Judge calls NY gun laws unconstitutional, but lets them stand … for now

Gun Rights

The judge also took issue with the “good moral character” provision of the state law, which says permits should only be issued to people who can prove they have the “temperament and judgment necessary … to use (a gun) only in a manner that does not endanger oneself or others.”

Suddaby argued the measure was too subjective, leaving open the possibility for a variety of interpretations, and therefore unconstitutional — similar to the reasoning the Supreme Court gave for tossing New York’s previous concealed carry law. He also took lawmakers to task for failing to add a qualifier that makes clear that permit holders can use their guns for self-defense.

All in all, Suddaby knocked the new gun control laws as less of a “measured response” to the Supreme Court ruling and more of a “wish list of exercise-inhibiting restrictions glued together by a severability clause in case some of the more fanciful restrictions were struck down.”

Suddaby, the chief judge of New York’s Northern District that stretches from Albany toward Syracuse and up to the Canadian border, was appointed in 2007 by then-President George W. Bush.

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New York’s top Democrats sought to accentuate the positives in Suddaby’s ruling, noting that he allowed the laws to take effect.

“It is a just and right decision, and our smart, sensible gun laws will go into effect as planned … to keep New Yorkers safe,” Hochul said in a statement.

Attorney General Letitia James, whose office defended the Hochul administration in the lawsuit, called it “a victory in our efforts to protect New Yorkers,” and went as far as to take a victory lap over the gun lobby on Twitter.

“The gun lobby is trying to destroy New York’s common-sense gun law,” she tweeted. “We beat them in court. Let’s go.”

But at least one other lawsuit — filed by former congressional candidate Carl Paladino of Buffalo — remains pending. And, following Suddaby’s ruling, more are likely on the way — including the possibility of a suit from the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the NRA affiliate that was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case earlier this year.

“This illegal law will go down,” the state Republican Party tweeted late Wednesday.

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