By John Crump
Washington, D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)- It has been almost ten years since the Supreme Court of The United States has taken up a gun law related case. In that case, Dick Hiller defeated the Washington DC gun ban. The court ruled that the Second Amendment protected an individual's right to possess a firearm. Since then the court has refused to take up any further gun cases until now.
SCOTUS will review a New York City ban on transferring a firearm outside the city. Basically, a gun travel ban.
Even if the gun was unloaded and licensed the gun owner could not leave the town with it. This restriction included taking the weapon to a weekend home or a range outside the city. The New York State Pistol and Rifle Association requested the review claiming that the law is draconian and put an undue burden on the gun owner.
The New York State Pistol and Rifle Association (NYSPRA) is associated with the National Rifle Association and has a similar mission to the NRA. Instead of concentrating on the national stage the NYSPRA focuses its efforts on the state level. It is New York's largest and oldest Second Amendment organization and has fought against laws like the SAFE Act.
With partial funding from the NRA, the NYSPRA is disputing the New York City law on two fronts. The first front is that the law is a violation of the Second Amendment. NYC claims that it is within its right to regulate where and how a resident of NYC transports their guns. The city will be hard pressed to convince SCOTUS of this argument.
The second issue that the NYSPRA points out to SCOTUS is that the law runs afoul of the commerce clause of the Constitution. Only the federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce including the transportation of guns across state lines. The state has the power to regulate commerce within its borders.
Since the state's and the federal government's laws are in direct contradiction to the laws of New York City the laws of the State and federal government take precedence over those of the city.
Because the state and federal laws have preemption over the law banning the transportation of a firearm out of New York City the city's law is violating the commerce clause. Even the most liberal minds in constitutional law can see a big problem with NYC's attempt at regulating the transportation of a firearm out of the city.
Even though the case was fraught with Constitutional pitfall for NYC, they were successful in The Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the law did not violate the Second Amendment or the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Second Circuit Court has a history of anti-gun rulings.
The Second Circuit Court upheld the so-called “assault weapon bans” in New York, Connecticut, and Maryland. The court ruled that the Second Amendment does not cover modern sporting rifles such as the AR-15. The plaintiffs appealed the decision in these cases to SCOTUS, but the high court refused to hear the arguments in any of the cases.
The NYSPRA is confident their case. Tom King of the NYSPRA acknowledges that nothing is definite when it comes to SCOTUS, but he thinks the merits of the case speaks for its self.
“There is no way of predicting the outcome of a Supreme Court Case,” King told AmmoLand News, “however we are confident in the merits of the case and look forward to a favorable decision.”
This case might seem minor, but it could have a significant impact on future gun control making it harder for cities and towns to pass gun control laws. Gun advocates can also view this as SCOTUS being more willing to hear gun cases. This willingness would be a massive shift from the previous ten years.
Judge Clarence Thomas, Judge Neil Gorsuch, Judge Samuel Alito, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh seem to lean in favor of expanding gun rights. Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Judge Stephen Breyer, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, and Judge Elena Kagan are firmly against any expansion of gun rights. This split will most likely leave the deciding vote up to Chief Justice John Roberts.
Since the SCOTUS docket is full for the spring, they will probably push the case out to sometime in the fall before oral arguments. The court will then rule on the merits of the case in 2020.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.