IN RE: Patricia NELSON

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

IN RE: Patricia NELSON, Appellant, v. COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, et al., Respondents.


Decided: April 03, 2019

JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, J.P., SHERI S. ROMAN, FRANCESCA E. CONNOLLY, VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ. Long Tuminello, LLP, Bay Shore, N.Y. (Michelle Aulivola and Nicole Bohler of counsel), for appellant. Dennis M. Brown, County Attorney, Hauppauge, N.Y. (Megan O'Donnell and Daniel Furshpan of counsel), for respondents.


In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78 to review a determination of the County of Suffolk Police Department dated June 5, 2015, which affirmed a determination of the Pistol Licensing Bureau of the County of Suffolk Police Department dated January 19, 2015, denying the petitioner's application for a pistol license, the petitioner appeals from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (H. Patrick Leis III, J.), dated June 14, 2016.  The judgment, in effect, denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding.

ORDERED that the judgment is affirmed, with costs.

The petitioner's pistol license was suspended in November 2010.  After an investigation, her pistol license was revoked in 2013.  The petitioner applied for a pistol license in 2014, and after an additional investigation that included interviews and written statements, the County of Suffolk Police Department denied her application.  The petitioner commenced this CPLR article 78 proceeding to review the determination.  The Supreme Court, in effect, denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding.  The petitioner appeals.

“ ‘A pistol licensing officer has broad discretion in ruling on permit applications and may deny an application for any good cause’ ” (Matter of Armacida v. Reitz, 141 A.D.3d 713, 714, 34 N.Y.S.3d 636, quoting Matter of Orgel v. DiFiore, 303 A.D.2d 758, 758, 756 N.Y.S.2d 870;  see Matter of Kelly v. Klein, 96 A.D.3d 846, 847, 946 N.Y.S.2d 218;  Matter of Gonzalez v. Lawrence, 36 A.D.3d 807, 808, 831 N.Y.S.2d 180).  Where an applicant challenges a determination that either revokes a firearm license or denies an application for a firearm license, the court can only review “ ‘whether a rational basis exists for the licensing authority's determination, or whether the determination is arbitrary or capricious’ ” (Matter of Karagolian v. Walsh, 107 A.D.3d 715, 715, 966 N.Y.S.2d 518, quoting Matter of Moreno v. Cacace, 61 A.D.3d 977, 978, 878 N.Y.S.2d 175).

Contrary to the petitioner's contention, the determination denying her application for a pistol license had a rational basis and was not arbitrary or capricious.  A 911 emergency call made by the petitioner's mother regarding threats made by the petitioner against the mother provided a rational basis for the licensing officer to believe that the petitioner “had issues with judgment, credibility, the ability to stay in control, and general moral fitness” (Matter of Lawtone–Bowles v. Klein, 131 A.D.3d 697, 699, 15 N.Y.S.3d 445).  Moreover, the licensing officer questioned the petitioner's credibility and found that the petitioner's explanation of the 911 call during her application process was “highly suspect.”  These “apparent inconsistencies [or] untruths” in her application also provided a rational basis to deny her a pistol license (Matter of Capuano v. Mahoney, 232 A.D.2d 482, 483, 648 N.Y.S.2d 657;  see Matter of Willis v. Treder, 127 A.D.2d 667, 512 N.Y.S.2d 1).

Accordingly, we agree with the Supreme Court's determination, in effect, to deny the petition and dismiss the proceeding.


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