WASHINGTON -- Gun-rights advocates backed by President Donald Trump hope a U.S. Supreme Court clash over New York City restrictions on transporting firearms will be the Second Amendment victory they've been seeking for a decade.
With a conservative majority strengthened by two Trump appointees, the court on Monday will hear a case that could produce its first ruling bolstering gun rights since 2010. Its decision probably will come in June in the heat of the presidential campaign.
Three New York City residents say the rules forced them to stop attending shooting competitions and taking licensed handguns to a second home.
There's just one problem: The restrictions no longer exist.
Faced with a showdown before what probably will be a skeptical court, the city and state have scrapped the strict handgun-transportation rules -- and asked the justices to toss out the case without issuing a ruling. City officials are seeking to head off an opinion that could threaten other gun regulations nationwide.
"Any time liberals keep a case out of the Supreme Court, it's a cause for a sigh of relief for them," said Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Law School who wrote a book on the fight over the Second Amendment. "The court is not on their side."
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, is joining the three men in pressing the appeal.
New York's supporters include Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group founded by Michael Bloomberg, who is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, was mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013.
Under the New York City rules, put in place in 2001, people with a licensed handgun at home were allowed to take it to one of seven shooting ranges in the city but almost nowhere else. Weapons had to be locked and unloaded during travel, and ammunition had to be put in a separate container.
Trump's top Supreme Court lawyer, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, said in court papers that the restrictions undermined the constitutional right to have a handgun in a house or apartment for self-protection.