………Shall not be infringed.
The Supreme Court on Monday is set to hear arguments in what may be the most significant gun case to grace the high court in over a decade. Depending on how the case proceeds, a unified conservative majority may elect to advance gun rights far beyond the reaches of current law.
The question at hand—whether and how far the right to bear arms extends outside one’s home and into the public square—could lay the groundwork for the most consequential Second Amendment ruling since the 2008 Heller decision. Then-Justice Antonin Scalia authored the court’s groundbreaking opinion in that case, rooting an individual’s right to bear arms for homebound self-defense and defense of one’s family in the Second Amendment for the first time.
Monday’s oral arguments are a culmination of years of litigation made possible by a framework established by Scalia in 2008, which carved out constitutional protections for firearms uses that abide “traditionally lawful purposes.” Over the ensuing years, a frenzy of legal spelunkers sought to explore just how cavernous the scope of Heller‘s protection was. In 2013, New York City’s gun laws served as a springboard for one such piece of litigation; that case, now presented to the justices, will determine whether the court is ready to lurch gun rights forward once more.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, along with Romolo Colantone, Efrain Alvarez and Jose Anthony Irizarry—three New York City residents—had filed suit against the city to challenge its licensing scheme, one of the most restrictive in the country.
New York City requires would-be gun owners to obtain what’s known as a premises license in order to lawfully possess firearms at home. Until recently, guns purchased through a premises license could only be removed from the home, unloaded and in a locked case, in order to be transported for target practice to an approved shooting range. Other specified reasons for transportation had to receive preclearance from the city. New York City has only seven public authorized ranges, and gun owners could not transport their weapons to a second home or range outside city boundaries.
“While this case is about an unusual and limited local rule, it provides an opportunity for the Supreme Court to reaffirm that the Second Amendment leaves ample room for the kinds of reasonable gun safety laws that save lives and that Americans overwhelmingly support.”Eric Tirschwell
Litigation Director, Everytown for Gun Safety
“The Supreme Court saw through New York City’s blatant attempt to evade judicial review in this important case………. This case presents a national opportunity to confirm a simple truth that New York City politicians refuse to accept: Our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is fundamental, and it doesn’t vanish when we exit our homes.”Jason Ouimet
NRA-ILA Executive Director