The panic has officially set in regarding New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. A number of observers on the anti-gun side have written articles warning of the effects of a ruling that not only strikes down the city’s prohibition on transporting a handgun anywhere other than a shooting range inside city limits, but also imposes strict scrutiny on gun control laws.
The city asked the Court to delay the case because they might change the law. That, however, didn’t cut any ice with the Justices who ruled that the case will go forward.
Now the New York Times says the city’s in the process of actually changing the law in order to render the case before the Court moot. But as our own LKB has noted, the Justices probably will see through such a transparent attempt to sidestep an adverse ruling. Exceptions to the mootness clause would let them hear the case anyway, should they so choose.
The city, however, isn’t leaving all of its gun control eggs in one legal basket. They like the way their law works to restrict gun owners and they’ve asked the state of New York to enact a new law that would allow it to maintain the same level of restriction on transporting a handgun even if they’re forced to ease or repeal the city law.
Gun Politics New York notes:
As the Senate version states:
Premise licenses for firearms in New York State allow a license holder to possess a firearm in a specific location, either their home or place of work, the address of which is specified on the license. Recognizing that premise license holders may have a legitimate reason to transport their firearms to another location, either another premise where they have a license to possess a firearm, a shooting range, or a shooting competition, this bill seeks to clarify the ability of premise license holders to transport their firearms to and from locations where they may legally possess such firearm. In order to ensure that any transportation of firearms that occurs is done safely and responsibly, this bill requires that, during transport, such firearms must be kept in a locked container separate from the ammunition.
The bill (read the specific language in the assembly version) would maintain premise-specific gun licensing. So if you’re a NYC resident and have a permit (against all odds) to own a handgun at your Upper West Side address, you’d also have to have a separate permit for your home on Long Island to legally transport the gun from one address to the other.
And if you live outside the city, you’d need written permission from the New York City police commissioner to bring your handgun into the city legally (good luck wit dat).
Look for these bill to sail through the New York legislature and be eagerly signed by Governor Soprano.
What will it mean if/when it becomes law? This will allow the city to eat their gun-controlling cake and have it too. They’ll be able to change or even repeal the current city law in an effort to render the SCOTUS case moot. The new state law then would, for all intents and purposes, maintain the current state of affairs in Gotham.
Even if the Supreme Court lets the current case go forward and rules against the city, the state law would let the city keep the current status quo. Gun rights advocates would have to (and no doubt would) file a new lawsuit against the state over the new law. And that would take years.
Of course, if the Court rules against the city and applies strict scrutiny, that would provide the basis to challenge gun control laws around the nation. But the minority justices would, of course, dissent, claiming that the case never should have been heard because the city’s repeal of the law rendered it moot.
How much of this will actually come to pass is anyone’s guess. But the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex isn’t taking any chances and they’re not going down without a fight.