Gun Related News Stories
Virginia Governor Vetos Gun And Switchblade Bills - February 21, 2017
Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed a bill Monday that would have legalized the carrying of a concealed switchblade knife, carried for use in a lawful profession or recreational activity.
Del. R. Lee Ware Jr., R-Powhatan, sponsored House Bill 1432 at the request of a Richmond-area switchblade enthusiast, who said he worried that he and his colleagues in the Greater Richmond Knife Club are breaking the law by taking knives from their collections to monthly club meetings.
A second bill McAuliffe vetoed on Monday would expand eligibility for concealed handgun permits. It would allow military service members who are between the ages of 18 and 21 and on active military duty, or who have been honorably discharged, to apply for a permit.
Under current law, residents and nonresidents must be 21 to carry a concealed handgun.
Del. Jeffrey L. Campbell, R-Smyth, sponsored House Bill 1582. GOP proponents say that if young soldiers can be trusted with guns while fighting overseas, they should be allowed to carry concealed at home.
McAuliffe said in his veto message that "weapons familiarization training as a component of an individual's military basic training" does not qualify the person to carry weapons in follow-on service.
Fourth Circuit Court Upholds Maryland Assault Weapon Ban - February 21, 2017
Maryland's ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons and its 10 round limit on gun magazines were upheld Tuesday by a federal appeals court in a decision that met with a strongly worded dissent.
In a 10-4 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said the guns banned under Maryland's law aren't protected by the Second Amendment.
"Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war," Judge Robert King wrote for the court, adding that the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller explicitly excluded such coverage.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who led the push for the law in 2013 as a state senator, said it's "unthinkable that these weapons of war, weapons that caused the carnage in Newtown and in other communities across the country, would be protected by the Second Amendment."
"It's a very strong opinion, and it has national significance, both because it's en-banc and for the strength of its decision," Frosh said, noting that all of the court's judges participated.
Judge William Traxler issued a dissent. By concluding the Second Amendment doesn't even apply, Traxler wrote, the majority "has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms." He also wrote that the court did not apply a strict enough review on the constitutionality of the law.
"For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland's law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home, and it should at least be subject to strict scrutiny review before it is allowed to stand," Traxler wrote.
Montana Governor Says He Will Veto Constitutional Carry Bill - February 17, 2017
Gov. Steve Bullock indicated Thursday he's going to veto a bill that would allow anyone who legally owns a gun in Montana to carry a concealed weapon, without a permit.
House Bill 262, sponsored by Rep. Bill Harris, R-Winnett, passed the Senate on Wednesday and is on its way to the governor's desk.
At his weekly meeting with Capitol reporters, Bullock said Thursday he'll "take a close look" at the bill before deciding, but that if it's the same concealed-weapon bill he vetoed in 2013 and 2015, he'd have the same problems with it.
Harris' HB262 is identical to the bills Bullock vetoed in the previous two sessions.
Each bill says anyone who can legally possess a handgun in Montana cannot be required to have a permit, to carry a concealed weapon.
Pennyslvania Attorney Josh Prince Breaks Through Carrying On School Property In Superior Court - February 16, 2017
Today, the Superior Court, en banc, issued its decision in Commonwealth v. Goslin, 1114 MDA 2015, regarding whether an individual is entitled to claim the defense of 'other lawful purpose' when carrying a weapon on school grounds.
The original devastating decision was issued by the Superior Court holding that one could not possess a weapon on school grounds, unless it was related to a school activity, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince contacted Mr. Goslin and offered to represent him in petitioning the Superior Court to reconsider his case, en banc, and permit re-briefing and oral argument. After filing the motion for reconsideration, the Superior Court vacated its prior decision, granted reconsideration, en banc, and permitted the parties to re-brief the matter and to argue the matter at oral argument. Thereafter, Chief Counsel Prince re-briefed the matter and attended oral argument.
Today, the Superior Court, en banc, without any dissenting opinions, filed its decision vacating the trial court's finding of guilt and declaring:
We disagree with the trial court's conclusion that the language of Section 912(c) is vague.
Rather, we conclude that, in order to ascertain the meaning of Section 912(c), we need not look beyond its plain language. The plain meaning of Section 912(c) provides two separate defenses: possessing and using a weapon on school property "in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity" as well as possessing "for other lawful purpose."
Wyoming Senate Moves Campus Carry Bills Out Of Committee - February 15, 2017
After hearing nearly two hours of public testimony, a Senate committee endorsed two proposals that would allow people with concealed-carry permits to take weapons onto Wyoming college campuses and to state and local government meetings.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 Wednesday to send House Bills 136 and 137 to the full Senate for additional debate. The bills have already passed the House.
Supporters of the two proposals say law-abiding citizens who must meet stringent requirements to earn a concealed carry permit shouldn't have their rights infringed upon. They say the measures would improve self-defense in active shooter situations.
"It's restoring our fundamental and natural rights," Rep. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester and a sponsor of both bills, said.
Senate Passes Bill To End Obama SSI Gun Ban - February 15, 2017
The U.S. Senate approved legislation Wednesday that will roll back an Obama administration rule requiring the Social Security Administration to submit information about mentally impaired recipients so they can be added to a list of people barred from purchasing a gun.
The 57-43 vote to overturn Obama's rule is the first clash over gun control in the new Congress.
Issued in December in response to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the rule was expected to add about 75,000 names to a database of people banned from purchasing weapons.
It applies to recipients of disability insurance and supplemental security income who require someone else to manage their benefits because of a disabling mental disorder, ranging from anxiety to dementia or schizophrenia.
Colorado Democrats Kill Three Pro-Gun Bills - February 9, 2017
Democrats on a state House committee on Wednesday effectively killed three gun-related bills sponsored by Republicans in the first blow to a handful of pieces of legislation aiming to strip some limitations on gun ownership in the state.
The House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted 6-3 in party-line votes to 'postpone indefinitely' House Bills 1036, 1037 and 1097, usually a death sentence in Colorado's Legislature. The three bills were debated for more than eight hours.
House Bill 1036 would have completely stripped language from state statute that currently forbids people from carrying concealed handguns on public school grounds, even if the holder has a permit.
House Bill 1037 would have expanded state law that allows people in their own homes to use deadly force against a person under certain circumstances to owners, managers and employees of a business as well.
The committee also killed House Bill 1097, which is essentially a mirror to Senate Bill 7 and would eliminate a section of state law that bars 'large-capacity magazines.'
Consitutional Carry Bill Passes New Hampshire House - February 9, 2017
A bill that would make it easier for Granite Staters to carry a concealed weapon on Thursday easily passed its final major legislative hurdle on its path toward becoming law.
The state House of Representatives voted 200-97 in favor of the measure, which would repeal the need for a permit or license to carry a concealed handgun. There were a large number of absent state representatives, due to the powerful snowstorm slamming New Hampshire.
Last month the New Hampshire state Senate, in a 13-10 party line vote, passed the bill.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has repeatedly said he'll sign the bill into law.
Last month, following the measure's passage in the state Senate, the state's first GOP governor in a dozen years wrote "I am pleased that the State Senate today voted to advance common sense legislation in support of a citizen's fundamental right to carry a firearm, joining neighboring states throughout the region and across the country," Sununu wrote in a statement following the vote.
Connecticut Propose Outrageous Increases To Firearm Licenses In New Budget - February 8, 2017
Gun owners will see huge increases in permit fees that would raise millions of dollars to help the state combat its two-year, $3.6 billion deficit.
As part of his budget, Malloy is proposing to increase the state portion of the pistol permit fee from $70 to $300. He also is proposing the cost of the initial 5-year pistol permit fee from $140 to $370.
The increase in fees for gun owners will bring in another $9 million to the state annually, according to the governorâ€™s budget estimates.
Additionally, Malloy is proposing to increase background check fees from its current $50 to $75.
That increase, the governor's budget estimates, would bring in another $2.6 million annually to the stateâ€™s coffers.
Senior ATF Official Proposes Loosening Gun Regulations - February 6, 2017
The second highest ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has written a proposal to reduce gun regulations, including examining a possible end to the ban on importing assault weapons into the United States.
The 11-page 'white paper' by Ronald B. Turk, associate deputy director and chief operating officer of the ATF, calls for removing restrictions on the sale of gun silencers; allowing gun dealers to have more guns used in crimes traced to their stores before the federal government requires additional information from the dealer; and initiating a study on lifting the ban on imported assault weapons.
"Restriction on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States," Turk wrote of the ban on imported AR-15s and AK-style weapons.
The white paper, obtained by The Washington Post, is titled "Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations." The proposal opens with the wording of the Second Amendment and is dated Jan. 20.
House Passes Bill To Overturn Obamas Social Security Firearm Ban - February 2, 2017
A bill authored by Congressmen Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-La., and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, to defend the Second Amendment rights of Social Security beneficiaries passed the U.S. House of Representatives today, Feb. 2.
The bill, H.J. Res. 40, provided for the Congressional disapproval of a regulation issued in the midnight hours of the Obama administration that would strip thousands of Social Security beneficiaries of their Second Amendment rights.
The regulation required that the Social Security Administration automatically report any beneficiary who receives assistance managing their finances due to a mental disability to the FBI to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Entry into that system would mean those beneficiaries forfeited their rights to possess and purchase firearms.
Dr. Abraham and Rep. Johnson's bill used the Congressional Review Act to rescind the regulation.
"This rule allows for bureaucrats to strip disabled people of their Second Amendment rights without due process. The Constitution applies to all Americans, including disabled Americans, and I'm proud to see my colleagues stand up for them by passing this bill today," Dr. Abraham said.
Kansas Firearm Law Overuled By Federal Judge - January 31, 2017
A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments that a Kansas law can shield from federal prosecution anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state, a ruling that casts doubt on the legality of similar laws passed in nine states across the nation.
The decision handed down by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten allows federal firearms charges against Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler to stand. The ruling clears the way for their sentencing on Monday.
Jurors in November returned eight guilty verdicts against Cox, the owner of Tough Guys gun store in Chanute, under the National Firearms Act for illegally making and marketing unregistered firearms, including a short-barreled rifle and gun silencers. Kettler was found guilty on one count of possession of an unregistered silencer.
The Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act, which passed in 2013, says firearms, accessories and ammunition manufactured and kept within the borders of Kansas are exempt from federal gun control laws. Kansas modeled its law on a Montana law that an appeals court has found to be invalid, according to court filings.
Montana Attorney General Strikes Down Missoula Background Check Law - January 27, 2017
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox issued an opinion on Thursday that the city's controversial universal background check requirement on gun transfers is prohibited by state law.
The nine page opinion came at the request of Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, and held Missoula's local ordinance was in violation of state preemption laws. While Fox said there are some local gun laws a city can adopt, he feels the Missoula measure went too far.
"Plainly interpreted, the Montana Legislature has prohibited all forms of local government from exercising any regulatory power over the purchase, sale or transfer of firearms," wrote Fox, who more than a year before the ordinance was passed warned it "likely violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms."
Constitutional Carry Bill Dead In New Mexico - January 27, 2017
People who want to legally carry concealed weapons in New Mexico will still have to go through a 15 hour firearms training course, pass a background check and get a permit.
A state Senate committee on Friday effectively killed a bill that would have allowed people 18 or older to carry a loaded concealed handgun without a license, provided that the person is not prohibited by law or court order from possessing or carrying a firearm.
In a party line vote, the Senate Public Affairs Committee tabled the bill by Sen. Steve Neville, R-Aztec. Democrats on the committee didn't like the idea of junking the training requirements or the background check for applicants. Others objected to the bill applying to those as young as 18. The minimum age for obtaining a concealed-carry permit in New Mexico is 21.
New Jersey Senator Wants To Remove Minimum Sentences For Carrying Firearms - January 24, 2017
A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change one of the state's toughest gun laws.
Legislation introduced by Senator Ray Lesniak would eliminate the mandatory minimum three-to-five year sentence for unlawful possession of a handgun and leave the punishment up to a judge.
He says legal gun owners, many from out of state, with no intention of committing a crime, should not face that harsh penalty.
"What we have here are innocent folks who either don't know the law or just made a mistake. These are bad cases, and these folks should not be in prison for making innocent mistakes. I'm a gun control advocate, an unabashed gun control advocate, and these cases make us look bad because they're unfair. We want to control the massive influx of guns into New Jersey, but we want to do it in a fair way."
Philadelphia Pizza Delivery Driver Shot By Robbers Returns Fire With Concealed Firearm - January 24, 2017
A pizza deliveryman was shot during an attack in Southwest Philadelphia.
It happened around 7:05 p.m. Monday at 54th and Yocum streets.
Police say the 36-year-old man was delivering an order to what turned out to be a vacant home.
When the deliveryman arrived, he knocked on the door and two armed men emerged from an adjacent home.
Police say they shot the deliveryman man once in the left arm and once in the left side.
The victim dropped the pizzas and pulled out his own gun.
He fired a few shots, but it is not known if the suspects were struck.
The pizza deliveryman managed to drive himself to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He was later transported to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. He is in stable condition.
Police say the victim was properly licensed to carry a gun.
7th Circuit Strikes Ban On Target Practice By Minors, Near Ban On Ranges - January 19, 2017
People younger than 18 have a Second Amendment right to target practice, with adult supervision. Broad bans on the location of firing ranges are unconstitutional. On these points, all three judges of a 7th Circuit panel agree, in the newly decided Ezell II.
Released Wednesday, Ezell II held that:
Chicago may not prohibit all persons under 18 from entering licensed firing ranges.
Chicago may not constrict firing ranges to a tiny sliver of the city.
The opinion of the court was written by Judge Diane Sykes, joined by Judge Michael Kanne. Judge Ilana Rovner concurred in part and dissented in part. She agreed with the above two points but construed them more narrowly than did the majority.
New Hampshire Committee Moves Constitutional Carry To Senate Floor - January 10, 2017
A bill looking to eliminate New Hampshire's permit requirement for carrying a concealed firearm has passed committee and now heads to the full Senate for the third year in a row.
Tuesday's hearing lasted nearly three hours with about 20 people testifying both for and against the repeal.
Those for keeping this requirement argued that it improves public safety. Those for repeal said it gives law enforcement too much discretion in choosing who can carry a concealed weapon.
Constitutional Carry Is Texas Republicans Number One Priority - January 9, 2017
When the Texas Republican Party met for its statewide convention last year, passing constitutional carry was listed as the No. 1 priority for the 2017 session - or an 'emergency item,' in the words of State Representative Jonathan Stickland.
And so Stickland, a Republican from Bedford who has championed gun rights, did the honors and filed a constitutional carry bill in the Legislature, which, if passed, would allow Texans to carry guns whether or not they have a permit. It would make the now required Concealed Handgun License classes and training optional. And it would make carrying a gun free of charge (current permit application fees are $140, or $70 for Texans below the poverty line).
"We don't think people should be charged to invoke their constitutional rights and be required to take a class," Stickland said. "If we tried to do that with the First Amendment, people would be going insane over it. And I think there are a lot of folks that are in regards to this. Any time you put rules and regulations on anyone, it's the good guys you're hurting. Because criminals, they don't obey the laws anyway."
Washington State AG Introduces Assault Weapon Ban And Enhanced Background Check Bills - January 9, 2017
Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced the introduction of two bills aimed at reducing deadly mass shootings: a previously announced proposal to ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and a second, alternative bill enhancing background checks and raising the minimum age required to buy such weapons and magazines.
"I believe a ban on the sale of assault weapons is the right policy for Washington, and I will keep fighting for that," Ferguson said. "I've said from the beginning that it would be an uphill battle. My alternative represents meaningful reform that will enhance public safety now."