BELLEVUE, WA – An FBI Twitter message that it has “received credible information of a broad threat to synagogues in New Jersey” provides ample reason for the federal courts to strike down bans on carrying firearms for personal protection in places of worship.
“We ask at this time that you take all security precautions to protect your community and facility…In case of emergency call police,” the FBI said in its Twitter message.
This is not the first time a threat has been made against the Jewish community in their places of worship, noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “With the recent decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., et al. v. Bruen, et al., legislatures have passed, or are attempting to pass, a plethora of laws that directly implicate an individual’s ability to carry in a place of worship.”
A federal judge in Western New York has granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against enforcement of such a ban in the Empire State, he noted. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed Senate Bill S51001 into law, which prohibits, among other things, individuals from carrying firearms in places of worship by classifying them “sensitive places.” U.S. District Judge John L. Sinatra, Jr., acted quickly, noting “the challenged law creates a vulnerable population of attendees at places of worship left to the whims of potential armed wrongdoers who are uninterested in following the law…”
Other challenges to the law are currently pending in other district courts. On Friday, Plaintiffs’ attorney in Goldstein, et al. v. Hochul, et al., a case in the Southern District of New York, filed a letter notifying the Court of the FBI’s alert and that one of the Plaintiffs’ synagogues in New York was a mere 1.47 miles from the New Jersey. The Plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction at the end of September of 2022 and have not been granted any form of relief to date, leaving them vulnerable to “the whims of potential armed wrongdoers.”
“These credible threats against synagogues demonstrate the need for individuals to be able to exercise their right to bear arms outside of the home,” Kraut said. “As SAF’s briefing in Hardaway demonstrated, carrying firearms in places of worship is consistent with the text of the Second Amendment, as informed by this nation’s history and tradition – the test to be applied to Second Amendment challenges as reaffirmed by Bruen. Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled consistently that the police have no general duty to protect the public.”
SAF remains committed to protecting, restoring, and expanding our Second Amendment civil right.