Gun Related News Stories
Hispanic El Paso Residents Seek Firearm Training For Concealed Carry After Shooting - August 17, 2019
Following the deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that killed 22 people a few weeks ago, Hispanics in the city have flocked to the gun range to take concealed carry classes, Reuters reported. The course is required for Texas residents to obtain a License to Carry a concealed firearm.
According to Michael McIntyre, general manager of Gun Central, one of the biggest gun stores in El Paso, his classes have see a huge increase since the shooting earlier this month. Normally each of his concealed carry classes have seven people. Now they average 50 people per class. And the people who are seeking his services are predominantly Hispanic.
"I have over 50 for this Saturday class and approximately the same amount for the Sunday class, and I normally have approximately seven," McIntyre told Reuters.
In addition to an increase in a desire for training, McIntyre said his handgun sales doubled following the attack.
"We actually had two people buy guns here who were actually in the Walmart on the day of the shooting. The other people are just saying, 'Hey, you know I want to be able to protect myself in the event of something going on.'," he said. “This is not the last mass shooting we’re going to see.”
House Judiciary To Vote On Gun Control Bills Before Recess Ends - August 16, 2019
The House Judiciary Committee announced Friday that it will hold votes on a series of gun violence prevention bills on September 4, the week before Congress returns from recess.
The bills the committee is set to take up include measures that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, "red flag" legislation, which would enable court orders to intervene and temporarily prevent someone who is in crisis from having access to a firearm, as well as a bill to prevent individuals convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing firearms. The committee also announced that it will hold a hearing on "military-style assault weapons" on September 25.
Action by the House Judiciary Committee on gun legislation will give Democrats another opportunity to spotlight the issue of gun violence in the aftermath of two recent mass shootings in one weekend that left 31 people dead.
Wisconsin Governor Proposes Changes To Background Checks - August 15, 2019
Governor Tony Evers and Democratic lawmakers proposed an expansion of background checks for gun sales in Wisconsin on August 15.
Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Melissa Sargent, and Senator LaTonya Johnson attended the press conference with the Governor to call on Republicans who control the Legislature to pass the measure, even though GOP leaders have said they do not support such a move.
"We have to stop ignoring the problem of gun violence in our state and our country, and it's time for our elected officials to find the courage to do what is right," said Governor Evers at a news conference to announce the bill. "Addressing gun violence doesn't have to be a false choice between the 2nd Amendment and keeping our kids and our communities safe. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, and a majority of Wisconsinites agree that no matter what kind of firearm is being purchased or where it's being purchased from, the process should be the same."
Only licensed gun dealers must conduct background checks when selling a firearm under the current law, which means that someone attempting to purchase a firearm can circumvent the background check process by purchasing a firearm from an unlicensed seller. LRB-3949 unifies the background check process under the Wisconsin DOJ for all firearm purchases, including requiring the Wisconsin DOJ to conduct background checks on frames and receivers.
Pennsylvania Governor Issues Executive Order On Gun Violence - August 15, 2019
Coming on the heels of a violent standoff that left six officers injured in North Philadelphia and a mass shooting that wounded five residents one day later, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order calling to reduce gun violence throughout the state.
"Too many Pennsylvanians are dying from gun violence. We need to fix our weak gun laws and pass reforms focused on increasing safety and reducing danger to our citizens," Wolf said in a statement. "The action I am announcing today includes provisions for Pennsylvanians of all walks of life and looks at gun violence from all angles."
Wolf initially planned to announce his reforms on Thursday, but postponed it as a result of Wednesday's shootout. Instead, he visited Philadelphia and stood by Mayor Jim Kenney and nearly a dozen other lawmakers all who called for stricter gun laws.
The executive order names former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey head of a new Special Council on Gun Violence that will meet within the next 60 days to start developing a plan to combat shootings.
Ohio Governor To Push Anti-Gun Laws After Shootings - August 6, 2019
Facing pressure to take action after the latest mass shooting in the U.S., Ohio's Republican governor urged the GOP-led state Legislature Tuesday to pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats.
Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio needs to do more while balancing people's rights to own firearms and have due process during a press conference Tuesday. He outlined a series of legislative actions he wants the Legislature to take up to address mental health and gun violence.
"We can come together to do these things to save lives," DeWine said.
Protesters once again shouted "do something"; a refrain chanted during Sunday's vigil honoring the victims; at DeWine at the start of his Tuesday announcement. One person yelled "shame on you" at DeWine while he was answering questions.
His calls for action could be an uphill battle for the Legislature, which has given little consideration this session to those and other gun-safety measures already introduced by Democrats. DeWine's Republican predecessor, John Kasich, also unsuccessfully pushed for a so-called red flag law on restricting firearms for people considered threats.
Top Arizona Democrat Calls For Special Session To Pass Anti-Gun Laws - August 6, 2019
The top ranking Democrat in the state House is calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to bring state lawmakers back to the Capitol and pass new gun legislation in a special session.
"The time is right now for us to act, so we will come into special session if the governor agrees to it," Rep. Charlene Fernandez said Tuesday.
Fernandez, a Democrat from Yuma, said Arizona can't wait for another mass shooting to take action and would work on gun legislation the governor failed to pass.
In 2018, the governor proposed giving law enforcement the power to remove firearms from people deemed a public threat.
The measure failed amid resistance from Republicans who raised concerns that police could take a gun away from someone who hasn't broken the law.
Ducey did not say if he would call a special session, but his office did released a statement regarding his previous gun proposal.
North Carolina Democrats Trying To Force Anti-Gun Bills Out Of Committee - August 5, 2019
North Carolina's legislature hasn't passed gun control legislation since 2015. But in the wake of this weekend's mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, pressure is building to change that.
Several bills changing gun policy have stalled in committee, and on Monday Gov. Roy Cooper and four House Democrats urged pulling two of them out for debate.
House Bill 86 would restrict who can obtain firearms. Currently, North Carolina requires either a concealed-carry permit or a sheriff-issued pistol purchase permit to buy a handgun, but long guns including assault-style rifles can be bought with only a state I.D. and a background check at the counter.
Under HB86, long guns like rifles would also require a permit, and there would be a 72-hour waiting period before the buyer could take the gun home.
"This includes the weapons that were used in the mass shootings this weekend," said Rep. Christy Clark, a Mecklenburg Democrat who's co-sponsoring the bill with Reps. Marcia Morey, Pricey Harrison and Shelly Willingham. They plan to file a discharge petition Tuesday to pry HB86 and another bill out of committee.
New York Governor Signs Bill Prohibting School Staff / Teachers From Carrying Firearms - July 31, 2019
New York schools won't be allowed to arm teachers and administrators as a strategy to combat mass shootings, according to a measure signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The law specifically prohibits firearms to be carried in schools by "any teacher, school administrator" or others who aren't licensed security guards or those who act primarily as school resource officers. Most school resource officers are police officers.
Violating the law would be a Class E felony punishable by two to five years in prison.
"While hundreds of districts across the country have decided to arm teachers in response to mass shootings, in New York, we said, 'not here,'" said State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who co-sponsored the bill.
"Arming teachers with guns can only lead to additional tragedies," said Assemb. Judy Griffin (D-Rockville Centre), the Assembly sponsor of the bill.
Wednesday's signing is the third straight day Cuomo has enacted more gun control laws passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature. The laws add to his legacy on the issue since he pushed through the extensive SAFE Act in 2013, weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.
NY Governor Signs Bump Stock Ban, Safe Storage Laws - July 30, 2019
Governor Cuomo has signed a law, banning undetectable firearms, including those created on 3d printers and others not detected by metal detectors.
The law will also expand storage laws, calling for the proper storage of firearms while living with someone under the age of 16.
The law will continue to permit licensed or supervised minors under the age of 16 to hunt and practice at a firing range.
"3D guns and improperly stored firearms pose an enormous risk to our children and today we're addressing both dangers head-on to keep our families safe," Governor Cuomo said. "These measures continue New York's legacy of enacting the strongest gun laws in the nation by helping keep firearms out of the hands of children and by acknowledging and addressing technological advancements like 3D printed guns."
Federal Judge Upholds New Jersey Magazine Capacity Ban - July 30, 2019
A federal judge on Monday upheld New Jersey's law that lowers the number of bullets a gun can hold, dismissing a lawsuit filed by a gun rights group. New Jersey passed a law last year that made it unlawful to possess firearm magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, with some exceptions. The state has said that’s enough for self-defense and that anything more could prove dangerous to bystanders. A 15-round limit had been in place since 1990.
The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs argued that the law only hurts law-abiding gun owners and homeowners because criminals will ignore it, and plans to appeal.
Previously, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia declined to grant an injunction to stop the law from taking effect.
U.S. District Court Judge Peter Sheridan based his ruling Monday on the 3rd Circuit's conclusion that New Jersey's law "does not violate the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause."
Sheridan also denied the gun rights group’s request to delay action on New Jersey’s law while the U.S. Supreme Court decides a New York case the involves a restriction on the right to carry a firearm in public, writing that it poses a different legal question.
Alabama Sheriffs Working To Fix ATF Rejection Of Concealed Carry Permits - July 30, 2019
On Wednesday, Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) began receiving phone calls and letters from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms instructing them that they could no longer accept Alabama Concealed Carry Permits (CCPs) issued by Alabama's Sheriffs as an alternative to completion of a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check or after a NICS denial.
Monday, the Alabama Sheriff's Association announced in a statement that "A procedure is presently underway to correct this error and restore acceptance of Alabama CCPs as an alternative for the citizens of Alabama and the FFLs."
Maryland Gun Rights Groups Sue Over Concealed Carry Law - July 29, 2019
A gun rights group is challenging Maryland's concealed carry laws, arguing that a clause requiring gun owners to provide "good and substantial reason" to receive a concealed carry permit is unconstitutional.
Maryland is one of 10 states considered a "may issue" state, meaning authorities have discretion over whether to issue concealed carry permits to individuals.
Maryland Shall Issue is the group behind a lawsuit filed against the state's Handgun Permit Review Board in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. The lawsuit contends the state's laws are unconstitutional and have been superseded by other case precedents.
"This case may establish important new precedent in Maryland by making clear the right of self-defense applies to all 'the people' protected by the Second Amendment, not merely the tiny select few favored by the State Police," Maryland Shall Issue said in a post on its website.
Under Maryland's current laws, those applying for a concealed carry are interviewed by state police. Applicants can appeal to the Handgun Permit Review Board if they disagree with the decisions police make.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Holmes Whalen, the person Maryland Shall Issue is representing in Whalen v. Handgun Permit Review Board, who was denied a concealed carry permit by state police and on appeal to the review board. The case is tentatively set for oral argument in November, according to the Maryland Shall Issue website.
Florida AG Moves To Block Semiautomatic Rifle Ban Ballot Initiative - July 29, 2019
Florida's Republican attorney general is trying to scuttle a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban the type of rifle used in last year's Parkland school shooting, a move that comes as the state's gun control debate intensifies heading into 2020.
Attorney General Ashley Moody asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to block the ballot initiative, which is being pushed by Miami-based Ban Assault Weapons Now, a group that wants to ban most semiautomatic rifles. The group has gathered more than 99,000 certified signatures so far, enough to trigger an automatic legal review of the amendment by the state's highest court.
If organizers succeed in getting a gun control question on the ballot, it will inject another hot-button issue into what already is shaping up to be a turbocharged election in the crucial battleground state. President Donald Trump's key to victory in Florida, whose legislature and governor's office are controlled by Republicans, includes winning the state's 29 electoral votes again this time.
The amendment also could test the strength of the gun lobby in Florida, which had largely been successful pushing gun-rights legislation until the Parkland massacre led to the state's first significant gun restrictions in decades.
In a notice filed with the court, Moody said that the proposal as worded would ban "the possession of virtually every semi-automatic long-gun. To be included on the ballot, the sprawling practical effect must be revealed in the ballot language."
Moody also said that a provision that would grandfather existing owners of semiautomatic weapons is misleading because it requires owners to register their guns within a year. She called the amendment language "deficient" and said it would mislead voters.
New Lawsuit Challenges Two New Mexico Gun Laws - July 26, 2019
A conservative coalition filed a lawsuit this week challenging the constitutionality of two new gun laws in New Mexico, one requiring background checks, the other prohibiting the possession of guns by domestic abusers.
The New Mexico Patriots Advocacy Coalition also accused state officials of illegally blocking their right to petition for the repeal of 10 bills passed in this year’s legislative session, when Democrats held substantial majorities in both chambers.
Blair Dunn, the Libertarian candidate for attorney general last year, filed the six-page lawsuit Thursday in Curry County on behalf of the coalition.
It first asks a judge to authorize the circulation of petitions that would allow opponents of 10 new laws, including the gun legislation, the opportunity to gather enough signatures to force an election on them.
In the alternative, the lawsuit asks a judge to declare the two gun bills unconstitutional.
The suit says the approval of the background check legislation, Senate Bill 8, violates the right of New Mexicans to keep and bear arms. The new law interferes with private transactions, according to the lawsuit, by mandating a federal background check before most gun sales.
Another piece of legislation, Senate Bill 328, violates people's right to due process by requiring them to surrender firearms even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime, the lawsuit says.
Florida School Board Votes To Arm Teachers - July 25, 2019
Teachers in Okeechobee County public schools will be allowed to carry guns inside classrooms.
According to a district spokesperson, the school board voted on Wednesday night to revise its policy to allow teachers who volunteer, complete an application, are approved by the superintendent and sheriff, and complete all hiring requirements to be assigned to a training program.
Once that training is complete, those teachers will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus.
Sheriff Noel Stephen said "The Okeechobee County School District and the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office have already opted into the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which was passed last year."
Through that program, school staff members who are not teachers can train to carry concealed weapons on school campuses.
The new measure passed Wednesday night would allow teachers to carry guns inside classrooms to protect students.
Philadelphia State Legislators Push To Allow City To Ban Guns At Rec Centers - July 24, 2019
Philadelphia's City Council president says he'll take another crack at a bill that would prohibit guns at parks and recreation centers and this time, he's enlisted the help of state legislators.
City Council previously banned weapons at city facilities, one of the gun regulations that's never been enforced because the state has authority over gun laws. This time, though, local state legislators are lined up to introduce enabling legislation in Harrisburg.
State Sen. Vincent Hughes will co-sponsor a bill in the Senate, giving the city the power to ban guns at recreation facilities.
"The task is simple: protect these places for children," he said.
And state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell will co-sponsor a bill in the House.
"This legislation is so critical to Philadelphia," she said.
All the sponsors are Democrats, a minority in the legislature. But they say they're hopeful.
Virginia Majority Whip Resigns Over Special Session Gun Bills - July 9, 2019
A Virginia Republican senator has resigned his leadership role to protest a top Republican's push to ban guns in government controlled buildings.
Sen. Bill Stanley told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he's resigned as majority whip of the GOP Senate caucus after Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment sponsored legislation to implement a broad ban on guns in government buildings.
Norment's legislation caught both Republicans and gun-control advocates off guard. His GOP colleagues immediately pushed back. They say it's an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens to prevent them from carrying guns into government buildings.
Norment is married to a lobbyist for the city of Virginia Beach, where a municipal worker gunned down his co-workers in a mass shooting.
Virginia Legislature Adjourns Until November With No Votes On Gun Bills - July 9, 2019
Less than two hours after beginning a special session called in response to a mass shooting, Virginia lawmakers abruptly adjourned Tuesday without taking any action and postponed any movement on gun control until after the November election.
The Republican-led Virginia Senate voted first to end the special session and adjourn until after November elections with a 20-18 vote following a contentious back-and-forth between lawmakers
Shortly afterward, the House, which has 1-vote Republican majority, voted 50-46 to do the same.
Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam called the Republican-led Legislature to the Capitol to address gun violence in the wake of the May 31 attack that killed a dozen people in Virginia Beach. The meeting got off to a chaotic start, with the Republican Senate majority leader averting a mutiny in the GOP caucus by publicly disavowing a gun-control bill he proposed only a day earlier.
Lawmakers were summoned to consider a package of eight gun-control measures put forward by Northam, who called for "votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers" in response to the Virginia Beach massacre.
House Speaker Kirk Cox said the session was premature because the shooting is still being investigated.
"The whole thing is just an election-year stunt," Cox said.
Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment shocked his fellow Republicans by filing surprise legislation Monday to broadly ban guns in any government building statewide. That prompted an immediate backlash in the GOP caucus, which controls the chamber by a slim 20-19 advantage. His top vote-counter, Sen. Bill Stanley, resigned as majority whip in protest.
"Sometimes you just got to stand for principle," Stanley said.
Virginia Senate Majority Leader Withdrawls Anti-Gun Bill 24 Hours After Introducing It - July 9, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment announced Tuesday that he will withdraw the gun bill he proposed only 24 hours before.
Norment filed a bill Monday that would extend a state prohibition on guns in courthouses to any "building owned or used by a locality for governmental purposes." The proposal would also increase the penalty for breaking the law from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Political experts called Norment's bill surprising and unexpected considering Republicans have historically blocked gun control measures. So much so, the Virginia Senate GOP majority whip offered his resignation calling Norment's proposal "a great betrayal."
Tuesday afternoon, Norment said he will withdraw the gun bill because "as currently drafted, the legislation represents neither my views nor my intention."
Ohio House Committee Approves Constitutional Carry Bill - June 26, 2019
An Ohio House committee has approved proposed legislation to give Ohioans the legal right to carry concealed firearms without obtaining training or a license.
The House Federalism Committee sent the bill to the Republican dominated House on a 7-4 vote Wednesday. Three Democrats and Republican Rep. Ryan Smith voted against the measure. The panel voted 6-5 to remove a Republican-sponsored amendment requiring licensed firearms dealers to give purchasers a leaflet describing state gun laws after a pro-gun group and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder objected.
Law enforcement and prosecuting attorney groups oppose the bill, especially a provision removing the duty of gun owners to tell police officers they’re carrying a concealed weapon.