A New York appeals court panel has ruled against a state law that prohibits the carrying of firearms into houses of worship, upholding a lower court decision that blocked the law from taking effect.
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit released a 261-page opinion on Friday regarding four cases centered on multiple challenges to New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).
The panel ruled that “Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that the CCIA burdens their sincerely held religious practice.”
“CCIA is not neutral because it allows the owners of many forms of private property, including many types of retail businesses open to the public, to decide for themselves whether to allow firearms on the premises while denying the same autonomy to places of worship,” stated the ruling.
“By adopting a law that applies differently as to places of worship (alongside the other enumerated sensitive places) than to most other privately owned businesses and properties, the CCIA is, on its face, neither neutral nor generally applicable.”
“The State has not demonstrated that allowing church leaders to regulate their congregants’ firearms is more dangerous than allowing other property owners to do the same,” the appeals court added.
According to the rule, “It’s hard to see how the law advances the interests of religious organizations as a whole by denying them agency to choose for themselves whether to permit firearms,” the Christian Post reports.