Just about one week after the United States Supreme Court delivered its ground breaking decision in Bruen affirming the Constitutionally protected right to carry a gun in public and addressing the sanctity of the Second Amendment, Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature convened an extraordinary legislative session and passed the “Concealed Carry Improvement Act. The purpose of the CCIA was to make the lawful carry of a firearm so difficult, so constrained and so limited that no one would choose to carry their firearm for fear of being charged with a felony. The thrust of the law was to create numerous sensitive and restricted locations where a licensed citizen could not carry firearms and to make the application process unduly burdensome.
The law was almost immediately after passage challenged in numerous Court proceedings. New York State rather than defending the law on the merits chose to defend the law mostly with the procedural argument that because the Plaintiffs challenging the law had not been arrested or suffered any harm they did not have standing to challenge the law. Now after several decisions, here is a partial list of what is still enforceable under the CCIA.
In the Western District of New York, on November 3, 2022, Judge Sinatra stayed the enforcement of the provisions of the CCIA which prohibited carrying a firearm in places of worship.
In the Northern District of New York, on November 7, 2022, Chief Judge Suddaby issued a sweeping ruling prohibiting the enforcement of many of the provisions of the CCIA in the Northern District.
- The Good Moral Character requirement in the CCIA was found to be unconstitutional.
- The licensing officer can still require four character references.
- The Court prohibited the licensing officer from requiring the names and contact information of all adults in the home and whether or not there are minor children in the home.
- The Court has prohibited the licensing officer from requiring that you turn over social media accounts for the past 3 years.
- The CCIA gives broad discretion to the licensing officer to request any additional information that it finds reasonably necessary to consider the license application. The Court has prohibited the enforcement of this provision.
- The Court is permitting the licensing officer to enforce the 18 hour training requirement.
- The licensing officer may still require an in person meeting.
- The government may not enforce a ban on lawful carry of firearms at places that provide behavioral health treatment or substance abuse treatment.
- The government may not enforce a ban on carrying firearms at places of worship or religious observance.
- The government may enforce a ban on carrying firearms in public playgrounds and libraries but not in public parks and zoos.
- The government may enforce a ban on carrying firearms in nursery schools and pre-schools.
- The government may not enforce a ban on carrying guns in airports, on buses and in vans.
- The government is not permitted to enforce a ban on the carrying of firearms in locations that are licensed to sell alcohol for on premises consumption such as bars and restaurants with liquor licenses.
- The government may not prohibit the carrying of firearms in banquet halls, theaters, and conference centers.
- The government may not enforce a ban on carrying firearms while peaceably protesting.
- The government may not enforce a ban on carrying firearms in restricted locations under the CCIA which is any private premises in which the owner has not posted a sign or expressed the owners wish that people be allowed to carry concealed firearms.
Warning, it is important to note that these rulings do not necessarily apply in all of New York State and these two decisions are already being appealed. Although both Judges Sinatra and Suddaby denied a stay pending appeal, the State is likely to seek a stay in the Court of Appeals. As a result, no one should act on this blog without verifying the current state of the law in your area. In addition, many additional challenges are pending which may affect these rulings in your area.