New York City residents who challenged a policy that requires handgun owners in the city to pay a $340 residential licensing fee as unConstitutional were shot down by a Federal judge on Monday.
Federal Judge John Koeltl ruled that the lawsuit brought by citizens and gun rights advocates, including the New York Rifle & Pistol Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, was void because he believes there is no evidence that the hefty fee has stopped anyone from exercising his rights. The fee must be paid every three years, according to The Associated Press.
“The city defendants contend that the $340 fee is permissible under this standard because it is designed to defray, and does not exceed, the costs of administering New York’s handgun licensing scheme,” Koeltl wrote in his 38-page Opinion and Order. “However, the plaintiffs argue that, to be permissible, a fee must not only be designed to defray administrative costs but must also be a ‘nominal’ amount. According to the plaintiffs, the $340 fee is too high to be nominal.”
The judge cited several appellate court rulings that determined such a fee is considered nominal, according to Courthouse News Service.
“While it is possible to conceive of fees that are impermissible because they are so exorbitant as to deter the exercise of the protected activity … there is no showing that the $340 handgun licensing fee qualifies as such a fee,” Koeltl wrote. “The plaintiffs merely assert that the $340 fee is excessive, which is not sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding the permissibility of the fee.”
The residential license affords holders the right to have a handgun in their homes; it is not a carry permit.