Under New York law, illegal possession of a loaded handgun is a crime punishable by imprisonment for “at least three years,” but the sentence “shall not exceed fifteen years.” With a premises license, one can keep a handgun in his or her dwelling. To get a carry license, the authorities must decide that the applicant has a “proper cause.”

You might think that “proper cause” would include the exercise of the Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense. But you’d be wrong. In Orwellian New (York) speak, “proper cause” means whatever government officials want it to mean. As explained in Kachalsky v. County of Westchester (2nd Cir. 2012), one must “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.” A desire “to protect one’s person and property” and “living or being employed in a high-crime area” do not suffice.

As that court remarked, licensing officers are “vested with considerable discretion” in deciding whether “proper cause” exists. “Considerable discretion,” that is, in whether you may exercise a constitutional right. If you’re in the Big Apple or in some other areas of the state, you don’t qualify unless you’re a big shot, a celebrity or an influence peddler.