The Supreme Court agreed to hear NY State Rifle and Pistol Association v. The City of New York in January. The case involves an absurd New York City regulation that forbids those with handgun permits from taking their legally owned handguns outside the city limits of New York. These permits only allow a person to keep the handgun in their residence or to practice at one of only seven firing ranges within the city limits. They cannot take their handguns to vacation homes, to ranges outside the city limits, or to competitions outside the city regardless of how it is stored.
Yesterday, Ladd Everitt, Director of One Pulse for America and formerly the communications director for Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic), had an op-ed in the New York Daily News urging the city to repeal its handgun transport ordinance. This is the same Ladd Everitt who delighted in portraying those of us in the gun culture as “insurrectionists” and leading demonstrations outside NRA headquarters that attracted about a dozen protesters.
A ruling in NYSRPA vs. NYC could overturn not only the city’s gun transport reg, but also “may-issue” laws governing concealed carry of firearms in public in New York and seven other states. Carry licenses are more difficult to obtain than premises licenses in NYC. Law enforcement officials have discretion to deny carry licenses to applicants with a history of violence. The NRA spent $1 million to get Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court because they believe he will provide the decisive fifth vote to eliminate such discretion by declaring a new, individual right to carry guns in public.
New York City leaders don’t have to fall into the trap the NRA is baiting for them. It is within the authority of NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill to revise or repeal the regulation at the center of NYSRPA vs. NYC. If he took this step (conceivably with the blessing of Mayor de Blasio) and cleared the way for premises licensees to transport secured firearms to locations outside the city, the plaintiffs’ stated grievance would be remedied. The Supreme Court might decide to drop the case before ruling on it.
Ladd may be an asshole but he isn’t dumb. He realizes the danger to the gun control lobby if the Supreme Court rules against New York City which they probably would in all likelihood. In addition to his concerns about may-issue concealed carry permits, the Supreme Court could finally clarify the standard to be used by lower courts in deciding Second Amendment cases. If they said it must be strict scrutiny and they backed this up by taking cases where courts applied intermediate scrutiny, it would open the door to a large round of 2A litigation.
Mayor Adrian Fenty of the District of Columbia was sure of the rightness of DC’s ban on handguns. He decided that DC would appeal their loss in the Court of Appeals in the Heller case to the Supreme Court. We know that turned into DC v. Heller and a recognition that the Second Amendment was an individual right.
Ladd concludes by saying:
It’s true that allowing New York City residents to transport guns outside the city would entail certain public safety risks, even if the practice was regulated. But with the gun violence epidemic increasing in the United States, our communities simply cannot withstand newfound constitutional protections for violent “good guys with a gun.” Now is the time for the NYPD to step up and protect all Americans by repealing NYC’s gun transport ordinance.
I love Ladd’s hyperbole even when he is way off base. The problem isn’t with honest citizens who own a firearm, perhaps have a carry permit, and who engage in armed self-defense. The problem is with violent criminal actors (to use Dr. William Aprill’s phrase). They view gun laws as something to be ignored just like they ignore the laws dealing with theft, assault, and homicide.
When you see a Michael Bloomberg, a Shannon Watts, or one of the Brady co-presidents calling for New York City to ditch this law and moot the NYSRPA case, then you will know the gun control lobby is really running scared. Coming as this op-ed does from the periphery of the gun control lobby, it is a sign that some are awakening. I just hope the rest continue along with their smug, elitist attitudes thinking that they can’t lose.