New York will once more be able to enforce another section of its sweeping gun-carry restriction bill.
A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay against a district court’s decision blocking a ban on carrying a gun on private property that’s open to the public without express permission. The Monday ruling put a hold on the lower court’s injunction as the appeals court waits to hear the case. It is the third stay issued by the panel as lower court judges pick apart New York’s law, passed in response to the Supreme Court striking down the state’s previous strict gun-carry law.
The stay will allow New York to enforce the first-of-its-kind private property provision and arrest anyone who violates it until the appeals court issues its own ruling. Thanks to the intervention of the Second Circuit in two other cases, the same is true for a wide range of other restrictions–from bans on carrying in church or on the subway to a requirement applicants for permits prove they are of “good moral character” by turning over their social media activity to police. The stays represent a reprieve for New York officials and a setback for the gun-rights groups challenging the law.
Judge John Sinatra of the Western District of New York, a Trump appointee, issued a Temporary Restraining Order against New York’s private property provision late last month. He argued the state’s novel policy, which effectively made most of the state off-limits to legal gun-carry by default, violates the Second Amendment.
“Property owners indeed have the right to exclude,” he wrote. “But the state may not unilaterally exercise that right and, thereby, interfere with the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens who seek to carry for self-defense outside of their own homes.”
Sinatra ruled the state defaulting private property that is open to the public, such as retail businesses or restaurants, as off-limits to licensed gun-carriers does not pass the historical test set down by the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. The state’s rule is the opposite of how every other state regulates gun-carry on private property. Sinatra said he could not identify any historical analogue for the regulation as required by the Bruen standard.
“The Nation’s historical traditions have not countenanced such an incursion into the right to keep and bear arms across all varieties of private property spread across the land,” he wrote.
He declined to issue a stay requested by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.). He said a stay would only exacerbate the deprivation of New Yorkers’ rights.
“[L]egislative enactments may not eviscerate the Bill of Rights,” he wrote. “Every day they do is one too many.”
The Second Circuit disagreed. The court did not set a date for when arguments in the appeal would begin. However, it did order an expedited briefing schedule for the case.