January 26, 2019
Back in 2008, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protected the right of individuals to possess firearms in the home. While most historians found the reasoning underlying the decision to be dubious, it is now the law of the land. Unfortunately, the court didn’t provide much guidance with respect to how expansive it considered the Second Amendment right to be.
We may soon find out.
The New York State Pistol and Rifle Association and a group of gun owners who live in New York City challenged the city’s ban on transferring even licensed, unloaded guns anywhere outside the city limits – including to a weekend home or shooting range for target practice. The lower courts ruled that the restrictions did not violate the petitioners’ Second Amendment rights, so they appealed to the Supreme Court, which has agreed to take the case.
The justices’ eventual ruling in the case could stick to the relatively narrow question of whether the city’s law is constitutional, or it might shed light on a broader and more consequential question: whether the right to have a gun extends outside the home.
In either event, the arguments before the Court will provide plenty of grist for both sides of the ideological mill.