The Daily Caller is reporting that U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has filed a brief with the Supreme Court of the United States that seeks to have a case challenging a restrictive New York City handgun regulation dismissed, apparently fearing that the new conservative majority is laying the groundwork for more Second Amendment-based cases.
According to the Daily Caller, Whitehouse asserted in his letter that, “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it.”
Whitehouse was joined in his brief to the high court by fellow anti-gun Democrat Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, the newspaper said.
While Whitehouse and his colleagues contend their interest is in keeping partisan politics out of Supreme Court rulings, it might be seen as a partisan political attempt to prevent the high court from smacking down the City of New York, thus strengthening the individual right to keep and bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment.
The city is running so scared that the ordinance, which forbade transporting privately-owned handguns outside the city, was amended after the court decided to accept the case for review. The case is known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. It’s the first gun rights case accepted for Supreme Court review since the court nullified a handgun ban in Chicago in the landmark 2010 McDonald case, brought by the Second Amendment Foundation. That ruling incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment.
But anti-gunners apparently are terrified of a ruling that might open the door to similar challenges of other local gun control laws that many rights activists believe may not pass a constitutional smell test.
In a separate story, the Daily Caller acknowledged that plaintiffs in the New York City case want the high court to review their case. Their argument is that the amended gun control ordinance still treats firearms ownership and transportation as a regulated privilege “rather than an individual right.”
The Daily Caller also noted, “The high court is generally dubious of efforts to moot cases after review is granted.”
The way city officials have rushed to change their transportation ordinance suggests they have known all along it was regulatory overkill. They just don’t want the Supreme Court to call them on it, thus setting a new benchmark limiting how far municipalities or state governments can go in regulating firearms.
Under the original ordinance, city residents lucky enough to get a permit to own a handgun were prohibited from taking it anywhere except to a gun range inside the city. They could not take the gun on hunting trips, competition outside the city, training opportunities or on vacation.
Against this backdrop, Whitehouse argues in his brief that the Supreme Court needs to heal itself because, in the wake of three high-profile mass shootings, “a nation desperately needs it to heal.”
But that argument is an emotional one, pitted against a court review of a restrictive gun control ordinance considered by gun owners to be so egregious in nature that the city changed it. That move may have been too little, too late.
Whitehouse and his Democrat colleagues did not want Brett Kavanaugh or Neil Gorsuch on the court because they are considered conservatives. Soon after the high court accepted the case for review, it was suggested by at least one pundit that the court would not have done that merely to uphold the ordinance.