ROCHESTER, NY – After Governor Kathy Hochul approved the Concealed Carry Improvement Act in July, banning the carrying of concealed weapons in “sensitive places,” including places of worship, churches in New York State rally to protest their safety.
“Essentially Governor Hochul said it was illegal to have a gun in a place of worship and there wasn’t even room for church security teams or anything. either like that, it was just a general order,” said Jason McGuire, executive director. New Yorkers for Constitutional Liberties.
McGuire is one of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit brought by 25 churches across the state, claiming the gun control law violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“Many of the pastors I speak to are very concerned about not having the ability to protect their flocks as a result of Governor Hochul’s new gun law,” McGuire said. “So our lawsuit establishes this fact that churches have a right to their security, they have a right to self-defense.”
Federal Judge Glenn Suddaby blocked large parts of the law last week, including licensing requirements and restrictions on where weapons can be transported to areas deemed sensitive. The injunction takes effect within days and state officials are appealing. However, Hochul continues to fight, saying on Friday that the law will be respected despite a legal challenge to the measure.
“The Supreme Court said we can identify sensitive locations,” Hochul said at a news conference last week. “One of them has to be a church. They left in place the ability to restrict firearms in churches, except where an individual is a security guard hired to protect individuals in that congregation.
The law was approved earlier this summer following a Supreme Court ruling that found New York’s strict concealed carry law to be unconstitutional. The new measure faces multiple legal challenges, including one from upstate churches challenging the ban on guns in places of worship.
“We believe the governor should have the law that has been in place for 108 years to protect the citizens of our state,” Hochul said during a stopover in Rochester. “When the Supreme Court struck down the entire law, we knew we could keep working. Whether it was on this law or entire gun laws, I believe the people of this state deserve to be protected. .”
But for McGuire and the churches involved, that’s still not enough.
“We are grateful for the measure Judge Suddaby put in his order, but Governor Hochul has indicated she will appeal, so the case will move forward,” he said.
Hochul said she is focused on working with law enforcement to keep streets safe, and McGuire says he wants the same for his congregation.
“The FBI has said church attacks and shootings are on the rise,” McGuire said. “I would just say that whenever Governor Hochul steps into this pulpit to preach, we just want to have the same kind of security that she does.”