The Second Amendment and More

The policy and legal environment for the Second Amendment has never been more challenging, especially in New York.  For the individual, one wrong purchase or conversion or failure to register could result in felony charges.  For the Federal Firearms Licensee manufacturer, importer/exporter, dealer, or gunsmith, business operations are at risk on a daily basis.

Paloma is an attorney and policy analyst who helps clients navigate federal and state compliance of firearms issues, from individual handgun licenses to commercial operations.  Paloma’s work helps clients navigate requirements that could otherwise inhibit the exercise of our fundamental freedom to keep and bear arms.

Paloma also represents selected clients as plaintiffs in civil rights litigation, focused on the Second Amendment, as well as in its relationship to the Free Speech Clause, the Free Exercise of Religion Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, privacy, property, and more.  Through these cases, individuals become a force to push back against the unconstitutional restrictions so politically en vogue since 2013.

Whether you are looking for an attorney to represent you, to write for your publication, or to speak at your event, please be welcomed to contact Paloma.



Paloma A. Capanna

Paloma A. Capanna

Paloma is an Attorney and Policy Analyst with a focus on Second Amendment litigation, representing individuals, activist organizations, and FFLs.  Paloma’s work spans individual handgun permit cases to federal civil rights litigation.  A common theme among her cases is putting an end to government secrecy, whether the NICS-to-TSDB program by the FBI, the ISARS database of the NYS Police, or any number of Freedom of Information requests. Admitted to practice in New York in 1992, Paloma has more than 20 years of litigation experience at the trial and appellate levels.

Most recently, Paloma won both the case and an award of attorney’s fees and costs against the Governor and the NYS Police in Robinson v. Cuomo.  The Robinson case released the “assault weapons registry” statistics, and the court also awarded more than $6,000 in legal fees and expenses for being forced to sue to gain information that clearly belongs to the public.

Paloma recently authored a Brief Amicus Curiae to the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of 154 groups from across the state in the case of Shew v. Malloy.  Paloma represents the Plaintiffs in Montgomery v. Cuomo and in Robinson v. Lynch, civil rights litigation currently pending in federal court.

Paloma was recently honored with awards for being the “2015 Defender of the Constitution” from SCOPE and for being the “2015 Defender of the Constitution” from SCOPE, WYSL, and the Sullivan Policy Institute.

Among Paloma’s publication credits are a recent law review article on the Heller  “common usage” standard for the Regent Journal of Law & Public Policy.  She is also a contributing author to the SCOPE newsletter, writing on topics such as the NYS Police “Field Guide” to the NY SAFE Act and the Supreme Court decision in Schultz v. Cuomo.  Paloma is a frequent radio show guest, including Bill Robinson’s “Second Amendment Radio Show,” the Melody Burns Show, Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk Radio,” and John Wallace’s “What’s Going On Radio Show.”  And, Paloma speaks at national conferences, including that hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation.

Paloma is admitted to practice in New York state courts, as well as in the Western District Court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  Paloma received her Juris Doctor degree from SUNY Buffalo (1991) and her Bachelors Degree, magna cum laude, from Wheaton College (1988).  Paloma is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, an award bestowed by faculty upon less than 1% of college graduates, nationwide.

Paloma is a life member of the National Rifle Association.  She is also a member of the New York Shooters Committee on Political Education (“SCOPE“), the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Western & Central Safari Club International.  She enjoys shooting .308 long and hunting.



Second Amendment litigation, including Amicus Briefs

As of 2013, the litigation landscape has changed abruptly for FFLs, especially manufacturers. Companies like Magpul (CO) are co-plaintiffs in federal litigation against state laws, as are dealers (Beikirchs, NY; Blue Line Tactical & Police Supply, NY) and associations (NYSRPA, NY; SCOPE, NY). Specific firearms are being banned. Lawyers are referencing firearms by manufacturer and model, even when not a product of a party. And judges are citing to all manner of gun in their decisions.

Observing the legal and political landscape from the sidelines is no longer an option.

Paloma is a unique combination of Second Amendment meets FFL advocate. She understands the intersection of the theories of constitutional law and the day-to-day operations of the FFL. How does the approval of the courts of steep registration processes and fees impact sales in a particular market? How does the customer behave when there is a Western District Court ruling striking down a statute provision that is not applicable in the rest of the state, and where the District Court case is on appeal to the Circuit Court? Can a manufacturer be subpoenaed as a witness and required to provide production and other trade secret information when the parties are seeking a ruling under the Heller common usage standard?

Whether it is preparing Amicus Briefs for submission from FFLs or tracking federal and state litigation for its potential impact upon FFLs, Paloma designs a range of specialty products for clients. Her work in this area is what leads her to coin her trademark phrase “Protect your FFL while you make your point.” Among Paloma’s clients for Amicus Brief work is the Empire State Arms Collectors, sponsors of the Rochester Gun Show.

ATF Compliance Services

Paloma’s work in the area of ATF compliance services can be thought of in two categories. First, Paloma works with FFL compliance and management teams to ensure an FFL is up-to-speed with federal statutes, regulations, agency rulings, and guidance materials. This includes work to create a true culture of compliance among employees, including on-site training. Second, Paloma assists manufacturers with the ATF audit process, including appeals of ATF findings through administrative and judicial appeals.

Advisory Opinions

The “advisory opinion” is a tool for manufacturers to obtain a legal opinion from an attorney of the interpretation and probable impact of a statute, a pending bill, or a court case upon a manufacturer, product, or aspect of operations. The advisory opinion can be written simply upon the law, regulation, ruling, or guidance. And, it can also blend with the circumstances of a given manufacturer. The advisory opinion can be particularly helpful for executive, compliance, and operational decision-making, including inter-state relocation or expansion, point-of-sale operations, short and long-range forecasting, and liability exposure. The advisory opinion – as with all attorney-provided professional services – is a confidential manner of expanding the range of information available to a manufacturer for key decision-making.

Legislative Monitoring

In a given legislative session in Congress, more than 200 bills are pending that relate to firearms and ammunition. Multiple states, like CA, NY, CT, IL, and MD, are constantly pursuing expanded complexities against manufacturing, sales, and use of firearms and ammunition. Since 2013, legislative monitoring should be viewed as an indispensable component of both compliance and operations.

Paloma custom designs legislative monitoring programs for manufacturers. She can provide a single memorandum overview that acts like a snapshot. She can also provide periodic, on-going monitoring with alerts of pending votes and gubernatorial signature. Paloma can also include in that customized program reminders and notifications of effective dates in states with roll-out effective dates and which require agency certification of operations to become effective.

Legislative Briefing Memorandum

When a manufacturer is ready to enter the political arena, Paloma is there as a front-runner and partner. One easy step with great impact is the “legislative briefing memorandum.” A document written to support or oppose a pending bill or existing law, the legislative briefing memorandum is written for the manufacturer to educate the legislator as to the impact upon manufacturing, jobs, customers, and the local economy. It can also include proposed statutory language, research, and industry reports and trends.

The legislative briefing memorandum can also be used as one piece in a broader advocacy plan that can include outreach to legislators and staff and legislative and agency testimony.  Grassroots campaigns can also be designed for employee involvement from voter registration drives, to candidate floor walks, to lobbying day action, to letter writing and phonebanking.

Regulatory Response and Agency Advisory Opinions

No list of services in this field would be complete without assistance to manufacturers to formulate comments to proposed regulations and requests for agency advisory opinions. The full range of compliance offerings by Paloma includes written position submissions by manufacturers to agency-proposed regulations. Many statutes impacting manufacturing include the direction for an agency(ies) to develop regulations for the implementation of the statutory mandates. Working up comments to the proposed regulations can impact how they are shaped.

The agency advisory opinion is a proactive step that can be requested to obtain a formal agency ruling, in an advisory manner, which can contribute to management and operations decisions before implementation on the shop floor.  With far less formality than a court proceeding, the agency advisory opinion can also contribute to the industry as a whole.




“And whatever else it leaves to future evaluation, it surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.” District of Columbia vs. Heller