Friday, December 22, 2023

Victory in Antonyuk v. Nigrelli

New York Gun Law’s Social Media Disclosure
Requirement Blocked For Violating First Amendment

New York City, New York, 8 December 2023: In a landmark ruling, the First Amendment was successfully used to defeat an infringement upon the Second Amendment. 

This past February Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), which required applicants to register their social media names and accounts with the government before they could receive their concealed carry permit, violated the applicants' right to free speech and was therefore unconstitutional. This brief was written by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, whose mission is "to defend the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education," and this victory would not have been possible without their help. Joining the brief were the Asian Pacific American Gun Owners Association, the DC Project Foundation, the Liberal Gun Club, and the National African American Gun Association. 

In our brief, the Knight Institute argued that the social media registration requirement burdened the right of applicants to speak anonymously and to associate privately, and that it would inevitably chill protected speech without any meaningful evidence that it would prevent gun violence. They also argued that the social media registration requirement would invite discrimination, suppress criticism, and open the door for similar requirements in other contexts. On December 8th, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the social media requirement was indeed unconstitutional, and blocked enforcement of this and other CCIA requirements while the case is, now known as Antonyuk v. Chiumento, is litigated. 

Today we claim a share of the victory in our long march to protect the Second Amendment, but the fight is far from over. While Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols et al. has helped win some measure of relief for those affected in New York state, the communities that OBS-PP represents nationwide still face scrutiny for practicing their right to keep bear arms. The fight continues, and we will be there to champion the rights of all peoples. 

Unlike the forces of gun prohibition, Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols is not funded by a New York billionaire. Instead, we depend upon donations from people who believe in our mission to teach the gun curious how to shoot and then to tell the world that we have done so, because armed queers don't get bashed. Please visit our donation page to see how you can help. As we are a 501c3 charity, all donations given before January 1 2024 can be deducted from your 2023 tax returns.

The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. Their aim is to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.

APAGOA was founded in 2021 to create a community of gun owners with an Asian Pacific American Heritage. APAGOA advocates for strong firearms safety, education, and community building initiatives by providing educational materials and other supportive resources to its members and other interested parties.

The DC Project Foundation was founded in 2016 by retired police officer and professional shooting competitor, Dianna Muller. The nationwide, non-partisan organization of women believe that gun rights are women’s rights, and that education, not legislation, is the key to firearms safety and violence prevention. There are over 3000 members.

The Liberal Gun Club was founded to provide a forum and resources for left-of-center firearms owners who are pro-Second Amendment but do not subscribe to the right-wing ideology and rhetoric that is often associated with other Second Amendment groups.

NAAGA was founded in 2015 to defend the Second Amendment rights of members of the African American community. With more than 50,000 members who reside in every state and the District of Columbia, NAAGA’s mission is to establish a fellowship by educating about the rich legacy of gun ownership by African Americans, offering training that supports safe gun use for self-defense and sportsmanship, and advocating for the inalienable right to self-defense for African Americans.

Operation Blazing Sword, Inc. was established in 2016 the day after the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre to advocate on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) firearm owners, with specific emphasis on self-defense. It has over 1,500 volunteer firearm instructors in nearly 1,000 locations across all 50 states. Pink Pistols, founded in 2000 and incorporated into Operation Blazing Sword in 2018, is a shooting society that honors gender and sexual diversity and advocates the responsible use of firearms for self-defense.

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