An OP Ed by Tom Reynolds which appeared in last Sunday's Elmira Star Gazette and will appear in the future in the The Fingerlakes Times.
The first legal challenge to Governor Hochul’s new gun control laws was dismissed on technicalities, allowing the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), to go into effect.
The CCIA bans all guns in approximately ninety percent of NY State, as "sensitive" places, and imposes strict new concealed carry permit restrictions similar to - or worse than - those that were recently struck down by the Supreme Court. Judge Suddaby’s decision questioned the constitutionality of New York's CCIA - even calling it legally "doomed" - but ruled that he had no power to overturn the gun control measures because of technicalities in the lawsuit.
The judge warned that numerous parts of the law were likely unconstitutional and could be challenged again in the future. These all appeared to violate a law-abiding citizen’s constitutional right to carry a gun.
The law’s vague requirement of "good moral character" is fatally similar to the NY carry-permit application language that the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional.
The insistence that a gun could only be used "in a manner that does not endanger oneself or others" ignores what guns are all about. "The very act of using a firearm in self-defense against another person necessarily involves threatening, if not actually causing, danger to that other person," the Judge noted. The law "literally does not permit one to use a firearm in self-defense" and is therefore "conditioned on a logical impossibility…and "doomed" to be struck down.
In regards to the disclosure of social media accounts, such a requirement could endanger a law-abiding citizen’s First Amendment right to free speech and Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In no situation should a citizen be required to surrender one constitutional right in order to assert another. Therefore, someone should not risk losing First or Fifth Amendment protections in order to enjoy their Second Amendment rights.
The judge found fault with the state’s extensive list of gun-free zones and the part of the law that banned guns on private property without permission. The list of banned locations was so extensive as to be “almost limitless.” And the presumptive ban on private property was not consistent with the nation’s history of firearm regulation.
Nevertheless, after 24 pages of describing why he believed the law was unconstitutional, Suddaby concluded his decision by noting that he didn’t think he could do anything about it - right now. (It appears that someone will have to be arrested for violating the CCIA in order to give Judge Suddaby the opportunity to move against the law.)
In responding to the decision, neither Hochul nor Attorney General Letitia James addressed the fact that the Judge labeled parts of the law as unconstitutional and it only a technicality saved it.
This continues the left’s strategy of passing unconstitutional laws and daring anyone to sue them. Hochul and James defend the laws on the taxpayer’s dime while plaintiffs must pay thousands of dollars to sue NY State.
Both Kathy Hochul and Letitia James are running for reelection in November.