New York Gun Policy: an Ode to the Historic Racism & Bigotry of the Past

Following the Supreme Court’s strong rebuke of New York State’s discriminatory “proper cause” requirement to obtain a concealed-carry permit, legislators in Albany doubled down and enacted new, more invasive methods to dissuade law-abiding citizens who just want to carry a weapon to defend themselves.

In response, Gun Owners of America and our sister organization, Gun Owners Foundation. filed a lawsuit on behalf of a local resident – and you’ll never guess what historic laws the State has now cited in Court as a defense.

In response to our lawsuit, New York argued their new subjective “good moral character” requirement was “consistent with the long history in both England and America” because two colonial laws in 1756 and 1763 ordered the “disarmament of all Catholics or ‘reputed Papists,’” and forbade “the sale and trading of arms to indigenous people.”

Yes, New York went there, which truly goes to show how committed the anti-gun crowd is to restricting your Second Amendment rights at all costs. The fact that their best justification for this policy is the historical disarmament of minorities underscores the dangerous and historically discriminatory nature of gun control laws. The Second Amendment empowers the people to hold the majority accountable and to protect their freedoms, which is precisely why Catholics and Native Americans were disarmed.

Many in our society today would like to believe that the policies cited by New York in their brief are behind us. Contrary to that opinion, however, we are actively witnessing the opposite. For example, we have seen a spike in crime directed against Catholics, with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops documenting that at least 160 incidents of anti-Catholic violence have occurred in 37 states over the last two years. And, just this past week, we saw a vile story published in The Atlantic that argues the Holy Rosary, a mainstream prayer, and symbol of the Catholic faith dating back to the Middle Ages, is becoming a “militaristic” symbol used by “radical-traditional Catholics,” who are, in layman’s terms (no pun intended), merely Catholics who attend weekly mass, pray the rosary, and vote in accordance with their conscience and moral values.

I attend Mass, pray the rosary, and even at one time considered the priesthood, so I must be one of those so-called “radical-traditional” Catholics! Attacking individuals for their faith, especially because some of its central tenets and practices counter the dominant cultural narrative, is a growing problem in our society. New York citing racist, discriminatory, and centuries-old laws to justify an intrusive and obstructive anti-gun policy only adds fuel to that fire.

Unfortunately, it appears that neither New York state nor The Atlantic believes in the freedom of religion or the right to keep and bear arms.

Whether you are a repudiated papist in 1756, a Native American in 1763, or a practicing Catholic in 2022, your guns and faith are considered dangerous and threatening to those in power.

Thankfully, supermajorities on the Supreme Court continue to hand down rulings that overturn the anti-gun and anti-religious liberty policies being enacted by legislatures.

While we have good reason to be confident that the High Court will continue to ensure Constitutional protections for the faithful and those who wish to carry arms in public to defend themselves, the American public needs to wake up to the daily threats posed by some in the media and their own elected officials to their constitutional rights.

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