The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear a major gun rights case Monday 12/2/19. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and three gun owners are challenging a now-amended handgun regulation.
The New York City (NYC) regulation prevents gun owners with proper licenses from taking their handguns outside the city.
At issue is whether New York City’s ban on transporting a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside the city. Are the NYC measure limits consistent with the Second Amendment, the commerce clause and the constitutional right to travel? The plaintiffs, the NRA et al, say the regulation violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
NYC, the defendant, and gun control advocates assert a finding for the plaintiff is an expansion of gun rights. Their argument ignores the second amendment right which the measure restricts. At the same time, it asserts a broad ruling against them jeopardizes a variety of firearms restrictions. The restrictions are measures from recent years in state and local governments across the country. They include expanded background checks and confiscations of weapons from individuals who a court deems dangerous.
According to the Giffords Law Center, since 2013, 45 states and DC have more than 300 gun control laws. Opposition in Congress has been instrumental in thwarting passage of new federal laws. The court’s ruling is due by the end of June. You can own a licensed gun; you cannot transport a gun if you live in New York.
What you cannot do
The dispute centers on New York’s handgun “premises” licenses. The NYC measure allows holders to transport their firearm only to a handful of locations. Among them shooting ranges within the city, and to hunting areas elsewhere in the state. The hunting restriction carries the further restriction of being permissible during legal hunting seasons.
The transport rule was amended in July. The change allows for transport. However, specifically only for a gun to be taken to a range or other residence outside the city. After the modification, NYC unsuccessfully asked the Supreme Court to cancel the arguments. It also petitioned to have SCOTUS drop the case. The reason the amendment to the measure removes the provision under challenge.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed the lawsuit in 2013 along with three city residents. Authorities said to the residents they could not participate in a shooting competition. The competition was in New Jersey. Further, they were told they could not bring their guns to a home elsewhere in the state. You can own a licensed gun; you cannot transport a gun if you live in New York.
The plaintiffs are appealing a 2018 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court ruling sustained the NYC regulation. It held the regulation did not violate the Second Amendment. The ruling says the measure advances the city’s interest in protecting public safety.
SCOTUS has not taken up a major firearms case since 2010. That year extended to state and local regulations a 2008 ruling. The 2008 ruling recognizes the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.
The 2008 ruling has left open questions such as whether that right extends outside the home. The plaintiffs are asking SCOTUS to require lower courts to more strictly review gun curbs. The point being they want SCOTUS to clarify its language with an eye toward striking the restrictive measures down. You can own a licensed gun; you cannot transport a gun if you live in New York and that effectively ends your second amendment right to keep and bear arms.