New York’s New Gun Law Remains Intact for Now After Appeals Court Ruling
New York’s new gun law remains intact, at least temporarily, after a federal appeals court on Monday paused a lower court’s ruling blocking a key section of the law that bans firearms in parks, in public transit systems and on private property, without the property owner’s permission.
The stay, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is the third such order issued this month by the panel, as it considers constitutional challenges to the New York legislation.
New York enacted its new law this year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state’s strict, century-old limits on carrying handguns in public and declared for the first time that Americans had a broad right to arm themselves outside their homes for self-protection.
The new law makes getting a gun license harder, and, in an effort to follow Supreme Court guidance that states can keep guns out of “sensitive” areas, bans them in places like museums, stadiums, public transit systems, parks, Times Square and houses of worship.
The law also establishes private properties as “restricted” areas where carrying a gun is illegal without the property owner’s permission. Those found with firearms in sensitive and restricted places would be charged with a felony.
Constitutional challenges soon followed, including a lawsuit filed in Buffalo by two gun-rights groups and two gun owners who balked at the sensitive places provision and the labeling of private property as restricted. Together, the plaintiffs argued, the provisions are “a de facto ban on the fundamental, individual right to bear arms in public virtually everywhere.”
Judge John L. Sinatra, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump, sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that the restrictions were “inconsistent with the nation’s historical traditions, impermissibly infringing on the right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”
New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, appealed the decision to the Second Circuit, which, in issuing the stay on Monday, halted the judge’s order pending the outcome of the appeal.
A spokeswoman for Ms. James declined to comment. Email messages seeking comment from the two gun-rights groups — the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition — were not immediately returned.
Last week, the same three judges — one appointed to the Second Circuit by Mr. Trump, one appointed by President Bill Clinton and one appointed by President George W. Bush — issued similar stays after appeals by Ms. James in two other suits challenging the new gun law.
One of those suits specifically challenges the prohibition on guns in houses of worship. Judge Sinatra ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in that case as well. The other suit challenges the entire law. Presiding in that case, Judge Glenn T. Suddaby, a Bush appointee, ruled in October that much of the law was unconstitutional, including the “sensitive” places provision.