Constitutional Law

2nd Circuit Upholds New York's Concealed Carry Law and Its 'Proper Cause' Requirement


A federal appeals court has upheld a New York gun law that requires residents seeking a concealed carry permit to show “proper cause.”

The New York City-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found no Second Amendment violation, the New York Law Journal and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported.

The New York law doesn’t define “proper cause,” but New York courts have interpreted the term to include carrying a handgun for target practice, hunting or self-defense, according to the appeals court opinion (PDF). To obtain a full carry license with no restrictions, applicants must “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”

The appeals court said the U.S. Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller dealt with the right to own a handgun in the home and didn’t address self-defense outside the home. “The proper cause requirement falls outside the core Second Amendment protections identified in Heller,” the court said.

Applying intermediate scrutiny, the court said the “proper cause” requirement is substantially related to governmental interests in public safety and crime prevention.

Among the four plaintiffs was solo practitioner Alan Kachalsky of Rye Brook, the New York Law Journal says. He filed an affirmation contending he shouldn’t have to show “proper cause” because “we live in a world where sporadic random violence might at any moment place one in a position where one needs to defend oneself or possibly others.”

Kachalsky told the New York Law Journal that the plaintiffs plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. “It’s a ridiculous interpretation of the Second Amendment,” he said of the appellate opinion.

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