Supreme Court justices on Monday grappled with whether to dismiss a challenge to a New York City handgun ordinance and sidestep a ruling that could lead to an expansion of gun rights, Reuters reports. The justices heard arguments in the first major gun case to come before the high court since 2010. The four liberal justices indicated they believe the case is moot because New York has amended the law. Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch were most vocal in advocating for the court to issue a ruling; other justices gave little indication of their views. The legal challenge, backed by the National Rifle Association, takes aim at a regulation that had prevented licensed owners from taking their handguns outside the confines of the most-populous U.S. city.
Outside the courthouse, hundreds of gun control supporters held a demonstration and carried signs, including some reading, “Why are guns easier to buy than a college education?” “Gun laws save lives” and “2nd Amendment written before assault weapons were invented,” Reuters reports. They described gun violence as a public health crisis. Maryland resident Christina Young said laws need to reflect modern society, including mass shootings. “I have an 11-year-old daughter. I never had to worry about guns in my school when I was a kid,” she said. Marco Vargas, a student at Dartmouth College, added, “I fear that gun violence in the United States has become normalized.” Amid the crowd, one gun rights supporter held high a large sign demanding Second Amendment rights.