This just in:
SAF FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT AGAINST
BLOOMBERG OVER GUN PERMIT FEES
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that alleges New York City’s $340 fee for a permit to keep a handgun in the home is “excessive andimpermissibly burdens the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
SAF is joined in the lawsuit by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and five individual New York City residents. Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
“Under state law,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “the maximum fee for issuing a New York State handgun license is $10, but the law exempts citizens living in New York City. That exemption allows the city to charge an exorbitant fee for the license, which discourages city residents from exercising their civil rights while violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
“For decades the City has charged its residents exorbitant license fees that far exceed the fees charged by other states and cities that impose them,” said attorney David Jensen, who is representing the plaintiffs. “The effect of this is to force a punitive tax on New York City citizens who choose to own firearms in compliance with the law. But people have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and the City cannot simply impose fees for the sake of burdening law-abiding gun owners.”
“The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association was founded 141 years ago in New York City and we are proud to participate in an action to help restore the Second Amendment rights of all New York City residents,” said NYSRPA President Tom King.
In its lawsuit, SAF notes that the $340 fee is not used to defray administrative costs, so there appears to be no purpose for it other than to discourage people from applying for a permit. The excessive fee, according to Gottlieb, puts the exercise of a constitutional right solely within the financial reach of the wealthy class, essentially turning a civil right into a privilege for the rich and well-connected.
“New York is one of only two states that require a permit just to keep a handgun in one’s own home,” Gottlieb said. “Citizens in the other 48 states would consider that an outrage. The city’s residence premises’ handgun license amounts to a charge of more than $100 annually to keep a handgun in one’s home, which is ridiculous. Mayor Bloomberg is essentially taxing the fundamental right to defend one’s self in his or her own home. We cannot think of anything more egregious than perpetuating a fee structure that puts a financial obstacle in the way of citizens who want to protect their homes and families.
“We believe the only recourse is to take this issue to the federal court,” he concluded. “Billionaires like Mayor Bloomberg can be cavalier about a citizen’s rights, but we can’t, and we won’t.”
UPDATE: SAF has added two more plaintiffs to the complaint which can be found here.
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation announced this morning that it has filed an amended complaint in federal district court against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City of New York over exorbitant gun licensing fees, adding two additional plaintiffs who came forward asking to be part of the legal action.
SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said with these additional plaintiffs, there are now seven private citizens who have joined SAF and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association in the lawsuit.
“We are being overwhelmed with calls following yesterday’s announcement about the lawsuit,” Gottlieb acknowledged. “We want to assure everyone that they do not need to be part of the lawsuit in order to benefit from a victory.
“SAF truly appreciates the wave of enthusiasm and support from New York gun owners,” he continued. “We need to move forward right now, and if people would like to support our lawsuit with a tax-exempt contribution to SAF, we would welcome that.”
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. Plaintiffs are represented by attorney David Jensen.
“Almost immediately after the lawsuit was filed,” Gottlieb said, “our phones started ringing as people wanted to join the lawsuit. We simply cannot take on more plaintiffs at this point and further delay the process.
“We do not want New York’s outrageous $340 license fee to continue one more day than it has to,” he explained. “Imagine if this was a poll tax. How many New Yorkers would be storming city hall right now, demanding their voting rights? The city’s excessive gun licensing fee amounts to the same egregious assault on every citizen’s right to self-protection in their own home.”