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Judge extends hold on NY's gun ban in houses of worship

The preliminary injunction is a result of a lawsuit filed on behalf of more than two dozen churches across the state, including two in Western New York.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A federal judge extended an order blocking a part of New York's new gun law that makes it a crime for people to carry firearms in places of worship.

U.S. District Judge John Sinatra Jr. sided with two Buffalo-area clerics and gun rights organizations who had sued and sought a hold on enforcement of the law until the judge decides the case on it merits.

The preliminary injunction issued late Thursday extends a temporary hold Sinatra ordered last month.

“(T)he nation's history does not countenance such an incursion into the right to keep and bear arms across all places of worship across the state,” Sinatra wrote.

New York lawmakers rewrote the state’s gun laws this summer after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the state’s old system of granting permits to carry handguns outside the home. Among the provisions of the new law was a ban on guns in places of worship and other locations deemed “sensitive.”

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn's office released this statement after the decision was handed down:

Late yesterday evening, our office was notified that United States District Judge Hon. John L. Sinatra, Jr. issued a decision and order, which granted the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Previously, Judge Sinatra issued a temporary preliminary injunction pending his decision on the motion.

Effectively immediately, our office is prohibited from enforcing all of NY Penal Law §265.01-e(2)(c) (places of worship or religious observation) and the regulations, policies, and practices implementing it. The preliminary injunction remains in effect pending the disposition of the case.

New York faces multiple federal challenges to its new gun law.

In a separate lawsuit, the state is appealing a federal judge's order to put a hold on several of the state’s new licensing rules for carrying handguns in public. That judge's order is being stayed on appeal.


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