Seventeen states signed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments for New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, which many argue could bolster Second Amendment protections.
At issue is Title 38, Chapter Five, Section 23 of the Rules of the City of New York, which prohibits licensed firearm residents from removing their firearm from their home. Two exceptions exist, including removing the gun from their home to practice at a firing range or to hunt in the state. Both require an expensive permit and authorization by the local police department. To remove a firearm from the home for any other purpose requires a separate and expensive “carry” permit that is difficult to obtain.
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA), the state's largest and nation's oldest firearms advocacy organization, and three individuals, Romolo Colantone, Efrain Alvarez and Jose Anthony Irizarry filed suit in the Southern District of New York, arguing that Title 38 is unconstitutional. They also sought an injunction against its enforcement.
The district court held that Title 38 does not violate the Second Amendment, the Commerce Clause, the fundamental right to travel, or the First Amendment. The plaintiffs appealed the court’s ruling. The NYSRPA filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court Sept. 4.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry is leading the 17-state coalition, arguing the law restricts lawful gun owners from self-defense outside of the home.
The brief requests the court consider “whether the city’s ban on transporting a licensed, locked, and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the constitutional right to travel.”
“The restrictive policies memorialized in New York City’s ‘premises permit’ scheme unduly burdens the Second Amendment rights held by all Americans," Landry said in a statement. "Criminalizing travel with a securely stored firearm creates an imbalance in our federal system that weighs against lawful exercise of the Second Amendment inside and outside of New York City.”
The brief maintains that the city has not shown sufficient cause to burden citizens’ gun rights in their pursuit of crime prevention and public safety. It argues that public safety measures are hampered by the city’s restriction, which prevents licensed and trained gun owners from carrying outside their homes. The “premises permit” requires that thousands of firearms be left in unoccupied homes “where they are of no use to their lawful owners when faced with dangerous situations.”
“The need for self-defense is not limited to the home and the right to possess a firearm should not be either,” Landry said. “From self-defense to hunting, the lawful exercise of our Second Amendment rights should be fully supported."
The brief also argues that “New York’s regulatory scheme discriminates against interstate commerce because it ‘deprives out-of-state businesses of access to a local market’ by forbidding its citizens from hunting and patronizing ranges outside the state with their own guns.”
Attorneys General and/or governors from the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, joined the brief.
The brief cites numerous examples of case law supporting the plaintiffs. It maintains, “Had Petitioners lived in one of the three circuits that have determined that the right to bear arms outside of their home was a core right fully protected by the Second Amendment, their ability to carry their weapons to second homes, to gun ranges to practice or compete outside the City, or to take them out of state would have been protected.”
Landry argues that the Supreme Court should reverse the court of appeals.