Pratt, Heller React to SCOTUS’ Decision on NYSRPA v. New York, Alito’s Dissent

April 27, 2020
For immediate release

Pratt, Heller React to SCOTUS’ Decision on NYSRPA v. New York, Alito’s Dissent

Springfield, VA – Gun Owners of America (GOA) and Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) today reacted to the Supreme Court’s determination that the NYSRPA v. New York case was moot.

The Court concluded that New York City’s change of its ordinance made the case moot, meaning it no longer presented a live “case or controversy” for the Court to decide.

GOA Senior Vice President Erich Pratt noted that several Justices lamented that the lower courts have not faithfully applied the Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) decisions. “Sadly, the Supreme Court today squandered an opportunity to remedy the failures of lower courts in correctly applying the Second Amendment,” said Pratt.

“As the GOA/GOF amicus brief in this case points out, the clear standard of ‘shall not be infringed’ and the Second Amendment should be the guiding principle of courts, not so-called ‘balancing tests’ that weigh constitutionally-protected rights against public safety. The Court missed an opportunity to correct lower courts, which have inappropriately applied balancing tests to restrict the right to keep and bear arms.”

To be sure, Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent bases its conclusion primarily on the Heller case and the text and history of the Second Amendment. But he also analyzes New York City’s public safety justifications and, in discussing “heightened scrutiny,” his opinion gives the impression that such analysis has some place in the Second Amendment.

GOF Senior Consultant Dick Heller — who was the chief plaintiff in the landmark gun rights case from 2008 — noted that, “DC v. Heller made it explicitly clear that so-called ‘safety’ considerations have no place in limiting the exercise of a constitutionally-protected right. And perhaps that is why neither Justice Thomas nor Justice Kavanaugh joined that part of the Alito opinion.  Indeed, Justice Kavanaugh previously held in Heller II that the appropriate test was ‘text, history, and tradition’ — not Justice Breyer’s ‘judge empowering interest balancing.’”

Pratt concluded: “Hopefully the Court will take Justice Kavanaugh’s lead and grant certiorari in another Second Amendment case soon — and analyze the case pursuant to text, history, and tradition, rather than a means-end interest balancing test such as intermediate or strict scrutiny.”

Spokespeople for GOA and GOF are available for interviews. Gun Owners of America, and its sister organization Gun Owners Foundation, are nonprofits dedicated to protecting the right to keep and bear arms without compromise. For more information, visit GOA’s Press Center.

— GOA —