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Court Upholds NYC Fee to Keep Guns at Home

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on March 28, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

New York City's $340 license fee for keeping a handgun at home does not violate the Second Amendment's right to bear arms, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Seven handgun owners and two gun owners' groups sued the city over its handgun license fee, claiming it placed a burden on a basic constitutional right, the Associated Press reports.

But a judge disagreed, saying the gun-rights advocates failed to prove New York City's license fee was a burden.

The gun advocates failed to show any evidence that New York City's $340 gun license fee has stopped anyone from exercising their Constitutional right to bear arms, the federal judge held.

"While it is possible to conceive of fees that are impermissible because they are so exorbitant to deter the exercise of protected activity ... there is no showing that the $340 handgun licensing fee qualifies as such a fee," the judge said, according to Reuters.

Indeed, the city's $340 handgun fee, good for a three-year permit to keep handguns at home, is designed to cover administrative costs, the judge ruled. Those costs include conducting background checks, an attorney for the city said.

But the gun advocates' lawyer said he was disappointed in the ruling, and promised to appeal.

Until then, New York City's $340 handgun license fee program continues. Anyone applying for a license must type out their application form, disclose their criminal background, and pay $91.50 for fingerprinting, according to the NYPD's website. The city can reject applicants because of prior criminal or domestic-violence incidents, as well as a poor DMV history, among other factors.

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