Is It *Really* Impossible To Get A Gun License in NYC? (Part VIII — Appeal to N.Y. High Court)

This is the eighth installment of a series documenting an ordinary New Yorker attempting to exercise his Second Amendment rights: Part I (license application), Part II (application rejected),Part III (the lawsuit), Part IV (appeal filed), Part V (appellate briefing complete), Part VI (N.Y. Appeals Court Not Interested in Ending NYPD Corruption), Part VII (Corruption? You Can’t Prove It!).


Motion for Leave to Appeal to N.Y. Court of AppealsThe U.S. Supreme Court has made pretty clear that a “total ban” on any particular gun right is unconstitutional.  They seem to be pretty clear that it doesn’t matter whether the total ban is only on the carrying of weapons, or on all ownership, or even on certain classes of weapons.  No total bans.

But, what is a “total ban?”  According to the appellate court that denied my appeal last month, “New York’s handgun licensing scheme does not impose any blanket or near-total ban on gun ownership and possession.”  But if an ordinary citizen with no criminal record is denied a license, denied an administrative appeal, denied a court petition, and denied an appeal of that denial, how does that not amount to a total ban for me and for every other ordinary citizen with no criminal record?  What, exactly, would the state have to do to have a “total ban” in the eyes of N.Y. Supreme Court, Appellate Division?

Yesterday I asked the highest court in the state, the N.Y. Court of Appeals, to settle the matter.  The court appears to have passed on pretty much every gun licensing case sent its way since the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2008 that gun ownership is an individual right that requires no militia membership, and clarified in 2010 that the Second Amendment applies to the states.  The Court of Appeals’ failure to consider the issue in about a decade, after important changes in constitutional law at the federal level, have resulted in a patchwork of decisions from the trial and appellate courts, all of which have invented their own rules.

Appealing to the high court of New York is actually a pleasant experience compared to New York’s intermediate appellate court, which requires 8 copies of every document with special tape binding, a PDF version with digital bookmarks, and a $315 fee, among other weird requirements.  And it’s a daydream compared to the U.S. Supreme Court, which requires 40 copies (!!) of everything, a $300 filing fee, and a garbage bag (really).  The Court of Appeals requires only 7 copies (double-sided ok), a $45 filing fee, and no choice of drawstring or twist-tie.

In the meantime, the federal criminal trials of several officers in the NYPD’s Licensing Division for taking bribes in exchange for gun licenses continues.  One officer has pled guilty and is testifying on behalf of the feds:

David Villanueva, an ex-supervisor in the NYPD’s License Division, said he and other cops — including officers Richard Ochetel and Robert Espinel and Lt. Paul Dean — were on the take for years from so-called gun expeditors.

In exchange, the officers doled out pistol permits like candy — even to people who should not have had them, Villanueva said.

One expeditor, he said, may have had ties to organized crime. Another got help with 100 gun permits over the years — “none” of which should have been approved.

Source: New York Post

Here’s to hoping that while the Court of Appeals clarifies New York law, it also takes up my invitation to end the corruption in the Licensing Division.

Corbett v. City of New York IV – Motion for Leave to Appeal (.pdf)

19 thoughts on “Is It *Really* Impossible To Get A Gun License in NYC? (Part VIII — Appeal to N.Y. High Court)

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  1. Good luck on the appeal. I often wonder what ever happens to all those idealists that go through law school. Don’t they ever become judges? Why are 90% of our state judges legal tyrants and baboons?

    1. I wish Judges and such would go back and read the history of the 2nd and why it was included to begin with. Trying to twist it into what they want instead of what it is only supports Roland’s claim of tyrants and baboons. I’d also add idiot to the list. Law school or not, far to many are idiots.

  2. I live in NY and I am so sick and tired about all the crime that goes on here and we are defenseless. We are not allowed to defend our selves, our women are being raped, our grand parents are being punched to death by thieves that want their wallet.

    The mentally I’ll are not being supervised or medicated, so this cities mentality is to let the wolves loose , once they attack a Sheep “Citizen” then we jail them.

    Wait, let me get this right. You make it your business not to allow us to defend ourselves then let the insane run loose? Thugs, rapist, etc.

    Are police officers lives the only ones that matter? Are police and law enforcement families the only ones that have a member of the family to protect them?

    What can I do to protect myself against someone who is coming at me or my family with a 10″ butcher knife and is 6’5 350lbs ? Do I ask the attacker for a time out so I can call the police? Really? How selfish can these politicians be, how selfish can these judges be?

    Law enforcement and judges, if we all depended on police to save us, we would all be dead like so many that have been killed and police was never around. 911 is bullchit and a false sense of security for the public.

    To the highest courts, Honor your Oath “Constitution” and grant good standing citizens to carry, it is our rights given to us by the founders or America.

  3. You’ve been at this for more than a year and meanwhile you, unlike many other applicants, do not have a firearm.

    It’s not that hard: you fill out the form. You answer all the questions. You have a pleasant interview. Then you get your home or business premises license.

    If anyone has interfered with your gun rights, it is you.

  4. And I want a townhouse in the West Village, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. SCOTUS is generally happy with letting circuit court rulings stand against any “right” to carry concealed, which Heller does not grant.

    If you want a gun in NYC, you can have a gun. You simply choose not to have one. Any talk about how NY laws interfere with your right to gun ownership after 8 posts and more than a year is essentially dishonest.

    (Also John Stossel did this before you and did it better)

  5. Even if there was no “right” to carry in NYC or anywhere for that matter, that does not justify the corruption by the NYPD and city officials which only grant the “privilege” to the very rich, powerful and their political allies. Tim Sullivan did not want his political rivals to fight back against his thugs, so he introduced legislation to ban the carrying and ownership of all handguns, unless you are deemed worthy by your master. I bet you would have also told Ottis McDonald that there was no point fighting the City of Chicago, since Heller did not apply to the states.

  6. Putting the 2A questions aside, how is one supposed to challenge the “proper cause” requirement when the state keeps all the successful proper cause statements under lock and key? I believe this info is public record in CA and a number of counties there have folded rather than expose their corruption. It’ll be interesting if the appeals court does anything (doubtful) or if SCOTUS were interested (since they don’t seem interested in 2A cases right now).

  7. I just stumbled upon your story and will be following it with great interest. Keep up the good fight. Hopefully this can be resolved by the state but if not I’m glad you are prepared to elevate this to the federal level.

  8. Tyro- You are part of the problem. You either got lucky and applied prior to the scandal or you have a squeaky clean record so they couldn’t find anything to base an illegal denial on. My application was denied due to an arrest from almost a decade ago that was dismissed and sealed. I have one single arrest on my record and have lived in nyc my whole life, that to me is an accomplishment in it of itself as these cops were out there looking for collars for dollars (overtime for arrests) 24 hrs a day especially when it comes to minorities. Now you tell me where you can find precedent in federal case law to deny someone to to protect their own home due to a dismissed and sealed charge. This only happens in NYC because nobody has forced them to make their process fair to all. They approve whoever they want to approve whenever they feel like it. I have to pay a lawyer hefty fees to try to convince the NYPD that they shouldn’t be using dismissed charges to deny people licenses. Does that sound fair and just to you? You sound like a spoiled brat who got lucky and doesn’t care about other people wasting their hard earned money just to get through a ridiculous application process that will probably be met with heavy scrutiny if it ever makes it to scotus. I’m not even talking about carry license, that’s way too ambitious in my eyes. I can’t protect my own property that I paid for with my hard work and that I OWN, without sucking the NYPD off every step of the way. Even if they want to be strict with the requirements, it should be clearly stipulated what you need to do to qualify in law so that the NYPD can’t dig up any nonsense they want to deny you. Vague BS like “good moral character” is garbage that gives the NYPD all the wiggle room in the world to deny you for anything. It is an extremely flawed and unbalanced process. So put yourself in others shoes before you talk nonsense. I work hard for my home and my family and my paychecks being wasted on a process that is plainly illegal in my view.

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