Plaxico Burress v. City of New York

From the diaries, by Erick.

The WSJ has an interesting opinion piece written by David Kopel, of the Cato Institute. It discusses the recent news regarding Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress and the incident in a New York nightclub where he possessed an unlicensed, in NY, loaded glock and he accidently shot himself in the leg. The point Mr. Kopel brings up is regarding New York City’s gun law, which states if a person is found to be carrying a firearm illegally, it carries a minimum three and a half year prison sentence, and how it punishes those that are discriminated by the state for not recognizing out of state permits and not issuing permits to non-residents, which in the wake of Heller, is up for discussion.

“Mr. Burress had previously had a handgun carry permit issued by Florida, for which he was required to pass a fingerprint-based background check. As a player for the Giants, he moved to Totowa, N.J., where he kept a Glock pistol. Because New York state permits to possess or carry handguns are not issued to nonresidents, Mr. Burress could not apply for a New York City permit. The Heller decision did not say that requiring a license to carry a gun was unconstitutional… Unlike most other states, New York refuses to honor carry permits issued by sister states. Most observers believe that the Supreme Court will eventually make state and local governments obey the Second Amendment. If it does, New York’s discrimination against nonresidents will probably be ruled unconstitutional.”

(emphasis mine)

For Mr. Burress, there is obviously not much leeway for him to beat this case because of the law and Mayor Bloomberg is speaking out publicly to make an example of Burress. However, based on Heller, I would appeal this case on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional, agreeing with Kopel, because of his notoriety, he obtained a gun permit in Florida for protection, now that he lives and works in New Jersey and New York, he still maintains that notoriety and still will need a firearm for protection, especially in the biggest metropolis in the country. To discriminate against non-residents applying for a permit is unconstitutional. Also a little odd is that New York not recognizing the Florida issued permit, but to recognize out of state gay marriage, is a manipulation of the full faith and credit clause, Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution. (I am not a savant in Constitutional law, but I assume states have the right to manipulate this, based that they are separate and sovereign entities)

If New York had some sensible laws, Mr. Burress would have received his license to carry permit based on Florida giving it to him, background check, etc. Instead, he’s going to be fighting for his freedom because of New York’s discrimination, as well as personal stupidity.