We’ve been following New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. The case before the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS). The case scares the left to no end for its potential to uproot a significant number of existing limitations on the possession and movement of firearms by law-abiding gun owners.
Senate Democrats even threatened the Court if they did not drop the case. They took it up anyway. So, a decision will be delivered at some point, though there is no way to know what that will be.
Deputy Solicitor General for the state of Louisiana Michelle Ghetti provided some excellent insight into possible outcomes in an article at SCOTUS blog. And this point (in particular) caught my attention. It’s not one we cover much (if ever), so I wanted to share it.
The Right to Travel
From Solicitor General Ghetti,
The right derives from the explicit right of “free ingress and regress to and from any other State” originally found in the Articles of Confederation. No longer explicit, it is considered to be part of either the privileges and immunities clause or the commerce clause. The right to travel from one state to another is fundamental to the concept of our federal union and crucial to our “national interest in a fluid system of interstate movement.” A law implicates this right if it deters interstate travel or uses any classification that penalizes the right.
Somewhere in the back of mind, an itch has been scratched. This was something that I believe has occurred to me but that I was never able to articulate. Though my interest in the matter was not originally firearms. Solicitor General Ghetti continues,
The New York City regulations unquestionably deter the city’s gun-possessing residents – believed to be approximately 1.2 million, 840,000 of whom possess premises permits – from traveling to another state with a handgun in their possession, a classification that penalizes these residents’ right to travel. This is true whether the trip is for hunting, shooting practice, competition, or just for a vacation or to visit friends or relatives.
Furthermore, taken together with New York state’s restrictive gun-possession laws, the city’s ordinance unconstitutionally restricts nonresidents, possessing a gun legally in both the departure and arrival states, from traveling through New York without running the risk of arrest and prosecution. … and it is impossible to get to or from six states by public roadways without passing through New York.
[This] interferes with and unconstitutionally burdens the right to travel. Furthermore, should the city’s regime be upheld and similar restrictions adopted in other jurisdictions, safe interstate travel would be in jeopardy.
As the author notes, ‘Right to Travel’ has not been invoked in a SCOTUS decision in 20 years. It sounds to me like the time has come to invite it back to the table. Millions of law-abiding American’s rights are being infringed with no sign of stopping.