Saturday, April 09, 2011

Boo Bloomberg

Shooting Wire

SAF Files Lawsuit Against Bloomberg

In New York State, you can a Handgun License for no more than $10. That's the law.

Except in New York City. There, the fee for a Handgun License is $340.

According to this April 6, 2011, Shooting Wire story (subscription information available on the linked site):

The Second Amendment Foundation [link added] has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that alleges New York City's $340 fee for a permit to keep a handgun in the home is "excessive and impermissibly burdens the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

(View the SAF News Release here)

Many RKBA supporters view the entire concept of firearm licensing to be the next thing to Firearm Registration ... a dubious concept which has historically led to Firearm Confiscation.

Still, many citizens find themselves in the unhappy situation of being forced to pay licensing fees in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights, even though we're pretty sure that this isn't what the Founding Fathers had in mind. How many other Constitutional Rights were regulated by a fee structure? Answer: no RECENT impositions come immediately to mind; but do you remember the kerfuffle which occurred when some states imposed a Poll Tax which restricted the rights of legal citizens to vote if they could not afford to pay that odious fee? That practice began in the 1880's and endured until in 1964 the 24th Amendment to the Constitution ended this now-unconstitutional practice.

In the meantime, there are areas where "Poll Tax" type fees take the exercise to extremes; NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's $340 licensing fee does not build confidence of citizens to trust their local government to protect them, and constitutes an insurmountable obstacle for people who simply cannot afford to pay the fee.

From the SAF news release:

In its lawsuit, SAF notes that the $340 fee is not used to defray administrative costs, so there appears to be no purpose for it other than to discourage people from applying for a permit. The excessive fee, according to Gottlieb, puts the exercise of a constitutional right solely within the financial reach of the wealthy class, essentially turning a civil right into a privilege for the rich and well-connected.

“New York is one of only two states that require a permit just to keep a handgun in one’s own home,” Gottlieb said. “Citizens in the other 48 states would consider that an outrage. The city’s ‘residence premises’ handgun license amounts to a charge of more than $100 annually to keep a handgun in one’s home, which is ridiculous. Mayor Bloomberg is essentially taxing the fundamental right to defend one’s self in his or her own home. We cannot think of anything more egregious than perpetuating a fee structure that puts a financial obstacle in the way of citizens who want to protect their homes and families.

It's difficult to understand why this lawsuit had to come from SAF; it seems logical that New York City citizens would lead the protest, instead of an organization centered in Bellevue, Washington. Still, it's good that somebody is willing to stand up to bureaucratic atrocities on the 'body politic'.

No, this is not a good time to discuss Chicago (regardless of the McDonald decision) or D.C. (regardless of the Heller decision). It is, however, a good time to consider whether the fight against firearms licensing fees should be the next step to establishing the Second Amendment as equivalent to the 24th Amendment, in terms of acknowledging that of our Constitutional Rights should be equally free of local infringement.

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