In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court indicated that a limited number of gun control restrictions are permissible under the Second Amendment — provisions such as “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” In McDonald v. Chicago (2010), the Court said that its Heller ruling applied not just to Congress and federal enclaves, such as Washington, D.C., but nationwide as well.
Nevertheless, earlier this year, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, proposed new regulations designed to give the NYPD the power to deny a firearm license to anyone, for reasons that most Americans would consider not nearly serious enough to warrant the suppression of a fundamental individual right.
These reasons — grouped under the heading “lack of good moral character or other good cause” — include an applicant’s “poor driving history,” termination from employment due to “lack of good judgment or lack of good moral character,” failure to pay debts, or having ever been arrested for anything more serious than a traffic offense, even if no charges had been filed, charges had been dropped, or the applicant had been found not guilty in court. For individuals whose license applications cannot be denied for those reasons, the proposal would also allow the police to deny a license to anyone about whom “information demonstrates an unwillingness to abide by the law [or] a lack of candor toward lawful authorities,” or when there is “other good cause.”
Insulting the intelligence of anyone who can read the proposal, the mayor and commissioner announced it in a press release which focused on how their plan would streamline the gun license application process and reduce license fees — all of which will be meaningless to people whose license applications will be denied. Only in the next to last paragraph did the release note that “NYPD will add to its regulations to offer more detailed examples of eligibility standards for a permit,” without giving examples of what those “examples” might be.
With the public comment period on the proposed regulations having ended in mid-September, and city bureaucrats working out the new regulations’ final language, on October 19th Bloomberg appeared on CNN’s “American Morning” program, saying that it is the NRA that is “totally unreasonable.”
Bloomberg’s statement is absurd; probably the kind of thing the NYPD should take into account, if he ever applies for a license to possess a gun.