How Does New York City
Get Away With This?

By Stephen P. Halbrook. July 26, 2020

"Under New York law, it is a crime to possess a firearm," held the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in U.S. v. Sanchez-Villar (2004). This ruling was based on the state's ban on the possession of an unlicensed handgun. This Court also said that police officers who see a gun are "justified in seizing it because of its 'immediately apparent' incriminating character." This prohibition did not offend the Second Amendment, said this ruling, because "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right."

Later rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court—D.C. v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010)—begged to differ. These rulings held that the right to possess a gun is indeed a constitutional—and therefore fundamental—right. But the Second Circuit must not have gotten the memo, because in 2018 it upheld New York City's ban on taking a licensed handgun out of one's house to go to a range or second home outside the City.

A police official claimed doing that would endanger public safety. How? They claimed that a person who the police extensively vetted for the license might, alas, get road rage and somehow get access to their unloaded, locked and inaccessible handgun while traveling. That flimsy, insulting allegation somehow overrode the Second Amendment.

But, when the U.S. Supreme Court said it would review that decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA) v. City of New York, the City, fearing an embarrassing loss, quickly tweaked the law and told the Court the case was moot. .....

"Nothing has changed since 1911 when Marino Rossi carried a pistol for protection against the Black Hand, for which he was sentenced to a year in prison. New York's assurances that it will protect you and you don't "need" a gun for protection are worthless. " (In the current climate of restricted policing, this is more relevant than ever).


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