Trump Administration Joins Effort to Strike Down New York City’s Strict Gun Law

The Solicitor General’s office has filed an amicus brief in support of the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association’s petition at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The petitioners in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York argue that a ban on licensed gun owners bringing a gun to a residence or gun range outside of the city violates the Second Amendment and the Commerce Clause. Paul Clement, the petitioner’s attorney, lays out in the writ of certiorari why he thinks New York City’s ban did not apply “heightened scrutiny” for a government restriction on guns in our post-District of Columbia v. Heller world:

[T]he City has presented precisely zero empirical evidence that transporting an unloaded handgun locked up in a container separate from its ammunition (an activity that federal law affirmatively protects) poses any material safety risk. Moreover, the City’s transport ban only undermines its professed public safety concerns, as the ban has the perverse effects of forcing residents to keep handguns in their vacant New York residences, and to transport their handguns all around the city—the very activity the City claims is dangerous—in search of one of seven in-city shooting ranges tucked into the boroughs.

In its brief, the Trump Administration agreed with the petitioners. It argued that “the purposes of the right to keep and bear arms confirm that the right includes the freedom to take arms from the home to appropriate places outside the home.”

“Few laws in the history of our Nation, or even in contemporary times, have come close to such a sweeping prohibition on the transportation of arms,” the brief added later.

Cert was granted in January 2019. The case is expected to be argued this fall.

This appears to be yet another salvo in the ongoing battle between President Donald Trump/the Trump Administration and New York. Back in April, Trump accused New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of attacking the NRA by “illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy” the gun rights group.

James’ office released a statement saying that she “is focused on enforcing the rule of law. In any case we pursue, we will follow the facts wherever they may lead. We wish the President would share our respect for the law.”

[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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