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September 21st, 2010

25th Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference This Weekend

GRPC 2010 San FranciscoThe 25th Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) will be held this upcoming weekend, September 24-26, in San Francisco, CA. Ironically (or perhaps deliberately?) the conference convenes in one of the most gun-hostile cities in North America. Past GRPCs have covered the latest firearms trends and outlined strategic plans to expand gun rights. This year GRPC organizers will focus on critical issues such as: city gun bans, youth violence, “smart” guns, concealed carry, federal legislation, legal actions, gun show regulation, state and local activity. Noted legal experts will also preview the upcoming court cases and revisit the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision in D.C. v. Heller.

2010 GRPC San Francisco

The team of “distinguished experts” has not yet been finalized, but past speakers have included: Alan M. Gottlieb, Wayne LaPierre, Larry Elder, Ken Hamblin, John Lott, Sandy Froman, Massad Ayoob, Tom Gresham, Alan Gura, Reps. Bob Barr and Chris Cannon and many others. This event is co-hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation, which offers free online registration.

NOTE: Books, monographs and other materials — enough to start a Second Amendment library — are FREE, as are Saturday luncheon, Friday and Saturday evening receptions, and morning/afternoon snacks. Other meals, travel costs, and lodging costs must be paid by attendee.

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September 1st, 2010

Three Anti-Gun Bills Defeated in California Legislature

California Rifle Pistol AssociationDespite last-minute efforts by their authors to secure passage, three proposed California laws restricting gun rights went down to defeat yesterday in Sacramento. Tuesday, August 31st, was the final day this year’s session of the California Legislature could pass new laws.

The fight went all the way to the midnight deadline for passage, but AB 1810, AB 1934, and AB 2358 were defeated — at least for this year. As the clock ticked down to midnight, the bills’ sponsors could not secure enough votes to pass the bills. In a state where Democratic Party legislators have rammed through anti-gun bills year after year, this is a significant victory for firearms rights. All three of these bills posed a fundamental threat to the rights of gun owners.

AB 1810 — Mandatory Registration of Long Guns
If enacted, Assembly Bill 1810 would have required registration of rifles and shotguns in the same way handguns are now registered in California. Under current law, the information collected at the time of purchase of a rifle or shotgun (serial number, make, and model) is destroyed after the background check is completed. AB 1810 would have required that the make, model, and serial number of the firearm, as well as the identifying information of the purchaser, be recorded and kept on file by the California Department of Justice.

AB 1934 — Prohibition of Open Carry of Unloaded Handguns
AB 1934 would have deleted provisions of current California law that allows an unloaded firearm to be carried openly in a belt holster. With some important restrictions, “Open Carry” remains legal in many areas of California. Organized “open carry” gatherings by Second Amendment supporters drew media attention, putting this issue in the limelight. Anti-gunners simply could not tolerate the idea that someone could carry a firearm in public places without going to jail. AB 1934 would basically place the entire state “off-limits” to open carry, eliminating a long-standing right in California.

AB 2358 — Collection of Information on Ammunition Purchasers
AB 2358 would have required that ammunition vendors provide detailed information on ammo sales to local law enforcement if required by city or county ordinance records. In addition to records of the date and type of ammo purchased, AB 2358 would force ammunition vendors to give police the names, address, and other personal information of all ammo purchasers. AB 2358 would have also allowed uncontrolled expansion of city and county ordinances requiring handgun ammunition vendors to transmit all information collected relating to sales of handgun ammunition and some rifle cartridges to local law enforcement agencies.

We applaud the California Legislators who voted against these three bills. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a change in the Golden State — perhaps inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the Second Amendment protects the right of ALL Americans to keep and bear arms. We also commend the work of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, whose staffers organized opposition to AB 1810, AB 1934, and AB 2358. For all friends of the Second Amendment, and for all Californians involved in the shooting sports, this is a time to celebrate.

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April 21st, 2009

9th Circuit Rules that Second Amendment Applies to Actions of States and Local Governments

Nordyke v. King 9th Circuit

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution restricts the powers of state and local government as much as it does those of the federal government. A three-judge panel issued this ruling in Nordyke v. King (Alameda County). This is the first case where a Circuit Court has declared that the actions of states or municipalities are subject to the Second Amendment protections recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in D.C. v Heller last year. (Other cases challenging state action on Second Amendment grounds are pending before the Seventh Circuit.)

In finding that the Second Amendment applies to actions of States, counties, and local municipalities, the 9th Circuit applied the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. The Circuit Court concluded “that the right to keep and bear arms” as a personal right has been recognized by the Supreme Court in Heller, and that this applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause.

Nordyke v. King 9th CircuitIn Nordyke v. King, the plaintiffs challenged an Alameda County ordinance that effectively prevented plaintiffs from holding a gun show at the Alameda Fairgrounds. Though the 9th Circuit acknowledged the existence of rights under the Second Amendment, the three-judge panel concluded that D.C. v. Heller was limited in scope, and only recognized a right of “armed self-defense in the home”. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit ruled against plaintfiffs, and upheld the Alameda County ordinance, which banned possession of guns “on county property.” Disturbingly, the Ninth Circuit ruling attempts to carve out a “public property” exception to the Second Amendment. The Nordyke v. King opinion states that a gun ban on county property: “fits within the exception from the Second Amendment for ‘sensitive places’ that Heller recognized.”

We’re not certain that the U.S. Supreme Court would agree with the Ninth Circuit’s holding that a fairground was a ‘sensitive place’ where the Second Amendment, effectively, has no sway. If a state or county can ban guns at a fairground, then why not public parks, parking lots, bus stops and so on? This could lead to cities and counties declaring extensive “gun-free zones” within their boundaries. Ironically, public places such as parking lots may be exactly where citizens are most at risk of violent crime. And ask yourself this… what other Constitutional rights are geographically limited? Would a court dare to restrict the First Amendment so as to eliminate the right of free speech on public property?

CLICK HERE to Read Full 9th Circuit Decision (.pdf download).

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November 21st, 2007

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Landmark Second Amendment Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the much-discussed District of Columbia v. Heller case (Docket 04-7041), previously known as Parker vs. District of Columbia. This means the High Court WILL review the decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the D.C. statute banning residents from owning handguns. The Court of Appeals held that the District of Columbia’s anti-gun law violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In reaching its decision, the Appellate Court found, as a matter of law, that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms. This was a “breakthrough” finding. Other Circuit Courts of Appeal have held that the Second Amendment merely confers a “collective right” to keep and bear arms. In practical terms, this means that the Second Amendment applies to an organized militia (i.e. the National Guard), but not to individuals.

The High Court’s decision to hear D.C. v. Heller is historically significant. This will represent the first time the Supreme Court rules directly on the meaning of the Second Amendment since the U.S. v. Miller case in 1939. The decision in Miller was poorly reasoned and left many basic issues unresolved, including the key question “Does the Second Amendment confer an individual or collective right?”

The “collective right” interpretation of the Second Amendment is disfavored among legal scholars, despite what anti-gun advocacy groups claim. Many of the nation’s most respected law professors, including Lawrence Tribe of Harvard Law School, Akhil Reed Amar of Yale, William Van Alstyne of Duke, and Sanford Levinson of the Univ. of Texas, have strongly argued that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and bear arms.

The mayor of Washington, D.C., Adrian M. Fenty, filed the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, setting the stage for the High Court to rule. According to FBI statistics, Washington D.C., despite its gun ban, ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States and maintains one of the highest per-capita murder rates in the country.

In March, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in striking down the District’s gun ban, held in Parker, et al., v. District of Columbia that “The phrase ‘the right of the people’ . . . leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual.” This was the second time in recent history that a Federal Circuit Court upheld the view that the Second Amendment was an individual right. In 2001, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in the case of U.S. v. Emerson that “All of the evidence indicates that the Second Amendment, like other parts of the
Bill of Rights, applies to and protects individual Americans.”

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