December 02, 2019
From The Daily Caller:
- The Supreme Court heard a challenge Monday to New York City rules that imposed onerous restrictions on gun transportation.
- After the Supreme Court decided to hear the case, New York relaxed the challenged guidelines and asked the justices to dismiss the case as “moot,” arguing the new regulations gave the plaintiffs everything they were seeking.
- The justices spent the majority of Monday’s argument exploring whether or not they should dismiss the case and gave comparatively little attention to whether the old rules pass Second Amendment muster.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in a gun rights case for the first time in nearly 10 years Monday, involving a challenge to since-repealed New York City rules that greatly restricted the transportation of firearms.
Though the case is closely watched as a possible bellwether for future disputes over the Second Amendment, several members of the court, including Chief Justice John Roberts, seemed ready to dismiss the case for procedural reasons, without a decision on the contested New York regulations.
“A decisive moment in Monday’s arguments came when Roberts asked New York City lawyer Richard Dearing if the old rules will have any lingering effects on gun owners. Dearing said no and promised that New York officials will not use the old rules as a basis for any future licensing or enforcement decisions.
“The city is committed to closing the book on that old rule and we’re not going to take it into effect,” Dearing said.
New York City’s gun transportation rules
Under a since-repealed ordinance, New York residents had to obtain a “premises license” from city authorities to lawfully possess a firearm. That license restricted possession to the address listed on the license itself. The transportation guidelines that license holders had to follow were before the high court Monday.
Those rules provided that gun owners could carry their firearms to one of seven shooting ranges in the city. To do so, however, they had to keep their weapons in a locked container, with ammunition carried separately. They could not carry their guns past city lines. If they wished to transport weapons to any location besides an approved range, they had to obtain written permission from a city official.
Inspector Andrew Lunetta, who leads the New York City Police Department License Division, submitted an affidavit arguing those restrictions promote public safety. Without precise transportation rules, Lunetta fears premises license holders might carry their weapons all around the city without good reason, thereby raising the odds of gun violence.
“Investigations have revealed a large volume and pattern of premises license holders who are found in possession of their handguns in violation of the restrictions on their license,” Lunetta said.
“Public safety compels that these restrictions be effectively monitored and enforced, and that the perception of effective monitoring be supported,” he added.
The plaintiffs in Monday’s case, Romolo Colantone, Jose Anthony Irizarry and Efrain Alvarez, are New York residents who wish to transport their weapons beyond city limits to shooting competitions and vacation homes for self-defense. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association is also a plaintiff in the dispute.
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