Though Donald Trump’s presidential victory represents the greatest opportunity for policy changes that have widespread impact, there were many unexpected wins at the state and local levels. The National Rifle Association won in nearly every race where it invested money.
The NRA spent more than $30.3 million in the presidential race, up from just over $12 million in 2012. $19.7 million of that went to opposing Hillary Clinton and $10.6 million went to supporting Donald Trump, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission documents by the Center for Responsive Politics. The group invested another $20 million in six Senate races and won five of them.
Hillary Clinton’s defeat comes after she staked out the most aggressive gun control positions for a major party candidate in modern memory.
“She has been more forceful on guns/gun lobby than any other person who ever seriously ran for president,” one of Clinton’s advisers wrote in an email posted by WikiLeaks in October. “Certain members of the dem caucus [sic] were freaking out about [her gun positions.]”
Audio first published in October 2015 by the Washington Free Beacon showed Clinton telling donors privately that she believed the Supreme Court was “wrong on the Second Amendment.” When asked about her opposition to the court’s landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision at the final presidential debate, Clinton claimed she was concerned about protecting toddlers from unsecured guns but did not reverse her position.
Just two weeks after audio of Clinton’s comments on the Supreme Court was published, she endorsed an Australian-style mandatory gun buyback scheme at a public rally. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Gutowski reports: The FBI processed a record number of firearms-related background checks last year, indicating that more guns were sold in 2015 than in any previous year in American history.
“A day has not gone by without a major media assault on gun rights or an Obama administration call for new additional restrictions on gun ownership.”
More than 23 million checks were processed through the National Instant Background Check System in 2015, an all-time record.
“Americans have voted with their dollars and bought record levels of guns and ammunition.”
— Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation.
The all-time record for yearly sales comes after May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December 2015 each set sales records for their respective months. In December the FBI conducted 3,314,594 checks, an increase of more than half a million checks over the previous single-month record set in December 2012.
The number of FBI background checks is widely considered to be the most reliable gauge of how many firearms were sold in a given month because background checks are required on all sales made through federally licensed firearms dealers. However, the checks do not provide an exhaustive representation of gun sales. Checks are not required on sales between private parties in most states, and a single background check may cover the purchase of multiple firearms by the same person at once.
Additionally, some states perform the checks on those who apply for gun-carry permits.
The record gun sales came as Democrats moved to implement new gun control measures at the federal, state, and local levels. Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that the Supreme Court’s decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller gun rights case was “wrong” and she and President Barack Obama praised Australian-style gun confiscation. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Victory in Palmer v. D.C. ‘The Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional’Posted: July 26, 2014
Justice never sleeps…. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.
So holds Tuesday’s Delaware Supreme Court decision, says the Washington Post‘s Eugene Volokh, in Doe v. Wilmington Housing Authority) (Del. Mar. 18, 2014). The court applied the Delaware Constitution’s right to bear arms provision — “A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use” — and the court noted that this language may justify broader protection than that given by the Second Amendment. Still, the precedent is likely to prove influential in other states as well, since the case deals with having guns for self-defense, which D.C. v. Heller has held is covered by the Second Amendment. (If the case had dealt with hunting and recreational use, for instance, the matter might well have been different.) An excerpt:
WHA argues that an accidental discharge of a firearm may have serious fatal consequences and that dangers inhere in the increased presence of firearms. But these same concerns would also apply to the area within any apartment — interior locations where the WHA concedes it cannot restrict the possession of firearms for self-defense. The Revised Policy does more than proscribe the unsafe use of a firearm. It also prohibits possession in the public housing common areas except where the firearm is being transported to or from an apartment. In this context, WHA must show more than a general safety concern and it has not done so….
[A]n individual’s interest in the right to keep and bear arms is strongest when “the weapon is in one’s home or business and is being used for security.” Residents have a possessory interest in both their apartments and the common areas. And although Residents cannot exclude other residents or the public from the common areas, their need for security in those areas is just as high for purposes of Section 20 as it would be inside their apartment or business. The common areas are effectively part of the residences. The laundry rooms and TV rooms are similar to those typically found in private residences; and the Residents, their families, and their guests will occupy them as part of their living space.
If a Well-Regulated Militia is Necessary to the Security of a Free State, are we Insecure? Or Unfree?Posted: March 10, 2014
No militia means more intrusive law enforcement
Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
For a while, some argued that the so-called “prefatory clause” — “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” — somehow limited the “right of the people” to something having to do with a militia. In its recent opinions of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court has made clear that the Second Amendment does recognize a right of individuals to own guns, and that that right is in no way dependent upon membership in a militia. That seems to me to be entirely correct.
“A professional standing army could turn on the people, placing its loyalty with its paymasters rather than with those it was supposed to protect. The militia, on the other hand, couldn’t betray the people because it was the people.”
But there is still that language. If a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, then where is ours? Because if a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, it follows that a state lacking such a militia is either insecure, or unfree, or possibly both.
For law enforcement, the militia has been replaced by professional police, with SWAT teams, armored vehicles and Nomex coveralls; for military purposes, the militia has been replaced by the National Guard, which despite a thin patina of state control is fundamentally a federal military force.
In the time of the Framers, the militia was an armed body consisting of essentially the entire military-age male citizenry. Professional police not having been invented, the militia was the primary tool for enforcing the law in circumstances that went beyond the reach of the town constable, and it was also the primary source of defense against invasions and insurrection.
Despite anti-gun hysteria following shootings, the trend is toward expanding gun rights.
For USA Today, Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: This past weekend, the Tennessee Law Review held a symposium on “New Frontiers in the Second Amendment.” It was a follow-up, of sorts, to a symposium held almost 20 years ago, and boy, has a lot changed since then.
“Overall, the trend of the past couple of decades seems to be toward expanding gun rights, just as the trend in the 1950s and 1960s was toward expanding free speech rights”
In 1995, Second Amendment scholarship had been almost entirely nonexistent for decades, and what little there was (mostly written by lobbyists for gun-control groups) treated the matter as open-and-shut: The Second Amendment, we were told, protected only the right of state militias (or as former Chief Justice Warren Burger characterized them, “state armies“) to possess guns.
Lower court opinions, to the extent they existed, were largely in agreement, and the political discussion, such as it was, generally held that anyone who believed that the Second Amendment might embody a judicially enforceable right for ordinary citizens to possess guns was a shill — probably paid — for the NRA. Whatever the Second Amendment meant, it did not, we were told, protect a right of individuals to possess firearms, enforceable in court against governmental entities that infringed on individuals’ gun possession.
But then came a wave of scholarship, much of it by eminent constitutional scholars ranging from William Van Alstyne, to Laurence Tribe, to Sanford Levinson, toRobert Cottrol, exploring the original purposes and understanding of the Second Amendment. By the turn of the millennium, it was well-established among scholars that the Second Amendment was intended to protect an individual right to arms, one that would be enforceable in court against infringements by states, municipalities and the federal government.
[Glenn Reynolds is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself look for it at Amazon]
Raquel Okyay reports: Federal court judge Dec. 31 struck down parts of New York Secure Ammunition Firearm Act of 2013, including seven-round ammunition limitation yet upholds majority of legislation deciding the law withstands constitutional scrutiny.
“Western district court in Buffalo was the first step on the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Thomas H. King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association first-named plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that questions the constitutionality of New York’s anti-gun SAFE Act.
While there are many items in the decision that NYSRPA disagrees with, King said he is extremely happy with parts of the decision. “While this was not a total victory it was not a total loss.”
NYSRPA is the state’s largest and the nation’s oldest firearms advocacy organization.
Plaintiffs intend on filing a motion to appeal the parts of the decision that were unfavorable to them within seven to 10 days, and it is expected that New York State will also appeal the portions of the decision unfavorable to them placing this matter in the 2nd circuit court of appeals in New York City, said King.
You and What Army? Delusional Lt. Col. Robert Bateman’s Captain Queeg Moment: Insults Supreme Court for Heller Decision; Calls for Massive Gun Bans, Turn-InsPosted: December 9, 2013
“Ah, but the strawberries! That’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt…”
NRA-ILA reports: To say the least, some of the characters who have appeared on the national scene in recent years have demonstrated some enormous egos and used some pretty ill-tempered language in their efforts to turn this nation into something we wouldn’t recognize. But Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman is challenging them for top dishonors in that regard, with an over-the-top rant in Esquire magazine this month.You pretty much know what’s coming when a guy begins by claiming, “My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence. . . . My job . . . is about killing. I orchestrate violence. . . . I am really good at my job.”
Real warriors don’t brag, of course. They let their actions speak for themselves. And real warriors support the Second Amendment and oppose gun control, as indicated by a letter signed by over 1,100 current and former Army Special Forces soldiers in January.
Bateman’s self-adulation was just the beginning, however.
He next attacked Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for “his attempt to rewrite American history and the English language” in his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller. Bateman also extended his attack to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas for concurring with Justice Scalia. “They flunked basic high school history,” Bateman said. Bateman added that Esquire readers could read the Heller decision for themselves, but that it really isn’t necessary, because “I can spell it out for you in ten seconds.”
At this point, we found ourselves asking to be spared additional arrogance and ignorance, but Bateman wasn’t inclined to oblige.
Bateman continued to explain his factually incorrect idea is that the Second Amendment’s reference to the well regulated militia means that no one has the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. “As of 1903, the ‘militia’ has been known as the National Guard,” Bateman insisted.
Addressing who can own guns, where they can carry them, and whether guns can be transported to a second home
Brian Doherty writes: Since the 2010 Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago, which applied the ruling in the 2008 Heller case (which said the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms) to states and localities, the Court has so far evaded any new case about the limits and meaning of the Second Amendment.
Those two cases, though, did not resolve all the important questions about how and when and why the government can restrict Second Amendment rights. Hellerand McDonald said that the right to possess commonly used weapons for self-defense in the home cannot be infringed, but Justice Antonin Scalia in his majority opinion in Heller explicitly said this didn’t mean anything goes when it comes to Americans and their guns.
Many other cases that try to define the whos, whens, and hows of our Second Amendment rights are percolating through the lower courts, and some are trying to wend their way to the Supreme Court.
Here are three of the most relevant active cases involving the Second Amendment, ones that promise to expand Second Amendment liberty, and resolve some of the core issues left unresolved by Heller and McDonald. Two of them will likely be considered for certiorari by the Supreme Court (though whether they will take them up is always hard to predict).
Civil Rights Update: Illinois Supreme Court Rules Second Amendment Protects Carrying Outside the HomePosted: September 13, 2013
As the Seventh Circuit correctly noted, neither Heller nor McDonald expressly limits the second amendment’s protections to the home. On the contrary, both decisions contain language strongly suggesting if not outright confirming that the second amendment right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the home. Moreover, if Heller means what it says, and “individual self-defense” is indeed “the central component” of the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, then it would make little sense to restrict that right to the home, as “[c]onfrontations are not limited to the home.” Indeed, Heller itself recognizes as much when it states that “the right to have arms *** was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence.”
I think the result is correct, because Heller‘s reasoning does indeed apply to carrying for self-defense in most public places, and not just in the home. Read the rest of this entry »