Gun Related News Stories
Buffalo Lawyer Argues New York Pistol Permit Case In Federal Court - February 20, 2019
A Western New York lawyer on Wednesday made his case before a federal appeals court to overturn the state's requirement that hand gun owners obtain a pistol permit.
"This could change the standard for evaluating gun laws," said attorney James Ostrowski, following his argument before justices of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
The case, entitled Libertarian Party of Erie County vs. Cuomo, seeks to upend New York's more than century old pistol permit requirement.
Currently, once a permit applicant passes a police background check, it is then left to the sole discretion of a judge to decide if they get their permit.
The judge must find, among other things, that the applicant is of "good moral character" and in their view (and only their view) has a good reason to own a pistol.
Ostrowski argues the determination is thus not only open ended, but overly subjective. And because the standard being applied may be inconsistent from county to county, he also labels it as arbitrary.
"In New York the pistol permit is considered to be a privilege granted by the state," Ostrowski said. "In the Supreme Court the right to bear arms is a fundamental right, so there's a huge conflict, and we're asking the court to resolve that conflict in favor of the right to bear arms."
The overreaching aim of the suit, however, is to target other gun control measures such as the NY SAFE Act, which could potentially be expunged should the plaintiffs win. It could also head off even more onerous proposals, such one that has been floated that would require permit seekers to open up their social media accounts for decision makers to review before permits are granted.
Supreme Court Requires New Jersey To Reply To Concealed Carry Challenge - February 20, 2019
The nation's high court on Tuesday took a step to show they aim to weigh the merits of a challenge to New Jerseyâ€™s strict "may issue" concealed carry laws.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week asked New Jersey officials to respond to a petition filed by a state resident allied with gun rights advocates. The case, that of Thomas Rogers and the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, had been turned away by the state's own supreme court, setting the stage for the current appeal to the federal bench.
"While the move is not a guarantee that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the appeal, the fact that the court is requiring NJ to take a position on ANJRPCâ€™s request is significant, and signals that the court is not willing to take any action without first hearing from both sides," said the pro-gun organization in a statement.
Rogers, according to court documents, meets all the guidelines under New Jersey state law to obtain a permit, but cannot show evidence of a direct or specific threat to his life. In other words, even though he was threatened and robbed at gunpoint in the past and currently manages an ATM business, a job that requires him to service machines in high-crime areas, police say he does not have a justifiable need to carry a gun.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, joined with attorneys general and governors from 22 other states, are now on his side, and have filed a supporting amicus brief last month urging the high court to take up his case.
The response from New Jersey, who had previously ignored the appeal, has to be submitted to the court by March 21.
North Dakota House Rejects Red Flag Bill - February 19, 2019
The North Dakota House rejected a bipartisan bill allowing judges to issue protection orders temporarily preventing people deemed dangerous from possessing guns Tuesday, Feb. 19.
The so-called "red flag" bill, championed by Fargo Democratic Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, failed in a 76-17 vote. It was backed by the police chiefs from Fargo and West Fargo as a way to address a rising number of suicide calls. Proponents argued it could also help prevent mass shootings.
Hanson invoked the shooting death of Fargo police officer Jason Moszer in 2016 and the Sandy Hook school shooting while urging her colleagues to pass the bill in an effort to reduce gun violence.
"Public safety protection orders will save lives by allowing law enforcement and families to intervene in a crisis before there's irreversible harm done," she said.
The bill would have allowed family members and law enforcement to seek a court-issued "public safety protection order" preventing somebody from possessing firearms for up to one year, although a judge could extend the order. Law enforcement could have sought a warrant to seize firearms from people officers believed were dangerous under the bill.
Ohio Lawmakers Studying Error That Could Ban Some Guns - February 17, 2019
A mistake in writing up an Ohio bill could inadvertently ban several types of already legal guns and must be fixed quickly, gun rights advocates say.
At issue is legislation approved by lawmakers last year that allows off-duty police officers to carry firearms and phases in preemption of many local firearms restrictions, among other changes.
The bill also attempted to align Ohio law with federal law regarding short-barrel weapons, or generally speaking shotguns with barrel lengths less than 16 inches.
Such guns are legal under federal law but classified as illegal in Ohio, even though many gun stores sell them. As the bill was being drafted, a misplaced paragraph unintentionally lumped a variety of long guns into a prohibited category.
Those could include semi-automatic AK-47s and any long gun with a pistol grip, which could also affect shotguns used in competitive shooting.
It's unclear if the mistake would cause gun owners problems in "real-world terms," said Dean Rieck, executive director of the gun rights group Buckeye Firearms, who said who said he's consulted with lawyers for the National Rifle Association and Ohio's Legislative Services Commission, among others.
Nevertheless, "We would prefer they deal with it immediately because it is causing a lot of concern and confusion among gun owners in Ohio," Rieck said.
Oklahoma Consitutional Carry Bill Passed In House - February 13, 2019
A bill vetoed last year by Oklahoma's Republican former governor that would allow adult residents to carry a gun without training or a background check has easily passed a vote in the state House on its way to the desk of the new governor, who is expected to sign it into law.
The plan dubbed "constitutional carry" by its supporters was approved Wednesday on a 70-30 vote. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate.
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt and Senate Republican Leader Greg Treat both say they support the concept.
Nearly identical bills to this one cleared the Oklahoma House and Senate last year, but then-Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed the legislation over opposition from law enforcement and concerns about the elimination of training and background checks.
Nevada Senate Passes Universal Background Check Bill - February 13, 2019
Legislation to expand background checks to private gun sales and transfers passed Wednesday in the state Senate with a party-line vote, marking a step forward in a years-long push to close the loophole.
Lawmakers delivered emotional speeches on both sides of the issue one day after a Senate committee approved the measure.
Lawmakers say the legislation would be a fix to a 2016 gun background check initiative approved by voters. The measure has gone unenforced.
"A lot of us are relieved, I think we're feeling like this is finally an issue we can put to bed," Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, a Democrat, said after the vote. "Obviously, there will be court challenges. But we think we're standing on solid ground."
South Dakota Lawmakers Advance Bill Banning College Gun Free Zones - February 12, 2019
A bill prohibiting South Dakota public universities and colleges from banning guns on their campuses received a Senate committee's approval over the objections from university administrators and students on Tuesday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced in a 4-3 motion Senate Bill 122, which will prohibit the Board of Regents and the Board of Technical Education from adopting a policy that would restrict or limit a person's ability to carry a firearm on campus. The committee also attempted to send the bill to the 41st legislative day, which would have killed the bill, but the motion failed.
The South Dakota Gun Owners Association was the sole supporter during Tuesday's meeting. Jordan Mason, the association's political director, said the bill is "finally giving our students a chance to defend themselves."
The South Dakota Constitution guarantees citizens' right to bear arms, said Sen. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, one of the bill's sponsors.
"Gun-free zones do not work," Nelson said during the committee's discussion.
Ohio Judge Shoots Down Cincinnati Ban On Bump Stocks - February 12, 2019
An Ohio judge last week rejected a ban adopted by the city of Cincinnati on bump fire stocks, siding with gun rights groups who challenged the local law.
Hamilton County Judge Robert Ruehlman on Monday hit city officials with a permanent injunction against the ordinance, leaving Cincinnati unable to enforce it. The lawsuit, brought by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation and Ohioans for Concealed Carry, argued the local ban was illegal considering state laws.
"This ban was completely unjustified and a great concern for gun owners," said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Foundation. â€śUnder Ohio law, local municipalities are not permitted to enact firearms laws that conflict with state law. And clearly, outlawing guns or gun parts is a clear violation of state law.â€ť
It is not the first time that Ohio courts have thrown out a municipal bump stock prohibition. Judge David Cain, writing for the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, last year found that the cityâ€™s ban did not square against state preemption law which prevents local governments from regulating firearms.
Iowa Legislative Panel Move Constitutional Carry Bill Forward - February 11, 2019
A bill that would eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit to buy or carry a gun in Iowa has been moved out of a Senate subcommittee.
The two Republicans agreed Monday to pass it up to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Democrat Sen. Tony Bisignano declined to recommend moving the bill forward due to safety concerns.
Bisignano says he disagrees with allowing the sale of handguns at gun shows and person-to-person with no permit or background check. He says eliminating the permit also does away with the requirement for gun holders to take a safety course.
The Senate bill has the support of 15 senators, the National Rifle Association, the Iowa Firearms Coalition and Iowa Gun Owners groups.
It's opposed by Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal church groups along with domestic violence and gun safety organizations.
Supporters say requiring permits and fees to own a gun contradicts the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Oklahoma House Committee Approves Consitutional Carry Bill - February 7, 2019
After being in session less than a week, Oklahoma lawmakers have already sent a controversial House bill through committee.
House Bill 2597 would essentially allow many gun owners to carry without a license.
Under the bill, it would allow "the carrying of a firearm, concealed or unconcealed, loaded or unloaded, by a person who is twenty one years of age or older or by a person who is eighteen years of age but not yet twenty one years of age and the person is a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, Reserves or National Guard or was discharged under honorable conditions from the United States Armed Forces, Reserves or National Guard, and the person is otherwise not disqualified from the possession or purchase of a firearm under state or federal law and is not carrying the firearm in furtherance of a crime."
The bill also states that those who are illegally in the United States would not be able to possess a weapon.
29 New Mexico Sheriffs Oppose New Legislation - February 6, 2019
Twenty-nine New Mexico sheriffs oppose several new gun control laws introduced by the New Mexico state legislature.
"You're just taking guns out of law-abiding citizen's hands," Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton. "This is not going to affect the criminals out there. Theyâ€™re going to be able to get guns and they do not follow the law."
Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton is one of dozens of sheriffs who signed this statement by the New Mexico Sheriff's Association targeting four gun related bills as ineffective.
House bill 83 would allow law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from people considered an imminent threat while people subject to a protective order would be prohibited from buying guns under house bill 87.
House bill 130 aims penalizes gun owners who don't store guns safely around children and senate bill 8 looks to require background checks for private firearm sales.
Although many sheriffs oppose these bills New Mexico state representative Joy Garratt said legislation like her house bill 83 could have prevented massacres like the Parkland, Florida shooting last year.
New York Legislature Passes Six Anti-Gun Bills In New Session - January 29, 2019
New York lawmakers on Tuesday approved the most comprehensive set of gun bills in the state in six years, including measures that would ban bump stocks, prohibit teachers from carrying guns in schools and extend the waiting period for gun buyers who do not pass an instant background check.
In total, six gun bills passed easily through the State Senate and Assembly, a remarkable sight in a Capitol that for years had resisted almost all new legislation on the subject.
The relative ease of the laws passage highlighted, for the second time in just two days, the upheaval that Novemberâ€™s election brought to Albany. Democrats captured the Senate for the first time in a decade, delivering one-party control of state government. Since the legislative session began this month, both chambers have sent long-stymied bills in rapid-fire procession to the governor's desk.
South Dakota Constitutional Carry Bill Advances - January 28, 2019
Legislation allowing people to carry concealed handguns without a permit in South Dakota, also called "Constitutional carry," passed another hurdle on Monday morning.
The House State Affairs Committee gave Senate Bill 47 its blessing in a 10-3 vote after hearing 90 minutes of testimony about the measure. The bill now moves to the House floor for a vote. It has already passed in the Senate. Gov. Kristi Noem said she supports permit-less carry, but will consider the bill's language before supporting it.
The South Dakota Sheriffs' Association, as well as two sheriffs, testified on Monday that although they don't oppose permit-less concealed carry, they would rather it apply to only South Dakota residents. House Bill 1112, which would limit permit-less concealed carry to South Dakota residents only, was introduced in the House on Friday and has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.
Washington State Sheriffs Refuse To Enforce New Gun Laws - January 26, 2019
In Washington state, a freshly implemented ballot initiative and a raft of new bills may produce some of the tightest firearms regulations in the US. But standing in the way is a group of rural law enforcement officers who say point blank that they wonâ€™t enforce any of it.
The Klickitat county sheriff, Bob Songer, is one of them. He told the Guardian that the initiative passed last November "is unconstitutional on several grounds. I've taken the position that as an elected official, I am not going to enforce that law".
Songer also cited ongoing litigation by the National Rife Association gun industry lobby and others which aims to demonstrate the laws violate both the second amendment and the state's constitution. He also said that if other agencies attempted to seize weapons from county residents under the auspices of the new laws, he would consider preventively "standing in their doorway".
Wyoming Sub-Committee Kills Repeal Of Gun Free Zones Bill - January 24, 2019
The Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted against a Senate bill that would have repealed gun-free zones in Wyoming public buildings.was voted down Wednesday morning by a 3-2 margin.
However, a House bill that would do the same thing was still awaiting committee action as of mid-day Wednesday.
A long parade of about 15 witnesses appeared at the Senate hearing in opposition to Senate File 75, including several representing schools, school board, and the Wyoming Education Association. Barb Cook of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America told the committee that studies show the presence of firearms increases the risk of suicide by 300 percent and the risk of homicide by 200 percent. Tammy Johnson of the Wyoming Education Association said her daughter was so terrified by the proposal that she said she might forego her senior year of high school if the bill became law.
South Dakota Senate Panel Advances Constitutional Carry Bill - January 17, 2019
A Senate panel has advanced a measure that would allow people to carry concealed handguns without a permit in South Dakota.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to send the bill to the full chamber.
It's currently a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit. Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield, the bill's sponsor, says people are being asked to "lease back" their constitutionally protected right to bear firearms.
Virginia Committee Votes Down More Than A Dozen Anti-Gun Bills - January 17, 2019
A Republican-led subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates voted down more than a dozen Democratic gun control bills Thursday, including a red-flag proposal endorsed by President Donald Trump's school safety committee.
In a packed hearing room, Republicans on a House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee used their 4-2 majority to methodically defeat the gun bills over the course of more than two hours.
For the first time, the panel heard arguments about a bill to create extreme risk protection orders, which would allow authorities to take guns from people whose behavior gives law enforcement reason to believe they may hurt others or themselves.
Hawaii Refuses To Abide By LEOSA Disarming Out Of State Officers - December 22, 2018
Following New Jersey's recently-revised ban on police officers possessing guns, new attention has been brought to states with strict gun laws for law enforcement officers.
Standing out from the rest of the states is Hawaii, with their refusal to recognize the provisions of the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).
LEOSA was "designed to protect officers and their families from vindictive criminals, and to allow thousands of equipped, trained and certified law enforcement officers, whether on-duty, off-duty or retired, to carry concealed firearms in situations where they can respond immediately to a crime across state and other jurisdictional lines."
The purpose of the law was to preempt states from restricting the type of ammunition that officers could carry off duty, and allow them to carry their weapons in any state without running afoul of any state laws.
Hawaii's attorney general's office says that the federal law doesn't actually preempt state law.
According to Hawaii's Department of the Attorney General, if police officers from out of state are not on duty, then they are not actually considered to be police officers and LEOSA doesn't apply to them.
"If you are not on official duty with your governmental law enforcement agency and you are carrying a concealed firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 926B, you are not considered a 'law enforcement officer' in the State of Hawaii. The Hawaii Revised Statutes will be applied to you as if you were a 'civilian' with no law enforcement powers," the state Attorney General memo says.
CPRC Study Shows 98% Of Mass Shootings Since 1950 Happened In Gun Free Zones - December 17, 2018
Findings from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) show that 97.8 percent of mass shootings over a 68-year period occurred in "gun-free zones."
The study covers 1950 through May 2018. Otherwise, it would also include the November 7, 2018, mass public attack at Borderline Bar & Grill, in which 12 were killed. The November 19, 2018, attack at Chicago Mercy Hospital, where three were killed, would not be listed because it does not meet FBI criteria for a mass shooting, but it should, nevertheless, be noted that Borderline Bar and Mercy Hospital were both state-mandated gun-free zones.
According to CPRC, 97.8 percent of mass public shootings from 1950 to May 2018 occurred in gun-free zones. These include the Virginia Tech University attack, which killed 32 (April 16, 2007); the Fort Hood attack, which killed 13 (November 5, 2009); the Aurora movie theater attack, which killed 12 (July 20, 2012); the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack, which killed 26 (December 12, 2014); the D.C. Navy Yard attack, which killed 13 (September 16, 2013); the Chattanooga military base attack, which killed 5 (July 16, 2015); the Umpqua Community College attack, which killed 9 (October 1, 2015); the San Bernardino attack, which killed 14 (December 2, 2015); the Orlando Pulse attack, which killed 49 (June 12, 2016); the Parkland high school attack, which killed 17 (February 14, 2018); and the Santa Fe High School attack, which killed 10 (May 18, 2018).
Two New Illinois Gun Laws Go Into Effect January 1st - December 14, 2018
Two new gun laws affecting waiting periods and "dangerous" gun owners will take effect on the new year.
According to the Office of Senator Neil Anderson, the first law titled "SB 3256/PA 100-0606" Creates a 72-hour waiting period on all firearms, not just handguns.
The bill also eliminates the current waiting period exemption when a non-Illinois resident buys a gun at an Illinois gun show.
A violation of this law would be considered a class four felony.
The second new gun law titled "HB 2354/PA 100-0607" Allows family or police to petition the court for an ex parte order (Restraining order or an order that benefits only one side in a case) if the person:
"poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or another by having in his/her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm."
This new law would allow family or police to take away a persons right to own a firearm without their knowledge if they are deemed "too dangerous"