A three-judge federal appeals court panel gave the green light on July 9 to a law permitting New York City to charge hundreds of dollars for a gun licensing fee that costs $3 to $10 elsewhere in the state, the Associated Press and Danbury News Times reported.
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the $340 handgun fee for a three-year license was legal for the same reasons that fees imposed on those seeking to stage a rally or a parade are constitutional.
“Imposing fees on the exercise of constitutional rights is permissible when the fees are designed to defray (and do not exceed) the administrative costs of regulating the protected activity,” the appeals court said.
The city had told the court that revenue generated by licensing fees before the fee was increased in 2004 covered just over half of the related administrative expenses. The ruling rejected a lawsuit brought in 2011 by individual and organizational guns rights advocates including the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and the Second Amendment Foundation. The plaintiffs had challenged the law permitting New York City and neighboring Nassau County on Long Island to charge more than the $3 to $10 required for a handgun license elsewhere in the state.
Attorney David Jensen in the case captioned Kwong et al v. Bloomberg et al said the plaintiffs were considering an appeal, which could be for an en banc hearing of the same court or for certiorari from the US Supreme Court.
“We are disappointed with the court’s decision and are contemplating how to proceed,” he said.
In a concurring opinion, Circuit Judge John M. Walker wrote that the case presented complicated questions in an area of law in which the Supreme Court had provided limited guidance.