The gun control debate in New York has never been more contentious. With mass shootings like the Tops Supermarket shooting in Buffalo, state lawmakers, the citizens they represent, and lobbyists on both sides are fighting to decide the future of gun control.

From monitoring the social media accounts of registered gun owners to making concealed carry illegal on private property, New York's laws have created a firestorm of controversy. Now after a new state law blocked guns from being brought into churches, a federal judge says that New York shouldn’t just allow firearms in houses of worship, but that they should be brought in.

New York v. Firearms

A gun range
Getty Images

Last June, the US Supreme Court overturned a New York state law banning concealed carry that had stood for longer than 100 years. In response, Governor Hochul enacted a new law that banned guns from fifteen “sensitive areas” starting September 1, including airports, courthouses, Times Square, polling places and houses of worship.

While New York Democrats praised the restrictions, gun lobbying groups and state Republicans have been working to overturn the law. The ban in Times Square was ruled unconstitutional and suspended by a federal judge in early October, along with the bans for healthcare facilities, libraries, daycares and playgrounds, and homeless shelters. Those bans were then reinstated by an appeals court.

Guns In Church: Right or Necessity?

Pews in a church

Now gun owners are celebrating a new victory, as a federal judge in Buffalo has barred enforcement of the ban in churches and other houses of worship in “the public interest of fostering self-defense at places of worship.” Two Buffalo clerics, along with gun rights organizations, are suing New York for infringing on their Second Amendment rights. The barred enforcement is temporary, throughout and pending result of the trial.

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US District Judge John Sinatra has issued a temporary restraining order against New York while the case plays out in court. The Judge argued that if churchgoers don’t have guns in the building, they are “left to the whims of potential armed wrongdoers.”

The case is expected to strike down the state law permanently, on the same grounds as the SCOTUS ruling from June. The New York Attorney General’s office said they are weighing their options on defending gun restrictions going forward.

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