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Supreme Court Dismisses Closely Watched Gun Case

Move is a relief to gun control advocates
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 27, 2020 10:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court sidestepped a major decision on gun rights Monday in a dispute over New York City's former ban on transporting guns, per the AP. The justices threw out a challenge from gun rights groups, ruling that because the city already has rescinded the controversial law in question, the matter is moot. The court asked a lower court to consider whether new city rules in place still pose problems for gun owners. The anti-climactic end to the Supreme Court case is a disappointment to gun rights advocates and a relief to gun control groups who thought a conservative Supreme Court majority fortified by two appointees of President Trump—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—might use the case to expand on landmark decisions from a decade ago that established a right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.

But other guns cases remain in the high court’s pipeline, and the justices could decide to hear one or more of those next term. Although the opinion was unsigned, the court was split, 6-3, over the outcome. Gorsuch joined Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in dissenting from the dismissal. Kavanaugh wrote a brief concurring opinion in which he agreed with the result, but also said the court should take up another guns case soon. Officials at both the city and state level had scrambled to find a way to remove the case from the justices' grasp. Not only did the city change its regulation to allow licensed gun owners to transport their weapons to locations outside New York's five boroughs, but the state enacted a law barring cities from imposing the challenged restrictions. Those moves failed to get the court to dismiss the case before arguments in December.

(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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