New York State Rifle
What’s Happening Here?
- New York State Rifle is the first major Second Amendment case to go in front of the Supreme Court since 2010. Anytime the Court speaks on the Second Amendment, it’s a huge deal because it establishes legal precedent.
- The case challenges New York City’s “premises” gun licensing ordinance for keeping handguns in the home. (There is a separate concealed carry licensing law for those who want to carry firearms outside the home; that law is not challenged in this lawsuit.)
- The New York City law allows those with a “premises” gun license to keep a handgun in their homes. While the law generally does not allow these individuals to transport their handguns to other places besides their homes, it does allow transport to seven shooting ranges within City limits (provided the gun is transported unloaded, in a locked container, separately from ammunition).
- The plaintiffs, who want to take their guns to shooting ranges outside of the city and to their second homes upstate, claim the ordinance violates their rights. They made no attempt to obtain a concealed carry license, and there are a number of shooting ranges in the city that they are currently permitted to transport their guns to.
- While the rule at issue may not be a major gun violence prevention policy, that doesn’t mean the case will not be important. The Supreme Court’s decision could limit current law, which makes clear that the Second Amendment allows for public safety laws to prevent gun violence, and that individual communities have the right to enact laws that protect themselves as they see fit.
What Comes Next?
- New York State Rifle will likely be argued in front of the Court this fall. An opinion will likely be issued in the spring of 2020.
- Any number of rulings are possible, from a ruling in New York City’s favor, to a narrow decision ruling only on this specific ordinance, to a broad ruling that recognizes for the first time a right to carry guns in public. To date, the Court has only recognized the right to carry a handgun in the home for self-defense.
- Communities should have the right to decide what laws they want to pass to protect the public interest. Someone is going to decide this issue; should it be Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, or should it be the people of New York?
- With Brett Kavanaugh joining the Court, Second Amendment cases that previously were being denied could now find a new audience— one that could be hostile to strong gun violence prevention laws and friendly to the gun lobby’s agenda. Challenges to assault weapon bans, extreme risk protection orders, and even the Brady Background Check system could all go in front of the Court in the years to come.
What is Brady Doing?
"Just as we have done for more than 30 years, we at Brady are committed to defending laws that act in the public interest to keep Americans safe from gun violence. Gun safety laws in our country will no doubt continue to see challenge after challenge in court, so let it be known - we will be there every time to defend them, and we are ready for this fight."Brady President Kris Brown