St. Lawrence County legislators vote to support Second Amendment suit
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
St. Lawrence County legislators have voted to adopt the legal argument in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit to expand Second Amendment rights.
The vote passed by a near unanimous margin, with Margaret Haggard being the only dissenting vote.During a recent finance meeting, county attorney Stephen Button addressed the legislature regarding the case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Kevin P. Bruen.
Button went on to say that the case is a challenge to the definition of proper cause in the issuance of firearm licenses. The plaintiffs argue that proper cause is an impedance to the utilization of the Second Amendment as it was intended.
County officials attempted to define proper cause with legislation in 2015 in an effort to circumvent restrictions being placed on carry and conceal licenses by Judge Jerome Richards.
The county definition of proper cause can now be utilized by lawyers in the case soon to be heard by the Supreme Court.
May vs. Shall
Across the nation, each state takes a different approach to the issuance of licenses. By bringing the NYRPA Inc v. Kevin P. Bruen before the Supreme Court, the definition of proper cause may soon be established, leading to more uniform issuance regulations.
Button stated 26 states are ‘may issue’ states, requiring an applicant to provide proper cause before the issuance of a carry and conceal license.
States that are considered ‘shall issue’ states are required to demonstrate why firearm owners and applicants should not be allowed to own or possess a firearm as it relates to the law.
Button explained that New York state is “a 62-county patchwork quilt of pistol license issuing,” which has led to numerous complications in recent years.
A similar case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, challenged a unique New York City ordinance that prohibited holders of premises-licensed firearms from transporting said firearms in most cases. Permit holders were only allowed to transport a firearm to and from shooting ranges within the city. Following a number of setbacks, the state mooted the argument by changing the law and allowing permit holders to transport to second residences and outside of NYC.
Following the restriction change, the impending case before the Supreme Court was vacated. The Court declared the petitioners’ claims for declaratory and injunctive relief moot because the amended licensing scheme provided “the precise relief that petitioners requested,” court documents show.
A rare occurrence
The case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc v. Kevin P. Bruen, will be the first case since 2009 to go before the Supreme Court to hear a full argument and receive a decision.
The last case, the landmark Heller v. DC case in 2009, established that the right to bear arms is an individual right and extends beyond the use of a firearm for protection in the home. The Supreme Court has passed on hearing the last nine cases presented to them since Heller.
The amicus brief, signed onto by 26 states, was presented to the Supreme Court on July 21. Arguments will be heard on Nov. 7 with a ruling expected a few weeks later.