GOA Files Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Against New York
The case was filed on behalf of a Ukrainian immigrant, Ivan Antonyuk. Mr. Antonyuk currently possesses an unrestricted carry permit. After the passing of the CCIA, Antonyuk saw his rights curtailed substantially. The motion highlights the new restriction that New York resident faces.
“New York continues to overreach in its anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment legislation, and we intend to force New York to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruen through this and other actions,” said Stephen D. Stamboulieh, Attorney for the plaintiffs, “Today’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction asks the Court to stop the law from going into effect on September 1, 2022, and ultimately, we seek to have the so-called Concealed Carry Improvement Act struck as violative of the First and Second Amendments.”
The new law effectively makes every private business a “gun-free zone” unless the business posts a sign welcoming guns.
In most states, a business has to post a “no firearms” sign, and those signs rarely have the force of law. According to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, New York flips the standard around violating the property owner’s rights.
Mr. Antonyuk would need to lock his gun in a “safe storage container” before getting out of his car to get gas or food. New York does not consider a glove box a safe storage container. Disarming in public could cause a scare if another person witnesses Antonyuk pulling his gun out to be safely stored. That person could call the police and report a man with a gun, causing panic and lockdowns.
Another issue GOA has with the CCIA is that if a gun owner unknowingly steps off a public road even for a brief second, then that gun owner could be charged with a felony. That would mean the person could be stripped of their gun rights forever. With the number of places now off limits, it is almost impossible to carry without violating the law.
The motion also attacks New York’s new training regime. When Mr. Antonyuk renews his permit, he will have to undergo 16 hours of classroom training and two hours of range time. This requirement means that his training burden has increased fivefold. Training classes for Maryland, which has similar training requirements cost on average $400. This fee isn’t even considering the time off work that Antonyuk will have to take to satisfy the new requirements.
The most concerning is that New York requires concealed carry permit holders to prove they are of “good moral character.”
To many, New York just traded “proper cause” for “good moral character.” The law doesn’t specify whose morals will be used to determine someone’s character. It could be very subjective.
An applicant also must turn over all social media accounts. Dating apps and social media sites will be fair play. What will the state find in citizens’ personal lives that they deem evidence of “good moral character”?
Also, several social media platforms are anonymous. GOA’s attorneys argue that stripping away that anonymity by requiring the applicant to turn over their social media accounts violates the person’s free speech. The motion references the founding fathers that wrote under pen names, including the “Father of The Constitution,” James Madison. It also points out that people will self-censor not to run afoul of the New York law. GOA sees this as stifling free speech and making one trade their First Amendment rights for their Second Amendment rights.
Moreover, it highlights the interview process and wonders if a similar approach was in place in colonial times, would the British Crown be quick to approve a permit for a colonist for that wanted independence, or would they have been found not to have a “good moral character?” In a deeply blue state (NYC controlled), would a Trump supporter, anti-vaxxer, or a person who believes that the election was stolen be disqualified from getting a concealed carry permit?
The motion asks whether someone who attends a BLM “parade” or “rally” that turns violent could be rejected. Many people who participated in these rallies did not riot, but the mere fact that they were there could disqualify them from carrying a firearm. Does a woman who was pushed to appear on sites like “OnlyFans” by an abusive ex-boyfriend lose their right to carry a gun for self-defense against the same ex-boyfriend because the site is controversial? These questions might seem hyperbolic, but the law isn’t clear about what constitutes “good moral character,” and GOA worries that places like New York City will use any excuse to strip its citizens of their gun rights.
To succeed in a Preliminary Injunction, the plaintiff must prove they are likely to succeed on the case’s merits. GOA has a strong case that the law does run afoul of the Bruen and Heller decisions. New York passed these in response to the Bruen decision in a move that GOA calls “thumbing its nose” at the courts. It highlights that SCOTUS said that just because a place is where people congregate doesn’t mean that the State could determine that place to be a “sensitive place.” The CCIA appears to do just that.
The second thing that a motion for a Preliminary Injunction must prove is that a plaintiff cannot be made whole by monetary damages. GOA argues that stripping one of their Constitutional cannot be remedied by any amount of money. That will be for the courts to decide.
If the Preliminary Injunction is granted, the new CCIA will be blocked until the courts can rule on the case’s merits.