The US Supreme Court has punted on a landmark gun rights case — the first of its kind to be heard by the high court in a decade — which could have weakened firearm restrictions passed in other states.
The high court determined that a lawsuit brought by New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc., a local affiliate of the National Rifle Association, against New York City over its firearms transportation laws is moot because the restrictions have been abolished.
NYSRPA, and three individuals, sued the Big Apple in 2013 for a restrictive gun transportation law from 2001 that barred licensed gun owners from bringing their locked and loaded weapons outside of their homes and the city.
The case landed in the high court in December. But New York law makers had already in July loosened the firearm statute by making changes to the law that the NYSRPA had been seeking.
“Petitioners’ claim for declaratory injunctive relief with respect to the City’s old rule is therefore moot,” read the Supreme Court’s six-to-three ruling from Monday.
NYSRPA then asked the Supreme Court to allow it to seek damages, a request the city argued was not originally in their lawsuit and has come too late.
The Supreme Court sent the case back down to a lower court for the NYSRPA to raise the issue of whether it is entitled to damages over the unconstitutionality of the old rule.
Conservative Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented with Monday’s decision determining that the case was not moot and there were still issues that remain unresolved including whether NYSRPA should receive damages and whether the city ordinance should be loosened further still.