Lawsuit Derails Nassau NY Handgun Ban

Lawsuit Derails Nassau NY Handgun Ban

Shooters Committee on Political Education
Shooters Committee on Political Education

Mineola, NY –-( The Nassau County local law banning the possession of handguns mislabeled “deceptively colored” remains on hold indefinitely pending the outcome of a legal challenge by gun-rights activists.

In June 2008, Nassau passed Local Law #5, criminalizing the possession and sale of “deceptively colored handguns” as a supposed danger to law enforcement. The law originally banned all handguns except for those that are “black, grey, silver, steel, nickel or army green.” It does not grandfather currently owned guns and mandates that gun owners surrender all banned guns for destruction without any compensation, and with no opportunity to sell them outside the county.

Three New York State pistol licensees—Alan Chwick of Freeport, Edward Botsch of Franklin Square, and Thomas Fess of Rochester—filed an action on July 23rd in Nassau Supreme Court (Index #: 013564/2008) to challenge the laws. The proceeding was filed pro se, with the assistance of a New York gun-rights activist and attorney.

The action sought a ruling that Nassau’s local law is invalid because it is “preempted” by New York State’s extensive gun control laws, which already ban “disguised guns.” Under the doctrine of preemption, localities may not pass laws in areas already regulated by state law, unless state law permits such local laws. The suit also sought to overturn the law because it violates the right to keep and bear arms under both the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and a similar provision of New York State Civil Rights Laws.

The proceeding was brought on the day the law was to go into effect, and sought a temporary restraining order and an injunction to stay enforcement of the law. That led to Nassau to enter into a binding stipulation not to enforce the law unless the court rules against the petitioners. Further, filing of the action alone resulted in the Nassau County legislature amending the law to remove the prohibitions against gold plated, blued, and brown handguns.

The action is currently on appeal to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department (Docket No. 2009-1468). The petitioners have retained attorney Robert Firriolo, a litigation partner in the New York office of Duane Morris LLP.

The local law challenged affects not only Nassau pistol licensees, but all New York gun owners and visitors to Nassau County. Anybody found with a banned handgun is subject to arrest and prosecution. The law is particularly hazardous to the many shooters who come into, or pass through, Nassau to participate in shooting events and have no way of knowing about this law. The suit was brought to protect the interests of all of law-abiding gun owners and dealers, most of whom are still unaware that many ordinary, popular and valuable handguns are banned. The law imposes a penalty of one year in jail and a $1000 fine.

The petitioners continue to express their gratitude to SCOPE, the Freeport R&R Association Junior Club, SAFE, SASI, NCF&G, and to all those individuals who have donated to help us succeed in this important appeal. The petitioners, though, are still seeking donations to help with the appeal of Chwick v. Mulvey, as we have requested 15minutes of Oral Argument time..

Please remember that a victory in this appeal may well be the springboard for challenging other burdensome and senseless New York gun control laws. In fact, Chwick v. Mulvey has already been cited in Albany County Appellate Division, Second Department, and the cite was positive on our points 3 & 4 (Cites to Heller and NYS Civil Liberties, Second Amendment). Additionally, Chwick v. Mulvey, may be another doorway for incorporation of the Second Amendment by NYS. But appeals are not inexpensive, so please donate whatever you can to SCOPE, SAFE, SASI, or directly to Petitioner Chwick. Every dollar helps, and any funds leftover, will be returned. Please send donations to:

SCOPE, PO Box 12711, Rochester, NY 14612
Please make checks payable to SCOPE, Inc.
SAFE, PO Box 343, Commack, NY 11725

Please make checks payable to SAFE, Inc.
SASI, 215 Waldo Street, Copiague, NY 11726
Please make check payable to: SASI
Alan Chwick, 5 Brunella Street, Freeport, NY 11520

Please make check payable to: Alan Chwick

Please, note in the memo area of your check: “Legal Defense Fund-Chwick v. Mulvey.”.

We ARE looking forward to a successful appeal, but we can only do it with your help. Thanks.

For more information, contact:
Nassau County News Flash
Alan Chwick, Editor
[email protected]
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Alan Chwick,Editor