Bloomberg Is Sued Over City’s Handgun Permit Fee
A gun-rights-advocacy group sued Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday, claiming that the city fee for obtaining a home-handgun permit was so excessive that it impinged on the Second Amendment.
The group, the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Wash., is focusing on New York’s fees because, according to the group, the city is one of the few places in the country that requires people to obtain permits to keep guns in their homes.
The city’s fee is $340, plus a $94.25 charge for a fingerprint check. The fee in most other places in the state is $10, according to the foundation. Mr. Bloomberg has long been a staunch supporter of gun control and has made efforts to reduce the traffic in guns into the city through sting operations, lawsuits against gun dealers and other antigun measures.
The city’s fee for obtaining a home gun permit has long been in place.
The suit, filed in federal court, claims that the city’s fee is so exorbitant that it “impermissibly burdens the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” and the suit argues that because city residents are forced to pay more than others, the fee also violates the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause.
Last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to bear arms applies to state and local gun-control laws. Two years earlier, it applied Second Amendment protection under federal law.
In an interview, Alan Gottlieb, the executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, said that New York City’s fee had been on the group’s radar for a while, and that the two recent Supreme Court decisions were “cornerstones for future Second Amendment litigation.”
“We needed those decisions to affirm that this right is protected in your own home,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “That’s what made it right to bring this lawsuit. This is an excessive fee being charged to exercise a fundamental right in your own home.”
A spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department said lawyers were reviewing the suit.
The Bloomberg administration announced nearly a year ago that it was moving to speed up and simplify the process for getting a gun permit, and reducing fees for permit renewals.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, who was also named in the suit, declined to comment.
The group also took issue with how the revenue collected from the fees is spent. “Not one penny of it goes to processing the application,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “It all goes to the police pension fund.”