New York’s New Gun Law To Counter The SCOTUS Bruen Ruling Is Unconstitutional, The State’s Democrats Know It, And They Don’t Care

Conclusion: this is not a political party (nor are is progressivism an Ideology) that supports or respects democracy or the Rule of Law.

In the process of passing a restrictive law that bans legally-licensed guns in “many public settings such as subways and buses, parks, hospitals, stadiums and day cares…[and] Times Square Guns as well as on private property “unless the property owner indicates that he or she expressly allows them,” New York legislators included this language in the law:

THE APPLICANT SHALL MEET IN PERSON WITH THE LICENSING OFFICER FOR AN INTERVIEW AND SHALL, IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER INFORMATION OR FORMS REQUIRED BY THE LICENSE APPLICATION SUBMIT TO THE LICENSING OFFICER THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: (I) NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE APPLICANT’S CURRENT SPOUSE, OR DOMESTIC PARTNER, ANY OTHER ADULTS RESIDING IN THE APPLICANT’S HOME, INCLUDING ANY ADULT CHILDREN OF THE APPLICANT, AND WHETHER OR NOT THERE ARE MINORS RESIDING, FULL TIME OR PART TIME, IN THE APPLICANT’S HOME; (II) NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION OF NO LESS THAN FOUR CHARACTER REFERENCES WHO CAN ATTEST TO THE APPLICANT’S GOOD MORAL CHARACTER AND THAT SUCH APPLICANT HAS NOT ENGAGED IN ANY ACTS, OR MADE ANY STATEMENTS THAT SUGGEST THEY ARE LIKELY TO ENGAGE IN CONDUCT THAT WOULD RESULT IN HARM TO THEMSELVES OR OTHERS; (III) CERTIFICATION OF COMPLETION OF THE TRAINING REQUIRED IN SUBDIVISION NINETEEN OF THIS SECTION; (IV) A LIST OF FORMER AND CURRENT SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS OF THE APPLICANT FROM THE PAST THREE YEARS TO CONFIRM THE INFORMATION REGARDING THE APPLICANTS CHARACTER AND CONDUCT AS REQUIRED IN SUBPARAGRAPH (II) OF THIS PARAGRAPH; AND (V) SUCH OTHER INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE LICENSING OFFICER THAT IS REASONABLY NECESSARY AND RELATED TO THE REVIEW OF THE LICENSING APPLICATION.

What the hell is “good moral character”? Is any Constitutional right dependent on “good moral character”? The answer is no, because first, citizens have certain guaranteed rights regardless of their character, second, the right to bear arms is one of those rights, and third, opinions on what constitutes good moral character is subjective. For example, I think elected legislators in the United States who deliberately pass unconstitutional laws have terrible character. Could voting or freedom of speech be made contingent on a government agent’s judgment of a citizen’s character? No—it’s not even a valid question. No. Obviously no.

The social media catch, meanwhile, is one more attempt from the Left to chill speech, suppress dissent, and generally harden the cloud of totalitarianism the current mutation of Democrats has been spreading.

Simple Justice notes in part,

Between the breakdown of norms and the “must win at any price” approach to every controversial issue, we’re watching imaginative approaches to problems that are poorly thought out, poorly executed and given little to no concern for how much they violate constitutional rights. If they comport with transitory popularity, nothing more matters, and New York at a state does not want people carrying guns….as the New York leg[islature], and our default governor, have now demonstrated, the zeal to circumvent constitutional rights may take us to new depths of intrusion, such as the state approval of our words on social media, that may well be applied to the rights we do like as long as it’s being applied to the one New York doesn’t.

Simple Justice compares New York’s defiant law to the Texas end-around  abortion rights using private law suits, which has some validity: many said at the time that the Texas scheme could be used to burden other rights as well. At any rate, that Texas law is now moot after Dobbs.

I’d like to refocus attention on the fact that the same party and its supporters that have been claiming for months that their opposition is an existential threat to democracy just passed a law in New York that shows utter contempt for democracy, the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as citizenship and personal freedom from government oppression.

Are there any real liberals in the Democratic Party any more?

11 thoughts on “New York’s New Gun Law To Counter The SCOTUS Bruen Ruling Is Unconstitutional, The State’s Democrats Know It, And They Don’t Care

  1. Seems to me that similar things happened in DC and Illinois back after Heller was decided. Eventually, the circuits and appellate courts came around, but not until the Court slapped them down again in McDonald.

    It seems that these days, the SCOTUS must follow a ruling with another one that says “Yes, that’s what we really, really meant, and no, you can’t do that.”

    New York is the Second Amendment’s best friend right now. They keep passing these transparently absurd and unconstitutional laws that require the courts to step in and make ever-broader rulings that appear to “expand” gun rights (even where they are only defending the obvious). I suppose the Empire State Democrats keep hoping that if they go to the well often enough, the SCOTUS will eventually get tired of this line of cases and allow favorable Second Circuit decisions to stand, at least for a while.

    That may still happen, but I get the impression that the current SCOTUS is not yet tired of smacking down the galactically stupid. Let’s hope.

    As to the ethics of this, it is utterly and incontrovertibly an unethical law, not just because it is unconstitutional, but because they know it is unconstitutional and manifestly intended it to be just that. More to the point, this is absolutely a direct defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Consider these passages from Bruen in light of the New York law:

    (1) Since Heller and McDonald, the Courts of Appeals have developed a “two-step” framework for analyzing Second Amendment challenges that combines history with means-end scrutiny. The Court rejects that two-part approach as having one step too many.

    This law will have to be defended on a means-end basis, even ignoring the obvious absurd burden it places on gun possession. It should instantly fail on that basis alone. But failing that:

    That said, respondents’ attempt to characterize New York’s proper-cause requirement as a “sensitive-place” law lacks merit because there is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a “sensitive place” simply because it is crowded and protected generally by the New York City Police Department

    While not quite declaring such a large geographical area a “sensitive place,” the new law clearly tries to do that by proxy, arguably placing anyplace where public transit may be present as well as private property off limits, effectively consigning carrying of firearms to side streets and making it near impossible for a person to safely carry his licensed firearm without exposing himself accidentally to legal liability. It’s hard to imagine how the law could have been more absurdly written in this context, and I’m sure that was the point.

    This is just legal posturing from the New York legislature. Their lawyers have come up with virtually every restriction they could conceive that they think they can argue does not violate Heller or its progeny, hoping they can get as much as possible past the Second Circuit and get another ten years or so of restrictive gun laws. I hope it fails spectacularly, but from their point of view, it comes at a cost only to its citizens, and they are okay with that (which, of course, is another ethics fail).

    I’d be surprised if even the district courts and Second Circuit doesn’t balk at the absurd in-person, social media and “good moral character” provisions. These look like deliberate legal IED’s placed to condemn the courts when they invariably overturn it (i.e. “How can anyone deny you need good moral character to own a deadly weapon! Argleblargle!!”). The social media stuff is the same thing, since the first thing the media and law enforcement turn to when somebody goes on a rampage is their social media presence.

    Stupid, but alas, reflective of the state of New York politics — which is to say, unethical to the core and destructive of liberty.

  2. With respect, Jack, I think you and I have both known the answer to that question for a good eight years now, and it’s a resounding “no.” There has always been an element of the Puritan and the tyrant in the Democratic Party, probably starting with the moralistic bullying of Wilson, but usually the party has kept something of a rein on that. The mainstream and national members of the party have also generally respected constitutional rights.

    However, there have always been among the local elements, typified by characters like Huey Long, those much more willing to govern through the use of pure power and not care much who or what they stomp on to get their way. Those are often also typified by a contempt, sometimes a hatred, for those who disagree with them, sometimes barely veiled, like Obama, sometimes overt, like Andrew Cuomo. It does not help that a lot of them, like Lori Lightfoot, Gretchen Whitmer, and others, aren’t particularly interested in observing rules themselves. There is also an underlying idea, which is now been in place for 22 years, that no Republican who has reached the White House has done so legitimately. George W. Bush only reached the White House because justices appointed by his father and his father’s patriarch Reagan made it possible, and Donald Trump was never legitimate under any circumstances. Between them, these illegitimate presidents now account for five of 9 justices on the Supreme Court (and Thomas isn’t really legitimate either, since he hasn’t ever gone to an NBA game or something like that). That means no ruling that has come down from these justices has any kind of value. More to the point, at least for now, the Biden administration is not going to enforce any ruling from this court that it doesn’t like, and there’s really not too much the court can do about it. So, in the meantime, Democrat dominated state governments do not need to fear any interference with whatever they choose to do by the feds. That’s why Kathy Hochul can spit in the Supreme Court’s eye and write the statute that essentially renders their decision meaningless. Of course it’s going to end up right before the court again, and they are going to smack this down as an abuse of power, but, in the meantime this law will stand and the people of New York will simply have to get used to the idea that their rights remain infringed. Essentially, it is a somewhat more brazen version of the foot dragging and delays that southern officials resorted to during the Civil Rights era. Of course if you say as much, they will just say it is ridiculous to compare officials trying to keep segregation in place with officials who are trying to save school children’s lives by preventing mass shootings.

    You can point out the hypocrisy all you like. You can say it is flat-out ridiculous that a party that is willing to show complete contempt for the rule of law and even the fact that there are those who think differently than them is claiming it is not them but those opposed to them who are the existential threat to democracy. I really don’t think it matters. This is a party that has, like the Taliban, abandoned pretty much every principle except the will to power. Those who are ruthless enough to care about nothing but getting power and keeping power can always find excuses for doing anything. That includes maybe coming up with another strain of the virus on the eve of the upcoming election to justify unsecure mail-in ballots and other ways of padding their own vote. Why shouldn’t they? The courts have already shown that they will not interfere in any way.

    At this point I think we are almost at the point where the question is how much of this political bullying will the rest of us tolerate before we decide to abandon the process altogether. Benjamin Franklin said that the difference between democracy and liberty is the democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on dinner and liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. When I was at a Revolutionary War reenactment at fort Ticonderoga, a reenactor playing the part of a Continental officer said during a musket demonstration that it’s all well and good to print and write and speak about freedom, but, sometimes you have no choice but to pick up a gun and make freedom happen. The colonists had tried every available channel to make their concerns known and have them addressed. The government back in London was ignoring them, then punishing them when they persisted. Finally they took up arms, and supposedly, even on that fateful day at Concord, their commander John Parker said “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here.” A moment later someone fired “the shot heard round the world,” and you know or you should know the rest.

    Are we there yet? This is another step there.

    • “That includes maybe coming up with another strain of the virus on the eve of the upcoming election to justify unsecure mail-in ballots and other ways of padding their own vote.”

      How do we know they did not do this the first time?

    • Steve said: “At this point I think we are almost at the point where the question is how much of this political bullying will the rest of us tolerate before we decide to abandon the process altogether.”

      Well, I live in Chemung County NY and even though I already have a permit this passing of the new law is really bothering me. Primarily because this new law also puts severe restrictions on where I can lawfully carry once the law goes into effect. Many people I know are very unhappy with this. It’s unlikely there will be full compliance.

      I know it’s been said above but this is in direct defiance of the Supreme Court ruling and the new law is worse than the law that was struck down. Doesn’t this essentially still make NY a “may issue” state?

      How is this not abuse of power? I guess that’s already been addressed above by Glenn.

      Can’t this law be challenged before it even takes effect? Can’t someone file an injunction or something? If it takes years to resolve then the current governing body already won. They’ve already turned a legal victory handed down by the Supreme Court into a legal defeat.

      It seems to me, nothing can be done; it seems to me democracy is already compromised by the party that keeps proclaiming that conservatives are the threat to democracy.

      • Defiance is not inherently a one-way activity.
        If I am a cop in NY (oranywhere); I simply do not enforce oppressive gun laws that dangerously hobble law abiding citizens and further shift the advantage to criminal psychopaths.
        It is way past time that LE officers stop being so robotic when fascist dems abuse their power and *rely on the people in blue* (whotheyhate) and sheriffs to enforce their dirty work.
        Meanwhile, LE generally has been quite slow to process and absorb that reality and then exploit it on behalf of the righteous.

    • I was just at Fort Ticonderoga this past week on vacation. Great place, great reenactors.

      Isn’t monkeypox the next crisis? I absolutely agree that there will be some rationalization to keep the mail-in ballots.

  3. Largely unremarked in the press, the Supreme Court also just threw out several lower court rulings that had upheld gun restrictions (including “assault-style rifles” bans, large-capacity ammunition magazines, etc.) in New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, and California, with instructions to revisit them in light of Bruen.

    There are other cases still in the pipeline, including at least two involving the bumpstock ban (e.g.: GOA v Garland). Oddly, those might be more directly impacted, not by firearms decisions, but by the court’s recent EPA ruling criticizing bureaucratic lawmaking and agency flip-flopping on decisions

  4. Too bad the Supreme Court can’t hold anyone (including a state legislature) in contempt. “Brazen” hardly covers this.

  5. Sadly, this course of action is not unprecedented.

    From 1954 until the early 1980’s, many states tried to do an end-run around Brown v. Board of Education, including redrawing school attendance zone boundaries and sxchool district boundaries to ensure that schools had the “correct” racial balance.

  6. This is nothing new. I have commented before about free speech cases in state colleges. Once the Supreme Court rules against one speech code, the college just makes another (Is the University of Michigan on round 7 or 8 of this cycle?). Once one college ‘free speech corner, prior approval required’ is ruled unconstitutional, the others continue to do it. The states and colleges can afford to litigate these forever, the victims (taxpayers) have to pay for the lawyers abusing their rights. You asked the question “Could voting or freedom of speech be made contingent on a government agent’s judgment of a citizen’s character? ” and the answer is that this has been done for 40+ years on college campuses in the case of speech. The courts haven’t done anything about it, either. Try being a conservative student group on a state university campus and trying to get the permit required to invite a conservative speaker.

    Here, we have the same strategy that worked so well to suppress the 1st Amendment being used to suppress the 2nd. Did NYC ever even comply with Heller? I think their firearms permits to merely possess a firearm in the home is still may-issue (not shall issue) and require the same type of interview process that this current law does. This state-law you are horrified by is very similar to the requirements to even possess a firearm in NYC. Heller was supposed to stop that, but it didn’t.

    The truth is, New York (especially NYC) and California don’t have to obey the Constitution or the Supreme Court. If New York continues to pass may-issue gun permits over and over again, what is the Supreme Court going to do about it? Until they get serious about Constitutional rights by awarding major monetary awards to the plaintiffs in these cases or finally rule that gun permits, registration, or licensing itself is unconstitutional, nothing will change. The latter won’t happen because we have a Supreme Court that is exclusively composed of people from Harvard and Yale who are isolated from American society and have little contact with the United States.

    For people living in ‘liberal elite havens’, the gun culture in this country has changed dramatically in most of the country in the last 20 years. Almost every store I go in has at least one person open-carrying. Over 8% of adults in this country have concealed carry permits and such permits aren’t even required in 25 states (Constitutional carry). I was at a hotel’s Continental breakfast in another state this morning and a man was open-carrying a Glock and no one cared. How many of the other 6 adults there were concealed carrying? My guess is at least 2. I can’t remember the last time I saw a motorcycle rider without a handgun. I have been in 6 states in the last week and I saw people open carrying and concealed carrying in 5 of them.

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