The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear a challenge to a strict New York law requiring residents to show "proper cause" before being issued a license to carry a handgun in a public place. The court did not comment in turning away an appeal from a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (NYLJ, Nov. 28, 2012).

Kachalsky v. County of Westchester, 12-845, was brought by Rye Brook solo practitioner Alan Kachalsky and several others who had been denied a license, and the Second Amendment Foundation, which was removed from the case for lack of standing. Their lawsuit also drew support from the National Rifle Association and 20 states.

See Petition for Writ of Certiorari and Respondents’ Brief in Opposition.

A unanimous three-judge Second Circuit panel had found that the law was "substantially related to New York’s compelling interests in public safety and crime prevention." Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office defended the law in lower courts, said the Supreme Court decision was "a victory for families across New York who are rightly concerned about the scourge of gun violence that all too often plagues our communities." (See Respondents’ Brief.) But Kachalsky called the court’s decision "gutless," saying in an interview, "They took the easy way out, which is not to review one of the most important constitutional issues of our time. They have made a mockery of the Constitution."

The high court action comes amid intensifying congressional debate on new gun control measures. The issue has resurfaced prominently in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead in December.