SCOPE NY

Briefings

  • 05/01/2020 2:18 PM | Anonymous

    April 29, 2020, by Dave Workman

    In the process of once again kicking the legal can down the road on a Second Amendment case, the U.S. Supreme Court may have opened the door to finally take another case dealing with the right to keep and bear arms, thanks to a remark by Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his short concurrence with the majority.

    “I share JUSTICE ALITO’s concern,” Kavanaugh writes, “that some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court.”

    It's not that some courts may be applying the two rulings improperly, it sometimes seems the lower courts are deliberately ignoring the decisions, some activists have suggested.

    It took one look at Kavanaugh's comment for Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, to suggest, “SCOTUS mooted the New York case as the old law is no longer valid, but invited hearing another case pending before the high court to insure that lower courts adhere to the Heller and McDonald rulings made previously by the high court. We’ve got four ready-made cases now on the table just waiting for acceptance.”

    Not in recent memory, if ever, did one organization—especially a gun rights group—have four “ready-made” cases on the table just waiting for the high court to accept one, or more, for review.

    In the ten years since the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the landmark case of McDonald v. City of Chicago—a SAF case, incidentally—the court under Chief Justice John Roberts has been reluctant, if not downright unwilling, according to some critics, to take another Second Amendment case. Some in the gun rights community are convinced it is because the high court knows there is only one correct ruling that might come out of any case, and it would expand the right to keep and especially bear arms outside the home. Politically, that could be a nightmare for the states of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, and maybe other jurisdictions because of their restrictive gun control laws.

    The now-defunct New York City ordinance forbidding travel outside the city limits with a legally-owned handgun at the heart of New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York was a glaring example. Mooted Monday and remanded, the lawsuit challenged a regulation that—as the history of this bizarre case illustrates—was so egregious it begged for nullification.

    While NBC News declared the Supreme Court’s decision was a “defeat for gun rights advocates,” many of those advocates say that’s nonsense. The city’s mad scramble to change the law almost instantaneously after the high court accepted the case is tantamount to an admission the city knew all along its regulation was unconstitutional and thus had to be changed before the court declared it so. That is a victory apparently in too good a disguise for NBC because a government was so terrified of a high court ruling it changed a law to dodge a legal bullet.

    But what of these four SAF cases mentioned? Gottlieb, in a prepared statement, contended that all four could serve the purpose Kavanaugh addressed.

    “We hope,” Gottlieb said, “that one or all of these cases gets heard and gives notice to lower courts that they can no longer thumb their noses at the prior rulings that protect Second Amendment rights.”

    Let’s take a look.

    Lori Rodriguez, et al. v. City of San Jose – This one appears to have potential, because the high court recently instructed the City of San Jose to respond to a writ of certiorari from the Second Amendment Foundation “on or before May 20.” That’s a signal the court is interested in this case, which alleges unlawful confiscation of legally-owned firearms and refusal to return those guns.

    Plaintiff Lori Rodriguez’ firearms were seized seven years ago after her husband was taken to a hospital on a mental health issue, according to SAF. At the time, a San Jose police officer advised Rodriguez he had authority to seize all firearms in the residence, including those belonging only to her. Those guns were all locked in a California-approved safe. The guns were taken without a warrant, and over Rodriguez’s objection.

    “If the city thought they could just ignore this case and make it go away, they’re wrong,” Gottlieb said.

    Remarkably, Gottlieb has noted, even though the courts recognize that Lori Rodriguez could legally purchase new firearms, San Jose authorities simply refuse to return the guns she already legally owns. Last summer, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment to the defendants, ruling the defendants were allowed to seize her guns under a concept called “community caretaking.”

    “This case is a travesty,” Gottlieb declared at the time. “Lori Rodriguez is not a criminal, nor is she prohibited by law from owning firearms. Yet she’s essentially been robbed by the City of San Jose and its police department, with the cooperation of lower courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

    “Mrs. Rodriguez has at all times complied with California’s many gun control laws, including those requiring locked storage,” said plaintiff’s attorney Don Kilmer when the case was first submitted for Supreme Court review. “But the City of San Jose outrageously continues to refuse to return the constitutionally protected property they unlawfully took from her years ago. Governments have no reason and no right to take guns from law-abiding people who are legally eligible to keep and bear arms.”

    Pena v. Horan – SAF is partnered with the Calguns Foundation in a challenge of the California Unsafe Handgun Act (UHA). When the case was submitted, SAF issued a news release stating, “It could be a critical wake-up call to lower federal courts that continue to employ what they call an ‘interest-balancing approach’ to deciding gun control cases because that strategy is forbidden by the 2008 Heller decision.”

    As explained by SAF, the UHA generally prohibits the manufacture, import or distribution of handguns that do not meet the state’s extremely restrictive design requirements under the state penal code. The result, as the plaintiffs contend in their petition for high court review, is that the state is gradually achieving a handgun ban because they cannot meet the impossible requirements, which include microstamping. That technology is not offered by any handgun manufacturer because it cannot be practically implemented, the petition notes.

    “The landmark Heller ruling cannot become just a footnote in history,” Gottlieb said last year, “but that appears to be the ultimate goal if such laws as California’s are allowed to stand. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court, with the benefit of fresh perspectives from two new associate justices, agrees that it is time to once again visit the Second Amendment and further restore its rightful place as a cornerstone of the Bill of Rights.”

    Gottlieb may have hit the bull’s eye with that observation. When both justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were nominated to Supreme Court vacancies, anti-gun Democrats and gun prohibition lobbying groups were furious in their opposition. They did not want two presumably pro-Second Amendment jurists added to the court.

    Culp v. Madigan – SAF has established a considerable amount of legal precedent at the expense of the State of Illinois, and this could be another step. Joining SAF in this case are the Illinois State Rifle Association, Illinois Carry, Inc., and ten individual plaintiffs, all residing of other states and who are licensed to carry in those states. Under Illinois statute, only residents from states with “substantially similar” requirements to obtain a carry license are allowed to apply for non-resident licenses.

    “This lawsuit,” said plaintiffs’ attorney David Sigale when the case was filed, “is brought because it is unfair that otherwise qualified people from states outside Illinois, who work and travel in Illinois are barred from obtaining means to defend themselves in public solely based on their state of residence. We expect to correct that.”

    According to court documents, “This is an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation of civil rights under color of law, which seeks equitable, declaratory, and injunctive relief challenging the State of Illinois’s prohibition on virtually all otherwise qualified non-Illinois residents from obtaining a concealed carry license, pursuant to Illinois Compiled Statute (ILCS).”

    All of the plaintiffs in this case have already gone through background checks in their home states to qualify for resident concealed carry permits/licenses.

    Wilson v. Cook County – SAF and the Illinois State Rifle Association are supporting this case financially but are not named plaintiffs. Matthew D. Wilson and Troy Edhlund are suing Cook County, Illinois over “Whether the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution allows a local government to prohibit law-abiding residents from possessing and protecting themselves and their families with a class of rifles and ammunition magazines that are “in common use at [this] time” and are not “dangerous and unusual.”

    Essentially, this is a challenge of Cook County’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Sigale is again the attorney on this one.

    Mance v. Barr – This case dates back to 2014 when Eric Holder was attorney general in the Obama administration, and was originally known as “Mance v. Holder.” Historically, it’s something of a first because SAF is not a plaintiff, but its sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), wears that mantle. SAF is providing financial support.

    The case challenges the federal law prohibiting cross-state handgun purchases. With the advent of the National Instant Check System (NICS), there should be no reason why any qualified citizen, regardless of state of residence, should not be able to purchase a handgun legally in another state. Essentially, if a person clears a background check in his or her home state, they would clear a

    NICS check in a different state because their status would not change simply by crossing a state line.

    At the time this case was filed, Gottlieb observed, “It is overreaching, if not downright silly, in today’s environment with the federal instant background check system to perpetuate a prohibition on interstate handgun purchases that has outlived its usefulness.”

    Fredric Russell Mance, Jr., for whom the case is named, is a Texas firearms dealer. Tracey Ambeau Hanson and Andrew Hanson, are residents of Washington, D.C., and wanted to purchase a handgun from Mance.

    Rights activists contend it is high time for another Second Amendment ruling from the high court. They argue that the “right to bear arms” cannot possibly mean this right only applies to the confines of one’s home or business, else it is no right at all.

    As Judge Richard Posner, writing for the majority in Moore v. Madigan, 7th District Court of Appeals, observed, “The right to ‘bear’ as distinct from the right to ‘keep’ arms is unlikely to refer to the home. To speak of ‘bearing’ arms within one’s home would at all times have been an awkward usage. A right to bear arms thus implies a right to carry a loaded gun outside the home. And one doesn’t have to be a historian to realize that a right to keep and bear arms for personal self-defense in the eighteenth century could not rationally have been limited to the home.”

  • 05/01/2020 1:51 PM | Anonymous

    April 30, 2020, by Dean Weingarten, Ammoland Inc. 

    The restrictions Canada has placed on obtaining, keeping, and using firearms failed entirely in the recent mass murder case in Nova Scotia. I refrain from using the murderer's name.

    Gun Control Fail: Canadian Mass Murderer Prohibited Possessor, iStock-613115168

    Canadian restrictions on gun ownership failed. The murderer had plead guilty to an assault charge in 2002. He paid a $50 fine, and served probation for nine months. He then had a lifetime ban on owning firearms.  From nypost.com:

    Authorities said Wortman did not have a police record, but information later emerged of at least one run-in with the law. Nova Scotia court records confirm he was ordered to receive counseling for anger management after pleading guilty to assaulting a man in the Halifax area on Oct. 29, 2001.

    The guilty plea came on Oct. 7, 2002, as his trial was about to begin. He was placed on probation for nine months, fined $50 and told to stay away from the man, and also prohibited from owning or possessing a weapon, ammunition or explosive substances.

    Mass shootings are relatively rare in Canada. The country overhauled its gun control laws after Marc Lepine shot 14 women and himself to death at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique college in 1989. Before the weekend rampage, that had been Canada’s worst mass shooting.

    Authorities have not released much information about what firearms the murderer used in his killings. We know he took one handgun and magazines from the RCMP officer he killed. The standard-issue handgun for the RCMP is the Smith & Wesson 5946 9mm. It is a stainless steel, double action only version of the S&W model 59 series. The magazine holds 15 rounds of ammunition.  It has been reported the killer used one handgun and several long guns. From the CBC.ca:

    Investigators are trying to piece together how Gabriel Wortman was able to obtain the handgun and long guns he used last weekend in a deadly rampage through rural Nova Scotia, including how some made it across the Canada-U.S. border.

    Police have traced one of Wortman's weapons back to Canada, but believe the others may have been obtained in the United States, the RCMP revealed on Friday.

    It is unlikely the killer used any “military style” semi-automatic rifles, because, if he had, it would have been reported. It would be in Prime Minister Trudeau's interest to have it reported.

    In the former Soviet Union, people deduced what was happening by what was *not* said.  I suspect, eventually, we will know precisely what firearms were used; at the moment, it may suit the PM's purpose for that information to be withheld.

    PM Trudeau is pushing for a ban on “military style firearms”, although they are seldom used in crime in either the United States or Canada. Handguns have been tightly controlled in Canada since 1935. It is common for those who push for a disarmed population to use an unrelated crime to push for controls which would have had no effect on the crime being used.

    Those who wish a disarmed population are never satisfied. They cannot admit their policies were wrong; a failure always results in a call for more restrictions.

    The murderer was a fairly successful denturist (someone who makes dentures), and is reported as owning several properties in Nova Scotia. His business had been shut down during the Coronavirus restrictions, for the previous month before the murders.

    It has been reported he and his girlfriend argued at a party, that they then returned home; the argument became violent. The denturist tied up or restrained the girlfriend in some way. She escaped and hid in the woods.  Then the killer starts his killing spree.  The exact timing is not yet known.

    There has not been any official speculation as to whether business losses from the Covid19 shutdown or the knowledge that the girlfriend escaped, were triggers for the killing spree.  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police continue to investigate.

    Strong restrictions on the ownership of firearms have proved ineffective in preventing violence by a person who has assets and is not concerned with losing them. The murderer burned down his own home at the start of the spree. He had plenty of money to accumulate unregistered guns over his life.

    Mass killers often do not expect to survive their rampage, although some do.

    Reducing the number of legal firearms seems to have little effect on the acquisition of firearms for illegal purposes.

    India and China have had strict firearms control in effect for many decades. The Small Arms survey shows tens of millions of illegal firearms in both countries.

    Brazil has had strict firearms controls, and a relatively small number of legal guns, yet it has had a very high murder rate with firearms.

    In Australia, a jeweler, with similar skills to a denturist, made over a hundred submachine guns for the black market.  Similar submachine guns have been made in Canada, and all over the world.

    Home and small shop manufacture place a physical limit on how effective gun control can be

  • 04/29/2020 1:28 PM | Anonymous

    by Frank Miniter, Editor in Chief - Monday, April 27, 2020
    In a disappointing decision, the U.S. Supreme Court called New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York City moot.

    This was the first significant Second Amendment case the high court had heard in a decade. Instead of handing down a ruling, a majority of justices took the dodge New York City’s lawyers offered them: They declared that the gun-control laws in question had already been changed by the city and state of New York, and therefore the challenge is made irrelevant.

    U.S. Supreme Court Calls Challenge to NYC Gun-Control Laws “Moot”

    The justices did this after, in a “friend-of-the-court” brief last fall, five U.S. senators, all Democrats, threatened the U.S. Supreme Court by writing: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”

    The issue behind this case’s central complaint was that New York City’s police commissioner forbade most licensed gun owners (those with “premises permits”) from taking their guns to ranges and second homes outside city limits.

    After the U.S. Supreme Court accepted this case, New York City repealed this rule, though it gave itself a lot of discretion in how to apply it; for example, it’s unclear whether a person when traveling out of the City with a licensed gun can even stop to fill their gas tank.

    Then, last fall, the Court declined to call the case moot. This, at the time, gave hope to anyone who cherishes their American freedom; after all, President Donald J. Trump’s nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, might just vote to expand access to Second Amendment rights.

    Instead, the case ended up being ruled “moot” anyway.

    In calling the case “moot,” a majority of the justices ruled: “On remand, the Court of Appeals and the District Court may consider whether petitioners may still add a claim for damages in this lawsuit with respect to New York City’s old rule. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded for such proceedings as are appropriate.”

    So the high court punted at a time when some lower courts have been all but disregarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s previous landmark Second Amendment decisions—District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010).

    In a concurring opinion to this decision, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after agreeing with the Court’s decision to call this case “moot,” wrote: “I share JUSTICE ALITO’s concern that some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court.”

    Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent to this decision is so sharp, it would make the late Justice Antonin Scalia proud.

    “By incorrectly dismissing this case as moot, the Court permits our docket to be manipulated in a way that should not be countenanced. Twelve years ago in District of Columbia v. Heller … we held that the Second Amendment protects the right of ordinary Americans to keep and bear arms. Two years later, our decision in McDonald v. Chicago … established that this right is fully applicable to the States. Since then, the lower courts have decided numerous cases involving Second Amendment challenges to a variety of federal, state, and local laws. Most have failed. We have been asked to review many of these decisions, but until this case, we denied all such requests,” wrote Justice Alito.

    Quoting Chafin v. Chafin (2013), Justice Alito noted that “a case ‘becomes moot only when it is impossible for a court to grant any effectual relief whatever to the prevailing party.’ As long as the parties have a concrete interest, however small, in the outcome of the litigation, the case is not moot.”

    Justice Alito then said the central part of this case, the “premises license,” is still very much a live constitutional issue. He shows this by outlining what a New York City resident must endure to hopefully receive a premises license enabling them to shoot at a range, not to carry concealed.

    First of all, the New York City Police Department will only issue a premises license to someone the bureaucracy thinks has a “good moral character.” Then, New York City “residents must submit their applications in-person at One Police Plaza in Manhattan. An applicant must pay a fee of $431.50; must provide proof of age, citizenship, and residence; and must produce an original Social Security card,” writes Justice Alito.

    In this lengthy process, an applicant must undergo a police investigation and provide detailed information on past employment, criminal history, health questions and more. The applicant must even “explain where and how he or she will safeguard the handgun when not in use, and furnish the name and address of a New York State resident who will take custody of the handgun in the event of the applicant’s death or disability.”

    The gauntlet goes on and on in a bureaucratic pummeling that the City can use to deny an applicant for any whim or asserted rationale whatsoever.

    “The NYPD may revoke a premises license at any time, including for such things as laminating the license. And a license expires after three years, so a licensee who wants to continue to possess a gun in the home after that time must file a renewal application,” writes Alito.

    Clearly, New York City is not treating the Second Amendment as a right that’s specifically protected in the U.S. Bill of Rights. They are treating it as a legal privilege they can restrict or outright takeaway whenever and however they like.

    That, by itself, is an affront to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions, yet the U.S. Supreme Court called it “moot.”
  • 04/29/2020 10:17 AM | Anonymous

    Ammoland Inc. Posted on April 28, 2020 by Jim Grant

    While the SCOTUS shot down a recent challenge to handgun laws, this may open up an opportunity for an ANJRPC case.

    U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- April 28, 2020. Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a long-pending NYC Second Amendment challenge was mooted by law changes made after the case was filed. The decision ends speculation that the High Court might use the NYC case to establish new rules applicable to all Second Amendment cases in the future. It also means that ANJRPC’s pending challenge to NJ’s unconstitutional carry law could be the next Second Amendment case to be heard by the Supreme Court.

    ANJRPC’s carry law challenge has been “held” by the Supreme Court for many months, meaning that the High Court did not decline to hear the appeal, but did not agree to hear it either. It was speculated that the Court may have first wanted to create new general rules in the pending NYC case, before either hearing pending Second Amendment cases directly or sending them back down to the lower courts for decision under the new rules. Now that the NYC case has been found moot, new rules are no longer forthcoming anytime soon in that case, and the door has been opened to the possibility that the High Court will directly hear one of the pending Second Amendment cases it has been “holding.” That includes ANJRPC’s challenge to NJ’s unconstitutional carry law, which effectively prevents average citizens from exercising their right to defend themselves with firearms outside the home.

  • 04/28/2020 8:25 AM | Anonymous

    Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius)

    The U.S. Supreme Court just released its decision, April 27, 2020, in the New York “Gun Transport” case: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., vs. Petitioners V. City Of New York, 590 U.S ____ (2020), and it isn’t good. You can read the decision here on the SCOTUS website.

    WHAT WAS THE NEW YORK CITY GUN TRANSPORT CASE ABOUT?

    “Petitioners [NYSRPA] sought declaratory and injunctive relief against enforcement of the rule insofar as the rule prevented their transport of firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city. The District Court and the Court of Appeals rejected petitioners’ claim. See 883 F. 3d 45 (CA2 2018). We granted certiorari.  586 U. S. ___ (2019).  After we granted certiorari, the State of New York amended its firearm licensing statute, and the City amended the rule so that petitioners may now transport firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city, which is the precise relief that petitioners requested in the prayer for relief in their complaint.”

    New York City changed its law, fearing the Supreme Court would find the law unconstitutional. The last thing anti-Second Amendment forces want is a high Court opinion that strengthens the Second Amendment. The City’s gambit paid off. In a 6 to 3 vote, the Supreme Court held that, since the City changed the old rule, the case is moot, because Petitioners can now lawfully transport their handgun to a second home or shooting range outside the City. But can they really? What will New York City do in the future to restrict the fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms? This will almost certainly embolden New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    Cuomo has threatened to destroy the Second Amendment to the Nation many times in the past. In a previous AQ article, titled, “Andrew Cuomo Seeks To Impose New York’s Restrictive Gun Laws On The Entire Nation,” published on our site, on March 31, 2019, we pointed out that,

    “In January of 2019 . . . Cuomo announced plans . . .  to increase gun control within the first 100 days of the new legislative session,’ and he chortled, ‘New York already has the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and we are taking additional steps to make our laws even stronger and keep our communities, and our schools, safe. Together, we will pass this common sense legislation and send a clear message to Washington that gun violence has no place in our state or nation. . . .’ ‘[t]he rest of the country should take up legislation similar to the Safe Act gun control. . . . ’”

    The high Court’s gun transport case decision gives Cuomo and others who seek to destroy the Second Amendment” confidence that the high Court will be doing nothing to rein them in.

    HOW DID INDIVIDUAL JUSTICES VOTE?

    As you may have suspected, the liberal wing of the Court, along with Chief Justice Roberts, voted in favor of the City, to dismiss the case. Justices Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch dissented.

    Curiously and disturbingly, Trump’s second nominee to the high Court, Brett Kavanaugh, agreed with Chief Justice Roberts and the liberal wing, but filed a “Concurring Opinion” acknowledging that Justice Alito’s concern over some State and federal Court mishandling of Heller and McDonald warrants high Court review but that the Court can do so in other cases pending before the Court.

    The high Court remanded the case to the New York Court of Appeals but only to discuss Petitioner’s argument for damages. But the issue of damages is of no consequence. It is injunctive relief the NYSRPA wanted. Anti-Constitutional forces in government consistently, unconscionably, and contemptuously enact laws designed to infringe the core of the Second Amendment without regard to the Heller and McDonald rulings. The NYSRPA wanted and expected the high Court to stop this. The gun transport case would have operated as a good test case. But the Court’s majority folded. What will New York City do in the future to restrict the fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms?

    JUSTICE ALITO’S DISSENTING OPINION

    The Majority decided the case in a two-page decision. Justice Alito, who penned the McDonald decision, wrote a thirty-one page Dissent joined by Justices Thomas and Gorsuch. In his opening remarks Justice Alito began his Dissent with a blanket rebuke of the Majority’s Decision. He says:

    “By incorrectly dismissing this case as moot, the Court permits our docket to be manipulated in a way that should not be countenanced.  Twelve years ago in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008), we held that the Second Amendment protects the right of ordinary Americans to keep and bear arms. Two years later, our decision in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742 (2010), established that this right is fully applicable to the States. Since then, the lower courts have decided numerous cases involving Second Amendment challenges to a variety of federal, state, and local laws. Most have failed. We have been asked to review many of these decisions, but until this case, we denied all such requests. On January 22, 2019, we granted review to consider the constitutionality of a New York City ordinance that burdened the right recognized in Heller.

    WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON HERE?

    The Supreme Court Majority did not want to deal with the Second Amendment since that means having to accept Heller and McDonald precedents. The liberal wing of the Court, especially, never wants to do this, and won’t.

    Of course, the liberal wing never agreed with or accepted the Heller and McDonald rulings, and has consistently gone along with government actions to infringe the Second Amendment as if Heller and McDonald rulings never existed.

    But, Justices Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch have had enough.

    Alito made clear New York City’s rescission of the transport gun case rule simply amounts to City’s acknowledging the unconstitutionality of the rule and that the high Court would overturn it.

    Justice Alito said, in closing:

    “In sum, the City’s travel restriction burdened the very right recognized in Heller. History provides no support for a restriction of this type.  The City’s public safety arguments were weak on their face, were not substantiated in any way, and were accepted below with no serious probing. And once we granted review in this case, the City’s public safety concerns evaporated. We are told that the mode of review in this case is representative of the way Heller has been treated in the lower courts. If that is true, there is cause for concern. This case is not moot. The City violated petitioners’ Second Amendment right, and we should so hold.  I would reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the District Court to provide appropriate relief.”

    The liberal wing of the Court consistently legislates from the Bench. They abhor the Second Amendment and if they were confident that they could overturn Heller and McDonald, they would do so in a heartbeat. At the moment, they cannot.

    Chief Justice Robert’s decision comes as no surprise. Justice Kavanaugh’s vote does, however. His concurring opinion reflects that his heart and mind are with Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch, but he went along with Roberts and the liberal wing of the Court anyway. Why did he do this? To say that the Court will have other opportunities to deal with unlawful attacks on Heller and McDonald doesn’t explain why he would pass on dealing with an outright attack on those seminal cases with a clear opportunity to do so with the gun transport case before him.  That is a “cop-out” pure and simple and Kavanaugh, a careful, perspicacious legal thinker and writer must be called out for an obvious act of frailty, unbefitting him.

    Is Kavanaugh so really afraid the Radical Left will impeach him, as they have threatened? Does he think they will make good their threat if Biden defeats Trump in the upcoming General Election and if the Democrats not only hold onto the House, but win a majority in the Senate, too? Is the New York City gun transport case just an anomaly or does it signal what we may expect from Kavanaugh in the future: currying favor with the Radical Left and betraying intellectual honesty to halt an impeachment proceeding and trial?

    On January 24, 2019 AQ wrote an extensive article on the New York gun transport case that, at the time, the high Court agreed to take up. Mayor DeBlasio and The New York Times were fearful and furious. You may read our article, U.S. Supreme Court To Hear New York Gun Case; Mainstream Media Visibly Worried.”

    In a forthcoming article AQ will analyze Alito’s dissenting opinion, along with Kavanaugh’s odd, evasive concurring opinion. We will deal with the issue of mootness which deserves serious attention; and will examine how dangerous this decision is for the entire Nation.


  • 04/27/2020 10:03 PM | Anonymous

    By Tyler Olson | Fox News

    The Supreme Court on Monday refused to decide on the constitutionality of a controversial New York City gun law that has since changed, ruling in an unsigned opinion that the case is now "moot" because of the changes in the law.

    The court's move to even hear the gun rights case despite a perceived procedural issue previously drew veiled threats from Democratic senators who filed a brief in the case, saying "[t]he Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be 'restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.'"

    The statute in question initially restricted the transportation of firearms outside city limits -- even when licensed, locked and unloaded. The city's statute was later amended after the Supreme Court agreed to review it and New York state passed a law overruling the original version of the city's law. The court heard arguments over the original measure anyway.

    "After we granted certiorari, the State of New York amended its firearm licensing statute, and the City amended the rule so that petitioners may now transport firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city, which is the precise relief that petitioners requested in the prayer for relief in their complaint," the unsigned opinion read.

    "Petitioners’ claim for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the City’s old rule is therefore moot," it continued.

    The Supreme Court sent the case back down to lower courts for undefined further action.

    But Justice Samuel Alito issued a lengthy dissent in which he not only disputed whether the case is moot, but tore into the original New York City law as clearly unconstitutional.

    Alito argued that the New York gun owners who sued over the original law didn't get "all the prospective relief they seek" because there was still a lack of clarity in the new version of the law on what travel restrictions actually apply to gun owners. Gun owners under the new law are told they have to bring their guns directly between their homes and gun ranges they wish to practice at with only "reasonably necessary" stops.

    "But the meaning of a 'reasonably necessary' stop is hardly clear," Alito wrote. "What about a stop to buy groceries just before coming home? Or a stop to pick up a friend who also wants to practice at a range outside the City? Or a quick visit to a sick relative or friend who lives near a range? The City does not know the answer to such questions."

    Alito also noted that if the Supreme Court ruled the original law was unconstitutional, then the gun owners on the case could seek damages from the city for the violation of their rights.

    U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Jr is seen during a group portrait session for the new full court at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young - RC1766ACD600

    On the actual merits of New York City's now-replaced law, Alito made clear he thinks it violates the Second Amendment.

    "This is not a close question," he wrote.

    "If history is not sufficient to show that the New York City ordinance is unconstitutional, any doubt is dispelled by the weakness of the City’s showing that its travel restriction significantly promoted public safety. Although the courts below claimed to apply heightened scrutiny, there was nothing heightened about what they did," Alito said.

    Alito continued, scolding the city over its arguments.

    "In sum, the City’s travel restriction burdened the very right recognized in Heller," Alito said, referring to the landmark gun rights case. "History provides no support for a restriction of this type. The City’s public safety arguments were weak on their face, were not substantiated in any way, and were accepted below with no serious probing. And once we granted review in this case, the City’s public safety concerns evaporated."

    Alito's dissent was joined in its entirety by Justice Neil Gorsuch and in part by Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Justice Brett Kavanaugh issued his own opinion, straddling the fence between the unsigned opinion that refused to rule on the merits of the New York City law while also agreeing with Alito that lower courts are not sufficiently protecting the Second Amendment.

    "I agree with the per curiam opinion’s resolution of the procedural issues before us—namely, that petitioners’ claim for injunctive relief against New York City’s old rule is moot," Kavanaugh wrote. "And I share JUSTICE ALITO’s concern that some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court."

    While the case is a defeat for gun rights advocates, there may be a silver lining for those who wish to see the Supreme Court reinforce Second Amendment rights in the near future. With Kavanaugh, Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch all putting their names on opinions raising concerns about infringement of gun rights, there appears to be a large enough contingent of justices with a desire to boost such rights to force the court to hear future cases on the issue -- likely without the messy procedural issues in the New York case.

    The Supreme Court agrees to hear cases under the "rule of four," meaning that if just four justices want the court to accept a case, the court will hear it.

    The dissenting and concurring opinions from conservative justices got the attention of at least one gun-control group.

    "We remain concerned that a number of Justices appear to have an appetite to expand gun rights at the risk of Americans’ rights to enact the gun laws they want and need," Brady United President Kris Brown said in a statement. "Brady remains determined and vigilant in our fight for Americans’ right to live, and self-determination on public safety issues, a fight which is far from over."

    But other gun-control advocates saw the case as a victory, pure and simple. "Today’s decision to dismiss the case as moot is a victory for the rule of law and common-sense, constitutional gun safety laws. It’s yet another loss for an NRA and gun lobby that are in disarray and at odds with the majority of Americans who want the government to keep them safe," Hannah Shearer, the litigation director at the Giffords Law Center, said in a statement.

    "This case is not moot," Alito concluded. "The City violated petitioners’ Second Amendment right, and we should so hold."

  • 04/27/2020 10:01 PM | Anonymous

    By ZACHARY EVANS,  April 27, 2020 11:00 AM
    The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a case brought by three New York City handgun owners challenging a city regulation that prohibited gun owners from transporting their firearms outside the city.

    The court agreed to hear the case in December, but the city then amended the regulation to allow gun owners to bring firearms to other locations. The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in an unsigned opinion that the case was moot because the city had amended its original regulation.

      TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREWhy We Don’t Build Anymore

    Conservative justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch wrote in their dissent that the case should not have been dismissed.

    “By incorrectly dismissing this case as moot, the Court permits our docket to be manipulated in a way that should not be countenanced,” the justices wrote. Lawyers for the plaintiffs had argued that the case should not be dismissed because the city changed its regulation due to fears that the Supreme Court would use the case to restrict broader gun control measures.

    28

    Gun rights advocates had initially hoped the court’s conservative majority would tip the case in their favor.

    “I believe it will change the way the Second Amendment is applied to everyone who owns a gun in the country,” Romolo Colantone, a resident of Staten Island and one of the plaintiffs in the case, said in December 2019.


  • 04/20/2020 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    BY ROSS BARKAN  MARCH 5, 2020 11:11 A.M.

    Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Governor Andrew Cuomo speak at a COVID-19 briefing in Albany on Wednesday. MIKE GROLL / GOVERNOR'S OFFICE

    In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the state legislature approved $40 million in emergency funding to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. Buried within the legislation is a provision that has alarmed progressive lawmakers and advocates: an extraordinary, broad, and little-understood expansion of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers.

    Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Governor Andrew Cuomo speak at a COVID-19 briefing in Albany on Wednesday.

    “I’m scared or concerned because I don’t know what the governor has in mind,” said Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, the longtime chair of his chamber’s health committee.

    With the support of both legislative leaders, the emergency funding bill overwhelmingly passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly and State Senate. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate Majority Leader, and Carl Heastie, the Speaker of the State Assembly, pushed for its passage, overriding the concerns of the health committee chairs in both chambers.

    Cuomo did not offer a detailed explanation of his push to expand his emergency powers, telling reporters that “these are uncharted territories” and that “government has to respond.”

    ADVERTISEMENT

    The whole process was rushed, in typical Albany fashion. Word came Monday afternoon that legislation would be coming to the floor from the governor’s office, Gottfried said. The state’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, had met with Assembly Democrats for a briefing, making no mention of the need of additional emergency powers.

    The Assembly and Senate hardly debated the bill. It passed both houses after midnight, with little time to read it or seek outside counsel. The Senate approved the measure 53-4, while the Assembly voted 120 to 12 in favor.

    Though New York law already allows Cuomo to suspend provisions of any state or local statute that would delay in coping with a declared disaster, the new measure goes further, broadening the definition of disaster from a “past occurrence” to something that is “impending.”

    The new law specifically added “disease outbreak” to a list of triggering events alongside “epidemic,” and gives Cuomo new power to issue directives “necessary to cope with” a broad list of potential disasters, from tornados to cyberattacks to volcanic eruptions.

    The definition of disasters is general enough that critics fear Cuomo, a governor who already enjoys aggressively wielding executive power, can abuse the new law in a wide array of circumstances to override existing law.

    “It’s a reckless expansion of executive power,” said State Senator Julia Salazar, a Brooklyn Democrat who voted against the bill.

    In a statement, the New York Civil Liberties Union compared the new law to anti-terrorism provisions passed after 9/11 that were never used to prosecute terrorism. “We should not repeat the mistakes of 20 years ago. While the legislature should move expeditiously to fund and support the necessary public health response, nothing requires them to expand executive power without adequate consideration for the need or the potential consequences,” the NYCLU said.

    Part of the challenge of understanding the expansion is the lack of specificity in the bill language. Since the governor already has expansive emergency powers, adding more could theoretically justify all kinds of maneuvers, like the declaration of martial law, unilateral travel restrictions, and mass quarantines.

    The limits are largely unknown.

    Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, a Manhattan Democrat, said Cuomo’s expansion of emergency powers deeply concerned her as an Asian-American legislator.

    “One of my mentors was born inside an internment camp,” Niou said in an emotional Instagram video, referring to the unlawful detention of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. “I have an innate fear of what would happen if we allow our government to be able to weaponize fear and to be able to make a directive and have the power to order private citizens to do something without any checks and balances.”

    As far as Gottfried understands, Cuomo’s new emergency powers would allow the governor to override the due process the people who are quarantined are entitled to under existing law, like a person being required to see a judge after being arrested for violating an order.

    “Those are valuable safeguards,” Gottfried said. “As best as I can tell, the new law does away with them if the governor chooses to.”

    The law has a sunset provision and the legislature will have to renew it in a year. It’s unclear if Cuomo would push for a renewal. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    “We don’t fully understand the implications of the new powers versus the old ones,” said John Kaehny, the executive director of the good government group Reinvent Albany. “We have not had time to analyze its full scope.”

    Kaehny compared the new expansion of emergency powers to another that is quietly up for renewal Thursday: Cuomo’s declaration of emergency over the subway system. The 2017 declaration, made when the subway system was breaking down at an alarming rate, allowed the MTA to bypass environmental and anti-corruption safeguards when seeking new contracts to do work. Under the emergency declaration, the MTA is currently allowed to bypass the competitive bidding process entirely and oversight from the state comptroller’s office.

    The improving subway service hasn’t led to the removal of the emergency declaration.

    Gottfried, who has served in the legislature since the 1970s, said he was perplexed because no governor had ever asked him to expand emergency powers during previous crises, whether it was the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s, the response to Hurricane Sandy, or the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

    “The governor and health commissioner never asked for anything like that, never said their hands were tied.”

  • 04/18/2020 9:23 PM | Anonymous

    Posted at 5:00 pm on April 16, 2020 by Cam Edwards

    The Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition have filed a federal lawsuit against Cherokee County, Georgia and Probate Court Judge Keith Wood over the decision to not accept concealed carry applications while the coronavirus pandemic is taking place. The suit was filed on behalf of Lisa Walters, whose husband Mark Walters might be familiar to readers as the host of Armed American Radio.

    Unlike many states, even open carry in Georgia requires a “weapons license,” which means that if license applications aren’t being processed or even accepted, there’s no way for individuals like Walters to be able to legally bear arms for self-defense during the pandemic. If someone is found to be carrying a firearm without a license, they’ll not only likely face charges, but if convicted they’re ineligible to receive a license for at least five years.

    According to the lawsuit, Judge Wood announced back on March 14th that his office would not accept any new carry license applications until May 13th, allegedly based on comments by the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court declaring a statewide judicial emergency. That declaration, however, is only advisory in nature, and doesn’t mention anything about suspending applications for a Georgia Weapons license.

    Nevertheless, Defendant Judge Wood’s CPO claims the processing of carry licenses is a “NON-ESSENTIAL” matter, and declares that such applications “WILL NOT be accepted during the period covered by the judicial emergency.

    Because of the State of Georgia’s general ban against the carrying of loaded, operable handguns outside the home or vehicles… from the moment the Cherokee County Defendants’ CPO order issued, law-abiding citizens not prohibited from possessing firearms and, but for the Cherokee County Defendants’ GWL program closure, otherwise entirely eligible to obtain a GWL—like and including Plaintiff Walters and all similarly situated individuals—have been and continue to be denied any chance to lawfully carry such a weapon in public, anywhere outside the limited confines of their homes, cars, and workplaces, for self defense or for any other lawful purposes.

    This attorneys for SAF and FPC argue that this prohibition, temporary though it might be, nevertheless is an infringement on Lisa Walters’ right to bear arms in self-defense, as well as a violation of her 14th Amendment right to due process under the law.

    Interestingly, the lawsuit doesn’t just challenge Judge Wood’s decision not to accept carry applications, but it also challenges the notion that Georgia residents need to possess a weapons license in order to bear arms in the first place. Even if the judge in this case doesn’t want to address the larger issue of Georgia’s carry laws, they could still rule specifically on the issue of the suspension of license applications. I suspect the judge will err on the side of a narrow ruling, but we’ll see what happens when the judge issues their opinion on the request for a preliminary injunction that would allow for the resumption of GWL applications.


  • 04/18/2020 9:09 PM | Anonymous

    BY DAN ZIMMERMAN |APR 13, 2020

    We’ve extensively covered the pending New York State Rifle & Pistol Association case (see here). There’s no way of knowing how the court will rule, of course, but the gun control advocates at Salon and other media outlets seem to be girding for a decision that slaps down the city of New York and furthers gun rights for all Americans.

    We certainly hope they’re right.

    Realizing it would likely lose the case, New York City amended its transportation rule in June to permit residents to take their handguns to second homes, businesses or shooting ranges outside city limits. And in July, the city filed a formal motion with the Supreme Court, requesting that the case be dismissed as moot. The court denied the motion in October, setting the stage for another Second Amendment showdown.

    In December’s oral arguments, the city again asked the court to moot the case. The city made no attempt to defend the transportation ban.

    Unfortunately, given the city’s capitulation and the Supreme Court’s right-wing orientation, the only real remaining question is the scope of the NRA’s inevitable victory. Even if the court reconsiders the city’s request and enters a dismissal order, the NRA will walk away with a significant win, having forced the city to rescind one of the most stringent gun-control laws in the country. On the other hand, a decision on the merits on constitutional grounds in the NRA’s favor would reward the organization with an even bigger triumph, endangering gun-control laws everywhere.

    A nation awash in firearms in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic awaits the court’s decision, which is expected by the end of June.

    – Bill Blum in The Supreme Court is poised to extend gun rights at the worst possible time.

    Link to the Article

A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

[ Site Developed By A2Z Enhanced Digital Solutions ]

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software