Supreme Court allows New York gun law to remain in effect for now

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a New York gun control law that was enacted in the wake of the high court’s landmark ruling in June that dramatically expanded the right to bear arms outside the home to remain in effect while a legal challenge against it continues.

The justices kept on hold a federal judge’s ruling that invalidated various provisions of the law. An appeals court had previously blocked the ruling pending further litigation. The decision suggests the justices will wait before intervening as lower courts interpret its June ruling, which for the first time found that individuals have a right to bear arms outside their own homes under the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

There were no public dissenting votes, but conservative Justice Samuel Alito said in a statement attached to the brief order, which fellow conservative justice Clarence Thomas joined, that the decision is not “expressing any view on the merits of the case” and the challengers “should not be deterred.”

U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby in a Nov. 7 ruling struck down a number of provisions of the law, including one that bars firearms in a wide range of “sensitive locations” such as healthcare facilities, churches, parks, entertainment venues and other places where people gather. He also blocked a provision that requires gun owners to show “good moral character” in order to obtain a license, and another that Suddaby said was a sweeping ban on firearms on private property open the public.

The challenge was brought by Ivan Antonyuk and five other individuals who say they would like to carry firearms outside the home.

New York state lawmakers passed the law banning firearms in many public places and stiffening permitting requirements in July after the Supreme Court in its June ruling struck down a century-old provision in New York that required gun owners who want to carry handguns outside their homes to prove that they have a unique need for self-defense.

The new law, called the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, also includes provisions requiring applicants to provide character references, contact information of family members and people they live with and information about their social media accounts.

Various gun owners have challenged provisions of the law, with three federal district courts ruling in favor of plaintiffs In each case, the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to remain in place in full pending appeals.

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