March 20th by Tom Reynolds
SCOPE has kept you informed on the upcoming court hearing on March 20th and even contributed to the legal fees. (Over $14,000 from SCOPE and its members at last count.)
One of the case’s lawyers recently advised that, if this follows the Court’s usual procedure, it may be 3 to 6 months before we get a decision.
Legal Insurrection’s web site had a nice summary by James Naught of the situation. So rather than “reinvent the wheel” in order to refresh you on the situation, the following are excerpts from that post, which closely align with what SCOPE has been saying:
As we have covered, on June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Thomas, struck down New York State’s restrictive concealed carry law:
The usual suspects, of course, were not happy.
New York and other blue states impacted by the Court’s decision immediately began attempting to work around the ruling, which resulted in New York passing its new Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) only eight days after the Court’s ruling.
This new law, “intended to thwart the SCOTUS decision,” prohibits concealed carry in “sensitive places” such as “health care facilities; houses of worship; colleges and universities; places where children gather, such as schools, day care centers, playgrounds, parks and zoos; public transportation; places where alcohol or cannabis is consumed; and theaters, concerts, casinos and other entertainment venues.” It also prohibits concealed carry “in any business that does not post a sign saying it’s OK.”
Additionally, although “SCOTUS struck down the prior law as giving too much discretion to the state,…the new legislation has plenty of fuzzy, judgmental standards that reestablish discretion,” such as…add[ing] new requirements for New Yorkers to receive a concealed carry permit, including 16 hours of training on how to handle a handgun, two hours of firing range training, an in-person interview and a written exam, as well as a review of social media accounts.”
As we concluded when the new law was passed, these requirements, taken as a whole mean that “basically, you cannot actually carry. The entire scheme is a willful and knowing evasion of a constitutional right.”
Of course, litigation ensued, and in October, as we reported, “U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby found critical parts of New York’s gun law, the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), unconstitutional.” Not only did Northern District of New York Judge Suddaby, in Antonyuk v. Hochul, strike down almost all of the “sensitive places” prohibitions in the law, he also “blocked the part where applicants must prove “good moral character” and allow authorities to review their social media profiles.”
Now that case is on appeal, and even liberal groups such as the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Operation Blazing Sword–Pink Pistols, an LGBT Second Amendment advocacy group, the Liberal Gun Club, and others have filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief against the CCIA, as we reported here: Liberal Groups File Court Opposition To NY Gun Control Law Requiring Disclosure Of Social Media Accounts.
Oral argument will be heard in the case at 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning, March 20, 2023 at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in lower Manhattan.
This is important, because as the New York Sun reports, this is the first comprehensive federal appellate challenge to states’ attempts to work around, or even completely emasculate, the US. Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling:
Five cases out of New York’s federal district courts will be heard in the Second Circuit in front of a panel of three judges. The judges face the difficult task of interpreting the state’s gun laws in the wake of a Supreme Court decision from last year.
The confusion around what is and what is not permissible following the Bruen decision will now face its first comprehensive test at the appellate level after five decisions from lower courts struck down key aspects of the CCIA.
The five cases — Antonyuk v. Nigrelli, Hardaway v. Nigrelli, Spencer v. Nigrelli, Christian v. Nigrelli, and Gazzola v. Hochul — resulted in a number of the CCIA’s provisions being thrown out. A requirement that permit applicants demonstrate “good moral character” was thrown out, as was the requirement that applicants submit their social media information as part of background checks.
The panel who will hear the appeal consists of Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco, appointed by President Trump, and Senior Circuit Judges Robert D. Sack, a Clinton appointee, and Richard C. Wesley, appointed by President George W. Bush, and who had been an Associate Judge with the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, prior to his appointment to the federal appellate bench.
Especially important as regards this appeal is that the U.S. Supreme Court is typically reluctant to hear Second Amendment cases. Before Bruen, the Court had not heard a gun case since McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, in 2010. So, what the Second Circuit says regarding the CCIA is likely to be the last word, at least for now.