Republican congressional candidate Carl Paladino filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging New York’s new restrictions on concealed carry permits. It follows two others brought by Gun Owners of America and Brooklyn gun owner Jonathan Corbett, the Buffalo News reported.
Paladino’s lawsuit – which he promised last week – attacks the ban on guns on private property unless permission is granted by the owner or signage permitting guns is posted by a business. That ban is new. After the Supreme Court struck down New York’s requirement for concealed carry applicants to show “a unique need for self-protection,” the state Legislature quickly convened to establish new rules restricting where people can carry guns.
Paladino’s lawsuit alleges there were a number of “provisions that unconstitutionally infringe on New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights” in the legislation, and calls the ban on guns on private property “the grossest infringement on the right to self-defense.” The requirement “transforms a constitutionally guaranteed right into a right that New Yorkers may only exercise after they receive express permission to do so from another,” the complaint states.
Using McDonald’s restaurants in a hypothetical example, Paladino’s lawsuit acknowledged “that’s not to say a McDonalds couldn’t impose some limits on exercise of constitutional rights on its own property,” but argues the state cannot “presumptively ban constitutional conduct (such as speaking or praying) on all private property as the default position unless the private property owner or lessee posts signage allowing the exercise of that right.” The suit also contends that the restrictions endanger the public by “informing would-be criminals of the locations where they are least likely to encounter armed resistance.”
Paladino, who lives in Buffalo and has a handgun license, said he wants to carry his gun on private property, but is hamstrung by the new limitations. He also wants people to be able to carry guns at the Ellicott Square building in downtown Buffalo, where real estate firm Ellicott Development is headquartered. Paladino is the founder and chair of Ellicott Development, and the company is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. New York State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia and Buffalo Police Commissioner John Gramaglia, who enforce Buffalo’s firearm laws, are named as defendants.
Paladino is asking a judge to declare the ban on guns on private property a violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments and grant an injunctive relief to prevent the state from enacting the restriction.
“I am confident that I will win my lawsuit, and I am prepared to take this all the way to the Supreme Court to do so,” Paladino said in a statement issued Tuesday in which he attacked Democrats who sponsored the new law.
In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul said “Governor Hochul signed landmark legislation developed to comply with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association) v. Bruen and drafted in close collaboration with the legislature. We have no further comment on this litigation."
More lawsuits are expected to be filed against the recently enacted restrictions, which take effect in September. State GOP Committee Chair Nick Langworthy has also said the party is also planning a separate legal action.
Langworthy and Paladino are running against each other in the GOP primary race to represent the 23rd District. Paladino’s lengthy history of rogue and racist behavior has resurfaced during the campaign, most recently in a 2021 interview in which he praised Adolf Hitler.
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