For the first time in nearly a decade, a gun rights case brought by the National Rifle Association came before the nation's highest court on Monday.
The Supreme court heard oral arguments over a now-amended New York City law restricting the transport of licensed firearms.
Demonstrators on both sides of the issue sounded off outside the court.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) TRENT JACKSON, FROM VIRGINIA, HOLDING PRO-GUN RIGHTS SIGN IN FRONT OF THE COURT AND SAYING:
"People in New York should be allowed to legally travel with their firearms as long as they're legally owned and they're trained in their use."
(SOUNDBITE) (English) JOAN EHRLICH, VIRGINIA RESIDENT, SAYING:
"It's just not right what people are doing to one another with guns and I just want to see it end."
While inside, the nine justices debated whether to dismiss the case, with the liberal justices questioning whether the court should even consider the merits of the legal challenge because New York City in July got rid of the limits that the NRA sought to strike down.
Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asking. “What’s left of this case? Petitioners have gotten all the relief they sought.”
But if the court decides to weigh in, their ruling could have far-reaching ramifications.
Gun rights advocates hope the court will find that ordinances such as the one initially challenged violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Gun control groups fear that a ruling expanding firearms owners’ rights in this case could jeopardize hundreds of gun control laws passed in recent years by state and local governments.
Such a decision could impact laws mandating expanded background checks and confiscations of weapons from individuals who a court has deemed dangerous.
The court’s ruling is due by the end of June.