NRA calls for BAFTE review on rapid-fire devices. Here’s the story…
The National Rifle Association issued the following statement on October 5, 2017:
“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.
Read this release from TSRA to learn about ALL of the changes in Texas gun law on September 1. See below:
LTC Fee Reduction Legislation
(SB16 by Senator Robert Nichols/Representative Phil King)
In 1995 the Texas Legislature passed the concealed handgun license. At that time the fee to the state for the CHL was put into statute at $140 for the initial license and $70 to renew. The only discounts in 1995 were for seniors over 60 at a 50% discount and to indigents for the same 50% discount.
Over the years the Legislature created discounts for various groups such as judges, district attorneys, military, law enforcement and others but nothing for the average hardworking Texan. In addition, the process of issuing the license became streamlined.
With SB 16:
Those who would have paid $140 will now pay $40, and their renewal will also be $40. The cost will be $40 for seniors for their first license instead of $70, and a senior renewal will remain $35.
$40 is the most any Texan will pay the state for the License to Carry.
While TSRA strongly supports unlicensed possession of a handgun, the Texas license has become acceptable even to those who opposed the issue for decades.
Special thanks to Senator Robert Nichols the author of SB 16, to Representative Phil King for HB300, Representative Dustin Burrows for HB339 and to Representative Kyle Kacal for HB1024; all filed to create support for SB 16.
SB 16 was Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s #1 priority for Texas gun owners.
Governor signed (5/26/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Caliber Requirement for LTC Qualification
(SB263 by Senator Perry/Representative Drew Springer)
Since 1995 there has been a minimum caliber requirement in the statute for the range proficiency portion of the Texas License to Carry class. Range Proficiency requires the applicant shoot a 50-round course of fire.
Currently, those seeking a license must test with a .32 caliber or higher handgun although there is no caliber requirement regarding the firearm carried by the licensee on a day to day basis.
This minimum caliber requirement negatively impacts those with hand injuries and the elderly who wish to obtain a license.
SB 263 by Senator Perry removes the caliber requirement for the range proficiency exam to obtain a Texas License to Carry. The bill takes effect September 1.
Governor signed (6/9/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Volunteer First Responders
(HB435 by Representative Ken King/Senator Perry.) Relating to handgun laws as they apply to licensees who are volunteer first responders.
Governor signed (June 15, 2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
TSRA Suppressor Bill plus a Friendly Amendment
On Friday, May 19th, at 8:55 p.m. the Texas House passed HB 1819, authored by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) with Senate sponsor, Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) plus an amendment by Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls).
HB1819 sets up Texas law in preparation for the Hearing Protection Act (HR 367) to pass in Congress. The Hearing Protection Act would remove suppressors, also known as silencers, from the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA). This means the purchaser of a suppressor would no longer be required to pay the suppressor dealer a deposit, fill out the form 4, transmit digital fingerprints, send BATFE $200, followed by waiting as long as a year for their application to be processed, the “tax stamp” issued and the purchase finalized. Again, we’re only talking about suppressors. A device which simply muffles sound.
The US Congress, under our current administration, is expected to act and when the change occurs Texas law will be ready to accommodate the change. This means law-abiding Texans wanting a suppressor for their firearm will show their LTC or submit to NICS as though they were purchasing a firearm. No forms and no $200 tax to BATFE when the Hearing Protection Act passes in Congress.
But wait, there’s more! Mossberg Shockwave!
It was brought to our attention by State Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) and by TSRA members that the Mossberg 590 Shockwave could not be purchased in two states: Texas and Ohio. There is a Mossberg manufacturing facility in Eagle Pass.
You see BATFE does not require this 14″ barrel, pistol grip “firearm” to be registered as an NFA device. The Shockwave is not a shoulder-mount shotgun.
The Mossberg amendment was added in the Senate by Senator Craig Estes. Thanks of course to Senator Charles Perry the Senate sponsor for HB 1819.
HB1819 has now been signed by Governor Abbott and takes effect September 1. We may have a wait to purchase a suppressor, but we will purchase the Mossberg 590 Shockwave and other similar firearms after September 1.
HB1819 Bill History with Co-Author’s List
Governor Signed (5/26/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017 for Texas law but we wait on Congress!
Online LTC Course Option
(HB3784 by Representative Justin Holland (R-Rockwall and Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano))
Creates an optional online course for the Texas LTC. The shooting portion must be done with a DPS certified instructor.
Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Church Volunteer Security
Relating to the exemption from the application of the Private Security Act of certain persons who provide security services on a volunteer basis at a place of religious worship.
The original bill didn’t pass but was successfully amended to SB2065 by Senator Kelly Hancock (R-N. Richland Hills)
Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Primary and Secondary Teachers and School Parking Lot
The language of HB1692 by Representative Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant) Relating to the transportation and storage of a handgun or other firearm and ammunition by a license holder in a motor vehicle in a parking area of a primary or secondary school.
This legislation protects the jobs of hard-working primary and secondary teachers with an LTC. This group was not previously covered by the employer parking lot bill from years ago.
Neither the House Bill nor the Senate bill passed, but the language was amended.
Representative Hefner successfully amended his language to SB1566 by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham).
Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Legalize the Bowie Knife
HB1935 by Representative John Frullo/Senator John Whitmire eliminates daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, spears, and Bowie knives from Texas law, allowing them to be carried in Texas. Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
LTC Range Qualifications and Veterans
SB138 by Senator Van Taylor/Representative Morgan Meyer to exempt certain military veterans and active duty service members with military range qualifications from the state required range portion of the LTC course. SB138 passed as an amendment to HB3784 Effective Date 9/1/2017
A viral social-media post is suggesting that it may be okay to shoot someone to defend a statue. Our Independent Program Attorneys beg to differ.
Here is U.S. & Texas LawShield® Independent Attorney Edwin Walker’s response:
Texas LawShield recently became aware of a viral Facebook post telling people they can shoot someone vandalizing a statute.
Based on recent events, we understand the importance of knowing whether or not this is valid legal information.
It appears this viral story started as a blog post that reported on one individual’s opinion on the use of force and/or deadly force to protect public property.
The position advocated by the Facebook post cited in the blog is not a very good idea.
The defense of property justifications (TPC 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43) are all based upon the finding that the person’s conduct was based upon a “reasonable belief” that the use of force is “immediately necessary” to prevent the harm to property.
With regard to deadly force, it can only be used if the person “reasonably believes that … the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by ANY other means.”
This presents a lot of room for a jury to find that someone was unreasonable in using force or deadly force to defend against an act of criminal mischief.
Further, deadly force can never be used in response to the crime of criminal mischief in the daytime.
Many people who have commented on this post have posed a “…but what if they come at me…” scenario.
It is true that the circumstances that allow for the use of force and/or deadly force can change instantly. If a person is simply trying to stop a vandal by shouting at him or calling the police, and as a result the vandal attempts to attack the person, then the person being attacked would be justified in using force and may even escalate to deadly force to defend themselves if they have a reasonable belief that they are going to be murdered.
However, if a person were to physically intervene to stop a vandal (any offensive, unwanted, or injurious touching is an assault) and then were to be physically assaulted themselves, the issue that a jury would have to decide is whether or not the person had disqualified themselves from claiming self-defense because of their initial “assault” on the vandal.
Needless to say, this is a very complex issue and should not have been addressed by anyone in a cavalier manner.
It is unfortunate that civilized behavior in our society has devolved to such a state that it is even necessary to consider these issues.
To learn more, we invite Members and guests to attend seminars and workshops presented by experienced attorneys as they discuss laws regarding the legal use of force and legal use of deadly force. To stay on the right side of the law, it is critical you stay current on any legal changes. Don’t miss this opportunity. Click Gun Law Seminar to find out more.
“In fact, the Amendment’s core at a minimum shields the typically situated citizen’s ability to carry common arms generally,” wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith in the ruling on the case Wrennv. District of Columbia.
Subsequently, the appeals court instructed lower courts to block the D.C. law with permanent injunctions. City officials indicated they’re exploring an appeal, while gun-control groups claim the ruling shrinks public safety in the nation’s capital.
D.C. gun laws are among the strictest in the U.S., but they’ve also faced several legal challenges in the last few years, said Kirk Evans, President of U.S. & Texas LawShield.
Gottlieb added, “We are particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.”
In the days after the ruling it was too early to tell how far the case would rise through the appeals process. The Supreme Court in June declined to consider another Second Amendment case, Peruta v. California, in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a San Diego County law requiring gun owners to prove they have “good cause” to apply for concealed carry permits.
But Gottlieb said the latest victory in D.C. spurs confidence among Second Amendment advocates.
“To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement,” Gottlieb said. “We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.” — Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog
The application of the state’s Campus Carry Law at community and junior colleges across Texas kicked off with a whimper—not a bang—on Tuesday (Aug. 1), to no surprise of TSRA Legislative Director Alice Tripp.
“This effort started in 2007 and we’ve gone through four sessions of the Legislature and 10 public hearings,” said Tripp, who works closely with legislators as a representative of the Texas State Rifle Association.
“It has required a lot of work and effort.
“Now we will focus on making sure the state colleges follow the letter of the law,” she added, noting that every regular session of the Legislature colleges must send a report about their specific rules and regulations pertaining to the law and why they created them.
She said dire predictions of problems by the anti-gun crowd have proven to be groundless, just as when the law took effect at four-year public colleges on Aug. 1, 2016.
“There have been firearms on campuses since 1996—in the parking lots, on the grounds, in the dorms—this just opens up carrying firearms into buildings and classrooms.
“I am sure that students have been sitting next to someone carrying a handgun into a classroom all along. They were just doing it without permission—now they have permission,” she said.
Tripp pointed out that the negative attention on the issue has been focused mainly on students carrying firearms, while the driving force behind the effort to allow licensed carry on campus has come from faculty and staff members at the institutions of higher learning.
“What the faculty and staff members have told us is that they wanted to feel safe walking to their car in the parking lot after dark or in other areas where they might face a threat,” she said.
With the backing and support of the TSRA, state Senator Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, filled SB 11, also known as the Campus Carry Law. It passed during the 2015 Legislative session.
Tripp noted that incidents related to the implementation of the law last year at four-year public colleges have been limited to one accidental discharge where no one was injured and a couple of cases where licensed concealed-carry holders inadvertently entered restricted areas.
Campus Carry Legal Issues
On the legal side of the issue, three University of Texas at Austin professors sued the state and the university after enactment of the Campus Carry Law, claiming that the potential presence of guns in classrooms has a chilling effect on class discussion.
A federal judge rejected their claims, ruling that the professors failed to present any “concrete evidence to substantiate their fears.”
Colleges may ban or restrict firearms from certain areas of the campuses. The Legislature must review these restrictions every other year.
There was at least one demonstration opposing the implementation of the state law at community and junior colleges on Tuesday. It was a one-man protest by a San Antonio College geography instructor.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, the 60-year-old instructor conducted classes on Tuesday while wearing a Kevlar helmet and a flak jacket in his protest of the law.
Reaction on the comments page of the paper was mostly negative. One reader wrote that the instructor’s action was a “melodramatic and buffoonish spectacle in protest of the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.” —by Ralph Winingham, Contributor, U.S. and Texas LawShield blog
In the wake of the 4th of July, this is a focus for many of us, and here’s the full story of how and why the Second Amendment came to be. Learn more…
by Chip Lohman, NRA Publications Staff
Our earliest colonial governments began with charters written for individuals and settlement companies. As colonists sought religious freedom, better land or escape from British rule, charters were authorized by the King as the legal means for the colonies to exist.
As the colonies became more independent, they established their own governments, even drafting state constitutions in some cases. During this same period in our history, complaints began to surface about the perception that traditional rights of English citizens were not being extended to the colonists. Similar unrest was vented in Jonathan Mayhew’s sermon where he coined the phrase “No taxation without representation.” These and other objections to British oversight led to the American Revolution, during which the colonies formed the Continental Congress, declared independence on July 4, 1776 and fought the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Eleven years after publishing the Declaration of Independence with the legendary words “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” representatives from the 13 states were invited to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to revise the “Articles of Confederation.” These Articles still recognized states as independent governments. After the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, colonial activists began to compare the viability of independent state governments to a federal government better suited to national affairs. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would not last unless the Articles of Confederation were revised. Absent Rhode Island, the Philadelphia meetings began on Friday, May 25, 1787, with 55 prominent citizens attending. The deliberations included alternatives for wartime security, transitioning to a central government and how the states would be represented in that central government. The more populated states preferred proportional representation, while smaller states argued for equal representation. Thanks to the remarkable wisdom for our forefathers, the matter of state representation was resolved by proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation in the upper house (Senate).
As the summer debates of 1787 wore on, emphasis gradually shifted from state rule to a central, federal government. However, with little mention of individual rights guarantees written into the draft, several delegates, including anti-federalist George Mason of Virginia, proposed that a committee be appointed to prepare a bill of rights. Mason concluded in his objection: This government will commence in a moderate aristocracy. It is at present impossible to foresee whether it will, in its operation, produce a monarchy or a corrupt oppressive aristocracy. It will most probably vibrate some years between the two, and then terminate in the one or the other.
One hundred and sixteen days after convening, 39 delegates signed the carefully crafted system of checks and balances that would become the United States Constitution. As provided for in Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.
The following summer, New Hampshire became the requisite ninth state to ratify the document, thus establishing our new form of federal government. Today, our Constitution is the oldest written, operating constitution in the world.
Mason’s objection was delivered five days before the Constitution was signed. Perhaps due to the months already spent in argument and debate, and maybe to some degree because of the summer climate, worsened by the heavy wool coats and wigs of the day, the anti-federalist’s proposal was rejected.
Those who supported the Constitution were known as federalists. Delegates who feared that a centralized government would lead to a dictatorship were called anti-federalists. Recall that our fledgling country had just fought a war over matters such as “taxation without representation,” so there remained a healthy resistance to replacing one autocratic government with another. As a result of the impasse over the proposed amendments, several delegates refused to sign the final document.
Negotiating a common, legislative rule of law for 13 states, in four months (not years) and securing a majority vote was an extraordinary task in itself. Devising a system of checks and balances with separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches was brilliant. But in 1787, the completed document contained none of the civil liberties that distinguish our government today. Were it not for the inspired, flexible design of the newly drafted Constitution that allowed a minority group to voice a dissenting opinion, the cornerstone of individual rights on which our democracy is now based may never have been laid.
The early framers recognized the need for flexibility in constitutional law. Consequently, Article V of the Constitution outlines the method for change as a two-step procedure: Proposal of an amendment, followed by ratification. Using state models for individual rights and reaching as far back as the English Magna Carta for inspiration, Mason proposed a Bill containing 10 amendments to the Constitution what became known as the Bill of Rights. Through a lengthy process of House, Senate and State ratifications, the Bill was ultimately signed four years later on December 15, 1791. Over time, more than 5,000 amendments have been proposed in Congress, with far fewer actually ratified.
Established shortly after the American Civil War (1871) as a marksmanship and firearms safety organization that today includes a myriad of related education and support programs, the National Rifle Association’s mission was significantly expanded in the mid-1970s. With an increased concentration of resources devoted to preserving Second Amendment rights, NRA became a more active participant in the legislative and public policy arena in support of protecting and advancing the guarantees of our Constitution. As originally ratified by the founding fathers, the Second Amendment decrees that: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.This wasn’t a new concept, with origins dating back to Great Britain’s Bill of Rights written in 1689. The British version created a separation of powers, enhanced democratic elections, bolstered freedom of speech and argued that individuals had the natural right of self-defense.
The old style grammar used when drafting the Second Amendment has since led to multiple dissections and interpretations of the founders’ intent. Were the framers referring merely to the need for a standing militia, or is it clear that their focus was to preserve an individual right, as was the theme for all 10 amendments?
Over the years, the Supreme Court has rendered its own interpretations of the intent of the Second Amendment. In 1875 (United States v. Cruikshank), the Court ruled that “the right to bear arms is not granted [emphasis added] by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.”
Fast forward to 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller), where the Court again ruled that the Second Amendment “…codified a pre-existing right” and that it “…protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” Most recently in 2010, (McDonald v. Chicago), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.
While it’s interesting to review the twists and turns of history and the awe-inspiring wisdom of the founding fathers, what lies ahead rests squarely on our shoulders. Readers will argue their own reasons why the fervent debate continues over the Second Amendment and, by extension, gun control. I believe that the implementation of Social Security (1935), the shift from an agricultural to urban life, and a dependence on others for food, shelter and safety, and maybe even the advent of 911 calls (1968), have contributed to an attitude, for many, that “someone else” is responsible for our welfare. The opposing side will argue that we are “our own 911.”
With the recent Republican wins in the White House and Congress, and the Supreme Court nominations to follow, one could mistakenly believe we have put this debate to bed for 40-50 years. Whether or not the argument can be reconciled through education, arbitration or compromise, that’s another article — for all of us to write.
My recent op-ed in The Hill newspaper points out that while professors seem to be very concerned about allowing permitted concealed handguns on college campuses, their actions don’t match their rhetoric. While a professor’s resignation at the University of Kansas gets national news attention, for example, only one out of 2,600 faculty members has left his or her post at the school.
In my column, I point out that permit holders across the country have an astoundingly low rate of criminality — even lower than police officers. Permits have been revoked for firearms-related violations at rates of thousandths of one percentage point. Civilian permit holders are less likely than police officers to be convicted of a firearms violation. So, many academics’ worries about the potential for shoot-outs on campuses are overblown, if you just consider the data.
For instance, a Crime Prevention Research Center study shows that from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate of misdemeanors and felonies by full-time police officers was .102 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in the year 2015, the year campus carry was signed into law in that state, was .0102 percent, or one-tenth the rate of LE violations.
Also, from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate for firearms violations was .017 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in 2015 was .0024 percent.
In the column, I argue the purported danger in campus carry has not materialized, even though campus carry has been in effect in some states for 14 years—it became law in Colorado in 2003 and in Utah in 2004, and has become law in numerous other states since then, including Arkansas and Georgia this year. That’s enough time and enough data to have at least noticed a spike in campus criminality by concealed-carry license holders if it had happened. —Texas & U.S. Law Shield Contributor Dr. John Lott, Jr.
Utah Rep. Rob Bishop introduces bill to clarify and protect 2nd Amendment guarantees… Important!
Source: UtahPolicy.com and NRA-ILA
On May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act.” This bill would remove ATF’s authority to use the “sporting purposes” clauses in federal law in ways that could undermine the core purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Under Chairman Bishop’s legislation, all lawful purposes — including self-defense — would have to be given due consideration and respect in the administration of federal firearms law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the core purpose of the 2nd Amendment is self-defense. Nevertheless, many federal laws that regulate the importation, possession and transfer of firearms measure the lawful utility of firearms based on their usefulness for so-called “sporting purposes.”
The term “sporting purposes” is undefined by federal statute and has been subject to several reinterpretations by the ATF and its predecessor agency. Anti-gun administrations have exploited the lack of a clear definition of “sporting purposes” to bypass Congress and impose gun control through executive fiat. The most recent (and perhaps most infamous) example of this was the Obama administration’s attempt to ban a highly popular form of ammunition for the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle. H.R. 2620 would put a stop to this for good.
Bishop offered the following statement: “The Founding Fathers were clear when they drafted the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment is about security and self-defense. Vagaries in today’s legal code pose a real threat to the right to keep and bear arms. The Obama Administration exploited this ambiguity to forward its agenda of restriction. It’s time to ensure no future Administration tramples on these freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”
Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action said: “On behalf of the NRA’s 5-million members, I would like to thank Chairman Rob Bishop for introducing this critical legislation. It sends a clear message that Congress will no longer allow federal bureaucrats to infringe on our 2nd Amendment right to self-protection.”
The Lawful Purpose and Self-Defense Act would:
Eliminate ATF’s authority to reclassify popular rifle ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The federal law governing armor piercing ammunition was passed by Congress to target handgun projectiles, but ATF has used the law to ban common rifle ammunition.
Provide for the lawful importation of any non-NFA firearm or ammunition that may otherwise be lawfully possessed and sold within the United States. ATF has used the current discretionary “sporting purposes” standard to deny the importation of firearms that would be perfectly legal to manufacture, sell, and possess in the United States.
Protect shotguns, shotgun shells, and larger caliber rifles from arbitrary classification as “destructive devices.” Classification as a destructive device subjects a firearm to the registration and taxation provision of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and creates a ban on possession of the firearm in some states.
Broaden the temporary interstate transfer provision to allow temporary transfers for all lawful purposes rather than just for “sporting purposes.”
TAKE ACTION! Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 2620, the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act.” You can call your U.S. Representative at 202-225-3121, or click HERE.
Judicial Watch, the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) seeking records of communications inside the agency when it was considering reclassifying certain types of AR-15 ammunition as armor-piercing—and effectively banning it from civilian use.
Members who want to understand the precise statutory definition of ‘armor-piercing ammunition’ can find it in 18 U.S.C §921(a)(17).
In March 2015, more than 200 members of Congress wrote to former ATF director Todd Jones expressing their “serious concern” that the proposal might violate the Second Amendment by restricting ammunition that had been primarily used for “sporting purposes.” The letter asserted the ATF’s move “does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law and will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law-abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes.”
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agency failed to respond to a March 9, 2015, FOIA request seeking information on the ammo ban effort:
All records of communications, including emails, to or from employees or officials of the ATF related to the decision to revise the ATF 2014 Regulation Guide to no longer exempt 5.56 mm. SS109 and M855 (i.e., “green tip” AR-15) ammunition from the definition of “armor-piercing” ammunition.
“This is yet another example of how Obama’s wanton use of the ‘pen and the phone’ attempted to undermine the constitutional rights of all Americans, as opposed to upholding the rule of law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama ATF simply ignored our request on their ammo ban. Let’s hope the Trump administration finally brings transparency to this out-of-control agency.”
Seventh-grader Zachary Bowlin last week was given a 10-day suspension from Edgewood Middle School [Ohio] for liking a picture of a gun on the social media site with the caption, “Ready.” Read more…
Source: AOL.com News and FOX19
The parents of Zachary Bowlin posted a picture of the intended suspension notice which read, “The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.”
“I liked it, scrolling down Instagram at night about 7, 8 o’clock, I liked it,” Bowlin told FOX19. “The next morning they called me down [to the office] patted me down and checked me for weapons.”
The gun in the photo is reportedly an airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets.
The 13-year-old’s parents were angry about the suspension. “It was 10 days suspension with the possibility of expulsion. I’m like, ‘For liking a gun? Did he make a comment or threat or anything?,'” Bowlin’s father, Marty, told WLWT News in Cincinnati, “And it’s like, ‘No. He just liked a picture.’ I’m like, ‘Well, this can’t happen.'”
The school, however, stands by taking precaution right away. “When you’re dealing with school districts nowadays and there are pictures of guns, regardless of the kind of gun it is, it’s a gun,” Edgewood City Schools Superintendent Russ Fussnecker told WLWT, “I cannot just turn my head and act as if, well, I think it may have been playful and take the chance that something happens,” Fussnecker continued. “I can’t take a chance.”
The suspension was for both Bowlin and the boy who took the photo. Once Fussnecker found out the gun was for pellets, it was revoked. Bowlin can return to school without penalty. The boy who posted the photo is reportedly still under suspension.
Fussnecker told FOX19 in a statement: “Concerning the recent social media posting of a gun with the caption ‘Ready,’ and the liking of this post by another student, the policy at Edgewood City Schools reads as follows: “The Board has a ‘zero tolerance’ of violent, disruptive, harassing, intimidating, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior by its students.
Students are also subject to discipline as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct that occurs off school property when the misbehavior adversely affects the educational process.
As the Superintendent of the Edgewood City Schools, I assure you that any social media threat will be taken serious [sic] including those who ‘like’ the post when it potentially endangers the health and safety of students or adversely affects the educational process.”