Category Archives: Law

NRA Statement on New York City’s Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

New York City asks the U.S. Supreme Court to take a break in reviewing NYC’s anti-second-amendment policies… That’s NOT how the Supreme Court works! READ MORE

supreme court

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in regards to last Friday’s attempt by the City of New York to dismiss the NRA-supported Supreme Court case N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, et al. v. City of N.Y., et al.:

“The City of New York clearly knows that its current restrictions on the carrying and transportation of lawfully owned firearms are unconstitutional and will fail under any standard of constitutional review, as the NRA has been saying for years. Today, it asked the U.S. Supreme Court to ignore the Constitution and allow the City to slow walk a narrow expansion of its current policy through a lengthy bureaucratic process — the result of which, even if adopted, would still unduly infringe upon the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. That is not how things work in the Supreme Court; the Court does not put its review on hold while the government embarks on a journey that at best might fix only a limited part of the constitutional defect. This is nothing more than a naked attempt by New York City to resist Supreme Court review of policies that even New York must recognize as inconsistent with the holdings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The City of New York did not respect its citizens’ Second Amendment rights before the Supreme Court granted review in this case and it will not respect them going forward. We are confident that the Court will reject New York’s desperate attempt to avoid review of its blatantly unconstitutional laws.”

UPDATE! Judge who blocked California’s ban on high-capacity magazines halts their sales for now…

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

The same judge threw out the state’s ban on high-capacity magazines last week as infringing on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. READ MORE

high capacity magazine

SOURCE: NBC

EDITORS NOTE: Just after running the story last week here in Midsouth, there was a development, and here it is:

A federal judge on Friday halted sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines in California, giving state officials a chance to appeal his order last week that allowed their sale for the first time in nearly 20 years.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez barred further sales until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers whether to reinstate the state’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 bullets.

But the judge said those who bought the extended magazines since his initial order a week ago may keep them without fear of being prosecuted while the appeal proceeds.

Hundreds of thousands of gun owners may have bought the magazines since Benitez threw out the state’s ban last week as infringing on their Second Amendment right to bear arms, said Chuck Michel, an attorney for the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Association who filed the lawsuit that led to the ruling.

Under Benitez’s order, no one in California is permitted to manufacture, import, buy or sell large-capacity magazines as of 5 p.m. Friday.

California has prohibited such magazines since 2000, though people who had the magazines before then were allowed to keep them. Benitez last week threw out both the 2000 law and a 2016 law and ballot measure banning possession even by those who had owned them legally.

“All the people who bought the magazines in the last week are protected from prosecution, but any further purchase of these magazines is illegal for the moment,” Michel said. “There was 20 years of pent up demand for these self-defense tools, and several hundred thousand people bought them in the last week, maybe more than several hundred thousand.”

Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who sought the stay, warned in a court filing that it would be difficult for the state to remove the newly purchased magazines, even if the ban is reinstated.

“California leads the nation when it comes to common-sense gun laws. We should all be ensuring the safety of our communities, not fighting against long-standing laws that improve public safety,” Becerra said in a statement. He added that he’s confident the ban is constitutional.

Benitez acknowledged in his six-page stay order that other judges, in California and elsewhere, have upheld bans on high-capacity magazines.

“The Court understands that strong emotions are felt by people of good will on both sides of the Constitutional and social policy questions. The Court understands that thoughtful and law-abiding citizens can and do firmly hold competing opinions on firearm magazine restrictions,” he wrote.

“These concerns auger in favor of judicial deliberation. There is an immeasurable societal benefit of maintaining the immediate status quo while the process of judicial review takes place.”

Colorado Red Flag Bill Heads To Governor’s Desk, But Sheriff’s Concerns Linger Over Gun Confiscation

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Sheriff Steve Reams, who serves a Colorado county opposed to gun legislation, takes a firm stance against what he sees as an unconstitutional new law. READ MORE

Sheriff Steve Reams
Sheriff Steve Reams.

SOURCE: Fort Collins Coloradoan, by Nick Coltrain; CNN, by Bryan Howard, photo by Ken Tillis

Colorado houses controlled by Democrats, passed a new red flag bill HB19- 1177. This bill will allow the state government to take away guns from anyone they want for no legal reasons. However, one Colorado Sheriff is standing up to these tyrannical politicians claiming he will not enforce the new law and is willing to go to jail over it.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said, “It’s a matter of doing what’s right.” He has also said, “If you pass an unconstitutional law, our oaths as commissioners or myself as the sheriff — we’re going to follow our constitutional oath first. And we’ll do that balancing act on our own.”

Reams stated on Monday, “It’s unlike any other red flag bill that has been introduced anywhere in the United States. The issue is the person who is having their guns taken away isn’t aware of this hearing taking place. They find out about the hearing after the fact.”

Reams has said, “I’m not bluffing,” when he said he will not enforce the bill.

According to CNN, all 64 counties in Colorado oppose the anti second amendment law that will be enforced onto them, and about half of those have passed resolutions opposing the bill, symbolically declaring their counties “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” That list includes Weld County, Reams jurisdiction.

Reams could potentially face jail if a judge ordered his department to seize a person’s firearms; if Reams refused, he could face contempt of court charges.

Reams outlined concerns similar to those raised by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith and the Larimer County Commissioners in the lead up to the bill’s passage: It violates due process and other Constitutional rights, it takes away people’s home defense, it’s logistically difficult for sheriff’s offices that aren’t equipped to keep and return the guns, and it addresses a symptom of a mental health crises, instead of a person’s overall mental health.

“If they’re such a significant risk to themselves that they shouldn’t have a gun, my feeling is the better focus is dealing with the person,” Reams said. “So let’s look at a mental health hold or something along those lines.”

He called for instead reducing the requirements to place someone in a mental health hold, and increasing the requirements for freeing that person. State statute regarding mental health holds currently requires the person to represent an imminent danger to their self or others; Reams would like it to be closer to the lower threshold of a significant threat included in the red flag bill.

“The thought process of denying someone, or taking that object away and it being a way to make them safe, it misses the root problem,” Reams said. “Mental health is where we should be focused, and we just keep passing that buck along, keep kicking that can along, and that’s where I want to see that investment go.”

To be clear, Sheriff Reams doesn’t want to go to jail. He’d much rather the issues he sees with the bill be sussed out and the attention be shifted to helping those in mental health crises.

“(Going to jail is) the absolute last thing I’d like to do,” Reams said in an interview with the Coloradoan following a CNN story headlined “This Colorado sheriff is willing to go to jail rather than enforce a proposed gun law.” See it HERE 

“I’d much rather see this get worked out in the courts and dealt with in the courts before it ever comes to that point,” Reams told the Coloradoan. “But if and when the time comes, and this issue hasn’t been worked out in the courts, then, yeah, this is the last choice that I have.”

The bill allows family, members of the household or law enforcement to petition a court to have an individual’s guns seized or surrendered. A similar bill was stifled by the Republican-controlled Senate last year. The new Democratic legislature was able to move it through, and Gov. Polis, also a Democrat, has pledged to sign the measure into law.

“This bill will give law enforcement and families the tools that they need to stop tragedies from constantly happening and save lives,” said first-term Rep. Tom Sullivan, who sponsored the bill with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett.

Reams said he saw the conflict in enforcing state law versus respecting people’s Constitutional rights — and not just the headline-grabbing right to bear arms. He cited concerns with unlawful search and seizure, due process and equal protections clauses as well.

“It turns the Fourth, the Fifth, and the 14th amendment on their heads,” he said. “It does things so backwards from what we understand about due process. Anyone who looks at this with an honest eye has to have concerns. The Second Amendment is the easy thing to say is under attack, and that’s a portion of it, but that’s not the main portion. But it doesn’t resonate in headlines to say we’re defending the 14th Amendment.”

Several law enforcement officials testified for the bill, named after Zackari Parrish, a 29-year old sheriff’s deputy in Douglas County. The husband and father was shot and killed in a New Year’s Eve 2017 shooting by a man who had exhibited increasingly erratic behavior.

State Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, has said sheriffs who don’t want to enforce the measure should resign. Gov. Polis said on March 26 that he believes sheriffs are committed to enforcing laws approved at the Capitol. Polis also said sheriffs have discretion to decide which issues to focus on.

Reams said he wouldn’t resign in protest over the bill because he was elected to do the job of sheriff. Most of the constituent feedback he’s heard has been positive, he said.

“If I were to walk away in protest, or resign in protest, I’d be saying I’m not in it for the fight,” Reams said.

The red flag bill is the first major gun legislation to make its way through both Colorado legislative chambers since 2013, when lawmakers passed universal background checks and banned large-capacity ammunition magazines after the mass shootings in Aurora and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Thirteen other states have passed similar legislation. Florida passed its version after the 2018 Parkland school massacre.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Major 2nd Amendment boost! Judge overturns California’s ban on “high-capacity” magazines, the ban was “turning the Constitution upside down.” READ MORE

high capacity magazine

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined last Friday that California’s ban on commonly possessed firearm magazines violates the Second Amendment.

The case is Duncan v. Becerra.

The NRA-supported case had already been up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the question of whether the law’s enforcement should be suspended during proceedings on its constitutionality. Last July, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Benitez’s suspension of enforcement and sent the case back to him for further proceedings on the merits of the law itself.

Judge Benitez rendered his opinion late Friday afternoon and handed Second Amendment supporters a sweeping victory by completely invalidating California’s 10-round limit on magazine capacity. “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” he declared.

In a scholarly and comprehensive opinion, Judge Benitez subjected the ban both to the constitutional analysis he argued was required by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and a more complicated and flexible test the Ninth Circuit has applied in prior Second Amendment cases.

Either way, Judge Benitez ruled, the law would fail. Indeed, he characterized the California law as “turning the Constitution upside down.” He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox hailed the decision as a “huge win for gun owners” and a “landmark recognition of what courts have too often treated as a disfavored right.”

“Judge Benitez took the Second Amendment seriously and came to the conclusion required by the Constitution,” Cox said. “The same should be true of any court analyzing a ban on a class of arms law-abiding Americans commonly possess for self-defense or other lawful purposes.”

Unfortunately, Friday’s opinion is not likely to be the last word on the case. The state will likely appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which has proven notably hostile to the Second Amendment in past decisions.

Nevertheless, the thoroughness of Judge Benitez’s analysis should give Second Amendment supporters the best possible chance for success in appellate proceedings, particularly if the case ultimately lands before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Friday’s order prohibits California from enforcing its magazine restrictions, leaving its law-abiding residents safer and freer, at least for the time being.

To stay up-to-date on the Duncan case and other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, click HERE. And be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA email alerts HERE and HERE.

Missouri Bans All Federal Gun Control Laws in Proposed Bill

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Whoa! But, yes, the Missouri Senate is expected to pass a bill that totally and fully protects the Second Amendment, to the letter. READ MORE

missouri flag

SOURCE: TheSentinel.net

Missouri may have just made the most monumental step towards freedom and individual liberty since the signing of the Bill of Rights. In an upcoming vote by Missouri’s state senate, the state is expected to pass a bill that would nullify ALL Federal gun laws and regulations, and make enforcement of those laws by federal officers within the State of Missouri a criminal offense. Republicans control both U.S. Senate seats and more than two-thirds of the seats in both the Missouri House and Senate.

Like its predecessor, SB613, Bill SB367 and its companion, House Bill HB786, would prevent all state agencies and their employees from enforcing any federal law that infringes the Second Amendment in any way, including gun registrations, fees, fines, licenses, and bans. Originally authored in 2014, a former version of the bill was also passed, but vetoed by then Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

Pro-Gun Legislation with teeth
A stipulation of the newly passed bill states:
“All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States I and Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”

For added measure, SB367’s authors went into great detail on what federal laws will be “considered null and void and of no effect.”

(a) Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(b) Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(c) Any registering or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(d) Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and

(e) Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens

Such language is designed to guarantee that the measure can’t be worked around or misinterpreted by legislators or law enforcement agencies.

Just HiPoint It
The bill passed despite heavy opposition by Missouri’s law enforcement community, which should be no surprise, as Missouri law enforcement agencies raked in $34,462,153 in forfeitures from 2001 to 2008, according to a report by the Institute of Justice. That’s a lot of cash for doing Uncle Sam’s bidding, and now law enforcement officers will have to focus on collecting revenue from actual criminals, instead of stealing it from gun owners.

The bill’s other stiff opposition came from an unlikely source: the NRA. Anti-gun Senator Jamilah Nasheed tried to sneak language into SB367 that would require gun owners to report a stolen firearm to police no more than 72 hours after the discovery of the theft, or face a $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor charge. However, the actual text of the bill included no such language.

Bill author Senator Eric Burlison and bill saboteur Senator Nasheed agreed to reconsider and the stolen firearm reporting clause was removed earlier this week, thus satisfying the source of NRA opposition.

Here’s where things get interesting. The Missouri bill also includes criminal charges for any federal agent who violates SB367. As per the new law, state and local (municipal and county) law enforcement officers would be given “discretionary power” to determine if they will press criminal charges against federal agents who break the law by enforcing the now nullified federal gun control measures.

But will it hold up in a federal court?
Yes. The bill’s main provision calling on the entire state to cease enforcing federal gun control measures stands on solid legal ground under the anti-commandeering doctrine. Court precedent from 1842 to 2012 stipulates that the feds simply cannot require a state to help them violate your Constitutional rights, and allows states the power to refuse to enforce such federal laws it deems un-Constitutional. Besides, the feds simply don’t have the manpower to do it at the state level without the assistance and partnership of state and local agencies.

Just in case that isn’t enough, Missouri’s Senate also passed a measure supporters say will work hand-in-hand with SB367, solidifying it by codifying the Second Amendment into Missouri’s state constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 36 (SJR36) proposes an amendment to the Missouri state constitution with text obligating the state government to uphold the right to keep and bear arms. It passed the Senate by a vote of 29-4. If passed by the House, it will be entered on the ballot for Missouri voters’ approval this fall. The amendment would elevate the Right to Bear Arms to “unalienable status,” thereby obligating the state, its courts and agencies to defend it as a guaranteed right of Missouri citizens.

We’ll see if they can get it approved by Missouri’s Governor this time.

Yesterday’s Scandal, Today’s Mandate: Anti-gunner Embraces Operation Choke Point as Official Policy

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Maloney Baloney! Shades of OCP have reappeared in a re-emboldened anti-gun House majority, as well as in their media and plutocratic enablers. READ MORE

maloney

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) unabashedly embraced the tactics behind one of the most shameful policies of the Obama era, openly using the guise of her federal authority to berate and not so subtly threaten a bank for lawfully serving businesses that don’t reflect her political views.

While the media did their best to protect Barack Obama and his administration from any hint of scandal, two gun related issues managed to stain the White House with considerable and widespread disrepute.

One concerned a program to secretly “walk” guns from American firearm dealers directly into the clutches of ruthless Mexican drug cartels, while at the same using the resulting violence as a pretext to call for increased firearm regulation in the U.S. The officials involved dubbed this Operation Fast & Furious. It was only the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, killed in a shootout that involved one of the “walked” guns, that finally forced the issue into the national consciousness.

The other scandal involved federal regulators pressuring banks and payment processors to sever ties with businesses that were completely lawful but that offended anti-gun sensibilities. These included members of the gun industry. This program was known as Operation Choke Point (OCP), and while no fatalities have been attributed to it, the scheme struck at the heart of the rule of law.

In the case of OCP, Department of Justice and Federal Deposit Insurance Company officials provided sworn testimony to Congress denying that regulators were pressuring banks to drop business the regulators found morally objectionable. Apparently, they suggested, the banks just misunderstood the “risk management” guidance they were being provided. In time (after considerable damage had already been done, and the banks thoroughly understood their unwritten marching orders), guidance documents were revised to “clarify” the regulators’ “true intent.”

The NRA and others have already been reporting on how shades of OCP have reappeared in a re-emboldened anti-gun House majority, as well as in their media and plutocratic enablers.

But an oversight hearing by the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday provided one of the clearest and most shocking examples to date of how anti-gun Democrats are now willing to embrace as official policy what was still treated as scandal under the Obama administration.

The title of the hearing was “Holding Megabanks Accountable: An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Pattern of Consumer Abuses.” Wells Fargo, not coincidentally, provides banking services to the NRA.

The only witness at the four hour plus hearing was Wells Fargo President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy J. Sloan. Mr. Sloan had the unenviable task of serving as punching bag during an extended production of Political Outrage Theatre. The entire premise of the hearing was that Wells Fargo might very well have to endure yet more regulation and oversight — or perhaps be broken up altogether — unless Mr. Sloan provided satisfactory answers to committee members’ questions about the bank and its business practices.

Maloney, for her part, excoriated Mr. Sloan and Wells Fargo for refusing to follow the lead of other national banks that had refused or severed business with members of the gun industry that did not “voluntarily” adopt certain gun control “best practices” that exceed the requirements of federal law.

These practices include banning long gun purchases by young adults eligible for military service and refusing to recognize the 3-day default transfer option that gun dealers may exercise if the FBI does not complete a background check. They also just happened to mirror policy goals that anti-gun Democrats — a category that includes Maloney herself — have been pursuing through legislation they have not to date been successful in enacting.

Maloney, in other words, was not accusing Wells Fargo of having done anything illegal by transacting with members of the firearm industry. Rather, she was criticizing the bank for not imposing anti-gun rules that Congress itself has failed to adopt.

Maloney noted that Wells Fargo does have corporate “human rights” practices that in some cases exceed legal and industry standards. She then mentioned the Parkland massacre, as if Wells Fargo were somehow complicit in the acts of a deranged murderer who had nothing to do with the bank and who had been given authorization to buy the gun he used in his crime by the federal government itself via its background check system.

“Why,” Maloney demanded to know, “does Wells Fargo continue to put profits over people by financing companies that are making weapons that are literally killing our children and our neighbors? … How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other banks have done?”

Given the backdrop of Operation Choke Point, Maloney might as well have asked, “Federal regulators and big city newspapers have browbeaten your competition into submission on the issue of servicing firearm industry clients. How dare you defy their wishes and continue to do so?” She also invoked the shibboleth that school shootings are increasing, a premise that research refutes.

Mr. Sloan calmly answered, “We don’t put profits over people. We bank many industries across this country.” He continued, “We do our best to ensure that all of our customers who we bank follow the laws and regulations that are in place on a local and a state and a national level.”

Maloney then interrupted, insisting that the bank’s commitment to gun control should be as strong as its commitment to human rights.

Mr. Sloan, however, stood his ground. “We just don’t believe that it is a good idea to encourage banks to enforce legislation that doesn’t exist.”

He didn’t add, but he could have, that respect for human rights also necessitates respect for the fundamental rights of self-preservation and self-protection.

The entire exchange can be seen on this video, starting at 48:03.

Needless to say, no business in America could survive if it had to comply not just with all the binding laws that regulators foist upon the country’s companies and employers but with the personal sensibilities and politics of all 535 federal legislators, plus those of thousands of federal bureaucrats.

Nor could any business survive if it had to answer for every unaffiliated person who abused or misused one of its products or services.

That is why America is often said to be a country of laws, not men. That principle has provided the most stable and prosperous economy and business environment the world has ever known.

That stability is threatened, however, by those like Maloney and others who would rule by intimidation and humiliation rather than by duly enacted legislation.

 

Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

“The theory would be similar to the victim of a drunk driver suing the manufacturer or dealer of the vehicle the driver happened to be operating at time…” READ MORE

PLCAA

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last Thursday, the Connecticut Supreme Court created a dangerous new exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a strong safeguard for our right to keep and bear arms.

Repealing or judicially nullifying the PLCAA has been a priority for the gun ban lobby ever since the law was enacted in 2005. Thursday’s decision, while not binding beyond Connecticut, provides a possible roadmap for those hoping to circumvent the PLCAA’s protections against frivolous and untested legal claims against the firearm industry.

The case is Soto v. Bushmaster. Gun control activists, however, have long sought to hold firearm manufacturers and sellers accountable for the crimes of third-parties who obtain and illegally use the guns they sell.

The PLCAA was enacted to protect the firearms industry against a highly-orchestrated and coordinated series of lawsuits that sought to either bankrupt the industry or force it to “voluntarily” adopt the sorts of measures gun control activists had unsuccessfully sought to impose by legislation.

While anti-gunners like to portray the PLCAA as providing “extraordinary” or “unparalleled” legal protection to gun makers and sellers, in reality it simply ensures that activist courts cannot create a firearm-specific exemption to well established principles of law. The most important of these is, as the Connecticut Supreme Court put it, “the general rule that an individual cannot be held liable for the conduct of others.”

Gun control activists, however, have long sought to hold firearm manufacturers and sellers accountable for the crimes of third-parties who obtain and illegally use the guns they sell. The theory would be similar to the victim of a drunk driver suing the manufacturer or dealer of the vehicle the driver happened to be operating at time.

This theory is unsurprisingly almost always a legal loser, absent unusual circumstances demonstrating a link between the merchant and the criminal or specific warning signs the merchant was aware of but chose to ignore when selling the gun to the person who later misused it.

Nevertheless, winning the cases was never really the point. The point was instead to get enough litigants in different jurisdictions to gang up on the manufacturers so that they would go out of business or give up defending the lawsuits before the cases ever got before a jury. The PLCAA was enacted to protect the firearms industry against a highly-orchestrated and coordinated series of lawsuits that sought to either bankrupt the industry or force it to “voluntarily” adopt the sorts of measures gun control activists had unsuccessfully sought to impose by legislation.

The PLCAA put an end to this, while still allowing for liability for those who knowingly engage in bad conduct. For example, it contains exceptions for marketing a defective product, entrusting a firearm or ammunition to someone unfit to have it, or breaking a law “applicable to the sale or marketing of the [firearm or ammunition],” and thereby causing the plaintiff’s injuries.

The plaintiffs in Soto v. Bushmaster are survivors and representatives of those killed in the terrible murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. in 2012.

They advanced a variety of legal theories as to why the PLCAA did not apply to their claims.

A trial judge dismissed all of these claims in an October 2016 ruling, which we reported on at the time.

The plaintiffs then appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which in a closely divided 4 to 3 ruling, found a pathway for the case to proceed.

The high court’s majority opinion focused on the exception for the violation of laws “applicable to the sale or marketing of the [firearm or ammunition]” that result in the plaintiff’s injuries.

In so doing, it had to resolve the question of whether that exception applies only to gun specific laws (like the ones used as examples in the act itself) or whether it could apply to any law that might conceivably be invoked against the manufacture or sale of a firearm or ammunition.

The court chose the broadest reading of that language, finding that it applied to any law used to bring a case against a firearm manufacturer or seller, whether or not that law was enacted with firearms in mind or even whether or not it had previously been used in the context of a firearm related claim.

The law the plaintiffs invoked was the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), which prohibits any person from “engag[ing] in unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.”

The plaintiffs advanced two theories as to how this applied to the defendants’ behavior.

First, they asserted that any sale of an AR-15 to the civilian population was necessarily a fraudulent commercial practice, because (so they claimed) such firearms have no legitimate civilian use. Never mind the fact that the AR-15 is, by all accounts, the most popular centerfire rifle in America, that it is owned by millions of law-abiding people who use it for every legitimate purpose for which a gun can be used.

It is also notable with respect to this claim that Congress enacted the PLCAA the year after it allowed the Clinton Gun Ban to expire in 2004. Congress was well aware that gun control advocates hate AR-15s and similar guns and want them permanently banned, but it did not exempt them from the PLCAA’s protection. Indeed, an important principle underlying the PLCAA is that the legislatures get to determine how to regulate firearms, not the courts.

The Connecticut Supreme Court, however, did not decide whether the sales and marketing of AR-15s to the general public is inherently fraudulent, finding only that the statute of limitations had expired on that particular claim. But the court at least left the door open for future such claims in other cases. While anti-gunners like to portray the PLCAA as providing “extraordinary” or “unparalleled” legal protection to gun makers and sellers, in reality it simply ensures that activist courts cannot create a firearm-specific exemption to well established principles of law. The most important of these is, as the Connecticut Supreme Court put it, “the general rule that an individual cannot be held liable for the conduct of others.”

The second CUTPA theory the plaintiffs advanced was the outrageous accusation that Bushmaster intentionally marketed its version of the AR-15 to school shooters and other violent criminals and that the perpetrator of the Newtown crimes choose to use that gun at least in part because of this.

The supposed evidence the plaintiffs used for this claim was Remington ad copy that used militaristic images and language, appeals to patriotism, references to the gun’s use and proofing in combat.

These are, of course, the same advertising techniques used to sell any number of other lawful products to law-abiding people, from pants, to sunglasses, to boots, to vehicles. The fact that a customer might appreciate knowing that an item – especially one for use in protecting his or her home and loved ones – performed well under demanding circumstances is hardly proof that it is purposely being marketed to deranged killers.

But that premise was enough for the Connecticut Supreme Court to require the defendants in the case to spend millions of dollars defending themselves from what is certain to be prolonged and costly litigation that publicly portrays the companies and their products in the most negative ways possible.

This was so, even though the majority acknowledged CUTPA had never been used to bring a firearm-related case in Connecticut and indeed had never even been applied to a personal injury case.

And if there was any remaining doubt about where the majority stood on the issue of AR-15s, they also included a totally unnecessary commentary suggesting the limits of the Second Amendment, which wasn’t even raised as an issue in the case. In particular, the court opined, “It is not at all clear … the second amendment’s protections even extend to the types of … rifles at issue in the present case.”

To their credit, three judges dissented from the majority opinion as it applied to the ability to use CUTPA to circumvent the PLCAA, even as they indicated their own disagreement with the choices Congress made with the Act. “It is not the province of this court, under the guise of statutory interpretation, to legislate a particular policy, even if it were to agree that it is a better policy than the one endorsed by the legislature as reflected in its statutory language,” the Chief Judge wrote in his dissent.

With the viability of the PLCAA now in jeopardy, it is likely the defendants will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether any intervention comes quickly enough to save the gun industry from a renewed campaign of frivolous litigation remains to be seen.

 

Go Figure: Gun Controllers Use Fuzzy Math to Push an Agenda That Doesn’t Add Up

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

I guess that ‘figures can lie,’ and ‘liars can figure,’ and when it’s both at once, well, then we have gun-control advocate’s mathematics. READ MORE

numbers don't add up

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

There are a lot of things Second Amendment supporters and gun control advocates disagree on, including history, constitutional interpretation, the frequency of armed self-defense, and the role of human agency in violent crime.

But one thing everybody should have a common understanding of is numbers and mathematics.

Unfortunately, recent events show that even when it comes to numerals and counting, gun control supporters inhabit their own alternate reality.

Take, for example, the Statements of Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that advanced H.R. 8, commonly referred to as a “universal background check bill,” to the full House floor.

Nadler insisted during Wednesday’s debate on the bill that its opponents were exaggerating the penalties that could be assessed for violations. “I just want to point out that the penalty in this bill that keeps being cited as $100,000 is in fact $1,000,” he said (see this video at the 1:44:11 time mark).

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), — Chairman of the House “Gun Violence Prevention Task Force” and the author of H.R. 8 — then took up Nadler’s theme, characterizing the $100,000 fine as among the “outrageous allegations that were made about this bill” (see video at 1:45:13).

Not only did both men neglect to mention that violators can also be punished by up to a year in federal prison — even if the recipient of the private transfer can possess the gun legally and intends to use it only for lawful purposes – both were wrong about the fine.

We think that bears repeating. The two men most responsible for H.R. 8’s passage through the House, including the man credited with writing the bill, both misrepresented the maximum fine that could be imposed for violations of the law it would create.

As Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) explained later in the debate (see video at 2:25:24), the maximum penalties available for violations of the Class A misdemeanor the bill would create already exist in federal statute and include a term of imprisonment of up to one year (18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(5)) and a fine of up to $100,000 (18 U.S.C. § 3571(b)(5)).

Where in that range a particular violation would be punished would of course be up to the sentencing judge, but nothing in H.R. 8 itself would prevent the judge from imposing the maximum penalties against any violator.

Nevertheless, gun control math requires that when foisting a law upon the public that could criminalize completely harmless conduct — such as gifting a cousin who is a police officer a shotgun to hunt turkeys with — it’s best to minimize the potential penalties by a factor of 100.

Another example of gun control math concerned the debate on H.R. 1112, a bill to extend the waiting period a dealer must observe before deciding whether or not to transfer a firearm to a purchaser whose NICS check has not been completed by the FBI.

Currently, the federal law states that such a transfer may occur when “3 business days … have elapsed, and the system has not notified the [dealer] that the receipt of the firearm by such other person would violate [federal law.]”

This is a critical provision to ensure legally eligible people are not denied firearm purchases simply because the FBI for whatever reason cannot or will not complete their NICS checks.

But in the fuzzy math of gun control, “3 business days” already equals a minimum of 5 calendar days.

That’s because, no matter what time of day the person tries to buy the gun, the ATF doesn’t consider the 3-day clock to start running until the following day.

And, according to ATF, the person isn’t eligible to pick up the firearm on the third day. Rather, the recipient has to wait until the day after the third day.

So 3 actually means at least 5 when it comes to how many days a person has to wait to obtain a firearm when the FBI’s “instant” criminal background check drags on for days, rather than seconds or minutes, the usual timeframe in which it is supposed to complete a check.

As recently as 2013, when the Manchin-Toomey Amendment (another expanded background check provision) was pending, even gun control supporting Democrats were willing to vote for a provision that would have gradually stepped down the 3-day safety valve period to 48 hours and then 24 hours. That was one of the few provisions in that legislation that made sense. After all, continual advances in computer technology should deliver results more quickly, not less quickly.

But now, six years later, anti-gun Democrats want to go in the opposite direction. Under H.R. 1112, which passed the House on Thursday, the 3-day safety valve for open NICS checks would be eliminated.

The bill’s author, House Majority Whip James Cyburn (D-SC), suggested during debate on the bill that he considered this (a seemingly mandatory) 10-day “cooling-off period” for gun purchases (see video at 25:00), rather than a chance for the FBI to conduct additional research in exceptional cases.

“What would make one so anxious to purchase a gun in the first place?” Clyburn asked rhetorically during his opening remarks. “If you’ve got to have a gun right now, chances are you have no useful purpose, no redeeming value in the purchase of that gun,” he said. Clyburn continued: “And maybe we ought to participate here as members of this body in helping this purchaser with a cooling off period, which is all we’re asking to do here.”

Once again, this was the author of a gun control bill that just passed the U.S. House of Representatives suggesting that Americans, including those in grave danger of violent victimization, should be treated suspiciously for wanting to exercise their constitutional rights without arbitrary delay. Americans would be wise to take him at his word when he described his own legislation this way.

Meanwhile, the anti-gun media tried to minimize H.R. 1112’s effects, claiming the 3-day safety valve period would merely be extended to 10 days to give the FBI more time to conduct checks. See, for example, these articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNBC.

But contrary to how these and other news stories portrayed the bill, the dealer would not have the option of transferring the gun after the initial 10-day period.

Instead, the prospective purchaser at that point could only petition the FBI for a final answer to the check.

And if the FBI still did not answer, the dealer would have to wait an additional 10 business days before deciding whether or not to transfer the firearm.

So, 10 business days + 10 business days = 20 business days, not 10, as suggested by the numerically-challenged media.

And this is the bare minimum a purchaser with an unresolved NICS check would have to endure.

It’s also important to remember, as we recently noted, that NICS checks expire after 30 calendar days.

So it’s probable that because of weekends and other days when state offices are closed, potential purchasers with open delays will not be able to complete H.R. 1112’s 3-step wait-petition-wait process before they have to undergo another NICs check, which would restart the whole timeline.

When you tally it all up, the 10-day period repeatedly parroted in the uncritical media could actually turn into a repeating loop of month-long delays.

During final debate in the House, a hastily-written amendment was adopted supposedly to fix this problem. It would not.

Numbers, unlike gun control advocates, don’t lie.

And H.R. 8 and 1112 would, if enacted into law, have far-reaching negative effects on law-abiding gun owners.

That you can count on.

 

Kentucky lawmakers approve NRA-backed concealed carry bill

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Kentucky lawmakers have approved a bill to allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training. KEEP READING

kentucky flag

SOURCE: ABC News 12

The Kentucky bill, backed by the National Rifle Association, won final House passage Friday and now goes to Gov. Matt Bevin.

Under the measure, Kentuckians able to lawfully possess a firearm could conceal their weapons without a license. A gun-carrying permit now carries a fee and training requirement.

If the measure becomes law, The NRA says Kentucky would become the 16th state to allow adults statewide to carry concealed firearms without permits.

Supporters in Kentucky said the bill is a recognition of gun-ownership rights.

They said Kentuckians already can carry weapons openly without any training. But if they carry a gun under a coat, they currently need a permit.

Opponents objected to dropping the training requirement.

 

Indiana: Self-Defense Bill Passes House, On To Senate

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Now for some good news: A new bill in Indiana seeks to prevent frivolous lawsuits against its citizens use of justifiable force in defensive situations. READ MORE

ccw

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On February 11th, the Indiana state House of Representatives voted 80-13 to pass House Bill 1284 to enhance protections afforded to law-abiding citizens acting in defense of themselves and others. HB 1284 will now go to the state Senate for further consideration.

House Bill 1284, sponsored by Representative Jim Lucas (R-69), would provide immunity for a justified use of force in certain instances to help prevent frivolous lawsuits. Victims of violent crime shouldn’t be subjected to unnecessary civil suits, therefore being victimized twice. This bill would also require a court to award, in certain instances, reasonable attorney’s fees if it determines a suit was brought unjustly, helping to prevent financial ruin for individuals protecting themselves and others.