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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The "Full Faith and Credit Clause" and NY State Gun Laws Regarding Non-Resident Carriers

Due to Tea Partier Mark Meckler's incident in New York at La Guardia Airport, where he was arrested for possessing a handgun that he has a valid CA carrying permit for upon his alerting TSA about his stored handgun according to TSA policy, I was prompted to look at NY's gun laws concerning non-residents and the ability to carry pistols and how these laws relate to the Federal Constitution.

http://www.nraila.org/statelawpdfs/NYSL.pdf

NY law states, according to the Nation Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA/ILA), "It is unlawful for any person to carry, possess or transport ahandgun in or through the state unless he has a valid New York license," under the "Non-Residents" section.


However, Article IV Section 1 of the Constitution lately, says "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state."


Indeed, I think we can clarify the meaning of this clause by citing the journal of the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which reads:

Aug. 29th, 1787:

"It was moved and seconded to commit the following proposition[:]  Whensoever the act of any state, whether legislative executive or judiciary shall be attested and exemplified under the seal thereof, such attestation and exemplification shall be deemed in other State as full proof of the existence of that act-and it's operation shall be binding in every other state, in all cases to which it may relate, and which are within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the State wherein the said act was done, which passed in the affirmative [the motion passed in the affirmative in the Convention].

Indeed, It was also noted by Justice Joseph Story in his 1833 "Commentaries on the Constitution," #1307, that "If a judgement [of a court] is conclusive in the state, where it is pronounced, it is equally conclusive every where [in the other states."  This means, according to rulings in court trials through out the 1800s, that judgements made in one state by a court are also recognized in the other states as the official and standing judgement.  Thus, if court judgements are recognized in each and every state and are acknowledged as the official judgement of that court that issued it, and give give full faith and credit to it, then why not laws and permits as well?  If a man owns property in one state and travels to another state and shows the property deed in the other state, then will not that property deed be recognized as legitimate by the new state the traveling American citizen is in?  I would believe so.  What about if a man brought an iPod or Computer he had bought in one state into another state, and brought proof of this purchase with him indicating it was his property.  Would or should the state he traveled into confiscate the item brought with him, despite his proof of purchase and property, and say it was not actually his property because the confiscating state didn't recognize the authorization of the sale or the business that sold it, even though that business had a license to sale such items in the state the man just came from?  I would think not.  Common sense and reason would object to such a tyrannical act by the confiscating state.

Let us look at another specific example concerning driving vehicles in the states.  All states allow non-residents to drive within their borders provided they have a driver's license issued by another state.  They also allow cars registered in other states to enter the border of NY state and remain there for however long the driver will be there.  This goes the same for proof of driving insurance.  Driving insurance issued in one state is recognized as proof of insurance in all the other states.  NY driving laws state the following:


"You must have a NYS driver license or a valid driver license from another US state or from Canada to drive in NYS. In most cases, you can drive in NYS if you have a valid driver license from another country."


Now, why is it not the same with handguns?  I believe it should be, given the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" of Artical IV Section 1 of the Constitution

Since Mr. Meckler has an official CA issued and approved concealed-carry permit, and reportedly did all he was required to do according to TSA laws, NY must give full faith and credit to his right to possess that gun and travel through or visit NY; I believe he was completely within his rights to do what he did.  I also believe New York has no authority to make a law that prohibits anyone from possessing or carrying a gun in NY unless they have a NY issued permit and no other permit issued by any other state.  Such a law is in violation of the "Full Faith and Credit Clause."  Are New York authorities now going to start pulling over, arresting, and prosecuting non-New York residents just happening to pass through or visit New York in their cars with plates from another state and carrying their driver's license, car registration, and insurance from another state as well?  If NY can't make a law that prohibits drivers driving cars registered in other states, carrying driver's license issued by another state and insurance from another state, or passing a law that only allows those with NY registered cars, NY issued driver's licenses and NY insurance to drive in NY, then they can't do it with gun carriers possessing and showing a state-issued permit from another state.

New York can make whatever laws it wants for individuals who want to buy a gun/firearm in New York, including permits and what not, but I believe it can't legally pass a law that prohibits non-NY residents with another state issued carrying permit to carry in NY and be consistent with all its other activities it legally allows non-NY residents to do in NY with other state issued permits/licenses, etc.

That's what the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" declares, I believe, that even though something is illegal in one state yet legal in another, the laws enacted in one state must be acknowledged by all the other states.  If a non-resident is visiting, traveling thru or even living in NY (yet remains a non-resident), yet already possesses a gun & a carrying/possessing permit from another state, then the state he/she is visiting, traveling thru, or even living in must recognize that permit as lawful & they cannot confiscate his/her weapon.  Now if the individual moves to NY and wants to purchase a handgun in NY, NY can make the individual first acquire a NY issued permit, but if the individual moves there with a lawfully purchased handgun with permit to possess and carry issued from another state, I believe NY, and all states for that matter, are bound to give full faith and credit to the permit issued by the other state.  After all, they do with driver's licenses, cars, and insurance registered, purchases, or issued in/from/by another state.  

Sure, the 10th Amendment gives the state's their rights, but only those not "not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it."  The "Full Faith and Credit Clause" is one way the Constitution limits state's rights.  If the states acknowledge certain acts of the states, like the driving example, then they should do so for all acts in the states.  That's the way I see it.  This may not be the practice, but that's the letter of the law, at least, according to interpretation of the "Full Faith and Credit Clause."

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