ALBANY, NY—Today, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and 25 churches, from 20 different counties, filed a federal lawsuit claiming that a New York gun control law passed in July 2022 violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Rev. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, made the following remarks:
“Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) is not an improvement at all. By making it unlawful for most people to carry firearms in churches and other houses of worship, the CCIA deprives ordinary New Yorkers of their constitutionally protected right to bear arms. In recent years, churches and other houses of worship have been implementing volunteer security teams. Many of those teams include armed congregants. Under this new law, those teams have been deemed unlawful. Security team members, who choose to carry, could face a felony conviction simply for protecting the Sunday morning worship service.”
“In an ideal world, churches and congregants could focus on worshiping the Lord and loving their neighbors without concerning themselves with matters of safety and security. Unfortunately, the reality of church shootings in the U.S. reminds us that this is not an ideal world. Some churches find it necessary to allow law-abiding persons to carry firearms during services so that their congregations are protected in the event of a church attack. The CCIA takes this decision out of their hands, and that is unacceptable. In response, churches across New York have banded together to challenge the CCIA in federal court.”
McGuire concluded, “The right to bear arms is, quite simply, a right. It is not a privilege that can be granted or removed by Gov. Hochul or by the New York State Legislature. The Supreme Court of the United States found one New York gun control law unconstitutional earlier this year. The passage of the CCIA strongly suggests that Gov. Hochul and the Legislature have not learned their lesson. At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, we stand with New York’s churches and against this unconstitutional law. Congregants do not forfeit their right to defend themselves and their families when they enter a house of worship.”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is a statewide public policy organization that represents New York’s evangelical Christian community.