The U.S. Supreme Court held a hearing on Dec. 2 that could end up promoting the protection of the constitutional right to firearms throughout the country.
The case reached the high court after the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) repeatedly appealed New York City’s decision to prohibit owners of weapons from “transporting them unloaded and in a closed container” outside the city limits.
It should be noted that city officials who defended the ban suddenly changed their minds when the petition reached the Supreme Court—they modified both municipal and state legislation to allow out-of-state transportation of weapons.
They also filed with the court a “suggestion of mootness,” arguing that the case should be terminated because the “controversy” had ended by granting the petitioners what they were looking for and, therefore, the law “did not deserve to be reviewed.”
Several Democratic senators joined the effort to stop the case and sent a brief to the court arguing that it was a ‘political’ issue unrelated to the courts.
They also indicated that they were willing to encourage their voters and even pressure the Supreme Court itself with the ultimate goal of “restructuring” it if it continues on its current course, Politico reported.
The ruling that could change everything
“The simple truth is that the city’s draconian regime is antithetical to the right enshrined in the Second Amendment, has no grounding in text, history, or tradition, and plainly flunks any meaningful form of means-ends scrutiny,” NYSRPA denounced in the Supreme Court’s legal report.
The court’s decision, expected in June, could have significant repercussions throughout the country, as it could give enough legal backing to Republicans to fight many of the hundreds of laws that have been enacted against guns in recent years.
“Eleven years after the court declared in its landmark Heller ruling that the Second Amendment enshrines an individual right to bear arms, liberals are still in denial and need a judicial reminder,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board emphasized, warning, “States and cities have exploited the court’s reluctance to again enter this political battlefield.”
Fundamental right or privilege
“The city still views firearm ownership as a privilege and not a fundamental right and is still in the business of limiting transport and denying licenses for a host of discretionary reasons,” NYSRPA representative Paul Clement told AP News.
“The only reason that change was made is because the court accepted the case for review earlier this year, and everybody knows it,” said Alan Gottlieb, creator of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).
Gottlieb said he hopes the Supreme Court will see why they tried to wipe this case off the map even by changing the law. “That maneuver suggests the city knew all along its restriction would not pass constitutional muster, but only changed the law in an effort to prevent a court ruling that smacked it down,” he said.
“We’ll be watching this case closely,” he added. “The city of New York, and any other government body for that matter, should not be allowed to trample on a constitutional right and then change a law at the last minute to avoid being penalized for their demagoguery,” he concluded.
“This may be the case that indicates whether the court considers the Second Amendment to be a legitimate right on the same level as the First Amendment,” added Tom Gresham, SAF board member and syndicated broadcaster.