WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday is set to wade into the highly charged gun control debate for the first time in nearly a decade, hearing oral arguments in a dispute over a New York City gun restriction that could have major implications for gun rights nationwide.
The court has steadfastly declined to take up any gun rights cases since ruling in 2008’s Washington, D.C. v. Heller that the Second Amendment provides a right to keep a handgun at home for self-defense, and later clarifying in 2010’s McDonald v. Chicago that the right applies nationwide. Now the court’s willingness to take the New York case — even though the law at issue was recently repealed — has gun rights supporters feeling optimistic that it could lead to a ruling about the right to bear arms outside the home.
Gun control advocates, in contrast, fear the court’s new conservative majority may produce a decision that the National Rifle Association could use to fight against many of the 300 local gun restrictions enacted since the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.
“What’s really on the line is our progress against gun violence and the future of life-saving gun safety laws,” said Hannah Shearer of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.