Even as New York City struggles to contain a bloody surge in shootings, here comes the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear a challenge to New York's responsibly strict gun laws, which make it hard to get a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

If the high court's emboldened conservative majority adopts the radical interpretation that the Second Amendment guarantees Americans' ability to keep a loaded weapon on their person no matter what, it will be spitting in the face of the nation's safest big city and every other place with lifesaving gun-safety regulations.

New York is relatively permissive in allowing people to get permits to carry guns to protect their homes or businesses — but requires "proper cause," a higher bar, to be able to carry when out and about. That is one big reason the firearm death rate statewide here is just 3.9 per 100,000, one of the nation's lowest. In anything-goes Texas and Florida, the rate is 12.7. In Mississippi, 24.2.

Yet now, some among Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts — all of whom claim to respect precedent and the original intent of the Constitution — champ at the bit to rewrite both.

No less a conservative judicial icon than Antonin Scalia knew better. In his 2008 majority opinion affirming a limited individual right to own a gun, he wrote: "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited ... For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues."

Tea leaf readers are taking heart that when accepting the case, the court narrowed the question from the broad one the gun-rights group framed to one only about the rights of the two petitioners. From where we sit, it's disturbing that the supremes took the case at all.