NY reps author resolution calling for state's new gun laws to be overturned in court

Seth Perlman

The fight over New York’s concealed carry laws has reached Capitol Hill, with two representatives from upstate New York authoring a new resolution condemning the state’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act and calling on the new law to be overturned in court.

Rep. Claudia Tenney and Rep. Elise Stefanik are the driving force behind the resolution, which calls out state lawmakers for approving the CCIA in order to “unconstitutionally restrict the ability to keep and bear arms” of responsible gun owners in the state. The resolution also proclaims that the CCIA is a violation of private property rights by making all private property off-limits to concealed carry by default, could violate the First Amendment rights of applicants by requiring them to disclose their social media accounts, and “fails to comply with the doctrine of NYSRPA v. Bruen that gun laws must be rooted in the ‘history, text, and tradition’ of the country”.

“Democrats in New York, led by Governor Kathy Hochul, ignored [the Supreme Court’s] ruling and enacted a blatantly unconstitutional law,” said Tenney, the author of the House resolution to be introduced Friday.

“While legal challenges against this law work their way through the courts, I am honored to stand once again in support of New Yorkers’ right to keep and bear arms,” Tenney said.

Stefanik, an original cosponsor, said, “Kathy Hochul’s gun grabbing law is unconstitutional and a direct attack on our Upstate rights and values.”

… The new federal legislation’s cosponsors include Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Andy Harris (R-Md.), and Mary Miller (R-Ill.) and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.).

Downstate New York Republicans — including Reps. Lee Zeldin and Andrew Garbarino of Long Island and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and southern Brooklyn — have not signed onto the bill.

Now, is this likely to have an impact on any of the court challenges to the CCIA? No. It probably won’t even get a vote in the House thanks to the anti-gun machinations of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Still, I’m glad to see Tenney and Stefanik take issue with the state’s latest gun control laws, and it’s smart politics on their part as well. Both Republicans represent pretty conservative districts in upstate New York, where opposition to the CCIA is fierce and only growing louder as the scope of the law’s unconstitutional provisions have become clearer in the weeks since the CCIA took effect; not only from gun owners but from those tasked with enforcing the new laws as well.

“I have to enforce it because I swore to uphold the laws, but I can use as much discretion as I want,” said Richard C. Giardino, the Republican sheriff in Fulton County, northwest of Albany. “If someone intentionally flouts the law, then they’re going to be handled one way. But if someone was unaware that the rules have changed, then we’re not going to charge someone with a felony because they went into their barbershop with their carry concealed.”

Such criticism has been heard from Greene County, in the Hudson Valley, to Erie County, home to Buffalo, the state’s second-largest city, as well as from groups like the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, which called the new law a “thoughtless, reactionary action” that aims to “restrain and punish law-abiding citizens.”

“We will take the complaint, but it will go to the bottom of my stack,” said Mike Filicetti, the Niagara County sheriff, who appends a Ronald Reagan quote to his emails. “There will be no arrests made without my authorization and it’s a very, very low priority for me.”

Just like the resolution that’s sponsored by Tenney and Stefanik will be a very, very, low priority for Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats.

Still, I’m glad to see the New York congresswomen making an issue of the state’s latest infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, even if the resolution remains stuck in a holding pattern for the near future. Hopefully when Republicans take control of the House in early 2023 this will be a largely moot point and the CCIA will have been at least put on hold while its being litigated in court, but with the law in place for now it’s good to see its constitutional provisions being called out on Capitol Hill.