St. Lawrence County attorney acting ‘of counsel’ in federal gun case
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
CANTON — Oral arguments in Antonyuk v. Bruen were heard in Federal Court on Thursday, Sept. 29, though no decision has been made by Justice Glenn T. Suddaby.
According to County Attorney Steve Button, arguments were heard from attorneys representing New York State, as well as Stephen Stamboulieh, counsel for Gun Owners of America.Button is acting “of counsel”, which is an advisory role to the plaintiff’s attorneys, following approval from the St. Lawrence County Legislature to do so.
According to Button, the majority of the arguments focused on one plaintiff who is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Oswego.
According to Button, Joe Mann, who serves as the pastor of the Fellowship Baptist Church, resides in a parsonage connected to the church and also owns a handgun.
Under the new Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which was passed earlier this summer by state legislators, Mann is currently in violation of the law for carrying a concealed firearm in his church after houses of worship were added to the “sensitive spaces” list.
All churches were deemed “sensitive spaces” under the new laws, which were passed in direct opposition to the Supreme Court overturning a long standing “proper cause” requirement in NYSRPA v. Bruen.
Button also confirmed a significant segment of the arguments focused on new measures that added new application processes and social media disclosure requirements.
Firearm advocates have suggested that disclosing such information is a violation of an individual's First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Gun control advocates have argued that disclosures such as social media profiles may save lives, as many mass shooters in recent years have disseminated posts that many consider to be red flags for potential future violent or extremist behavior.
Defendants named in the case include Albany County, Greene County and Onondaga County, who did not appear in court or oppose the relief, Button said.
No decision has been issued as of yet, though Judge Suddaby said during the hearing a decision will be issued “shortly.”