Firearm Related News Stories
Idaho City Declares Itself 2nd Amendment Santuary - February 21, 2021
The Hagerman City Council unanimously approved a resolution making this declaration during its Feb. 3 meeting. This comes a few weeks after the Gooding City Council passed a similar one.
Both resolutions include paragraphs stating the respective city councils "will not appropriate any funds for the enforcement of unconstitutional laws or executive actions."
But it's unclear to what extent these resolutions are enforceable. Other city councils in the Magic Valley have decided it's not within their purview to consider whether a law is constitutional.
Wendell City Council member Rebecca Vipperman said the city attorney advised that council not to adopt one of these resolutions after a resident asked for the item to be added to the Feb. 18 meeting agenda.
Vipperman said the city attorney told the council these resolutions mostly political statements without much teeth. Therefore, the council decided not to take action on the item.
Vermont Supreme Court Upholds Magazine Capacity Limit - February 19, 2021
The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday upheld the legality of a 2018 state law that restricts the size of large-capacity ammunition magazines for firearms.
The law, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Scott in response to what police described as a near-miss school shooting in Fair Haven, is a "reasonable regulation of the right of the people to bear arms for self-defense," the court said in its decision.
The court issued the ruling in a case filed by Max Misch, of Bennington, who was charged in 2019 with the misdemeanor counts for allegedly buying two, 30-round rifle magazines in New Hampshire and then bringing them back to Vermont. He was the first person charged in Vermont with violating the law.
The court also used the Misch decision to answer a separate civil challenge to the law filed by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.
Misch, who asked the trial court to dismiss the criminal case against him, and the federation argued the law restricting magazine size violated the Vermont constitution.
In a statement, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said he was pleased with the decision and the state could now resume the criminal prosecution of Misch.
Montana Becomes Latest Constitutional Carry State - February 18, 2021
Permitless concealed carry of firearms, also known as constitutional carry, is now legal in Montana, following Governor Greg Gianforte signing House Bill 102 into law.
The new law allows people to carry concealed firearms without a permit in most locations, and with a permit in state and local government facilities such as the State Capitol Building.
"Gun control measures don't prevent criminals from perpetuating violence or crime," said Gianforte. "Gun control measures step on the rights of law abiding citizens and our Second Amendment is very clear, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Gianforte was joined at the signing ceremony by Rep. Seth Berglee, R-Joliet, and other Republicans.
Utah Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Bill - February 12, 2021
Gov. Spencer Cox signed five bills into law on Friday, including a bill that would make it legal to concealed carry a gun in Utah without a permit.
House Bill 60 was sponsored by Rep. Walt Brooks (R-St. George).
The bill specifies that those who carry concealed weapons must be over 21 and be legally allowed to possess a firearm.
"We need to get back to trusting law-abiding citizens, and get rid of these regulations that are not doing any good," Brooks previously told 2News.
Iowa Senate Passes Gun Rights Constitutional Amendment - January 28, 2021
Iowa Senators voted 29-18 to add an amendment to the Iowa Constitution giving Iowans the right to keep and bear arms under Iowa law.
Senate Joint Resolution 7 would add this exact wording to Article 1 of the state's constitution: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny."
Democrats believe that wording goes too far in protecting Iowans' gun rights. Republicans say the issue should be decided on by Iowa voters. If the Iowa House passes the measure with the same language, Republicans will get their wish and the issue will go before voters in the 2022 general election.
Any amendments to Iowa's Constitution must pass two separate legislatures with the exact same language. Unlike the anti-abortion constitutional amendment that passed out of the House last night, the gun rights amendment already passed through the previous legislature in 2019-2020.
Iowa is one of six states without gun rights specifically written in its constitution. The amendment has drawn scrutiny for the phrase, "any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny." That wording would make it difficult for future state lawmakers to pass any future gun control measures and could subject existing measures to legal challenges.
Utah House Passes Consititutional Carry Bill - January 26, 2021
A bill in the Utah Legislature that would allow adults to carry a concealed firearm in public without a permit has cleared the House of Representatives and now moves to the Senate.
House Bill 60, sponsored by Rep. Walt Brooks, (R-St. George), specifies that those who carry concealed weapons must be over 21 and be legally allowed to possess a firearm.
The bill passed the House 54 to 19. Two Republicans; Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville) and Rep. Merrill Nelson (R-Grantsville); joined Democrats in voting against it.
The bill was amended during the House debate Tuesday morning to require money from the state's "concealed weapons account" to go toward suicide prevention and education about safe firearm storage.
Brooks told 2News last week, "We need to get back to trusting law-abiding citizens, and get rid of these regulations that are not doing any good."
Former Kimber VP Opposes Consitutional Carry In Montana - January 26, 2021
Ryan Busse says he helped build an iconic firearms company. Busse was the Vice President of Sales for Kimber America for 25 years until 2020 and he uses those bona fides to bolster his argument opposing a bill currently under consideration in the Montana legislature that would make it the seventeenth constitutional carry state in the nation.
The Missoulian published a column by Busse yesterday in which he states his case against un-permitted concealed carry in Big Sky Country. After the requisite paragraphs establishing his gun-owning credentials, Busse wrote this:
"Montana boasts of a wonderful common sense and deep down all of us know that protecting our rights also means avoiding extremist policies that only increase the likelihood of bloodshed. Montana House Bill 102 will not make us safer. It is not a pro-gun bill. It is an anti-responsibility bill."
Virginia House Of Delegates Passed Voting Place Gun Ban - January 25, 2021
A bill that would ban firearms from polling locations has passed the Virginia House of Delegates and now will head to the state Senate.
House Bill 2801 "Prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm within 40 feet of any building, or part thereof, used as a polling place, including one hour before and one hour after its use as a polling place." Exceptions would be made for law enforcement, citizens on private property within 40 feet of a polling location and licensed armed security guards "whose employment or performance of his duties occurs within 40 feet of the polling place."
The bill passed the House of Delegates by a 53-47 vote.
ATF Rescinds Pistol Brace Guidance - December 24, 2020
After outcry from Second Amendment groups and members of Congress, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has rescinded recently released guidance reclassifying millions of pistol stabilizing braces
"Upon further consultation with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, ATF is withdrawing, pending further Department of Justice review, the notice and request for comments entitled "Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with 'Stabilizing Braces'," that was published on December 18, 2020," ATF released in a statement Wednesday.
Ohio Supreme Court Dismisses Bump Stock Ban Challenge - December 18, 2020
A divided Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to a Columbus city ordinance banning "bump stocks," spring loaded gadgets that can turn rifles into rapid-fire assault weapons, ruling that two Ohio gun-rights groups had no standing to sue the city.
The 4-3 decision released Friday morning found that Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Buckeye Firearms Foundation had suffered no harm in a case the justices heard despite that the Columbus City Council had repealed its ordinance a year ago, telling the court that made the case moot.
The city's repeal of the ban came just weeks after the Supreme Court, also on a 4-3 decision, agreed to hear the case late last year.
The ordinance was not moot, the court found, because the city could simply pass the ordinance again in the future. However, because the two gun-rights groups "are not taxpayers in their own right, they have not established standing to bring a taxpayer action," among many other technical reasons for the dismissal, the Supreme Court found.
Man Who Lost Gun Rights Over DUI Takes Case To Supreme Court - December 4, 2020
The question posed to the U.S. Supreme Court is if a lifetime firearms ban based on a nonviolent misdemeanor conviction violates the Second Amendment.
The vehicle for the question comes in a petition filed with the nation's high court over the case of Raymond Holloway, Jr by the Firearms Policy Coalition on Thursday.
In 2005, Holloway pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Pennsylvania; a first-degree misdemeanor which could have carried as much as five years in prison; although Holloway was only sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 90 days in a work-release program. In the past 15 years, he completed a psychology degree, worked as an educator, and hasn't had any further problems with either alcohol or the law.
However, he has a lifetime ban under federal law on the legal possession of firearms. That is the problem his case seeks to address with the court.
"Mr. Holloway is but one example of a non-violent individual who has been barred from exercising his Second Amendment Rights for life through Congress's expansion of individuals who are deemed to be ‘prohibited persons'," explained FPC's Adam Kraut, an attorney who is on the case. "However, the total bar on Mr. Holloway, and others like him, only stands when the lower courts ignore the Supreme Court's edict that Second Amendment challenges are to be evaluated through the Amendment's text as informed by history and tradition."
Besides Kraut and Pennsylvania-based attorney Joshua Prince, the Holloway case is being represented by legal heavyweight Erik Jaffe, who has participated in over 120 Supreme Court matters and formerly clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. FPC Director of Research Joseph Greenlee, also on the case, says legal history is on Mr. Holloway's side.
Safety Recall on Smith & Wesson M&P - November 23, 2020
Smith & Wesson Inc. announced today that the Company has identified two M&P Shield EZ Pistols on which the hammers manufactured by our supplier were cracked. In those firearms, the hammer failed to fully engage the sear, causing the round to fire, cycling the slide, and potentially resulting in multiple discharges without depressing the trigger.
In all cases, the firearm will NOT fire unless the grip safety is depressed.
While this condition has been found only in two hammers, and our investigation suggests that these two incidents are very isolated, any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury. Therefore, we have established this Safety Recall as a precautionary measure to ensure that all M&P Shield EZ Pistols in service meet our design specifications, as any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury. This notice applies ONLY to M&P Shield EZ pistols (including Performance Center® models) manufactured between March 1, 2020, and October 31, 2020, and only to a small percentage of that population. It does NOT apply to all SHIELD™ pistols.
Massachusetts Police Department Stops Issuing Firearm Permits Due To COVID - November 19, 2020
The Nantucket Police Department in Massachusetts announced Wednesday that its officers would indefinitely halt new weapons permit applications due to heightened risk of coronavirus spread.
The department initially announced the decision on Twitter, writing that all fingerprint services were to be suspended, but the post was removed shortly after. The law enforcement body said the reason for its decision was that the employees who fielded the applications expressed "concern that they could not safely do their jobs," according to a press release.
Deleted Nantucket Police Department tweet
Massachusetts issues both Licenses to Carry (LTC) and Firearms Identification Cards (FID), according to a state website. Unlike most states which issue only concealed weapons licenses, residents in the commonwealth need a FID permit to purchase firearms of any kind, meaning Nantucket PD’s refusal to accept applications could effectively prohibit someone from first-time gun ownership entirely.
Ohio Senate Passes Bill To Allow Teachers To Be Armed - November 19, 2020
The Ohio Senate pushed forward a bill that will allow school personnel such as teachers to be armed while in school, if authorized by a local school board.
In a 21 to 10 vote, Senate Bill 317 passed along party lines, with sponsor Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Township, praising the work of the bill which he said "fixes an abomination of the law."
"It's incumbent upon on us when we see some other branch of government make a mistake, it’s our job to fix it," Coley said Wednesday on the Senate floor.
The bill is in direct response to court decisions that have said school districts don't have the authority to allow armed teachers in school without the training conducted by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy (OPOTA), specifically meant for police officers and security personnel.
Coley said it is appropriate to allow school districts to dictate the level of training they feel is enough to be able to carry arms.
"If you're the guidance counselor in the school and you're a former Navy SEAL, or you're the gym teacher or history teacher in the school and you're former special forces, it might not be the worst idea for the school district to let you carry a firearm if you're willing," Coley said.
Poll Shows Support For Stronger Gun Laws Lwest Since 2016 - November 16, 2020
In the absence of a high-profile mass shooting in the U.S. in 2020 and amid the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest related to racial justice issues and the contentious presidential election campaign, Americans are less likely than they have been since 2016 to call for increased gun control. The latest majority (57%) in the U.S. who call for stricter laws covering the sale of firearms marks a seven-percentage-point decline since last year. At the same time, 34% of U.S. adults prefer that gun laws be kept as they are now, while 9% would like them to be less strict.
Gallup has been tracking the public's views on this measure since 1990, when a record-high 78% of Americans supported stricter laws for gun sales as the nation's crime rate was rising. A majority of Americans held that position until 2008. Support then fell to a low of 43% in 2011, when an equal number said gun laws should be kept as is, but calls for stricter laws increased sharply to 58% in 2012 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Case Challenging Virginia Red Flag Law Dismissed - November 15, 2020
A court case challenging Virginia's "red flag" law was dismissed on Friday after Attorney General Mark Herring argued that the measure did not violate constitutional rights.
The suit was filed in July by a man who claimed Virginia's new law was unconstitutional. It named the Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney and Chief of Police.
"Virginians voted overwhelmingly for gun violence prevention last November and the General Assembly delivered by passing proven effective measures, like this so-called 'red flag' law," Herring said. "In Virginia, we have already seen how this 'red flag' law has been used to save lives by keeping firearms out of the hands of someone who could use it to harm themselves or others."
The red flag law allows a commonwealth attorney or law enforcement officer to petition "emergency substantial risk orders," which temporarily restricts a person's access to firearms. The law was passed during the Virginia General Assembly's regular 2020 session, as part of several laws aiming to increase gun safety legislation in the commonwealth.
Judge Glen E. Conrad agreed to dismiss the case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. The order stated that the complainant was dismissed without prejudice for a lack of standing.
Federal Judge Refuses California's Mission To Dismiss In Assult Weapons Lawsuit - September 23, 2020
Southern District of California Federal District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez has issued an order denying the State of California's partial motion to dismiss in the case of Miller, et al. v. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al., an FPC-led federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s “assault weapons” ban on common semi-automatic firearms. The Court's order is available online at AssaultWeaponLawsuit.com.
The order, filed today, states that, regarding the issue of standing, the "Court finds Plaintiffs have standing on all claims in large part flowing from the criminal penalties they could face." Explaining that California's Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 "imposes a felony criminal penalty for anyone who manufactures, distributes, imports, keeps for sale, offers for sale, or lends an 'assault weapon'," with "prescribed prison sentences [of] four, six, or eight years," the Court's order said that the "result is that any law-abiding citizen may lose his liberty, and (not ironically) his Second Amendment rights, as a result of exercising his constitutional right to keep and bear arms if the arm falls within the complicated legal definition of an 'assault weapon.'" It went on, "If ever the existence of a state statute had a chilling effect on the exercise of a constitutional right, this is it."
Federal Court To Rehear Bump Stock Case En Banc - September 10, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit gave bump stocks new life last week when they ruled to vacate a previous decision that upheld a ban on the devices.
A 2-1 panel of the same court had previously upheld the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' (ATF) decision to classify bump stocks as "machine guns." But now, after a majority of non-recused active judges voted in favor, the Denver-based court has agreed to rehear the case en banc before the full 12-judge panel.
The petition to rehear the case was filed by Utah gun rights advocate W. Clark Aposhian, backed by the nonprofit New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA). The NCLA called the previous decision from the Tenth Circuit "troubling" and argued that Chevron deference does not give a federal agency a blank check to interpret federal law however they see fit. Chevron deference is a legal concept that allows a court to defer to an agency's interpretation of an ambiguous statute.
"The full Tenth Circuit has recognized the troubling consequences of the panel's prior decision," said Caleb Kruckenberg, Litigation Counsel, NCLA. "Chevron deference cannot guarantee a win for an agency even when the parties agree it doesn't apply, because it contradicts the constitutional rule that criminal laws should be construed against the government. We look forward to the Court setting a major precedent limiting Chevron's unconstitutional reach."
New Jersey Gun Control Measure Upheld By Federal Court - September 1, 2020
New Jersey's ban on large-capacity gun magazines has survived another legal challenge.
A three judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by gun-rights activists who said the state's 10-round magazine cap ran afoul of the Second, Fifth, and 14th amendments.
The 3-1 ruling is a victory for New Jersey, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, despite an increasingly conservative federal court system that gun control advocates feared would roll back restrictions. The lone dissent on the decision was from a judge appointed by President Donald Trump.
The 2018 law had previously passed muster with another three judge panel of the Circuit Court as well as the District Court for New Jersey.
The state defended the law, which exempted active military and police officers as well as retired police officers, by arguing that it could safe lives by forcing a mass shooter to pause to reload.
The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs sued the state immediately after the law was passed. Federal judges concluded that the law does not violate the Second Amendment because it does not prohibit possession of firearms or "effectively disarm individuals or substantially affect their ability to defend themselves." Judges also noted that the law does not limit the number of magazines that a person can own.
The judges also said that the law does not violate the Fifth Amendment's takings clause because the law allowed owners of the large-capacity magazines to modify them, transfer them to a person who could legally own them, surrender them to police or register a magazine that could not be modified.
California Microstamping Bill Passes Senate Heads To Governor - August 31, 2020
On Friday, the California Senate passed a bill that would require newer model handguns sold in California to be microstamped, moving the bill to the Governor’s desk to await his signature.
Assembly Bill 2847, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), would require microstamping in at least one place in the interior of any new handgun starting on July 1, 2022 in addition to current 2 microstamping markings needed on interior parts of firearms. This would mark the first time that microstamping, which imprints tiny markings on cartridges that had been fired from the weapon in question for quicker police identification, would be expanded on in California since AB 1471 came into law in 2013.
In addition to the new microstamping measure, the number of types of gun-law compliant handguns in California would be reduced as AB 2847 would introduce a system of removing three handguns from the current handgun roster that are non-compliant with current laws for each handgun added.