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Repealed NYC gun law to be tested at U.S. Supreme Court

Wikimedia Commons/Augustas Didžgalvis

Gun rights supporters expect to win a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, even though the law at issue was repealed before the High Court decided to hear the case.

The case involves a New York City law restricting licensed gun owners carrying their weapons outside of their homes. They could take the guns to a shooting range in the city, but could not take them to second homes or ranges outside New York City.

It did not matter if the guns were loaded or unloaded, or carried in special containers separate from ammunition.

When the law was challenged, it won in both lower courts. When the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, the city law was amended and its lawyers argue that means the High Court case is now moot.

"They knew that they were going to lose. They knew that there is a legal principle that's going to be decided. They changed the law to attempt to make the case moot, which the Supreme Court did not fall for," said Frank Panasuk, president of the 1791 Society Political Action Committee. "There is a doctrine of continuing harm in this country and they could change this law right back."

Panasuk said the nation's highest court did not accept the city law changes.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
The 1791 Society Political Action Committee talked about the court case at Wednesday's meeting.

"Tried their darndest to have thrown out of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court would not do it and they're going to rule on that," Panasuk said, "and they took that case from New York State for a reason. It involves New York City and New York State. There were over 30 cases they could have chosen from and they chose to take this case from New York State."

Panasuk said the court is likely to rule against the law, even if repealed, because the city could change the rules back and it would take years going back up the ladder of the court system to fight the revived law.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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