A.G. Schneiderman Wins Major Court Victory In Defense Of State Gun Safety Laws
Federal Court Rules Individuals Do Not Have Constitutional Right to Carry a Concealed Handgun in Public
Schneiderman: My Office Will Aggressively Defend Our State’s Gun Laws To Ensure All New Yorkers Are Safe And Secure
WHITE PLAINS – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has won a major court victory in defense of New York State’s gun safety laws. In a decision in the case of Kachalsky, et al. v. Cacace, et al, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York rejected a constitutional challenge to New York's handgun licensing statute, ruling that individuals do not have a constitutional right to carry a concealed handgun in public.
“Every day, my office fights to ensure all New Yorkers are safe and secure in their communities,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This means ensuring that our state’s gun laws are protected and vigorously enforced. This federal court decision is a victory for New York State law, the United States Constitution, and families across New York who are rightfully concerned about the scourge of gun violence that all too often plagues our communities.”
"This is a major victory for the public safety of all New Yorkers,” said Jackie Hilly, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for vigorously defending the state's gun laws that clearly indicate that individuals have no constitutional right to carry dangerous, concealed weapons in public. For law enforcement officers and communities across this state, this decision means fewer deaths and injuries - it's that simple."
"This critical decision protects New York's right to decide the conditions under which a concealed weapon may be carried,” said Richard M. Aborn, President of Citizens Crime Commission of New York City. “As a result of Attorney General Schneiderman’s aggressive defense of our state’s gun laws, our communities will be safer and more secure."
In Kachalsky, et al. v. Cacace, et al, five individual plaintiffs residing in Westchester County, and one organization, the Second Amendment Foundation, Inc., argued that the “proper cause” provision of the New York law governing the issuance of licenses to carry concealed handguns in public violates their rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as defined in two recent landmark decisions by the United States Supreme Court, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The “proper cause” provision requires a license applicant to show “a special need for self protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”
The defendants in this case, four State Court judges who also serve as "licensing officers" under the New York statute, were represented by Attorney General Schneiderman’s office, which argued that the "proper cause" provision of the New York law did not violate the Second Amendment as described by the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald. Judge Cathy Seibel agreed, ruling that the Second Amendment provides the right to keep arms for the purpose of self defense in the home, but does not extend to a right to carry concealed handguns in public.
The judge further ruled that even if the Second Amendment were read to cover such a right, the New York "proper cause" provision passes constitutional muster under the Heller and McDonald rulings because the law is substantially related to important governmental interests, namely the promotion of public safety and the prevention of crimes perpetrated with concealed handguns. Judge Seibel also ruled that the "proper cause" provision does not violate the Equal Protection clause of the constitution because it does not discriminate against handgun license applicants.
Accordingly, Judge Seibel granted the State defendants' motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the plaintiffs' case in its entirety.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Monica Connell and Anthony Tomari under the supervision of Bruce McHale, Deputy Bureau Chief of the New York City Litigation Bureau.