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Gun Related News Stories

Florida Anti-Gun Organizers Reach 100,000 Signature To Put Assault Weapon Ban On Ballot - June 10, 2019

Organizers of a drive to have a proposed assault weapon ban constitutional amendment on Florida’s 2020 ballot said they have topped 100,000 signatures and expect to get a review of ballot language by the Florida Supreme Court any day.

Ban Assault Weapons NOW and the League of Women Voters of Florida joined with Democratic state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto Monday to announce they’ve reached the point where they expect the review.

They also vowed that final approval Friday of HB 5, which restricts citizen initiatives to get measures on the statewide ballot, will not slow them down.

They met at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office Monday to turn in another 728 petitions. The news conference was held minutes after one concluded a few blocks away at Pulse, where organizers are preparing to mark the third year, Wednesday, of the massacre there that left 49 dead and 53 wounded. The Ban Assault Weapons NOW conference included family members of people killed at Pulse on June 12, 2016, and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2017, in Parkland, a massacre that took 17 lives.

Stag Arms Announces They Will Leave Connecticut - June 7, 2019

Stag Arms, a New Britain manufacturer of automatic and semiautomatic AR-15 rifles, announced Friday it's leaving the city for a yet-to-be-determined site that offers "significant support for the firearms industry."

Stag Arms announced its board of directors decided to relocate as part of its "strategic initiative to significantly improve the overall customer experience."

"The location of Stag’s new headquarters has not been finalized but the board has narrowed down the options to a short list of vibrant communities where there is significant support for the firearms industry," the company said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Maine House Rejects Stand Your Ground Bill - June 7, 2019

The Maine House on Friday rejected a "stand your ground" bill backed by gun rights advocates who say it clarifies the right to use deadly force in self-defense.

The 78-57 vote to defeat the bill, which came after a short debate, fell largely along party lines, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it.

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"This bill seeks to correct state statute, to get it in line with the protection of our natural rights, mainly to defend life and obtain safety," said Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris, the bill's primary sponsor. He said the bill was necessary to protect Mainers if they faced danger outside of their homes.

The measure would have removed the requirement in state law that a person first try to retreat to safety before using deadly force in a confrontation outside of a person's home.

Conservative lawmakers hoped to remove the requirement and replace it with a so-called "stand your ground" provision similar to those in 25 other states, including New Hampshire.

30 Colorado Sheriffs Join Opposition to Magazine Ban Bill Headed For Supreme Court - June 6, 2019

About half of the state's county sheriffs this week joined the battle against Colorado's ban on gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, arguing that the law hinders peoples' ability to defend themselves.

Although law enforcement are exempt from the ban, the sheriffs argued in their brief to the Colorado Supreme Court that civilians should have the same access to magazines as typical officers and deputies. If law enforcement agencies believe a magazine that holds 20 or 30 rounds is best for defense, then those magazines are the best option for regular people who want to defend themselves, the sheriffs argued.

“Citizens do and should copy sheriffs' firearm and magazine selections so they will have reliable, sturdy arms for defense of self and others,” the brief stated. "These arms will be powerful enough for defense against violent criminals, and these arms will be appropriate for use in civil society, because sheriffs' arms are not mass-killing military arms. Instead, sheriffs' arms are best for defense of self and others, including against multiple attackers."

Thirty county sheriffs, the Colorado Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association and the Independence Institute filed the brief on Monday in support of a group of gun rights advocates challenging the law's constitutionality.

Colorado Supreme Court Will Hear Magazine Capacity Ban Case - April 23, 2019

The Colorado Supreme Court will decide whether the state's large-capacity magazine ban is constitutional.

The state's highest court announced Monday that it will review Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and National Association for Gun Rights' legal challenge of the controversial 2013 law that banned the sale and possession of rifle and pistol magazines with more than 15 cartridges.

People who already owned large-capacity magazines when the law went into effect could keep but not sell them.

Lower courts ruled the law is constitutional. The state supreme court would have the last word on the law unless it rules in favor of the state of Colorado and the plaintiffs successfully appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners argues the magazine limit violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The law was one of three gun control measures the Colorado legislature and then-Gov. John Hickenlooper put in place in 2013 after the Aurora movie theater shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Both shooters used high-capacity magazines.

Federal Judge Strikes Down California Magazine Ban - March 29, 2019

A federal judge Friday declared California's ban on high-capacity gun magazines over 10 rounds unconstitutional, blocking the state from enforcing the voter approved ban outlined in Proposition 63.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, prefaced the introduction to his 86 page order released Friday afternoon granting summary judgment in favor of gun owner Virginia Duncan and the California Pistol & Rifle Association by stating "individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts."

He proceeded to cite the stories of three women who were at their homes, not in California, but in Florida and Georgia, when they were shot at by intruders toting guns.

A variety of semiautomatic rifles.(Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press)

Those stories of women home alone when ambushed by armed robbers also peppered Benitez's comments during the nearly four hour long court hearing on the motion for summary judgment last summer where he suggested women who were attacked and had lower capacity gun magazines to defend themselves would not be able to stop an assailant, saying "now you're raped and now you're dead."

He also suggested at the court hearing, based on a reading of the Second Amendment, it "would probably be okay" for someone to own a bazooka or grenade.

Illinois Judge Throws Out Deerfield Assault Weapon Ban - March 22, 2019

A Lake County Circuit Court judge ruled Friday that the village of Deerfield overstepped its authority last year when it enacted a ban on assault weapons five years after the Illinois legislature declared such regulations the exclusive power of the state.

Judge Luis Berrones issued a permanent injunction blocking the village from enforcing its ordinance. In the ruling, Berrones wrote that the plaintiff gun owners have "a clearly ascertainable right to not be subjected to a preempted and unenforceable ordinance" that prohibits possession of assault weapons, imposes financial penalties for keeping them and allows their property to be confiscated.

Deerfield officials said they are reviewing the ruling with their legal team and exploring options including an appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court.

New Mexico Republicans Start Process To Annul Anti-Gun Laws - March 7, 2019

House Republicans joined a majority of New Mexico's sheriffs to begin the process of overturning a spate of gun control legislation recently passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature Thursday.

House Minority Leader Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia) sent a letter to the Secretary of State requesting the petitions for Senate Bill 8.

House Republicans announced they would begin the formal process to annul Senate Bill 8.

Under the New Mexico Constitution, the people have the power to 'disapprove, suspend and annul' laws enacted by the Legislature.

The process begins with a petition of New Mexico voters and requires several different actions depending on the number of signatures. The number of required signatures is based on the voters who cast a ballot in the 2018 General Election.

If 10 percent of voters sign the petition, the law is placed on the ballot for approval or rejection of all voters.

If 25 percent of the voters sign the petition within 90 days after adjournment of the session, the law is immediately suspended and it is placed on the ballot for approval or rejection of all voters.

"The response to this bill and others like it all around New Mexico is unprecedented, and we need to listen to the people," said House Republican Leader Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia). "What is happening in Santa Fe does not reflect what an overwhelming number of New Mexicans want, so we're going to make sure they are heard."

Kentucky Constitutional Carry Bill Passes House On Its Way To Governors Desk - March 1, 2019

Senate Bill 150, allowing permitless carry in the state of Kentucky, passed the Kentucky House Friday by a 60 to 37 vote.

The measure, backed by the NRA, was debated heavily with several legislators attempting to add amendments that ultimately failed.

The summary of Senate Bill 150 says the objective is to "create a new section of Chapter 237 to allow concealed deadly weapons to be carried by persons age 21 and over without a license in same locations where concealed carry license holders may carry them."

The Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police along with several other law enforcement agencies were against the bill, citing safety concerns.

Oklahoma Becomes The Latest Constitutional Carry State - February 27, 2019

Just hours after a controversial permitless carry bill sailed through the state Senate, Oklahoma's Republican governor quickly signed it into law.

The action though came as no surprise to House Bill 2597's supporters as Gov. Kevin Stitt had repeatedly promised to ink his name to the legislation more popularly known as "constitutional carry."

It also marked the first legislation Stitt signed into law since being elected in November.

"Oklahomans are strong supporters of the Second Amendment, and they made their voice known across all 77 counties last year," Stitt said in a statement.

He said the legislation's authors found a balance for both private property owners and Second Amendment rights.

The legislation allows anyone at least 21 years old without a felony conviction or other criminal records to carry openly or concealed with no permitting, licensing or training. The bill does not allow people to brandish firearms nor does it change where Oklahomans can legally carry. For instance, people would still be prohibited from carrying on college campuses, supporters said.

Ohio Lawmakers Moving Quickly To Fix Mistake In Gun Bill - February 26, 2019

Ohio lawmakers can move quickly on a problem, especially if it involves guns.

One of the first bills passed by the Senate in this session would correct a gun bill the legislature passed last year that, gun supporters say, would mistakenly ban a number of legal guns in Ohio.

The new law placed a variety of long guns in a prohibited category, potentially including AK-47s, long guns with a pistol grip, and some shotguns used in competitive shooting.

"Clearly this was not the legislative intent of House Bill 228," said Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, before the Senate voted 24-8 for a bill to fix the problem. Democrats opposed the measure.

House Bill 228 was a wide-ranging gun bill that further preempted local gun-related laws and shifted the burden of proof in self-defense situations, requiring prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person did not act in self-defense when taking lethal action.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the corrective bill as an emergency, meaning that, if the House also approves it, it would take effect immediately, beating the March 28 effective date of House Bill 228.

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 Jersey’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 ANJRPC’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.

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.

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."

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. “Under 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.”

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 city’s ban did not square against state preemption law which prevents local governments from regulating firearms.

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.

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.

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