Gun Control Changes in the state budget bill by Tom Reynolds
2022’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) was passed in response to and in defiance of the U S Supreme Court’s decision in NYSRPA vs Bruen. Recently enacted NY State budget bills make some changes to the CCIA. While the changes address some of the “low-hanging-fruit,” they do not address the CCIA’s serious unconstitutional challenges to the U S Supreme Court’s NYSRPA vs Bruen decision.
Most of the court cases challenging CCIA will probably proceed with no or small changes. However, NY Attorney General Letitia James is attempting to moot some of those cases, especially those involving houses of worship. James is not challenging that the CCIA is unconstitutional but that some of the petitioners do not have standing to sue.
The following is a brief summary of what changed in the new budget:
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for places of worship for “those persons responsible for security at such place of worship.” (See below for more on this)
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for privately held land within a public park. That privately held land is now excluded from the private park section of the definition of sensitive location.
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for “forest preserve” as defined in subdivision six of section 41 9-0101 of the environmental conservation law is excluded from the definition of a public park as a sensitive location. This effectively excludes parts, but not the entirety, of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks from falling under the public park sensitive location definition.
• Summer camps have a narrow exemption that allows them to maintain and use guns in some circumstances.
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for hunting is expanded and reworded:
“persons while lawfully engaged in taking of wildlife or attempts to take wildlife pursuant to a hunting permit or license issued by the department of environmental conservation, or as otherwise authorized pursuant to the environmental conservation law, and
persons while lawfully engaged in hunter education training, marksmanship practice, marksmanship competition or training, or training in the safe handling and use of firearms, in accordance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations.”
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for employees of the revenue control and security departments of the MTA and the NYC transit authority who are authorized to carry a firearm as part of their employment.
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for persons engaged in historical reenactments and motion picture or theatrical productions while in compliance with local, state, and federal law.
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for persons while participating in military ceremonies, funerals, and honor guards.
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for storage or display of antique firearms, rifles or shotguns at museums and historic sites.
• Exemption from Sensitive Location for individuals traveling to or actively competing or training in biathlon, while complying with local, state, and federal law.
• Exemption from Restricted location for hunting for “persons while lawfully engaged in taking of wildlife or attempts to take wildlife pursuant to a hunting permit or license issued by the department of environmental conservation, or as otherwise authorized pursuant to section 11-0707 and 11-0709 of the environmental conservation law.”
• Exemption for Restricted location for employees of the revenue control and security departments of the MTA and the NYC transit authority who are authorized to carry a firearm as part of their employment.
• Police and military exemption for mandatory unload and lock of rifles, shotguns, and firearms when left in a vehicle.
More on New York Church Gun Restrictions.
2022’s CCIA, among other things, banned individuals from carrying firearms in “sensitive locations,” including houses of worship, with the exception of private security.
New York State’s 2023-24 budget amends CCIA. The new law now allows armed “persons responsible for security at such place(s) of worship.”
Religious advocates and experts argue it does little to protect churches from rising hatred, pointing to vague language in the law that makes it unclear how churches can defend themselves.
In the changes adopted through the governor’s 2024 budget, the term “security guard” is defined as individuals “who have been granted a special armed registration card, while at the location of their employment and during their work hours as such a security guard.” Amy Swearer, a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies told the Daily Caller that Hochul’s changes to the CCIA are “vague as to whether that can just be a concealed carry permit holder who is assigned to a security team or whether it has to be a licensed, paid security officer.”
First Liberty Institute (FLI) filed a lawsuit on behalf of His Tabernacle Family Church in New York in 2022 against the CCIA. FLI Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys told the Daily Caller that he believed the recent changes were only made in an attempt to halt any legal repercussions.
The above comments are for educational and discussion purposes only.
Not intended as legal advice.