Bach v. Pataki
In Bach v. Pataki, 408 F.3d 75 (2d Cir. 2005), the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a challenge to a New York gun control law. The Court held that the Second Amendment does not limit state power to restrict gun possession by law-abiding citizens traveling through the state. This action was heard in a federal district court in 2003, and by the Second Circuit in 2005, which affirmed the lower court's decision.
David Bach, a model citizen, had a permit from the commonwealth of Virginia to carry a concealed weapon. He wished to carry a pistol while visiting his parents in upstate New York to protect his family while traveling through heavily populated areas with high crime rates. The New York State Police informed Bach that, "there are no provisions for the issuance of a carry permit, temporary or otherwise, to anyone not a permanent resident of New York State nor does New York State recognize pistol permits issued by other states." They also informed Bach that, should he be found in possession of a gun, the firearm would be forfeited, and he would be prosecuted.
Bach filed this action against State and local officials to contest his exclusion from New York's licensing scheme. His complaint requests that the district court declare New York's licensing laws unconstitutional, facially and as applied, in violation of both the "right to keep and bear arms" set out in the Second Amendment and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV of the United States Constitution.
The Court held that Bach could claim no constitutional right to bear arms, on the ground that the Second Amendment is not a source of individual rights. The court also concluded that the New York gun licensing system did not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause because, "the factor of residence has a substantial and legitimate connection with the purposes of the permit scheme such that the disparate treatment of nonresidents is justifiable." The court also held that Bach did not show New York could "protect its interests through less restrictive means." Bach had no right to carry a gun in New York, and his claims were rejected.
The Court concluded:
- Theories regarding constitutional protections for the "right to keep and bear arms" have moved from the pages of law reviews to those of the Federal Reporters. Perhaps soon they will make their way into the United States Reports. Bach presents two theories of protected rights to arms - protection under the Second Amendment and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV - but this is not the case in which to decide the propriety of either. The Second Amendment cannot apply to the States in light of Presser, and the Privileges and Immunities Clause cannot preclude New York's residency requirement in light of the State's substantial interest in monitoring handgun licensees.