‘Sensitive places’ provision in NY pistol permit law irks Jewish leaders
Some Rockland County religious leaders are contesting a ban on carrying guns in “sensitive places,” which include houses of worship.
Tzvi Waldman, the founder of the New York State Jewish Gun Club, says that provision in the state’s pistol permit law “is going to create more disaster.”
"We should be able to protect ourselves," he told News 12.
Waldman's club just retained a civil rights attorney to challenge the law and is asking others to join the fight. He says synagogues should be able to let licensed civilians carry guns in case of an attack.
In 2018, 11 people were killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. In 2019, a stabbing attack at the home of a Monsey rabbi killed one and injured four others.
"The average Orthodox Jew spends up to 20 hours a week in shul (synagogue). So for us, not being able to be protected in shul means more than the average person who goes to church once a week," he said.
Pastor Jesse Stevenson of Revive Church of Rockland County, shares some of Waldman's views and referenced the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
"What happens if we run into a police officer who does not want to involve himself?” he asked. “Why then would it not be necessary for someone who is licensed to carry?"
The Department of Criminal Justice Services responded to these concerns, saying, “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.”
Waldman says some large houses of worship might be able to arrange and pay for that kind of security but is concerned about the smaller ones popping up all over Rockland County.
News 12 reached out to several state lawmakers who voted for the law with questions just on the “sensitive locations” provision as it relates to places of worship. They either did not respond or declined comment.