NYS Jewish Gun Club Sues Over Ban of Firearms in Shuls

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(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

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The New York State Jewish Gun Club filed a lawsuit on Thursday over the state’s prohibition of carrying a firearm inside of a synagogue or other place of worship, deeming them “sensitive sites” where guns are prohibited.

The group released the following statement:

We filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York against New York state officials. We also filed an application for an emergency injunction to stop New York State from enforcing the aspect of the CCIA that designates places of worship or religious observation as “sensitive places,” where possessing a licensed firearm is prohibited and punishable with severe criminal penalties.

In passing the CCIA, New York State has expressed that legal carry in New York is okay, but not for those who observe religious rituals and customs. This law specifically targets religious people, by threatening them with arrest and felony prosecution if they carry their firearm while engaging in religious observance. In the lawsuit, Attorney Cory Morris made it clear that the CCIA does not target criminals, but rather seeks to criminalize religious observance while legally carrying a firearm. The law also leaves “religious observance” as vague and undefined, making it difficult to even understand what is prohibited by the new law.

New York State wants religious citizens to choose between two rights; the right to practice religion freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the right to carry a firearm as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. It does not leave any space for religious, law-abiding citizens, to simultaneously engage in both freedom of religion and the right to bear arms, without labeling them a criminal. This new law infringes on the First Amendment rights of legal gun owners, as well as the Second Amendment rights of religious people.

The new law also violates the right to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. According to the CCIA, individuals who lawfully possess firearms are treated more harshly when they are in a place where religious activity occurs. There does not seem to be a compelling government interest that can justify that lack of equal protection under the law for religious individuals. As Ameer Benno, one of our lawyers explained, “New York’s law prohibiting the carrying of guns in sensitive locations, particularly houses of worship, would not withstand the Supreme Court’s new text, history and tradition test. It seems to be the regulation of weapons in houses of worship were the exception, rather than the rule,” he said. “The State is never going to be able to establish there is a historical tradition of what they’ve done here. This is an unprecedented act of government overreach that not only violates the Second Amendment, but goes right to the heart of the First Amendment.”

“This is a prime example of how when a governor does not follow the rules and cites an emergency in order to pass laws quickly, it results in blatantly unconstitutional and discriminatory laws being passed,” Tzvi Waldman, founder of NYS Jewish Gun Club, says. “The legislative process was created to ensure that laws are sensible. Avoiding it for the sake of grandstanding creates vague laws that are hard to understand and impossible to abide by.”

We trust that the Court will quickly strike down this discriminatory and unconstitutional law that specifically targets religious observance, restoring the rights of the New Yorkers who seek to enjoy the most basic freedoms enrished in our Bill of Rights and recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States.

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is about real pikuach nefesh. Insanity not allowing Shulman NY do self defend against real danger. Zeldin should be yelling about this. Once again the elitist dem values run contrary to the real needs of the people!

  2. TO BaltimoreMaven
    Even better wear a mask. They will think you’re the criminal who’s still keeping Covid restrictions and for sure in NYC you can then carry a gun wherever you please.

  3. I heard Tzvi in an interview with Glenn Beck. Excellent interview and huge kiddush Hashem. Of course we need Zeldin in and Hochul out. Unfortunately a lot of the frum community is firmly latched onto the teat of government and love the freebies the Left gives out to keep people at subsistence level.

  4. The government of New York does not protect or even recognize your individual liberties, they do not care about your safety or well-being, and they hate you for your religion.

    Leave NY! It is no longer safe there for Jews.
    The communities of Munich and Krakow and Odessa and Baghdad and Aleppo, learned this lesson the hard way: the goyim don’t love you back.

  5. There is no mention of the obvious need of Shuls to have guns on site and trained members to respond to a shooting. Or has anyone forgotten that Jews in synagogue are often a target.

  6. An outdoor minyan will not help. According to the law any place that is used for a religious observance is a “sensitive place” where it is illegal to be armed for self defense. That includes anywhere a minyan is held, or even anywhere you perform any mitzvah, such as making a bracha or benching. Basically it means we have a permanent “sensitive zone” surrounding us wherever we go, and we are to be denied our fundamental constitutional right.

  7. I’d love to see a gun shop owner start a minyan in his store and see how the authorities handle that one. Maybe they tell him he can only display pictures of guns…