NYS’s Budget Brings New Changes in the Ever-Evolving Firearms Saga Affecting Safety in Shuls
By M.C. Millman
Last week New York State passed the 2024 budget, including bill S4005C/A3005C, which included changes to the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), which has done nothing to clarify the already murky law affecting the safety of shuls congregants.
One change is that in the line regarding the ban on firearms in houses of worship, the words “religious observation” was omitted in the revised law.
“Even the State couldn’t define what they meant by “religious observation,” when they were asked to define the phrase during the oral arguments in front of the judge,” Tzvi Waldman, founder of NYS Jewish Gun Club, tells Rockland Daily. “They removed the words now because they realized the language is discriminatory and can lead to government abuse. For a Torah Jew, every moment of his day is one of “religious observation,” so how would anyone be able to define when such a person could or could not carry a firearm? “
The new bill also added the words “except for those persons responsible for security” when discussing who can and cannot carry a firearm in a house of worship.
“They added that exemption so someone in charge of security would be allowed to carry in a shul,” says Waldman. “But the wording is still too vague. For instance, if the shul permitted one person to carry, does that mean that only he is carrying and others aren’t allowed to exercise their second amendment while exercising first amendment rights? And is that one guy in charge of security now liable for everyone’s security? Does he need insurance? Can he be sued if someone attacks and he doesn’t stop them?
“An individual shouldn’t have to take on the liability for the whole shul so that he can protect himself by carrying.”
“What this boils down to,” the NYS Jewish Gun Club says in a press release. “is that these changes confirm the fact that the CCIA was overreaching and would not hold up constitutional muster.
This minor victory, however, does not mean that the legal battle has been won. This is nothing more than the State trying to throw a wrench in our litigation process of Goldstein v. Hochu and save face.”
And despite the subtle changes in languages in the new budget and the ongoing lawsuit still in limbo, Individuals with concealed carry permits will still have to choose between being able to run into shul for a quick maariv and exercising second amendment rights.
It is over 195 days since the New York Jewish Gun Club presented its arguments in court, as reported by Rockland Daily here.
And New Yorkers are still waiting for the judge to issue his ruling so New York’s Jewish gun owners won’t be forced to take off their firearm before entering a shul leaving themselves and their Kehilla vulnerable to an attacker or taking option two and keeping it on but living in constant fear that by carrying a firearm in shul, they will be judged as felons.
Photo Credit: Flickr