Firearm Related News Stories
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.
Federal Judge Upholds Ban On Carrying Guns In Public - August 31, 2020
A U.S. judge on Monday upheld California's near-total ban on carrying guns in public even as protests in other states have seen counter-demonstrators armed with weapons.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller denied a review of a 2017 federal appeals court decision that upheld the law, which bans carrying concealed weapons in most urban areas and permits open-carry of weapons only if someone believes that a person is in immediate danger and law enforcement has failed to respond, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
However, Mueller also said gun owners can proceed with a lawsuit against California over the ban while awaiting a court hearing next month involving another open-carry ban in Hawaii.
An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled on Sept. 24 to consider a challenge to the law, which effectively only permits police and security guards to openly carry firearms. Any ruling is at least several months away but it would be binding in nine states, including California.
Amy Bellantoni, a lawyer for the gun owners, said they may ask the appeals court to halt enforcement of the California law while their case is pending, the Chronicle reported.
9th Circuit Court: "Large Capacity Magazines" Are Protected By 2nd Amendment - August 14, 2020
Today, a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed (by a 2-1 vote) a federal district court's ruling that so-called "large capacity" magazines are protected by the Second Amendment.
First, the panel held that Cal. Penal Code § 32310 struck at the core right of law-abiding citizens to self-defend by banning LCM possession within the home. Second, the panel held that Section 32310's near-categorical ban of LCMs substantially burdened core Second Amendment rights. Third, the panel held that decisions in other circuits were distinguishable. Fourth, the panel held that this circuit's decision in Fyock v. City of Sunnyvale, 779 F.3d 991 (9th Cir. 2015), did not obligate the panel to apply intermediate scrutiny.
The panel held that Cal. Penal Code § 32310 did not survive strict scrutiny review. First, the panel held that the state interests advanced here were compelling: preventing and mitigating gun violence. Second, the panel held that Section 32310 was not narrowly tailored to achieve the compelling state interests it purported to serve because the state’s chosen method - a statewide blanket ban on possession everywhere and for nearly everyone - was not the least restrictive means of achieving the compelling interests.
The panel held that even if intermediate scrutiny were to apply, Cal. Penal Code § 32310 would still fail. The panel held that while the interests expressed by the state qualified as "important," the means chosen to advance those interests were not substantially related to their service.
Chief District Judge Lynn dissented, and would reverse the district court's grant of summary judgment. Judge Lynn wrote that the majority opinion conflicted with this Circuit's precedent in Fyock, and with decisions in all the six sister Circuits that addressed the Second Amendment issue presented here. Judge Lynn would hold that intermediate scrutiny applies, and Cal. Penal Code § 32310 satisfies that standard.
NH Governor Vetoes Red Flag Bill - August 7, 2020
As expected, Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday vetoed a bill establishing extreme protective orders intended to reduce suicides and mass killings.
House Bill 687, commonly known as the 'red flag' bill, would have established a civil procedure to remove firearms and ammunition from someone who is at risk of harming him or herself or others. The bill would have established extreme risk protection orders through a civil process initiated by a person's family, housemates or law enforcement.
The legislation is similar to laws in 19 states and the District of Columbia.
Opponents say the bill would trample on the constitutional rights of individuals on hearsay evidence without due process, particularly gun rights.
In his veto message, Sununu said he has signed legislation to bring awareness to suicide prevention and has worked to improve the state's mental health system but cannot approve a bill that would strip residents of their constitutional rights.
"Unfortunately, the process laid out in House Bill 687 goes too far and would weaken the constitutional rights of law-abiding New Hampshire citizens," Sununu said. The bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham, said the bill is needed now more than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic with more people in mental health crisis and the significant increase in gun sales.
Pennyslvania Gun Safety Coalition Advocates For Permit To Purchase Firearms - July 31, 2020
A new gun safety coalition said Friday that requiring residents to obtain buyer's permits before going through with a sale would reduce firearm related violence in Pennsylvania, though it's a policy that will likely face a lukewarm reception, at best, in the conservative General Assembly.
"We've all been conditioned to believe that there's noting that works and thats there's nothing we can do to reduce gun violence," said Jennifer Clark, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center. "Our coalition is based on the idea that we can do something."
The Public Interest Law Center is one of eight steering members of the new PA Safety Alliance, a coalition of advocacy groups that prioritize reforms in public health, criminal justice and social welfare. More than a dozen other organizations, from teachers unions to district attorneys to physicians groups, have signed on as endorsing members.
"Polling shows that voters do support gun regulation," Clark said. "This is not about taking away guns. This is about implementing sensible gun policy."
The alliance prioritizes legislation that would require residents to apply for a permit before buying a gun. Clark said research connects licensing laws with decreases in firearm related homicides and suicides, with rates in Connecticut declining 40 percent and 15 percent, respectively, after lawmakers enacted a similar policy.
Virginia Judge Upholds Most Of New Gun Laws, Strikes Down Under 21 Ban - July 14, 2020
A Lynchburg judge mostly upheld a new state law that went into effect at the beginning of the month expanding background checks for purchasing firearms, but ruled that restrictions on those under 21 from purchasing handguns was unconstitutional.
Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge Patrick Yeatts agreed with much of the commonwealth's arguments that the law, which expands background checks to all gun sales, did not violate the Virginia Constitution. He granted an injunction Tuesday on part of the law, which he said was currently unconstitutional, that narrowed the sale of handguns for people between the ages of 18 to 20.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League, other gun rights groups, and Lynchburg area gun owners argued in the lawsuit that the proposal would restrict the ability of those ages 18 to 20 from purchasing handguns in Virginia because all private sales will have to be run through a federally licensed firearms dealer.
Federal law says that individuals must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer. So if someone under 21 were to obtain a background check through the FBI's system, that person would be rejected.
Prior to the new law, those between 18 to 20 could buy a handgun through a private sale from another Virginia resident, but not from a dealer.
One of the lawsuit's plaintiffs, Wyatt Lowman, is legally an adult but under 21.
Yeatts wrote in his ruling that the commonwealth acknowledged the law would prevent those under 21 from purchasing handguns, but it "deflects by saying the problem lies with federal law." The attorney general said in court it was working with the FBI to correct the issue.