Federal Judge Strikes Down NYC Gun Licensing Law
A federal judge in New York has struck down the city’s gun control laws that imposed restrictions on firearm licensing, stating that they infringe upon the Second and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge John P. Cronan’s ruling specifically called out the provisions in the city’s gun licensing requirements that allowed for broad discretion by local police to deny firearm licenses based on an applicant’s “good moral character” or “other good cause.” According to Judge Cronan, these broad and unrestrained discretionary standards do not have historical underpinnings in the United States and violate the right to bear arms.
Joseph Srour, the plaintiff in the case, had been denied a rifle and shotgun permit due to prior arrests, a bad driving history, and making false statements. This ruling challenges New York’s strict firearms regulations, which are among the toughest in the nation and have drawn legal challenges from Second Amendment advocacy groups.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen case previously struck down a New York law that required applicants to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a permit to carry a firearm. This prompted New York and other Democrat-led states to tighten their gun laws further, leading to more legal challenges from Second Amendment supporters.
In July 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law aimed at closing “loopholes” in private gun sales and tightening firearm licensing and sales rules. The law also classified private properties as “restricted” areas where carrying a gun was prohibited. Gun rights groups challenged the law, especially the provision that required background checks for ammunition purchases. However, the Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal to overturn this rule.
Critics of the New York law argued that it was unconstitutional and characterized the provision on background checks for ammunition as a misuse of the federal background check system.
Judge Cronan’s decision to strike down New York City’s gun licensing restrictions is seen as a victory for Second Amendment advocates, who argue that such restrictions infringe upon the rights of lawful gun owners. The ruling emphasizes the need for limitations on the broad discretion given to city officials when denying individuals their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. While the right to bear arms is a fundamental part of the U.S. Constitution, the extent of regulation and oversight remains a contentious issue in the United States.