There was some thought after oral argument in NYSRPA that, given the tenor of questioning, a per curiam opinion on mootness would issue not too long after argument. As the case stretches out into the term, there may be some hope yet for the challengers to get a ruling on the merits. At the same time, it’s at least equally likely that a majority will rule on mootness grounds and that the delay is the result of one or more justices writing separate concurring/dissenting opinions addressing the merits. Only time will tell. And it is unlikely we’ll hear more news on the pending petitions until NYSRPA is dealt with (with the exception of non-Second Amendment firearms cases, like Guedes v. ATF below).
The Court today declined to take Guedes, the challenge to the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks. Justice Gorsuch wrote separately, and only for himself. He argued that Chevron deference should have had no effect on the lower courts’ decisions upholding the ATF’s reinterpretation of what the term “machinegun” covers. As he says of the agency’s changing positions, “[W]hy should courts, charged with the independent and neutral interpretation of the laws Congress has enacted, defer to such bureaucratic pirouetting?” Though he ultimately agreed with the other justices that this case (in its current posture) was not a good vehicle for cert, he noted the other cases percolating in the lower courts and cautioned that “waiting should not be mistaken for lack of concern.”