Reasons You Might Be Denied a Rifle/Shotgun Permit in New York City

Here’s what the proposed rules say, in relevant part:

§ 3-03 Grounds for Denial of Permit. An application for a rifle/shotgun permit may be denied [if] for lack of good moral character or other good cause, pursuant to section 10-303 of the Administrative Code, based on the following reasons:

(a) The applicant has been arrested, indicted or convicted for [any] a crime or violation except minor traffic violations, in any [jurisdiction,] federal, state or local jurisdiction….

(g) The applicant has a history of one or more incidents of domestic violence [note that this doesn’t require a conviction or even a finding by a court by a preponderance of the evidence, just presumably the administrative officials’ own evaluation -EV].

(h) The applicant has a poor driving history, has multiple driver license suspensions or has been declared a scofflaw by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles….

(j) The applicant has been terminated from employment under circumstances that demonstrate lack of good judgment or lack of good moral character.

(k) The applicant has demonstrated an inability to safely store firearms, such as through a history of lost/stolen firearms.

(l) The applicant has failed to pay legally required debts such as child support, taxes, fines or penalties imposed by governmental authorities….

(n) 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 permit.

In evaluating incidents or circumstances pursuant to this section, the License Division shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to the number, recency and severity of incidents and the outcome of any judicial or administrative proceedings.

Whatever power the government might have to ban gun possession by felons, violent misdemeanants, people subject to restraining orders, and so on (see this article, PDF pp. 51-73 for some thoughts on that), surely some of these categories go way too far.

Thanks to James Gibson, who pointed me to the Fox News story that reported on this. Incidentally, the story quotes Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign saying,

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.

Whatever arguments there might be for denying a person the right to keep and bear arms in some situations — and I have to acknowledge that the Supreme Court and other courts have allowed some such denials — I think a connection as weak and indirect as Mr. Helmke’s can’t suffice where a constitutional right is at stake.

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