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New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, New York [SCOTUSbrief]

This case involves the New York Rifle & Pistol
Association, as well as three residents of New York City. In New York City, people are allowed to obtain
a firearm, and they can keep it in their home pursuant to what’s called a premise license. The premise license only allows you to keep
the gun in your home and transport it to perhaps a shooting range in the five boroughs of New
York City, or to a place to have your gun repaired. But what happens if you own two houses? Or what happens if you want to transport your
gun out of state, say, to a shooting range in New Jersey? New York City law prohibited this sort of
transport, and this case considers whether the city could ban transporting a lock handgun
to a second home, or to a shooting range outside of the five boroughs of New York City. The Second Amendment provides a well regulated
militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep
and bear arms shall not be infringed. The Supreme Court has only decided two cases
about the Second Amendment. The first case was District of Columba v.
Heller in 2008. This case held that the Second Amendment protects
a right to keep and bear arms as an individual right. This right was not connected to any sort of
militia service. The second case was McDonald v. City of Chicago
from 2010. This case extended Heller. It held that the states are also bound by
the Second Amendment, and the city of Chicago could not ban handguns. Since 2010, the Supreme Court has had very
little to say about the Second Amendment. New York City has had this policy on the books
for several years, and the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association challenged the
constitutionality of this rule. Both the trial court and the court of appeals
ruled that this policy is constitutional. As a result, the Rifle & Pistol Association
appealed the case to the US Supreme Court. The law has a doctrine known as mootness. Under this doctrine, if there’s no longer
a live controversy, courts will dismiss a case. There is an exception to the mootness doctrine
known as voluntary cessation. Under the voluntary cessation doctrine, if
the government voluntarily ceases to enforce a law for the purpose of frustrating judicial
review, the courts will still consider the legality of that law, even though the case
might otherwise be mooted. Once the Supreme Court granted certiorari,
New York repealed the regulation at issue, and they basically made it impossible to reenact
this law in the future. New York did file a brief arguing that their
law was valid, but that the case is moot, that there’s no controversy to resolve, that
the plaintiffs have received all of the relief they were looking for. During the oral argument, New York will argue
that the Court should not be here, and this case should be dismissed. The Justices will probably ask, “Well, will
you defend this law?” And they will offer some defense, but they
will always try to shift it back to the mootness argument. The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association
argues that the case should continue. They contend that New York is simply changing
their law to avoid Supreme Court review. For the first time in a decade, the Supreme
Court is considering whether to extend the Second Amendment beyond the home. In addition, the Supreme Court may explain
what the appropriate level of scrutiny or review is, for laws that burden the Second
Amendment. To date, the Supreme Court has let the lower
courts do whatever they want. Uh, now that the Court has a case on its docket,
they may provide some helpful and much-needed guidance to the lower courts of how to review
gun control laws.

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