KINGSTON, N.Y. – U.S. Rep Marc Molinaro criticized Tuesday New York state’s concealed carry gun laws as an infringement on constitutional rights.
Molinaro, R-Catskill, responded to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s pledge in a posting on X, formerly Twitter, to keep the Concealed Carry Improvement Act in place.
“Justice Clarence Thomas just granted a request for an emergency conference in a case trying to dismantle our concealed carry law,” Hochul said on X. “I know the far-right is focused on placating the MAGA extremists. I’m focused on protecting New Yorkers.”
But Molinaro, who represents the 19th Congressional District, said the law, known as Concealed Carry Improvement Act, was wrong.
“Your law is unconstitutional,” Molinaro responded on Tuesday night.
Your law is unconstitutional. https://t.co/YNvhQQd1qf
— Marc Molinaro #NY19 🇺🇸 (@marcmolinaro) September 26, 2023
On Wednesday, the congressman’s office said that the posting would be his only comment on the matter.
U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan, D-Gardiner, said that the GOP has taken a pro-gun stance for many years. Ryan represents the 18th Congressional District.
“For decades, MAGA Republicans have put the NRA and the gun lobby ahead of their duty to protect American lives,” Ryan said in a statement. “As a result, firearms are the leading cause of death for children. There is absolutely no excuse.
“Every child and every family deserves the freedom to live without the fear of gun violence,” Ryan added. “I’m fighting to get weapons of war off our streets and out of our schools, to pass universal background checks, and to get firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers.”
In January, the Supreme Court announced that New York could continue to enforce a sweeping new law that bans guns from “sensitive places” including schools, playgrounds and Times Square, allowing the law to be in force while a lawsuit over it plays out.
At that time, the justices turned away an emergency request by New York gun owners challenging the law. The gun owners wanted the high court to lift a federal appeals court order that had permitted the law to be in effect.
New York lawmakers rewrote the state’s handgun laws over the summer of 2022 after a Supreme Court ruling invalidated New York’s old system for granting permits to carry handguns outside the home. The ruling said that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, invalidating the New York law, which required people to show a specific need to get a license to carry a gun outside the home. The ruling was a major expansion of gun rights nationwide and resulted in challenges to other, similar state laws.
The new law New York passed in the wake of the ruling broadly expanded who can get a license to carry a handgun, but it increased training requirements for applicants and required people seeking a license to provide more information, including a list of their social media accounts. Applicants for a license must also demonstrate “good moral character.”
Beyond that, the law included a long list of “sensitive places” where firearms are banned, among them: schools, playgrounds, places of worship, entertainment venues, places that serve alcohol and Times Square.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.