Washington, DC – New York City officials are scrambling to amend a city law under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court before the justices get a chance to strike it down.
The city law at the heart of a Second Amendment challenge case the justices agreed to hear in January is a gun regulation that prohibits New York City gun owners from transporting their weapons except when going to an approved gun range in the city, according to the Washington Examiner.
The city’s gun regulation allows residents with so-called premises licenses to transport their weapons to one of seven approved shooting ranges in the city only, and stops them from taking them to second homes or gun ranges outside city limits, The New York Times reported.
The guns may not be transported even when they are unloaded and locked up separately from the ammunition.
New York is the only place in the country with limits on licensed handgun owners taking their weapons outside of their homes, the Washington Examiner reported.
“It’s the only place in the United States where a firearms owner is prohibited from traveling outside the area that he lives in,” Tom King, executive director of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said. “That sounds more like something that would happen in Russia rather than the United States.”
Gun owners who wanted to be able to take their weapons to shooting competitions and to their homes in upstate New York challenged the ban with a lawsuit, The New York Times reported.
After the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the regulations, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the ruling.
It’s widely believed that this case is an extension 2008’s DC vs. Heller ruling in which the justices struck down an overly aggressive gun control law in the nation’s capital and established an individual’s right to own guns.
New York City officials are panicking because the likely decision about its over-reaching gun regulation from the U.S. Supreme Court would likely endanger gun control laws across the country, The New York Times reported.
The case will be reviewed by the justices in the court’s next term, which starts in October, unless New York City can put a stop to it.
In April, the New York Police Department and city officials announced a public hearing to discuss proposed changes to the city’s gun control regulation, in an effort to amend the law before the U.S. Supreme Court had an opportunity to rule on it, according to The New York Times,
Their strategy is to change the offending law, thereby making it “moot” so that the court would decide not to review it after all.
Attorneys for the city sent a letter asking the U.S. Supreme Court to put their review of the case on hold pending the outcome of their proposed rule changes, but the justices denied their request, the Washington Examiner reported.
“They want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to preserve the lower court opinion by trying to moot out the Supreme Court deciding it,” Stephen Halbrook, an attorney who specialized is Second Amendment cases, said. “The court would not have taken this case unless they were going to overturn its rule, and that’s why you have all these people screaming. They’re afraid the court will overrule.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the New York City law have called the city’s eleventh-hour attempt to change the legislation a “nakedly transparent effort to evade” review by the Supreme Court, the Washington Examiner reported.
“This was just a blatant attempt to stop the court case, and the changes they proposed were miniscule,” the New York Rifle and Pistol Association’s King said. “This is their last-gasp measure to stop the case.”