Getting a gun in New York City is a difficult endeavor. You have to be permitted just to buy a gun, and it’s not like they’re “shall issue” permits, either.
They don’t make it easy, and truth be told, it hasn’t shown much of an impact on crime. After all, the city has seen crime rise and fall with no change in the gun laws. Still, don’t expect the law to change anytime soon.
However, some New Yorkers are claiming racial bias is playing a role in who gets permits and who doesn’t.
New York Firearms Law and Second Amendment firm Tilem & Associates, PC filed three lawsuits, two at the state supreme court and one at the federal court in Manhattan, claiming the New York Police Department’s Gun Division uses capricious considerations that disproportionately deny gun permits to black applicants.
Back in April, attorney Peter Howard Tilem, wrote on the New York Criminal Attorney Blog that in February of 2017, “during a hearing at the NYPD License Division offices before an NYPD hearing officer, a Detective assigned to the investigation section of the License Division testified under oath about using dismissed arrests as a basis to recommend revocation of an African-American license holder’s license.”
Tilem noted the Detective testified at the hearing that anything brought to the attention of the NYPD License Division was established as an “incident.” Moreover, The NYPD “did not necessarily consider the quality of the incidents but rather the sheer number and that included dismissed arrests,” Tilem wrote.
Tilem’s firm looked at statistics from the NY State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and found that between 2010 and 2016 “African-Americans were approximately twice as likely to get arrested for something that was ultimately dismissed or for something that the District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute.”
Because of the numbers and the testimony of the NYPD detective, the firm concluded: “There is evidence of racial bias in the way the NYPD issues and revokes firearms licenses.”
Tilem attorneys say that their offices have been flooded with similar claims by black gun permit applicants in New York City. Tilem associate attorney Robert Schechter told The Daily Caller Monday night the firm currently represents two black males, John Allen and the Devon Thomas. Both applied for New York City gun permits and each was rejected. Neither had felony records but each had records of dismissed arrests.
“Devon Thomas is an African-American male security guard who was falsely arrested two times and has been awarded money judgments from the city based on those arrests. Those dismissed arrested had been used to deny him. Ultimately, he had to hire a lawyer and he got his license,”Schechter told The Daily Caller.
Now, I’m at the point where calls of racial bias tend to cause me to roll my eyes. It’s a kind of fatigue where something is claimed to be so often enough that you get tired of hearing about it.
But this is different. Dismissed arrests are arrests that shouldn’t count at all. It’s dismissed because there were no grounds for the arrest to go forward. If there were, it’s unlikely it would have been dismissed.
By counting dismissed arrests, even if race played no factor in the decision, we’re seeing a major problem in New York City.
We also see a major problem in allowing bureaucrats to decide who gets to exercise a civil liberty and who doesn’t. Any biases they have will play a factor, be they racial, religious, political, or just plain not liking people with blue eyes. If someone wants to manufacture a reason to deny someone, they’ll find a reason.
Sounds like a good reason to get rid of the whole process and to respect the Second Amendment for a change, doesn’t it?