This week saw a flurry of activity as lawmakers and gun control groups weigh in on a case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a New York gun restriction.
Over a dozen new legal briefs were posted Monday in the case brought by gun owners challenging the constitutionality of the Big Apple’s “premises permit” scheme, a local New York City law that drastically restricts the ability to leave one’s premises with a firearm. The new filings come from five Senate Democrats — Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as 139 Dems in the House, with the lawmakers taking New York’s side.
“Legislatures, from the municipal to the national, should be free to adopt common-sense solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic that do not infringe core Second Amendment rights, without limiting those solutions only to the ‘least restrictive’ means or the most historically analogous method,”House Democrats argue in their brief.
Similar filings came from the states of New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia as well as anti-gun groups such as Everytown and March for Our Lives, all angling to insulate the city from a ruling which could prove to be a huge victory for Second Amendment advocates.
While the city’s restriction on taking firearms from an owner’s licensed premises to a second home or shooting range outside of the city was previously upheld by lower and appellate courts, the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear a further challenge to the law — the first such move by the court on a major gun case since 2010. This triggered a response by New York City officials to try to short circuit the case while local and state lawmakers repealed the restriction, arguing that the subject was moot.
Nonetheless, the nation’s high court has remained steadfast and kept the case on their docket, setting the stage for the challenge to continue. Since then, 120 Republican GOP members of Congress have filed a brief in support of the gun owners, followed by another brief submitted by the allied attorneys general or governors of 24 red states. Add to this are separate briefs from dozens of gun rights groups ranging from Gun Owners of California and the Firearms Policy Coalition to Black Guns Matter, the Liberal Gun Club, and the Pink Pistols.
Importantly, the U.S. Justice Department has also gone on record as being against New York’s gun restriction with the office of Noel Francisco, the U.S. Solicitor General, saying, “The ban all but negates the textually protected right to bear arms, and interferes with the right to keep arms as well.”
The Supreme Court has distributed the case for their October conference.