The Big Burrito (formerly known as the Big Bagel) is infamous for its harsh restrictions on legal firearm ownership. To legally own a handgun in the five boroughs, a mere civilian, with no background in law enforcement, needs to jump through the proverbial hoops that include a visit to police headquarters with a stack of letters of recommendation from "law-abiding" citizens. Even then, the sinister powers-that-be make it so hard and impractical to get a handgun license here, that few people ever take that step. As for shotguns and rifles, the procedure is almost as tedious. Unlike in other counties of the Empire State, you cannot just buy a non-automatic shotgun in a store and present a driver's license to the cashier. Instead, you need a special license from the city bureaucrats.
Last week, I accompanied a friend who wanted to get a shotgun license to my local borough hall. In order to even look at an application, even if you never end up filling it out, you need to write down your full name in a book. I guess even those only interested in obtaining a shotgun license are already such a threat to the libureaucracy.
You need to be at least 21 to own a shotgun. The fact that you could drive a tank or fly a fighter jet at 18, 19, or 20 years of age does not matter. You also need to reveal and explain in detail the circumstances of any arrest you were ever subject too. Even if the charges were dismissed or sealed, you still need to provide supporting documentation and a notarized statement explaining what happened. So, the proverbial brain surgeon would have to find documentation and write a mea culpa statement explaining why and how he got arrested in a bar fight in college 30 years ago, even if the charges were dismissed and sealed.
An even more ridiculous requirement is the Affidavit of Co-Habitant. In order to be able to obtain a shotgun/rifle license, you need the written, notarized permission of everyone who lives with you, regardless of their relationship. Clearly, this requirement applies only to adults (with children and pets soon to follow, the way things are going in the Big Burrito). But when did the Second Amendment attach to a place instead of a person. As Justice Scalia held in District of Columbia v. Heller,
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home
The key words are "individual right", not "family right". Is the approval of a "co-habitant" required for someone to practice their First Amendment right? But the Second Amendment is the one the liberals love to hate. I remember a high school teacher telling me that the Second Amendment "should not be taken literally" and in any case, "only applied during the American Revolution"; and a college government and politics teacher expressed hope that the Second Amendment will be overturned. Listening to such idiotic rants, one begins to regret the Nineteenth Amendment was ever adopted.
Eugene Girin is a New York-based attorney and commentator.