Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear what could be a pivotal gun-rights case. The Justices will review New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York, which challenges restrictions placed on the lawful transportation of firearms by registered NYC gun owners.

New York state possesses some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Those of the Big Apple are even more restrictive. To keep a handgun in their homes, New York City gun owners must obtain a Premises License and register the firearm. Owning, possessing or storing a rifle or shotgun within the city requires a separate permit. A New York City Pistol License (NYCPL) allows residents to carry concealed. However, the NYPD places significant restrictions on issuing such permits. New York City is a may-issue institution. It does not offer concealed carry permit reciprocity with any other jurisdiction — including New York State.

Transporting Firearms in NYC

Under current legislation, gun owners who do not hold an NYCPL may only lawfully transport their weapons between their homes and a city-approved shooting club or gun range. The nation’s largest metropolis contains only seven such establishments. The plaintiffs, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, seek to expand this provision to include transportation to shooting ranges outside of the city. The proposed amendment would also allow lawful transport to a resident’s second home outside of the five New York City boroughs.

Opponents of the move claim having at least one certified gun range within each borough offers sufficient access. Critics fear that relaxing transport restrictions will provide unlawful carriers with a convenient excuse (namely, if someone is caught with a firearm, he or she can simply claim to be transporting it to a range).

In 2018, The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the transportation restrictions do not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of NYC residents. New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York will be the first gun law case adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court in nearly a decade. Supporters are hopeful that recently appointed conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will help overturn the incumbent legislation when it reaches the higher court.

The nine Justices will hear the case during their next term, which commences in October 2019.

Originally Published May 2019

Updated April 2020

New York City amended the gun travel regulation before oral arguments took place. And the case was remanded to lower courts to decide “whether petitioners may still add a claim for damages in this lawsuit with respect to New York City’s old rule.”