New York State Jewish Gun Club hires attorneys to fight provision in concealed carry law
The New York State Jewish Gun Club is challenging the state's restrictions on concealed carry in sensitives areas.
The new guidelines went into effect recently and includes houses of worship.
Some rabbis believe that firearms serve as an important tool in protecting temples from attack, especially with the Jewish High Holy Days coming up and antisemitism on the rise.
The New York State Jewish Gun Club announced Tuesday that they have hired attorneys to fight against the state's new restrictions, which were put in place after the Supreme Court struck down back in June New York's century-old law that prohibited concealed carry for most residents.
Other sensitive areas include schools, establishments where alcohol is served and overly crowded places.
According to the state, temples can still hire private armed security guards. Former and current law enforcement members and active-duty military members will also be allowed to carry guns.
Rabbi Yakov Saacks, of the Chai Center in Dix Hills, says his temple has armed guards as well as law enforcement members who carry firearms while attending service.
All of that is still allowed.
Saacks says he would be OK if a few civilians also brought guns to the temple, but he is opposed to an atmosphere where everyone is armed.
"If we had 50 people with concealed [weapons], you know, would I be comfortable? What happens if all 50 start shooting at once and I'm caught in the crosshairs," Saacks says. "But a few people? I would have no problem whatsoever."
While some have mixed opinions about the issue, one thing everyone agrees in is antisemitism is a problem and temples could become targets. They say more protection is needed because of it.
"They should be allowed to carry," says Matt Silver, of Old Bethpage. Silver is Jewish and a gun owner. He says if he were allowed to, he would bring a firearm into temple to protect himself and his fellow congregants.
"A legal gun can help out in a situation where an illegal gun is being used. So if an illegal gun comes in, there are many legal gun holders there that can help the situation," Silver says.
The leaders of the New York State Jewish Gun Club are calling on faith leaders from all denominations to join them in their effort.
The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 26. Saacks says that is when they are vulnerable and bring in extra armed security.
News 12 Long Island contacted the state, but it would not comment directly on the lawsuit. Instead, it said in a statement, “Houses of worship in New York have always been able to work with law enforcement, security guards and other certified armed personnel to keep their communities safe and under the new concealed carry law, that will continue to be the case.”