Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to New York Gun Law

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to a New York City law restricting the rights of handgun owners to carry their weapons outside the home.

The 6-3 decision sends the case back to the lower courts — a move that pleases gun control advocates who were afraid that the conservative-majority court would rule against them.

The case centered on the New York City gun licenses that let handgun owners carry their locked and unloaded weapons only from their homes to several shooting ranges within city limits.

Attorneys for the city argued that the law was a matter of public safety and did not infringe on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

A group of gun owners, backed by Trump administration lawyers, challenged the law, arguing that it was too restrictive.

But after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, New York amended the law to allow people to carry their guns to places outside the city, including second homes, gun clubs, target shooting ranges and where hunting is allowed.

The court decided not to hear the case Monday, saying the changes to the law makes the challenge moot, and sent it back to the lower court for any further challenges and arguments.

Three conservative justices — Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas — dissented.

“Petitioners got most, but not all, of the prospective relief they wanted,” Alito wrote, saying gun owners can still seek damages.

Gun control advocates are pleased the court decided not to rule on the case.

“Today’s decision rejects the NRA’s invitation to use a moot case to enact its extreme agenda aimed at gutting gun safety laws supported by a majority of Americans,” said Hannah Shearer, litigation director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

But the National Rifle Association, the country’s premier gun rights group, said the court Monday accepted what the NRA calls New York City’s “surrender” and admission of wrongdoing. It calls on the city to reimburse the plaintiffs’ legal fees.

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