SCOTUS will hear NY gun law case after all

SCOTUS will hear NY gun law case after all

You may recall that back in August we discussed the oppressive gun control law in New York City that was pulled off the books when the Supreme Court agreed to review the appeal of the case. The law had basically forbade any transport of a lawfully owned firearm inside the city unless it was being taken to or from an officially sanctioned gun range, and even then it would have to be locked up in a fashion rendering it unusable in an emergency.

A lower court had upheld the law, but gun control advocates were in a panic, fearing that the Supremes might overturn it and set a national precedent forbidding such oppressive restrictions. That’s why the city hurriedly moved to strike the law themselves, hoping to render the Supreme Court’s involvement moot. Well, the initial request to reject the case has been heard and the Supreme Court is moving forward with it anyway. (USA Today)

Gun rights will be in the Supreme Court’s sights this term after all.

The justices Monday kept a case about a New York City gun control regulation on its 2019 docket despite action by the city and state to erase the regulation from the books.

The court’s refusal to dismiss the case represents a temporary victory for proponents of gun rights, who hope the high court will go beyond the letter of the law and expand Second Amendment protections from the home to public places.

So why is this news important for Second Amendment supporters? Because the implications here seem to be fairly clear. Even I had to admit that the argument against hearing the case was a pretty strong one and it offered the justices yet another chance to bail out on a big Second Amendment case as they’ve done so often in the past several years. Why bother hearing an appeal regarding a law that’s not even on the books anymore?

Further, if the court’s initial inclination was to just go along with the decision of the lower court and let the law stand, why bother taking the case? No, this sounds like the justices are ready to debate this case on principle, even if it only applies in theory. And if they shoot down the law with a decision that affirms the right to keep and bear arms in public rather than just in the home, similar laws around the country will begin falling like dominos.

The reporter covering this story for USA Today (Richard Wolf) goes to great lengths to paint this as a “temporary victory” for advocates of gun rights. He notes that the Supremes could still declare the case moot, citing recent mass shootings as their possible inspiration to duck the question. He goes on to point out a laundry list of other gun control laws that the Supreme Court previously refused to review. All of this sets a tone suggesting that perhaps this law will stand as well.

But there’s a new sheriff in town. (Well, two of them, actually.) And they’ve been expressing interest in revisiting this subject for the first time since 2010. It’s certainly too early to start getting our hopes up, but New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York could wind up being bigger than Heller. Buckle up, little campers. This one could turn into a bumpy ride.

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