GOA Takes New York To Court Over Gun Ban For Out of State Residents

Schema is an optics-ready minimalist holster designed for subcompact firearms.
The Safariland Schema is an optics-ready minimalist holster designed for subcompact firearms.

Gun Owners of America (GOA) and Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) have teamed up with Carl Higbie of News Max to sue New York State for refusing to issue gun permits to out-of-state residents and for refusing to recognize out-of-state gun licenses.

New York State law makes it virtually impossible for an out-of-state resident to possess a firearm within the Empire State. The law requires a permit for the mere possession of a gun. Under the law, only residents of the State can obtain a license. The New York law against the possession of firearms by people from outside the State is the strictest in the nation. The plaintiffs in the case claim that the New York law violates Americans’ right to keep arms and their right to bear those arms.

“Unsurprisingly, New York’s patently unconstitutional scheme represents an extreme outlier among the 50 states, as Plaintiffs are not aware of any state that similarly has no mechanism for nonresidents to keep or bear arms – by denying nonresidents the ability to apply for permits, by refusing to recognize or grant reciprocity to the out-of-state permits held by nonresidents, and by conditioning mere possession of virtually all firearms on the issuance of an unobtainable permit,” the suit reads. “In contrast, although Connecticut, for example, refuses to recognize other states’ carry licenses, Connecticut allows nonresidents to apply for Connecticut Pistol Permits, should they wish to carry firearms in Connecticut, provided they already have a license to carry from another state. Even California and Hawaii, which do not issue permits to nonresidents, still permit nonresident visitors to transport firearms within the State.”

GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt claims that New York State is thumbing its nose at the Supreme Court by enforcing the law. The State must prove that the current law is consistent with the original text, tradition, and history of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment doesn’t mention permits, so the burden of proof will fall on New York to provide analogues from the founding era.

“The State of New York and its cadre of anti-gun politicians have done everything in their power to weaken and outright ban the Second Amendment within their borders,” Pratt said. “The Supreme Court has made clear that the right to bear arms extends to the public square, and this right is for all Americans, not just those who are residents of individual states.”

If history is any indication, the State will try to use racist Jim Crow laws from the reconstruction period. New York State, in the past, attempted to argue that the founding era was not the ratification date of the Second Amendment. In other cases, New York has argued that the founding era started in 1868 with the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court has rejected that argument in the past.

GOF Board member Sam Paderes points out that the blanket ban on firearms for nonresidents is the only state law that bans out-of-state residents from having any guns at all. He says that the gun rights organizations will make the state fall in line with the Constitution.

“This is the only example nationwide that we can find where an out-of-state resident is completely barred from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, and there’s no doubt the anti-gun legislature in Albany purposely designed it this way,” Paderes said. “We’ve warned these politicians before and we’ll do it again, fall in line on the Second Amendment, or we will make you.”

Judge Glenn Suddaby has been assigned the case. He is the same federal judge who struck down New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).

About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

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