Judge again blocks house of worship ban on guns


A federal judge, for the second time in two weeks, has blocked the state’s ban on weapons concealed in places of worship from taking effect in Erie and Niagara counties.

U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra issued a preliminary injunction Thursday night ordering state police and district attorneys in Erie and Niagara counties to stop enforcing a new state law barring homeowners authorized to carry concealed firearms in places of worship.

On Oct. 22, Sinatra had issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the house of worship ban until he rules on the request for a preliminary injunction filed by two local church pastors. .

New York would require people applying for a handgun license to submit a list of their social media accounts so officials can verify their “character and conduct” under a bill being considered Friday by the New York legislature. the state. The provision was part of a proposed overhaul of state gun licensing laws crafted by lawmakers after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down rules severely limiting who could get a license to carry a gun. handgun outside his home. A bill advanced by Democratic leaders would eliminate the toughest barriers to obtaining a license, but also impose new requirements on applicants. Among the requirements: Applicants should demonstrate they have “the essential character, temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger themselves or themselves.” nor others,” according to the bill.

Reverend Jimmie Hardaway Jr. of Trinity Baptist Church in Niagara Falls and Bishop Larry A. Boyd of Open Praise Full Gospel Baptist Church in Buffalo sued in federal court to block a gun ban in places of worship, citing the need to defend themselves and their congregations against the possibility of attacks like the 2015 racist mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine people. The two main congregations were made up mostly of black worshippers.

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Hardaway and Boyd argued that the state’s ban on carrying a concealed weapon in the church violated their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn, named as a defendant in the case, said in a statement this morning that his office is now barred from enforcing the ban on weapons concealed at premises. of worship until the federal matter is resolved.

As he did in granting the temporary restraining order, Sinatra said the state failed to establish that banning guns at his place of worship was “consistent with historical tradition. nation of sufficiently analogous regulations” — a standard the U.S. Supreme Court passed in June 2022, ruling that struck down parts of New York’s longstanding concealed carry laws.

The state responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling by passing the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which identified sensitive spaces where firearms are prohibited, including places of worship.

But Sinatra said in his preliminary injunction ruling that the state’s new measure on places of worship is inconsistent with the country’s historical tradition and violates the right to own and bear arms in public for self-defense.


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