Gun Related News Stories
Maryland Bill Would Disolve Concealed Carry Review Board - March 7, 2017
A Democratic state senator from Maryland wants to abolish the state's Handgun Permit Review Board, which gun control advocates say has become too willing to overturn state police recommendations about who should receive a concealed carry permit.
A bill proposed Monday by Sen. Richard Madaleno would dissolve the review board, which is staffed with gubernatorial appointees, and transfer the power to review permit denials to administrative judges.
Jen Pauliukonis, president of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, welcomed the legislation as stripping politics out of gun safety. She says the review board has overturned more recommendations from state troopers to deny permits since Gov. Larry Hogan (R) took office and reshaped the panel.
Interior Secretary Revokes Obama Rule Banning Lead Ammo On Federal Lands - March 2, 2017
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order Thursday overturning a ban on using lead ammunition on wildlife refuges.
Zinke signed the order on his first day in office, overturning a policy implemented by former Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe on Jan. 19, the Obama administration's last full day in office.
Ashe's policy banned the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on all FWS wildlife refuges that allow hunting or fishing, as well as in all other hunting or fishing regulated by the agency elsewhere.
It was meant to help prevent plants and animals from being poisoned by lead left on the ground or in the water.
"After reviewing the order and the process by which it was promulgated, I have determined that the order is not mandated by any existing statutory or regulatory requirement and was issued without significant communication, consultation or coordination with affected stakeholders," Zinke wrote in his order.
Florida Supreme Court Upholds Open Carry Ban - March 2, 2017
Rejecting arguments by Second Amendment supporters, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a longstanding state ban on people openly carrying firearms in public.
Justices, in a 4-2 ruling, said the state law "regulates only one manner of bearing arms and does not impair the exercise of the fundamental right to bear arms." In doing so, the Supreme Court sided with the 4th District Court of Appeal, which ruled in 2015 against a man arrested in St. Lucie County for openly carrying a gun in a holster.
"We agree with the 4th District and are satisfied that the state's prohibition on openly carrying firearms in public with specified exceptions --- such as authorizing the open carrying of guns to and from and during lawful recreational activities --- while still permitting those guns to be carried, albeit in a concealed manner, reasonably fits the state's important government interests of public safety and reducing gun-related violence," said the 47-page majority opinion, written by Justice Barbara Pariente and joined fully by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and Justice Peggy Quince. Justice R. Fred Lewis agreed with the result but did not sign on to the opinion.
But Justice Charles Canady, in a dissent joined by Justice Ricky Polston, said the law "collides with the Second Amendment right as understood" in a landmark 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Washington, D.C. gun law. He described as "feeble" arguments that the open-carry ban is justified for public-safety reasons.
Montana Governor Vetos Constitutional Carry, Post Office Carry Bills - February 24, 2017
In Big Sky Country, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday scrapped measures expanding permitless carry and to allow guns on post office property.
The bills, passed along party lines earlier this month, would have updated the state's concealed carry laws while potentially setting the stage for a potential 10th Amendment challenge with the federal government. In the end, Bullock would have neither.
The carry reform legislation, HB 262, would have allowed the carry of concealed firearms in the state without a permit providing the resident can legally possess a firearm. Currently, the state enjoys a rural form of constitutional carry, with permits only required inside certain city limits. If signed into law, the patchwork system would have homogenized statewide to permitless carry, also known as constitutional carry.
"HB 262 would effectively eliminate Montana's concealed weapon permitting process by allowing anyone eligible to possess a handgun to carry a concealed weapon without a permit," wrote Bullock. "The measure would allow individuals to decide for themselves whether they are eligible to carry a concealed weapon."
House Bill 246, aimed at enforcement of federal laws prohibiting guns on property managed by the U.S. Post Office in Montana, was scuttled by Bullock over concerns it would violate both the U.S. Constitution’s Property and Supremacy clauses.
Feds Approve South Dakota Gold Permits Exempting Background Checks - February 24, 2017
The federal government has approved the 'gold card' and enhanced concealed carry permits that will allow South Dakota residents to purchase firearms without a background check.
The legislature created the gold card permit program during the 2016 legislative session and the enhanced carry provisions the year before.
Attorney General Marty Jackley announced Friday that both programs had been approved as alternatives to background checks by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms this week.
To get the gold concealed carry permit, residents must pay a $70 fee plus $43.25 for fingerprinting and pass a federal background check. The enhanced permit requires the fingerprinting and FBI background check, a $100 fee and the completion of a firearms safety course.
New Hampshire Becomes 12th Constitutional Carry State - February 22, 2017
A license is no longer required to carry hidden loaded guns in New Hampshire.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has signed legislation removing the licensing requirement for carrying concealed firearms. A representative from the National Rifle Association says that makes New Hampshire the 12th state that doesn't require a license or permit.
Now anyone who isn't prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun can carry it concealed without a license. The previous law gave police chiefs and local officials the discretion to decide if someone was 'suitable' to carry a gun concealed.
Supporters say the bill restores gun owners' constitutional rights. But opponents worry it will allow dangerous people to carry hidden guns.
Utah Constitutional Carry Bill Comes Back From The Dead - February 22, 2017
Never believe it when a gun-slinging bill looks dead after a shoot-out. One arose from its supposed grave on Wednesday and blasted its way out of committee, leaving critics admittedly stunned.
The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted 7-5 to resurrect and endorse HB237 to allow carrying concealed guns in Utah without a permit. It also contains new, greater protection for victims of domestic violence.
That bill,sponsored by the committee's chairman, Rep. Lee Perry, R had apparently died there earlier this month on a tie 5-5 vote. But a couple of members who were absent for the first vote appeared and supported it on Wednesday, after some minor amendments.
Virginia Governor Vetos Gun And Switchblade Bills - February 21, 2017
Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed a bill Monday that would have legalized the carrying of a concealed switchblade knife, carried for use in a lawful profession or recreational activity.
Del. R. Lee Ware Jr., R-Powhatan, sponsored House Bill 1432 at the request of a Richmond-area switchblade enthusiast, who said he worried that he and his colleagues in the Greater Richmond Knife Club are breaking the law by taking knives from their collections to monthly club meetings.
A second bill McAuliffe vetoed on Monday would expand eligibility for concealed handgun permits. It would allow military service members who are between the ages of 18 and 21 and on active military duty, or who have been honorably discharged, to apply for a permit.
Under current law, residents and nonresidents must be 21 to carry a concealed handgun.
Del. Jeffrey L. Campbell, R-Smyth, sponsored House Bill 1582. GOP proponents say that if young soldiers can be trusted with guns while fighting overseas, they should be allowed to carry concealed at home.
McAuliffe said in his veto message that "weapons familiarization training as a component of an individual's military basic training" does not qualify the person to carry weapons in follow-on service.
Fourth Circuit Court Upholds Maryland Assault Weapon Ban - February 21, 2017
Maryland's ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons and its 10 round limit on gun magazines were upheld Tuesday by a federal appeals court in a decision that met with a strongly worded dissent.
In a 10-4 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said the guns banned under Maryland's law aren't protected by the Second Amendment.
"Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war," Judge Robert King wrote for the court, adding that the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller explicitly excluded such coverage.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who led the push for the law in 2013 as a state senator, said it's "unthinkable that these weapons of war, weapons that caused the carnage in Newtown and in other communities across the country, would be protected by the Second Amendment."
"It's a very strong opinion, and it has national significance, both because it's en-banc and for the strength of its decision," Frosh said, noting that all of the court's judges participated.
Judge William Traxler issued a dissent. By concluding the Second Amendment doesn't even apply, Traxler wrote, the majority "has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms." He also wrote that the court did not apply a strict enough review on the constitutionality of the law.
"For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland's law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home, and it should at least be subject to strict scrutiny review before it is allowed to stand," Traxler wrote.
Montana Governor Says He Will Veto Constitutional Carry Bill - February 17, 2017
Gov. Steve Bullock indicated Thursday he's going to veto a bill that would allow anyone who legally owns a gun in Montana to carry a concealed weapon, without a permit.
House Bill 262, sponsored by Rep. Bill Harris, R-Winnett, passed the Senate on Wednesday and is on its way to the governor's desk.
At his weekly meeting with Capitol reporters, Bullock said Thursday he'll "take a close look" at the bill before deciding, but that if it's the same concealed-weapon bill he vetoed in 2013 and 2015, he'd have the same problems with it.
Harris' HB262 is identical to the bills Bullock vetoed in the previous two sessions.
Each bill says anyone who can legally possess a handgun in Montana cannot be required to have a permit, to carry a concealed weapon.
Pennyslvania Attorney Josh Prince Breaks Through Carrying On School Property In Superior Court - February 16, 2017
Today, the Superior Court, en banc, issued its decision in Commonwealth v. Goslin, 1114 MDA 2015, regarding whether an individual is entitled to claim the defense of 'other lawful purpose' when carrying a weapon on school grounds.
The original devastating decision was issued by the Superior Court holding that one could not possess a weapon on school grounds, unless it was related to a school activity, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince contacted Mr. Goslin and offered to represent him in petitioning the Superior Court to reconsider his case, en banc, and permit re-briefing and oral argument. After filing the motion for reconsideration, the Superior Court vacated its prior decision, granted reconsideration, en banc, and permitted the parties to re-brief the matter and to argue the matter at oral argument. Thereafter, Chief Counsel Prince re-briefed the matter and attended oral argument.
Today, the Superior Court, en banc, without any dissenting opinions, filed its decision vacating the trial court's finding of guilt and declaring:
We disagree with the trial court's conclusion that the language of Section 912(c) is vague.
Rather, we conclude that, in order to ascertain the meaning of Section 912(c), we need not look beyond its plain language. The plain meaning of Section 912(c) provides two separate defenses: possessing and using a weapon on school property "in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity" as well as possessing "for other lawful purpose."
Senate Passes Bill To End Obama SSI Gun Ban - February 15, 2017
The U.S. Senate approved legislation Wednesday that will roll back an Obama administration rule requiring the Social Security Administration to submit information about mentally impaired recipients so they can be added to a list of people barred from purchasing a gun.
The 57-43 vote to overturn Obama's rule is the first clash over gun control in the new Congress.
Issued in December in response to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the rule was expected to add about 75,000 names to a database of people banned from purchasing weapons.
It applies to recipients of disability insurance and supplemental security income who require someone else to manage their benefits because of a disabling mental disorder, ranging from anxiety to dementia or schizophrenia.
Wyoming Senate Moves Campus Carry Bills Out Of Committee - February 15, 2017
After hearing nearly two hours of public testimony, a Senate committee endorsed two proposals that would allow people with concealed-carry permits to take weapons onto Wyoming college campuses and to state and local government meetings.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 Wednesday to send House Bills 136 and 137 to the full Senate for additional debate. The bills have already passed the House.
Supporters of the two proposals say law-abiding citizens who must meet stringent requirements to earn a concealed carry permit shouldn't have their rights infringed upon. They say the measures would improve self-defense in active shooter situations.
"It's restoring our fundamental and natural rights," Rep. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester and a sponsor of both bills, said.
Consitutional Carry Bill Passes New Hampshire House - February 9, 2017
A bill that would make it easier for Granite Staters to carry a concealed weapon on Thursday easily passed its final major legislative hurdle on its path toward becoming law.
The state House of Representatives voted 200-97 in favor of the measure, which would repeal the need for a permit or license to carry a concealed handgun. There were a large number of absent state representatives, due to the powerful snowstorm slamming New Hampshire.
Last month the New Hampshire state Senate, in a 13-10 party line vote, passed the bill.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has repeatedly said he'll sign the bill into law.
Last month, following the measure's passage in the state Senate, the state's first GOP governor in a dozen years wrote "I am pleased that the State Senate today voted to advance common sense legislation in support of a citizen's fundamental right to carry a firearm, joining neighboring states throughout the region and across the country," Sununu wrote in a statement following the vote.
Colorado Democrats Kill Three Pro-Gun Bills - February 9, 2017
Democrats on a state House committee on Wednesday effectively killed three gun-related bills sponsored by Republicans in the first blow to a handful of pieces of legislation aiming to strip some limitations on gun ownership in the state.
The House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted 6-3 in party-line votes to 'postpone indefinitely' House Bills 1036, 1037 and 1097, usually a death sentence in Colorado's Legislature. The three bills were debated for more than eight hours.
House Bill 1036 would have completely stripped language from state statute that currently forbids people from carrying concealed handguns on public school grounds, even if the holder has a permit.
House Bill 1037 would have expanded state law that allows people in their own homes to use deadly force against a person under certain circumstances to owners, managers and employees of a business as well.
The committee also killed House Bill 1097, which is essentially a mirror to Senate Bill 7 and would eliminate a section of state law that bars 'large-capacity magazines.'
Connecticut Propose Outrageous Increases To Firearm Licenses In New Budget - February 8, 2017
Gun owners will see huge increases in permit fees that would raise millions of dollars to help the state combat its two-year, $3.6 billion deficit.
As part of his budget, Malloy is proposing to increase the state portion of the pistol permit fee from $70 to $300. He also is proposing the cost of the initial 5-year pistol permit fee from $140 to $370.
The increase in fees for gun owners will bring in another $9 million to the state annually, according to the governor’s budget estimates.
Additionally, Malloy is proposing to increase background check fees from its current $50 to $75.
That increase, the governor's budget estimates, would bring in another $2.6 million annually to the state’s coffers.
Senior ATF Official Proposes Loosening Gun Regulations - February 6, 2017
The second highest ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has written a proposal to reduce gun regulations, including examining a possible end to the ban on importing assault weapons into the United States.
The 11-page 'white paper' by Ronald B. Turk, associate deputy director and chief operating officer of the ATF, calls for removing restrictions on the sale of gun silencers; allowing gun dealers to have more guns used in crimes traced to their stores before the federal government requires additional information from the dealer; and initiating a study on lifting the ban on imported assault weapons.
"Restriction on imports serves questionable public safety interests, as these rifles are already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States," Turk wrote of the ban on imported AR-15s and AK-style weapons.
The white paper, obtained by The Washington Post, is titled "Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations." The proposal opens with the wording of the Second Amendment and is dated Jan. 20.
House Passes Bill To Overturn Obamas Social Security Firearm Ban - February 2, 2017
A bill authored by Congressmen Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-La., and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, to defend the Second Amendment rights of Social Security beneficiaries passed the U.S. House of Representatives today, Feb. 2.
The bill, H.J. Res. 40, provided for the Congressional disapproval of a regulation issued in the midnight hours of the Obama administration that would strip thousands of Social Security beneficiaries of their Second Amendment rights.
The regulation required that the Social Security Administration automatically report any beneficiary who receives assistance managing their finances due to a mental disability to the FBI to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Entry into that system would mean those beneficiaries forfeited their rights to possess and purchase firearms.
Dr. Abraham and Rep. Johnson's bill used the Congressional Review Act to rescind the regulation.
"This rule allows for bureaucrats to strip disabled people of their Second Amendment rights without due process. The Constitution applies to all Americans, including disabled Americans, and I'm proud to see my colleagues stand up for them by passing this bill today," Dr. Abraham said.
Kansas Firearm Law Overuled By Federal Judge - January 31, 2017
A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments that a Kansas law can shield from federal prosecution anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state, a ruling that casts doubt on the legality of similar laws passed in nine states across the nation.
The decision handed down by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten allows federal firearms charges against Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler to stand. The ruling clears the way for their sentencing on Monday.
Jurors in November returned eight guilty verdicts against Cox, the owner of Tough Guys gun store in Chanute, under the National Firearms Act for illegally making and marketing unregistered firearms, including a short-barreled rifle and gun silencers. Kettler was found guilty on one count of possession of an unregistered silencer.
The Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act, which passed in 2013, says firearms, accessories and ammunition manufactured and kept within the borders of Kansas are exempt from federal gun control laws. Kansas modeled its law on a Montana law that an appeals court has found to be invalid, according to court filings.
Montana Attorney General Strikes Down Missoula Background Check Law - January 27, 2017
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox issued an opinion on Thursday that the city's controversial universal background check requirement on gun transfers is prohibited by state law.
The nine page opinion came at the request of Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, and held Missoula's local ordinance was in violation of state preemption laws. While Fox said there are some local gun laws a city can adopt, he feels the Missoula measure went too far.
"Plainly interpreted, the Montana Legislature has prohibited all forms of local government from exercising any regulatory power over the purchase, sale or transfer of firearms," wrote Fox, who more than a year before the ordinance was passed warned it "likely violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms."