The New York State Jewish Gun Club has filed a lawsuit over the state’s prohibition of carrying a firearm inside of a synagogue or other place of worship.
On Thursday, the club filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York against New York state officials, along with an application for an emergency injunction to stop New York State from enforcing the aspect of the CCIA that designates places of worship or religious observation as “sensitive places,” where possessing a licensed firearm is prohibited and punishable with severe criminal penalties.
In a statement, the club said, “New York State has expressed that legal carry in New York is okay, but not for those who observe religious rituals and customs. This law specifically targets religious people, by threatening them with arrest and felony prosecution if they carry their firearm while engaging in religious observance. In the lawsuit, Attorney Cory Morris made it clear that the CCIA does not target criminals, but rather seeks to criminalize religious observance while legally carrying a firearm. The law also leaves “religious observance” as vague and undefined, making it difficult to even understand what is prohibited by the new law.”
The continued, “New York State wants religious citizens to choose between two rights; the right to practice religion freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the right to carry a firearm as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. It does not leave any space for religious, law-abiding citizens, to simultaneously engage in both freedom of religion and the right to bear arms, without labeling them a criminal. This new law infringes on the First Amendment rights of legal gun owners, as well as the Second Amendment rights of religious people.
The new law also violates the right to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. According to the CCIA, individuals who lawfully possess firearms are treated more harshly when they are in a place where religious activity occurs. There does not seem to be a compelling government interest that can justify that lack of equal protection under the law for religious individuals.”
Tzvi Waldman, founder of NYS Jewish Gun Club also commented on the matter, saying, “This is a prime example of how when a governor does not follow the rules and cites an emergency in order to pass laws quickly, it results in blatantly unconstitutional and discriminatory laws being passed. The legislative process was created to ensure that laws are sensible. Avoiding it for the sake of grandstanding creates vague laws that are hard to understand and impossible to abide by.”