Over the past three decades, a quiet revolution has been taking place across the country. We’re talking about the expansion of “right-to-carry” or “shall issue” laws allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms. If you look at the animated map below, you’ll see that the vast majority of states now allow citizens to obtain carry permits on a “shall-issue” basis. That typically means than a citizen can obtain a carry permit after fulfilling basic requirements, such as a background check, safety class, and finger-printing.
As recently as the mid-1990s, most states disallowed carry permits, or allowed such permits only at the discretion of local law enforcement officials. Over the past 30 years states have migrated to less restrictive alternatives. The map below shows how most states have gone from “No-Issue” (Red) or “May-Issue” (Yellow) status to “Shall Issue” (Blue).
Opponents of right-to-carry legislation argued that the passage of “shall issue” laws would increase gun violence. In fact, the opposite occurred. The level of violent gun crime has declined in recent decades. A study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) showed a 39% decline in gun murders from 1993 to 2011 plus a 69% drop in non-fatal gun crimes during that period.
All 50 states have now passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a “shall-issue” or “may-issue” permit from local law enforcement. Illinois had been the last state without such a provision — but its long-standing ban on concealed weapons was overturned in a federal appeals court, on Constitutional grounds. Illinois was required by the court to draft a concealed carry law by July 9, 2013 at which time the Illinois legislature, over-riding the amendatory veto of the governor who had sought to impose many restrictions, approved concealed carry to begin January 2014, at the latest.
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Twenty-two years ago Larry and Brenda Potterfield launched the NRA Round-Up, a special program designed to raise funds for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). To date, MidwayUSA Customers have contributed nearly $10 million dollars to the NRA-ILA National Endowment for the Protection of the 2nd Amendment.
“On January 2, 1992 we started asking our Customers at MidwayUSA if they would ‘Round-Up’ their order to the next higher dollar and let us donate that money to the NRA-ILA. Our Customers overwhelmingly said yes and to date they have donated nearly $10 Million,” said Larry Potterfield, Founder and CEO of MidwayUSA. “The actual donations have never been spent, but each year, NRA-ILA spends five percent of the interest to fight anti-gun legislation.”
At the 143rd NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Indianapolis last weekend, Larry and Brenda Potterfield presented a ceremonial check to NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox for $9,892,195.82, the total amount of money that has been donated by MidwayUSA Customers since 1992.
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The NRA (with help from Smith & Wesson) has created a compelling video explaining how and why women use firearms for hunting, sport, and self-defense.
The video features many of our friends, including pistol champion Julie Golob and ace 3-Gun competitor Maggie Reese. The video spotlights women who value their Second Amendment rights, understanding that a firearm remains the “great equalizer”, allowing women to protect themselves and their families. The video challenges the anti-gun politicians and media “talking heads” who want to disarm women: “These authorities that I’ve never met, they’ll never know me, they’ll never know my circumstances, they’ll never know what I’m up against”, says Natalie Foster.
“So many things can change when we start losing our civil rights, and our most basic civil rights of self-defense.” — Julianna Crowder.
“I want to protect my child in any way that’s possible. And I want them to have that right to protect… our future. It’s not just about Washington… it’s about sharing your sport, sharing your passion, sharing your desire to protect yourself.” — Julie Golob
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At the NRA’s 127 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Charlton Heston was elected President of the National Rifle Association. A World War II veteran, Oscar-winning actor, and heralded civil rights activist, Heston led the NRA for an unprecedented six years.
An icon to supporters of the Second Amendment, his address at the 2000 Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a flintlock rifle raised above his head, still brings chills to this day:
So, as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: ‘From my cold, dead hands’.
The stamp is set to be released on April 11, 2014. Designated as a Forever® stamp, it will cover the cost of sending any First Class letter from now until the end of time.
Earlier this week, the United States Postal Service announced that the face of John Charles ‘Charlton Heston’ Carter would grace the 18th stamp in their Legends of Hollywood collection:
With his chiseled jaw, compelling baritone voice, and muscular physique, Charlton Heston (1923-2008) seemed perfectly at home leading a cast of thousands. The 18th stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series salutes an actor who portrayed presidents and prophets, Moses and Michelangelo[.] This stamp features a color portrait based on a photograph taken by the actor’s wife, Lydia Clarke Heston. The Charlton Heston stamp is being issued in sheets of 20 self-adhesive Forever® stamps.
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The U.S Supreme Court has declined to review two cases involving handguns and young adults in the 18 to 20 year-old age bracket. The first case, NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, challenged a 1968 law which prohibits FFLs from selling handguns to any person under 21 (including adults 18, 19, and 20 years of age). Arguing that the Second Amendment protects all adult citizens, Petitioners argued that restrictions should be lifted for legal adults over 18 but under 21 years of age. The other case, NRA v. McCraw, sought to over-turn various Texas laws that prevent 18 to 20 year-olds from getting a handgun carry license.
Gun-rights activists have been pressing the nation’s highest court to accept the cases. Those advocates have cited various courts’ resistance to expanding gun ownership rights following the Supreme Court’s decision in 2008 in the Heller case that there is a Constitutional right to gun ownership for self-defense and in 2010 in the McDonald case that found the right applies to state and local gun-control efforts.
The Supreme Court refused on [February 24, 2014], as it has done repeatedly in recent years, to settle the issue of whether Second Amendment rights to have a gun extend beyond the home. Since the Court first ruled nearly six years ago that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to have a gun, it has issued only one further ruling — expanding that right so that it applies nationwide, to state and local gun control laws, as well as to federal laws. But, without exception, the Justices have turned aside every potential sequel, essentially leaving it to lower courts to continue to sort out variations on the right.
One thing seemed clear from the denial of review of two of the new cases, the NRA’s challenges: the Court is not, as yet, ready to stop lower courts from creating an entirely new group in society with less than full gun rights. In those cases, it was youths aged eighteen to twenty years old.
Credit G. Salazar for story tip. We welcome reader submissions.
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California gun owners can celebrate a major legal victory today. The Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California’s “good cause” requirement (for handgun carry licenses) is unconstitutional (as least as it is applied in San Diego County). A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that California’s restrictions on handgun carry permits abrogate the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
According to Fox News: “By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said California was wrong to require applicants to show ‘good cause’ to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.” READ Related story.
“The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for the majority. The court held that the requirement of “good cause” was both too burdensome and too indefinite to pass muster under the Second Amendment. The San Diego County Sheriffs Department’s requirement that applicants provide documentation to show a “special need” for permits “impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.” Vague “good cause” requirements, the court determined, could be invoked too broadly, thereby denying citizens the legitimate exercise of their Second Amendment rights.
As the result of this ruling, the appellant, Edward Peruta, may now revive his lawsuit challenging San Diego County’s denial of a concealed weapons permit.
Later in the opinion, however, O’Scannlain wrote: “We are not holding that the Second Amendment requires the states to permit concealed carry. But the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self defense outside the home.”
Though this ruling settles the matter in the Ninth Circuit (for now), the U.S. Supreme Court may get involved down the road. The Ninth Circuit’s decision runs contrary to decisions by three other Federal Courts of Appeals regarding issuance standards for firearm carry permits. Accordingly, there is a conflict among the Circuits, which, ultimately, can only be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has launched an improved, redesigned website at www.SAF.org. As before, this website provides comprehensive news on Second Amendment issues, including analysis of important Second Amendment cases with links to actual case filings.
The new, enhanced site is now LIVE. SAF invites you to check it out at www.SAF.org
The new SAF.org website is faster, more modern, and way easier to navigate, particularly for mobile users. The new site features a “responsive” web design that optimizes the display for the user’s platform. So, if you are viewing the site from an iPad or smartphone, you see an optimized layout for that particular device/platform. It’s pretty slick, and mobile users will immediately notice the easier-to-read displays.
The new site also features better search functionality and quick access to news about Second Amendment issues and the activities of SAF.
Enhancements to the site include:
All of the latest SAF news “front and center” on the homepage.
Advanced, mobile-friendly “responsive” site layout (platform optimized).
Up-to-date info on important Amendment Cases with links to case filings.
Over 175 legal and scholarly articles on Second Amendment issues.
Back issues of Second Amendment Reporter.
Audios of Gun Rights Policy Conferences (GRPC).
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If you have wondered why so many gun control laws are illogical, impractical, and misguided, here’s one simple answer. The politicians who draft these laws may be misinformed, misguided, and well, just plain ignorant. Here’s proof. In the video below, California State Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) advocates anti-gun legislation at a press conference. Sen. de León makes a series of blunders and mistakes. He confuses magazine capacity with the rifle’s bore size, referring to “.30 caliber” when in fact the gun is a .223/5.56mm. He then says it “has the ability with a 30-caliber clip [sic] to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. Thirty magazine clip [sic] in half a second”. We think he means that the gun fires 30 rounds in 0.5 seconds, but even that is preposterous. Have a good look at the kind of politician that is writing California’s laws these days. Would you trust this guy to park your car, much less protect your Constitutional rights?
To be honest, we don’t know why Sen. de León believes new legislation is needed to ban this “Ghost Gun”? This firearm* is already restricted under existing California law. It also appears to be a short-barreled rifle (SBR), meaning that it is already regulated as a Class III firearm in all fifty states. (In the United States, it is a federal felony to possess an SBR without fling a BATFE Form 4, and paying a $200 tax to the BATFE.) As one web journalist observes: “It’s hard to trust Democrats when they say completely… inept things like this.”
*The term “Ghost Gun” has been used to describe plastic guns that evade metal detectors, and/or arms built from 80% lowers or unregistered receivers. But it is already against the law in California to create or sell a functioning AR15-type rifle that carries no serial number.
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Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court in Illinois declared the City of Chicago’s ban on the sale of firearms to be “unconstitutional under the Second Amendment”. The ruling was issued in a court case filed by Illinois firearms dealers and gun owners, challenging Chicago ordinances that ban virtually all sales and transfers of firearms inside Chicago city limits.
U.S. District Court Judge Edmond Chang held that the Second Amendment includes “the right to acquire a firearm, although that acquisition right is far from absolute[.] But Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms[.]”
[Chicago] Municipal Code § 8-20-100 and the City’s zoning ordinance (MCC § 17-16-0201), which ban gun sales and transfers other than inheritance, are declared unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The Court will enter judgment for Plaintiffs [Illinois Assn. of Firearms Retailers]. — Order by U.S. District Judge Hon. Edmond E. Chang.
Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel commented: “This is an important decision because the Court recognized that the lawful commerce in firearms, in which NSSF members are engaged, is protected by the Second Amendment.”
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Californians have one more day left before Long Gun Registration takes effect. Starting on January 1, 2014, every long gun sold in California must be registered in a permanent State government database. With the threat of registration looming, Californians are lining up in record numbers to purchase rifles and shotguns. At many gun stores, sales of long guns are up 30-50% compared to last year, as Californians try to “get their guns” before mandatory registration takes effect.
Under current law, a Californian (with no criminal history) may purchase a rifle or shotgun, subject to a 10-day waiting period. At least in theory, once the background check was approved, the gun store owner could destroy the sales record. However, that will change under the terms of AB 809, passed in 2011. AB 809 mandated that, starting in 2014, California shall maintain a permanent record of all new long guns purchased within the state.
Under the new law, each new long gun must be registered. A state firearms registry will track the make, model and serial number of the gun, as well as the person who owns it. In effect, long guns will be treated like handguns, with every gun sold being recorded for all eternity in a state database. According to CBS News: “Previously dealers would destroy personal information on long gun owners after a background check had been completed. Now they’ll register those purchases with the state.”
The new law also imposes new restrictions on the sale of previously-owned long arms (i.e. rifles and shotguns). Now, every time a long gun changes hands, the firearm must be added to the State firearm registry. Previously, nearly all long gun transactions needed to be carried out through an FFL, however, there was no additional registration requirement. After January 1, 2014, when a long gun is transfered via the FFL, it must then be registered. CBS News states: “Guns currently in existence, including heirloom weapons that have been handed down from one generation of family members to the next, will have to be registered for the first time when they next change hands.”
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Long-time Guns & Ammo Magazine Technical Editor Dick Metcalf is looking for a new job this morning. The reason? Metcalf defended restrictive gun control laws in a story he wrote in the December issue of Guns & Ammo. This infuriated the magazine’s readers, who raised a storm of protest, flooding the internet with condemnations of Metcalf and the magazine. In damage control mode, Guns & Ammo immediately fired Metcalf and published an apology to its subscribers.
In his article, Metcalf completely misconstrued the language of the Second Amendment of the U.S, Constitution which states: “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.” Seizing on the word “regulated”, Metcalf argued that this means that government regulations which restrict fireams should NOT be considered “infringements” of the right to keep and bear arms.
Metcalf’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is faulty. In the Second Amendment, “regulated” does not refer to gun control — it is an adjective describing the status of the militia. As used in the 18th Century with reference to militias (and army units), “well regulated” meant “trained and organized”. If you read the dispatches from the Revolutionary War, the phrase “well regulated militia” was used to describe units that were trained, had a command structure, and were drilled regularly.* In modern parlance, we might use the phrase “trained and disciplined” in place of “well regulated”.
In any case, Metcalf has been fired from his position as technical Editor of Guns & Ammo. The magazine’s Chief Editor, Jim Bequette, issued this statement, disavowing Metcalf’s words, and announcing that Metcalf’s “association with Guns & Ammo has officially ended”:
*This is explained in the award-winning history book, Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence, by John Ferling. In that book, you can read actual military dispatches and orders from the Revolutionary War. Contemporary letters and dispatches often contrasted “well-regulated militias” to untrained units that had no assigned officers and rarely drilled.
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Colorado voters have sent a message that has caused a stir around the country. In the first-ever state recall election in Colorado history, two anti-gun politicians were sent packing. Colorado State Senate President John Morse was turned out of office on a 51-49% vote, while fellow Democrat State Senator Angela Giron was removed from office on a 56-44% tally.
The L.A. Times reports: “In an unprecedented backlash, two state lawmakers who helped stiffen Colorado’s gun laws were ousted Tuesday in a recall that turned into a nationally watched referendum on gun control.” Two new Republican-party Senators, Colorado Springs Councilman Bernie Herpin and Pueblo police officer George Rivera, were elected to replace Morse and Giron, respectively.
Senate President Morse lead the charge for new gun control laws, enacted in Colorado earlier this year without a single Republican vote. Critics attacked the legislation, saying it was fast-tracked through Colorado’s Democratic-controlled Legislature with insufficient public debate. Recall sponsors also faulted Morse and Giron for failing to listen to constituents’ concerns about Second Amendment rights.
The Shooting Wire reports:
“Both races were described by many in the mainstream media as a national litmus test on gun rights versus new regulations. If that’s the case, it may also prove that all politics are, indeed, local. Despite being outspent by more than 7 to 1, pro-gun advocates turned out more voters than their opposition. But Colorado residents told reporters that when it came down to it, the millions spent by either side wouldn’t matter. This recall was designed to send a simple message to elected officials.’If I don’t listen to my boss and do what he wants,’ one Colorado Springs voter told reporters, ‘I get fired. Why should our elected officials be any different?’.”
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