ALBANY, N.Y. — New York can continue to enforce laws banning firearms in certain “sensitive” locations and require that handgun owners be of “good moral character,” a federal appeals court ruled Friday in its first broad review of a host of new gun rules passed in the state after a landmark Supreme Court ruling last year.
But in a 261-page decision, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of appeals also blocked some aspects of New York’s new gun rules, including a ban on people bringing firearms into houses of worship.
Free speech concerns
The court also rejected a requirement that applicants for a handgun license turn over a list of social media accounts they maintained over the past three years, citing free speech concerns.
The court also said the state can’t enforce part of the law that made it a crime to carry a concealed gun onto private property without the express consent of the owner — a restriction that would have kept firearms out of places like shops, supermarkets and restaurants unless the proprietor put a sign up saying guns were welcome. It did, however, allow the state to continue its ban on firearms in so-called “sensitive” locations, such as public transportation, hospitals and schools.
In Friday’s ruling, the judges wrote that it was “not facially unconstitutional” for the state to require that applicants for a license to carry a handgun be of good moral character. But they did rule against the requirement that handgun license applicants turn over a list of their social media accounts.
“Requiring applicants to disclose even pseudonymous names under which they post online … presents serious First Amendment concern,” the court wrote.