Supreme Court Again Refuses to Halt New York Gun Restrictions

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The Supreme Court on Jan. 18 turned away an emergency request from firearms dealers to halt a months-old New York law that imposed new restrictions on gun purchases and dealers that the dealers say adversely affected sales and violated their rights.

The ruling comes as challenges to gun laws across the nation have escalated since the high court struck down previous New York rules on guns in June 2022. In the same opinion, the court also held that there’s a constitutional right to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense, leading states such as New York and Illinois to respond by doubling down on firearms restrictions.

The new state law in question, New York’s sweeping Concealed Carry Improvement Act, has been hotly litigated in the federal courts since it was approved by lawmakers in Albany. Some state law enforcement officials previously condemned the law, which took effect on Sept. 1, 2022, saying it would be difficult to enforce and may be unconstitutional. The New York State Sheriffs’ Association said the law was a “thoughtless, reactionary action.”

The Supreme Court rejected the application in Gazzola v. Hochul, court file 22A591, in an unsigned order (pdf) on Jan. 18. No justices dissented from the order.

The dealers said in court papers (pdf) that the new law treats “state licensed dealers in firearms as if they are ‘a highly selective group inherently suspect of criminal activities.’” The dealers said they were “urgently [seeking] a preliminary injunction to keep their doors open, while fighting to restore their civil rights through this lawsuit.”

“Petitioners are risking everything to try to stay in business in support of civil rights under the Second, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and to keep the doors open and the lights on while they pursue this case, but we can’t seem to find a judge in district or circuit court who will back them up,” they said in the brief.

By Matthew Vadum

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