BUFFALO, NY — A New York gun advocacy group is taking on the state's concealed carry law in federal court. The argument they make: Ordinary citizens should be able to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside of their home.
If you want to carry a concealed gun in New York State, you need to get a license and show a special need to protect yourself. That's what the state Rifle and Pistol Association says is against the Second Amendment.
And, it's filed a lawsuit on behalf of gun owners denied those licenses — something gun rights group SCOPE supports.
"If you have a right of self-defense, it shouldn't end at your doorstep, you should be able to have a viable means of self-defense wherever you may go, now I realize there are restrictions on it you can't carry a gun in a school or public buildings and so forth," said Budd Schroeder, chairman emeritus of SCOPE.
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. blocked a city regulation requiring gun owners to show "good reason to fear injury" in order to get a concealed carry handgun permit.
"For that court to take a pro-Second Amendment stance, I think is very telling," said Dennis Vacco, a former state attorney general.
And, that case is part of the state rifle association's legal argument.
so i think this is a case that potentially makes it to the supreme court on the issue of how strict a concealed carry permit should be
In a statement, Richard Azzopardi, a spokesperson for the Governor's Office responds to the lawsuit saying, "While the federal government constantly tries to strip away gun safety laws, Governor Cuomo will continue to defend the toughest gun laws in the nation. It's disturbing but not surprising that the mini-NRA is once again seeking to waste taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit to make New York less safe."
But, gun rights advocates say the lawsuit has merit and want to see New York's gun laws relaxed similar to other states.
"For example, if you're in Pennsylvania and get a concealed carry permit and you can prove that you're not a felon and you don't have a mental disability, you get your pistol permit immediately," Schroeder said.
But Vacco says not every appeals court is the same. A federal court upheld New York's concealed carry law back in 2012.