When Do We Get The Freakin’ GUNS?

Here’s a tip:  when appearing at a hearing to seek reinstatement of your gun permit, be sure to leave the angry at home.  In other words, don’t be this guy.

That was the lesson learned the hard way by the petitioner in Matter of Hahn v. Williams, 2013 NY Slip Op 04864 (decided June 27, 2013), in which an upstate appellate court confirmed a judge’s decision to deny the reinstatement of his gun permit.

According to the court:

Petitioner’s pistol permit was suspended by respondent in October 2010 after he and another individual were involved in a scuffle that resulted in petitioner being charged with menacing in the second degree and criminal mischief in the fourth degree. The charges against petitioner were adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and, in April 2012, they were dismissed. Petitioner then sought to have his pistol permit reinstated and respondent scheduled a hearing. After hearing and observing petitioner at the hearing, respondent characterized his conduct as “bizarre and irrational” and expressed concern about his “emotional state.” Respondent thus denied reinstatement of petitioner’s permit, but noted that petitioner could reapply if he had further pertinent proof regarding his emotional and psychological condition.

Petitioner then commenced the instant CPLR Article 78 proceeding in an attempt to overturn that decision.

The Appellate Division, Third Department deferred to the judge below and denied petitioner the requested relief:

Since respondent had the advantage of observing petitioner during the hearing, we accord deference to respondent’s credibility assessments and factual findings. Here, in addition to comments expressing concern about petitioner at the close of the hearing, respondent stated in a subsequent written decision that, “[d]espite repeated warnings, cautions and directions from [respondent], [petitioner] continued to conduct himself in an overly emotional, obstreperous and acrimonious manner.” Respondent observed that petitioner exhibited “conduct bordering on impassioned rage” and concluded that he lacked the self control necessary to carry a weapon. These conclusions were based on what respondent saw in court and are not inconsistent with the record. Accordingly, we defer to those credibility determinations and factual conclusions, which provide ample ground for respondent’s decision regarding petitioner’s pistol permit.

It also rejected petitioner’s argument that, under the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent holdings in McDonald v. City of Chicago and District of Columbia v. Hellera pistol permit may be revoked only upon a conviction of a felony or finding of mental illness:

Although the United States Supreme Court listed such conditions as examples of longstanding regulatory measures not affected by its decision, the Court expressly noted that these were merely illustrative and that it was not setting forth an exhaustive list. Nor do we need to attempt to delineate in this proceeding the precise point where regulations would run afoul of the US Constitution under McDonald and Heller. Suffice it to say that there is no violation of the US Constitution where, as here, the applicant appears personally before the court, gives sworn testimony, the court sets forth in some detail its observations and concerns about the applicant’s emotional stability as the reason for its decision, the record supports that decision, and the court accords the applicant an opportunity to present proof addressing the court’s concerns. 

The court therefore confirmed the permit denial and dismissed the petition.

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