New York state’s highest court has ruled that pistol permits can be obtained by part-time residents under current law.
The Court of Appeals decision issued Tuesday ends five years of litigation sparked by a Schoharie County man after his pistol permit application was rejected.
Alfred G. Osterweil, of Summit, applied for a permit in 2008 but established a home in Louisiana while the application was pending.
Citing the state’s law governing licenses to carry, possess, repair and dispose of firearms, Schoharie County Court Judge George R. Bartlett III denied Osterweil’s request for a permit.
The law’s language requires people to apply for a permit “in the city or county, as the case may be, where the applicant resides,” and Bartlett ruled the law, coupled with another decision tying the word “residence” with the word “domicile,” doesn’t allow part-time residents to get a pistol permit.
Osterweil took his case to federal court, which ultimately sent the matter back to New York’s Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals determined the state’s law does not preclude a part-time resident from getting a permit. The law’s history, it ruled, shows the residency requirement stemmed from inconsistent enforcement.
“This history indicates that the residence language was introduced to prevent New York City residents from obtaining handgun permits in counties where, at the time, investigations of applicants were much less thorough than in the city,” the decision states.
The law was not intended to exclude pistol permit applicants based on domicile, the Court of Appeals ruled.