A case challenging the ammunition background check in New York is headed to a conference in the Supreme Court on Friday, October 6.
The case, Gazzola v. Hochul, was brought by two New York-based gun shops to challenge the Empire State’s ammunition background checks and the yearly inspection of gun shops by the New York State Police. The new law was passed during a special session in 2022 called by Governor Kathy Hochul. During the same session, New York passed restrictions on concealed carrying of a firearm in public places.
The special session was a response to the Supreme Court decision in New York Pistol and Rifle Association v. Bruen. New York’s “shall issue” Sullivan-era law was ruled unconstitutional in that case. The laws passed during the special session led to lawsuits challenging the “sensitive area” provisions in the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA). One of these lawsuits was Antonyuk v. Hochul.
The plaintiffs claim that New York State exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the new law, acquiring yearly inspections of gun stores by State Police and background checks for ammunition.
The plaintiff tried to get a preliminary injunction from the District Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Before the law was enacted, the plaintiffs asked Supreme Court Justice Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor to intervene. The Justice declined the plaintiffs’ emergency petition.
When a plaintiff files an emergency petition with SCOTUS, it is assigned to the Justice that oversees the Circuit where the case resides. Justice Sotomayor was assigned to oversee the Second Circuit. Because Sotomayor refused the emergency petition, it opened the door for another Justice to accept the petition.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, the author of the Bruen decision, decided to take up the petition, and now the full Supreme Court bench will decide whether it will hear the case on Friday, October 6. Just because it is being brought to the conference doesn’t mean that SCOTUS will hear the case. The Justices could decide to let the case play out in the lower courts.
AmmoLand News spoke to the attorney for the plaintiffs, Paloma A. Capanna, about the case. Ms. Capanna said she is looking forward to the Justices discussing the case. She hopes that SCOTUS will take it up and believes the law is unconstitutional.
“We’re as interested as anyone to see what the court will say in response to the emergency application,” Capanna said. “I only wish I could be a fly on the wall. It would be amazing to be able to eavesdrop on a Friday case conference and know the full extent of the discussion.”
For her part, Governor Hochul confused Gazzola v. Hochul with the Antonyuk case. She claimed that Justice Thomas was bringing the matter to conference to try to dismantle New York’s concealed carry provisions, but Gazzola only deals with inspections and ammunition background checks. It does not touch things such as what the state deems sensitive areas. The Governor did take a shot at the Justices.
“They’re dead set on placating their donors, supporters, and we’re the ones left to clean up,” Hochul said. “In the meantime, everyone should know that the current law remains in the state, and we are ready for any other efforts to thwart our own efforts, the state’s efforts and responsibility is to protect our citizens.”
SCOTUS will decide the next step on October 6. In the meantime, the law remains in place.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist; he has written about firearms and interviewed people of all walks of life. Mr. Crump lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.