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‘Unconstitutional’: Gun Owners Sue NYC Over Allegedly Illegal License Denials

Gun owners in New York filed a class action lawsuit Monday against the New York City and its Police Department (NYPD) for allegedly violating their constitutional rights by allegedly “unreasonably delaying” gun licenses and refusing to accept out-of-state gun licenses, according to the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs claim that the NYPD License Division, tasked with overseeing the issuance of licenses in New York City, are unreasonably delaying licenses and denying licenses for residents to have firearms in their homes, according to the lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. The lawsuit also challenges the city’s policy that restricts out-of-state gun owners from carrying and possessing firearms in the city, saying it is a violation of the Second Amendment and undermines the “full faith and credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“The actions of the NYPD, outlined in the complaint, are consistent with their long standing history and policy of creating as many roadblocks to gun ownership and possession in New York City,” plaintiff attorney Peter H. Tilem said in a statement.

The lawsuit also names New York City, the NYPD License Division, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and NYPD License Division Director Nicole Berkovich as defendants,

The lawsuit follows a landmark Supreme Court decision in June 2022 that struck down New York’s concealed carry law. The ruling implemented several new procedures for deciding the constitutionality of a gun law, and also ruled that individuals have a constitutional right to carry firearms outside of their homes.

New York quickly updated its gun laws following the decision in June, and voted to implement the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), which plaintiffs argue makes it harder to to get a gun license, according to the lawsuit.

“This is an action brought to vindicate plaintiff’s rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States as well as New York state law,” the lawsuit reads.

Following the passing of the CCIA, many groups filed lawsuits against the state claiming that the law violated the Constitution.

Judge John Sinatra of the Western District of New York ruled that the CCIA is unconstitutional because it violates worshipers’ gun rights and hinders the free exercise of religious beliefs, according to a preliminary injunction issued against the law. The case, Spencer v. Nigrelli, was the third ruling that found the law to be unconstitutional, and follows rulings in the Hardaway v. Nigrelli and the Antonyuk v. Nigrelli cases, according to The Reload.

“Ample Supreme Court precedent addressing the individual’s freedoms under the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution dictate that New York’s new place of worship exclusion is unconstitutional,” Sinatra wrote in his ruling.

The NYPD, Sewell and Berkovich did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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