Lawsuit Against NY’s SAFE Act Dismissed

New York Libertarians lose first battle in pistol permit challenge

A federal court last week dismissed a lawsuit brought by a number of New York residents backed by a county Libertarian party over the state’s restrictive handgun permitting rules.

The challenge, brought by seven New Yorkers and the Libertarian Party of Erie County, was a constitutional claim against the state’s century-old firearm laws on both Second and 14th Amendment grounds. In a nutshell, the claimants argued the state did not have the authority to require licenses to possess a handgun. The court, in a decision by Chief Judge Frank Paul Geraci Jr., a 2013 nomination by President Obama, disagreed with the gun advocates’ argument.

“While NYS’s firearms licensing laws implicate the core Second Amendment right, they do not substantially burden it,” said Geraci, going on to say, “The licensing laws place no more than ‘marginal, incremental, or even appreciable restraint on the right to keep and bear arms.’”

The suit, brought in 2015, argued there are a number of unconstitutional roadblocks to obtaining a handgun in the Empire State — chief among these being the Sullivan Act. The law, one of the first gun control statutes in the nation, dates back to 1911 and requires anyone desiring a firearm small enough to be concealed to obtain a license. Among the plaintiffs in the case, some held that such licenses can be elusive, with applicants often waiting years or denied outright.


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