Tag Archive for: GunRights

SCOTUS: The Second Amendment is NOT a Second Class Right

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

For the third time in the last fourteen years, the Supreme Court has strongly held that the Second Amendment “is not a second-class right,” as Justice Thomas re-affirmed for the 6-3 majority in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. This decision was released the same day that the Senate passed the bipartisan “red flag” legislation, now law, that provided a person’s firearms may be temporarily confiscated without due process.

Thomas emphasizes and bases his opinion for the Court on the two well-known and recent Second-Amendment decisions. In DC v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Scalia that a District of Columbia law was unconstitutional. The law completely prohibited the possession of a handgun in the home—“where the defense of self, family, and property is most acute,” said Scalia—and required other firearms in the home to be unloaded and disassembled.

The Court ruled in Heller against probably the oldest argument supporting gun restrictions, namely, that because it begins with “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,” the Second Amendment allowed firearm possession only for state militias and men when in service of militias. However, the Heller majority concluded that the Amendment secured an “individual right . . . unconnected with service in a militia.” In Bruen, Thomas, citing Heller, said that the “Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct.” Only four members of the current Court were members of the Court for the Heller decision.

In McDonald v. Chicago (2010), the Court in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Alito went beyond Heller and ruled that the right “to keep and bear arms” is a “fundamental” and “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” (citing the Glucksberg 1997 case), and that the Second Amendment was incorporated against and applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. Since the District of Columbia is not a state, incorporation was not an issue in Heller. Five members of the McDonald Court are still on the Court.

So, with recent and definitive rulings, even though by narrow margins, that the Second Amendment is an “individual” and “fundamental and deeply rooted” American right concerned with the defense of “self and family,” what did the state of New York try to do? In 2017, that state enacted a law requiring a hearing for a license to possess a firearm in the home before a judge or law-enforcement officer to show proof of “good moral character,” no criminal or mental illness history, and the absence of any “good cause” for denial (how was one to prove that negative?). To carry a concealed handgun in public, the law required the applicant to affirmatively prove that “proper cause exists” for such a license.

Such a requirement is so stiff that, as Justice Thomas noted in his opinion, a New York state court had ruled that “living or working in an area noted for criminal activity does not suffice” for a concealed carry permit. And other New York courts have ruled that the “proper cause” must concern a “particular threat” to the safety of that particular person, a “special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”

As it had already done in both Heller and McDonald, the Court in Bruen reviewed at length the entire history of public firearm regulation in the states both before and since the ratification of the Second Amendment. The Court reviewed laws and customs of medieval and early modern English history, the American colonies and early American history, pre-and post-Civil War history, and late 19th and early-20th century history. Thomas observed that there have been occasional and limited restrictions on the right to bear arms, but “None of these restrictions imposed a substantial burden on public carry analogous to that imposed by New York’s restrictive licensing regime.”

It is this objective and comparative review of “the Anglo-American history of public carry,” together with the plain text of the Second Amendment that is definitive, Thomas concludes. “We reiterate that the standard for applying the Second Amendment is as follows: When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

In addition, Thomas points out that to “bear arms” is something a person does in public and therefore is a public right. No one “bears” but instead only possesses their firearms in the privacy of their homes. American citizens can bear concealed firearms in public.

The Court’s Bruen opinion is its latest, strong affirmation of the full constitutional status of a routinely disparaged or ignored constitutional right, showing that all constitutional rights are equal.

The five-opinion, 135-page decision also features a direct confrontation between Justice Alito in concurrence and Justice Breyer in dissent. Breyer begins his dissenting opinion with eight pages of an extra-legal and extended op-ed with sources cited about the contemporary need for firearms regulation. He begins with “Since the start of this year (2022), there have 277 reported mass shootings—an average of more than one per day.” To this, Alito retorts that a mass shooter will not be deterred by a law forbidding carrying “a handgun outside the home.” He also adds that the New York “law at issue in this case” did not stop the mass shooter in Buffalo, New York.

Breyer repeatedly emphasizes the use of guns in suicide. Alito replies again that the New York law preventing carrying handguns in public has nothing to do with suicide carried out in private. The same goes for the use of guns in domestic disputes. It has nothing to do with the case at hand. Back and forth it goes, with Alito arguing” that “our country’s high level of gun violence,” is itself a reason “that cause(s) law-abiding citizens to feel the need to carry a gun for self-defense,” and citing a source on his own: “According to survey data, defensive firearm use occurs up to 2.5 million times per year.”

In his final words at the end of his opinion, Justice Thomas sets out a right equal to all other constitutional rights:

The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not “a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” McDonald, 561 U. S., at 780 (plurality opinion). We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.

New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

The Court’s Bruen opinion is its latest, strong affirmation of the full constitutional status of a routinely disparaged or ignored constitutional right, showing that all constitutional rights are equal.

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This article was published in Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

There’s No Objective Evidence the Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban Saved Lives

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

For the children we can save,” declared President Biden on June 2, “we should reinstate the assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazines that we passed in 1994.” To support this claim, Biden alleged:

And in the 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down. But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled. Those are the facts.

In reality, Biden is confusing terms and distorting data to paint a picture that is opposed to the facts. Such facts include but are not limited to the following:

  • The number of people killed in mass shootings didn’t decline even after the 1986 federal ban on automatic guns, which are more capable of mass murder than the guns Biden wants to ban.
  • The terms “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines” are misleading and refer to common weapons used by citizens for hunting and home defense.
  • Before, during, and after the 1994 law cited by Biden, the portion of the U.S. population killed in mass shootings barely budged, and the slight changes are better explained by other factors.

Automatic Firearms Have Been Banned Since 1986

U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Eddie Hedgepeth looks through the scope of his 5.56mm M4 Carbine. Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

Eight years before the “assault weapons” ban referenced by Biden, Congress passed and President Reagan signed a 1986 law that made it unlawful for civilians to “transfer or possess a machinegun.” Under federal law, the term “machinegun” means “any weapon” that can fire “more than one shot” with “a single function of the trigger.” Thus, the ban includes all types of automatic firearms, including machine guns, submachine guns, and assault rifles. These are the types of guns commonly used by armed forces.

The 1986 ban, which is still in effect, has an exception for guns legally owned before the law was enacted, but because automatic firearms have been heavily regulated since 1934, less than 4 million are currently owned by civilians. The relative rarity and strict regulation of these weapons are highlighted by a 2016 U.S. Department of Justice study that found “no evidence that” any owner of an automatic gun was convicted of using one to commit a crime from 2006 through 2014.

The primary purpose of the 1986 law was to reduce mass shooting deaths by limiting the availability of weapons with rapid rates of fire. As explained in the book Military Technology, “A machine gunner’s weapon fired hundreds of bullets each minute. He could point the weapon in the general direction of his enemy and fire. Even poorly-trained shooters could hit their targets. Automatic weapons made war a far more deadly business.”

Nevertheless, the portion of the U.S. population killed in mass shootings (defined in academic literature as those in which four or more people are killed), didn’t decline in the wake of the law:

Semi-Automatic “Assault Weapons” Were Banned From 1994–2004

AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Credit: istock/Luevanos

Less than a decade after banning automatic weapons, Congress passed and President Clinton signed a 1994 law that made it illegal to “manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon.” These guns often look like military firearms and share some characteristics with them (like detachable magazines and pistol grips), but they lack their defining feature: the ability to fire multiple bullets with a single trigger pull.

For that reason and the fact that these guns are used for hunting and home defensefirearm specialists typically don’t call them “assault weapons” but describe them as:

  • “modern sporting rifles,”
  • by their make/model (like “AR-15”), or
  • with functional descriptors like “semi-automatic rifle.”

Nevertheless, the politicians who sponsored the 1994 law labeled these semi-automatic guns “assault weapons.” This term sounds very similar to “assault rifles,” which happen to be the most common firearms used by soldiers and terrorists.

The lawmakers’ decision to use those easily confused terms accords with a 1988 booklet written by Josh Sugarmann, the founder of a prominent gun control organization called the Violence Policy Center. In it, he wrote about the “new topic” of “assault weapons” and laid out this strategy for banning them:

The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

Many journalists have advanced this agenda by using the term “assault weapons” to describe a broad range of semi-automatic guns. These include the most commonly sold rifles in America, more than 19.8 million of which are now in circulation.

Numerous journalists and politicians have also conflated “assault weapons” with “assault rifles” by applying both of these terms to semi-automatic guns. This is chronicled in the nation’s leading authority on journalism lingo, the Associated Press Stylebook. A decade ago, the 2011 Stylebook distinguished between “assault weapons” and “assault rifles” as follows:

assault weapon: A semi-automatic firearm similar in appearance to a fully automatic firearm or military weapon. Not synonymous with assault rifle, which can be used in fully automatic mode.

This splitting of verbal hairs between semi-automatic “assault weapons” and military “assault rifles” led journalists to misuse these terms, but instead of fixing this confusion, the 2015 Stylebook made it worse. It did this by combining both terms into a single definition while stating that they “are often used interchangeably,” but “some” journalists “make the distinction that assault rifle is a military weapon….”

The use of similar and even identical terms to describe materially different weapons violates a basic principle of honest reporting stressed in journalism guidebooks: “use jargon only when necessary and define it carefully.”

Like the 1986 ban on automatic weapons, the 1994 ban on semi-automatic “assault weapons” had an exception for guns legally owned prior to the law’s enactment. Unlike the 1986 ban, however, the 1994 ban was not permanent. That’s because lawmakers included a provision that sunset the ban in 10 years as a compromise to secure enough votes to pass it and to provide time to “investigate and study” its “impact, if any, on violent and drug trafficking crime.”

The law required the U.S. Attorney General to conduct and publish such a study within 30 months of the ban’s enactment, and the study concluded that “the public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated.” A similar study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice was published in 2004, the year the law was due to expire. It found that the ban had:

no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury, as we might have expected had the ban reduced crimes with both AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large-capacity magazines].

On the other hand, the authors of the study noted that the effects of the law “are still unfolding and may not be fully felt for several years into the future,” and so it is “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”

When the ban expired in 2004, various members of Congress sponsored bills to renew it, but none of them passed.

“High Capacity” Magazines Were Banned From 1994–2004

Left: 17-Round magazine for handgun. Credit: Magpul. Right: 30-Round magazine for rifle. Credit: istock/zim286

The same 1994 law which banned many semi-automatic guns until 2004 also banned “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” for the same period. The most common of these devices are detachable magazines (or “mags” for short), which hold and feed ammunition into the vast bulk of semi-automatic guns.

The politicians who wrote the law applied the term “high capacity” to mags that hold more than 10 rounds, even though these are standard on many popular handguns and rifles. For example, the stock magazine for a Glock 19, one of the best-selling handguns in the world, holds 15 rounds.

In fact, mags that hold more than 10 rounds are so common that more than 150 million of them are currently in circulation in the United States.

As a general rule, mags with more capacity are a tactical advantage because they allow the shooter to fire more bullets without reloading. However, a trained gunman can swap out a mag in one second. This allows mass shooters to effectively bypass the capacity restriction by bringing multiple mags to an attack. In contrast, it is not practical for the many millions of citizens who legally carry concealed firearms to keep a stockpile of mags on their waist.

Another tradeoff on mag size is that larger ones are bulkier, which can make weapons less concealable and harder to maneuver. Also, very large mags tend to jam, like the 100-round magazine used by the perpetrator of the 2012 “Dark Knight” movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.

What Happened in the Wake of the 1994 Law?

The 1994–2004 ban on certain semi-automatic guns and 10+ round mags correlates with a slight decline in the portion of the U.S. population killed in mass shootings, but the association is weak, and there is no clear pattern:

Furthermore, the ban did not begin until the last 3.5 months of 1994, and:

  • production of these weapons in 1994 was more than twice that of a typical year because people rushed to buy them before the ban took effect.
  • a 2002 paper in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology found that the rush to buy these guns “produced the unintended consequence of making AWs more accessible” through at least mid-1996.
  • the portion of people killed in mass shootings was lower in 1996 than in six of the eight years that followed while the ban was in effect.

Most importantly, Biden’s statement suffers from the sophomoric myth that association proves causation. Students are taught to avoid this fallacy in high school, but reporterscommentators, and even scholars often embrace it. In the words of an academic textbook about analyzing data:

Association is not the same as causation. This issue is a persistent problem in empirical analysis in the social sciences. Often the investigator will plot two variables and use the tight relationship obtained to draw absolutely ridiculous or completely erroneous conclusions. Because we so often confuse association and causation, it is extremely easy to be convinced that a tight relationship between two variables means that one is causing the other. This is simply not true.

The reason why this is not true is because many other factors can affect events like mass shootings, and there is frequently no objective way to isolate and quantify the effects of a single factor. With regard to the 1994 ban, just a few of the many factors that could have been at play during this era include the following:

  • The very same 1994 law that enacted the firearm and magazine restrictions also contained a massive array of measures to reduce violent crime, including incentives for states to increase “the percentage of convicted violent offenders sentenced to prison” and increase “the average prison time which will be served in prison by convicted violent offenders.” This is significant because the vast bulk of murders are committed by people with long rap sheets.
  • Wall-to-wall media coverage of mass shootings—which began with the Columbine school massacre of 1999—has since motivated many copycat killers seeking fame. Notably, the infamous Columbine mass murder occurred in the midst of the 1994–2004 ban.
  • Less than 1% of all murders in the U.S. occur in mass shootings, and the overall murder rate fell by 39% during the years of the ban. Thus, the slight decline in mass shootings may be a consequence of the much larger decline in all murders. This is why the 2004 DOJ-funded study concluded that “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”

Using the childish logic of Biden, one would be forced to conclude that the right-to-carry law enacted by Florida in 1987 is responsible for the massive drop in murder rates that occurred in its wake:

The chart above shows what a strong association looks like, but even still, one cannot draw definitive conclusions from it because a multitude of other factors could be at play.

Biden’s & PolitiFact’s Phony Data

As proven by the data above, Biden’s claim that “mass shootings tripled” after the 1994–2004 ban has no basis in reality. However, a PolitiFact article by Jon Greenberg alleges it is “mostly true.”

PolitiFact attempts to support this claim by citing a paper published in 2019 by the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. The details of this study are hidden behind a $60 paywall, but there, the authors reveal that their count of mass shootings is “restricted to incidents reported by all three” of the following sources: “Mother Jones Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and Stanford University.”

Using that methodology—which relies on the absurd notion that all three of their sources have complete data stretching back for decades—the study presents the following chart that shows zero mass shooting deaths in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2004:

In other words, the paper ignores numerous people killed in mass shootings during the period of the ban, pretending as if these events and many others never took place:

  • The 1995 Corpus Christi, TX workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered five people.
  • The 1996 Fort Lauderdale, FL workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered five of his former coworkers.
  • The 1997 Orange, CA workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered four people.
  • The 2001 Melrose Park, IL workplace shooting, where a gunman murdered four people.
  • The 2002 Rutledge, AL farm shooting, where a gunman murdered six members of his girlfriend’s family.

Further illustrating the inanity of this study, Dr. Louis Klarevas of Columbia University, a Ph.D. who specializes in mass-casualty violence, skewered the paper for having “a large number of misclassifications.”

Yet, PolitiFact treats this deceitful data as if it were fact, and healthcare professionals are invited to be brainwashed by it because the paper is “Accredited for Continuing Medical Education.”

Summary

In his speech, Biden declared that his gun control strategy is part of “my Unity Agenda,” but he betrayed this claim in the same speech by making a partisan plea for votes while attacking Republicans. If “Congress fails” to implement his agenda, said Biden, “I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote.”

Contrary to Biden’s claim that his agenda would save lives:

  • there is no association between the number of people killed in mass shootings and the 1986 ban on automatic guns.
  • there is a weak association between the number of people killed in mass shootings and the 1994–2004 ban on certain semi-automatic guns and 10+ round mags.
  • the weak association is easily attributable to other factors.
  • the “mass shootings tripled” statistic is patently false.
  • bans on magazines that hold 10+ rounds give mass murderers a tactical advantage over law-abiding citizens who carry guns to protect themselves and others.

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This article was published by JustFactsDaily and is reproduced with permission.

A Conversation About Gun Violence

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

We need to have a conversation about gun violence!

OK, you start.

You hate children!

That’s slander, not a conversation, but go ahead.

Schools should be Gun-Free Zones.

Those signs have been up since 1990. I said then that Gun-Free Zones wouldn’t work, and I was right, wasn’t I? What else?

Background checks!

We’ve had background checks since 1985. I said then that background checks wouldn’t work, and I was right, wasn’t I? Almost all of the mass shooters passed background checks. So, you want to do even more of what hasn’t worked; got it. What else?

Ban assault weapons!

We did that for 10 years; and as I predicted, it didn’t work, did it?

Yes, it did! The president said so!

The president also said he drove an 18-wheeler, graduated at the top of his class, hit a baseball off the wall in Nationals Stadium, was recommended for the Naval Academy, and was arrested in South Africa while protesting apartheid. The president is one of those people who say things that are not true. There is a word for such people; the president is a … you know, the thing. The Department of Justice study concluded the Assault Weapons Ban didn’t do a damn thing. What else do you want to have a conversation about?

If the shooter had not had an AR15, he would not have killed so many children.

Yes, he would have. In most mass shootings, the shooters have used handguns, shotguns, and hunting rifles. When victims are trapped and helpless, weapon type is irrelevant, because the shooter can take his time. What else?

Then ban all guns!

Yeah, that would work as well as banning alcohol did, and how is that War On Drugs coming along? Lots of people have been killed in those noble, well-meaning experiments. Anyway, when psychos don’t have guns, the body count goes up… way up. They use truck bombs (Murrah Building), pressure cooker bombs (Boston Marathon), fire (Happyland Social Club), and vehicles driven into crowds (Waukesha). Why are you proposing something that would cause more people to be killed? Whose side are you on? What else?

Red Flag Laws!

Those have failed just like background checks have. Many of the mass shooters and school shooters were already on the police radar with red flags flying all over the place. Many states already have red flag laws, and mostly they get used by vengeful ex-spouses and co-workers trying to make trouble with false accusations. Because (as you probably don’t know), the essence of a red flag law is taking somebody’s guns away without due process — just an accusation, no hearing, no right to deny the accusation or show exculpatory evidence. Somebody makes an accusation and that automatically makes someone guilty.

But we have to Do Something!

Something stupid and counterproductive, or something that might actually help?

Well, what are your child-hating ideas, you child-hater? Arming teachers?

Glad you have an open mind. Not “arming” teachers, but “allowing” teachers to carry guns if that is their choice. (You’re in favor of choice, right?) Take down those stupid Gun-Free Zone signs, and assure teachers they will not be arrested and fired if they are serious adults who actually want to protect their students.

You are crazy! What other crazy ideas do you have that I have already decided not to listen to?

Long-term, work toward encouraging families with fathers. Almost every mass shooter has come from a family with no father, an absentee father, or a father who was abusive and/or a criminal. There is no correlation between mass shooters and any particular gun or gun law, but there is a strong correlation with fatherlessness.

You hate children! Also, you are a racist.

Thanks for the conversation.

 

Ninth Circuit Panel Strikes Semi-Auto Rifle Ban For Young Adults in SAF Case

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

A three-judge panel for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday struck down a California prohibition on sales of semiautomatic rifles to young adults in the 18-20-year-old range, remanding the case back to the district court for further proceedings in a win for the Second Amendment Foundation. The case is known as Jones v. Bonta.

SAF was joined by the Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc., Firearms Policy Foundation, Calguns Foundation, Poway Weapons, and Gear and PWG Range, North County Shooting Center, Inc, Beebe Family Arms and Munitions, and three private citizens including Matthew Jones for whom the case is named.

The majority opinion was written by Judge Ryan Nelson and joined by Judge Kenneth Lee, both Donald Trump appointees, and in part by Judge Sidney Stein from the Southern District of New York, a Bill Clinton appointee. Judge Stein also dissented in part.

Writing for the majority, Judge Nelson observed, “(T)he Second Amendment protects the right of young adults to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them. The district court reasoned otherwise and held that the laws did not burden Second Amendment rights at all: that was legal error…(T)he district court erred by applying intermediate scrutiny, rather than strict scrutiny, to the semiautomatic centerfire rifle ban. And even under intermediate scrutiny, this ban likely violates the Second Amendment because it fails the ‘reasonable fit’ test.”

“We are delighted with the opinion,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The court majority rightly recognized that delaying the exercise of a right until age 21 does irreparable harm. It also applied strict scrutiny to the semi-auto ban.”

He noted this ruling could have an impact on another case challenging a similar prohibition in Washington State, which is also part of the Ninth Circuit. There, the prohibition was adopted via a citizen initiative in 2018, and was challenged by SAF and the National Rifle Association.

Fifth Circuit Rules Against New Jersey in 3-D Gun Ban Case

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Second Amendment Foundation and Defense Distributed today are celebrating a court victory in a long-running battle to allow online publication of information related to the 3D printing of firearms, thanks to a ruling by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that returns claims against the New Jersey attorney general (NJAG) to its jurisdiction.

A district court order had wrongly severed the case against the NJAG, from a lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs, and transferred it to a federal court in New Jersey. Today’s ruling in the Fifth Circuit directs the district court in Texas to “request retransfer from its counterpart in New Jersey.”

“It’s a huge victory for us,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “because New Jersey wanted to be severed from our legal action in their effort to prevent publication of the information by Defense Distributed, thus violating the company’s and SAF’s First Amendment rights to promote the exercise of Second Amendment rights.”

This effort began when anti-gun-rights attorneys general, led by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, filed suit in the Western District of Washington to enjoin the State Department from authorizing the release of Defense Distributed’s files on the internet under a settlement from a previous SAF and Defense Distributed lawsuit. That effort was an offshoot of attempts by then-New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal and several of his peers to prevent the plaintiffs’ distribution of materials related to the 3D printing of firearms.

Writing for the majority, Circuit Judge Edith H. Jones stated, “Correctly assessed, the NJAG did not carry its burden to clearly demonstrate that transfer is clearly more appropriate than the Plaintiffs’ choice of forum. The district court erred legally and factually in virtually every aspect of this issue, and its decision, which has unnecessarily lengthened this litigation, even more, represents a clear abuse of discretion for which mandamus is an appropriate remedy.”

An earlier ruling by a Fifth Circuit panel held that the NJAG is “subject to the jurisdiction of Texas courts” in this case because Defense Distributed is a Texas-based company. Today, the Fifth Circuit ruling directs the district court to:

  • Vacate its order dated April 19, 2021, that severed Defense Distributed’s claims against the NJAG and transferred them to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey;
  • Request the District of New Jersey to return the transferred case to the Western District of Texas, Austin Division; and,
  • After return, to reconsolidate Defense Distributed’s case against the NJAG back into the case still pending against the State Department.

“This case has dragged on for years,” Gottlieb noted. “What today’s ruling clearly demonstrates is that attorneys general who violates our First and Second Amendment rights will be held to answer by the courts, wherever the violations occur.

“NJAG wanted their case severed and transferred,” he added, “and now that will not happen. It’s unfortunate that justice has been delayed so long. It’s time to move forward. This is a case we fully expect to totally win.”

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This article was published by The Second Amendment Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

 

Meet Biden’s Second Nominee to Head ATF

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

President Joe Biden on Monday nominated Steve Dettelbach, a former U.S. attorney in Ohio with a record of supporting gun control measures, to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Dettelbach has a history of backing gun control measures, promoting several firearms restrictions during an unsuccessful 2018 campaign to become Ohio’s attorney general, and making multiple posts on social media calling on America to take action in the wake of high-profile shootings. He told WOSU that he supported universal background checks and bans on so-called assault weapons during his campaign.

During the campaign, Dettelbach received endorsements from prominent gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, as well as former President Barack Obama and Biden.

Dettelbach also opposed a plan to arm teachers in the aftermath of the February 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, telling WOSU “it doesn’t protect people in any meaningful way, it’s more than a day late and much more than a dollar short.”

“Who allows madmen such easy access to firearms?” Dettelbach asked in a 2019 Twitter post shortly after a shooting in El Paso, Texas. “Who armed a madmen with enough hate that he would kill people just because they were Hispanic? Those people must also be held accountable.”

Dettelbach retweeted a 2020 post from the Sandy Hook Promise, a group that advocates for certain gun control measures, asking people to sign a “petition demanding action to prevent school shootings.”

The White House called Dettelbach “a highly respected former U.S. Attorney and career prosecutor who spent over two decades as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice” in a release Monday.

The nomination of Dettelbach comes in conjunction with a crackdown on so-called ghost guns, according to the release. The Justice Department announced new rules to target ghost guns, including requiring those who make or sell them to get federal firearms licenses and to run background checks.

Biden withdrew the nomination of David Chipman to the ATF in September 2021 after allegations of racist comments and bipartisan pushback over his attitude toward gun owners. Chipman called for banning the AR-15, a popular semi-automatic rifle, and pushed a definition of “assault weapons” that many viewed as more extreme than that of the European Union.

“President Biden’s new pick to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a rinse and repeat from his last unsuitable nominee, David Chipman,” Amy Hunter, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, told the Daily Caller News Foundation, adding:

The new nominee, Steven Dettelbach, is a dedicated gun controller who has supported gun bans, restrictions on lawful firearm transfers, and expansion of prohibitions on who can possess firearms. Dettelbach’s history proves he cannot be trusted to work objectively and fairly with law-abiding gun owners, the firearms industry, or law enforcement—he will serve only to further restrict Americans’ rights.

In a statement Monday, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, one of the gun industry’s largest trade organizations, said it had “significant concerns regarding Dettelbach’s previous public statements supporting bans on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), or AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, universal background checks, which are unworkable without a national firearm registry that is already forbidden by federal law, and extreme-risk protection orders, or so-called ‘red flag’ laws, without protections for Due Process considerations.”

Dettelbach did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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This article was published by The Daily Caller News Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

Indiana the 24th Constitutional-carry State. Three More States Right Behind

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law on March 21 his state’s permitless carry bill that had passed both the state’s House and Senate overwhelmingly.

That makes 24. And the third state so far this year.

On March 10, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a similar bill into law. This was followed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who signed a constitutional-carry bill into law on March 14.

Georgia is next, as a similar bill passed both state houses last Friday and will arrive shortly on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk for signing.

Said Kemp earlier, “The Constitution should be our carry permit, and I look forward to signing a Constitutional Carry measure this year to enshrine hardworking Georgians’ ability to protect themselves and their families in Georgia law.”

National Rifle Association (NRA) Chairman Wayne LaPierre told Fox News:

The success of the carry movement in America cannot be denied at this point. When Gov. Brian Kemp signs this landmark legislation, half of America will protect the right to carry as an inherent and inalienable right.

Two more states — Florida and Nebraska — are on the brink of passing laws protecting their citizens’ right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, without first having to get permission to do so.

South Carolina is right behind, with conservative, pro-constitutional Republican majorities in both statehouses. Constitutional-carry bills failed to pass last year, but the pressure is building on Governor Henry McMaster to urge the legislature to bring such a bill to his desk for signing.

Tennessee already has a “partial” constitutional carry law in place, but it only applies to handguns, and legislators in the Volunteer State are itching to amend it to include long guns. What’s in place, according to John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, is “not real constitutional carry,” and his group is lobbying to expand the present law.

It should be noted that not a single state has repealed a constitutional-carry law, nor has there been a single move in any state to consider such a move.

It should also be noted that arguments against such laws consist primarily of worries that more firearms will mean more gun violence. But that has simply not been the case. According to the Crime Research Prevention Center (CRPC), firearms violations by police officers are very low — about 16.5 for every 100,000 police officers. For citizens who already have a permit, the rate is even lower: 2.4 per 100,000.

Further research by the CRPC reveals that gun violence drops as private gun ownership increases. As John Lott, founder of the CRPC, noted in an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Several dozen peer-reviewed academic studies show there’s no evidence of any uptick in gun crimes linked to concealed carry laws, and most show violent crime declines.

Research also shows that murder rates fall even more when states move to Constitutional Carry laws.

That makes sense, as the people who benefit the most from carrying a firearm are the most likely to be victims: They are “overwhelmingly,” wrote Lott, “poor Blacks who live in high-crime urban areas.”

As states increasingly remove infringements from the right to keep and bear arms, it becomes increasingly difficult for tyrants to turn the American Republic into a dictatorship. To succeed, they must first disarm every private owner of his firearms. At present, the momentum is heading in the other direction.

The Second Amendment was never about duck hunting. It was always about keeping the government in check.

A quote from Adolf Hitler bears repeating:

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.

History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.

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This article was published in The New American and is reproduced with permission.

Anti-gun Support for Jackson Nomination to High Court Raises Alarms, Says SAF

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court following the retirement of Associate Justice Stephen Breyer later this year raises alarms, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.

“Just the endorsements Judge Jackson’s nomination is receiving should be enough to cause concern,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The nomination is being applauded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s gun prohibition lobbying groups including Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, and by the anti-gun Giffords Law Center and Brady group. There can be no stronger indication of where Judge Jackson stands on the individual right to keep and bear arms and how she might rule on Second Amendment issues.”

Judge Jackson has also been reversed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, for what Prof. Jonathan Turley described as “judicial overreach.”

“The high court doesn’t need another liberal activist justice on the bench,” Gottlieb observed, “especially where Second Amendment issues are concerned. We know it is inappropriate to ask a Supreme Court nominee how he or she would rule on possible upcoming cases, but considering the energetic support Judge Jackson’ nomination is already receiving from the gun ban lobby, such questions aren’t even necessary.

“When the nation’s most extreme gun control lobbying groups throw their weight behind a judicial nominee,” he added, “there should be no misconception about where that nominee is likely to stand on Second Amendment rights, and frankly, it’s disappointing.

“Since Joe Biden promised to make gender and ethnicity the deciding issues in his Supreme Court nominations,” Gottlieb stated, “we were hopeful his selection would be someone upon whom we could depend for at least some semblance of objectivity. But not now, not with endorsements from organizations known to be hostile to Second Amendment rights, because that is and always has been their litmus test.

“For this reason and no other,” Gottlieb concluded, “Judge Jackson’s nomination raises red flags for gun owners. We implore the Senate Judiciary Committee to conduct a thorough and thoughtful vetting process, and to raise questions about her Second Amendment perspectives during any confirmation hearing.”

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This article was published by Second Amendment Foundation and is reprinted with permission.

California Senate Bill 906: Making Schools a Logic Free Zone

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Liberals and Progressives continue in their belief that the presence of guns causes crime rather than the presence of criminals causes crime. It appears no amount of evidence or logic can dissuade them. It is a purely emotional position devoid of logic and experience.

This is the assumption behind almost all “gun control” legislation. Guns cause crime and thus fewer guns cause less crime. Guns you see, can leap about by themselves, leave premises, invade school zones, and discharge themselves in an erratic and deadly fashion at almost any time. These pieces of metal are very badly behaved and are a threat to all of us.

Gun control laws almost always translate to fewer guns in the hands of the law-abiding, and more guns in the hands of criminals. Criminals about to murder, hijack a car, or invade a home, could care less about breaking some peripheral firearms laws. There are too busy breaking all kinds of other laws to be convinced only the gun law is the one they will obey.

Therefore, the law-abiding, are left helpless in the face of criminals and must depend on public authorities, that may, or may not, respond in a timely manner.

The statistical evidence concerning guns and crimes is just the reverse of what liberals allege: more guns cause less crime, but that doesn’t stop these people from attacking your rights both to privacy and the right to own firearms.

And like so much in our current debate, Leftists want to direct the school system to undertake the social reforms they so desperately want to force upon the rest of us.

A rather frightening manifestation of this delusion is found in a new bill introduced in the California Senate.  A pertinent section of Senate Bill 906 is shown below:

“This bill would require, on or before January 1, 2023, the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to develop model content for use by local educational agencies related to a threat or perceived threat of an incident of mass casualties at a school. Using the model content, the bill would require local educational agencies to require the parents or guardians of a pupil to disclose whether any firearms are located at the home of the pupil and to answer questions about the ownership, storage, and accessibility by the pupil of the firearms. The bill would require local educational agencies to include information related to the safe storage of firearms in the annual notification provided to the parents or guardians of a pupil. If a school official is alerted to or observes any threat or perceived threat of an incident of mass casualties at a school, the bill would require a report of the threat or perceived threat to be immediately made to law enforcement and the Department of Justice. The bill would require a school or local educational agency, in consultation with law enforcement, to conduct immediately an investigation and threat assessment, as specified. The bill would require the investigation and threat assessment to include a review of the parent or guardian’s firearm disclosure information and a search of the pupil and pupil’s property located at the schoolsite if there is reasonable suspicion that a search will result in discovery of a firearm or other evidence that the pupil has or is violating the law or the school’s safety rules or policies. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”

So, it would appear the school must be notified that you own firearms and how you chose to store them must meet some undisclosed standard and impose some undisclosed liability. In addition, investigations of you and your children can proceed if a school official “observes” a “perceived threat”. Then, they can come search your property, and that of your child, based on their assessment.

Privacy, property rights?

We all know about the latitude permissible in the “perceived threats” teachers have observed.  The classic case, of course, was the child reprimanded for chewing his pastry shaped in an L that “looked” like a gun, at least to the unstable and hysterical liberal teacher.

This bill is written so broadly, that it could mean just about anything.  What it clearly seems to do is create firearms registration with the school being the collection point and make the schools the arbiter of whatever storage arrangements you might have for said firearms.

In addition, school officials (namely the teacher’s unions) can launch “investigations” based on “perceived threats”, at any time for any reason they wish, including if your child eats their Pop-Tart into a shape they might find alarming.

School shootings are a real problem and we do not mean to make light of the problem.

But this is a completely wrong approach.  Schools are already gun-free zones, and those rules are always violated by school shooters. Murder likewise, is both a moral and legal violation, and school shooters ignore those laws. And with an obvious lack of self-awareness, have not these same people advocated police be defunded and removed from schools?

Lost on these imbecilic legislators is that school shootings have more to do with moral decline, cultural and family decay, mental health issues, and the lack of fathers in the home, rather than guns.

It would be far better to arm and train select teachers and keep police on campus than to give such arbitrary power over to school district bureaucrats and the Department of Justice.

California is often the Petrie dish for breeding crazy social experiments. Unfortunately, what goes on in California, does not stay in California.  Besides, Californians are entitled to their Constitutional rights as are the rest of us.

The message is clear: Don’t let your local school become a logic-free zone.

 

Survey: 5.4 Million Americans Legally Purchased a Firearm for the First Time in 2021

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

At least 5.4 million Americans legally purchased a firearm for the first time last year, according to the findings of an annual National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) survey. The trade association conducted the survey among firearm and ammunition retailers about their business sales in 2021 based on background checks and other information.

Among those surveyed, 29.6% said their customers were first-time gun buyers, down from 40% in 2020’s annual survey. In 2020, more than 21 million background checks were conducted for firearm sales, with over 8.4 million of them estimated to be for first-time firearm buyers.

First time sales among women in 2021 also was down compared to 2020, when 40% of first-time firearm purchases were women, compared to 33% last year.

“We welcome these new gun owners to the greater community of law-abiding Americans who choose to own a firearm for lawful purposes, including self-defense, recreational target shooting, and hunting,” Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO, said in a statement accompanying the survey findings.

“The surveys revealed that new gun owners are continuing to embrace their Second Amendment rights and nearly half of them are seeking out professional training,” he added. “These trends show that not only is there still a strong interest in gun ownership but also that these new gun owners are interested in learning more about the safe and responsible handling, use and storage of firearms.”

A little over one-fifth, 22.8%, of first-time buyers last year came back for a second purchase, survey respondents found. Nearly 47% inquired about training and 43% signed up for training.

About 44% of retailers surveyed saw an increase in Black Americans purchasing firearms for the first time; nearly 40% saw an increase of first-time Hispanic purchasers; more than 27% saw an increase of first-time Asian purchasers.

In its 2020 survey, 58% of retailers surveyed saw an increase in first-time Black Americans purchasing firearms in 2020 compared to 2019; 49% saw an increase in first-time Hispanic purchasers; 43% saw an increase among first-time Asian purchasers.

Over 18% of retailers saw an increase of Native-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021; nearly 14% saw an increase of Native-Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders first-time purchasers.

The survey is released annually by the NSFF, a national organization dedicated to promoting the safe, responsible use of firearms. As a leading authority on gun safety, the organization provides a range of information, including safety kits, videos, literature and suicide prevention resources. It also created Project ChildSafe in 1999 to promote secure and responsible storage of firearms when they’re not in use to help prevent accidents, theft and suicides.

The findings were announced after NSFF presented its first “Woman of the Gun Award” this month. The recognition went to champion shooter and safety advocate Julie Golob for her shooting accomplishments and commitment to Project ChildSafe.

Golob began working with the project in 2013, lending her name and expertise to a host of firearm safety education efforts, ranging from social media campaigns to public appearances and videos, including a feature video on “how to talk to kids about gun safety.”

“I’m a huge advocate of passing on the tradition of safe and fun enjoyment of the shooting sports – they’re an indelible part of our heritage as a nation,” Golob said. “My whole family shares that heritage and all of us can take pride in the results of our collective work to promote gun safety and responsibility.”

In the past 30 years, she’s won more than 150 major championship titles, including more than 50 world and national titles. She’s also the first woman in history to win U.S. Practical Shooting Association Championships in all seven handgun divisions.

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This article was published by The Center Square and is reprinted with permission.