Category Archives: NRA

Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

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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.

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

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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

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“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

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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

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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.

 

Oklahoma Enacts Constitutional Carry Law

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Oklahoma becomes the 15th state to recognize our constitutional right to freely own a firearm, and keep it handy… READ MORE

oklahoma flag

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt for signing into law House Bill 2597, NRA-backed legislation that fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed firearm.

“On behalf of the NRA’s five-million members, we would like to thank Governor Stitt for signing this important legislation into law,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA-ILA. “This law is a common sense measure that allows law-abiding Oklahomans to exercise their fundamental right to self-protection in the manner that best suits their needs.”

H.B. 2597 passed both chambers with broad bi-partisan support (House vote 70-30 , Senate vote 40-6). With the enactment of H.B. 2597 into law, Oklahoma becomes the fifteenth state to allow constitutional carry and the second state to enact the law this year. The complete list of constitutional carry states includes Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming and New Hampshire.

This law does not change prohibited person laws or any law governing the misuse of a firearm, prohibited places where a firearm cannot be carried, or when force may be used in defense of self or others.

“NRA members and all of Oklahoma’s law abiding gun owners appreciate the efforts of the bill sponsors. Without the hard work and leadership of Senators Kim David and Nathan Dahm as well as Representatives Jon Echols, Kevin West and Sean Roberts this bill would not have become law,” concluded Cox.

 

Another Study Blames Guns, Excludes Reality

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Jumping to conclusions from a small and unreliable sample is not the way to win a debate, but here they go again… READ MORE

mental health

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

A study published in Preventative Medicine by Yu Lu and Jeff R. Temple concludes that “the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. Instead, access to firearms was the primary culprit.”

The first caveat here is that the researchers did not measure or test “gun violence.” They asked respondents — young adults who at one time attended one of seven public high schools in the southern United States — if they had ever threatened someone with a gun. There is no context for these incidents mentioned in the published study or in the supplementary material, no means to identify if the respondent was the aggressor in these scenarios or if they were defending themselves. Sixteen respondents reported they had threatened someone with a firearm; six were young women.

The author’s conclusion is based on 16 out of 663 total respondents drawn from just seven public high schools across the southern United States. There are more than 50 schools serving grades 9 to 12 in the Houston Independent School District alone.

Mental illness itself is not tested; the researchers tested symptoms of mental health using a variety of screening questions about anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, hostility, impulsivity, and borderline personality disorder. The authors do acknowledge that participants who report such symptoms do not necessarily reach criteria to be diagnosed. Some of the questions, specifically when asked of young adults, introduce some doubt into the validity of the results. See pages 2-3 of the study for examples of the questions asked. They excluded substance abuse and severe mental disorders, and this is where we really start to run into problems.

Lu and Temple believe that mental illness is blamed for gun violence. We suspect this belief — and it is not limited to these researchers — is because mental illness is a common factor in the highest-profile mass shootings. The authors cite a previous study that found “only major mental disorders were significantly associated with past year violence” but then exclude severe disorders like schizophrenia and more severe symptoms like hallucinations from their study. Grant Duwe is the research director for the Minnesota Department of Corrections and literally wrote the book on mass murder. In an op-ed after Parkland, Duwe noted that peer-reviewed research showed that individuals with major mental disorders are more likely to commit violent acts, especially if they abuse drugs. Duwe cited the same author that Lue and Temple cited for the similar claim in their paper. Duwe also reports that there is a relatively high rate of mental illness specifically among those who commit mass public shootings and notes that Mother Jones reached a similar conclusion.

Lu and Temple’s study finds that young people with guns are more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Re-read that finding. Soak in the insight it offers, so long as you don’t mind a shallow pool. The presence of a gun is sort of a requirement to threaten someone with a gun, isn’t it?

Maybe not among the 16 “emerging adults” who told strangers they had committed a potentially illegal act.

The model in this study found that those who received mental health treatment in the past year significantly predicted threatening someone with a gun but that significance was washed out when the symptoms of mental health were included in the model. We suspect some multicollinearity between mental health treatment and mental health symptoms, as mental health treatment and the tested symptoms may be correlated.

Lu and Temple position their research as a contribution to the debate between “dangerous people” (the mentally ill) and “dangerous weapons” (firearms). Their own opinion on firearms is clear; their survey found that most people who carry guns did so for protection, and so they argue that “the best method to prevent gun carrying may be the building of an overall safer environment.”

Anti-gun advocates want to limit the rights of law-abiding gun owners and so research like this is held up as evidence that it must be the firearms themselves when, in reality, no one is arguing that everyone with any of the symptoms of mental illness tested here are necessarily dangerous. The inclusion of mental illness in the debate over gun rights is because some with severe mental illnesses do not receive the help they need and commit horrible acts. The responsible, law-abiding nature of tens of millions of American gun owners is ignored by efforts to restrict our rights.

Framing the argument as an attack on anyone dealing with any form of mental illness does a disservice to the debate. So does a study based on the unclear and potentially illegal self-reported actions of 16 young adults from a handful of schools in a specific region of the country.

 

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

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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.

 

Turning a Right into a Privilege: HR 1112 Gives Feds Unfettered Power to Block Gun Sales

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H.R. 1112 would eliminate the 3-day safety-valve provision under the federal firearms background check system that prevents the government from enacting an indefinite delay of firearm purchases for law-abiding Americans. READ MORE

HR 1112

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

H.R. 8, which would criminalize the private transfer of firearms, has received significant attention from the gun rights community. However, H.R. 1112, which purportedly targets the inappropriately-named “Charleston loophole,” is just as insidious an attack on gun owners. Both bills were passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

All Federal Firearms Licensees (gun dealers) are required to conduct a background check on prospective purchasers to determine if transferring the firearm would violate state or federal law. Under current law, if an FFL initiates a background check, but does not receive a determination from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System within three business days, the FFL may proceed with the firearms transfer. After the three-day window, FBI continues to research the matter that gave rise to an individual’s delay for 90 days after the check was initiated. If it is later determined that the person is prohibited from possessing firearms, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is notified and tasked with retrieving the firearm.

Under the proposed legislation, the 3-day safety valve would be eliminated and replaced with a procedure that provides gun buyers with no protection. If an FFL initiates a check and does not receive a response from NICS after 10 business days, the prospective purchaser may petition the FBI to permit the transfer to proceed. The FFL may not proceed with the transaction until an additional 10 business days have elapsed from the date of the petition.

Existing federal law limits the validity of a NICS background check to 30 calendar days from the date it is initiated. Because H.R. 1112 uses business days and the NICS validity provision is in calendar days, in practice, H.R. 1112 would have no default proceed available.

For example, if H.R. 1112 were to become law, gun buyers who are delayed on the busiest gun buying day of the year, Black Friday, would not be able to clear their delay under H.R. 1112’s provisions before their NICS check expired. Black Friday 2019 falls on November 29th, so the first day that the prospective purchaser could file a petition would be December 14th.

The additional 10-business day wait after the petition would make December 31st the first day that the FFL could transfer the firearm, but that would be prohibited because the NICS check expired on December 29th. The purchaser would have to begin the process again with another NICS check, with the likely result being another delay and the process beginning all over again.

The current three-day safety-valve provision is vital and protects gun owners in numerous ways. The safety-valve provision ensures that if there is a disruption to the NICS system or an overwhelming volume of background checks, lawful firearms transfer from dealers can still take place. Most importantly, the safety-valve provision ensures that the FBI carries out its background check duties in an expedient and responsible manner that recognizes the right to keep and bear arms as a constitutionally-protected individual right.

Absent this provision, the FBI would have less incentive to conduct NICS checks in a timely manner. Moreover, the agency would have free reign to indefinitely delay any transfers they deem undesirable, for whatever political or purported public policy purpose they could concoct. This would turn all firearms sales from dealers into something akin to may-issue licensing. Prospective gun buyers who are not prohibited from owning firearms by law could be denied by bureaucratic dictate through the form of an indefinite delay.

Providing FBI with this sort of discretion poses a danger to Second Amendment rights. This is clear, because the FBI already attempts to use assumed discretion to encumber certain lawful gun sales.

According to the Congressional Research Service it is standard FBI practice to delay firearms transactions to those on the government’s secret watchlists. A person’s placement on a secret government watchlist with secret and nebulous criteria is not sufficient to encumber their constitutional rights, therefore they are not prohibited from possessing firearms by virtue of their watchlist status. Aside from the constitutional matter, those on the secret federal watchlists are not statutorily prohibited from possessing firearms. However, the FBI has taken upon itself to delay all background checks for those suspected of being on its secret watchlist.

As the CRS report explained:
In the case of a possible watchlist match, NICS sends a delayed transfer (for up to three business days) response to the querying federally licensed gun dealer or state POC. During a delay, NICS staff contacts immediately the FBI Headquarters’ Counterterrorism Division and FBI Special Agents in the field, and a coordinated effort is made to research possibly unknown prohibiting factors. If no prohibiting factors are uncovered within this three-day period, firearms dealers may proceed with the transaction at their discretion. However, FBI counterterrorism officials continue to work the case for up to 90 days in case disposition information is returned that permits a final determination.

Even those who have little sympathy for those who currently find themselves on secret government watchlists should understand that FBI’s dubious and assumed discretionary authority in this instance is a grave threat to liberty and that this threat would be severely exacerbated without the safety-valve provision. What group might an emboldened federal government find deplorable enough to target next?

Legislation to remove the three-day safety valve provision has been marketed as an effort to close the so-called “Charleston loophole.” The term stems from the hate-fueled 2015 shooting of several parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Proponents of the legislation claim that perpetrator of the attack could have been stopped but for the three-day safety-valve provision. This is false.

On April 11, 2015, the perpetrator of the Charleston attack attempted to buy the firearm he used in the shooting from an FFL and was delayed due to an arrest for drug possession. The firearm was transferred to him five days later, absent a direct proceed order from NICS. The attack did not occur until June 17. In the intervening time, the FBI had the opportunity to continue to investigate whether the perpetrator was prohibited from possessing firearms and could have referred the case to ATF for a firearm retrieval had they determined he was indeed prohibited.

Contrary to inaccurate statements made by the FBI, the perpetrator was not prohibited from possessing firearms. Under federal law, a person is prohibited from possessing firearms if they are an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.” The FBI has contended that the perpetrator’s arrest would have prohibited him from possessing a firearm. In turn, this has prompted gun control supporters to claim that this instance proves the FBI should be given further time to conduct NICS checks, even though the FBI had more than two months to investigate the validity of the transfer in the case. To sustain a conviction for firearm possession by an “unlawful user” federal courts require the drug use to be “sufficiently consistent, prolonged, and close in time to [the] gun possession . . . .”

A simple drug arrest does not meet this standard.

Therefore, for multiple reasons, the ploy by this bill’s proponents of connecting the three-day safety-valve provision to the Charleston attack is simply fraudulent.

Gun rights supporters have spent the last 30 years successfully working to remove may-issue licensing schemes that empower those in government to indulge their political biases and general prejudices to control the exercise of a constitutional right. Gun owners and civil liberties supporters across the political spectrum must recognize H.R. 1112 for what it is, a measure that would subject the exercise of a constitutional right to the unfettered discretion of federal bureaucrats.

 

Illinois: Ammunition Registry Bill Introduced

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Late last week, House Bill 1467 was introduced to create a registry of ammunition sales by anyone, including private individuals. READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

House Bill 1467, sponsored by Representative Lamont Robinson (D-5), would require anyone who sells any amount of ammunition to maintain records including the personal information and Firearms Owner Identification Card (FOID) of the buyer, and the type, quantity, and manufacturer of the ammunition. These records would have to be maintained for inspection by law enforcement and would also have to be forwarded to state police within seven days of each transaction. In addition, state police would be directed to establish and maintain a searchable database of these records.

These onerous recordkeeping and forwarding requirements will incur unnecessary costs on businesses and also hinder law-abiding gun owners trading ammunition among themselves. This solution in search of a problem will not only waste taxpayer-funded resources, but it will also not improve public safety. Current state law already prohibits those without a FOID from possessing ammunition, and sellers are required to verify that the buyer has a FOID. A registry would not affect criminals. The only purpose that these registries serve is to facilitate future confiscations from law-abiding citizens.

 Please contact your state Representative and urge them to OPPOSE HB 1467.