Today the New York Times reports that New York’s “Sullivan Act,” sponsored by Tammany Hall two years ago as a way to help gangsters affiliated with it to maintain their ability to victimize ordinary citizens, was upheld against a constitutional attack, by a 3-to-2 vote of an appellate court. The test case was brought by attorney Joseph F. Darling, who challenged the use of the Act to prevent citizens from keeping guns even in their own home.
In the decision, the dissenting justices observed that the “practical result” of interpreting the Sullivan Act to bar the possession of guns even at home “will be that the professional criminal will generally violate the law and take his chance of discovery and punishment, while the law-abiding citizen will be obliged to disarm himself of his only effective protection against the predatory classes.” As New York senator Timothy Ferris remarked in opposing passage of the Sullivan Act: “Your bill won’t stop murders. You can’t force a burglar to get a license to use a gun. He’ll get one from another state.”