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N.Y. Concealed Carry Law's 'Proper Cause' Provision Upheld

By Andrew Lu on November 29, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld New York's concealed carry law, a ruling that the state Attorney General's office is hailing as a "major victory" for gun safety.

The court rejected a constitutional challenge to New York's handgun licensing statute, which requires an individual to show "proper cause" in order to carry concealed handguns in public. The court unanimously found that the law does not violate the Second Amendment, reports the Buffalo Law Journal.

As a result, New Yorkers will need to demonstrate "a special need for self protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession" in order to carry a concealed handgun in public.

In general, the Second Amendment provides the constitutional right for individuals to bear arms. Challengers of the New York law asserted that the "proper cause" requirement for carrying concealed weapons infringed on this basic right.

Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that while the Second Amendment provides the right to keep arms for the purpose of self defense in the home, the constitutional right does not extend to carrying concealed handguns in public.

The judge added that even if the Second Amendment gave the right to carry concealed handguns in public, New York's "proper cause" provision passes constitutional muster under two recent Supreme Court rulings. That's because the law is substantially related to important government interests -- namely, the promotion of public safety and the prevention of crimes perpetrated with concealed handguns, according to the New York State Attorney General's office.

Finally, the judge found that the "proper cause" requirement did not violate the Constitution's Equal Protection clause because it did not discriminate against handgun license applicants, as the plaintiffs had argued.

Do you have questions about the Second Amendment and your right to bear arms? Post a query to our FindLaw Answers forum, where our community of legal contributors will typically respond within 48 hours.

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