Supreme Court Set to Weigh Challenge to New York City Gun Transport Restrictions

The Supreme Court will hear its first major gun rights case in nearly a decade on Monday in a challenge backed by the National Rifle Association over a now-amended New York City handgun regulation that had prevented licensed owners from taking their handguns outside New York City.

The nine justices will hear arguments in an appeal by three handgun owners and the New York state affiliate of the NRA – the gun rights group closely aligned with President Donald Trump and other Republicans – who say the regulation violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The court has a 5-4 conservative majority. Its ruling is due by the end of June.

“I believe it will change the way the Second Amendment is applied to everyone who owns a gun in the country,” said Staten Island resident Romolo Colantone, one of the plaintiffs.

The dispute centers on New York’s handgun “premises” licenses that allowed holders to transport their firearm only to a handful of shooting ranges within the city, and to hunting areas elsewhere in the state during designated hunting seasons.

The transport rule was amended in July to specifically allow for a gun to be taken to a range or other residence outside the city. The city unsuccessfully asked the Supreme Court to cancel the arguments and drop the case because the amendment removed the provision being challenged.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed the lawsuit in 2013 along with three city residents who were told by authorities they could not participate in a shooting competition in New Jersey or bring their guns to a home elsewhere in the state.

The plaintiffs are appealing a 2018 ruling by the Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the regulation did not violate the Second Amendment and advanced the city’s interest in protecting public safety.

The Supreme Court has avoided taking up a major firearms case since 2010, when it extended to state and local regulations a 2008 ruling that recognized for the first time that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.

That has left open questions such as whether that right extends outside the home. The challengers also are asking the Supreme Court to require lower courts to more strictly review gun curbs, with an eye toward striking them down.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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