The Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared ready to overturn Chicago's handgun ban in a case gun rights groups plan to use against firearms laws in New York City and nationwide.
Mayor Bloomberg and the city chose to sit out the case and did not file a brief with the court supporting President Obama's hometown of Chicago.
"We don't expect it to impact on New York laws," a Bloomberg spokeswoman said of the case, McDonald vs. Chicago. But both gun rights and gun control groups predict a rash of suits aimed at loosening the city's rules on gun permits.
The case involves 76-year-old Chicago resident Otis McDonald, who claimed the city's 1982 ban on handguns left him prey to street gangs.
In oral arguments Tuesday, the justices signaled they are ready to pivot off a 2008 case, which overturned the handgun ban in the federal enclave of Washington and extend the right to "keep and bear arms" to states and localities.
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered the swing vote on the nine-member court, observed that the right to possess a gun has a "fundamental character" akin to freedom of speech. A decision in the case is expected this summer.