The Justice Department on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to overturn a New York City gun law that regulates where licensed handgun owners can take their firearms.
The justices are poised to hear the Second Amendment case next term, and it will be the first substantive gun rights cases the court has heard since Justice Antonin Scalia’s landmark opinion in 2008 holding that the Constitution protects an individual’s right to keep a gun at home and a follow up case in 2010.
Since those opinions came down, the court has declined to take up several other follow up cases to the frustration of gun-rights supporters.
Supporters of gun rights fear that the Supreme Court may have decided to weigh in now because Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation last year solidified a 5-4 conservative majority.
“New York City’s transport ban infringes the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the 2nd and 14th Amendments,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in a friend of the court brief Wednesday.
Francisco asked the court to “confirm” that the Second Amendment also protects the right of a “law-abiding, responsible citizen to take his firearms outside his home, and to transport it to other places – such as a second home or a firing range – where he may lawfully possess that firearm.”
One provision of the law at issue blocks licensed individuals from removing a handgun from the address listed on the license except to travel to nearby authorized small arms range/shooting clubs.
The challenge comes from the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. In court papers, the group’s lawyers argued that a New Yorker cannot transport his handgun to his “second home for the core constitutional purpose of self-defense or to an upstate county to participate in a shooting competition, or even across the bridge to a neighboring city for target practice.”