Judge strikes down ‘good moral character’ gun regs in New York City


A federal judge has ruled against a gun restriction in New York City that gives officials the ability to deny gun permits based on a vaguely worded clause regarding those who are “not of good moral character.”

Judge John Cronan ruled that the city is violating the Second Amendment as well as the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The case was brought by Joseph Srour, who was denied a permit for rifles and shotguns in his home because officials said he had prior arrests, past traffic tickets, and had made false statements on his permit application.

In June of 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Bruen v. New York decision, which denied a different New York gun restriction, that Americans have a constitutional right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.

Since then, various lower courts have been striking down other gun restrictions.

Judge Cronan wrote, “the provisions fail to pass constitutional muster because of the magnitude of discretion afforded to city officials in denying an individual their constitutional right to keep and bear firearms.” He also said the notifications that Srour had been sent by the New York Police Department “are not models of clarity in explaining the precise legal grounds for denying his applications to possess firearms.”

“Without doubt, the very notions of ‘good moral character’ and ‘good cause’ are inherently exceedingly broad and discretionary. Someone may be deemed to have good moral character by one person, yet a very morally flawed character by another. Such unfettered discretion is hard, if not impossible, to reconcile with Bruen,” Cronan wrote in his ruling, which will no doubt be appealed by New York City.

Meanwhile, the challenged provisions of the regulations were amended by the New York City Police Department following the denial of Srour’s applications for firearms licenses and during the months leading up to the trial, yet the police department and city failed to notify the court of the amendment. Thus, Judge Cronan did not rule on the amended language.


  1. How ironic that Republicans, who are historically the party of Law and Order, Virtue, and Personal Responsibility will apparently cheer on a court decision promoting gun possession by those “of poor moral character”.

    It ain’t you father’s GOP anymore…

    • Define “good moral character.”
      Provide the standards. At what point does a person go from average moral character to good moral character?
      Can’t do it? No, neither can I.
      Which is why this standard is in clear violation of the Bill of Rights. Some arbitrary bureaucrat now has the authority to deny your ability to exercise the fundamental human right of self defense because of random reasons.
      The GOP is the one fighting for personal freedom on this front, not the State of NY. Good try though.

        • And, so does the bureaucrat issuing the permit. They see it when they check the political affiliation of the applicant. Or, they see good moral character when their boss tells them to see it. Or they see it if the applicant has the correct DNA. Or, they just got into a fight with their spouse, so no one has good moral character today.
          If a government is going to set a standard for issuance of any kind of permit, it MUST be defined to a legal standard. If you cannot precisely define it, you cannot use it as a measure. Sorry, but whidbey thinks this guy is of good moral character is not a standard, it is a meaningless opinion.
          If NY were to actually define where the line between good and bad moral character was, maybe, just maybe they might have won.

    • Ironically WTD you clearly do not see that this court case is EXACTLY about law & order, personal responsibility and equality under the law without some bureaucrat arbitrarily putting a finger on the scale, because they (like you) think that people should not own guns, only the government.

    • Disingenuous as usual, Cur.

      It is not a matter of a person being “of good moral character”, the pertinent issue is having a governmental official — meaning, in New York, a biased and anti-gun-owning governmental official — making that highly subjective determination.

      But once again, being the good quisling and obedient sheep that you are, you are willing to automatically put your trust in corrupt authority figures whom, you would ignorantly claim, have no ulterior or personal agenda in this or any other matter. Tell us another fairy tale while you’re at it.

    • The problem you don’t understand is that the government doesn’t get to decide who does or does not have moral character, let alone deny constitutional rights based on such subjective terms.

    • As with all these restrictions, the wording is very vague on said restrictions. Just what is “poor moral character?” What were the prior arrests and how long ago? Speeding tickets, how bad and how long ago? Lied on an application? Hunter Biden did that and nothing happened to him. There is another article on this site which demonstrates the need for firearms to protect oneself.

    • They are not in favor of letting a random government bureaucrat make an arbitrary judgement on any important issue that could deny the rights of a US citizen. Are you really so obtuse?
      Some would contend that any person with any arrest record would be banned. These would be the same people who decided to expunge the records and give public funds to people who were caught in the act of firebombing police cars.

    • What are you even babbling about?

      Where in the Constitution does it mention anything about moral character? Also, what do liberals even know about morals?

      Anyone who is ok murdering unborn babies has no leg to stand in when it comes to morals.

    • What other fundamental rights are you willing to grant political leaders the authority to arbitrarily deny?

      Not a very liberal position, particularly since such denials have historically been, and continue to be, used to disproportionately deny rights to minorities and the poor.

      Though those kind of laws were big then and big now with Democrats. So I guess it is your father’s Democrats still.

    • Ha. Haha. That was quite a humorous red-herring. You or the state does not get to define what “good” or “bad” moral character is. I could label you as being of “poor moral character” because of my own internal biases.
      Are you a criminal? You must be, because I think you are of poor moral character, just because I say so. Therefore, you should not have guns. Never mind that is your right, I just think you are unstable and unintelligent because of your awful argument.

    • Dog get off the porch if you can’t see past your nose. You are just cheap entertainment and fun to play with. I hope your criminal friends find you useful for something.

      • Schadenfreude – Dog is looking to lift his leg on ours for attention – and he usually succeeds in annoying us.

    • “It aint your Father’s GOP anymore”
      Its a promising future for Democrats that want 30 days after the hour of birth to euthanize a child if the parent changes his her its mind on whether or not to keep their offspring.
      The conservatives defeated the first round of voting for it but just like clockwork the Democrats will keep pushing until they get the chance to decide who gets to live and who doesnt.
      You got anything else?

  2. In a leftist hellhole like NY, “good moral character” is defined by how well connected you are politically. I am sure that Jeffery Epstein (who totally killed himself, wink, wink…) would get a firearm permit. Jesus, on the other hand, would likely be denied because he and the party in power were not friends.

  3. Maybe it’s because:
    1. Every American is endowed with the right of self-defense (right to keep and bear arms) [Check. It’s actually written in a document known as The Bill of Rights, which the GOP tries to actually follow, unlike their opposition],
    2. Determinations of an individuals morality can be highly subjective,
    3. Such determinations can be used to instantly disqualify anyone the deciding official dislikes from possessing weapons considered necessary for self defense.
    For example the crackdown on traumatized war vets in the mid-Atlantic and New England a few years back. BS laws were being passed in some of those states trying to deny those veterans the right to possess firearms because of the psychological problems they experience from war trauma.

    Just try to ruminate on these points. It’s not the “Old GOP”? You mean the country-club GOP? Good!! The GOP has dialed it back a bit to more of a grass-roots organization, with more fighters, more doers, and fewer Romneys, Cheney’s, Bush’s, etc.

    • Gotta disagree with item #1.
      It is not just every American. It is every human being. The fundamental human right of self defense against threats, both political and personal, is inherent in every human being alive. Government does not have any authority to grant that right. They can, at best, restrict the free exercise of that fundamental human right.

  4. “…….Joseph Srour, who was denied a permit for rifles and shotguns in his home because officials said he had prior arrests, past traffic tickets, and had made false statements on his permit application………”
    Unless he had been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor domestic assault, adjudicated mentally defective (which at least 20% of Americans should be, according to psychological statistics), was not a U.S. citizen, or renounced his citizenship, he shouldn’t need a permit to possess long guns in his home.

  5. Its not a court decision promoting gun possession.
    Its a court decision limiting the government from arbitrarily withholding a persons constitutional rights.
    That’s what the GOP would cheer.
    Arguments can be made about what constitutes “poor moral character” and who’s rights the government can and cannot infringe upon, but the constitution is clear, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” (by the government). There are so many laws rendered moot because of arbitrary and capricious enforcement. A person’s constitutional right should not be allowed to be limited by a Chief LEO based on her sole discretion of whether she likes you or not.

    • Must like defining good moral character, the gun control advocates will define “infringement” to meet their needs when they have to.
      Any of the wish list of restrictions the gun control laws they push for are not infringements in their mind. Limits on magazine capacity? To them it is not an infringement, it is “common sense.” Waiting periods, storage requirements, requirement to show good moral character… none of them are infringements in the childlike mindset of the gun control folks.
      When words mean what they want them to mean when they want them to mean it, nothing is an infringement.
      And, Jeffrey Epstein would likely get a permit in NY because his political affiliation provides the good moral character. Behavior is secondary.

  6. Funny that, Whidbey first at the trigger so to speak, has nothing to say. Its not a court decision about promoting guns. Its a decision about limiting government control of our unalienable rights. Poor trigger discipline Dog. I might think you are of poor moral discipline for your thoughts.

    • But, Dog is convinced he is on the side of righteousness. Therefore, even falsehoods without any factual backing are the truth, because his opinion is the righteous one.

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