The New York court case that no one knows about right now is Cavalier Knight v. New York City. Knight’s cases first came to my attention in December of 2021. Knight and I chatted and he is one determined individual.
Knight is currently challenging New York’s requirement that a federally licensed gun seller has to have a brick and mortar location in order to get a state-issued Firearm Dealer’s License (FDL). Knight currently holds a valid FFL 01, however being a resident of New York City, he’s unable to conduct any transactions, even his intended limited purpose of sticking to commerce between himself and other FFLs through internet sales, and focusing on getting government contracts.
Knight has gone a few rounds with the City of New York and his most recent complaint filing was in January of 2023. When Knight began his fight against City Hall, he did it in a pre-Bruen world. At that time, Knight was also challenging New York’s requirement that he have a license to carry in order to get a state FDL.
From the current complaint . . .
This is a case of first impression Cavalier Knight LLC is an African American owned SBAHUB Zone certified small business and PASSPort vendor with the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. With a commodity of 384 Law Enforcement Equipment and Supplies Knight has possessed a Federal Firearms License 01 (FFL 01) since 2011 with a Class III Special Occupation Tax Stamp (SOT). As such the State of New York requires Knight to also possess a state Firearms Dealer’s License (state FDL) to sell handguns and/or ammunition. Exhibit 01.
Without a state FDL Knight is de facto prohibited from bidding on any federal, state, and/or NYC PASSPort contracts in violation of the Commerce Clause, the 2nd Amendment, the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV Section 2 and this is an Article III injury in fact. This Court’s role is straightforward the Court must answer two questions: (1) does the 2nd Amendment’s plain text cover 38 R.C.N.Y. § 4-03(k), (t)(1)(3)(4)(5) and/or NYC Admin., Code §10- 302 (c)(1) and 10-302.1(b) and (2) does historical evidence support the Defendants restrictions?
It’s not likely that the city or state will be able to defend the restrictions, never mind the requirement that a seller of firearms needs a state license to conduct such business in the first place. There are no historical analogues that mention FFLs, or prohibit gun sellers from conducting business from their homes.
The technicality that New York uses to do away with so-called kitchen table dealers is something that’s entirely moot in a world where most commerce can be conducted virtually. It’s doubtful that in 1791 a gunsmith selling arms they built, lock, stock, and barrel, would be prohibited from doing so from their home. Many gunmakers likely had their shop on the same lot as their home.
In Knight’s case, it’s not his intention to have buyers enter the building he lives in and create a revolving door of firearm commerce. Rather, he wants to be able to sell firearms in interstate commerce via his e-commerce website. To bid on federal, state, and local contracts, in addition to doing FFL to FFL transfers.
Even if a licensing scheme is lawful under Bruen, as per 27 CFR §§ 478.50 (a) and 478.100 (a)(1), Knight can sell handguns at gun shows and interstate from his home office utilizing inventory drop shipped from any ATF-approved offsite storage locations throughout the country or shipped from a wholesale distributor.
Transactions can be done using a laptop, Knights e-commerce website, and/or mail-order. There’s no need to keep an inventory of handguns at Knight’s place of business or conduct face-to-face retail transactions or over-the-counter sales from a brick and mortar store.
Knight also filed a different federal lawsuit on December 20, 2022, Knight v. City of New York. That suit challenges Title 38 – R.C.N.Y. § 5-25 (d)(4)(i), which prohibits law-abiding citizens who receive a state carry license from possessing and/or carrying more than two handguns. The complaint also challenges NYC Administrative Code § 10-302.1, which requires that law-abiding citizens must request permission from the local government to receive a handgun purchase authorization. Those permission slips only allow the purchase of one handgun every ninety days.
As applied facially, these provisions violate the 2nd Amendment.
Defendants will aver that 38 – R.C.N.Y. § 5-25 (d)(4)(i) is constitutional because they allow possession of at least (1) handgun. But it kills (2) birds with (1) stone by limiting the right to bear more than (2) arms on a state Carry License (state CL). This de facto limits the right to keep more than (2) arms inside the home in violation of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
(a) “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee, therefore.” See, Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943).
(b) Defendants will only allow law-abiding citizens to acquire more than (2) handguns if they pay for an additional state Residence Premises License (state RPL). However, no handguns on a state RPL can be carried outside of the home for any reason whatsoever.
(c) “Whereas if a state converts a right into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” See, Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, 394 U.S. 147 (1969).
I’ve talked to Mr. Knight a lot over the last year and a half. One of the most remarkable things about his fight is that he’s going at this pro se…he’s representing himself.
Knight is responsible for all the correspondence to and with the court, as well as the city. On several occasions, the city has changed representation, and at each step of the process kept requesting more time for filings as a delay tactic.
Knight’s fight against the city has been gong on for years now. It wasn’t until the judge presiding over the matter did not immediately dismiss the case that the defendants started to take Knight seriously.
Where does this leave Knight now? He’s made all his filings and is waiting for the city to file their final reply in their motion to dismiss in Cavalier Knight v. New York City by the April 25th deadline. A deadline for which the city is, once again, asked for an extension.
I am requesting an extension of time to submit my reply brief. Specifically, I would like to submit my reply brief by May 5. Please let me know if you consent.
Nicholas R. Ciappetta
New York City Law Department
Here’s Knight’s response . . .
Greetings as you so eloquently stated within your memorandum of law 1:22-cv-03215-VEC-VF (ECF # 74 p.1) “The SAC is a muddled mess that amounts to nothing more than an effort by Knight to “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.” Although the NYSBA New York Rules of Professional Conduct might disagree with your decorum. I would be curious to know what kinds of pasta this consists of perhaps the Supremacy Clause (Spaghetti), Commerce Clause (Fettuccine), Equal Protection Clause (Angel hair pasta), Privileges and Immunities Clause (Macaroni), the 2nd Amendment (Fusilli) and the holding in Bruen (Lasagne) I prefer my pasta al dente.
Critically thinking I fail to comprehend why you continue to require extensions of time when I am aware that you are currently litigating several cases that fall under the holding in Bruen (e.g, Meissner v. City of New York, 1:23-cv-01907). As such you should have amassed ample research on the subject matter before you. As you also averred within your prior requests for an extension of time pardon my lack of professional courtesy but I must respectfully decline. Thank you for your kind consideration in this urgent matter.
Like every other roadblock that the city has thrown at Knight, the latest response to him denying the city’s request, involves issues that aren’t his problem.
Understood. I am taking depositions in another federal non-Second Amendment case this week and next so my schedule is quite busy. I will write to the court later today.
Nicholas R. Ciappetta
New York City Law Department
The city and state have only themselves to blame for Ciappetta’s busy schedule. The ruling class of the Empire State has created these problems by limiting the civil liberties of the state’s citizens and visitors. And in response to Bruen, they’ve enacted more unconstitutional laws that representatives of the State and or City of New York are going to have to try and defend.
The clock is ticking. Once the city replies, Knight may motion for a summary judgment. Either way, this case still has a long way to go. To look at a collection of most of Knight’s filing documents in both cases, click HERE.
God Bless him for doing what so many in New York have done; either given up hope or surrendered to the tyranny of the State and City of New York!! I can only imagine what other enumerated rights these tyrants have trampled! This one party rules view the Constitution as an impediment to what they truly want: total control over every aspect of lives of the citizens!!!
New York City Leftist Scum ™ will be shitting bricks when NFA ‘toys’ will be available to all the good boys and girls in New York state… 🙂
We haven’t challenged those bans……….yet to my knowledge anyway.
I believe there’s an effort on the federal level to get all the slave states to have the same toys as the freer states.
I suppose there’s no stopping a state-level challenge in the courts if they wanted to finance one…
Do it all in a virtual environment. All requirements met. Then UPS/Fedex intercepts all products while in transit. There is no need to go through all this. New York can just settle or have it thrown out then make a deal with Biden to force package carriers into action and the FBI shut the whole thing down.
I do not see any ground gained without SCOTUS. Maybe this is a stepping stone to get there but the process takes time and money.
The real problem is that New York keeps Democrats in power. This is just one example of many but it’s all the same.
Dopey Joey has NO AUTHORITYto make such a demand. Anyone who holds that he does is as barmy as the Resident is
“A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
When are people going to figure this out. I’m sure there are professional and capable 2A attorneys out there who would be interested in a case like this.
The problem is that when you lose, you not only hurt yourself, you hurt everyone else who is similarly disenfranchised as you are. It’s not fair to them to take the case to the courts as a amateur, lose, and then make it twice as hard to recover and press on for a victory.
Back in 2011, the plaintiff in this case acted pro se, to the horror of many very good pro 2A attorneys in Virginia, and went on to LOSE, setting back gun rights on college and university campuses in Virginia well over a decade, still now infringed, with Bruen just now being a glimmer of hope in future litigation.
There is a small problem with your appeal to attorneys (pun intended by the way): any case with significant ramifications will take years to resolve and will likely go all the way to a state’s supreme court and/or a federal appeals court–if not even the U.S. Supreme Court–and that will cost a MOUNTAIN of cash for attorneys’ fees.
My small business had a rock-solid case against my state where attorneys told me I would absolutely prevail in the courts–if I could find something like $500,000 to fund my case all the way to my state’s supreme court. Or I could pay $9,000 to my state to satisfy their unjust and unconstitutional action. Any guesses what 99% of individuals and small business will do?
The real problem facing us today is that every one of these significant court cases–where we are guaranteed a victory–comes with something like a one million dollar price tag. Needless to say, your Average Joe does not have that much cash on hand to throw at a court case. Tragically, our states know that and take full advantage of it.
I completely get that. But one is FAR better off waiting and working to find the funds and support from the 2A community than going on their own, and LOSING, thus costing future litigants all that much more money to return back to where the pro se guy started.
Do you think Dick Heller funded his case all the way to SCOTUS out of his own pocket?
which perfectly explains HOW we got to this unacceptible pass. The states KNOW we cannnot afford to contest their unconstitutional “laws” and thus enact them anyway. Consider NYS’ recent blatant violations if Bruen as new “law” in that state. All Bruen did was give them opportunity to crank up once more the slow walk to beat them.. on the taxpayer’s dime.
I have a lot of respect for this man. Perhaps folk like you should step up and support his battle.. after all is he not fighting fr YOU?
If there is any reason at all to financially support pro-gun orgs like GOA, it’s this.
“Needless to say, your Average Joe does not have that much cash on hand to throw at a court case. Tragically, our states know that and take full advantage of it.”
Why we need a dedicated 2A-oriented ‘GoFundMe’ organization to finance such lawsuits.
I, for one, would kick in 20 bucks a month if it could help several cases at one time…
That’s what the GOA and such is for. These groups are the ‘gofundme’ of $20 a month.
Prndll is right. GOA, FPC, & friends (not the NRA) IS LITERALLY the “go fund me” financial arm of the 2A restorative movement. consider a monthly donation. I’m a life member of GOA and card carrying members of FPC, my state pro 2A org, and others.
NRA covered NYSRPA vs Bruen once NYSRPA funds ran out but would be inaccurate to say most of their dues/donations went in that direction. Really it’s whether you fund the lightning rod that occasionally does what it is supposed to while attracting most of the antigun litigation and attention or the various smaller groups that are keeping a lot of aspects of the antigun laws tied up in court hopefully with enough gas in the tank to make it past the finish line. Ultimately I think we need both as much as it sucks to admit for one side of it.
If there was someone with $$ and lawyers willing to step in and help, I’d agree with you. But it sounds like this guy has been on his own for years with no outside interest and if he loses it’s not really a big issue anyway. So, while I wish him luck, he at least was able to get a FFL. In many areas of the country you also can’t do what he wants unless you are in an area with commercial zoning. So while you might not need a separate State/City license the result is the same.
And he’s been fighting the law for years, and who-knows-how-many hundreds of thousands of dollars. As in so many areas in our modern life, the process IS the punishment. It should not cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars and/or thousands of hours of my time, to vindicate my INHERENT civil rights.
I have mad respect for the plaintiffs in the seminal civil rights cases, to fight that long and that hard for . . . not a single dime. Don’t care to emulate them, but if I have to, I will.
Just imagine, if one of the consequences of LOSING NY’s side of this dispute, was having to fully reimburse the plaintiff for every penny spent in the litigation, including the reasonable value of his time in pursuing it. Even a bunch of drooling idiots like Hochul, Bragg, et al., might think twice before pursuing such a witch hunt . . . particularly if we also got rid of “sovereign immunity” and “qualified immunity”. Make Adolf Hochul pay out of her own pocket for her deluded fascist tendencies.
Wouldn’t bat an eye you have no idea how bad things really are re wasting taxpayer money.
As long as the people making the decisions that Infringe on Rights are allowed to hide behind their job titles and Qualified Immunity. In regards to any financial responsibility for doing so. They will never fear doing so.
I wish I had as much money as Soros. This guy would get some monetary help.
I appreciate all of the support but the 2A groups were not interested in a NYC case. Read the case files they are linked in the article.
A commie state with a nazi broad for a governor!
rip wheeler jacket is the epitome of rugged style! It perfectly captures his tough and no-nonsense personality. A must-have for any Yellowstone fan