New York Eases Gun Restrictions for Churches

The state of New York passed a new law to make it easier for church-goers to carry concealed weapons, although Second Amendment advocates say the new law does not go far enough to protect such rights.

As the Daily Caller reports, the state budget for 2024 passed earlier this month and signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) includes an amendment to the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), allowing for concealed firearms to be brought into “houses of worship” only by “persons responsible for security at such place(s) of worship.”

The CCIA was first passed in response to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision last year in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which ultimately determined that the Sullivan Act of 1911, a law which declared that a New York resident had to show “proper cause” when applying for a concealed carry permit, was unconstitutional due to violating both the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

The part of the CCIA that was amended by the new law focused on a ban on carrying firearms in “sensitive locations,” which included churches and other houses of worship. The term “security guard,” as defined by the new amendment, refers to people “who have been granted a special armed registration card, while at the location of their employment and during their work hours as such a security guard.”

However, the Heritage Foundation’s Amy Swearer says that the new law remains unclear and thus does not go far enough in protecting the Second Amendment rights of church-goers.

“This really doesn’t do a whole lot for many houses of worship,” Swearer explained. “You have people inside those churches for various church programs or functions, daycares or pastors and secretaries and choir rehearsals. Those are all occurring throughout the week, and even if they can have armed private security, during you know, one or two hours on Sunday, that doesn’t take care of the rest of the week.”

“[I]t’s kind of vague as to whether that can just be a concealed carry permit holder who is assigned to a security team, or whether it has to be a licensed, paid security officer,” Swearer continued.

The CCIA is already facing legal opposition, with one lawsuit having been filed against the new law by the First Liberty Institute (FLI) on behalf of His Tabernacle Family Church.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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