Fellow plaintiff Eric Detmer said he had shown proper cause because he was a federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Coast Guard. Christina Nikolov tried to show a special need for self-protection by asserting that, as a transgender female, she was more likely to be the victim of violence.
The two remaining plaintiffs simply asserted they were citizens in good standing in their community and gainfully employed.
Before Seibel, the plaintiffs cited District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), where the U.S. Supreme Court said a Washington, D.C., law banning handguns in the home violated the Second Amendment. The amendment, the court said, codifies a pre-existing "individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation."
Plaintiffs in the New York case argued that Heller stood for the principle that the Second Amendment guarantees their right to possess and carry guns in public.
Westchester County and New York state countered that Heller limits the right to bear arms to self-defense in the home.
But on the appeal from Seibel's grant of summary judgment, Wesley said that "Heller provides no categorical answer in this case."
"What we know" from decisions following Heller, he said, is that "Second Amendment guarantees are at their zenith within the home."
"What we do not know," he said, "is the scope of that right beyond the home and the standards for determining when and how the right can be regulated by a government."
Wesley said New York's statute should be subjected to "some form of heightened scrutiny" because it "places substantial limits in the ability of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms for self-defense in public."
Citing Heller, Wesley said, "We believe state regulation of the use of firearms in public was 'enshrined with[in] the scope' of the Second Amendment when it was adopted."