With the Republican (GOP) Convention recently concluded in Cleveland, readers have asked: “What is the official Republican Party position on the Second Amendment and gun rights?” Here is the section of the Republican Platform concerning gun issues, quoted word for word:
The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms
We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.
We salute the Republican Congress for defending the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the President from installing a new liberal majority on the Supreme Court. The confirmation to the Court of additional anti-gun justices would eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental protections. Already, local officials in the nation’s capital and elsewhere are defying the Court’s decisions upholding an individual right to bear arms as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald. We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.
We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban. We call for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of
guns to known violent criminals.
If you are a gunsmith or work on firearms, you need to read this carefully. The Federal Government, acting through the Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), has imposed significant new burdens on gunsmiths by expanding the definition of “manufacturing”. This is a big deal, as the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and its implementing rules, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), require firearms “manufacturers” to register with DDTC and to pay a registration fee that (for new applicants) is currently $2,250 per year.
Previously, most small gunsmithing operations that did not export firearms were NOT subject to AECA/ITAR registration requirements. Now, by virtue of a DDTC “Guidance” ruling issued 7/22/2016, ordinary gunsmiths might be required to register as a manufacturer simply because they thread a muzzle or cut a chamber.
The NRA-ILA states: “DDTC is labeling commercial gunsmiths as ‘manufacturers’ for performing relatively simple work such as threading a barrel or fabricating a small custom part for an older firearm. Under the AECA, ‘manufacturers’ are required to register with DDTC at significant expense or risk onerous criminal penalties.” Read NRA-ILA Full Report.
Here is the key language in the DDTC’s “ITAR Registration Requirements – Consolidated Guidance” Ruling of 7/22/2016:
2. Registration Required – Manufacturing: In response to questions from persons engaged in the business of gunsmithing, DDTC has found in specific cases that ITAR registration is required because the following activities meet the ordinary, contemporary, common meaning of “manufacturing” and, therefore, constitute “manufacturing” for ITAR purposes:
a) Use of any special tooling or equipment upgrading in order to improve the capability of assembled or repaired firearms;
b) Modifications to a firearm that change round capacity;
c) The production of firearm parts (including, but not limited to, barrels, stocks, cylinders, breech mechanisms, triggers, silencers, or suppressors);
d) The systemized production of ammunition, including the automated loading or reloading of ammunition;
e) The machining or cutting of firearms, e.g., threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation requiring machining, that results in an enhanced capability;
f) Rechambering firearms through machining, cutting, or drilling;
g) Chambering, cutting, or threading barrel blanks; and
h) Blueprinting firearms by machining the barrel.
Editor’s Comment: Does this mean that any stock-maker or stock supplier is an ITAR “manufacturer” under part 2(c)? Would installing a scope or accessory rail fall under part 2(a) as “equipment upgrading”? Would fluting a barrel be considered “manufacturing” under part 2(h)?
Impact of New Registration Requirements
As the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) reads this, gunsmithing shops (even one-man operations) will now be subject to ITAR regulation though they export nothing: “These requirements apply, even if the business does not, and does not intend to, export any defense article. Moreover, under ITAR, ‘only one occasion of manufacturing … a defense article’ is necessary for a commercial entity to be considered ‘engaged in the business’ and therefore subject to the regime’s requirements.”
As a consequence, these new regulations may drive smaller gunsmithing services out of business: “DDTC’s move appears aimed at expanding the regulatory sweep of the AECA/ITAR and culling many smaller commercial gunsmithing operations that do not have the means to pay the annual registration fee or the sophistication to negotiate DDTC’s confusing maze of bureaucracy. [This is] likely to have a significant chilling effect on activity that would not even be considered regulated.”
Statutory Authority for Registration
The AECA’s statutory requirement for firearms manufacturers to register with DDTC is implemented in Part 122 of the ITAR:
§122.1 Registration requirements.
(a) Any person who engages in the United States in the business of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing defense articles, or furnishing defense services, is required to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls under §122.2. For the purpose of this subchapter, engaging in such a business requires only one occasion of manufacturing or exporting or temporarily importing a defense article or furnishing a defense service. A manufacturer who does not engage in exporting must nevertheless register.
Barrel chambering image from Primal Rights, dealer for Desert Tactical Arms.
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The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) #GUNVOTE program is an important voter registration and education campaign for the November 2016 election. The NSSF’s Gunvote.org website helps visitors register to vote, find a polling place, and determine how candidates stand on gun rights and Second Amendment issues. Quickly find all state and federal candidates in your area with a Zip Code search (or you can search by name). The NSSF’s #GUNVOTE program also provides election news, voter education video resources, and more.
To assist the NSSF’s voter registration and education efforts, Hornady Manufacturing has committed $250,000 in support of #GUNVOTE programs. This is the largest donation the #GUNVOTE campaign has received to date.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, we have a Presidential candidate who is openly running against the lawful commerce in firearms, which is a prerequisite to our ability to exercise our Second Amendment rights,” said Stephen Hornady, President of Hornady Manufacturing. “It is vital that America’s hunters, target shooters and all gun owners become educated on what the candidates are saying and that’s why the #GUNVOTE initiative of our industry is so important. Our company is proud to be a part of this cooperative effort.”
We support the NSSF’s efforts to inform the public and help gun owners register to vote. This is a very important election for firearms owners and supporters of the Second Amendment. As the NSSF explains: “With the balance of the Supreme Court at stake, this election will affect our constitutional rights. It is crucial that all gun owners and Second Amendment supporters register to vote, become informed about candidates’ positions, and on Election Day, #GUNVOTE.”
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Commentary by Dean Weingarten,Gun Watch
In an historic, but extremely short unanimous opinion, the United States Supreme Court has confirmed that the Second Amendment applies “to all instruments that constitute bearable arms,”. As this is an enormous class of nearly all weapons, the decision [could be] applied to knives and clubs, and nearly all firearms that have been sold in the United States. Nearly all types of firearms are more common than stun guns. From nbcnews.com:
“But in an unsigned opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court [on 3/21/2016] vacated that ruling. It said the Massachusetts court improperly found that Second Amendment protection applies only to weapons that were in common use at the time of the nation’s founding.”
Referring to its landmark 2008 D.C. v. Heller ruling on handguns in the home, the justices said the Second Amendment applies “to all instruments that constitute bearable arms,” even those not in existence at the time of the founding.
The unsigned opinion is very short[.] Alito writes a much longer and more forceful opinion in concurrence. It could, and should, have gone much further. None the less, it is an enormous win for Second Amendment supporters, and it extends far beyond stun guns and Massachusetts.
There is strong language in this opinion. If 200,000 stun guns in the U.S. are “common”, it is hard to believe that 5 million AR-15s and millions of other semi-automatic rifles are “unusual”.
The case lays to rest the idea that courts can simply say anything other than handguns are “uncommon” or “unusual” and are therefore exempt from Second Amendment protections. This case will be cited far into the future.
The full, unanimous decision, along with Justice Alito’s lengthy concurrence, is found via this LINK:
Appeals Court Remands Decision for ‘Strict Scrutiny’ of Second Amendment Issue.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned a Federal District Court decision finding the 2013 State of Maryland Firearm Safety Act (FSA) to be constitutional under “intermediate scrutiny” review. In the Case of Kolbe v. Maryland, the Appellate Court held that Maryland’s FSA should, as a matter of law, be subject to “strict scrutiny” under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Kolbe v. Maryland case was filed to challenge Maryland’s 2013 ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which helped challenge the Maryland law, explained that this bodes well for those seeking to nullify portions of Maryland’s 2013 FSA which imposed broad restrictions on firearms including semi-automatic rifles. The NSSF reports:
The [Appellate Court] vacated the District Court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ claims and remanded the case to the lower court, ordering that it apply the appropriate strict standard of review.
Writing for the three-judge appellate court panel that heard the case, Kolbe v. Maryland, Chief Judge William B. Traxler wrote: “In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment — ‘the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home, District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570,635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard or review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim.”
“We are greatly heartened by the Fourth Circuit panel’s ruling today,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “As this important case goes forward, NSSF will continue to work with our co-plaintiffs to ensure that our citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected and that the lawful commerce in firearms is restored in support of this constitutional protection.”
Response from NRA Institute for Legislative Action
Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in reaction to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Kolbe v. Maryland: “The Fourth Circuit’s ruling is an important victory for the Second Amendment. Maryland’s ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines clearly violates our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The highest level of judicial scrutiny should apply when governments try to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms.”
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This is a cautionary tale of what can happen when municipal governments are allowed to enact radical, restrictive gun laws…
San Francisco, California has over 850,000 residents*. But thanks to SF’s gun-phobic elected officials, you soon won’t be able to find a single store that sells guns and ammo within city limits. High Bridge Arms, San Francisco’s last remaining gun shop, announced it will be closing its doors in October. The reason is the threat of a new SF law requiring gun retailers to video-tape sales transactions and turn over private customer data to the city. This proposed city ordinance goes way beyond existing state and Federal background check requirements.
“Big Brother” is alive and well in the “city by the Bay”. According to Guns.com, San Francisco Supervisor Ken Farrell introduced a municipal ordinance requiring gun vendors to video-tape gun/ammo sales transactions and deliver buyer/firearms data to police every week. Gun shop owners would be required to “hand over personal information to include names, addresses and birth dates to city officials in conjunction with gun and ammo sales.”
Given the threat of this draconian new city law, High Bridge Arms, San Francisco’s last remaining gun store, announced it would cease operations next month. Posting on Facebook, High Bridge’s owner declared: “We are closing our shop. For many reasons I cannot get into at this moment, it appears our final days will be through to the end of October of 2015.” It is not known whether High Bridge Arms will re-locate to a different location outside San Francisco city limits.
San Francisco-based Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng says the closure of High Bridge Arms will only encourage the anti-gun politicians who run the city: “With High Bridge moving out, it will be interesting to see what will happen to legislation the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering which would require video-taping gun and ammunition sales, and sharing ammo sales data with SFPD. My guess is that even with High Bridge closing by the time they vote on this, they will pass it in the hopes to keep any future gun shops from trying to open in the future.”
High Bridge Arms has a long history in San Francisco. Serving sport shooters as well as city law enforcement personnel, High Bridge has operated in the same Mission Street location since the mid-1950s when Olympic shooter and gunsmith Bob Chow opened the shop. In 1988, Andy Takahashi bought the business from Mr. Chow.
*The U.S. Census Bureau estimates San Francisco’s population at 852,469 as of July 1, 2014. San Francisco photo by Creative Commons License, attribution Bernard Gagnon.
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Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. has pledged to donate $2.00 to the NRA for each new Ruger firearm sold between the 2015 and 2016 NRA Annual Meetings, with the goal of giving $4,000,000. Ruger’s donation will benefit the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA).
“We’re bringing back the One Million Gun Challenge with a twist,” said Ruger CEO Mike Fifer. “Our goal is to sell two million firearms in a 12-month period. With that, we pledge to donate not one, but two dollars to the NRA for every new firearm sold. We accomplished our goals to support the NRA in 2012, and … we believe we can do it again.”
NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said, “Ruger’s 2 Million Gun Challenge is a model of good corporate citizenship in defense of American freedom. By supporting the NRA’s fight to defend the right to keep and bear arms, Ruger … advances the rights of American gun owners and hunters.”
Last month we showcased an Illustrated History of the Second Amendment by attorney Robert J. McWhirter. That fascinating article, published in Arizona Attorney magazine, explained the history and evolution of the Second Amendment in a novel way. McWhirter included dozens of annotations with images from old books, magazines, even stills from movies and television shows. This was certainly the most entertaining discussion of the Second Amendment ever published.
This month, Arizona Attorney released Part Two of McWhirter’s Illustrated History of the Second Amendment. Like Part One, this article is informative and chock full of fascinating historical footnotes. The footnotes are just as interesting as the main article, as they feature dozens of eye-catching graphics — everything from 18th century lithographs to modern movie posters. Click the Links below to read both Part Two and Part One:
Part Two of McWhirter’s illustrated history addresses interesting historical subtopics such as: Guns and Colonial Slavery, Militias and Minutemen, and the Founders’ concerns about Government Tyranny. If you have any interest in American history or Constitutional law, check out this article — it’s definitely worth a read. Part Two of McWhiter’s Illustrated History is available FREE online in digital, eZine Format.
Story Tip from German Salazar. We welcome reader submissions.
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Many of our readers travel far and wide during summer months, both on family vacations and to participate in shooting matches. When transporting firearms across state lines, it is vital to understand the laws and regulations that apply in each jurisdiction. Moreover, all of us need to stay informed about gun laws in our home states, since new laws are passed every year.
Indiana attorney Brian Ciyou has created an outstanding resource, Gun Laws by State (2015 Ed.) (GLBS), that explains firearms laws in all 50 states. Ciyou’s gun law treatise, available in both book and online (web) formats, covers state laws as well as key federal laws that apply in federal buildings, airports, National Parks, and school zones. There is a handy Reciprocity Map showing which states recognize concealed weapon permits issued in other jurisdictions. Moreover, GLBS covers Reciprocal Carry for all 50 states, Constitutional Law, Federal Statutory Law, Use of Force, Criminal Provisions, Civil and Criminal Liability, Preemption, Federal Property Rules, and Interstate Transportation.
Amazingly, you can access all this important legal information for FREE on the GLBS website. Click on an interactive map to quickly review gun laws in any state. Navigation links provide quick access to particular topics, such as rules for Airline Travel, Amtrak, National Parks, and Federal properties. The web version of Gun Laws by State is updated regularly, and Ciyou even provides a GLBS Gun Laws Blog with current “news and views” on gun regulations nationwide. This Editor regularly references the Gun Laws by State website. I suggest readers bookmark the site, and consider buying the book if you frequently travel with firearms outside your home state. The printed book version costs $19.95, while a digital eBook is $9.95. Click here to purchase GLBS books and eBooks.
WATCH Gun Laws by State Introduction Video
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Californians may be relegated to shooting revolvers soon. On February 27, 2015, a Federal Judge in California over-ruled objections to a California state law requiring that all new semi-auto handguns have microstamping capability. In granting summary judgment to the State, Eastern District Judge Kimberly Mueller halted legal efforts to over-turn microstamping requirements for semi-auto pistols. Unless this District Court ruling is overturned on appeal, this Federal Court decision would effectively ban the sale or possession of most (if not all) new semi-auto handguns in the state.
Editor’s Comment: There is some hope however — the Calguns Foundations said counsel has already appealed the recent ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The ruling was issued in Peña v. Lindley, a Federal case that pitted California resident Ivan Peña and three other individual plaintiffs against Stephen Lindley, the chief of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Firearms.
At issue was California’s microstamping law, which was signed into law in 2007 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but which only took effect in 2013. In the two years since the micro-stamping requirement went into effect, no manufacturer has made a new firearm that complies with the requirement. Both Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co., are not shipping their latest (post-2013 design) firearms into the California market because of the microstamping law. Opponents of the law argued that the microstamping requirment was, effectively, a de facto ban on all semi-auto pistols, since not one manufacturer has offered guns that comply with the law.
“This is about the state trying to eliminate the handgun market,” said Alan Gura, the lead attorney in Peña v. Lindley told Fox News last week. “The evidence submitted by the manufacturers shows this is science fiction and there is not a practical way to implement the law.”
The Peña v. Lindley case was argued at the trial court on December 17, 2013. Peña, gun manufacturers, and attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation argued that microstamping relies on impractical and unworkable technology. The plaintiffs argued that, if guns without the technology can’t be sold in California, and gun manufacturers can’t implement the technology, then the law functions as a de facto handgun ban that violates the Second Amendment.
The Calguns Foundation stated that the group is “disappointed that the district court sidestepped a clear violation of Second Amendment civil rights in its decision today. However, we are absolutely committed to litigating this case as far as necessary to reverse this incorrect ruling and restore the right to keep and bear modern handguns in the Golden State.”
“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.”
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a firearm owner (most of our Daily Bulletin readers are). But how much do you really know about the history of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The Second Amendment itself contains only 27 words (printed above), but those words have a rich history behind them.
To illuminate the origins of the Second Amendment, and to explain how its interpretations have evolved over the years, Arizona Attorney, the journal for the State Bar of Arizona, has published a detailed two-part “Illustrated History” of the Second Amendment by attorney Robert J. McWhirter, an expert on the Bill of Rights.* Part One was just released, and Part Two will be published next month.
We think all gun owners should read McWhirter’s article, which is both entertaining and insightful. Don’t worry — this is not a dull “law school” treatise. McWhirter’s article features dozens of illustrated footnotes (some fascinating, some merely amusing). Here are some sample footnotes — you can see this is a treasure trove of Second Amendment trivia.
*The American Bar Association has just published Mr. McWhirter’s book Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights.
Story tip by German Salazar.
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Report by Anette Wachter,30CalGal.com
The ball is rolling to challenge the I-594 bill that passed in Washington state last November. This is perhaps the strictest gun control law out there. Why? Because it is like the Health Care Law. There are too many pages of undefined crap that they said they would figure out after it goes in to law.
Our local Second Amendment Foundation with Alan Gottlieb has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma, WA. The language in the new law is unclear to even law enforcement and the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). Have you gone to DOL’s website about this recently? There is no advice and the site just pushes you to your local law enforcement or the ATF. Local law enforcement officials do not want to enforce this law and do not know how to do so. And the ATF, a federal organization, is unclear [as to the impact of the law] as well.
The law will not be overturned so don’t get your hopes up. But they have to define it. It is so confusing. We need to get the ridiculous parts about transfers undone. So many people and agencies are affected by this unclear language.
I just had dinner last night with Brian Judy of the NRA and Adina Hicks of the Protect Our Gun Rights Washington group. There will be an organized rally in Olympia on January 15th starting at 9:00 am. That’s on a weekday when the Legislature is again in session. Visits to Legislators start at 11:00. I will be there and I will go to the office of my district’s Representative. We need your support! If you are in Washington please join us out there.
Please call your legislator ahead of time and make an appointment to see them after the rally that day. The Washington Firearms Leadership and Activism Group (WAFLAG), Protect Our Gun Rights Washington, and the Gun Rights Coalition will host the event. Both the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and the Second Amendment Foundation are sponsoring the event also. Please read more details and the entire article by Dave Workman of TheGunMag.com HERE.
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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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