A federal judge in western New York has granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the “private property exclusion” tenet of the state’s new gun control law, calling it unconstitutional.
The case, known as Christian et. al. v. Nigrelli, et. al., was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition on behalf of Brett Christian, a private citizen. U.S. District Court Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr. with the U.S. District Court in Buffalo handed down the 27-page ruling.
Noting that the private property exclusion “makes it a felony for a license holder to possess a firearm on all private property, unless the relevant property holders actually permit such possession with a sign or by express consent,” Judge Sinatra noted, “Regulation in this area is permissible only if the government demonstrates that the current enactment is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of sufficiently analogous regulations…New York fails that test.”
Judge Sinatra added, “Property owners indeed have the right to exclude. 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.”
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb welcomed the ruling, which was issued late Tuesday afternoon.
“New York’s efforts to dance around the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision have become a painful exercise in legal acrobatics, which it seems obvious the courts can see through,” Gottlieb said in a prepared statement. “This case illustrates the ridiculous lengths to which lawmakers in Albany have tried to go in their efforts to get around the letter and spirit of the high court ruling.”
“Having New York’s unconstitutionally sound law enjoined is a win for the public,” added SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “New York’s effort to restrict the public’s right to carry arms, through its imposition of outlandish requirements that have no roots in our country’s history and tradition, is a sign of how far its legislature is willing to go when it comes to depriving individuals of their constitutional rights. SAF looks forward to continuing to vindicate the rights of its members and the public.”
Judge Sinatra noted in his decision that Christian “is likely to succeed on the merits of his Second and Fourteenth Amendment claims…New York’s new private property exclusion violates the right of individuals to keep and bear arms for self-defense outside their homes.”
SAF and its partners filed the initial lawsuit more than two months ago. At the time, Gottlieb accused New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature in Albany of “making a mockery” of the high court’s ruling in the Bruen case.
“While they’re playing politics, the rights of law-abiding New York citizens are being cavalierly trampled,” he said. “We cannot allow that to happen just so anti-gunners in Albany can play games with the constitution, just to see whether they can get away with it.
“The fact that New York’s new regulatory scheme essentially prohibits lawful carry in most public places is outrageous,” Gottlieb noted in September. “The state is being too clever by half, and we’re confident that the federal courts, with the recent guidance from the Supreme Court on Second Amendment jurisprudence, will bring a quick end to this nonsense.”
Judge Sinatra also granted a temporary restraining order and subsequently, a preliminary injunction against another tenet of New York’s new gun control law, which bans guns in churches. The new statute declares places of worship to be “sensitive places.”