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U.S. Supreme Court to consider 2nd Amendment case

February 8, 2019 Supreme Court

On January 22, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari (review) of N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York.

Randal Hornaday, attorney at Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP, offered this perspective on the potential ruling from the nation’s highest court:

In this appeal, the Supreme Court will be determining the constitutionality of a New York City regulation that limits the circumstances under which holders of a “premises license” for handguns can transport a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun outside the home. This is the first significant Second Amendment case to go before the Supreme Court since District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) (holding, inter alia, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms in the home) and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010) (holding the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is applicable to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment).

This is also the first significant Second Amendment case to come before the Court since the confirmation of Justices Neil Gorsuch (2017) and Brett Kavanaugh (2018), and the presumptive conservative shift after the retirement of Justice Kennedy. Accordingly, how the Court rules on this issue could be instructive on how the Court will likely rule on future cases. That is to say, the Supreme Court may issue a narrow ruling designed to specifically address the constitutionality of the regulation, or it may seek to address broader issues relating the whether the Second Amendment rights stated in Heller and McDonald extend outside the home as well. As a result, we may gain insights into how active the current Court will be in seeking to tackle issues relating to federalism, the balance of power between federal, state, and local governments, as well as the role of federal courts to act as counter-majoritarian bulwarks for individual liberties while concurrently respecting the will of the people as expressed via the legislative process.