Bronx man, battling personal authorized woes, brings gun rights case to U.S. Supreme Courtroom


NEW YORK (Information) – Two weeks earlier than Efrain Alvarez and his attorneys requested the U.S. Supreme Courtroom to listen to their problem to a New York Metropolis regulation that restricted the place licensed handgun house owners may transport their weapons, law enforcement officials confirmed up at his Bronx condominium and took away all his firearms.

FILE PHOTO: The Supreme Courtroom is pictured in Washington, U.S., November 13, 2018. Information/Al Drago/File Photograph

The officers walked previous the bullet-making tools in his cluttered entranceway and previous the trophy deer head hanging on his lounge wall. From two imposing metal vaults within the again bed room, they confiscated round 45 firearms, together with 5 handguns.

“I’m nonetheless numb about it,” the 64-year-old retired metropolis bus driver mentioned of the August 2018 seizure. “It’s my lifelong assortment.”

The officers arrested Alvarez, and he was charged with submitting a false police report over a declare that one among his handguns had been stolen, a misdemeanor. In consequence, Alvarez mentioned, the very handgun license whose transport restrictions he’s difficult has been suspended for the second time this decade.

The authorized battle over the New York measure is the most important gun rights case on the Supreme Courtroom since 2010, with the justices set to listen to arguments subsequent Monday. The problem is backed by the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation, an influential gun rights foyer group intently aligned with Republicans together with President Donald Trump, a fellow New Yorker.

The regulation restricted transport of handguns by licensed house owners to capturing ranges inside metropolis limits however allowed searching throughout designated seasons. The lawsuit claims the measure violated the U.S. Structure’s Second Modification proper to maintain and bear arms.

After the regulation was amended in July to permit for transporting handguns exterior New York Metropolis, metropolis officers unsuccessfully requested the Supreme Courtroom to drop the matter and cancel the arguments, asserting that the case was moot.

The state’s NRA affiliate, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Affiliation, filed the lawsuit in 2013 with Alvarez and two different gun house owners as plaintiffs, after authorities instructed the boys that the regulation prevented them from taking part at a capturing competitors in New Jersey or bringing their weapons to second houses elsewhere within the state.

Alvarez mentioned he joined the go well with as a result of he thought it was ridiculous that he may personal a handgun however not journey to compete with it.

Within the lawsuit, he and the 2 different gun house owners are described as “law-abiding residents of New York Metropolis.” Alvarez doesn’t suppose his personal authorized troubles make it awkward or inappropriate for him to problem the regulation.

“My suspension has nothing to do with my battle in courtroom,” Alvarez mentioned in an interview.

Alvarez additionally mentioned he accepted a deal final week provided by the Bronx district legal professional’s workplace to drop the cost in six months if he’s not arrested once more.

Requested about Alvarez’s arrest and license suspension, one of many plaintiffs’ attorneys, Brian Stapleton, mentioned it was the primary he had heard of it.

“It has no impression on this case in anyway,” Stapleton mentioned.

Describing himself as a supporter of gun management measures like sturdy background checks, Alvarez mentioned he hopes the ruling in his case doesn’t undermine different firearms restrictions.

“If a foul apple grabs a gun and he does one thing silly, it type of falls on me as a result of I’m a part of what’s happening. So it might type of hit a sore spot,” added Alvarez, who mentioned he admires the NRA however disagrees with a few of its insurance policies.


The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Courtroom after a decrease courtroom discovered that the regulation didn’t violate the Second Modification and superior the town’s curiosity in defending public security.

The Supreme Courtroom in 2008 discovered for the primary time that the Second Modification protects a person’s proper to maintain a gun within the residence for self-defense. In 2010, the courtroom prolonged that proper to state and native legal guidelines as effectively. However the justices have prevented ruling in a significant firearms case since then, leaving open questions comparable to whether or not that proper extends exterior the house.

“I hope that they make clear that the fitting to posses a firearm exterior the house is as essential and elementary as the fitting to own one inside the house,” Stapleton mentioned.

Gun management advocates worry that the conservative-majority Supreme Courtroom may use the case to develop gun rights and threaten a big selection of gun management measures nationwide comparable to expanded background checks and “purple flag” legal guidelines focusing on the firearms of individuals deemed harmful by the courts.

“I don’t suppose there’s any query that, if given the chance, the NRA and its allies will attempt to re-challenge legal guidelines which have already been upheld and positively problem any new legal guidelines,” mentioned Eric Tirschwell, managing director of litigation at Everytown for Gun Security, a gun management foyer group that receives funding from Democratic presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Born and raised in New York, Alvarez is affable and blunt. He has been a gun fanatic since serving within the U.S. Nationwide Guard many years in the past. He mentioned he turned an avid hunter and began aggressive capturing, profitable a number of awards.

His passion extends to creating bullets, reloading spent casings in a mini-workshop that fills the vestibule of his Bronx condominium. He polishes the casings, melts the lead, pours the molds and units the bullet heads with a pull of the press.

Alvarez’s August 2018 arrest got here after police mentioned he falsely reported a .38 caliber revolver had been stolen by two males he claimed had fooled him by posing as law enforcement officials. The saga led police to droop his handgun license and confiscate his firearms, he mentioned. The New York Police Division declined to debate Alvarez’s case.

“Everyone who owns a firearm in New York Metropolis ought to have the fitting to take that firearm to his property, and out of the town to go capturing,” Alvarez’s mentioned. “We’re not on the lookout for anything so far as I’m involved.”

Reporting by Andrew Chung; Modifying by Will Dunham