By Zach Williams & Bruce Golding
Gov. Kathy Hochul tried to thwart the US Supreme Court with a new law that makes virtually all of New York a gun-free zone and requires applicants for carry permits to give the state information about their social media accounts, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.
The suit — filed against State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen by an upstate gun owner and three affiliated gun-rights groups — says the “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” signed by Hochul on July 1 contains a slew of “blatantly unconstitutional” provisions and should be thrown out as unenforceable.
The Northern District of New York filing alleges that Hochul was “unhappy” with last month’s ruling in which the high court struck down a 1913 state law that required permit applicants show “proper cause” for wanting to pack heat.
Hochul “called an extraordinary session of the New York State Legislature for the purpose of enacting a new statutory scheme (the CCIA), designed to give the appearance of compliance with [the decision] but in reality thwarting and bypassing the Supreme Court’s decision.”
The suit also says that despite the Supreme Court’s “clear pronouncements,” Hochul and state legislators “apparently did not ‘get the memo.’”
“This Court’s intervention is therefore necessary, to again make it clear to New York that it is not free to thumb its nose at the text of the Second Amendment and the opinions of the Supreme Court, and that the Second Amendment is neither a ‘constitutional orphan’ or a ‘second-class right,’” according to the filing.
Court docs say provisions that designate 20 categories of public places as “sensitive locations” and “by default” designate all private property as a “restricted location” mean that “it is hard to imagine how a carry license holder could so much as leave home without running afoul of the CCIA.”
It also says that the requirement for applicants to provide lists of their social media accounts for the past three years could limit their free expression, in violation of the First Amendment, out of fear that their postings “may one day give a licensing officer pause in issuing a license.”
The suit was filed by upstate resident Ivan Atonyuk, who’s had a carry permit since 2009 and who immigrated to New York from Ukraine, “not seeking to exchange one totalitarian regime for another,” it says.
The other plaintiffs are the Gun Owners of America, its New York state chapter and its nonprofit arm, the Gun Owners Foundation.
Another suit challenging the law was filed Monday in Manhattan federal court, where lawyer Jon Corbett, who’s representing himself, took aim at the social-media provisions, saying they effectively ended the ability for pistol-permit applicants to post online anonymously.
“An applicant who has had an abortion and has used the anonymity of social media to seek comfort is now outed, as is the gay person struggling to come out to their family,” says the suit, in which Hochul is named as the defendant.
“An applicant with an ‘Only Fans’ who sells nude pictures of themselves online would now be required to let police officers take a look at their body.”
Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays said the governor “signed landmark legislation developed to comply with the Supreme Court’s recent decision” that “was drafted in close collaboration with the legislature.”
“We have no further comment on this litigation,” Crampton-Hays added.
The state police declined to comment.