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Great News

The Second Circuit has ruled that a person has a clear liberty interest in carrying a firearm, and that there are due process interests within the permitting process. At issue would seem to be the claim that the permitting process couldn’t repeatedly demand proof of citizenship (you had to do it to get the permit, so what’s the need to do it repeatedly?). Also it would appear to hinge that the delays are unnecessary and don’t serve any compelling state interest.

Dave Hardy adds, “Amazing how this legal field has turned around in a year or two.” This is a big deal, because this is going to play very much against the City of New York’s entire system of licensing even ownership of firearms, and New York State is part of the Second Circuit. It might be that the courts will allow licensing of the right to own a gun, much like they’ve done with the right to marry, but with significant judicial oversight as to what’s allowed and what’s not. They will only be able to do what is needed to determine your qualification, and nothing more. They won’t be able to put in requirements intended to frustrate the ownership or carrying of firearms.

Ideally, I’d like there to be no licensing, and that’s entirely possible to achieve, but even the allowing of a relatively easy and unobtrusive licensing provision would be a major weakening of the licensing regime for the most restrictive states, to the point where I’m not sure how many jurisdictions are going to bother with them. The entire point of licensing was to frustrate people from exercising their rights. If they can no longer do that, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the requirement start to become viewed as arcane, and for it to be politically easier to remove them entirely. That’s actually been able to happen in a few states that had relatively meaningless permit requirements, namely Missouri and Nebraska. North Carolina also has such a permit, but we’ve not gotten much traction on that issue there, largely because North Carolina has been swelling with population fleeing the northeast and maintaining their voting habits from back home. But the precedent is there.

Is the Sullivan Act appealing once its primary purpose of frustrating the right is no longer served? We might find out.

11 Responses to “Great News”

  1. Amazing news. If other circuits rule similarly, this could spell the end of “May Issue” laws as well as Sullivan style laws which actively discourage applicants.

  2. bombloader says:

    This only applies to the 2nd though. Next step is have somebody challenge CA’s law, for example, and possibly get a circuit split so it ends up in SCOTUS. Or maybe we’ll get lucky and all of the circuits will go with this.

  3. Get this out of the 2nd, and it’ll be huge for NJ, too.

  4. Sean Sorrentino says:

    I think that NC also allows you to end run around the permit from the local sheriff requirement by waving your concealed license at the guy behind the counter.

  5. HeavenlySword says:

    I don’t see it happening… its going to be like DC, where they are going to fight tooth and nail to keep registration and keep it as much of a pain in the ass as possible

  6. Sebastian says:

    Well, so far DC is able to keep it a pain in the ass because the courts haven’t told them they can’t.

  7. rkh says:

    I’ve lived in CT and gone through their pistol permitting process. When I was there, the speed at which applications were processed depended on the city in which the applicant lived. I was in Hartford–among the slowest of all CT cities.

    Despite the state law requriring a determination to be made within 8 months, it took almost a year to process my application.

    I’m glad to now live in a free state.

  8. JPD says:

    Just one more reason why I am confident that our Constitutional freedoms will prevail…..one case at a time….”Hope and Change” seems to fit the Northeast gun owners today…:)

  9. Ian Argent says:

    What Elmo said – since it would pretty much require that NJ follow the statutory requirement of “issue within 30 days, period” that is repeatedly and routinely flouted – last noted here in http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2009/10/29/nj-superior-court-ruling-on-gun-permits/

    I would LOVE the 2nd Circuit to reply to “we do not believe the Legislature could have intended that a person who is unfit to own a firearm would be able to obtain a firearms purchaser permit based on such an automatic approval.” with “too bad, that’s what the Legislature wrote!” with a footnote of “Twin-linked, FOOL!”

  10. Steve says:

    Just a clarification for anyone that reads this thread, rkh above meant 8 ‘weeks’ for a determination as per CT statute.

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