The Federalist by Cody Wisniewski 5/31/2019
New York City is far from the only government with unconstitutional gun control laws on the books. Nearly every court in the nation has ignored Heller and McDonald.
The most important Second Amendment case in a decade may soon be argued before the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a chorus of Democratic presidential candidates has recently called for stricter gun control. With so much at stake in N.Y. Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, at least one question remains to be answered: Will the Supreme Court actually decide this case?
New York City has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Current law, for instance, prohibits licensed handgun owners from transporting their handguns outside city limits. (Yes, New York City really does prohibit this.) Handgun owners are considered criminals if they merely bring a handgun to a shooting range in the next town for a round of target practice.
By subjecting NYC’s excessive regulations to constitutional scrutiny, the N.Y. Rifle case makes a good test of how far gun control advocates can go without running afoul of the lower courts. While NYC officials were comfortable with their regulation withstanding lower court scrutiny, early signs indicate they are well aware that they have gone beyond their constitutional limits—a fact the Supreme Court is not likely to miss. NYC officials already asked the Supreme Court to delay the case and are attempting to amend the law in question.
While the Supreme Court denied the request to put the case on hold, that does not mean the Supreme Court has to actually decide the case. If NYC officials successfully amend the challenged regulation, the Supreme Court could decide that there is no longer a current regulation to overturn, and therefore no need to decide the case.