Judge blocks New York ban on firearms in churches

The Supreme Court in June struck down a New York law requiring that concealed carry permit applicants demonstrate a need to carry a firearm before receiving their permit.

Updated: November 4, 2022 - 2:33pm

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A federal judge has blocked New York state's ban on carrying firearms in churches, asserting that it violates the Second Amendment and Supreme Court precedent.

"The State's exclusion is, instead, inconsistent with the Nation's historical traditions, impermissibly infringing on the right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense," wrote Judge John L. Sinatra Jr in a Thursday ruling, per the Washington Times.

A pair of Baptist pastors, who say the previously carried firearms in the church for self-defense had brought the suit.

The Supreme Court in June struck down a New York law requiring that concealed carry permit applicants demonstrate a need to carry a firearm before receiving their permit.

In turn, the state legislature quickly passed a host of restrictions on where permit holders could carry firearms, creating an exhaustive list of "sensitive locations" where doing so would become illegal. Churches and houses of worship were included.

The "Concealed Carry Improvement Act" faces a bevy of legal scrutiny, including from Second Amendment advocacy groups such as Gun Owners of America who have called on the judiciary to reject the bill as well.

Other religious leaders have filed similar complaints in the state. Pastor Micheal Spencer of His Tabernacle Family Church in Horseheads, N.Y., for example, has challenged the ban on similar grounds. Spencer's complaint asserts that the CCIA requires New Yorkers to choose between their First and Second Amendment rights.

"[Recent Supreme Court decisions] should have taught New York to proceed with extreme caution where First or Second Amendment rights are at stake going forward. Instead, the state recently doubled down on its rights-denying tendencies—by infringing two fundamental liberties at the same time," the filing reads.

"New York now puts houses of worship and religious adherents to an impossible choice: forfeit your First Amendment right to religious worship or forfeit your Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense," it continued.