This week an important gun rights case was heard in the Supreme Court. The ruling won’t come until June at the earliest, but so far it doesn’t look like it will be a win for gun rights activists. The case is the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York. It aims to review restrictive gun carry laws that may not be constitutional in accordance with the Second Amendment.
The last gun case that the Supreme Court heard was over ten years ago. In New York City, with the proper gun license, you were only allowed to take your gun outside your home to one of seven different shooting ranges located within a small area. You can’t even take your firearm to a second home outside the city. That was the main problem with the law. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association doesn’t agree with this regulation, and many gun owners don’t either.
A Curve Ball Thrown by the City
New York City in the months after the Supreme Court agreed to put the case on their 2019/2020 calendar actually changed the regulations to allow licensed gun owners to take their gun to whatever shooting-range they wanted, and to a second home outside of the area. This effectively renders the reason for the case pointless, but the court decided to go ahead and hear the arguments anyway.
The Arguments Heard
There are a few major points to look at in the case that was presented to the Supreme Court. For the gun rights side, they want the court to declare that this regulation was in fact unconstitutional, ideally so that a regulation like this couldn’t come into law again.
One of the other major arguments is surrounding whether or not the Second Amendment should extend beyond a person’s home. The court so far seems to be split on this issue. Out of the nine Supreme Court Justices, Alito and Gorsuch feel that it has merit, while Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayer feel that the case is “moot” at this point because New York City changed the regulation anyway.
It’s hard to tell what Justice Roberts feels because he didn’t ask many questions during the arguments. That just leaves Thomas, Kagan, and the newest addition to the court, Brett Kavanaugh who were all silent during the procedure.
Not much. One of the final things that Justice Ginsburg said was, “what’s left of this case?” Since the ordinance and law had been changed in favor of what the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and gun activists actually wanted to happen in the first place, the case will probably be rendered moot. At least now in New York City, people will be able to transport their guns more in line with the rights that the Second Amendment gives them.