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Court rules handgun licenses ok for part-time NYS residents

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – The state’s highest court today said that part-time residents of New York state can receive handgun permits.

The Court of Appeals said the handgun license law does not just pertain to people who make their domiciles in New York; it rejected as moot an attempt by the person who brought the suit to get the court to rule that his Second Amendment rights were violated.

“We take a straightforward approach to this dispute,’’ the court wrote in a decision released this morning. If the state law does not require proof of domicile to get a handgun license, the court said “then there is no need to decide the constitutionality of a hypothetical statute that requires domicile.’’

The case involved Alfred Osterweil, who had his handgun license denied in 2009 after he told the Schoharie County sheriff that his permanent residence had moved from Schoharie County in New York to Louisiana.

Osterweil said though he would only still live part of the year in Schoharie County, he and his wife would still continue to play a role in “social, political and community affairs’’ in New York state.

But a county court judge denied the handgun license, saying only full-time residents of New York can obtain one.

The handgun license law was signed into law in 1931 by then-Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt. “The plain language of the statute is not consistent with the theory that the law requires an applicant to establish domicile as an eligibility requirement. Were it so, we would expect to see the manner of proof of domicile set out in the statute,’’ Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. wrote this morning in the unanimous opinion by the state’s highest court.

A federal court weighing Osterweil's case earlier this year asked the Court of Appeals to weigh in on the residency component of the state's handgun licensing law.

 

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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