Advocates File Lawsuit to Block NYC Carry Permit Law

A group of firearms rights advocates filed a lawsuit against New York City on Wednesday seeking to stop the city from enforcing its longstanding requirement that permit applicants show “proper cause” to carry a gun.

The case was filed following last month’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down New York State’s permit law requiring citizens to prove they have a need to carry a gun that satisfies a government bureaucrat.

The plaintiffs in the case are the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition Inc., and five private New York City citizens. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and names Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in his official capacity as a defendant along with the city.

The Supreme Court issued its ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen on June 23 that the New York state law requiring proper cause for obtaining an unrestricted carry license violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

The 6-3 majority decision in Bruen was written by Justice Clarence Thomas. In his comprehensive opinion, Thomas made it clear that the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to carry a handgun outside of the home for self-defense. Thomas explained that federal courts should only uphold gun control laws when there is “a tradition of such regulation in U.S. history.”

Second Amendment Foundation executive vice president Alan M. Gottlieb said that after the declaration that the state’s “good cause” mandate is unconstitutional, his group felt compelled to legally challenge the city’s requirement.

He said two of the plaintiffs had previously held carry permits in New York City for many years but were denied renewals in 2020 because they did not have “proper cause.”

Gottlieb added that the city’s rule that is more than a century old is a “restrictive and completely arbitrary regulation. He said the lawsuit is necessary, even though citizens should “not have to drag the city kicking and screaming into the 21st Century” to comply with the Constitution and the new Supreme Court ruling.

He noted that New Jersey and California issued directives to law enforcement to stop enforcing “good cause” requirements after the Bruen ruling, but New York City has refused to come into compliance. Gottlied said his group “promised to take action if we found local governments refusing to comply with the court’s decision.”