The Arbalest Quarrel (“AQ”) has, in the last few weeks, spent, and will continue to spend, considerable time on the recent case NYSRPA vs. Bruen, for a few important reasons.
Bruen is the first major Second Amendment case decided by the High Court in twelve years and it is the most important U.S. Supreme Court case to be decided this term, October 2021 through October 2022.
Not even the recent “abortion” case, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization comes close to the import of Bruen. And there is a simple reason for that: There is no fundamental, unalienable, immutable right of abortion even as Congressional Democrats, along with the Biden Administration and proponents for it, in the Country at large, insist otherwise. The High Court made that point clear, in its decision released on June 24, 2022, overturning Roe vs. Wade.
Contrariwise, armed self-defense against predatory animal, predatory man, and predatory Government is a fundamental, unalienable, immutable, illimitable, and eternal natural law right even as those same Democrats chime in that it is not. And the High Court made that point clear, too, in its decision released one day before Dobbs, on June 23, 2022.
In Bruen, the High Court reaffirmed and clarified its decisions in Heller and McDonald, and pointedly held that the right of the people to keep and bear arms extends beyond the boundaries of one’s home into the public sphere.
That means the natural law right of self-defense, generally, and armed self-defense, particularly, isn’t limited in space and time. To hold otherwise is empirically wrong and even nonsensical.
Because a firearm provides a person with the best means of defending one’s life, the right of armed self-defense, as subsumed in the natural law right of self-defense/personal survival can’t be lawfully proscribed by Government.
Associate Justice Thomas, writing for the Court’s Majority, in Bruen, made this point emphatic: “. . . confining the right to ‘bear’ arms to the home would make little sense given that self-defense is ‘the central component of the [Second Amendment] right itself. . .’ [adding] ‘Although we remarked in Heller that the need for armed self-defense is perhaps ‘most acute’ in the home, we did not suggest that the need was insignificant elsewhere. Many Americans hazard greater danger outside the home than in it.”
Nothing is more essential to the sanctity and inviolability of the individual and to the maintenance of the sovereignty of the American people over the Nation and its Government than the natural law right of armed self-defense.
Bruen therefore demands our close attention and scrutiny.
Bruen came to the U.S. Supreme Court as a challenge to the core of New York’s handgun law. Therefore, New York’s response to the Bruen decision will be scrutinized by two groups of Americans: those who support and cherish the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and who wish both to preserve and to strengthen that fundamental, unalienable right; and those who do not, and who desire to constrain exercise of this essential natural law right.
This latter group that seeks to dismantle our free Constitutional Republic cannot do so for soever as long as an armed citizenry exists. Therefore, they seek de jure or de facto repeal of the right. This isn’t hyperbole.
Retired Associate Justice John Paul Steven demonstrated his animosity toward an American armed citizenry in a combined Stevens-Breyer dissent to Heller. And, after he retired from the Court, this U.S. Supreme Court Justice went further. Stevens called for outright repeal of the Second Amendment—something he dared not suggest while serving as a Justice—for the duty of a Justice is to uphold the U.S. Constitution, not tear it down.
But the repeal of the Second Amendment is something Justice Stevens profoundly felt. See, e.g.,John Paul Stevens Op-Ed in the New York times, titled, “John Paul Stevens: Repeal the Second Amendment,” published on March 27, 2018.
Our free Republic cannot continue to exist in the absence of America’s citizen army. Those who exercise the right know this as axiomatic. And those powerful forces that seek to destroy the Republic also know this to be self-evident true. But, apart from a few individuals—and most notoriously, John Paul Stevens—few people do not boldly pronounce this.
Instead, the legacy Press proclaims disarming the public is all about ensuring public safety, public order, and public harmony, adding as an afterthought, that constraining the right of the people to keep and bear arms, ostensibly for the good of society, does not mean erasing it. But the appeal to public safety is mere deflection. Yet many Americans fall into the trap—all too willing to sacrifice their natural law rights, believing erroneously that this is for the good of society.
It is absolute control over the commonalty of this Country that the Neoliberal Globalists and Neo-Marxists want and intend to attain. The continuation of an armed citizenry is inconsistent with that goal. That can’t come about as long as an armed citizenry exists in the Nation.
The Bruen decision is one more salvo in a continuing war for the soul of the Nation. The Hochul Government, for one, has openly defied the U.S. Supreme Court. Why has Hochul done this?
The “why” is obvious.
Kathy Hochul, who once received an “A” rating from NRA, now works for the Billionaire Neoliberal Globalist “elites” who fund her bid for Governor in 2022. These are the same wealthy and powerful people who had continuously funded her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo’s campaign. See article in the New York Post.
The notion of an armed citizenry is incompatible with the goal of the interests of those people who are funding her campaign. These people are Globalists. They seek an end to our Country as an independent, sovereign Nation-State. They perceive the Bill of Rights as inconsistent with their goal of a one-world government devoid of nation-states and devoid of citizen armies. So, Kathy Hochul no longer supports the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But in classic politician-fashion Hochul doesn’t acknowledge the inconsistency in her position, nor does she allude, much less assert, to what and to whom she now owes allegiance. Rather, she maintains her position has “evolved.”
How is it that Hochul and the New York State Legislature continue to offend the Second Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court?
The “how” unlike the “why” is not obvious and demands thorough attention.
The “how” unlike the “why,” apropos of the changes to New York’s gun law, isn’t obvious and it is not easy to understand. It demands explication so Americans who cherish the right of the people to keep and be armed understand what it is they are up against.
A new round of lawsuits has recently been filed. This, unfortunately, is a disturbingly familiar pattern-scenario—costly, time-consuming, and wearying on Americans. AQ’s contribution comprises a series of articles to explicate New York’s Gun Law considering Bruen and to provide both first-time prospective New York handgun licensees and those applicants seeking renewals of existing handgun licenses, a roadmap as to what to expect and how to proceed.
In that vein, one should keep in mind that, although the Hochul Government has signed new amendments into law, those amendments aren’t operational rules. The City of New York and the Counties, and the State Police must work out what those rules are, to implement the changes in the Gun Law. To that end AQ looks at what Heller, McDonald, and Bruen require apropos of what the New York Government has done to create further obstacles for New Yorkers.
A complete treatment requires not only an exploration of the recent New York amendments to its Gun Law in specific response to Bruen, but also a consideration of a panoply of recent changes to and additions to the Gun Law and to the entirety of New York’s elaborate handgun licensing regime that goes back to the Safe Act of 2013, and even before that—to the Sullivan Act of 1911, the progenitor of handgun licensing in New York.
Given the present urgency, AQ will spend its energy reviewing both the recent amendments to the Gun licensing regime apropos of Bruen, and amendments to New York’s handgun regime Pre-Bruen that complement the Post-Bruen changes.
A full discussion must include a consideration of New York’s recent “Red Flag” law that Hochul and Albany have incorporated into the Post-Bruen amendments, and which further endangers a citizen’s exercise of his or her unalienable right to keep and bear arms.
AQ has heretofore laid out the basics of Bruen.
In an earlier segment (Part 2) of our analysis, we pointed out: There are two key components to the Bruen Majority Opinion.
One key component involves the test Federal, and State Courts must employ when they review Governmental actions that impact the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
The second involves the matter of “proper cause” that is at the heart of the gun licensing regime of New York and was the central topic at oral argument in Bruen, held on February 2022.
AQ now deals with those two key component parts in depth, turning first to the “proper cause” aspect of the Bruen ruling, which we get to in the next segment of our Post-Bruen case series analysis.
The “proper cause” issue is what Governor Kathy Hochul’s Administration, along with the New York State Democrat Party-controlled Legislature in Albany, had to contend with, once the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the “proper cause” requirement of the Gun Law, as unconstitutional. Hochul made clear in her statements to the Press that New York would not buckle under to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her remarks are both seditious and provocative.
The Governor’s remarks are seditious because the amendments to the Gun Law demonstrate the State’s disregard for the Court’s rulings, even as Hochul claims to adhere to them. She has made clear, on the official Governor’s website, that there will be no immediate changes to gun policies and the permitting process.
The Governor’s remarks are also disrespectful and presumptuous. See these remarks as well as published on the Governor’s official website.
Hochul’s Administration and the Democrat Party-Controlled Legislature, and their respective teams of lawyers, meticulously crafted a set of amendments to the New York handgun law.
The amendments they crafted serve not only to preserve the law—the Sullivan Act of 1911, long since codified in NY CLS Penal § 400.00 et. seq.—but, as with the New York Safe Act of 2013, the amendments bolster New York’s stringent gun laws.
The amendments exemplify Hochul’s resolve to defeat the impact of the Bruen rulings, notwithstanding the elimination of the “proper cause” requirement and make acquisition of a concealed handgun carry license even more difficult than it had been since the Legislature enacted a “proper cause” requirement.
In a feat of legerdemain, the drafters toughened, did not ease, the standard for obtaining an unrestricted concealed handgun carry license.
Clearly, Hochul doesn’t want to make acquisition of concealed handgun carry licenses an easy procedure. To frustrate that process, her Government wishes to continue to offer a restricted license as a “booby prize.” Yet, even in that, an applicant will find that obtaining a restricted handgun license is no longer a sure thing either.
The amendments to New York’s Sullivan Act negatively impact all categories of handgun licenses, restrictive and unrestrictive. Thus, the stringent character of New York’s Gun Licensing regime remains intact.
To fully comprehend and appreciate how the State maneuvered around Bruen, pulling a switcheroo on both the U.S. Supreme Court and those who may have thought it easy now to obtain an unrestricted New York concealed handgun carry license, we peruse the language of the handgun law, comparing the law as it presently exists and the changes to it, effective September 2, 2022.
One first notices that New York’s Gun Law is confounding and mystifying. There is a dizzying array of handgun licenses.
The full array of handgun licenses is set forth in NY CLS Penal § 400.00(2) of New York’s Penal Code. It is titled, “Types of Licenses,” and it reads:
“A license for a pistol or revolver, other than an assault weapon or a disguised gun, shall be issued to (a) have and possess in his dwelling by a householder; (b) have and possess in his place of business by a merchant or storekeeper; (c) have and carry concealed while so employed by a messenger employed by a banking institution or express company; (d) have and carry concealed by a justice of the supreme court in the first or second judicial departments, or by a judge of the New York city civil court or the New York city criminal court; (e) have and carry concealed while so employed by a regular employee of an institution of the state, or of any county, city, town or village, under control of a commissioner of correction of the city or any warden, superintendent or head keeper of any state prison, penitentiary, workhouse, county jail or other institution for the detention of persons convicted or accused of crime or held as witnesses in criminal cases, provided that application is made therefor by such commissioner, warden, superintendent or head keeper; (f) have and carry concealed, without regard to employment or place of possession; . . . .”
You would think that the three seminal Second Amendment case holdings, Heller, McDonald, and now, Bruen, would have swept away NY CLS Penal § 400.00(2) but for NY CLS Penal § 400.00 (2) (f)—a handgun license to “have and carry concealed, without regard to employment or place of possession.” But, surprisingly, NY CLS Penal § 400.00 (2) remains in its entirety, thus demonstrating the Anti-Second Amendment fervor of New York’s Governor and that of the Democrat Party-Controlled Legislature.
If the Hochul Government had sought to cohere to the Bruen rulings, she would have called upon the Legislature in Albany to draft the Gun Law to eliminate handgun license categories as redundant, except for the unrestricted concealed handgun carry license category, and she would have liberalized the standard in acquiring an unrestricted handgun carry license.
After all, why would a person wish to acquire only a restrictive handgun premise license since the U.S. Supreme Court held the right of armed self-defense extends beyond the home?
Yet, Governor Hochul and the Democrat Party-Controlled Legislature in Albany had other ideas, and the multi-tiered hierarchical handgun licensing structure remains intact.
That the whole of NY CLS Penal § 400.00 (2) still exists after Bruen, demonstrates not only the tenacity and stubbornness of Anti-Second Amendment politicians to thwart both the Bill of Rights and the rulings of the United States Supreme Court, but their ingenuity and cunning in subverting the rulings of the High Court. The amendments to NY CLS Penal § 400.00 (2) make acquisition of a handgun license tortuous and as difficult to come by as before Bruen.
In the next segment, AQ explains how New York’s Anti-Second Amendment Government has exploited a seeming loophole in Bruen to defeat compliance with the Court’s ruling on “proper cause.”
Copyright © 2022 Roger J. Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.
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