Gun Related News Stories
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.
Federal Judge Extends 3-D Gun Plan Prohibition - August 27, 2018
A judge in Seattle extended a ban on publishing instructions for 3-D printed guns during state litigation over the controversial practice, handing a procedural victory to gun-control advocates.
The ruling, handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, marks the latest chapter in the ongoing battle over 3D-printed weapons.
Defense Distributed, a non-profit defense firm, had planned to offer the blueprints for download starting Aug. 1 following a multiyear legal battle with the federal government.
However, in late July U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik stopped the release of the blueprints. President Donald Trump has also voiced his concern over the weapons.
Advocates for gun control have argued that 3D-printed guns could also pose security challenges as they pass through airport X-ray machines.
Speaking to Fox News in July Defense Distributed director Cody Wilson described current 3D-printed guns as "mostly curiosities," and said that the "big" and "bulky" characteristics of the weapons would help identify them. "I doubt seriously that itâ€™s a real problem," he added. "If it is a problem, then the [security] norms will have to change."
Washington State Supreme Court Allows Anti-Gun Initiative 1639 To Be Placed On Ballot - August 24, 2018
The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that the proposed gun-regulations measure, Initiative 1639, will appear on November's election ballot.
The decision clears the way for a statewide vote on a sweeping proposal that, among other things, would raise the legal age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21.
Friday's ruling comes after a Thurston County judge earlier this month blocked the proposed initiative after Alan Gottlieb of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association (NRA) challenged the legality of the campaign's signature-gathering petitions.
Gun-rights advocates had argued the petitions violated state law because they did not include text formatting such as underlines and strike-throughs to demonstrate how exactly the initiative would change the language of existing gun laws.
But a four-page order released Friday and signed by Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst reversed the lower court's ruling.
The measure would make several changes to the law. Aside from raising the purchase age to 21 for semi-automatic rifle purchases, it would mandate training, enhanced background checks and waiting periods in order to obtain them.
It would also require owners to keep firearms secured at home. Gun owners could face misdemeanor or felony charges in some circumstances if someone prohibited from possessing a weapon accessed the firearm.
Federal Judge Blocks Washington State Anti-Gun Ballot Initiative - August 18, 2018
Gun rights groups in Washington State have spent the last few months fighting gun control ballot initiative I-1639 which would create stricter gun laws. A Thurston County Superior Court judge on Friday, however, ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). The judge ordered a writ of mandamus to prevent I-1639 from appearing on the November ballot.
SAF and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) previously challenged the constitutionality behind the initiative because questions were raised about whether or not the petition's format complies with state law.
SAF Founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb previously told Townhall that I-1639's signature petitions "failed to underline new law and strike through removed law so that the reader could not know the current law, added law and subtracted law."
Judge James Dixon, who ruled in the case, was very clear about his position. â€śFrankly, this court does not struggle with this issue,â€ť Dixon said. The law, he said, requires that petitions â€śmust have a readable, full, true, correct copy of the proposed measure.â€ť
Judge Temporarily Blocks Release Of 3D Gun Plans - July 31, 2018
Federal Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday "blocking (the) federal government from allowing distribution of downloadable 3D printed" guns, according to a tweet from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.
"The judge's rule is clear," Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said at a news conference. "We go back to the status quo, before the federal government made the disastrous decision to undo these protections for public safety."
The ruling blocked a settlement that Defense Distributed, a Texas based gun rights organization, and the federal government reached in June that made it legal to post 3D printable gun plans online.
Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson said the site has disabled downloads until he reviews the order.
Pennslyvania Stops Citizens From Accessing 3D Printed Firearm Website - July 30, 2018
Numerous news agencies are reporting that Governor Wolf, Attorney General Shapiro and the Pennsylvania State Police yesterday filed an emergency motion in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Defense Distributed, DEFCAD, Ghost Gunner and Cody Wilson, to preclude access to their websites by Pennsylvania residents and that Defense Distributed, et al., agreed to make "its sites unaccessible to Pennsylvania users," all in violation of the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, not to mention the numerous violations of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Although the article mentions a press release being sent out by the AG Shapiro's Office, the AG's website has no mention of the press release, PACER does not yet list such a matter in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania and a recently found Complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief is dated July 30, 2018 (i.e. for today). Of course, in an emergency situation, it would not be unusual for a motion for a restraining order to be made in advance of a complaint being filed.
A copy of the state's court filing can be found here
9th Circuit Court Upholds Right To Open Carry A Gun - July 24, 2018
A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment protects a right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense, rejecting a claim by Hawaii officials that the right only applies to guns kept at home.
The extent of the right to gun ownership protected by the Second Amendment is one of the most hotly contested debates in the United States, where life has been punctuated by a steady stream of mass shootings.
The ruling issued by a three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, came a year after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule either way on the carrying of guns in public.
Two of the three 9th Circuit judges voted to reverse a decision by the U.S. District Court in Hawaii that state officials did not infringe on the rights of George Young, the plaintiff, in twice denying him a permit to carry a gun outside.
"We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence," Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain wrote in Tuesday's ruling. "But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense."
FBI To Launch Secondary Background Check System - July 14, 2018
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) internal process for firearms-related background checks is gearing up for a change. A secondary system, known as the National Data Exchange (N-DEx), will be implemented in conjunction with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), National Public Radio (NPR) reported.
"The N-DEx system is an unclassified national information sharing system that enables criminal justice agencies to search, link, analyze, and share local, state, tribal, and federal records," the FBI's website said. "N-DEx is also a strategic investigative information sharing system that fills informational gaps and provides situational awareness."
N-DEx is being implemented because of previous NICS failures, particularly in the Charleston church shooting incident where 21-year-old shooter Dylann Roof was able to purchase a firearm two months before the shooting despite having a felony drug arrest on his record. That arrest should have barred him from purchasing a firearm.