Seventeen states are backing three New York City gun owners in a suit against the city’s prohibitive gun laws, which state that the permit requirements drastically restrict the ability to leave one’s premises with a firearm, is unconstitutional, Guns.com reports. The goal is to get the case before the Supreme Court.
The coalition of states alleges that NYC’s “premises permit” scheme, in which permit holders are licensed to have handguns in their residence or business but can only take them to a shooting range inside the city or go hunting, is unconstitutional. Those that have filed suit hold that the permit requirements prevent them from engaging in basic freedoms covered by the Second Amendment, such as taking their gun to a range in another city, to a second home elsewhere in the state, or to a shooting competition.
“The restrictive policies memorialized in New York City’s ‘premises permit’ scheme unduly burdens the Second Amendment rights held by all Americans,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who leads the group of states that filed on behalf of the initial three gun owners, Romolo Colantone, Efrain Alvarez, and Jose Anthony Irizar, told Guns.com. “Criminalizing travel with a securely stored firearm creates an imbalance in our federal system that weighs against lawful exercise of the Second Amendment inside and outside of New York City.”
The other Attorney Generals that have rallied behind the cause hail from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The governors of Mississippi and Kentucky have also joined the fight.
Guns.com reports that two other briefs have been filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by law enforcement lobby groups spearheaded by the Western States Sheriffs’ Association and a variety of gun rights groups to include Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners Foundation, The Heller Foundation, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, and Restoring Liberty Action Committee.
The suit began in 2014, when Colantone, Alvarez, and Irizarry, alongside the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, argued that the draconian laws forcing law-abiding gun owners to leave their firearms behind in unoccupied dwellings or at their businesses for extended periods of time if they are out of town or at another residence, the story reads. Additionally, the plaintiffs contend that they are forced to pay exorbitant fees at the city’s limited ranges, most of which are private clubs.
U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet, a President Jimmy Carter appointee, rejected the case in 2015. This was reinforced in February, when a panel for the 2nd U.S. Circuit held that the restrictions on-premises licenses do not violate the Second Amendment, guns.com reports. The panel’s opinion stated that the license holders could purchase additional guns for additional homes or places of business, making the transport prohibition null. They found that the increased cost of range time was also a non-issue, as they were still available for use locally, and they argued that guns could be borrowed for shooting competitions outside the city.