A federal judge has ruled that the New York City regulation that allow officials to deny people gun licenses based on their ‘moral character’ violates the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. District Court ruling comes in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down New York state’s restrictive gun permitting scheme.
In his ruling, District Judge John Cronan stated that New York officials “have failed to demonstrate that the broad discretion afforded to licensing officials is “is consistent with the history and tradition of firearm regulation in this country,” U.S. District Judge John Cronan said in his ruling.”
A person’s application for a firearms permit may be denied if city officials determine he or she is not “of good moral character” or for another “good cause.”
Joseph Srour, a New York City resident who applied for firearms licenses from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in 2018 and 2019, filed the lawsuit.
Because Srour had been detained, fined for traffic violations, and had his driver’s license revoked, NYPD officials denied his applications. He has never been found guilty of a crime.
The offenses, Mr. Srour’s failure to disclose them to the NYPD, and his driving record “reflect negatively upon your moral character and casts grave doubt on your fitness to possess a firearm,” city officials wrote in one of the rejection letters.
Mr. Srour’s counsel argued that his arrests and driving record had no bearing on his Second Amendment right to bear arms.
“An individual’s driving history has no cognizable, historically recognized basis as a prohibitor to the possession, purchase, or use of firearm,” his complaint stated.
The Supreme Court ruling, and the District Court’s application of the decision, is a major rejection of New York City’s attempt to deny citizens their Second Amendment rights without due process.