Legal Reference

They will take your gun away from you for jay walking in NYC

No guys for jaywalkers in New York City

I wonder if you can be kept from owning a gun for jaywalking in NYC?

I guess that doesn't matter but the reason the founders passed the 2nd Amendment was to keep tyrants like these government rulers in NYC from flushing the Constitution down the toilet like they are doing here.


Bad Driver? In Debt? Proposed NYC Law Would Ban You From Owning a Gun

By Diane Macedo

Published October 26, 2010

New York hasn't even passed proposed amendments to the city's gun restrictions, but the proposal is already facing legal scrutiny.

New York City residents who want to own a gun may soon be denied permits if they are litterbugs, if they are bad drivers, or if they have fallen behind on a few bills.

Under proposed revisions to the police department's handgun, rifle and shotgun permit procedures, the NYPD can reject gun license applicants for a number of reasons, including:

If they have been arrested or convicted of almost any "violation," in any state; having a "poor driving history"; having been fired for "circumstances that demonstrate lack of good judgment"; having "failed to pay legally required debts"; being deemed to lack "good moral character"; or if any other information demonstrates "other good cause for the denial of the permit."

Critics say many of the restrictions are vague, have nothing to do with one's fitness to own a gun and are unconstitutional.

Supporters say the new restrictions will make gun purchasing more efficient and don't give the NYPD any more power than it already has.

According to a Report of the Governmental Affairs Division, the changes came about as the result of two recent Supreme Court decisions.

"In District of Columbia v. Heller the Court found that a District of Columbia law banning the possession of handguns in the home was invalid due to the rights conferred by the Second Amendment; in McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ill., the Court applied that right equally to the States," the report says.

As result, Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., chairman of the Public Safety Committee, introduced a proposal to lower the city's fees for gun permits to ones that more accurately reflect what the city spends to issue them.

"Now the fees are going to be much less and they're going to have a relationship to the amount of administrative costs that are involved, and in that way it will withstand the Constitution and the court challenge that most people expect will be coming down the road," Vallone told

The current $340 fee for all pistol licenses would be lowered to $70 for a premises license and $110 for a carry license. Rifle and shotgun permits would drop from $140 to $65. Costs for license renewals would also be significantly reduced.

With the lower fees, the New York Police Department also introduced revisions to the police department's gun permit procedures, which, unlike Vallone's bill, need only approval from the mayor's office, not the City Council.

"Although I do have oversight capability and I can have a hearing on it, I don't have any formal say in it," Vallone said.

Councilmember Dan Halloran says those revisions are intended to give the police more power to deny licenses, which could counter a possible spike in gun ownership triggered by the lower fees.

But Halloran and Vallone say the proposed restrictions give the NYPD so much authority that they violate the Second Amendment.

"The disqualification categories are downright scary. They're completely open to interpretation and they really don't measure anybody's fitness to own a gun," Halloran told

He pointed to a restriction stating applicants can be denied if they've "been arrested, indicted or convicted for a crime or violation, except minor traffic violations."

"So now the city can deny a permit for a building code violation, a sanitation ticket for failing to sweep the sidewalk … an array of non-criminal acts," Halloran said.

Another troublesome restriction, Halloran said, is one that allows permit denial if "the applicant has failed to pay legally required debts such as child support, taxes, fines or penalties imposed by governmental authorities."

"So people who are in foreclosure, or have credit card judgments, maybe filed bankruptcy, can now be legally denied," he said.

Applicants can also be denied, under the new restrictions, if they've "been terminated from employment under circumstances that demonstrate lack of good judgment or lack of good moral character."

"It seems to me it's more of an application to be pope than to be a gun owner," Vallone said. "I don't know anyone who would pass this thing. Anyone who has ever tried marijuana or has a bad driving history, lost a job regarding a lack of judgment – those are ridiculous criteria for gun ownership."

But Jason Post, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office, said nothing in the proposal gives police a power they don't already have.

"The revisions will make the application process more efficient and give more clarity to applicants for gun licenses," Post told in an e-mail.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, agreed, saying the changes appear to be a "fleshing out" of existing gun restrictions, and not an expansion of them.

"I think it's a good faith attempt by New York City authorities to make sure that their restrictions comply with the Constitution standards that the Supreme Court's adopted over the last two years," he told

While some restrictions, like paying legally required debts, may seem irrelevant to critics, Helmke says they are not.

"Child support, taxes, fines and governmental penalties I think are legitimate things. Basically, if someone's not complying with what the government requires of somebody, that's usually a sign that you can't trust them to follow the rules with something like a gun," he said.

As for whether the rule could apply to failure to pay a cable TV bill, as Halloran implied, Helmke said, "I think he's stretching it there."

Halloran said the biggest problem is that the rules are open to that kind of interpretation, and he pointed to the clause that reads that applicants can be denied for failure "to provide information requested by the License Division or required by this chapter" or "other information demonstrates an unwillingness to abide by the law, a lack of candor towards lawful authorities, a lack of concern for the safety of oneself and/or other persons and/or for public safety, and/or other good cause for the denial of the license," as the most obvious example.

"Could this be any more vague and open ended?" he asked. "Ask yourself, would any other constitutional right be subject to such vagaries? Imagine these requirements put to be eligible to vote, to have a lawyer, to be secure in your person or possessions, your right to a jury."

Former federal prosecutor and constitutional law expert Douglas Burns said that while the Heller and McDonald cases allow guns to be regulated closely, New York's proposal has some legal issues.

"If left unchanged, I think there could be some problems in court with it," Burns told in an e-mail.

With a few adjustments, though, the proposal could be made to stand up in court, he said.

"I think like any proposed amendments, it has to be fine-tuned -- you can't leave in "violations other than traffic" because under NYS law a violation is not a criminal offense, so I think that's a problem. Also, as I said, the debt payment and job-firing language has to be fine-tuned; it is too broad.... I think the legislator does raise some valid concerns."

The council is due to vote on the price changes, which are expected to pass, and to advise the police department on the restriction changes Wednesday.

Should the department decide to go forward with the proposed changes, Vallone says he is "seriously considering having an oversight hearing on this topic"

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.


Mayor Slashes Permit Prices But Increases Gun Provisions

One of Mayor Bloomberg's major criticisms of the Tea Party movement is that they don't stand for any issues, unlike him. Bloomberg has made gun control one of the major cornerstones of his administration, which is why many people were confused when he decided to slash the cost of obtaining a gun permit, cutting the price from $340 to between $25 and $110. “We want to be in compliance with the law…so that we don’t want to lose the ability to have reasonable controls. If we have controls that the courts have ruled too onerous or too unfair, we could lose the whole thing,” Bloomberg explained, referring to the Supreme Court throwing out gun laws in Chicago and Washington.

Even so, the cost cutting makes some NYers very gun-shy: “Yeah, that’s too low, too low. Twenty, 30 years ago it was more than that,” said gun owner Charles Hu. “If a New Yorker were to sue the water board tomorrow, I don’t think the city would rush to reduce water rates. So I just think we’re sending the wrong message here,” said City Councilman Erik Dilan. But just because the permits will be cheaper, doesn't mean it'll necessarily be easier to get a gun, thanks to those aforementioned "reasonable controls."

Under proposed revisions to the police department's handgun, rifle and shotgun permit procedures, the NYPD can reject gun license applicants for an absurdly varied amount of reasons: If they have been arrested or convicted of almost any "violation," in any state; having a "poor driving history"; having been fired for "circumstances that demonstrate lack of good judgment"; having "failed to pay legally required debts"; being deemed to lack "good moral character"; or if any other information demonstrates "other good cause for the denial of the permit." The permit price cuts are subterfuge to sneak the true loophole in the holster: if they don't want you to have a gun, then you will not get one legally in NYC anymore. Someone will not be getting a Christmas Card from the NRA this year.