Firearm Related News Stories
Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down Assault Weapon Ban Ballot Question - June 4, 2020
The Florida Supreme Court is blocking an assault weapons ban from going to voters in 2022, saying in a Thursday ruling that the ballot summary is deceptive because it doesn't clearly state that a grandfathering clause applies to the owner, not the gun itself.
A group called Ban Assault Weapons Now sponsored the proposed constitutional amendment, inspired by the mass shooting at a Parkland high school that left 17 people dead. It would have banned the possession of any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition.
The amendment language would have made an exception for anyone who already lawfully owned an assault weapon as long as they registered it with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
But the court in a 4-1 opinion said the ballot summary was misleading because it said weapons lawfully possessed before the initiative was passed would be exempted.
The court ruled that voters would be deceived because the initiative wouldn't have protected the weapon itself, but rather the person who lawfully owned it. In other words, people who legally owned a weapon wouldn't be able to sell it or give it to someone else.
Pennyslvania Gun Rights Rally Postponed Amid Security Threats - June 3, 2020
A gun rights rally scheduled to take place in Harrisburg on Monday has been indefinitely postponed after a credible threat was made, one of the organizers said Thursday.
"We couldn't take that risk," said Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, a Pennsylvania based group that opposes new gun restrictions.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe announced that the event was postponed in an email sent at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Metcalfe said the decision to postpone the event was based "on new information we received earlier today" and was made in "the best interest of the rally's attendees, speakers and our men and women in blue who protect and serve."
Stolfer provided additional details, saying he received an email Wednesday morning from someone he didn’t know who said he was aware of a threat being shared online.
"Individuals were going to portray themselves as Second Amendment activists," Stolfer said, describing the threat. "They were going to mix with the crowd and then they were going to start killing people. And the effort was to denigrate and cause a loss of prestige among legislators by misuse of firearms and to destroy our reputation."
Tennessee Constitutional Carry Bill Gets House Committee Approval - May 27, 2020
A bill that would allow Tennesseans to carry guns without a permit passed its first hurdle in the state capitol, after the Memphis police director told lawmakers it would be detrimental to the city's safety
Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings went to Nashville to express his concern to lawmakers, but it didn't work.
"With masks and guns, it will appear to be the wild, wild West," Rallings said.
The bill would allow Tennesseans 21 and older, or a military member between 18 and 20, to go armed without a permit. It sparked hours of discussion Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee, where it ultimately passed.
Maryland Governor Vetoes Universal Background Check Bill - May 8, 2020
In a sweep of anticipated vetoes, Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday, May 7, axed a controversial bill that sought to ban the sharing and secondary private sale of hunting rifles and shotguns.
After drawing heated debate among legislators and citizens this legislative session, House bill 4 passed through both chambers of Maryland's General Assembly in a vote split along party lines in early March.
If the bill had been signed into law, it would have become illegal for a gun owner to sell, rent, gift or loan their rifle or shotgun to someone else without the potential new owner undergoing a background check and paying a licenser to facilitate the firearm transfer.
Under the vetoed law, an illegal long gun transfer would have carried a penalty of up to a five-year jail sentence and/or $10,000 in fines.
As lawmakers awaited Hogan's legislative action on hundreds of bills passed this session, pro-and anti-gun rights legislators wrote letters to the governor urging him to act in their favor on HB4.
Against the backdrop of a deadly pandemic, lawmakers on either side of the argument pointed to the extreme circumstances to make their case for firearms restrictions.
Injunction Issued Against Massachusetts, Gov. Baker's Order Closing Gun Stores - May 7, 2020
Today, United States District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock issued an injunction against bans on the operation of firearm and ammunition retailers imposed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and others. The case was brought by individuals seeking to purchase firearms and ammunition, retailers, and advocacy organizations Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A), and Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC). A copy of the lawsuit and order can be found at FPCLegal.org.
"We are elated that Judge Woodlock has ordered an injunction against Governor Baker and others so that law-abiding individuals can once again purchase firearms and ammunition," said Adam Kraut, FPC's Director of Legal Strategy. "The citizens of Massachusetts have been deprived of their right to acquire arms for defense of hearth and home for too long during a time where it is most critical."
"State and local governments cannot suspend the Constitution and its guarantee of fundamental human rights," FPC President Brandon Combs said. "Individuals have a human right to acquire firearms and ammunition for self-defense, and the need for self-defense is especially important during uncertain times. This important victory means people in the Bay State can exercise their right to keep and bear arms."
Nevada Court Rules AR-15s Are Machineguns - April 15, 2020
The defendants in Parsons v. Colt et al. asked a federal district court to dismiss the lawsuit. On April 10, 2020, US District Court judge Andrew P. Gordon (Obama appointee) refused to dismiss the plaintiffs' wrongful death claim. The case will now move forward in Nevada state courts.
Gordon used a set of lies regarding the design and history of the AR platform to rationalize his finding that the manufacturers somehow knew they were making arms that could easily be converted to machineguns, despite the fact that even the ATF claimed otherwise, until they changed their pseudo-minds in late 2017 (and didn’t make it retroactively official until 2019).
In the eyes of the federal court judge, under Nevada law, any semi-auto that can be equipped with a BSTD is already a machinegun. If you live in Nevada, you might as well go all out and install drop-in autosears, lightning links, or whatever.
Missouri Governor Suspends Late Payments For Concealed Carry License Renewals - April 2, 2020
Gov. Mike Parson has signed an executive order suspending late penalties for concealed carry permit renewals in Missouri.
Parson says its his sixth executive order signed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Day in and day out, we are working around the clock to respond and adapt to COVID-19 in every way possible," Parson announced via Twitter.
Republican Governor of Massachusetts Closes All Gun Stores - April 1, 2020
In an enraging turn of events, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has closed the doors of gun stores and all federally licensed firearms dealers in the state. This comes as a reversal of his earlier policy, which aligned with the Trump administration’s guidelines calling gun stores 'essential.'
The Department Of Homeland Security announced on Saturday, March 28th that gun stores were considered 'essential businesses' and thus could remain open for business. Shortly thereafter,Republican Governor Charlie Baker updated Massachusetts's official Covid-19 guidance to match the current information from the Department of Homeland Security.
Gun owners and those who wanted to become gun owners were elated! They could still purchase a gun and ammunition if they wanted and didn't need to worry about being able to defend themselves.
But it wasn't to last. Just a few hours later, the wording allowing gun stores was struck from the official state website. Not all of the DHS's statement, which would have meant that the state was reverting back to their own standard. JUST the section on gun stores.
Trump DHS - Gun And Ammunition Manufacturers, Sellers Essential Businesses - March 28, 2020
President Trump's Department of Homeland Security released updated guidelines naming gun manufacturers and retailers as essential on Saturday, which means they are to stay open and operational nationwide during a Chinese coronavirus shutdown.
The DHS guidelines list as essential:
Workers supporting the manufacturing of safety equipment and uniforms for law enforcement, public safety personnel, and first responders.
Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.
The Second Amendment Foundation's Alan Gottlieb commented on the DHS declaration, saying, "Every freedom loving American owes President Trump and his administration a very big thank you for protecting our Second Amendment Rights. This is another Trump promise made and promise kept."
The DHS declaration comes just days after Governor Phil Murphy (D) laughed in the face of a man who expressed concern that the statewide shutdown in New Jersey had put an end to gun sales, thereby eliminating the ability to get a firearm for self-defense.
Georgia Lawmaker Want Concealed Carry Laws Suspended During Emergency - March 26, 2020
As Georgia gun sales surge in Georgia due to worries over the coronavirus, Georgia state Rep. Matt Gurtler, R-Tiger, wants to make sure people can carry weapons, concealed or open, without fear of arrest.
"It's imperative that we suspend the enforcement of those weapons licenses," Gurtler said.
The power to suspend the licenses would come from Gov. Brian Kemp. Under the current public health state of emergency, the governor can override state laws.
The Georgia General Assembly approved the executive order at a special called legislative session on March 16.
"We need to suspend enforcement especially during the state of emergency, when so many individuals need to be able to defend themselves and their families and their loved ones and their property," Gurtler said.
New Jersey Shuts Off NICS System, No Firearm Sales Allowed - March 22, 2020
As of Saturday March 21 the New Jersey State Police have shut off the NICS background check system used by all NJ gun shops. Their website states:
"On Saturday March 21, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy announced he is putting New Jersey in lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus. Per Executive Order 107, he is ordering the residents of New Jersey to stay home, directing all non-essential retail businesses closed to the public. At this time, the order includes New Jersey Firearms State Licensed Dealers. The New Jersey State Police NICS Unit is directing the vendor of the NICS Online Application (NICUSA) to turn off the NICS Online Services for submitting NICS transactions by eliminating the 'Request Form' button, effective 9:00pm EST, Saturday, March 21, 2020. You will still have the ability to view the message board and the status of previously submitted transactions. This 'Request Form' feature will remain off until further order by Governor Murphy."
Illinois Governor List Gun And Ammunition Stores As 'Essential Businesses' - March 21, 2020
When Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order Friday to put a statewide shutdown in place, he exempted gun and ammunition stores by labeling them 'essential.'
The order, titled 'Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8),' contains various headings, under which are listings of businesses considered 'essential' for day-to-day life. Under the heading, “Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations,” the order makes clear that 'firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers' can remain open, noting that they serve the purposes of 'safety and security.'
The Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb reacted to Pritzker's recognition of the 'essential' nature of firearms to the American life by saying, 'When an anti-gun Democrat Governor declares that essential businesses includes firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security, that is really a big deal. Every Governor should copy the Illinois example when issuing stay in place and business closure orders in the face of the Corona Virus.'
New Orleans Mayor Signs Executive Order That Blocks The Sales And Transportation Of Firearms - March 16, 2020
The mayor of Champaign, IL made headlines two days ago when she declared a state of emergency which granted her power over, well, everything. Most notably, she now has the unilateral authority to ban the sale or purchase of firearms.
New Orleans' mayor, Latoya Cantrell, just signed a similar document on March 11th.
Except tyrannical Mayor Cantrell not only gave herself the authority to stop the sale of but also the TRANSPORTATION of firearms! In case that’s unclear, this would nullify concealed and open carry laws currently on the books.
Illinois Mayor Signs Executive Order Allowing Her To Ban The Sale Of Firearms And Ammunition - March 13, 2020
Mayor Deborah Feinen of Champaign, Illinois had declared a state of emergency is now in effect in the city of nearly 90,000 people. While the city or even Central Illinois doesn't have a single case of the Corona Virus, Mayor Feinen has preemptively declared the state of emergency. Her office also released a list of possible emergency actions that she is now legally allowed to take.
As word spread through Champaign that these options were now on the table, people started to get upset. Of course, a bureaucrat in a suit tried to calm everybody down by saying that they aren't necessarily going to do any of those things.
"The executive order allows the city to be flexible to properly respond to the emergency needs of our community. None of the options will necessarily will be implemented but are available in order to protect the welfare and safety of our community if needed," Jeff Hamilton the City of Champaign's Communications Manger.
Tennessee Constitutional Carry Bill Gets House Subcommittee Approval - March 11, 2020
A Tennessee subcommittee has advanced legislation that would permit individuals to conceal or open carry a handgun without a permit, but gun-rights advocates say the bill doesn't go far enough and gun-control advocates say it goes too far.
The legislation, House Bill 2817, would remove all criminal penalties for a person carrying a firearm without a permit as long as that person otherwise would have qualified for a permit. A person who would have had his permit revoked would not be allowed to carry. It still would require a person to obtain a permit to carry a firearm in a city park.
Violations of some gun laws also would see stricter penalties under this legislation, including increasing the mandatory minimum for firearm theft from 30 days to 180 days.
"It increases our liberties here in Tennessee, and, at the same time, it is tough on those criminals out there that would abuse the privilege and the right to carry a firearm," the bill’s primary sponsor, House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, told the House Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee on Tuesday.
Washington State Democrats Revive 10 Round Magazine Limit Bill - February 20, 2020
Legislation to ban high-capacity gun magazines looked to be dead, but Thursday afternoon there was a surprise at the state Capitol.
On Thursday morning, Democratic leaders explained why they put the bill aside; because Republicans had offered 120 amendments, enough to consume two weeks of debate in a legislative session that has just three weeks to go.
Republicans said they were representing the gun rights views of their constituents.
"Nobody sends us here to give up, right. They send us here to fight hard for the values that we've told people that we represent in elections," said House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox.
In a surprise Thursday afternoon, Democrats revived the high-capacity magazine ban. It would limit magazines to 10 rounds.
It now includes a yearlong buy-back of high-capacity magazines. The buy-back will be funded by eliminating an old tax break on bullion, precious metal like gold or silver. That means it is now considered to be "necessary-to-implement-the-budget" and is no longer subject to Wednesday’s deadline.
Two Anti-Gun Bills Fail In Washington Legislature - February 19, 2020
Bills that would have limited how many rounds can be stored in gun magazines and what guns can be sold did not pass in Olympia.
Neither bill was approved before Wednesday's 5 p.m. deadline.
Lawmakers knew earlier this month the proposed ban on firearms defined as assault weapons did not have the votes to proceed.
The high-capacity limit bill passed out of House and Senate committees but never came up on the floor for debate.
Republicans opposed to the bill filed an unusually high number of amendments on the bill, meaning debate could last a day or more, according to Democratic staffers.
Aberdeen Republican Rep. Jim Walsh, who submitted six amendments, was asked if the long list of amendments was a political ploy to prevent debate.
"That's part of it," said Walsh. "But it's also a very bad policy and we believe our amendments are essential to highlighting the problems."
Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued the following statement Wednesday: "Republican legislators have effectively filibustered the bill. That’s disappointing, given that statewide polling shows that nearly two-thirds of Washingtonians support limiting high-capacity magazines. If there's a mass shooting using a high-capacity magazine in one of our schools or communities, these legislators will be accountable to the victims and their families."
A bill to require background checks to purchase ammunition also did not pass.
Vermont Supreme Court Weighs High Capacity Magazine Ban - February 19, 2020
The Vermont Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether a trial court should move forward with a civil case on the constitutionality of the state's new high-capacity gun magazine law.
The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs argues that the 2018 law violates the Vermont constitution. But the Vermont Attorney General's office says that a criminal case before the high court later this year involves the exact same issues and should be resolved first.
The criminal case concerns Max Misch, a self-described white supremacist who was charged with violating the law. Police say the Bennington man was stockpiling weapons and ammunition and was in possession of high-capacity magazines.
A Superior Court judge last summer rejected Misch's constitutional challenge to the magazine ban and the Vermont Supreme Court is set to review that decision.
Officials with the Vermont Attorney General's office are asking the high court to issue a stay in the civil case until the Misch matter is resolved. Moving forward, they say, would be a waste of state and court resources for a case that shows little merit.
Lawyers with the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs say not moving forward in the trial court would deprive them of due process.
New Mexico Red Flag Anti Gun Bill On Governor's Desk - February 14, 2020
The Democrat-led New Mexico Legislature approved a red-flag gun law Thursday with a final vote of the state House, virtually ensuring adoption of new procedures for courts to order the surrender of firearms from people who appear to pose a danger to themselves or others.
The House approved the bill on a 39-31 vote with Republicans and seven Democrats in opposition, sending the bill to a supportive Democratic governor.
As they cast votes, Republican legislators held aloft paperback copies of the Constitution in protest.
The bill would allow law enforcement officers to petition a state district court to order the temporary surrender of firearms by a gun holder who "poses a significant danger of causing imminent personal injury to self or others."
Complaints also could be filed indirectly by sworn affidavits from relatives, employers or school administrators.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports the proposal that gained momentum after the August 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart store in nearby El Paso, Texas. She says new tools are needed for law enforcement to prevent gun violence and better secure the safety of schools.
Virginia House Passes 'Assault Weapon', High Capacity Mag Ban - February 10, 2020
The Virginia House of Delegates on Monday advanced an assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban to its third reading.
House Bill 961, which is sponsored by Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, would prohibit the sale of assault weapons, but would allow a person who already owns such a weapon to keep his or her firearm. Any person who obtains a firearm before January 1, 2021, would be grandfathered in.
The prohibition on high-capacity magazines will not include a grandfather clause, which means that it will be illegal to possess a magazine that can hold more than 12 rounds of ammunition.
The legislation has support from most of the chamber's Democrats, but strong opposition from Republicans.
Although the initial language made it a felony to possess a high-capacity magazine once the law is in effect, a floor amendment weakened the penalty to a Class 1 misdemeanor. This could still land someone in jail for a year.
"No law-abiding citizen will be affected [by this bill]," Levine said on the House floor. "Virginians understand that laws change, and law-abiding citizens follow the law."