BUFFALO, N.Y. — It was the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association that successfully challenged New York’s long-standing rule in the Supreme Court requiring proper cause in order for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit.
However, NYSRPA has not yet issued a similar challenge to the state’s new laws aimed at mitigating the impact of that ruling.
“We wanted to see what the court did with the suits that were already pending and they remanded them to be looked at under strict scrutiny, which hadn’t been done before,” President Tom King said.
King said the organization was waiting on a handful of existing lawsuits that could have an impact on New York’s gun laws that are now being reviewed in circuit courts across the country under a one-step scrutiny test. That means the court can only consider historical precedent and not other practical justifications for laws.
“We know where we’re going and we know what has to be challenged, and shortly you will see a suit from us. I can’t discuss what that will be, but it will be very pertinent to the case and it’s nothing that has been handled to date,” he said.
Meanwhile, several people and groups have filed in federal court this week — in some cases narrowly and others broadly — challenging the state’s gun restrictions. That includes the Firerarms Policy Coalition and congressional candidate Carl Paladino.
King said he’s not worried about the suits undermining NYSRPA’s potential action.
“I don’t think that that’s really going to happen unless someone brings a really, really poorly prepared suit that allows the court to make a decision based on a poor filing rather than on the facts,” he said.
This week, Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed confidence the new laws, which among other things specifically define sensitive areas where people cannot carry concealed weapons, will hold up in court.
“We worked very intentionally with top legal minds from around this country to craft legislation working with the Legislature to make sure that it met all constitutional requirements and thresholds,” Hochul said.
King said there is no portion of the new law of which NYSRPA can agree.
“This was a method that they were planning on using to one, stick their finger in the eye of the Supreme Court and two, continue control over the pistol permit process that had been declared unconstitutional, so no, I can’t live with anything that she’s done right there,” he said.
The New York Republican and Conservative parties meanwhile have also announced intent to partner and sue, but say they’re still building a coalition at this point. King said he expects NYSRPA’s case may become the primary challenge when the association does file because it brought the original concealed carry challenge.
He said at least one of the plaintiffs from that case will again be included and the group is talking to other people who have recently been denied concealed carry permits.