More media types are waking up to the threat posed to gun control laws across the US by New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v New York City. And they don’t like what they see.
(The Supreme Court) has scheduled the New York City case for next fall. The city’s rules generally block gun owners with possession licenses from transporting their guns outside the home, except to one of seven shooting ranges inside city limits. The guns must be unloaded and locked up, with ammunition carried separately.
Gun owners who sought to take their firearms to second homes or shooting ranges outside the city challenged the rules in federal court, but they were upheld last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Sensing a losing hand at the Supreme Court, gun control groups urged the city to change its rules in hopes a quick surrender would prompt the justices to drop the case. The city’s police department held a public hearing last week on proposed changes that would allow travel outside the city. A decision is expected within weeks.
But gun rights groups argued in court papers this month that the justices should not dismiss the case even if the restrictions are lifted. Instead, they urged an expansion of Second Amendment rights.
“The historical understanding of the right to keep and bear arms removes any remaining doubt that it extends outside the home,” the NRA said.
“The primary need for self defense, unquestionably protected by the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, is typically not in the home but outside of the home,” attorneys general from 24 Republican-led states said. They noted that only about one in five violent crimes occurs at home.
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, which brought the case against the city, accused it of a “nakedly transparent effort to evade this court’s review” by moving to ease the restrictions. The Cato Institute warned that the rules could be changed “just long enough for the case to be dismissed.”
But Winkler notes the challengers only sought an injunction to stop New York’s law from being enforced. If it’s repealed, he says, “the case should be moot, because the challengers will have effectively won.”