By Michael Clements
A Virginia-based Second Amendment rights group is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule a lower court and compel New York to follow the high court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.
“We have said it before, and we will say it again, states must come into compliance with Bruen,” said Sam Paredes, spokesman for the board of directors for the Gun Owners Foundation, in a statement.
The Gun Owners of America (GOA), the foundation’s parent group, on Dec. 21 filed an emergency order asking Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor to lift a Second Circuit Court stay on an injunction by a U.S. District Court against New York’s recently passed Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).
The request was made to Sotomayor because she oversees the Second Circuit Court in which the stay was granted. Sotomayor can grant the request, deny it, or refer it to the full court for a ruling. If she denies the request, GOA can make its request to its choice of any of the other justices until a majority has decided.
According to the request, the CCIA is retaliation against the Supreme Court by state government officials in defiance of the court’s authority and the Constitution. GOA points out that U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby’s 184-page opinion was issued “after extensive briefing, a hearing, and oral argument.”
Conversely, the GOA claims the Second Circuit decision is one page and fails to address any specific points of Suddaby’s opinion.
“Tellingly, the Second Circuit did not take issue with a single factual finding or legal conclusion from the district court’s well-reasoned 184-page opinion. Nor did the Second Circuit claim that the district court had abused its discretion or otherwise erred in any part of its opinion granting Applicants preliminary relief,” the request reads.
The CCIA was passed in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruen. In that case, the high court decided last June that New York’s proper cause requirement for individuals applying for a concealed weapon permit was unconstitutional. This provision required applicants to prove they had an actual need to carry a gun.
The court also held that Second Amendment regulations must align with constitutional text and history. In other words, since the Constitution did not mention the proper cause, and historically this had not been required, the state could not require it either.
GOA Vows to Keep Fighting
Almost immediately, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the legislature into session to pass the CCIA. The act removed proper cause but expanded other requirements. Under the CCIA, an applicant’s social media will be scrutinized, and the applicant must provide contact information for a list of close family and friends. The CCIA also requires 16 hours of training, including two hours of training on a firing range.
In addition, the new law expanded the list of “sensitive places” where carrying a firearm is prohibited. This includes all private property unless the property owner posts a sign granting permission or has given express permission to the permit holder.
GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt issued a statement vowing to continue the fight.
“Governor Hochul and state lawmakers wasted no time in passing legislation that completely contradicted the Bruen precedent, and we urge the High Court to once again hold the state accountable for violating the Second Amendment rights of their own citizens.”