The Latest: Judge Strikes Down Most of NY Gov. Hochul’s Concealed Carry Gun Bans

P. Gardner Goldsmith | October 7, 2022
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This week, legal challenges to the immoral and dangerous July-passed N.Y. State Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), were set on the proverbial max of “eleven.”

MRCTV readers and viewers twice saw our coverage of both a lawsuit from a Jewish gun club opposing one portion of the CCIA (its ban on firearms in “places of religious observance”) and an Obama-appointed Federal District Court judge denying the plaintiffs’ request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop Hochul from enforcing this ban in what she (and other leftists) insincerely and arbitrarily call “sensitive areas.”

But while that suit was being undercut and shown utter disrespect in one NY federal district court, Gun Owners of America (GOA) was fighting its own battle against CCIA in another.

Now, Glenn T. Suddaby, the Syracuse-based Judge for Northern NY Federal District Court, has ruled on the GOA and Gun Owners Foundation (GOF)-assisted suit called, Van Antonyuk; et al v. Hochul, Bruen, et al, State of NY. It’s a refiling of their complaint and request for a TRO that initially was denied by the same W. Bush appointee in August, because, as Judge Suddaby explained, since the plaintiffs had not taken any actions in NY that the CCIA might punish, they did not have standing to go to court as aggrieved parties.

With the refiling, GOA and GOF have welcomed additional plaintiffs to their suit, and Judge Suddaby has responded with numerous specific affirmations of their complaints.

Ammoland’s John Crump has done much of the “heavy lifting” for us on this.

He notes:

“Gun Owners of America (GOA) teamed up with Ukrainian immigrant Ivan Antonyuk over the summer to prevent the CCIA from going into effect in Antonyuk v. Bruen. Judge Glenn Suddaby ruled that the CCIA was unconstitutional, but since Mr. Antonyuk did not intend to break the law, he lacked standing to sue.”

Crump cites the new development that triggered (pun intended) Suddaby to hear the updated case and issue a TRO against much of the CCIA.

“The latest case became known as Antonyuk v. Hochul. This time GOA sued a slew of new people, including New York Governor Kathy Hochul. Mr. Antonyuk and GOA then found other plaintiffs that did intend to violate the CCIA and refiled and asked for a TRO. The courts have held that if a law is unconstitutional, citizens are under no duty to follow it.”

In this, Suddaby echoes Thomas Jefferson in his 1798 Kentucky Resolutions, his Declaration of Independence, and philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas and John Locke. But the principle goes deeper. It is not just “if a law is unconstitutional, citizens have no duty to follow it.” Laws and statutes are different, with the former referring to the immutable Natural Law of God and the latter referring to mercurial state edicts. It is thus, fundamentally: if a statute is immoral and contrary to Natural Law, one has a DUTY to disobey the immoral order. And since all government is predicated on taxation that runs contrary to moral order, all political orders are morally invalid.

But, of course, most folks don’t dive past the level of “it’s a signed statute, so we have to obey it,” thus, as a result, Judge Suddaby’s ruling is valuable to dissect, on many fronts.

Crump spells them out:

“The first target of the judge was ‘good moral character.’ Before Bruen, New York had a ‘proper cause’ clause that allowed the state to reject concealed carry applications. The landmark Supreme Court decision knocked down the clause. Many people saw ‘good moral character’ as a substitute for ‘proper cause’ to allow the state to reject any concealed carry applications it chose to deny. The judge agreed and restrained the clause.”

Don’t you love political wordplay? “The Supreme Court ruled against this power we claimed to arbitrarily decide whether people have what we say a good reason to exercise their God-given right, so we’ll just use a new term and attack it from a slightly different angle.” Cute.

Adds Crump:

“The judge let the character reference requirement stand but knocked down the requirement to turn over three years of social media history. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that this requirement not only violated the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights, but it also violated their First Amendment rights to free speech. The judge agreed with this assessment and restrained the provision.”

Here, we see a different agent of the state deciding for himself the way HE approves of the state infringing on your God-given right. Suddaby is applying his own arbitrary preference to “how” citizens can get a “license” to carry.


Related: Obama Judge Denies NY Jews a Temporary Stop of Hochul’s Ban On Guns In Synagogues | MRCTV

People don’t need licenses, and the state has no moral power to coerce us into getting licenses in order to exercise a fundamental right. To press the judge, one might ask him if he approves of the armed agents of New York aggressively attacking a peaceful person because he did not get a “license,” let alone bring a “character reference” with him to acquire the government “permission slip.”

Crump continues:

“Also, the judge restrained a provision that required the applicant to turn over who lives with them. New York State wanted to check the backgrounds of all other adults before issuing a concealed carry permit. That means that if your roommate had a checkered past, you would also lose your right to a concealed carry permit. Judge Suddaby found the provision to be constitutionally dubious.”

Again, as vile, privacy-invading, and potentially expansive as that CCIA requirement is, the deeper point must not be overlooked: the state has no place telling you that you must get a “permit” under any circumstances.

“The judge let the ‘Such Other Information Required by the Licensing Officer’ provision stand for now. Although he was not wholly comfortable with it, he felt that if he restrained it, the licensing officials could not follow up on questions about personal information and other minor questions. The judge let the state know he did have reservations about the provision.”

Again, the state is not supposed to be involved with “asking questions” if you want to buy a firearm. Period.

“The judge let the training requirement stand. The CCIA requires sixteen hours of classroom training and two hours of live fire training. GOA argued that the requirement put an unnecessary burden on the plaintiffs. However, the judge struck down the in-person interview, alleviating the applicants’ burden.”

I think we see a pattern here. Although this ruling does strike down numerous provisions of CCIA, and Judge Suddaby is to be applauded for that, his position lacks a true recognition of both the Second Amendment and deeper Natural Rights.

On the provision about which I’ve written – that being the ban on concealed-carry inside places of “religious observance” (which could be interpreted as any place a person might be engaged in prayer or ritual, even a place where someone blurts, “Thank God!” in response to experiencing some stroke of good fortune), Judge Suddaby came close to the freedom mark, but not quite.

“Suddaby also asked New York to modify the restrictions surrounding the banning of guns in churches and other religious buildings. In that case, he asked the state to carve out an exception for those on official duty, such as a pastor or other church employee.”

And Suddaby conformed to the erroneous template set by the conservative majority in “Bruen,” agreeing in principle that the Second Amendment somehow has hidden wording that says, essentially, “This prohibition against government infringing on a fundamental right is not really a prohibition, but can be disregarded for what politicians call ‘sensitive areas.’”

“The judge let the provision stand that banned guns in places controlled by federal, state, or local government. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did say some places could be ‘sensitive areas,’ and it seems like Judge Suddaby believed these locations fell within the Supreme Court’s opinion. He also believes that polling places and public areas restricted from general public access for a limited time by a government entity fell within these exceptions.”

And, to round it off:

“Some other places where he believed the government could restrict firearms were public transportation, such as buses and subways, and schools, such as colleges and universities. Guns on college campuses have been at the center of debate for years. At least for now, the state can ban guns in these places.”

Which will just continue to make NY-located colleges potential targets for criminally-minded people who want to find places where there’s a low probability that their prey will be armed.

There is much more to the ruling and the conversation about it. For further reference, I hope readers will visit Mr. Crump’s piece at Ammoland and read Judge Suddaby’s TRO ruling.

By the way, as Joe Mahoney, of CNHI News Service, reports, leftist Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised and supported Suddaby when Bush in 2007 nominated the former prosecutor for his judgeship.

One wonders what Schumer thinks, now.

Related: Jewish Plaintiffs Sue New York Over Gun Ban In Synagogues | MRCTV