About the Plantiff Leslie Leman
Plaintiff Leslie Leman is a U.S. citizen and resident of New York, residing in Greene County and is a member of Gun Owners of America, Inc. See Declaration of Leslie Leman, Plaintiff Leman is a law-abiding person and currently possesses an unrestricted New York carry permit since 2012. He is eligible to possess and carry firearms in the State of New York, and has met all qualifications for licensure, including having good moral character.
Plaintiff Leman is a volunteer firefighter, meaning he is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This usually means that he is going about his normal daily routines when he could receive a call. If he were to receive a call to respond, he has no “opportunity to go home, to change clothes, or as relevant here, to disarm and stow [his] firearm. This means that there are times that [he has] responded to an emergency call while armed.”
Plaintiff Leman has responded to calls at multiple locations that the CCIA now declares to be “sensitive locations.” Additionally, Plaintiff Leman responds to private property now deemed a “restricted location.”
The Catskills Park surrounds Plaintiff Leman’s town, and he has often responded to calls for assistance in that park. There is no exception for him to carry there or even drive with a firearm there during an emergency call, and he would be liable for a felony if he, as a first responder, responded to an emergency situation while armed.
Plaintiff Leman would have to waste precious time in disarming himself according to the CCIA while responding to a call. Plaintiff Leman cannot at all times comply with the CCIA while responding to emergency calls.
Plaintiff Leman also responds to house and structure fires, and renders aid. Plaintiff Leman states it would be “absurd” to have to “ask a family, standing in their pajamas in knee-deep snow, to provide [him] with their ‘express consent’ to carry [his] firearm prior to entering their home to put out a fire or to provide lifesaving medical care. Indeed, that is the absolute last thing [he is] thinking of in this sort of situation.”
Because the Catskills Park surrounds Plaintiff Leman’s town, he is often not able to respond to a call without traversing part of the park, and thus being in violation of the CCIA while armed. His only option would be to return home and leave his firearm at home.
Plaintiff Leman does not accept the State of New York’s command to disarm before rendering life-saving aid. Thus, he intends to continue carrying his firearm and going about his daily life, including as a firefighter, which will put him in violation of the CCIA as he responds to calls.
Because he intends to engage in “constitutionally-protected acts which are now made unlawful under the CCIA” he also faces “a credible threat of prosecution, as my specific intentions are now made public through this filing.”
First Deputy Superintendent Steven Nigrelli of the New York State Police has already threatened individuals like Plaintiff Leman with a “zero tolerance” policy of arrest for violation of the CCIA. Additionally, Plaintiff Leman has an increased risk because of his routine interaction with the police, because it is typical that he responds to emergencies along with police officers, including members of his team, local law enforcement, and New York State Police.
Plaintiff Leman also runs a small hotel/bed and breakfast in this district. His business caters to guests from all over New York, the United States, and around the world.
Plaintiff Leman states that his now “restricted location” hotel would have to post signage to allow guests to carry, because “person-by-person ‘express consent’” is impractical to give to each visitor.
He further states that the CCIA requires him to engage in compelled speech to continue to provide services to those who bring their firearms to his hotel, and that if he refuses to be compelled to speak, he will lose the business of gun owners who lawfully travel with their firearms.
Most of his customers, though, come from the southern part of the State, including New York City, Long Island, and northern New Jersey. He states that the majority of these customers hold views unaccepting of firearm ownership and bearing arms in public. Therefore, he states, if he posts a sign allowing concealed carry, he will lose business from customers that do not share that view.
“In other words,” he states, “the CCIA politicizes our business against our wishes, forcing us to a Hobson’s choice between groups of customers and, no matter which option we choose, we will lose business.”
Plaintiff Leman had further intended to apply for a New York State wine and beer license but, under the CCIA, that would automatically trigger his business to be a “sensitive location” where he would not even be able to possess firearms on his own property. The CCIA thus forces him to the choice to either keep a firearm in his home or operate his business.
Plaintiff Leman is trapped in his small town, as he cannot leave without entering the park surrounding his town, with a firearm, even if the firearm is unloaded, locked and stored in a trunk because there is no exception for travel in the CCIA.
Plaintiff Leman is aggrieved by the CCIA, which reverts to the previous New York policies which led to N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. City of New York, 140 S. Ct. 1525 (2020), where the plaintiff was unable even to take his firearm from his home to the shooting range. In response to the Supreme Court agreeing to hear that case, New York state changed the law, in order to moot the matter and avoid a loss, but New York has revived this policy on a statewide level.
In any event, and “left with no reasonable choice,” Plaintiff Leman intends to “bring [his] firearm when [he] leave[s] home to travel outside of Windham, New York, which will take [him] through state parkland, in violation of the CCIA.”