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New York City Backs Off Gun Restrictions To Avoid Supreme Court Defeat

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The Supreme Court should dismiss a challenge to New York City’s gun transportation ban because a new ordinance will moot the case, city lawyers told the justices Wednesday.

The ordinance and a newly-enacted state law will give the plaintiffs who challenged the transportation ban everything they have sought in court, making dismissal the appropriate course, city lawyers wrote in a letter to the high court.

“The new city regulation gives petitioners everything they have sought in this lawsuit,” assistant corporation counsel Richard Dearing wrote. “The new state law, upon signature by the governor, will make the case doubly moot.”

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If the case is not dismissed, the city will continue arguing the dispute is moot in a legal brief due Aug. 5. They will not address the merits of the controversy, Dearing wrote.

“If, however, this Court prefers to allow briefing (and potentially oral argument) to play out, respondents will file a brief on the designated due date maintaining in greater detail that the case is moot,” the letter reads.

“Respondents do not intend to address whether the Constitution entitles petitioners (or any other residents of New York City with premises licenses) to transport their handguns from their homes in the city to second homes, or to firing ranges or shooting competitions beyond municipal borders, where they have a legal right to possess them. Respondents no longer have any stake in that legal question,” it adds.

The city seemed to acknowledge that the high court’s decision to review its gun regulations drove its decision to adopt new rules. Defending its transportation restrictions before the Court’s newly-entrenched conservative majority seems a forbodding task for city lawyers.

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“It does not matter whether the defendant previously defended the now-defunct law,” the letter reads. “Nor does it matter whether this Court’s grant of review contributed to the government’s decision to take a fresh look at its legal regime.”

The New York ordinance at issue in the case permits licensed gun owners to carry firearms to one of seven authorized gun ranges in the city. License-holders are not permitted to transport their weapons outside the city. Three city residents and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association sued the city, alleging those restrictions violate the Second Amendment. The plaintiffs want to bring their firearms to second homes and shooting competitions outside the city.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court ruling that sided with the city. In their letter to the high court, city lawyers said the 2nd Circuit’s decision should be lifted now that the case is moot.

The Supreme Court decided to hear the case in January. It is the first gun rights case the justices have heard in almost a decade. The Trump administration is supporting the plaintiffs.

The case is No. 18-280 N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York.

Disclosure: The reporter’s wife was involved with this litigation. 

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5 comments

  1. Supreme Despots..
    The Odious Fiction Destroying America – The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates..
    We now have social transformation without representation. And that is what the Supreme Court is in our day – despots.
    And they are not the final arbiters – as Jefferson states, “The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal.”
    They proffer Article 6, paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution – the ‘supremacy clause’ – for their notion of judicial supremacy. But when you read Article 6, paragraph 2, you realize that the Supreme Court isn’t even mentioned, nor are federal courts of any kind mentioned. Article 6, paragraph 2 – known as the supremacy clause actually gives supremacy to the Constitution!
    Wholly opposite of this view of ‘judicial supremacy’ was the view held by America’s founders. They viewed the judiciary as being the weakest branch of the government.
    At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous.”

  2. If you are one that believes the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is lawful and constitutional, then you have believed a lie and a myth that Jefferson warned about. The States still retain their rights to this day to defy the federal judiciary, which has become an oligarcy. We just need strong statesmen as governors and legislatures to make that stand!

    In writing to William Jarvis, Jefferson said, “You seem . . . to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

    The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.”

  3. SCOTUS should continue to decide this case for any future ramifications. New York City, New York State, or any other city or state will continue to harass citizens over gun rights IF this case is dismissed. It needs to be settled once and for all.

  4. George Washington

    Bullshit! It took 6 years for this case to get to SCOTUS and you scumbags fought it every step of the way. Now suddenly because SCOTUS agrees to hear the case and you know you are about to get slapped along with all the communist blue states, you think you can just change your ordinance and that’s good enough?

    F U! Because we aren’t stupid. Who is to say you don’t just change it back after the court drops the case? SCOTUS is on to you communist leftists. There are multiple 2A cases on deck.

  5. fu nyc gun-c**trol traitor/fags

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