The Unconstitutional Irony Of Handgun Training In New York’s Amended Gun Law


Executive Orders Rule Regulation Red Tape
“Does the State have the legal right to require handgun training and, if so, from where does that purported legal right to mandate handgun training derive?” IMG iStock

New York – -( Anyone who possesses a handgun, or any functional firearm, should be familiar with its operation and, ideally, proficient in its use.

Few gun owners would object to that, and few would argue the responsibility to obtain understanding and proficiency of use rests with the individual, not the “nanny state” to require it.

Yet, a burning question, asked rarely, if ever, but one that needs to be asked and answered is this:

Should the State mandate handgun training when the individual undertakes that responsibility upon himself, where that responsibility belongs anyway, and where State handgun training is time-consuming, unduly expensive, and redundant?

In that normative question rests a pressing legal one:

“Does the State have the legal right to require handgun training and, if so, from where does that purported legal right to mandate handgun training derive?”

There is nothing in the natural law right of armed self-defense as codified in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution that expressly says or alludes to a training requirement as a condition precedent to one exercising the right to bear arms, as a natural law right accruing to the individual. But is this assertion true? Granted, it requires explication and qualification:

The phrase “well-regulated” in the Second Amendment does mean “well-trained,” but only in the context of the prefatory “militia” clause, where it appears, not in the salient, independent clause: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” where no mention is made of it.

Justice Scalia, writing for the majority in Heller, pointed this out. And Justice Alito, writing for the majority in McDonald, reiterated and expanded upon it.


An important distinction rests between the right of the people to keep and bear arms in matters of a life-threatening personal confrontation and the right of the people to keep and bear arms as “a failsafe” to thwart tyranny.

And as for the matter of tyranny, the Heller majority discusses it, but in passing.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia, who penned the Heller opinion, was undoubtedly acutely aware of making too much of the fundamental right of the common people to take up arms against a tyrannical government in the seminal U.S. Supreme Court Second Amendment case of the 21st Century that, he knew, would draw incredulity and ire from many quarters, not least of all among some of his brethren, given the magnitude of the rulings.

That Scalia mentioned tyranny at all, especially given its trajectory in our Nation in the 21st Century, he may have felt it enough to allude to tyranny as an imminent threat to the continuation of our free Constitutional Republic and prudently left the matter of discussion at that, going no further.

But, one legal scholar, discussing Heller, who, as an academician, not a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, who need not be mindful of the potential backlash, elaborated on the singular import of tyranny as separate from the natural law right of self-defense, He writes:

“The natural right of self-defense applies not only to defense of the individual, but also to the defense of society against tyranny. There was little disagreement on this understanding at the time of the founding. As Hamilton put it, ‘if the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.’ It was universally agreed that the well-regulated militia consisted of the entire general populace, which was to be armed and trained in the use of arms. Indeed, that the people be well trained in the use of arms was central to the founders’ understanding of the Second Amendment and was considered the basic source of their liberty. As Madison put it, ‘if the people [of Europe] were armed and organized into militia, ‘the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.’” “The Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance And Novel Textual Questions About The Second Amendment, 102 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 471 (Spring 2012) by Owen McGovern.

One can extrapolate from Heller and McDonald that when the Tyrant mandates arms training as a precursor to bearing arms, it isn’t done with the aim to create, in the commonalty, a force capable of deposing the Tyrant. That would be nonsensical.

The Tyrant seeks to disarm the populace, not embolden it. Otherwise, the common man might displace the Tyrant.

Mandating handgun training in jurisdictions such as New York is to inhibit the exercise of the natural law right of armed self-defense.

Training, along with other mandates, takes time and money. The Government’s goal here is to dissuade the would-be gun owner, not ease his burden of acquiring a concealed handgun carry license.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court majority in Heller, McDonald, and Bruen allows the despots and despoilers in Government to betray the intent of the Court’s rulings.

But the Court, knowledgeable of the irascibility and intransigence of forces hostile to the American citizenry’s fundamental, immutable, and unalienable rights, still provides these forces with loopholes, albeit reluctantly, to get around its rulings.

Consider: immediately after the Heller rulings, the City of Chicago sought to ignore those rulings, claiming Heller applies to the Federal Government only, not to the States.

Justice Alito, writing for the majority, refuted that idea, and then gave the City of Chicago the means to defy the Court, notwithstanding. How and why is that?

Alito recognized the inherent dilemma the Court was in and, perhaps, anticipating that Chicago would try to negate the impact of McDonald, was, nonetheless, compelled to acknowledge that,

“This history of intrusive regulation is not surprising given that the very text of the Second Amendment calls out for regulation, and the ability to respond to the social ills associated with dangerous weapons goes to the very core of the States’ police powers. Our precedent is crystal-clear on this latter point.”

This was all the City of Chicago needed to hear.

The City mandated handgun training, arguing that doing so is within its power to regulate firearms, as Alito acknowledged. The City thereupon promptly banned the means to obtain that training in Chicago.

This impossible situation, not surprisingly, led to a Court challenge.

In Ezel “II,” the Seventh Circuit opined,

“In Ezell I, we held that Chicago’s ban on firing ranges could not be reconciled with the Second Amendment and ordered the district court to preliminarily enjoin its enforcement. 651 F.3d at 710-11. . . . Chicago responded to our decision by promulgating a host of new regulations governing firing ranges, including zoning restrictions, licensing and operating rules, construction standards, and environmental requirements. (Firing ranges operated by law enforcement and private-security firms are exempt from the regulatory scheme; there are currently 11 of these located throughout the city.) The plaintiffs returned to court arguing that many of the new regulations violate the Second Amendment.

In the face of this second round of litigation, the City amended the regulatory scheme four times. . . repealing or revising some of the new rules.”

Since the Seventh Circuit precluded the City of Chicago from banning gun ranges outright, the City came up with another ploy. It cunningly established zoning restrictions, i.e., “sensitive places,” where gun ranges cannot lawfully operate.

Does this sound familiar? Does this bring New York’s new “Sensitive Location” restriction to mind? It should.

Likely taking its cue from Chicago, New York created a new Penal law section, NY CLS Penal § 265.01-e, that prohibits the carrying of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun in any “sensitive location”—applicable to a multitude of areas where a person holding a valid concealed handgun carry license could, once upon a time, not so long ago, lawfully carry a handgun, but now can no longer do so.

And, like Chicago, New York now institutes mandatory handgun training as a condition precedent to obtaining a license to carry a handgun in public even though it had never mandated such training for holders of concealed handgun carry licensees before. And that raises a question as to the State’s rationale for it.

Curiously, the Bruen majority opinion never dealt with the training issue. Reference to training appears only once: in Justice Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion. But that is dicta. It isn’t a Court ruling. And Kavanaugh simply notes this.

So, then, is State mandated handgun training lawful in the eyes of the court? Probably so, as evidenced in Heller and, more specifically, in McDonald.

Be that as it may, applying a State’s police powers to over-regulate civilian citizen use of firearms ostensibly to promote public safety is a hard sell when the public faces the ravages of violent crime.

The New York public now finds itself betwixt the proverbial rock and a hard place: at once bereft of a tenable means to protect itself, given a new spate of ponderous gun laws it must contend with, and a government ever apathetic to its needs for “public safety,” even as it incessantly, deceitfully proclaims its desire to promote it.

Thus, Americans who cherish their Second Amendment right are compelled to file yet again, ever again, another round of lawsuits: a tedious, expensive, eternal process. And this will continue if unthinking sorts among the polity continue to vote the same unprincipled rogues and prevaricators into public office.

Read Related: Seneca Sporting Range NY, 1st to Offer Hochul’s Conceal Carry Training Course

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what did scotus say, “history and precedent”? don’t recall anything in the Constitution that specifies the amount of training required to possess a firearm. or a piece of paper to do the same. also very few if any places were sensitive places where a firearm could not be carried. it’s all about the context.


Like my tee shirt says “ When guns are outlawed, then I’ll be an outlaw “ .


Exactly. I love my country, I served my country. However, I absolutely despise the Government, specifically, the current administration. Unfortunately a large part the world sees our government as if it is the country.


Well said! No man has the authority or the right to control another man’s life.


And the lawsuits will go on and on and on , because it’s the taxpayer who picks up the tab for the states legal expenses. The lawyers for the state get paid , win , lose or draw . They have no skin in the game, whereas the plaintiff must rely entirely on private funding , which is finite, so the bottom line is the state will ALWAYS WIN. That, my friends IS tyranny. And we seem incapable of doing a damn thing about it.


Sensitive areas do not exist in the real world, only in infringing idiots minds do sensitive areas exist . Infact they have overly sensitive areas in thier mind thats why guns make them come unhinged .

John Dow

When will there be state mandated training and licensing for posting on the internet? That’s something far more dangerous to the control freak states than handguns in the streets.


My question is: How do you do the training in order to receive your permission slip if you need a permit to carry/use a firearm before you can train? Rentals at the Range but then you are firing a weapon without the permission slip. We are talking New York here. Does this seem to be a “Catch 22” to anybody else?


Precisely their original intent, and they’ve NO plans to allow that status quo to be changed. Gummit doin whut gummit do best.


It’s just never ending.
I am just so sick of this sh!t.


NY weapons training should be done for the benefit of the gunner only. Because it going to do absolutely nothing to make the liberals of NY trust anybody with weapons.


No totally true. They trust their government paid bodyguard with guns. They trust their brown shirts of whatever agency with guns. They just don’t want any possible resistance to their tyranny.


Step back and take a breath, people. The state has an obligation to ensure an individual is able to operate a motor vehicle before providing them a license to drive. If the (state/local) government is going to issue a permit to carry to an individual, do they not have the same obligation to ensure a commensurate level of training prior to issuance? Cars or guns; either can kill quickly and efficiently, especially in the hands of the untrained. We get too wrapped around the axle of “infringement of our rights” before taking a serious and thoughtful look at the issue.… Read more »


You do not need a driver’s license nor insurance to drive a car. You are required to obtain that to drive on public roads. I learned the firearm safety rules and how to shoot so young I cannot recall ever not knowing. When I did get required government training, I found it quite useless and I certainly would not want anyone to rely solely on that training as being sufficient. I seriously doubt anyone that CCs is careless as their lives and those of their families depend on their being practiced and informed. Driver’s Ed was far more informative, but… Read more »


You know that you are going to be criticized because bearing arms is a right while driving a vehicle is a privilege there’s no comparison there.
I don’t think that the state should require training to obtain a permit to purchase a firearm, if you want to carry the state may require training or you can take your chances but at least you will be protected.

Last edited 1 month ago by PMinFl

PM – we can take your point to the logical conclusion as well. As long as the ‘arm’ is used solely on your own property, does the state have any grounds for regulating its use? Continuing, if you choose to use that arm elsewhere they may, to some extent, create a standard for doing so. Of course criminals totally ignore any and all laws, rules and regulations governing what responsible Citizens will abide by.


While I still think it would be outside the responsibility of the state government, I would be able to swallow the hard pill of having to resent myself before some sort of state qualified functionary to demonstrate I can safely handle and fire my chosen weapon. Any competent “instructor” or “examiner” can determine that in less than ten minutes. Should be offered as a free service by multiple levels of government officiladom. Or contracted private experts.Again, less than ten minutes is all that is needed. And if the guy can’t pass straightwaay, the instructor should take another ten minutes to… Read more »


I fully agree that people must learn how to handle both cars/trucks and firearms before they are turned loose in public with them. What I STRONGLY object to is when the gummit steps in and sez WE KNOW HOW and thus WE MANDATE HOW. there are many diffeerent ways to learn how to drive, and handle firearms. Friends, neighbours, relatives, schools, clubs, Boys Clubs,Boy Scouts, summer camps, and on and on. My Dad got his driving license on his twelfth birthday, no training mandates not even a drive test. His Dad brought himto City Hall, they filled out the form… Read more »


To reiterate what others were more “gentle” in stating: “self defense”, “the right to keep, bear and use arms (legs, hammers, kitchen knives, … inanimate objects)” in defense of ones-self and others is a G-d Given (“natural”; “carbon footprint”, for an arrogant, such as yourself) right. While freedom of movement is a G-d Given right, driving is an acquired skill. Yet, an automobile’s mechanical operation / control, and consequence of misuse, is less intuitive than a firearm. Why does the “state” allow no experience / novice wannabe drivers to operate motor vehicles on public roadways after only a minimum of… Read more »

Wild Bill

Were you aware of the difference between a Right and permission (permit or license) from the state, then I am sure that your conclusion would be different.