US District Court Judge John G. Koeltl ruled today that the City of New York’s fees for the issuance of a residential handgun permit are Constitutional. In the case of Kwong et al v. Bloomberg et al, Judge Koeltl denied the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and granted the defendants’ cross motion for summary judgment.
The Second Amendment Foundation and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association along with seven individual plaintiffs had sued the City and the Attorney General of New York contending that the $340 fee charged violated the Second Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. With the sole exception of Nassau County on Long Island, the rest of the counties in New York State are only allowed to charge a maximum of $10 for this permit. The case was brought in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The judge says there’s no evidence the fee has stopped anyone from exercising their rights. He says the city showed the fee helps cover administrative costs.
City Attorney Michael Cardoza says the ruling upholds the city’s ability to conduct meaningful checks into applicants’ qualifications. A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
I have only had a chance to quickly skim Judge Koeltl’s 38-page opinion. I do note that he applies intermediate scrutiny to the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim while applying only rational basis scrutiny to their Equal Protection claim.
I hope to have a more in-depth review of the opinion in the next day or so.
The opinion can be found here.