Supreme Court Allows New York to Enforce New Gun Control Law

January 11, 2023

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the state of New York to enforce a gun control law its legislature adopted after the Court last year struck down the state’s firearms licensing restrictions.

On June 24, the Supreme Court struck down New York state’s 1913 law banning carrying concealed handguns outside the home. The Justices had ruled it violated the right to “keep and bear arms” under the 2nd Amendment.

Within weeks Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) reacted by creating “gun-free zones,” banning firearms from government buildings, schools, houses of worship, protests, polling places and venues where alcohol is served, among other places. 

On Wednesday, the Justices rejected a request by six members of the firearms rights group Gun Owners of America to throw out a lower court’s decision allowing Hochul’s law to be enforced.

U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby in October blocked enforcement of much of the law but the Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December put that decision on hold while the state pursued an appeal.

No Supreme Court Justice dissented from the decision to allow New York’s “gun-free zones.” However, conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas wrote in brief comments that they understood the Court’s action as allowing the 2nd Circuit to manage the appeals it is hearing “rather than expressing any view on the merits of the case.”

Alito and Thomas further noted that other challenges to the state’s “gun-free zone” law are currently on a fast-track in the 2nd Circuit. They invited plaintiffs to return to the Supreme Court if the 2nd Circuit does not expedite the proceedings in their cases as well.

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