The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will hear oral arguments regarding the Second Amendment case since 2010 as justices weigh a challenge to a New York City regulation that prevents licensed firearm owners from taking their guns in and out of the city.
The legal battle was brought by gun rights advocates after a federal appeals court upheld a city ordinance allowing licensed residents to take their guns outside of their homes to just seven shooting ranges within city limits. That rule prevented them from transporting their weapons to a second home or another gun range outside New York City.
New York City officials changed the regulation to allow licensed firearms owners to take their handguns outside of the city, contending that change settles the lawsuit. Thus, NYC wants the high court to dismiss the legal challenge as a moot point.
But the case gives the high court an opportunity to expand gun rights for the first time since 2010, allowing justices to further expound upon — or not — the constitutional right to keep and bear arms and what limitations local jurisdictions are permitted.
“There’s reason to believe that … they want to take the case because there are enough conservative justices now on the court that they want to re-examine how the court defined gun rights back in 2008,” said Robert Spitzer, a professor at SUNY Cortland who has written often on the politics of gun control.
“To me, they haven’t gone through all this trouble just to then brush the case off,” he said.
In a 5-4 ruling in 2008 known as the Heller decision, the high court held that the Second Amendment provides a guarantee for citizens to keep and bear arms.
That decision struck down a Washington, D.C. law restricting the licensing of firearms that also required gun owners to keep their weapons dismantled even inside their homes.