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Old 01-23-2019, 05:19 AM
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Default After nearly 10 years of ignoring it, SCOTUS accepts 2nd Amendment case!

The Supreme Court has agreed for the first time since 2010 to take up a case related to the Second Amendment. That case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York.

The issues in the case are narrow, pertaining to New York City law and the legal ability of NYC residents to take their lawfully owned handguns outside the city.

The petition for certiorari to the Court sets out the specifics:

“New York City prohibits its residents from possessing a handgun without a license, and the only license the City makes available to most residents allows its holder to possess her handgun only in her home or en route to one of seven shooting ranges within the city. The City thus bans its residents from transporting a handgun to any place outside city limits—even if the handgun is unloaded and locked in a container separate from its ammunition, and even if the owner seeks to transport it only to a second home for the core constitutionally protected purpose of self defense, or to a more convenient out-of-city shooting range to hone its safe and effective use. The City asserts that its transport ban promotes public safety by limiting the presence of handguns on city streets.”

Unlike Heller, the Court allowed the question presented by the Petitioners to stand:

"Whether the City's ban on transporting a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel."

The primary issue in this case was actually created by Heller; when the Court granted certiorari in Heller, it framed a new question, different from that in the Petitioner’s brief and that question's wording has been employed to limit the effect of the decision:

"We consider whether a District of Columbia prohibition on the possession of usable handguns in the home violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution." -- DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER, 478 F. 3d 370, (2008)

That “in the home” characterization in the Heller opinion has given lower courts wiggle room to carve out an area of 2nd Amendment law that is subject to intermediate scrutiny, which virtually guarantees challenged laws restricting gun possession and use outside the home are sustained (even if the guns are unloaded and secured in an inaccessible manner for travel, in accordance with federal law protecting INTERSTATE travel with guns).

In this new case, both a district court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals follow that program, saying that the federal constitutional right to keep and bear arms only counts in the home, and thus these state transport laws do not harm its core purpose. "Purporting to apply intermediate scrutiny," the cert petition says, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals "held that the City had carried its burden to justify the encroachment on protected Second Amendment activity."

That's the thing, the lower courts accept the argument that the activity in question is "protected Second Amendment activity", it's just that they employ "in the home" to completely gut said protection.

With this challenge also bringing in the commerce clause and the right to travel, we could see this case having implications for restrictive travel laws in other states, primarily New Jersey and Maryland.

The lower federal courts are in serious need of a smackdown on their treatment of the right to arms and its enforcement against state law.

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