October 23, 2019
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Supreme Court will review gun restrictions for first time in nearly a decade

Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP
A police officer guards the main entrance to the Supreme Court in Washington, Oct. 9, 2018. The Supreme Court is taking up its first gun rights case in nine years, a challenge to New York City's prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits. The court's decision Tuesday to take on the appeal filed by three New York residents and New York's National Rifle Association affiliate could signal a revived interest in gun rights by a more conservative court. The case won't be argued until October.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will examine New York City’s ban on carrying a licensed and unloaded handgun outside the city limits, the first Second Amendment challenge it has accepted in nearly a decade.

The decision to hear the case in the term that begins next October may signal that the reinforced conservative majority on the court is ready to consider more laws that restrict gun rights.

New York’s law is not replicated elsewhere: It permits transporting handguns only to firing ranges within the city. Those who challenged the law have a licenses to keep a handgun at their homes. Petitioners included those who want to take their guns to firing ranges or competitions outside the city, and one who wanted to take the gun to his second home upstate.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled for the city. It said petitioners had not shown there was inadequate access to one of the seven firing ranges in the city, that petitioners could not rent a firearm if they wanted to go to a range elsewhere, or that the upstate homeowner could not get a permit to keep a second handgun there.

The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups supported the lawsuit, and said it was time for the court to clarify what the right to keep a firearm for personal protection means.

“The City does not even attempt to argue that what petitioners seek — the modest ability to transport their licensed firearms, unloaded and locked away separate from ammunition, to a shooting range or second home outside city limits — poses any threat to public safety,” the challengers’ brief said.

“The City’s ban cannot be reconciled with a Second Amendment that protects individual rights or with any meaningful level of constitutional scrutiny.”

The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York.


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