In a landmark decision that was closely watched by New York criminal lawyers and attorneys throughout the Country, The United States Supreme Court struck down Washington DC’s ban on handguns. As discussed in our earlier March 19, 2008 blog, the decision is monumental because it marks the first time the Court has recognized that the right to “keep and bear arms” applies to individual citizens and not only State Militias. The fact that the Supreme Court now recognizes an individual right raises many questions about the legality of the gun laws throughout New York and the North East.
To me, as an attorney who was a member of the firearms trafficking unit of the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan and has handled numerous gun cases throughout my career, this decision raises more questions than answers. For example, while the Court has prohibited a total ban on guns, to what extent will Courts allow “Reasonable Restrictions” on the ownership of handguns? Will the Courts permit onerous licensing and registration laws to continue? To what extent does this effect individuals facing the mandatory minimum three and one half year sentence for those charged with possession of a loaded firearm in New York?
At Tilem & Campbell we are continuing to analyze the decision with an eye toward helping our clients navigate the maze of New York gun laws. A further blog on this topic in the coming weeks will further discuss the ramifications of the decision.