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Supreme Court to Review Gun Rights Restrictions

In this Oct. 9, 2018 photo, police office guards the main entrance to the Supreme Court. The court is taking up its first gun rights case in nine years, a challenge to New York City's prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a gun rights case for the first time in a decade.

The court said Tuesday it will hear a challenge to New York City's strict rules for carrying legally owned guns outside the home.

New York city gun owners and the local affiliate of the National Rifle Association are challenging laws that ban owners from transporting guns out of city limits, not even to practice facilities and second homes outside the city. Even within New York, owners are only allowed to take the guns to shooting ranges, but the weapons need to be unloaded and transported in a locked container.

The gun owners and the NRA charge that the regulations violate the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment right to "keep and bear arms."

"The city has presented precisely zero empirical evidence that transporting an unloaded handgun locked up in a container separate from its ammunition (an activity that federal law affirmatively protects) poses any material safety risk," they argued in a legal brief.

Lower courts have sided with the city and upheld the regulations.

The court decision to hear the case is the first time the nine justices will hear a gun rights case since it ruled in 2008 that the Constitution guarantees a right to keep a handgun at home for self defense.

Since then, the justices have refused to hear challenges from gun rights or gun control groups, leaving issues such as assault weapons bans and open-carry laws up to individual states.

The case will be heard and decided in the court's next term, which starts in October and ends in June 2020.