Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)
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Gun owners are watching New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York very closely. The case has the potential, if it goes the way many observers (even those on the anti-gun left) anticipate, to be a landmark gun rights decision on the order of the Heller and McDonald cases.

The Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership have filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ challenge to New York City’s unconstitutional gun control law. Here’s their joint press release . . .

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms have been joined by four other rights groups in an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a challenge to New York City’s restrictive handgun law that prohibits handguns licensed in the city to be taken outside the home.

Joining SAF and CCRKBA are Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, the Independence Institute, Millennial Policy Center and Professors of Second Amendment Law. They are supporting a lawsuit filed by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and three private citizens against the New York City law. The case has been accepted for review by the Supreme Court.

In their brief, prepared by attorneys Joseph Greenlee with the Millennial Policy Center and David Kopel from the Independence Institute, the amici organizations contend that strict scrutiny should apply to this case, which amounts to a ban on self-defense for law-abiding citizens. They also contend that the city’s ban on most travel by citizens with their own handguns is a severe burden on the exercise of their rights.

In their brief, Kopel and Greenlee remind the high court that, despite the court’s declaration that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right “to be singled out for special—and specially unfavorable—treatment,” several lower courts “have boldly admitted dong so.” The New York case affords an opportunity to the Supreme Court to correct that.

“Our groups joined in this single amicus brief because it lays out, in a powerful and compelling way, how the Second Amendment is still being treated like an unwanted step-child by lower courts despite language in the Heller and McDonald rulings in 2008 and 2010,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “New York’s draconian gun law treats the right protected by the Second Amendment as if it were a strictly-regulated government privilege.

“We’re delighted to join these other groups in this brief to the Supreme Court,” he added. “It is the first Second Amendment case to be accepted by the high court in nearly a decade, and its significance cannot be overstated. We believe the city’s gun law is an affront to the Constitution and both the Heller and McDonald rulings.”

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

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    • It isn’t NYC that we care so much about, it is the liberal Circuit Courts of Appeals (2, 3, 4 and 9) that have gutted Heller by imposing that which is no more than “rational basis” review to anything outside the home–meaning that there really is no effective right to bear arms because the courts have approved nearly every restriction that has been brought to them. In this case, for example, the Second Circuit approved a law that prohibited NYC residents from leaving town with their firearms in tow based on essentially nothing but speculation that the restriction decreased the risk of gun violence. No actual evidence was adduced that it really did so, because forcing people to leave their guns at home is, they said, a “minimal burden” on the Second Amendment. A case out of San Francisco dealt with an ordinance that was identical to the one struck down in Heller with only one change: it requires guns in the home to be unloaded and locked up (just like Heller) UNLESS it is on one’s person. The law was upheld.
      Here is another amicus brief written by law school professors filed in support of Plaintiffs that lays all that out:

      This is an opportunity for the Court to change all that–and many of think that it took this case specifically to do so.

    • The SECOND AMENDMENT SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED UPON. the day they outlaw guns is the day I become an outlaw.

    • Actually a slew of amici briefs were just filed. Sere here:
      The US filed a brief in support, as did a whole bunch of representatives.
      Unsurprisingly, Brady et all filed an amicus asking the Court to uphold the law. It’s index is as follows (to give you the flavor of the brief):
      A.The Second Amendment Is Unique Among Constitutional Rights In Its Inherent Risk To Human Life .
      B.The Nation’s Constitutional Structure And History Presuppose Government’s Paramount Duty To Protect Public Safety
      …………. 1.The Constitution reflects the Framers’ recognition of government’s duty to protect public safety .
      ………… 2.Throughout American history, guns have been regulated to protect public safety .
      C.Strict Scrutiny Would Prevent The Government From Fulfilling Its Duty To Protect Public Safety .
      D.The Greater Risks To The Public Warrant Caution In Expanding A Right To Guns Into Public Spaces .

  1. Not to keep beating a dead horse (which is a pretty safe effort), but….

    If, with its millions of members funding and donations, if the NRA would declare, “We intend to challenge every gun restriction law in the country, win or lose, unending lawsuits against governments. We have filed XXXX suits, and now we need to build the necessary war chest to pursue the actions in court. We need $XXX,XXX by (date) in order to advance the first cases. Only you can make it possible for us to aggressively attack unconstitutional limits on our Second Amendment rights. None of the funds raised will go to a fund-raising company, nor will these funds be applied to any NRA activity other than actual legal costs related to the already filed lawsuits. Without your generous help, we will be forced to withdraw lawsuits we cannot fund. Thank you, and goodnight.”, then I would happily get on their list as a donor (and I am wary of lists). If the NRA would act as described above, it would be performing legitimately as a civil rights advocate for gun owners.

    • I think they’d need more than three figures per suit. Moreover why would they sell the service you want to buy instead of the service they want to sell? NRA members have shown decade afterdecade that they’ll take whatever they’re given and like it.

      If they started demanding better now, it would still take a decade to convince the NRA that it’s serious. That’s impossible because NRA members’ attention spans don’t go that long, might as well expect them to turn into olympic athletes or math professors, the equipment just isn’t there.

      • “If they started demanding better now,…”

        In my fantasy world, the statememt proposed would not require members demanding more, but would be a voluntary move by NRA, demonstrating they are really a civil rights organization.

        • Hehe, OK. Neat but I must be getting old, I’m incapable of getting into such wild, vibrant imaginings. Similarly I don’t read Tolkein anymore, but rather Age of Sail fiction.

          I think there is a realistic path to controlling the NRA to the benefit of gun rights. In my fantasy, everyone sincere RKBA fan quits or never joins. Other orgs take the lead, get attention from the anti-gunners. NRA is all fudd but they either follow or become irrelevant. We’ve seen shades of this already when Defence Distributed was actin’ all scary as shit (at least to antis) publishing their files. The NRA had to toe little DD’s line, even tho it went against their urge to protect the RNC from controversy.

        • “Similarly I don’t read Tolkein anymore, but rather Age of Sail fiction.”

          I read the Bounty trilogy (Nordoff and Hall), and Blye’s personal account of the incident. In both cases, the return to England via open boat is just the most remarkable feat of leadership and navigation. Probably why the general fleet mutiny a few years later found the mutineers asking fort Blye to represent the government (apparently Blye was trusted above all the admiralty).

          Master and Commander series is quite thrill ride. Irony is the author is Irish, Not English. Which matches the irony that Zorro was written by an Irish author. And the movie starred a Spaniard.

      • “The NYSRPA is the local NY affiliate of the NRA. But the NRA also filed an amicus”

        Maybe that means NRA cannot queer the deal.

    • Fair points.

      I would say this is a place where the NRA is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      If they don’t do such a thing people like you are angry.

      If they do as you suggest they need an unbelievable amount of money, far, far more than we’re concerned they’ve pissed away at this point, and when they take losses (which they inevitably will) other people will scream about the bad precedent that’s been needlessly set by not waiting for the “right case”.

      Now, those people have a point but OTOH the “right case” may never come along. I would say that this has led to a circumstance where the NRA regularly gets analysis paralysis.

      Yeah, the NRA needs a massive overhaul and could certainly stand to be more aggressive on the legal front but realistically I don’t think what you’re asking for here is reasonable unless you know of a way for the organization to have a legal budget of $500 billion a year or more because that’s what you’re going to need to go after every law at every level. The other side has an income of $7 trillion/year as of this fiscal year and they will spend a big chunk of that defending the power they’ve already attained.

      Fighting the good fight is honorable but spending resources on a fight you will surely lose and doing so for no benefit is not exactly the acme of skill or intelligence. Nor is it particularly honorable. At this point, IMHO, fighting a legal insurgency is what we can do while bolstering out abilities on the political side so that we can tilt the courts in our favor.

      • Continuing along with my fantasy, note that I mentioned money was needed to fund “the first cases”. Amassing $500b in a short time is probably even out of the realm of fantasy. However, NRA could send quite a message if a significant number of cases were successful. The wave of winnings just might have its own power to influence. Significant wins might convince a number of agencies to modify their laws rather than lose a bunch of taxpayer dollars. In essance, we are in a civil war, and if money is a problem for our side, then we lose through default…people not willing to put their money at risk for a strong counter-attack.

      • Thank you, sir.

        Finally, someone who makes sense. There are over 5500 rules, regulations, and laws impacting the ownership and use of firearms, yet many gang members in many cities still commit a lot of crime using guns. In many cases, it would be reasonable to punish the lawless instead of the lawful and legal owners of firearms, but those 5500 regulations, rules, and laws are not an impediment to the gangs. The only accomplishment is victim disarmament, turning the innocent into cannon fodder for the criminal.

        Leftists think the answer is to pass one law banning all guns. That obviously will not work. It would be better to ban gangs, or to spend the extra money to lock up criminals for longer periods. That’s expensive and would upset the power of the welfare state, so the left’s roads keep leading to victim disarmament as a “show” solution.

        Meanwhile the NRA and the SAF, not being the bottomless pits of money the government entities are, must concentrate on winning meaningful cases that go all the way to the Supreme Court, such as the “laws” they got overturned in Chicago and Cook County, or the Heller decision in DC.

        The pontificating intellectuals who are too cheap to spend a few bucks annually can blame the NRA, SAF, GOA, or whomever they want, but no organization will EVER be able to meet the “purity” restrictions they place on their wallets, so they will loosen their purse strings. They’ll leave it to others to battle the bucks of Soros and Bloomberg. They’ll pretend they’re too intellectually pure to get trapped into parting with their dollars. They’ll complain about those who try to do, but will never risk a dollar of their own. I’m not fooled, and not impressed.

      • strych9 and Sam I Am,

        The NRA claims to have about 5 million members. If each of those members donated $20 every year, that is a total income of $100 million annually from dues alone. (There may be other sources of income which is beyond the scope of this discussion.)

        Even if every lawsuit cost $1 million to litigate, the NRA could finance 100 lawsuits every year. And if the NRA only wanted to use half that money for lawsuits and the other half for campaign efforts, they could still finance 50 lawsuits every year. After just 10 years of such activity, the NRA would have financed 500 lawsuits.

        Perhaps most importantly, if the organizers used the slightest bit of strategy in choosing those 500 lawsuits, we would see federal, state, and local legislative bodies pass ever less and less laws as court rulings pigeon-holed them to ever smaller amounts of latitude. The ultimate result would be similar to recent efforts of legislative bodies trying to pass segregation laws, in other words there would be ZERO attempts to pass new laws.

        • “Perhaps most importantly, if the organizers used the slightest bit of strategy in choosing those 500 lawsuits, we would see federal, state, and local legislative bodies pass ever less and less laws as court rulings pigeon-holed them to ever smaller amounts of latitude.”

          Yes, force multiplier effect.

        • “Even if every lawsuit cost $1 million to litigate, the NRA could finance 100 lawsuits every year.”

          You’ll spend a million dollars in state courts, before you ever get close to an appeal at the federal level. That first million dollars is gone before you ever arrive in court for the very first hearing. That is life in America today.

    • Well and good. I could get behind that.

      What about the NRA-ILA? As far as I know, all funds sent to them are dedicated to legal and lobbying efforts (and, of course, Chris Cox’s salary) and are not available for the rest of the nonsense that we’ve been seeing from the NRA (e.g.- Wayne’s wardrobe). I’m not sure exactly how the NRA is structured, but if there is adequate compartmentalization, it is still worthwhile sending whatever resources one can solely and specifically to the ILA.

      • “What about the NRA-ILA?”

        I include ILA in “NRA”; ILA is a distinction without a difference when it comes to supporting gun owners.

      • Feel free to fact check me, but Chris Cox’s salary is paid out of general NRA funds, not ILA/PVF funds. I’m relatively certain that organizations can’t use PAC donations for anything but lobbying.

      • “Yes, somehow I don’t get emails from the SAF wine club. Wonder why?”

        Did you download and fill-out the club application?

        • @Wiregrass
          “Yes, somehow I don’t get emails from the SAF wine club. Wonder why?”

          “Did you download and fill-out the club application?”

          “Uh, no.”

          Well, there ya’ go.

        • I can buy a lot of ice for the price of a YETI cooler. I just think our dues are more effectively spent on other things than fundraising trinkets.

  2. Hope the ruling is better written than the Heller government responsibility to regulate.
    The only sure thing is that a ruling that changes things either way is a goldmine for lawyers.

  3. It took our largest metro area brazenly violating very clear high court precedent for years, for the big judges to even hear the case. The “Rodney Dangerfield” of rights? The RKBA jurisprudence in this country makes Rodney Dangerfield look like Walter Kronkite.

    An unenforced sodomy law from years bygone got more attention. How’s *that* for “can’t get no respect?”

    • barnbwt,

      The reason that we have only seen a few Second Amendment cases go to the U.S. Supreme Court over the last 100+ years is because the U.S. Supreme Court has been fairly hostile to the Second Amendment for most of the last 100+ years. Wise litigators rightly refused to appeal Second Amendment cases to a hostile U.S. Supreme Court and establish heinous precedents.

      The only reason that we had two major positive rulings on the Second Amendment at the U.S. Supreme Court in the last 11 years is because that was the first time in over 100+ years that we had a slightly positive majority on the Court regarding the Second Amendment. Then Justice Scalia left the court and we lost our slightly positive majority.

      Now that Kennedy has retired and Trump has replaced both Scalia and Kennedy with Justices that have fairly positive positions on the Second Amendment, we are seeing litigators appeal cases all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      In summary: this is the first time in about 125 years that there is a solid majority on the U.S. Supreme Court who appears to regard the Second Amendment as sacrosanct as our right to free speech and religion. That is why we are just now seeing litigators finally appeal cases to the High Court.

      • Avoiding “can’t win” SC cases may be “wise” strategy, but anti-gunners use unwise tactics and strategies everyday; somehow, they win more than they lose. When anti-gunners lose, they simply double down until the unrelenting pressure gains the victory. Why is it conservatives and pro-gun efforts fizzle at the idea of risk?

        • Tyranny has an eternity of do overs and can sit back and let attrition work it’s magic. Liberty once lost is only reclaimed by blood. That we are risk adverse says more about how we care for our neighbors than our willingness to fight for now.

        • “That we are risk adverse says more about how we care for our neighbors than our willingness to fight for now.”

          I think there is something in that sentence. Would you mind expanding upon it?

        • Put simply we are looking for any acceptable alternatives to stacking bodies. They know it and use it well to divide attention and effort but we shall see how the court cases and NRA drama play out. I am thinking the next decade will be more than a bit unexpected.

        • “Put simply we are looking for any acceptable alternatives to stacking bodies.”

          That course led to where we are. We aren’t pushing acceptable alternatives, we are hoping for miracles. We are being shoved around, waiting for fights we can win (whatever that means), while the oppo is just looking for a fight.

          We got Heller, and still the restrictions continue, and grow. Why do we think another SC ruling in our favor will change the landscape, the culture? Is it because “we” believe in being “good losers”, and expect the same from the bullies? Have we learned nothing from the last 3yrs?

          The enemy attacks all along the line, at all times. We keep looking for some “center”, or citadel we can defend, as if defending the castle will stop all the other attacks. If we are so money poor that we cannot attack everywhere, as do the anti-gunners, then where/what is our rescuer?

        • Truth still has meaning and value. There is a reason such vast resources are needed to push gun control with all of it’s lies and insanity. We may be nearing if not on the point of diminishing returns where those who wish to enslave will need to do something drastic. Or it may be the last whimper before we join the UK. Either way I doubt the status quo will remain much longer as legally speaking it is becoming indefensible.

  4. Enough picking on the NRA. No sense fighting amongst ourselves.
    The only important thing about this case is. The Court decides that all cases involving the 2nd or any of the Bill of Rights demands to be taken as if the use of “strict scrutiny” applies.
    That in itself might have most lower court case laws revisited or at best tossed.
    Its the use of “strict scrutiny” that’s important. Not what NYC did or didn’t do.
    Not what the NRA does or doesn’t do or at best become.
    This case was 101% hand picked for the use of “strict scrutiny” before and by the Upper Courts to argue.
    F the NRA,
    Send your money to the GOA or any of the other gun groups.
    Im a lifetime NRA member by the way.
    I haven’t given them a nickel in 3 years and wont as long as LePissere is there.

    • “That in itself might have most lower court case laws revisited or at best tossed.”

      Heller didn’t do it. Why would NYC? Lower courts can ignore the SC with impunity; there is no enforcement mechanism within Judiciary to discipline lower courts. While largely under the radar, this rebellion among the federal judiciary is crucial to a system of laws. This is also the problem with followers of the Convention of States movement: any new amendments that are sent to the states will face the same system that ignores, or corrupts the constitution as it exists today.

      • Sam I Am,

        Unfortunately, I believe you are 100% correct. That means we are now a nation of (powerful) men rather than a nation of (just) laws.

        I also believe that there is still value in U.S. Supreme Court decisions and even U.S. Constitutional amendments which uphold our fundamental rights as being unalienable and sacrosanct. For one thing, they are emphatic teaching points for all generations. Another point, they define what is right — and by corollary what is wrong. This last factor is absolutely critical if any government entity ever sets out to correct government corruption. And that last point is immensely valuable if “We the People”, as a last resort, ever go “hands-on” to correct government corruption. Such decisions and amendments will show that “We the People” were on the right side of any unpleasantries.

        • “I also believe that there is still value in U.S. Supreme Court decisions and even U.S. Constitutional amendments which uphold our fundamental rights…”

          Not disagreeing, but if law is ignored by courts, the value of being “right” becomes more and more theoretic.

        • Sam I Am,

          I understand and agree. That is why I mentioned the other value of U.S. Supreme Court decisions and Constitutional amendments: they support corrective actions from “We the People”.

  5. I just joined SAF with the basic $15 membership. But remember lets you select Second Amendment Foundation also!


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