The Supreme Court dealt a temporary setback for Second Amendment advocates in late April when the majority of justices refused to rule on a case against a New York City gun control measure.
The case, which was argued in December, centered on a rule restricting how and where New Yorkers can move a locked and loaded firearm. Second Amendment advocates had hopped the body’s conservative majority would recognize the law as an unconstitutional infringement.
The court essentially ruled that the case was “moot.” Basically, this means that the Court threw out the case and didn’t have to make any type of real ruling on it. This was disappointing news for gun rights activists who had been anxiously awaiting a decision to be made by the court for over a year.
This would have been the first gun rights case to be ruled on by the Supreme Court at the federal level in over a decade. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, which is affiliated with the National Rifle Association, started the case regarding what they believed to be an unconstitutional law about traveling to a shooting range or second home outside of New York City with a firearm.
Right now, gun owners who hold a permit to have a gun inside their primary home weren’t allowed to travel with it except to a small list of shooting ranges near their homes. The law itself didn’t make a whole lot of sense except to control what a lawful gun owner can do with a weapon. The pressure from the case probably made lawmakers in New York City decide to change the law before the ruling could be made.
Incidentally, New York City removed the laws that ban traveling with a gun someone has a permit for awhile ago. This law was changed while the Supreme Court was waiting to hear the arguments on the case. That’s probably the biggest reason the decision was rendered moot, considering that many people had lobbied for the case to be dropped anyway.
Three justices — Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch — dissented the decision. Even though the law had been changed, the justices argued the law as it stands now in NYC is still an unconstitutional infringement.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh said in a statement that he agreed with the majority opinion surrounding the case, but believes it’s important that the court gets to hear these kinds of Second Amendment cases.