The U.S. Supreme Court today allowed New York’s new gun-carrying law to remain in effect as long as legal challenges to the statute continue.
By plaintiffs’ bid to vacate a Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s denial of a district court order, the judges have not ruled on the merits of the law or plaintiffs’ contention that it violates their rights to the Second Amendment. Earlier, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, said the court was only respectful of the Second Circuit’s management of its own role.
The ruling was the first Supreme Court ruling on a gun law issue since the June 6-3 ruling that citizens have a broad second amendment right to carry guns outside the home. That ruling found that the existing gun law in New York was unconstitutional.
“The New York law at issue in this filing raises new and serious questions under both the First and Second Amendments,” Sotomayor wrote, adding that the Second Circuit did not provide any explanation for the full suspension of the order of the district court.
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In response to the Supreme Court’s summer ruling, several states, including New York and New Jersey, have amended their gun laws. New York added new licensing requirements and issued a list of places where firearms would be banned. Now that new law faces legal challenges from Second Amendment advocates. Among other things, they argue that the restrictions on where citizens can carry guns violate their rights and are inconsistent with the Supreme Court ruling.
In response to a challenge to New York’s revised law that went into effect last September, the federal district court ruled — in what Sotomayor called “a thorough opinion” — that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in some of their claims, and issued a preliminary injunction in respect of 12 provisions of the contested law.
With one exception, however, the Second Circuit issued a full suspension of the order in December, without providing any explanation for that full order, Sotomayor noted.
Court of Appeals allows New York to continue enforcing new gun law
Alito urged opponents of the New York law not to be discouraged. “Applicants should not be deterred by today’s order to resume seeking assistance if the Second Circuit does not provide an explanation for its stay order or expedite the hearing of the appeal within a reasonable time,” Alito wrote in an accompanying statement.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office defends the state law known as the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), said she is pleased that the CCIA remains in full force and maintains that the state has the right to “use common sense to take measures”.
New Jersey is in a similar position with its revised gun law signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on December 29, 2022. This week, U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb stopped enforcement of that new law, strongly suggesting it is unconstitutional in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s expansion of gun rights last year.
Plaintiffs argue New Jersey law goes too far in prohibiting guns in many “sensitive places” and on private property.
“As plaintiffs complain, the contested provisions force a person allowed to carry a firearm in New Jersey to navigate a ‘veritable minefield,’” Bumb wrote. required of individuals seeking to exercise such a right.”
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