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Supreme Court declines to challenge New York gun law

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The United States Supreme Court will avoid weighing in for now on a restrictive gun law in New York state.

The country’s top justices said Monday that they won’t hear the case of Kachalsky v. Cacace, a lawsuit that challenged an Empire State firearm law that critics say makes it difficult to legally carry a concealed handgun in public.

In the state of New York, residents must establish “proper cause” for obtaining a concealed-carry permit and demonstrate a heightened need for self-defense.

A federal Court of Appeals rejected an attempt to overturn that rule late last year, prompting the case to be presented to the US Supreme Court back in February. That request was filed on behalf of five residents of Westchester County with the backing of The Second Amendment Foundation, an organization “dedicated to promoting a better understanding about our Constitutional heritage to privately own and possess firearms.” On Monday, the court declined to consider the appeal without further comment.

When the appeal was rejected in New York last year, a three-judge panel said none of the plaintiffs could adequately prove “a qualifying need for self-protection beyond that of any other member of the public,” Celeste Katz wrote at the time for New York Daily News.

“As the parties agree, New York has substantial, indeed compelling, governmental interests in public safety and crime prevention,” last year’s ruling read in part. “The only question then is whether the proper cause requirement is substantially related to these interests. We conclude that it is.”

When the appeals court rejected the Second Amendment Foundation’s plea, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the unanimous decision “a victory for New York State law, the United States Constitution, and families across New York who are rightly concerned about the scourge of gun violence that all too often plagues our communities.”

Meanwhile, a new gun law considered to be even more restrictive went into effect in New York on Monday. That legislation, which limits state gun owners to no more than seven bullets in magazines, is the first of its kind to be passed in the country in the wake of December’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

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