Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

New York training requirement for concealed carry license challenged in Second Circuit

A civil rights lawyer said New York's 18-hour training requirement for a concealed carry license is "excessive" and outside the intent of the Second Amendment.

MANHATTAN (CN) — New York’s gun regulations faced another challenge Thursday in the Second Circuit, as a civil rights lawyer claimed the state’s 18-hour training requirement for a concealed carry license is not consistent with the Second Amendment.

Known as the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, the law creates new requirements for people seeking to a license to carry concealed weapons. The law also bans firearms in “sensitive locations” in the state, including public transit, sports venues, houses of worship and Times Square. The new restrictions were adopted by New York lawmakers just over a week after the Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

Jonathan Corbett, who applied for a license before law was passed, argued the state’s 18-hour training requirement is unnecessary and extensive, saying "if there is a training regimen in this country that is excessive, this is the one."

According to the law, applicants must do 16 hours of firearm safety training covering safe storage requirements, state and federal gun laws, and situational awareness, among others. The other two hours involve live fire training.

“These are things that don’t take 16 hours,” Corbett said, representing himself. “If there was something that could be conveyed within these 16 or 18 total hours that would protect the public my position would probably change. But I don’t think that it’s there.”

Under the Supreme Court’s ruling, a gun regulation that burdens conduct is permissible if there is a historical comparison “before, during, or even after the [country’s] founding.”

New York pointed to mandatory militia training laws imposed by states around the time of the country’s founding, including a law that required “all able-bodied adult men to participate in compulsory training for four days, every single year.”

“These laws demonstrate a historical tradition, dating back to the Founding Era, of requiring time-consuming training to ensure competence with arms,” the state’s lawyers argued in their brief.

While Corbett agreed required training is consistent with the Second Amendment, he said the militia argument was far-fetched.

“A militia requirement has nothing to do with modern gun licensing,” Corbett said. “Appellees simply give the court an excuse to uphold the law.”

But Elina Druker, an attorney representing New York City, said the particular nuances of history aren’t important in this context.

“If the test of competent is permissible, there’s no need for some historical analysis of whether the exact contours or nuances of the training is exactly what history would have permitted,” Druker said.

Corbett also acknowledged he hasn't done any firearm training in the past five years and does not intend to do so.

But New York City and the state focused more on whether Corbett even had standing to challenge the law because his license application has not been denied yet.

“It’s his burden to make a substantial showing that his application will be futile or to follow through with the process, and for other reasons as well, his application can’t be denied because his application is still pending and there are other materials missing other than training,” Druker said.

U.S. Circuit Judges Sarah A.L. Merriam and Jennifer Rochon, both Joe Biden appointees, presided over the proceeding. U.S> Circuit Judge Jose A. Cabranes, a Bill Clinton appointee, was not present during the arguments but will participate in the ruling.

Follow @NikaSchoonover
Categories / Appeals, Government, Regional, Second Amendment

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.