Gun Rights Advocates Sue NYC Over Pistol Licensing Fees

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gun rights advocates have filed a lawsuit against New York City over the application fee to obtain a handgun permit.

The Second Amendment Foundation and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed their lawsuit Tuesday in federal court. They said the fee the city charges to keep a handgun is so high it conflicts with the Second Amendment.

The fee is $340 plus a $94.25 charge for a fingerprint check.

Tom King, president of the state gun group, said government should not place “arbitrary financial constraints” on would-be gun owners.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the mayor supports the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns.

Bloomberg is a gun-control advocate and the founder of a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Do you agree with the plaintiffs? Let us know below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • John Carl Calhoun Jr

    Thank God i live in Florida!!

  • Mike Havenar

    One thing which hasn’t been mentioned is that the suicide rate might rise if handguns were more available to the poor, who do live in some of the most violent neighborhoods, and who are (probably) more depressed. I would be more depressed, I am sure, if I were very poor, unemployed, mate-less, in jail or recently released without meaningful funds or opportunities, unable to find work or afford a place of my own, having to live with relatives who give you keep as an unwelcome duty; or victimized by violent neighbors and needing to be tough enough to defend oneself; ready for violence and even violence-prone, who might be hungry, and without much hope for improvement in either their physical or mental lives. Since the gun is the most-efficient way to do away with oneself (if it is a heart shot,) I do not believe that people don’t often consider suicide, when their situation is or seems to be hopeless. Many consider it for years before finally committing the act; suicide is ever an option, as one goes through cancer, or liver failure, or a brain tumor, the abandonment of a lover, and so on. Especially to many older citizens or simply those of any age who have suffered great loss, of a mate, a sibling, parents, an old friend, death by one’s own hand might seem preferable to all other options, especially after watching it destroy someone we love. Suffering and the prospect of suffering is horrible. Death can appear to be a relief, as it certainly must be. Once one begins considering it–and I believe everyone does) questions then arise about methods: hanging, drowning, overdose, jumping off a bridge, leaping in front of a truck, grabbing the Third Rail, running onto a sword, putting one’s neck on a train track, stabbing oneself in the heart with a big butcher knife, or a gun?
    To me, a gun is the only sensible way; but never shoot yourself in the head. I’ve seen it done. Not only is it a mess usually, sometimes it takes minutes to die, because the heart might still be pumping. I knew a guy who suffocated himself by tying a plastic bag over his head and cuffing himself to some interior bars and tossing away the key! Religions abhor it and Catholics won’t even let you into their cemetery (I was told this) if you had departed by your own hand. God Himself is said to disapprove. However, the only argument of the State against suicide is that legally it is probably self-murder. Not only do the taxpayers have to pay for the emergency services, the life-saving efforts, the coronor’s salary, the clean-up crew, and quite often among the poor, a city burial on Little Brother Island, where 3 million poor people are stacked in coffins eight-high in long rectanglar plots;) a citizen has removed him or herself from the tax rolls without first obtaining the proper permits and so on. A citizen has flaunted the law and escaped jury duty, bankruptcy, lawsuits, criminal proceedings, a horrible deformity, a serious injury, a prison term, cancer, hospital bills, a vengeful neighbor, or the prison-client system. Suicide is a crime. Punishable by what? You can’t haul the dead into Court. But it doesn’t look good, for too many to deliberately send themselves to the Beyond. Our system of government I believe tries to be humane; It is not, of course. But efforts are made. Whoever rules this mess and is in the know, should know, must know, that the best way to prevent suicide is to create a truly just and fair society, to make everyone moderately prosperous, comfortable and secure in their daily lives and occupations; to assure happier lives for all. The State (the ruling class) knows it cannot make people happier; to make them happier would be to make them more prosperous, and this would require a vast re-distribution of property and resources. The rich would become less-rich. Our “values” as individuals and as a Nation would need to change. No, we cannot keep people from killing themselves because they are depressed. We cannot build them affordable housing, we cannot assure them meaningful work, we cannot give them free health care, we cannot make the prison system more sane and humane, and we cannot send them to school free. Many who see their situation as hopeless and desperate might resort to suicide, but we cannot make it easier for them by letting them buy hand guns. And there is the argument of course that many might become armed robbers, since they have the highest “crime rate.”
    I believe the State, or the City or whoever, tries to prevent suicide–after all it is ultimately a threat to the State–if about a hundred thousand of us did away with ourselves all at once, there would be fewer taxes, fewer sales taxes, fewer tolls-paid, less consumption, swollen inventories, inflation; the works. (Invest in mortuaries, cemetaries, and funeral homes.) Higher fees deny guns to those most-likely to off themselves. It would be a disgrace, if the suicide rate among the poor were too high…on the other hand, it might be a subtle means of populations control. Prices at supermarkets and other businesses are higher in poor neighborhoods. A rash of suicides made possible by reduced fees for buying handguns would affect business in poor places; poor neighborhoods, poor towns, poor cities. (On the free market side of the equation, some entrepreneur might start up a Suicide Prevention business, if the fee is reduced or abolished. “Call Us Before You Kill Yourself”) So I think the fees should stay high. We don’t want a lot of suicides (or armed robberies) in the poor communities, where people are (probably) more depressed. Or an armed revolution either.
    Another viewpoint.

    • Tory II, Illinois

      Japan has the fewest guns and the most suicides.

  • Bob

    Since when does Bloomberg support anyone’s right to own a gun? He’s one of the worst potential gun grabbers in the world.

  • Michael H.

    As a self professed liberal even I can agree that the fee placed on the permit application to own a pistol, rifle or shotgun *IN YOUR HOME* is completely absurd. Not to mention this fee is non-refundable should you be denied the right to have such a weapon in your home. Why should I have to pay to exercise my right as an American to defend my life, the lives of my family and our home?

  • Aristides

    This represents a severe civil rights violation. The 14th Amendment was drafted to ensure that citizens within states would receive equal treatment under the law, including equal protection of the rights and privileges of citizenship. A primary reason for this was that many Southern States were placing restrictions on ownership of guns by blacks. This placed them at a strong disadvantage when it comes to protecting their lives, liberty, and property. The amendment was intended to ensure that these citizens would have the same right of self-protection as any others. Individuals have a natural right to defend themselves and, by logical extension, to possess the means of such defense. Placing an exorbitant fee on gun ownership has the practical effect of limiting gun ownership only to the wealthy. This will have a disproportionate impact on blacks and other minorities, who tend to have lower average salaries. Poor people, of any color, also tend to live in the most dangerous areas and are, thus, in even greater need of the means of defense. Under New York’s law, any such people who choose to arm themselves against danger, in defiance of the unjust regulation, will be treated as common criminals and placed in cages (probably for unreasonable periods of time, due to mandatory sentencing laws). Free people do not need to ask permission to exercise a basic right. On the contrary, the full burden should be on the State to show just cause for infringing any individual’s rights.

  • fred

    This is a clear down state anti 2nd amendment ploy on dictating how new yorkers should live. Remember Upstate ny pistol permit holders cannot carry their firearm to nyc. Evidently Down state must be the only true new yorkers

    • Aardvark

      Actually, “Downstaters” such as those of us on Long Island do not have the right either. Only an NYC permit or a state permit endorsed for NYC is valid. Conversely, an NYC permit is not valid outside NYC either.

      • Fred

        So if “the Facts” is telling us the truth NYC does supersede the rest of the state. Why do you think New York is in such a bind? Down state politicians concerned only about their power base have driven us to being some of the most taxed people in the US. But we can solve some of this problem by registering bicycles and banning happy meals.

      • The Facts

        A New York City Police Department pistol license is valid statewide.

  • old_new_englander

    Given the tremendous costs that firearms place upon society, and the lack of any connection between an increased number of handguns and rates of violent crime (except that stolen weapons are a prime source of arms for criminals), this fee seems eminently reasonable. Those who want to possess firearms in one of the most densely-populated areas of the country should bear some of the cost.

    • TNowicki

      You claim that there is no conection between increased numbers of leagally owned guns and violent crime, you apparently did not do any research on this subject. Please read “More Guns Less Crime” by John Lott. He approaches this subject from a neutral point of view and has himself researched this subject extensivly. Read the book and see if you still agree with your statement,

    • The Facts

      The violent crime rate is far lower in areas where most law abiding residents are armed.

    • Tory II, Illinois

      I agree. Can you inform the armed criminals about your suggestion ?

  • Tito

    I wonder if there are statistics available as to what percentage of handgun carry permits are denied, exclusive of law enforcement. I would bet it is very high. That’s more of an issue than the fee.

    • The Facts

      Under the Sullivan Law, in effect since the early 1900s, New York is a “may issue” rather than a “shall issue” state with respect to pistol carry licenses. Most retired New York City police officers can get one. This is not necessarily the case for all former law enforcement who cannot prove sufficient need.

  • rick

    The Mayor’s spokesman is really full of it. Bloomberg is a rabid anti gunner. The fee is just one more way of denying the right to bear arms to law abiding citizens.

    • The Facts

      In anticipation of this lawsuit the mayor asked the city council to reduce the fee. The council refused to do so. Some council members cited the poor state of city finances at this time as their reason. Under state law the city council gets to set the fee for city residents.

  • Cos

    As one who had to pay about the same outrageous fee for my rifle permit, I do agree that this fee does hinder the efforts of those wanting to own either a rifle or a handgun. I’m a firm believer that it is EVERYONE’s right to defend themselves. As long as the persons are not mentally ill or convicted of any previous (violent) crimes… Jumping a turnstile in a subway when they were 16 I don’t consider a violent crime or a reason for them not to own when they grow up!

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