On July 1, 2022, the state of New York enacted a new gun control law. The July 2022 Gun Control Law was passed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen, which held that New York’s “concealed carry” law violated the Second Amendment. Unfortunately, the law was passed on the same day it was introduced, allowing no meaningful opportunity for public input.
The July 2022 Gun Control Law contains provisions that relate to churches and other houses of worship. Specifically, the law lists several “sensitive locations” where New Yorkers will not be allowed to carry concealed weapons; those sensitive locations include “any place of worship or religious observation,” schools, “nursery schools, preschools, and summer camps.” Under the July 2022 Gun Control Law, only certain classes of individuals (including, for example, law enforcement officers, active-duty military personnel, and persons acting as licensed and employed security guards) will be allowed to carry firearms at sensitive locations; anyone else carrying a firearm at a sensitive location shall be guilty of a felony. In essence, the state has made it unlawful for houses of worship to have armed congregants serve as members of their security teams unless those congregants are active or retired law enforcement officers. Churches would be permitted to hire professional security, but that could prove cost prohibitive for many houses of worship.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms opposes the July 2022 Gun Control Law. Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not congregants should be allowed to carry in church. Instead, state government has taken that decision out of their hands.