Ammoland Inc. Posted on May 21, 2019 by Dean Weingarten
U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- The United States Department of Justice has submitted an Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) brief on the New York Rifle and Pistol Club case. The Supreme Court has agreed to decide the case. It will likely be hearing oral arguments on the case in October of 2019.
The brief, submitted by Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco, concludes the Supreme Court should reverse the appeals court ruling and hold the New York City law to be unconstitutional.
The brief argues the New York law violates both the right to bear arms outside the home and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The brief does not address the right to carry firearms outside the home for purposes of defense of self, others, and the community, which is an obvious part of bearing arms. The argument submitted is well stated in the summary of the brief.
Here is the summary of the amicus curiae brief submitted by the United States Justice Department. From supremecourt.gov:
I. New York City’s transport ban infringes the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.
In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), this Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right of a law-abiding, responsible citizen to keep a fire-arm in his home for lawful purposes such as self-defense.In this case, the Court should confirm that the Second Amendment also protects the right of a law-abiding, responsible citizen to take his firearm outside his home, and to transport it to other places—such as a second home or a firing range—where he may lawfully possess that firearm. The Second Amendment guarantees both the right to “keep” and the right to “bear” firearms. Read naturally, the right to “bear” firearms includes the right to transport firearms outside the home;other-wise, the right to “bear” would add nothing to the right to “keep.” In addition, the right to “keep” arms, on its own, implies the right to transport firearms between the home and at least some places outside the home—for instance,the place of purchase, the repair shop, and the firing range. Like other rights, the right to transport firearms is not absolute. To determine whether a law violates this right, a court should look first to the text of the Second Amendment, the history of the right to keep and bear arms before ratification, and the tradition of gun regulation after ratification. In Heller, the Court held that the District of Columbia’s near-complete ban on the possession of handguns in the home violated the Second Amendment because the District had “totally ban[ned]” an activity protected by the Second Amendment’s text, because “[f]ew laws in the history of our Nation have come close to the severe restriction of the District’s handgun ban,” and because “some of those few have been struck down.” 554 U.S. at 628-629. Each of those observations is also true of the transport ban here. The transport ban constitutes an almost-total prohibition on the transportation of arms outside the home; it bans the carrying of firearms to virtually any destination, including a second home or a firing range outside the City, even when those firearms are locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. 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. And on some of the rare occasions in the 19th and 20th centuries when state and local governments have adopted such prohibitions, state courts have struck them down. That is enough to establish that the transport ban is unconstitutional.
II. Petitioners also contend that the ban on transporting handguns to firing ranges outside the City violates the dormant Commerce Clause and the right to interstate travel. Because the ban violates the Second Amendment, the Court need not reach these additional constitutional arguments.
In any event, the ban violates the dormant Commerce Clause. Under that doctrine, a state or local government ordinarily may not discriminate against inter-state commerce in favor of local commerce.On its face, the transport ban discriminates against interstate commerce: It allows a license-holder to take his firearm to a local firing range, but precludes him from taking his firearm to a firing range outside the City. Contrary to petitioners’ contentions, however, the transport ban does not violate the unenumerated right to interstate travel. This Court has explained that a law violates this right only if it directly impairs interstate travel by imposing an obstacle to free movement across state borders. The transport ban does not directly impair interstate travel. The ban does not regulate travel as such; rather, it forbids a person to remove his firearm from his home, irrespective of whether he means to travel to another State or to do something else.
The brief is well argued as far as it goes. It is hard to find any substantive argument that “bearing arms” is confined to the home. Second Amendment supporters hope for much more: that the court will confirm that bearing arms obviously includes bearing arms outside the home for the purpose of defense of self, others, and the community.