Monday, November 10, 2008

New York trial court holds Second Amendment trumps state storage law

From Volokh, on a recent New York state trial court decision, which held that the Second Amendment prohibits the state from imposing storage laws that require the gun owner to store the firearm in a locked safe.

From the court's opinion in Colaiacovo v. Dormer, as reported on Volokh (link to original post above):
The Petitioner was possessed of a pistol permit with a sportsman endorsement that was ... revoked ... altogether based upon circumstances surrounding the [suicide] of Petitioner's wife .... Apparently, the Respondent determined that the Petitioner's failure to keep his weapon in a locked safe, or otherwise inoperable was an unspecified rule violation....

In view of D.C. v. Heller there is a question as to whether the Petitioner's conduct relative to properly safeguarding his handgun was within the bounds of his constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment rights. If the Petitioner acted in a manner consistent with his existing constitutional rights relative to the care and safeguarding of his pistol, the State of New York may not diminish such other rights as he may otherwise possess or have been previously granted solely on the basis that some provision of State law ... dictates that he behave differently in derogation of his Second Amendment Rights. Simply put, the State of New York ... [is] no longer in a position to require that a handgun be stored in an inoperable condition or otherwise locked up if it is otherwise legally present in the owner's dwelling....

Read the short decision here.

The trial court's decision assumes, without discussion, that the Second Amendment applies to the state and limits what restrictions state laws can impose on gun owners.

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