Skip to Content

The Supreme Court to Hear Its First Gun Rights Case in Almost a Decade

The conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear its first gun rights case since 2010, in what could have major implications for regulation.

The high court’s case stems from New York City, where residents with a license to own a gun in their home—a “premises” license—are forbidden from carrying their firearm outside city limits, even if it is locked and unloaded, per regulation. Challengers to the law argue it is overly restrictive, saying they should be able to carry their weapon to gun ranges or homes outside the city.

Lower courts upheld the regulation last year. Represented by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, those challenging are now taking their case to the nation’s highest court.

With President Donald Trump’s appointment of two conservative judges—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—the court has a 5-4 conservative majority, meaning rulings are more likely to fall in favor of gun-rights defendants.

The last time the Supreme Court heard a case related to gun rights was in 2008 and 2010 when the justices declared individuals have a right to own a gun for self-defense in their own home, although state and local governments can create regulations.

Since then, gun control has become an increasingly contentious issue in the United States, as mass shootings become more frequent and students join the fight against firearms. Gun rights activists push for wide protections of their Second Amendment rights, while the other side argues more regulation and the elimination of certain weapon devices will lower threats of violence.

Depending on how broadly or narrowly the new court rules, this case could have major implications for gun rights, NPR reports. The opinion could target gun rights on the whole, for example, or discuss only New York City’s regulation.

The case’s decision won’t come for a while, however: the Court will hear the case in its next term, which starts in October and ends in June 2020, Reuters reports.