The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear a case stemming from New York City that forbids a resident from transporting a firearm outside of the City. The law prohibits a resident who lawfully owns a gun in New York City (a fairly draconian process to obtain a permit in NYC), to transport that firearm anywhere outside of the city. For instance, if a lawful gun owner wanted to participate in a shooting competition in Westchester County (just north of NYC), that is a violation of the law. Furthermore, there are only seven gun ranges in the city and if a gun owner wanted to use a range outside of the city, that too violates the law.
The Supreme Court has elected to hear this case during its 2019-20 term. The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York is the Supreme Court’s first major “gun case” since 2010. While many other cases have been heard in lower courts since then, the Supreme Court has refused to review any of them. The reasons most likely were due to Justice Kennedy being the Court’s swing vote, no one was able reliably predict how the Court would rule.
Now that Justice Kennedy has retired and Justice Kavanaugh on the bench, it is predicted that he will most likely side with the four other Originalists on the Court, Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch. While the New York case is fairly limited in the issues presented to the Supreme Court, as New York City is believed to be the only jurisdiction that has such a law that prohibits its residents from taking their firearms outside of the city, it is expected that the Court will address the issue of whether the Second Amendment provides a right to not only keep a firearm, but to also carry that firearm outside the home.
The Court in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), held that there is a constitutional right to keep a firearm in the home. This overturned the District of Columbia’s law that did not allow private ownership of a firearm in the home. The Heller Court stated in the majority opinion that there is a right to possess a handgun outside the home but did not elaborate further.
Many are hoping that this case is the one that finally brings the Court to rule on whether an individual has a right to possess a handgun outside the home. This case may impact Maryland’s laws on how it issues its wear & carry (concealed carry) permits.
Hershon Legal, LLC will update this further when the case is heard at the Court. If you have any questions about this, please call Ed Hershon at (443) 926-1702.