Jewish Group to Sue New York for Banning Guns in Houses of Worship
The New York State Jewish Gun Club plans to sue New York for banning firearms in places of worship, calling it “unconstitutional” in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Tzvi Waldman, the founder of the New York State Jewish Gun Club, is working with a civil rights attorney to challenge a provision of New York’s new Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), prohibiting congregants from carrying guns inside places of worship among other locations it deems “sensitive.” He told the DCNF he is “very confident” the law will “definitely” be overturned, calling it “unconstitutional on so many levels.”
“The Second Amendment is not a second class right,” he told the DCNF.
The law, signed by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, also bans guns from most public and private businesses and requires that applicants for a concealed carry permit provide their social media history to verify their “character and conduct” is suitable enough to own a gun. It was passed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York Firearms Association v. Bruen, striking down the state’s requirement that concealed carry applicants must “demonstrate proper cause.”
Keeping New Yorkers safe is my top priority.
Starting tomorrow, concealed weapons will no longer be permitted on subways, in bars, and the following sensitive locations. pic.twitter.com/RKExUOBlrT
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) August 31, 2022
“New York is in the midst of a massive crime wave, we have seen in particular a sudden rise in violent hate crimes against Orthodox Jews,” Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republicans Club, told the DCNF.
“The average Orthodox Jew spends up to 20 hours a week in shul (synagogue). So for us, not being able to be protected in shul means more than the average person who goes to church once a week,” Waldman told the Bronx’s News 12.
Hate crimes committed against Jews make up more than half of all religion-based hate crimes in the U.S., FBI statistics show. New York has witnessed a more than 300% increase in antisemitic hate crimes in the first three months of 2022 compared with last year.
A stabbing attack at the home of a rabbi in Monsey killed one and injured four others in 2019, News 12 noted.
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But the Department of Criminal Justice Services insisted houses of worship in New York “have always been able to work with law enforcement, security guards and other certified armed personnel to keep their communities safe, and under the new concealed carry law, that will continue to be the case,” according to News 12.
“Our organization does not take an official position on the Second Amendment, but I can tell you the reality on the ground. Almost every orthodox synagogue in Baltimore has an armed congregate,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the managing director for the Coalition of Jewish Values, told the DCNF. “People do not feel like calling the police or having an armed security guard who may be five blocks away is enough.”
“All law abiding citizens should be free to legally carry in their houses of worship as a real deterrent against any who would seek to cause them harm. Hochul’s attempts to deny this basic and fundamental right of self-defense to a heavily targeted group just shows a level of callousness not thought possible in American politics,” Wax told the DCNF.
Hochul did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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