Kachalsky v. County of Westchester

701 F.3d 81 (2012)

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Kachalsky v. County of Westchester

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
701 F.3d 81 (2012)

Facts

In 1911, New York enacted a law requiring (1) a license to carry a concealed handgun and (2) a showing of proper cause to get that license. The law was enacted to reduce crime and increase public safety. The law contained exceptions for a few professions, such as bank messengers or prison employees, but applied to most state residents. Proper cause included (1) target practice, (2) hunting, or (3) a special need for self-defense beyond the ordinary need in the individual’s community or profession. Thus, an ordinary desire for self-defense, such as living in a high-crime area, was not proper cause for receiving a concealed-carry license. Local officials determined whether an applicant had shown proper cause, and an official’s decision could be overturned only if it was arbitrary and capricious. Another state law completely prohibited openly carrying a handgun in public, leaving a concealed-carry license as the only way for a resident to carry a handgun in public. Five New York residents (applicants) (plaintiffs) applied for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense. All five applications were denied for failing to establish proper cause. The applicants sued, arguing that (1) they had a Second Amendment right to carry firearms in public for self-defense and (2) the license law’s proper-cause requirement unconstitutionally burdened this right. The district court dismissed the lawsuit, and the applicants appealed to the Second Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wesley, J.)

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