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Times Square Gun Ban, Other NY Restrictions Blocked by Judge (1)

Oct. 6, 2022, 7:44 PM

A New York law barring guns from Times Square and many other public spaces was ruled largely unconstitutional by a federal judge.

The law, passed in response to the Supreme Court’s easing of restrictions on concealed-carry permits, greatly expanded gun bans to include public transportation, sports arenas and anywhere licensed to serve alcoholic beverages. US District Judge Glenn Suddaby in Syracuse, New York, on Thursday ruled that there was no historical basis for such restrictions.

Suddaby issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing many provisions of July Concealed Carry Improvement Act. He stayed his ruling for three days to allow the state to appeal the ruling.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul in a statement called Suddaby’s ruling “deeply disappointing” and said her office was discussing an appeal with state Attorney General Letitia James.

Historical Analogues

“I will continue to do everything in my power to combat the gun violence epidemic and protect New Yorkers,” Hochul said.

In her own statement, James vowed to appeal, saying the “decision comes in the wake of mass shootings and rampant gun violence hurting communities here in New York and across the country.”

Suddaby, a George W. Bush appointee, cited statutes from the nation’s early years to find that citizens had rights to carry guns in many places. In ruling that New York couldn’t ban guns from public transportation, he pointed to 19th Century laws from Kentucky and Tennessee that allowed the carrying of concealed weapons while “on a journey.”

New York specifically restricted carrying guns in Times Square, but Suddaby said that was impermissible based on historical analogues. He did allow restrictions to remain on government buildings, polling places, schools and other places where he said guns had been historically prohibited.

Suddaby also ruled that several “good moral character” requirements New York imposed on applicants for concealed-carry permits were unconstitutional. He said the state’s demand that applicants disclose their social-media accounts for the previous three years had no historical basis.

The Supreme Court in June struck down a century-old New York law restricting concealed firearm permits to those with a demonstrated need beyond self-defense. The conservative majority said the requirement had impermissibly rendered the Second Amendment a “second-class right.”

The case is Antonyuk v. Hochul, 22-cv-0986 US District Court, Northern District of New York (Syracuse).

(Updates with comment by NY governor and attorney general.)

--With assistance from Tal Barak Harif.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Neil Weinberg in New York at nweinberg2@bloomberg.net;
Zijia Song in New York at zsong107@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net

Anthony Lin

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.