Firearm Application Denial Not Discriminatory, Court Holds

In Matter of James v. New York City Dept. of Corr., 2019 NY Slip Op 31748(U), 158147/2018 (NY Sup. Ct. NY Cty. June 19, 2019), the court held that the petitioner, a corrections officer, failed to demonstrate that the Firearms Review Board’s denial of his application to carry a firearm was arbitrary and capricious and not based on a rational basis, and thus denied his Article 78 petition seeking relief.

In addition, the court held that plaintiff failed to substantiate his allegation that he was subjected to unlawful discrimination based on his sexual orientation under the New York City Human Rights Law.

The petitioner argued, inter alia, that he was “treated unequally because he is a gay male employee and as a result the work environment has been histile and dangerous.”

In ruling against petitioner on this point, Judge Rakower wrote:

Petitioner has not shown unfair discrimination. … Petitioner has shown that (1) he is a member of a protected class, his sexual orientation and (3) an adverse action occurred, denial of Petitioner’s application to carry a firearm. Id. However, Petitioner failed to show that (2) he was qualified to carry a firearm and ( 4) that the adverse action, denial of Petitioner’s
application to carry a firearm, gives rise to an inference of discrimination based on
Petitioner’s sexual orientation. Id. Petitioner makes conclusory allegations of
discrimination but fails to allege facts that show Petitioner’s application was denied
because of discrimination based on Petitioner’s sexual orientation. Respondents, on
the other hand, provide a rational basis for their decision grounded in Petitioner’s
disciplinary history. Petitioner fails to meet his burden of demonstrating that the
denial of Petitioner’s application to carry a firearm should be disturbed by the Court.