Challenges to New York’s End Run Around SCOTUS 2nd Amendment Ruling Argued At Second Circuit
Court hears five separate challenges to New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act in spirited, three-hour hearing – the result is anybody’s guess
As we reported last week, Second Circuit to Hear First Comprehensive Post-Bruen Firearms Statute Challenge, on Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was scheduled to hear five separate cases challenging New York’s new Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA). That hearing proceeded as scheduled, and I was at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in downtown Manhattan to observe (see photo above). This is my report on the proceedings.
These challenges all stemmed from Governor Kathy Hochul’s response to the United States Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision overturning New York’s prior concealed carry law, which required that an applicant for a concealed carry license demonstrate some “special need” for the carry license. Justice Thomas, writing for the Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen last June, found that New York State’s “special need” licensing regime “violates the Constitution,” as we reported: Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive New York Gun Licensing Law.
Governor Hochul was not happy: Some Blue States Already Trying to Work Around SCOTUS 2nd Amendment Ruling, convened an emergency session of the New York legislature, and eight days after Bruen enacted the CCIA, which is even worse than the previous act that the Supreme Court struck down. Details were reported here: New York Democrats Undermine Supreme Court 2nd Amendment Ruling In New Legislation.
The new law, we noted, prohibits concealed carry in so many “sensitive places,” including all private property throughout New York State, that it means that “you cannot actually carry” a firearm. Add to that extremely onerous licensing requirements, such as providing your social media accounts to the licensing officer, and “fuzzy, judgmental standards that reestablish [licensing officer] discretion,” and the new law constitutes “a willful and knowing evasion of a constitutional right.”
Litigation ensued, and much of the law was ruled unconstitutional by two different federal judges, as we reported in part here: Federal Judge Finds Key Parts of New York’s Gun Law Unconstitutional. Of course, New York immediately appealed, resulting in yesterday’s hearing.
The hearing lasted for almost three hours; eons for a court of appeals where each appeal is usually afforded 10 minutes per side, total. A summary of each of the five cases, and what came up at the hearing, follows:
Christian v. Nigrelli
This case challenges a new CCIA rule forbidding concealed carry on all private property in the State of New York unless “the owner or lessee of such property” has permitted “possession by clear and conspicuous signage indicating that the carrying of firearms, rifles or shotguns on their property is permitted or has otherwise given express consent.” N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-d(1). Anyone who enters private property where the owner has not posted conspicuous signage or otherwise provided express consent commits a Class E felony. Id. There are exceptions for police officers and for those legally engaged in hunting. Id. at § 265.01-d(2)(a)-(g).
In his brief, Christian describes this rule as New York’s “Anti-Carry Default,” and explains its effect:
“[B]efore September 1, 2022 [when the CCIA went into effect], Christian would carry at places open to the public, including a local gas station and a local hardware store. After September 1, 2022, he can no longer carry there. These businesses were silent before September 1. After September 1, they were still silent. Indeed several businesses have responded to Christian’s inquiries by refusing to either affirmatively allow or bar carrying-thus leaving New York’s default anti-carry rule in place. Christian’s daily routine of carrying for self-defense during his day-to-day activities has been brought to a screeching halt by the Anti-Carry Default.”
In their papers and at the hearing, New York argued that Christian didn’t even have standing to challenge this rule, because although he was certainly injured by the new law (part 1 of the standing requirement), his inability to carry could not be “traced” to the state (part 2 of the standing requirement); rather, it was the property owners’ fault that Christian couldn’t carry, not the State’s.
At the hearing, from the jump Judge Gerald E. Lynch was having none of it. Embodying what lawyers often refer to as a “hot bench,” Judge Lynch grilled the State’s attorney, asking wasn’t it “state action” that caused Christian’s inability to carry, noting that the day before the law went into effect, Christian could have carried into Macy’s, but not the day after. Isn’t it the statute that caused the problem?, he asked. The State’s attorney responded no, the statute does not bar carry on private property, it is the property owners’ decision. But Judge Lynch suggested that many property owners would not want to get involved, which he thought was understandable.
Christian’s attorney, sensing perhaps that he was likely to win the argument on Christian’s standing, moved to the merits of the case, arguing that under Bruen it was the State’s burden to show that the history of firearms’ regulation dating back to the founding supported the State’s carry prohibition on private property, and that the State had not carried its burden. The laws the State cited concerned hunting abuses and the prohibition of armed hunting when those abuses occurred, but had little bearing on the regulation of concealed carry on private property in general. Judge Lynch grilled Christian’s attorney as well to some degree, but noted that apart from the hunting statutes, there was not much statutory history bearing on the subject.
Hardaway v. Nigrelli
This case challenges a new CCIA rule forbidding concealed carry in all houses of worship. Under the CCIA, “any place of worship or religious observation,” is a “sensitive location” where concealed carry is prohibited even if the property owner wishes to allow carry and expresses consent to do so. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01-e(2)(c). Carrying in any sensitive location, including place of worship, is a Class E felony. Id. § 265.01-e. There are exceptions for police officers and armed security guards hired by the church. Id. § 265.01-e(3).
In their brief, Hardaway and his co-Plaintiff Boyd, both church pastors, explain that the effect of this new rule is to prevent them from carrying for the defense of their congregations, even though their churches are located in areas of Buffalo, New York know for serious violent crime. This is especially a problem, they argue, because their churches are open to anyone and everyone, and they have no way of knowing who will walk in the door.
In their brief, Hardaway and his co-plaintiff argue that the State had not met its burden, under Bruen, to show that the history of firearms’ regulation supported banning concealed carry in places of worship. In fact, Plaintiffs argued, just the opposite was the case, citing a number of revolutionary war era statutes mandating the carry of firearms in churches.
At the hearing, the State’s attorney argued that the State had hired an expert who had discovered a number of historical statutes that supported the prohibition of carrying firearms in places of worship and analogous places such as schools.
Judge Lynch asked whether a school is analogous to a church for the purpose of banning firearms, and Judge Lee asked a more basic question about what the definition of “sensitive places” was. The State’s attorney responded that sensitive places are either ones where firearms were historically banned or places analogous to those, and that places of worship met either definition. The State’s attorney also faulted the district court, which had ruled against New York on this issue, because the district court had improperly categorically discounted laws enacted after the revolutionary era. But the Supreme Court only suggested discounting such laws was proper if they were in conflict with revolutionary era laws, which these weren’t. In sum, the historical record supported banning firearms in places of worship, according to the State.
Hardaway’s attorney argued that the statutes the State had “scrounged” up consisted of only two state laws and some laws from territories before they were even states, and thus did not support the idea that firearms could be banned in churches. Judge Lynch pointed out, though, that the Second Amendment didn’t apply to the States before adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in the late 19th century, and that we don’t know what the states thought about carrying in churches. Hardaway’s attorney responded that some of the states had incorporated Second Amendment-like protections in their state constitutions, so there was some evidence of state protection of gun rights.
This led to another discussion of how “sensitive places” is defined, with Judge Lee asking what the Supreme Court meant when it said gun restrictions are “presumptively lawful” in sensitive places, and with Judge Lynch joking that Justice Thomas, who authored Bruen, is probably happy that the Supreme Court said courthouses are sensitive places.
The State’s attorney, on rebuttal, said that Bruen’s list of sensitive places was not exhaustive, and that the statutes the State had uncovered show that there is a history of firearms regulation that supports banning firearms in churches.
Spencer v. Nigrelli
This case, like Hardaway, challenges the CCIA’s ban on guns in places of worship, but on First Amendment grounds rather than Second Amendment grounds.
Spencer argues in his brief that the CCIA’s ban on guns in places of worship violates the First Amendment’s “Free Exercise” clause because “[b]y explicitly prohibiting the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right in places of worship while permitting its exercise on other private property” [assuming the owner consents, of course], places of worship are treated less favorably than secular locations. And, the CCIA violates the “Establishment Clause” because it “encroaches on church autonomy…by telling places of worship whom they can admit into their sanctuaries to worship and under what circumstances.” In either case, the law would only be constitutional if it met strict scrutiny, meaning that it served a compelling governmental interest and was narrowly tailored to serve that interest.
At the hearing, the State’s attorney argued that the CCIA was consistent with the First Amendment because churches were allowed under the law to hire armed security, that there is no burden on religious practices, and in his declaration Spencer never said that he considered carrying a firearm religious activity.
Judge Jacobs mentioned that Spencer said that he felt he had to “protect his flock” by carrying, but the State’s attorney argued that his carrying a firearm was secular activity, not a religious issue, and that Spencer had never discussed carrying firearms with either his bishop or his congregation, nor carried on Sunday when preaching the gospel.
Spencer’s attorney argued that the CCIA regulates religious worship whether or not carrying a gun itself is an expression of religious activity. And because the CCIA burdens religion, it is only constitutional if it is narrowly tailored, but it is not because it bans guns in churches regardless of whether the property owner wants people to carry. Spencer’s attorney also argued that the law is irrational because churches have received numerous threats and suffered numerous attacks, and the law disarms church goers. Judge Lynch seemed to agree and added it even disarms the proprietor of the religious establishment. Spencer’s attorney suggested that the law makes houses of worship soft targets.
On rebuttal, the State’s attorney argued that the CCIA does not make houses of worship soft targets because it allows them to hire security guards, and that houses of worship were sensitive places partly because like polling places, protected constitutional activity takes pace there.
There was also discussion regarding a proposed legislative change to the CCIA in the works that might allow a church leader to designate certain church-goers to carry firearms without having to pay them or designate them security guards, and whether that indicated that the State knew there was something amiss with this section of the law.
Antonyuk v. Nigrelli
This case challenged almost every section of the CCIA, including the provision that indicated that a license to carry permit could only be issued to someone of “good moral character,” and was directed not only against the State, but against the Chief of Police for the City of Syracuse, New York.
At the hearing, the State’s attorney indicated that if the CCIA is struck down, untrained people would be allowed to carry firearms virtually anywhere. There was a standing problem for one of the plaintiffs because he had never applied for a carry permit, and it was speculative whether he would suffer injury by having his application denied if he did. Judge Lynch objected, noting that the plaintiff wants to apply for a permit but believes some of the requirements are unconstitutional.
The state’s attorney then stated that even of the standing requirements were satisfied, the challenge to the good moral character requirement was faulty because the CCIA is designed to only allow permits for people of good moral character. Judge Lee suggested that was fine, but asked how it was appropriate to require people to provide their social media to the state.
In response, the State’s attorney said they are concerned about providing permits to people who might be considering suicide, and that providing social media might provide some insight into that.
Judge Lynch then shifted to whether the CCIA would prohibit the carry of firearms in all of the Adirondack State Park, which might not be a good idea due to bears and other threats from wildlife. The State’s attorney explained that guidance had been provided indicating that the Adirondack State Park did not meet the definition of a “public park” for CCIA purposes, and so carry there was no restricted.
A different attorney argued the Syracuse police chief’s case, and stated that the plaintiff in that case had no standing because there was no evidence in the record that the plaintiff was a resident of Syracuse, which might support his statement that he was injured because the CCIA prevented him from carrying at a zoo in Syracuse.
The plaintiffs’ attorney argued that even if the plaintiff was not a resident of Syracuse, his declaration that he had intended to carry at the Syracuse zoo but could not due to the CCIA was enough to support standing.
Next Judge Lee asked Antonyuk’s attorney what the significance was of the State designating something a “sensitive place.” Judge Lynch piled on and complained that the Supreme Court gave the Second Circuit little to work with to decide whether a location is truly “sensitive” enough to warrant banning the carry of firearms there. Antonyuk’s attorney suggested that a sensitive place could be a place where the functions of democracy take place and where government security is provided, such as at courthouses, but Judge Lynch confessed that he was still confused about the subject.
After this, there was discussion about what statutes might be sufficient to establish an adequate historical record supporting the regulation of firearms, and more discussion about social media posts.
Judge Lynch opined that it seemed weird that before Bruen, people could carry firearms into a zoo, but after Bruen and the CCIA, they cannot.
Gazzola v. Hochul
The final case of the day involved challenges to the CCIA and other pre-Bruen legislation concerning the regulation of firearms dealers. This case is unlike the others because at the district court level the challengers lost, and they are the ones who appealed the case.
I am no expert on firearms dealer regulations, and Gazzola’s brief is very involved, but appears to indicate that the CCIA and other laws are problematic because 1.) they are impossible to comply with while simultaneously complying with federal firearms law, 2.) they would result in the State of New York setting up an impermissible registry of gun owners and their firearms, and 3.) they are so onerous that they will result in the eventual ruination of all firearms dealers in New York, meaning that the public will eventually have no means of obtaining firearms.
At the hearing, Judge Lynch complained that it was not clear where there was a conflict between federal and state law, dismissed Gazzola’s attorney’s argument that the new law’s annual certification requirement was a problem, and discounted the possibility that New York would set up an impermissible gun registry. Judge Jacobs asked if Gazzola’s attorney could cite which federal statute would be violated by compliance with New York law, and the response was that there was a table in the brief indicating same.
As for the possibility of New York dealers being put out of business, Judge Lynch was skeptical, saying the district court had said no such showing had been made, but Gazzola’s attorney stated that New York was targeting gun dealers with overburdensome regulations, and they would be driven from the state.
The State’s attorney argued that there was no conflict between state and federal law, that the safety and record keeping regulations were permissible, and that there is no evidence that gun stores are closing due to overburdensome regulations.
I cannot read the tea leaves clearly as to how these cases will come out. But it was clear to me that Judge Lynch was totally engaged in these cases and taking them very seriously, had studied all of the briefs assiduously, and was approaching the cases from a straight up legal point of view, without any hint of bias for one side or the other or any particular political point of view. The other judges were also strongly engaged as well, and while not quite as vocal as Judge Lynch, had clearly done their homework and were thinking deeply about the issues involved.
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They pass no bail and other laws that allows criminals to be released on to the streets at rates never before seen as well as other laws that make being a criminal less onerous. Meanwhile, New York and other Leftist states pass one law after another criminalizing lawful gun ownership despite what the Constitution or SCOTUS says. So the question that remains is if their desire is to turn all lawful citizens into victims or to make lawful citizens criminal and criminals lawful citizens. Whose side are they on and who elects or supports these Bozos?
Q. “Whose side are they on?”
A. It ain’t yours.
The state’s aim* is to turn us all into subjects to be ruled, not self-governing citizens to be respected.
*”State” here is used in the sense of government, at any level, riding herd on us.
See Overview of America (30 minutes),
Elected officials should understand they are to serve us, not to rule us.
We are Citizens, we are not Subjects.
Certainly not a legal standard, but my standard is: if there is a posted notice that carrying a firearm on premises is prohibited, then there must be with that notice a substantial means that the property owner is enforcing that notice. Without that “substantial means”, how will the property owner know who is or is not concealed carrying? I may disarm myself but who is to say everyone else also disarmed? Or is this just a way for the state to come in after a devastating self defense event to punish the the miscreant who anywhere else was legally carrying but for this specific need for defense that he undertook?
I’m curious re the following. I’m a permitted/licensed handgun owner. You have posted your place of business, which is open to the public, as a “ no firearms permitted local””. I comply with your expressed wishes, and do not carry my fully licensed handgun in your establishment. Another person, an armed criminal doesn’t, and I’m injured by his criminal actions, while disarmed in your premises. Do you, the proprietor become at least partially liable for any injuries I suffer in your premises, having complied with your expressed desires?
They are not liable because they will claim that they can’t be responsible for the acts of criminals, and that is the problem that I have always had with making the violation of a property owner’s “no guns” sign a criminal offense. I feel like a property owner who wishes to avoid liability for a “no guns” policy should be required to provide reasonable means to ensure the safety of customers and other invitees.
What is reasonable would be up to the jury in a civil case. Perhaps an armed guard would be enough, or maybe certain neighborhoods would be dangerous enough to require magnetometers or other protections.
Given how Leftist the 2nd Circuit is, I’m not holding my breath about 2nd Amendment supporters getting any relief in that court
Checks and balances in action. I can only hope the judge is fair. Ty Mr. Nault, this was a great summary… Looking forward to the next episode.
Christian did the dumb thing and asked for permission. Not that he should have carried without it, given this outrageous law, but it was totally predictable some of the people he asked would respond by forbidding it, which makes it worse than before he asked.
The state’s attorney’s argument that you can’t challenge the good character requirement because it only allows people of good character to get permits was absurdly circular. That Judge Lee appears to be hinting that was ok with him doesn’t bode well for the appeal.
He had to ask the question, or he couldn’t demonstrate his rights were being revoked.
like polling places, protected constitutional activity takes pace there
And I’m still at a loss as to why I can’t carry in polling places. There’s absolutely no reason that my legal carry of a firearm (or other arm) should in any way effect what goes on there, unless I engage in some other barred act (such as campaigning, or hanging about within the prohibited distance).
And if the line is “constitutional activities take place there” then everywhere in America is prohibited – if you assume the free practice of our rights. A policeman wants to search your home and doesn’t have a warrant? Can’t carry there. Want to hand out tracts on the street? No one can carry there. Want to gripe about your gov’t at the local VFW? No one can carry there.
Seems to me that the line ought to be drawn the other way ’round: if you can practice any constitutional right there you ought to be able to practice them ALL, including bearing arms.
Nice point. Everywhere, allegedly, is a 1st Amendment free speech zone so by the “…sensitive constitutional activity takes place there” argument the entire US would be subject to no carry. What an odd argument or is the State trying to say that some Constitutional Rights are more sensitive than others? I was not aware of that.
Also, is the State actually arguing that it is Constitutional to impose what amounts to a Poll Tax on places of worship? If they can afford to hire armed security then they can be safe and worship? Otherwise, tough luck with exercising that Right. Strange stuff.
It’s a tax, and thus an unconstitutional burden, but I don’t see how it’s like a poll tax. (Also, poll taxes are perfectly fine, though congress has never imposed one.)
untrained people would be allowed to carry firearms virtually anywhere
/gazes intently at Constitution/
Um, yep, that’s what it says here, alright.
(I would argue that training can be a requirement, but it would have to be in the context of training the people to be a militia. It would then be gov’t provided, as a part of every citizen’s regular life. And it could not exclude people from personal carry unless they demonstrated some egregious lack of safety or competency. “Nope, this guy is even worse than those CA cops who shot at the newspaper ladies. He shot 3 ROs. In one day. He’s a danger. Issue him a wiffle bat and call it done.”)
Likewise uneducated people can go around voting. Functionally the mob can go around looting and burnin g.
Yes those elite cops fearing a rogue cop in a pickup truck shot up two older women delivering newspapers in a pickup truck and then refused to pay hospital (ICU) bills and damage to truck. A guy in a different make pickup truck was forced off road by another LA cop. LAPD stands for “lost and probably drunk”. We won’t even discuss Byrd offing Babbett at Capitol.
As to the ladies delivering newspapers, remember that neither was actually hit by any of the over 100 rounds fired. The only injury came from flying glass as one round broke the back window. THAT is incompetent gun control!
Walked into a gunstore in my home state, bought a handgun, bought bullets, loaded it up and walked out. Guess what? My state has one of the lowest homicide rates in the country. I wonder why? Maybe because if you rob or enter a domicile there is a very good chance you are going to get lit up?
designed to only allow permits for people of good moral character
Which was exactly what Bruen was about, was it not? The discretion offered to permit issuers? How is that not automatically struck down as a violation of Bruen?
(And, yes, the circular logic there was incredible. Oy vey. Can’t you be disbarred for wasting a court’s time with carp like that? If not, you should be.)
they are concerned about providing permits to people who might be considering suicide
Because so many people contemplating suicide with a firearm are going to the gas station to use it for such purpose. That argument should have had the attorney laughed out of court.
and where government security is provided
Oh, yeah, because that has always provided such safety. (Like schools?)
Also, it ignores the penumbra – if you can’t carry at a destination, and it’s unsafe (by gov’t statement) to leave your weapon in your vehicle*, then BY definition, you’ve been prevented from carrying everywhere else.
before Bruen, people could carry firearms into a zoo, but after Bruen and the CCIA, they cannot.
Because none of this is about safety. It is entirely about removing your rights as a citizen, and empowering the gov’t.
Forgot the asterisk…
(* That leaves out that you had to be provided transportation to the “sensitive” location, and there’s no car to leave your weapon in. Of course, some places solved this – like NY – by making all public transportation
soft targetsgun-free zones. Which also has the same penumbra issue.)
No. The law struck down in Bruen was not about moral character, it was about need. Under that law you could be Mother Theresa, and you still couldn’t get a permit without showing why you needed it. Bruen said you can’t do that; if this is a fit person to have a gun it’s none of your business why he wants one. So now they’ve shifted the inquiry to who is a fit person. It’s still unconstitutional, but it doesn’t directly contradict Bruen.
I think GWB was comparing the “May-issue” standard to the “good moral character” standard as being discretionary rather than objective and the court said that discretionary standards were not accpetable.
From the decision: New York’s outlier may-issue regime is constitutionally problematic because it grants open-ended discretion to licensing officials and authorizes licenses only for those applicants who can show some special need apart from self-defense. Those features of New York’s regime— the unchanneled discretion for licensing officials and the
special-need requirement—in effect deny the right to carry handguns for self-defense to many “ordinary, law-abiding citizens” and “Likewise, the 6 States including New York potentially affected by today’s decision may continue to require licenses for carrying handguns for self-defense so long as those States employ objective licensing requirements like those used by the 43 shall issue States.”
discounted the possibility that New York would set up an impermissible gun registry
Ummmm. Because everything they’ve done so far indicates their desire to illegally eliminate certain rights of the citizens of their state? How does he think, “Nah, they’d never do that!”?
the response was that there was a table in the brief indicating same
“Yo, yur honoh, did you, like, even read da brief?” (said in a heavy NYC accent)
no evidence that gun stores are closing due to overburdensome regulations
Yeah, that’s almost a “prove the negative” situation. “No, he didn’t close due to overburdensome regulations. He couldn’t make enough money to stay open.” “Nah, it wasn’t regulations. It was these violations of those regulations.” Etc.
I can tell you that I have heard from FFL friends in NY that started closing their doors due to Bill Clinton’s run at them and they have not stopped.
This law is so broad and intrusive I expect it to go before SCOTUS unless the unlikely happens and all the plaintiffs win.
Justice Thomas for one has often lamented the subservient nature the 2cd has seemed to take to the other rights. I doubt that if it gets there SCOTUS will be amused that NY has tried to end run them in such a manner.
The fact that the outcome of a case challenging brazen restrictions on a clearly-articulated constitutional right, is in doubt, is a sad reflection of the utterly corrupted state of contemporary jurisprudence, and, the lack of reverence for constitutional liberties, in these Left-leaning circuit courts.
But you notice they still have to handle the issue with kid gloves, because they are painfully aware they are still subject to the Carl Drega veto. Which is exactly why the Second Amendment was written in the first place.
If the state can make you a felon by contradicting the WISHES of other citizens and proof of that felony is the absence of other citizens to make those wishes public, then there is no stopping the state from tyrannizing everybody.
The Soviet Union’s 1936 constitution mentions “rights” four times more than the Declaration of Independence. Yet any action taken by a Soviet citizen to exercise those rights could deny others their rights, hence the Catch-22 crime.
As ruled by the Russian Federation Supreme Court after the fall, the Communist Party was a criminal organization with separate laws for them versus the common citizen. I remember the Intourist guide proudly showing us a copy of their Constitution while in the Kremlin back in 1972. Oh… and comparing the assassination attempt on Lenin as the same as Lincoln. Want to visit the Kremlin? You can get the flavor by going to Albany, Springfield, Sacramento, Boston or Lancing.
re: Hardaway. My home state of Vermont established the right to keep and bear arms in it’s first draft of it’s Constitution in 1777. Early enough for you?
Um, how is that relevant? The question isn’t whether RKBA is protected, or was at the time. The question is whether this law infringes that. According to Bruen the main way to determine whether a challenged law is an infringement is to see whether similar laws were tolerated, back when people understood the RKBA and cared about it. If we find a gun restriction that Patrick Henry and Ethan Allen supported, we can be fairly confident that it doesn’t infringe the RKBA.
As quoted above, the Judge keeps working as if NYS were acting in any form of good faith. How cute.
Is there not some sort of bad faith exception in assessing laws for legality. As an example: “Some standard of knowledge would be a good requirement for voting, but you guys are such aggressive crap-weasels, we don’t dare allow you that authority for how you’ll abuse it.”
Or does such stuff only apply to people who vote for the wrong party?
“On rebuttal, the State’s attorney argued that the CCIA does not make houses of worship soft targets because it allows them to hire security guards”
It’s only money.
“At the hearing, the State’s attorney indicated that if the CCIA is struck down, untrained people would be allowed to carry firearms virtually anywhere.”
And your point is what? There are at least a dozen states that have allowed that for years, and they are safer than New York by a long shot.
Suppose the court rules in favor o f the state in these cases and they go to SCOTUS. Other than another decision that the state of NY will ignore and attempt to negate with yet another a onerous law, is there anything the SCOTUS can do? Can they enjoin the state from passing additional laws? and can they appoint a special master to devise a law that the state has to adopt? Penalize/fine the governor and assemblymen? Anything? Or do they get to just keep saying “Wrong, try again” ad nauseum?