Federal judge strikes down more of New York concealed carry law

"The right to self-defense is no less important and no less recognized on private property."

Updated: November 23, 2022 - 7:23pm

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A federal district court has imposed an injunction against a portion of New York's recently imposed concealed carry restrictions, deeming them a violation of the Second Amendment.

U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra Jr. ruled that New York's ban on carrying firearms on private property that lacks clear signage permitting it violated the Second Amendment.

The law states that "A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in a restricted location when such person possesses a firearm, rifle, or shotgun and enters into or remains on or in private property where such person knows or reasonably should know that the owner or lessee of such property has not permitted such possession by clear and conspicuous signage indicating that the carrying of firearms, rifles, or shotguns on their property is permitted or has otherwise given express consent."

The plaintiff, a concealed carry permitholder, argued that such a restriction effectively forced him to give up carrying for self defense merely to get close enough to a private location to determine if they permitted him to exercise his right.

In striking down the private property provision, Sinatra highlighted that the restriction effectively barred gun owners from exercising their rights in most of the state.

"In sum, the vast majority of land in New York is held privately, and it encompasses homes, stores, businesses, factories, vacant land, hotels, parking lots and garages, grocery stores, pharmacies, medical offices, hospitals, cemeteries, malls, sports and entertainment venues, and so on," he noted. "These are places that people exercising their rights, frequent every day when they move around outside their homes. The exclusion here makes all of these places presumptively off limits, backed up the by the threat of prison. The Nation’s historical traditions have not  countenanced such an incursion into the right to keep and bear arms across all varieties of private property spread across the land. The right to self-defense is no less important and no less recognized on private property."

Following a Supreme Court defeat earlier this year that saw the judicial body strike down Albany's requirement that a concealed carry permit applicant demonstrate a need to carry a firearm, the state legislature passed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act to ban permitholders from bringing firearms into a range of "sensitive" public locations and on private property that did not post explicit signage allowing firearms.

The law has faced challenges from a Second Amendment advocacy organization and individual permitholders alike. Earlier this month, the same judge halted the state's restrictions on carrying firearms in houses of worship.