NY church launches suit against ‘discriminatory’ law banning guns in houses of worship but not secular sites

A New York church is challenging its alleged unconstitutionality ban firearms In places of worship that they claim discriminate against religious institutions and make them vulnerable to external violence.

First Liberty Institute, a not-for-profit law firm, and the law firm of Clement and Murphy He sued On behalf of the Tabernacle Family Church, a non-denominational corporation in upstate New York, she alleges that the law violates citizens’ constitutional rights.

“What our case seeks is simply equal treatment, if New York State allows owners and managers of secular businesses to decide for themselves whether pastors there can carry firearms. Religious leaders are entitled to the same respect and the same,” said Jordan Pratt, senior counsel at First Liberty Institute. to Fox News Digital on Monday.


US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (HaizhanZheng via Getty Images)

He continued, “New York State is currently discriminating against houses of worship by removing the capacity they give to nearly all other secular institutions.”

Critics accuse the law of violating two Supreme Court rulings, one from 2020 that the Empire State has been criticized for enacting COVID era police Instructing churches on how to worship, particularly in terms of occupancy.

Another case from last year dealt a blow to the state’s attempts to restrict firearm possession outside the home when justices decided in a landmark case and packed the public.

In a press release emailed to Fox News DigitalThe First Liberty Institute said New York wasted no time returning to its restrictive habits.

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Blurred photo of the interior of a church temple filled with people in pews, and the priest standing under a large crucifix at the altar.

Blurred photo of the interior of a church temple filled with people in pews, and the priest standing under a large crucifix at the altar. (iStock)

“Just days later, New York enacted expansive new laws that challenge both of these rulings by introducing a complete ban on carrying firearms in places of worship,” the March 20 bulletin statement read.

“New York now imposes criminal liability on anyone who carries a firearm in a place of worship regardless of whether that person possesses a firearm license under New York law, and regardless of whether a religious denomination prefers permission for worshipers to carry a firearm.”

Existing law banning firearms from houses of worship, Pratt said, allows many secular sites to choose whether to allow their patrons to carry a concealed weapon at their site.

“the New York State If you were a house of worship, he says, the same power we give to all other landlords, we wouldn’t give it to you.

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The policy raises red flags about something Pratt says even the state has acknowledged is a problem — violence and hatred toward religious institutions and “vulnerability of houses of worship to violence” perpetrated by outsiders, particularly with reference to the 2018 shooting at a Pennsylvania synagogue and the 2017 incident in one. Churches in Texas represented the “good guy with a gun” scenario.

“There was a stark difference in how the attacks happened,” Pratt said. For example, comparing the Tree of Life synagogue to a church outside of Dallas, and Fort Worth, Texas… attack [at the church] It ended in 5 seconds because there was an armed parishioner.”

Pratt continued, “I would acknowledge that it is not only constitutionally problematic on multiple fronts for New York to do so, but as a matter of common sense.” “This does not protect Houses of worship Stripping them of the ability to decide how best to protect themselves does not protect us.”

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He reiterated that the pending suit does not aim to impose concealed carry in places of worship, but rather seeks to provide equal treatment for religious and secular sites.

Prosecutors urged the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to overturn the ban on Monday.

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