NY State firearms law history
I have a question.... the original Sullivan Act required a permit to possess a handgun, and another to carry one concealed. It appears that if you had the permit to possess, you could carry openly without a permit.
At what point in time did New York require a permit for all handgun carrying, either by providing a person needed a permit to carry in any way, or by outlawing open carry?
UPDATE: The Sullivan Law made it illegal to "to have or carry concealed upon his person" a pistol, and provided for permit to "have and carry concealed." It's possible this could be read as making it illegal to "have upon his person or carry concealed upon his person," and conversely making the permit one for carrying, but concealed only.
I believe you are reading it wrong. The original bill refers only to licensed concealed carry. Because licensed open carry is not mentioned, it was assumed to be illegal. This is how the state declines to issue licenses to non-residents. Because they are not mentioned, they cannot be issued.
Posted by: Jacob at December 13, 2012 11:52 AM
The original Sullivan Act only restricted carry, not possession or ownership. What was passed restricted carry and possession. This situation was almost changed to not restrict possession when FDR was gov. FDR *almost* signed passing this change.
BTW, Big Tim O'Sullivan was a gangster. He ran the Five Points Gang.
And: Handgun ownership is not restricted in NY, only possession.
Posted by: mark-1 at December 13, 2012 11:37 PM
Clue me in, please.
"Handgun ownership is not restricted"? "Only possession"?
How can you own but not possess?
And how could any court in its' right mind, or whose bank accounts are not stuffed with :lobbyists" money fail to see that either restriction is blatantly unconstitutional? Nowhere in the Law Of The Land is any authority granted to the government, federal or state, to tell a free citizen what he or she may or may not own.
Posted by: shovelDriver at December 14, 2012 12:46 AM
@Jacob - I am confused. You say "I believe you are reading it wrong. .... Because licensed open carry is not mentioned, it was assumed to be illegal. This is how the state declines to issue licenses to non-residents. Because they are not mentioned, they cannot be issued."
I have been laboring under the impression that if the law did not mention something it was "not illegal" and therefore legal. Have I been wrong all these years?
Or are we dealing with a law that totally outlaws a thing and then carves out specific exemptions?
For reference, Virginia law (18.2-308 of the Code of Virginia http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-308 ) prohibits concealed carry, and then carves out 18 exemptions. Nowhere in the Code (18.2-308 or elsewhere) is the open carrying of a handgun mentioned and thus is considered legal.
Posted by: Anonymous at December 14, 2012 04:33 AM
shovelDriver: Well, you can possess without having actual ownership, e.g. someone lent you a handgun.
I remember an bit from an old B&W movie where a cop found a handgun in someone's ... apartment? and that was trouble due to the law as it then stood, mere possession was the issue, not carry.
Posted by: Harold at December 14, 2012 07:34 AM
Welcome to NY!!!! This, and other issues are questions for the Wise.
Sullivan Act was really a way to control minorities and the labor movement at a very ruthless time.
Irish had all the guns. They didn't want Jews, Russians, Italians, Slavs to have them.
Posted by: Mark-1 at December 14, 2012 07:54 AM
Shoveldriver: There are 2 types of license: premises and carry. You need one of these to possess a handgun.
Anon: For issuing licenses, it was interpreted that since non-residents are not mentioned in the law, there is no legal authority for them to be issued a license in NY. That may have been the case here for carry. Since open carry was not mentioned, only concealed carry is legal. If the legislature wanted open carry they would have said so.
Posted by: Jacob at December 14, 2012 08:30 AM
it was assumed to be illegal
Assumed by whom? What court case?
Posted by: Sebastian at December 14, 2012 09:47 AM
There was an opinion issued by the state AG around '95 in response to a reciprocity request from one of the southern states.
There is no way to verify the exact intent of the Sullivan Act because legislative records from that time don't exist anymore.
Posted by: Jacob at December 14, 2012 10:14 AM
NYS Handgun laws and regs are excellent example why the federal gov't needs to be the solo regulating firearm authority.
In addition to 50 different state regulations and laws pertaining to firearms, in NYS there are 62 different counties and a city all putting their own spin on the Sullivan Act. These spins change when a new/different licensing officer [county judge] is voted to office.
Can't wait for the Games to begin with latest SCOUS Decisions.
How do you rationalize restricting and licensing civil and constitutional rights?
Posted by: Mark-1 at December 14, 2012 01:18 PM
It seems to me that the law is ripe for a challenge based on it being void for vagueness.
For those who are confused about ownership without possession, this is indeed possible. You can live in New York and own a gun that you keep at your vacation home in New Hampshire. You would still "own" the gun while in New York, but you would never possess it there. You could also own a gun that is held in a museum collection, without ever possessing it. This scenario doesn't come up often, but it does come up. I had a client who was a convicted felon, but he "owned" a very nice S&W revolver that had belonged to Elvis Presley. But "possession" of the gun remained with his son.
Posted by: Jeff at December 14, 2012 01:42 PM