temper tantrum (AKA, the Concealed Carry Improvement Act) has taken some serious hits.

Last week, a judge granted an application for a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the based on the likelihood that many parts of the law including the ban on carry in “sensitive places” are unconstitutional. He agreed to keep the law in place, however, while the state appeals the ruling.

Now the Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit challenging the law’s ban on carry in churches. This is in addition to a similar challenge last week from a Brooklyn congregation seeking the right to carry in synagogues. Here’s the SAF’s press release . . .

The Second Amendment Foundation today filed suit in federal court challenging the new concealed carry statute in New York State that, among other things, prohibits concealed carry in churches.

Joining SAF in this legal action are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc. and two private citizens, Bishop Larry A. Boyd of Buffalo and Rev. Dr. Jimmie Hardaway, Jr., of Niagara Falls. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

Defendants are State Police Supt. Kevin P. Bruen, Niagara County District Attorney Brian D. Seaman, and Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn, all in their official capacities. The case is known as Hardaway v. Bruen.

The 23-page federal complaint says Hardaway and Boyd “are leaders of their respective churches, who wish to exercise their fundamental, individual right to bear arms in public for self-defense” and for the safety of their congregants, but are prohibited from doing so because the state law prevents them from doing so.

“Here is yet another example of the sweeping irrationality of New York’s hastily-slapped-together law, which was obviously written to allow the state to dance around the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “One would think by now the state would have wised up and changed its law to comply with not only the letter of the high court ruling, but the spirit in which the decision was written.

“Instead,” he continued, “New York officials are determined to fight progress, not to mention the Supreme Court’s common sense, by engaging in legal acrobatics that promise to mire the state in federal lawsuits for the foreseeable future. The right of self-defense is the oldest human right, and New York’s law is written to frustrate the exercise of that right at every turn.”

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson and John W. Tienken with Cooper & Kirk, PLLC in Washington, D.C., and Nicolas J. Rotsko at Phillips Lytle, LLP in Buffalo.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. The G has no business regulating conduct on private property. If houses of worship wish to ban guns, it’s their right to do so.

    It wasn’t very long ago that church services were banned all over this country. You know, to save us from the Chinese flu.

    Oh, well, I guess that if the G didn’t overreach, it wouldn’t be the G. It would be a benevolent organization of, by and for the people, not a RICO conspiracy under the complete dominance of the elitist cabal that owns it.

      • Home Depot, Wally-World, and Lowes as well. I recall thinking that Church members should gather there and the local police stations to hold service.

        I figure that we truly took on Banana Republic status then and we’ve been going downhill at 90mph since.

  2. “Last week, a judge ruled many parts of the law including the ban on carry in “sensitive places” are unconstitutional. He agreed to keep the ban in place, however, while the state appeals the ruling.”

    This is not accurate. The judge ruled on an application for a temporary restraining order, which he granted on the basis that many of the provisions of the law appeared to be unconstitutional. But this is just a PRELIMINARY ruling. Further, the stay remains in effect only until such time as an appellate panel is constituted, and then the state will have to appeal to those judges to extend the stay. The appeal at this point will only address whether the trial court abused its discretion in issuing the TRO, but no final determination of the constitutionality of the statute will be made until after trial on the merits of the suit. Although Plaintiff is likely to win, the State will still have an opportunity to adduce evidence attempting to meet the Bruen standard of history, text and tradition through historians, researchers, etc. I anticipate that the Court of Appeal should act fairly expeditiously on the interim appeal.

    • MARK I have some very bad news for you. A Judge does not issue a TRO unless he believes that the issues he is issuing the TRO on will prevail. The State in this “case” can present any and all “evidence (sic)” their beady little minds can invent. But the fact still remains, the issues raised by the plaintiff will probably be found correct and this “state law” will be adjudicated as UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I’m betting the vast majority of the law will be tossed.

  3. Let’s say that this goes all the way to the 2nd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals which finds in favor of the plaintiffs. Does that become persuasive precedent for other Circuits to do the same?

    And to clarify, would this ruling prohibit states from making it illegal for licensed concealed carriers to carry concealed handguns in churches?

  4. The government has been demanding bakeries bake cakes for people, they don’t want to bake cakes for. And the government has been demanding Christian pastors turn over their sermons for inspection. Before Sunday services. So the government making demands on houses of worship has become made quite normal these days.

    Most Americans today believe the first amendment is mostly for protecting pornography and protecting the right to burn crosses.
    The First Amendment died a long time ago.

    • Hey Chris, I’m a racist bastide that hates every human on earth, and anything they do, dont care, its a human.
      Now I know I cant stop yah, So Welcome To Possums Permissionous Bakery:
      How would you like your cake? Human

        • Yes, that’s species bias. However, have you ever seen possum cuss a Silverado? Call it spite if you will, but I sometimes go out and wax my F150, and sharpen the snow tire studs, just because.

  5. I ain’t even going for this.
    .
    The government cant keep a gunm out of a house of worship( church) ,-separation of-, as long as the worshippers ain’t bitching.
    If this is a win then it was won the wrong way.
    Can you imagine what would happen to a criminal trying to pull off a mass shooting if every injun at the pow wow had a pew pew

  6. The Four Boxes Diner YouTube channel had a good video about how these anti-gunners are going to try and use late 19th century laws to determine the meaning/intent of the 2A and trick judges into buying it. Suddaby used these “precedents” in his decision to allow the ban in churches.

  7. Always thought it was funny how the argument proponents of this sort of nonsense goes.
    Carry in bars should be prohibited because people get drunk and stupid.
    Carry in church should be prohibited because………too much prayer and rejoicing?

    If the idea is to protect churchgoers from some hostile entity, well, it is to laugh since the lefties are openly hostile to churchgoers in the first place and shouldn’t they already be protected by the various laws against assault and murder anyway?

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