BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition today filed a federal lawsuit against New York City regulations that essentially combine to ban average law-abiding citizens from carrying loaded handguns outside the home for personal protection. The case is known as Greco v. City of New York.

SAF and FPC are joined by George Greco, a private citizen in New York. Named as defendants are the City of New York and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, in his official capacity. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Plaintiffs are represented by attorney David Jensen. 

The lawsuit challenges the inability of ordinary law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in New York City. While honest citizens have a fundamental right to bear arms for self-protection, the complaint explains, the New York Police Department requires applicants to provide a “proper cause,” which amounts to demonstrating a special or heightened need. As arbitrarily enforced, this requirement prevents average citizens from obtaining a carry permit, which violates their fundamental right to bear arms outside the home.  

“The right to bear arms must be available to all citizens in New York, not just wealthy people and celebrities,” said SAF Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Like other rights protected by the Constitution, that right is not limited to the confines of one’s home. Ever since the SAF Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago ten years ago, the Second Amendment absolutely applies in New York.”

“People in New York have a right to carry a loaded handgun in public for self-defense, and contrary to what Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio think, the Constitution fully applies in the City and State of New York,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “The Supreme Court in Heller was clear that to ‘bear’ arms means to ‘carry’ them on the person in case of confrontation.’ Anything that denies a law-abiding citizen the ability to exercise that right is unconstitutional, period.”

“Like the lawsuit against New Jersey’s carry ban we filed earlier this week, we are suing New York City over their unconstitutional ban that prevents typical, law-abiding people from carry loaded, operable handguns on their person in public places,” explained attorney Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. “The State of New York and New York City have enacted broad criminal laws to prohibit the carry of handguns, and then set up an unconstitutional requirement for the issuance of a license to carry, thus completely foreclosing the right. This case seeks to strike down these laws and allow New Yorkers and visitors to exercise the right to bear arms as they are entitled to.”