Attorney General Paxton joined two Montana-led amicus briefs challenging New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (“CCIA”), which makes it a felony to possess a firearm in any place of worship or a “sensitive location.” 

After New York enacted the CCIA, several religious leaders—Reverend Dr. Jimmie Hardaway, Jr., Bishop Larry A. Boyd, and Pastor Micheal Spencer—sued, arguing that the law violated their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights. A district court then issued a preliminary injunction, which New York appealed. The amicus briefs are thus being filed in defense of the religious leaders, as well as the Second Amendment rights of all Americans, in the New York City-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

The amicus brief filed in Hardaway and Boyd’s case highlights that there is effectively no historical basis for a ban on the possession of firearms in places of worship: “Apart from a handful of state and territorial laws enacted during the late nineteenth century—nearly a century removed from the founding—the historical record doesn’t show an ‘enduring American tradition’ of restricting the right to carry firearms in places of worship.” 

Additionally, the amicus brief that was filed in Spencer’s case notes that, since our nation’s inception, the Second Amendment has long protected the right of Americans to carry firearms in public places: “[E]vidence closer in time to the Second Amendment’s adoption is most relevant for understanding the Amendment’s scope. . . . The Second Amendment protects the right to possess handguns, both in the home and in public, for the purpose of self-defense. And New York fails to identify a single similar or analogous place-of-worship restriction before 1870.” 

To read the brief filed in Hardaway and Boyd’s case, click here.  

To read the brief filed in Spencer’s case, click here.