Supreme Court Rules Sandy Hook Families Can Sue Remington .Remington Arms is the maker of the assault rifle that was used by Adam Lanza to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said that one survivor and relatives of nine victims can move forward with suing the arms company.The lawsuit states that Remington should never have sold such an assault rifle to the public."The families are grateful that the Supreme Court upheld precedent and denied Remin

U.S. Supreme Court hearing first gun rights case in almost a decade

Gun rights, gun control advocates closely watching

The justices’ persistence in hearing arguments Monday despite the city’s action has made gun control advocates fearful that the court’s conservative majority could use the case to call into question gun restrictions across the country.

Gun rights groups are hoping the high court is on the verge of extending its landmark rulings from 2008 and 2010 that enshrined the right to have a gun for self-defense at home.

»RELATED: The gun rights debate in Georgia intensifies with 2020 nearing

For years, the National Rifle Association and its allies had tried to get the court to say more about gun rights, even as mass shootings may have caused the justices to shy away from taking on new disputes over gun limits. Justice Clarence Thomas has been among members of the court who have complained that lower courts are treating the Second Amendment’s right to “keep and bear arms” as a second-class right.

The lawsuit in New York began as a challenge to the city's prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits, either to a shooting range or a second home.

»RELATED: What Georgians think about guns

Lower courts upheld the regulation, but the Supreme Court’s decision in January to step into the case signaled a revived interest in gun rights from a court with two new justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both appointees of President Donald Trump.

Highlights of Georgia Democratic poll. Likely Democratic voters weigh in on May's primary, including the race between Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans who are running for governor. Voters also shared their views on Trump and the NRA.

Officials at both the city and state level scrambled to find a way to remove the case from the justices’ grasp. Not only did the city change its regulation to allow licensed gun owners to transport their weapons to locations outside New York’s five boroughs, but the state enacted a law barring cities from imposing the challenged restrictions.

“There is no case or controversy because New York City has repealed the ordinance and the New York state Legislature has acted to make sure it remains repealed,” said Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel and vice president of the gun control group Brady’s legal action project.

»MORE: Calls for ‘red flag’ gun laws put focus on Georgia Republican leaders

But those moves failed to get the court to dismiss the case, although the justices are likely to ask at arguments about whether there’s anything left for them to decide.

Paul Clement, who represents three New York residents and New York's National Rifle Association affiliate challenging the transportation ban, said in an email that among the reasons the case remains alive legally is that the court frowns on tactical moves of the sort employed by the city and state that are meant to frustrate the justices’ review of an issue.

»RELATED: Gun rights vs. gun control a major factor for many Georgia voters

In the event the court reaches the substance of the law, the city does contend that what it calls its “former rule” did not violate the Constitution. But that would seem to be a tough sell given the court’s makeup, with Gorsuch and, in particular, Kavanaugh on the court.

Kavanaugh voted in dissent when his federal appeals court upheld the District of Columbia’s ban on semi-automatic rifles.

“Gun bans and gun regulations that are not longstanding or sufficiently rooted in text, history, and tradition are not consistent with the Second Amendment individual right," Kavanaugh wrote in 2011.

Gun control advocates worry that the court could adopt Kavanaugh’s legal rationale, potentially putting at risk regulations about who can carry guns in public, limits on large-capacity ammunition magazines and perhaps even restrictions on gun ownership by convicted criminals, including people convicted of domestic violence.

“This approach to the Second Amendment would treat gun rights as an absolute right, frozen in history, and not subject to any restrictions as public safety demands,” said Hannah Shearer, litigation director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

More than three dozen supporting legal briefs have been filed. The Trump administration, 25 mainly Republican states and 120 members of the House of Representatives are on the side of the gun owners.

A dozen Democratic-led states and 139 House lawmakers back the city. All 53 Republican senators responded with a letter urging the court not to be cowed by the Democrats’ threats.

A decision is expected by late June.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X