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AG defends state gun laws

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced that his office has won a major court victory in defense of New York state’s gun safety laws.

In a unanimous decision in the case of Kachalsky, et al. v. County of Westchester et al, decided Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge to New York’s handgun licensing statute, ruling that the law requiring individuals to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry concealed handguns in public does not violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Five Westchester County residents and the Second Amendment Foundation Inc., argued that the “proper cause” provision of New York law, governing the issuance of licenses to carry concealed handguns in public, violates their rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as defined in two recent decisions by the United States Supreme Court: District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The “proper cause” provision requires a license applicant to show “a special need for self protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”

The Second Circuit held the proper cause requirement is valid because it is substantially related to New York’s strong interest in public safety and crime prevention.

The defendants, four State Court judges who also serve as “licensing officers” under the New York statute, were represented by Schneiderman’s office, which argued that the “proper cause” provision of the New York law did not violate the Second Amendment as described by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald cases.

A copy of the decision is available online at: www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions.