New York Attorney General Files Motion To Keep Gun Law In Place During Appeals Process

New York Attorney General Letitia James (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA / AFP) (Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday filed to stay a lower court order knocking down much of a new New York gun law, and to keep that order on ice until the appeals process is resolved. 

“The serious risk of irreparable harm to public safety and the possibility of regulatory chaos necessitates an immediate appeal,” the AG’s office wrote in a filing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. “As the data confirm, more guns carried in more places by more people result in more crime, violence, and homicide.”

A federal judge blocked large portions of the three-month-old law, the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, on Thursday. His order would stop the state from enforcing the “sensitive places” prohibitions — which would ban firearms on public transit and at locations including playgrounds and Time Square — and block it from requiring information including an applicant’s social media accounts and number of minors in the home when deciding whether to grant a license. 

Judge Glenn Suddaby of the Northern District of New York, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, put his order on hold for three days to let the state appeal the ruling. Much of his decision rested on historical analysis — a “requirement” born from Justice Clarence Thomas’ majority ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

If the appellate court lets the New York law stand during the legal proceedings, a spokesperson for Gun Owners of America told the New York Times they will consider an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court.

The New York legislature passed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act this summer during a special session, directly responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling in June. The law would beef up requirements for concealed carry permits, enforce the sensitive places prohibition and require concealed carry permit holders to request a property owner’s consent before bringing in a gun. 

The Court had knocked down a century-old New York law requiring that applicants show “proper cause” to need a concealed weapon. Thomas’ argument was radical and, as seen in Suddaby’s ruling, already echoing through lower courts. He said that only regulations similar to those from around the time of the country’s founding are legitimate — and that other compelling interests, like a government’s in the safety of its citizens, are not sufficient without a historical analogue. 

Now-retired Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in dissent, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. 

“At best, the numerous justifications that the Court finds for rejecting historical evidence give judges ample tools to pick their friends out of history’s crowd,” he wrote. “At worst, they create a one-way ratchet that will disqualify virtually any ‘representative historical analogue’ and make it nearly impossible to sustain common-sense regulations necessary to our Nation’s safety and security.”

Read the new filing here:

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