The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns a new fight for the Second Amendment - the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. New York City passed a law – Title 38, Chapter Five, Section 23 of the Rules of the City of New York – that has wide-ranging applications and has attracted opponents from different areas of the nation.
This law “prohibits licensed firearm residents from removing their firearm from their home,” but it has two exceptions. The first exception allows gun owners to transports a gun to a firing range, and the other is to take a gun on a hunting trip. Both exceptions require a gun owner to obtain an expensive permit and authorization from the local police department. If an owner wants to remove his gun from his home for any other reason, he must obtain a permit to “carry” – a permit that is quite difficult to attain.
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA) and three individuals filed suit in the Southern District of New York with the argument that Title 38 is unconstitutional. The suit is an attempt to stop the city from enforcing the law. However, 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.” Of course, the plaintiffs appealed the ruling of the court.
NYSRPA filed a petition on September 4 to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.
Seventeen states, led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, “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.” Joining the brief are Attorneys General and/or Governors from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Landry argues in the brief that the law restricts the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. If the owners are prevented from removing their guns from their homes, they are denied the ability to defend themselves outside of their homes.
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.”
New York City has not shown “sufficient cause” to impinge the rights of citizens to carry guns outside of their homes – even gun owners who are licensed and trained to do so safely. Because of the law, owners must leave their guns in unoccupied homes and face dangerous situations outside of their homes.
Landry argues that the Supreme Court should reverse the ruling of the lower court. “The need for self-defense is not limited to the home and the right to possess a firearm should not be either…. From self-defense to hunting, the lawful exercise of our Second Amendment rights should be fully supported.”