Gun Related News Stories
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The Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted against a Senate bill that would have repealed gun-free zones in Wyoming public buildings.was voted down Wednesday morning by a 3-2 margin.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.
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.
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.
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"
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission Votes To Arm Teachers - December 13, 2018
The panel investigating the Florida high school massacre recommended Wednesday that teachers who volunteer and undergo extensive background checks and training be allowed to carry concealed guns on campus to stop future shootings.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted 13-1 to recommend the Legislature allow the arming of teachers, saying it's not enough to have one or two police officers or armed guards on campus. Florida law adopted after the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead allows districts to arm non-teaching staff members such as principals, librarians and custodians; 13 of the 67 districts do, mostly in rural parts of the state.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission's chairman, pushed the measure at the Tallahassee meeting. He said most deaths in school shootings happen within the first few minutes, before officers on and off campus can respond. He said suspect Nikolas Cruz stopped to reload his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle five times, all of which would have been opportunities for an armed teacher to shoot him.
SCOTUS Agrees To Hear Case That Could Undermine BATFE - December 11, 2018
One of the biggest problems with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) isn't that it enforces the law. I mean, it exists explicitly for that purpose, so that's kind of what it's supposed to be doing.
No, the biggest problem is that in addition to enforcing those rules, it also gets to make them up as it goes. The ATF is also tasked by Congress to interpret the law and create regulatory policies on the subject that it then gets to turn around and enforce.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see all the many ways this creates problems.
Then top it off with the fact that the courts have taken a hands-off approach to this, known as Auer and Chevron deference, and you have a disaster in the making.
However, it seems there's a chance that those days are numbered.
Washington State Anti-Gun Group To Push For More Gun Laws - December 8, 2018
The group behind raising the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles has set its sights on restricting high-capacity magazines, increasing gun-free zones and limiting open-carry laws.
And they're not ruling out more initiatives in Washington, even as the state recently approved some of the strictest gun regulations in the country.
The Alliance for Gun Responsibility released its 2019 legislative priorities. Officials with the group said the proposed restrictions would go a long way toward keeping guns out of dangerous hands.
The group's main priorities for 2019 are:
- Restricting access to high-capacity magazines.
- Restricting access to firearms to people who have been held in mental treatment on an involuntary 72 hour hold.
- Increasing protection order laws to include threats of hate crimes.
- Requiring safety training to get a concealed pistol license.
- Giving local authorities the option to ban open carrying.
- Extending gun-free zones to child care and early learning centers.
- Destroying guns confiscated in a crime.
New Nevada Governor Calls For Gun Control As Priority - December 8, 2018
Nevada's new governor-elect, Steve Sisolak, says several gun control measures top the list of his agenda.
"Sisolak said in an interview with The Associated Press that he wants to see the state ban assault weapons, silencers, and bump stocks" the Las Vegas Sun reports. "In addition to those changes, Sisolak has said he wants to find a way to enact a 2016-voter-approved background check initiative that Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt and GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval say was flawed and can't be enforced."
"This is something that's extremely important to me," Sisolak said. "I've already been in discussion with some law enforcement and intend to get going on that very, very quickly."
Sisolak, the Sun reports, "will be the first Democrat in the post in two decades" when he takes office in January 2019. Sisolak will also have many allies in the Legislature, as Democrats achieved a supermajority in the Assembly during the November 2018 midterm elections.
Ohio Senate Moves Gun Bill Without Stand Your Ground Language - December 6, 2018
Facing resistance within its caucus for a full stand-your-ground bill, Ohio Senate Republicans are moving forward with a stripped-down version of the controversial bill that does not eliminate the stateâ€™s current duty to retreat or significantly reduce penalties for improperly carrying a concealed handgun.
House Bill 228 was amended Thursday and now focuses on altering the burden of proof in self-defense cases. Supporters of the change say Ohio is the only state in the nation that requires a defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence; a lower standard than reasonable doubt; that they acted in self-defense.
"We listened to the testimony and tried to incorporate a lot of those items," said Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester, chairman of the Government Oversight Committee. Republican Gov. John Kasich also had said he would veto a stand-your-ground bill.
The bill, which will be taken up by the full Senate this afternoon, will shift that burden of proof to prosecutors to prove the shooting was not justified beyond a reasonable doubt.
The change "would ensure that those who are accused of a crime in a self-defense case receive a fair and just trial," said John Commerford, deputy managing director of the National Rifle Association.
House Democrats Looking To Remoove Guns From Legislators At Capitol - December 5, 2018
House Democrats are looking to roll back a little known, five decade old Capitol Hill regulation that allows members of Congress to keep guns in their offices and carry them around the Capitol grounds.
The effort has been spearheaded by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who has pressed Capitol Hill authorities to revisit the 1967 regulation for months, and he now has the support of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has been nominated by her party to become House speaker early next year.
"I don't think we can just keep looking the other way or sweep this issue under the rug," Huffman said in an interview, citing potential threats to public safety and national security from a lost or stolen weapon; or an overheated lawmaker. "Our political climate is too volatile and there are too many warning signs that we need to address things like this."
House Democrats Plan To Criminalize Private Gun Sales - December 5, 2018
Mother Jones reports that Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) met with gun control groups that included the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Center for American Progress, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Gabby Giffordsâ€™ group. He asked them what they wanted, and a bill to criminalize private gun sales was on their wish list.
So Thompson will sponsor legislation requiring a background check before someone may buy a gun from his neighbor, a co-worker to get a background check before buying a gun from a co-worker, and so forth. The bill will go so far as to require a son to get a background check before a father can give him a gun as a gift.
Private gun sales are legal and have been an American tradition since 1791, the year the Second Amendment was ratified.
Ironically, a ban on private sales would not have stopped a single mass shooting witnessed to this point in the 21st century because nearly every mass shooter acquires his guns at retail via a background check. The exceptions to the rule are the mass shooters who steal their guns.
Federal Court Upholds New Jersey Magazine Capacity Law - December 5, 2018
A split U.S. appeals court has upheld a New Jersey law that limits the amount of ammunition a single gun magazine can hold.
A law passed this year limits most gun owners there to magazines that hold 10 rounds of ammunition instead of the 15-round limit in place since 1990.
U.S. Circuit Judge Patty Shwartz wrote that the law balances the state's interest in public safety with the rights of individuals to defend their homes. The 2-1 ruling Wednesday denied a motion by a gun-rights group for a temporary injunction to stop the law from taking effect.
New Jersey officials hope the ban on large capacity magazines could thwart mass shooters if they have to stop to reload. About seven other states, the District of Columbia and several cities have similar limits.
North Dakota Could Be The Next Constitutional Carry State - November 24, 2018
After years of unsuccessful attempts, supporters of legislation that would allow people to carry concealed handguns without a permit in South Dakota anticipate revived prospects once GOP Gov.-elect Kristi Noem takes office in January.
The legislation languished under retiring Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but Noem in her campaign offered support for a so-called constitutional carry law. GOP state Sen.-elect Lynne DiSanto, who as a member of the state House of Representatives sponsored a permitless concealed carry bill that Daugaard vetoed, said such legislation is likely in the upcoming session and she's optimistic about its prospects.
"There are a lot of Republicans that are very excited to have a conservative governor," said DiSanto. "I think under a new governor it's very likely to pass."
Eastern Washington State Police Chief Refuses To Enforce New State Law - November 16, 2018
The police chief in Republic, Washington said on social media that he won't allow his department to enforce the regulations passed by voters under Initiative 1639, saying the new gun laws violate the 2nd amendment.
Initiative 1639 passed with a statewide approval of nearly 60 percent of the vote. In Ferry County, where Republic is located, 73 percent of voters said no to the measure, which was 2,542 votes against.
Initiative 1639 makes Washington's gun laws some of the most strict in the nation. It raises the age limit for some gun purchases; it has a safe storage provision that can lead to criminal charges if gun owners allow someone not authorized to access a gun displays it or uses it to commit a crime; and puts an enhanced background check and waiting period in place for people who want to buy a semi-automatic rifle.
On a Facebook page called "Republic Police WA", Chief Loren Culp wrote "The second amendment says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. As long as I am Chief of Police, no Republic Police Officer will infringe on citizens right to keep and Bear Arms, PERIOD!"
Delaware Judge Rules State Park Carry Regulations Unconstitutional - October 11, 2018
A Delaware Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled that new regulations banning the open carry of firearms in lodges and camping areas of state parks and forests were unconstitutional in light of a state Supreme Court decision last year that struck a blanket prohibition against possessing guns on state lands.
Judge Jeffrey J. Clark sided with attorneys for the Delaware State Sportsmen's Association, who argued that the regulations from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Department of Agriculture violated a provision of the state constitution that allows Delaware citizens to keep and bear arms for self-defense outside of the home.
Francis G.X. Pileggi, who represented the organization, said that the regulations unlawfully prevented people without an open-carry permit from possessing guns in areas where they slept overnight with their families. Those area, he said, were analogous to 'vacation homes' or other places where families make their home on a temporary basis.
New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Magazine Capacity Law - October 8, 2018
Just in case gun owners needed another reason to back Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court or to get energized ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey gave us one. On September 28, District Judge Peter G. Sheridan denied a motion for a preliminary injunction that would have enjoined enforcement of New Jerseyâ€™s 10-round magazine capacity limit.
Back on June 13, New Jersey's anti-gun Governor Phil Murphy signed A2761 into law. The legislation altered the state definition of 'large capacity ammunition magazine'from magazines that can accept more than 15 rounds down to those that can accept more than 10. Owners of the newly prohibited magazines are required to forfeit possession of their property within 180 days, or to permanently modify their magazines to accept no more than 10 rounds.
Shortly after A2761 was signed, NRA-ILA announced that it was joining with the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs to challenge the new law. At the time, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox noted, 'Magazine bans do not deter criminals or improve public safety. Instead, they irrationally burden the rights of law-abiding gun owners.' This is in line with a Department of Justice-funded study of the 1994 federal semiautomatic ban, which also restricted magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. The study noted that "[s]hould it be renewed, the ban's effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement."
In his decision, Sheridan conceded that magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds are in 'common use' and thus entitled to Second Amendment protection. However, Sheridan then proceeded, as other courts have done, to apply an infinitely malleable interest-balancing test standard to determine whether New Jersey's infringement on the Second Amendment right is permissible.
Hearing Scheduled For Deerfield Assault Weapon Ban - October 6, 2018
Attorneys for the village of Deerfield and gun rights advocacy groups are due back in court Oct. 12 to wage arguments in two lawsuits challenging the villageâ€™s authority to ban assault weapons.
In June, a Lake County Circuit Court judge issued a temporary restraining order barring Deerfield from enforcing the ban until the case could be considered. The order from Judge Luis Berrones came on the eve of a June 13 deadline for Deerfield residents to turn in any guns that fit the village\'s definition of assault weapons, remove them from the village or alter the weapons so they were no longer prohibited under the ordinance.
Now, Guns Save Life, the Illinois State Rifle Association and other plaintiffs are asking the court for a preliminary injunction. One of the two suits was filed by gun owner John William Wombacher III and Guns Save Life, and is backed by the National Rifle Association. The other challenge was brought by gun owner Daniel Easterday, the state rifle association and the Second Amendment Foundation.
The legal jousting centers on Deerfield\'s decision to ban possession of certain firearms in the aftermath of recent mass shootings. Local gun owners and gun-rights groups swiftly filed lawsuits claiming Deerfield trustees had no authority to ban assault weapons five years after the Illinois legislature made regulation of assault weapons an exclusive power of the state.