Supreme Court Avoids New Second Amendment Decision, Hitting Gun Rights Defenders

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Monday’s order is a victory – for now – for proponents of gun regulation who feared judges would take an idiosyncratic state law and use it as a vehicle to flesh out historic opinion the late judge Antonin Scalia of 2008, who held the first time that a person had the right to keep and carry weapons at home to defend themselves.

In an unsigned notice, the court said on Monday that it had referred the case to the lower court because after the judges agreed to hear the dispute, the New York law at issue had been changed. The court ordered a lower court to consider the remaining claims of opponents of the law.

Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas were dissenting.

The case marked the first major gun rights case heard by the two presidential candidates Donald Trump. Gorsuch joined the dissent. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, on the other hand, stated in a concurring opinion that, although the court should avoid the matter at issue, he also agreed with the dissidents’ concerns that the lower courts had mocked the Supreme Court precedent on the 2nd amendment and said the court should “fix this soon.”

When the Supreme Court agreed to take up the matter, the law prohibited people from removing a handgun from the address indicated on the license, except to go to authorized ranges or shooting clubs near.

READ: Supreme Court decision on 2nd Amendment and New York Firearms Act

New York argued that the rule was not a burden on the rights of the 2nd Amendment and that it represented a reasonable means of protecting public safety.

The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, a group of gun owners and individual complainants challenged the law, arguing that it was too restrictive and that a New Yorker could not carry his handgun to his “secondary residence for essential constitutional purposes of self-defense or in a county in the north of the state to participate in a shooting competition, or even on the other side of the bridge to a neighboring town for target training. “

Attorneys for the Trump administration have sided with the adversaries, arguing that “few laws in our history have restricted the right to keep and bear arms as severely as this ban.”

In a twist, after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, the city authorized owners allowed to take handguns to other locations, including second homes or ranges outside city ​​limits. In addition, New York State has amended its handgun licensing law to require communities to allow firearm owners to carry this type of transportation.

As a result, New York argued that the judges should dismiss the case.

Lawyers Contending The Law Replied That The Only Reason It Was Changed Was That Supporters Of Firearm Regulations Worried The New Conservative Supreme Court Majority Would Use Idiosyncratic Law To Make General Decision reducing restrictions on firearms.

A kind of epiphany, says Alito about New York

In his dissent, Alito expressed frustration that the court refused to decide whether city law violated the 2nd amendment.

“Although the city previously insisted that its ordinance served important public safety purposes, our review agreement apparently led to a sort of epiphany, and the city quickly changed its ordinance,” wrote Alito. .

Alito pointed out that even if the law had been changed, those who challenged it had not received all of the redress sought.

“The petitioners got most, but not all, of the potential relief they wanted,” wrote Alito, “and that means the matter is not dead.” He specifically noted their claims for damages.

Alito also targeted a “friend of the court” file filed by Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and others, suggesting that the senators had attempted to intimidate the court.

“Five American senators, including four members of the bar of this Court, have filed a memorandum requesting that the case be closed,” Alito wrote.

Whitehouse had suggested that if the court did not dismiss the case, the public would believe that the court was politically motivated. “The Supreme Court is not doing well,” wrote Whitehouse. “Perhaps the court can heal itself before the public demands its restructuring to reduce the influence of politics.”

“If a case is on our file and we have jurisdiction,” said Alito, “we have an obligation to decide it. “

Alito said he would have concluded that the New York order was unconstitutional and that it infringed on the right to bear arms recognized in the 2008 court decision called District of Columbia v. Heller. He said there is “cause for concern” that the lower courts do not abide by this decision.

“History does not support such a restriction,” said Alito.

Gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action welcomed the court decision on Monday, Everytown president John Feinblatt said in a statement that the court “has just thwarted the lobbyists’ hope firearms of a general decision which could slow down the weapon “. the growing momentum of the security movement. “

UPDATE: This story has been updated with additional information from the decision.

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