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December 18th, 2021

Gunmakers and NSSF File Suit to Overturn New York Law

lawsuit new york nssf public nuisance gun industry Smith Wesson Glock SIG Sauer

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and fourteen firearm manufacturers, distributors, and retailers has filed a major lawsuit in Federal Court, NSSF et al vs. Letitia James (N.Y. Atty. General). This action seeks to overturn New York States “public nuisance” law which targets gun makers for the criminal misuse/unlawful possession of firearms in New York no matter where they were purchased. The plaintiffs also moved for a preliminary injunction challenging the misguided New York statute as unconstitutional.

The NSSF brought this legal action to “uphold the foundations of tort law, fight government overreach, and protect the firearm businesses that lawfully operate and employ over 340,000 Americans.” Along with the NSSF, the other 14 plaintiffs include: Beretta USA, Central TX Gun Works, Davidson’s, Glock, Hornady Mfg., Lipsey’s, Osage Co. Guns, RSR Group, Shedhorn Sports, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Sports South, Sprague’s Sports, and Sturm Ruger & Company.

The challenged law, signed by disgraced Democratic Party Governor Andrew Cuomo, allows civil lawsuits by municipalities, such as the city of New York, as well as the State of New York, against the firearm industry for the criminal actions by non-associated third parties. The “public nuisance” statute also permits private lawsuits by persons who have been harmed or threatened by criminals using firearms. Both New York State and the City of New York were part of a wave of similar lawsuits filed over twenty years ago that led to Congress passing the bipartisan PLCAA in 2005.

New York’s “public nuisance” law subjects firearm industry companies to civil lawsuits for the criminal misuse or unlawful possession of firearms in New York. The law would impose liability on industry members for firearms lawfully sold anywhere in the United States that end up being criminally misused or illegally possessed in New York thereby allegedly contributing to a “public nuisance” in the state. The NSSF lawsuit challenges the New York law as preempted by the Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). It also challenges the law as unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. The lawsuit further challenges the law as an impermissible attempt by New York State to regulate interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The NSSF states that “New York is trying to use the threat of crushing liability to coerce out-of-state businesses to adopt sales practices and procedures not required by Congress or the law of the state where they operate. The Constitution reserves the power to regulate interstate commerce solely to Congress.”

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July 22nd, 2021

Important Second Amendment Case Before U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme court second amendment right carry law challenge case New York pistol associationU.S. Supreme Court building, photo by Joe Ravi CC-BY-SA 3.0.

A major Second Amendment case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS). At issue are restrictive New York State gun control laws which make it virtually impossible to carry handguns in some New York cities. This case, officially New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, could be the most important gun rights case in the last decade. With its decision, the Supreme Court could establish once and for all that there is an individual right to self-defense outside of the home.

Dave Workman, posting on Ammoland.com, explains: “The case, which was accepted for review by the high court in the upcoming term that begins in October, challenges New York’s restrictive requirement that anyone applying for a permit to carry a handgun outside the home must provide a ‘proper cause’ for wanting to carry a firearm for personal protection. This authority is all-too-often used to deny applicants their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment”. Along with the plaintiff New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. (NYSRPA), the restrictive laws are being challenged by the Citizens Committee to Keep and Bear Arms (CCKRBA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

“A right limited to someone’s home… is no right at all, and the court now has an opportunity to make that abundantly clear, settling an important constitutional issue once and for all.” — Alan Gottlieb, SAF

In addition to ruling on the restrictive NY laws, this case will give the High Court the opportunity to clarify Second Amendment legal precedents. It has been over a decade since the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a handgun in the home for self-defense in District of Columbia v. Heller. In 2010, the Court also ruled that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right that applies to the states in McDonald v. City of Chicago.

Case is Very Important for Second Amendment Rights
The NRA-ILA states: “It is hard to overstate how important this case is. The decision will affect the laws in many states that currently restrict carrying a firearm outside of the home. NRA-ILA is working hard to defend your constitutional rights and is prepared to argue this case in order to protect the rights of Americans everywhere.”

This could be the most important Second Amendment decision since D.C. v. Heller. The Supreme Court has not decided a major Second Amendment cast for over a decade. The make-up of the Court has changed, and this could result is a far-reaching decision that would impact multiple states.

Dave Workman explained: “It has been more than ten years since the Supreme Court hear a Second Amendment case. The court has declined to review several good gun rights cases, but that was before the SCOTUS majority shifted, with … three appointments by former President Donald Trump[.] If the court rules against New York, it will open the floodgates for similar challenges of laws in New Jersey, Maryland and … other states where citizens must provide a ‘good cause’ to exercise their constitutional rights.”

SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb stated that “so-called ‘proper cause’ requirements are routinely used to deny law-abiding citizens the ability to carrying firearms for personal protection outside their homes. Such laws are arbitrary in nature and they place an absurd level of authority in the hands of local officials and their subordinates to deny citizens their constitutional right to bear arms.”

New York NRA concealed carry supreme court case
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear NRA-backed case about New York state’s concealed carry laws.

Gottlieb added: “The Second Amendment should no longer be treated like the ugly stepchild of the Bill of Rights. Its language is clear, that the amendment protects not only the right of the individual citizen to keep arms, but to bear them, and that right extends beyond the confines of one’s home. A right limited to someone’s home is no right at all, and the court now has an opportunity to make that abundantly clear, settling an important constitutional issue once and for all.”

Two national gun rights organizations — the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms — have filed amicus briefs in support of the NYSRPA’s challenge to New York’s ultra-restrictive carry laws. You can read the text of the briefs below. For easier reading, ZOOM IN via the PLUS SYMBOL below each entry, or click the FULL PAGE icon (ARROW symbol at extreme right).

Amicus Briefs Filed by CCKRBA and SAF (Click + to Zoom)


CCRKBA SCOTUS Amicus Brief by Duncan


SAF SCOTUS Amicus Brief by Duncan

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April 26th, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear New York State Carry Permit Case

New York NRA concealed carry supreme court case
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear NRA-backed case about New York state’s concealed carry laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear an NRA-backed case challenging New York’s restrictive concealed-carry-licensing regime. This sets the stage for the Supreme Court to establish what most states already hold as true, that there is an individual right to self-defense outside of the home. This important case is officially New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

This case challenges the state of New York’s requirement that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” to carry a firearm. New York regularly uses this requirement to deny applicants the right to carry a firearm outside of their home. The NRA believes that law-abiding citizens should not be required to prove they are in peril to receive the government’s permission to exercise this constitutionally protected right.

Speaking about the decision to “grant cert” and hear the case, NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet posted: “The [Supreme Court] rarely takes Second Amendment cases. Now it has decided to hear one of the most critical Second Amendment issues. We’re confident that the Court will tell New York and the other states that our Second Amendment right to defend ourselves is fundamental, and doesn’t vanish when we leave our homes.”

USA Concealed carry pistol weapon CCW safety
According to the NRA-ILA, the number of concealed handgun permits reached 18.66 million in 2019 – a 304% increase since 2007. And many more have been issued in 2020.

In addition to ruling on this statute, this case will give the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to clarify the precedent that it has created surrounding the Second Amendment. It has been over a decade since the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a handgun in the home for self-defense in District of Columbia v. Heller. In 2010, the Court also ruled that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right that applies to the states in McDonald v. City of Chicago.

Case is Very Important for Second Amendment Rights
The NRA-ILA states: “It is hard to overstate how important this case is. The decision will affect the laws in many states that currently restrict carrying a firearm outside of the home. NRA-ILA is working hard to defend your constitutional rights and is prepared to argue this case in order to protect the rights of Americans everywhere.”

Related CNN Story: Supreme Court Accepts Second Amendment Case.

Visit www.NRAILA.org for future updates on this and all of ILA’s efforts to defend your constitutional rights. Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess, and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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November 1st, 2016

Why All Gun Owners Should Vote in the Upcoming Election

NSSF gunvote election Supreme Court Second Amendment

The election is now just one week away. This is not just about who will become President. With Supreme Court appointments at stake, this election could have significant, long-term consequences for gun owners’ rights under the Second Amendment. We may be at an historic juncture in our nation’s history. If control of the U.S. House and Senate changes, and if anti-Second Amendment Supreme Court Justices are appointed, then things could change in very bad ways for the shooting sports. In the video below, National Shooting Sports Foundation President/CEO Steve Sanetti asks all gun owners to go to the polls armed with the facts. Exercise your right to vote. Remember, every vote counts.

Message from Steve Sanetti:

The lawful commerce in firearms and [your] rights … to enjoy the shooting sports are squarely at issue this year.

And this election is about far more than just the Presidential candidates. Control of both Houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, and all the important appointments and executive orders that the next President can make, are all at stake.

And your State and local elections can also affect your ability to enjoy your rights to manufacture, sell, own, and use firearms.

So please — don’t sit this one out. Your vote, and every vote, counts. Learn where all the candidates stand, talk to your family, your friends and your coworkers, and vote! This election is up to you, and America is counting on you!

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July 30th, 2016

GOP 2016 Platform on Second Amendment and Gun Rights

Republican 2016 Platform gun rights Second Amendment

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.

CLICK HERE to Read Complete 2016 Republican Platform

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March 26th, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Confirms Broad Scope of Second Amendment

Second Amendment gun rights supreme court scotus dean weingarten massachusetts stun gun

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:

14-10078 Caetano v. Massachusetts (PDF)

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Link to Gun Watch

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October 22nd, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide Firearms ‘Straw Purchaser’ Case

U.S. Supreme Court seal logo scotusThe U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to adjudicate a case involving a firearms purchase and subsequent resale to a family member. The case of Abramski v. United States, arises from the prosecution of Bruce James Abramski, Jr., a former Virginia police officer, for allegedly making a “straw purchase” of a Glock handgun. Abramski had lawfully purchased a Glock pistol in Virginia, then later resold the Glock to his uncle, a resident of Pennsylvania. Both purchases were conducted through FFLs, with full background checks, and both parties were legally entitled to own a handgun. Abramski arranged the sale in this fashion to take advantage of a discount available to him as a law enforcement officer.

Abramski was indicted and prosecuted for violating Federal laws against “straw purchases”, specifically making a false declaration on BATFE Form 4473, which is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6). Abramski challenged the indictment, but the District Court ruled against him and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision. However, the Fourth Circuit acknowledged that there was a split of authority among the Circuits as to whether § 922(a)(6) applied in a case like this one, where the ultimate recipient of the firearm was lawfully entitled to buy a gun himself. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling conflicts with previous decisions by the Fifth Circuit holding that “straw purchaser” laws are NOT violated if both the original purchaser and secondary buyer are legally entitled to own a firearm. See United States v. Polk, 118 F.3d 286 (5th Cir. 1997).

U.S. Supreme Court seal logo scotusThe key issue is whether Abramski committed a crime by buying a gun, and then promptly re-selling it to another person who was legally entitled to own the firearm. The government argues that Abramski broke the law when he checked a box on Form 4473 indicating he was the “actual transferee/buyer of the firearm”.

Arguably, Abramski’s purchase and subsequent resale did not violate the intent of the law, since the Glock never ended up in the hands of a criminal (or someone who was otherwise barred from gun ownership). The John Floyd Law Firm explains this argument:

“Attorneys for Abramski sought to have the indictment dismissed on the legal premise that because Abramski and the uncle were both legally entitled to purchase a firearm, Abramski could not be a ‘straw purchaser.’ Attorneys further argued that Abramski’s ‘yes’ answer to question 11(a) on the 4473 that he was actual buyer of the Glock was never intended to be punished under the Gun Control Act of 1968 if the buyer had a legal right to purchase the weapon. The attorneys theorized that the intent of Congress in passing this Act was ‘to make it possible to keep firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them.’

Second Amendment proponents strongly believe there is nothing wrong with a nephew purchasing a weapon he is legally entitled to purchase with the specific intent to sell it to an uncle who is also legally entitled to purchase a weapon. The Fifth Circuit says such a purchase is legal because both parties are legally entitled to purchase and possess a firearm. The Sixth and Eleventh Circuits [and now the Fourth Circuit] say these legal entitlements do not matter.”

Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will decide which interpretation of the law is correct.

CLICK LINKS Below to Read Briefs Filed in Abramski v. U.S.

Date Proceedings and Orders
Jun 21 2013 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed.
Jul 25 2013 Brief amici curiae of Steve Stockman, et al. filed.
Jul 25 2013 Brief amicus curiae of NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund filed.
Aug 26 2013 Brief of respondent United States in opposition filed.
Sep 9 2013 Reply of petitioner Bruce James Abramski, Jr. filed.
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July 21st, 2012

Australian Shooters Win Lawsuit to Preserve Famed ANZAC Range

Malabar Headland NSW ANZAC Range NSWRAScore one for Australian shooters. After a lengthy legal battle, the New South Wales Rifle Association (NSWRA) has preserved its rights to use the historic ANZAC Range on the outskirts of Sydney.

Last week, the New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that the Commonwealth Government could not shut down NSWRA shooting operations at ANZAC Range (and sell the 100-hectare Range site) because the Commonwealth had not provided a suitable alternative facility. The Court held that, under the terms of a 2000 License Agreement, NSWRA could not be evicted from the ANZAC Range until such time as a suitable new range was provided for use by the NSWRA and affiliated shooting clubs.

The ANZAC Range, the largest rifle range in the southern hemisphere, is located on the Malabar Headland, south of Sydney. The ANZAC Range has been a revered venue for Australian marksmen for more than a century and a half. It is headquarters to the New South Wales Rifle Association (NSWRA), and hosts the annual NSW Queen’s Prize. The range is shared among various shooting associations and clubs with the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) occupying the “southern” end of the complex. The range is also extensively used by clubs affiliated with the SSAA and NSWRA. The ANZAC range is steeped in history. It has been used for recreational shooting since the 1860s. The term “ANZAC” comes from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The early Australian Defense Corps trained at the Malabar Range, and Allied troops trained there during World War II.

Malabar Headland NSW ANZAC Range NSWRA

In recent decades, the New South Wales Rifle Association has been embroiled in a court case against the Commonwealth Government over the Malabar Headland, the land on which the ANZAC Rifle Range is located. In July 1986 the Commonwealth Government resolved to sell the ANZAC Rifle Range. Since that time the NSW Rifle Association and the dozens of gun clubs that regularly use the ANZAC Rifle Range have been facing closure. There were a series of eviction notices and legal proceedings, culminating in a year 2000 License Agreement under which the NSWRA was allowed ongoing use of the ANZAC Rifle Range at Malabar until an alternative site became available. There were plans to open a new public range for the NSWRA at the Holsworthy Army Base. However, those plans were scrapped and the Commonwealth never acquired and built a new facility. (Under the terms of the License Agreement, the Commonwealth was to give the NSWRA part of the Holsworthy Barracks and $9 million to help it relocate there.)

Malabar Headland NSW ANZAC Range NSWRACommonwealth officials assert the ANZAC Range would be converted to a National Park once shooting activities were terminated. The Range property would be deeded to the NSW State Government for Park use.

Though there were a number of lesser issues involved in the ANZAC Range litigation (including asbestos abatement and structure maintenance), the NSW Supreme Court’s decision turned on the failure of the Commonwealth to provide an alternative facility: “The Commonwealth has not given a Relocation Notice. Apparently it was decided that it was not appropriate that the Holsworthy Army Base be made available to provide a range for private shooting clubs. Although other potential rifle ranges have been identified, so far as appears, no steps have been taken, other than the carrying out of studies, to relocate the ANZAC Rifle Range.”

Under the terms of the Court’s ruling, the NSWRA can continue to use the ANZAC Range (but not necessarily forever). The Supreme Court’s ruling specifically blocks the Commonwealth from evicting the NSWRA from the ANZAC Range… for now. And likewise the Commonwealth is enjoined from selling or transferring the range property on the Malabar Headland. A range closure is still possible in the years ahead, but the Commonwealth must first provide a suitable replacement range complex.

Aussie Shooters Celebrate Legal Victory
Australian shooters are hailing this court decision as a major victory. The editor of Shooting.com.au, a leading Australian shooting sports website, tells us: “The NSWRA has won its case against the Government, thereby establishing [an important] precedent for shooters in Australia. Where previously we were trod upon without care, we now have a strong precedent with which to challenge, and hopefully prevail over, future legislative changes and government actions. It’s been a long time since Australian shooters had anything to celebrate about.” For more information, visit www.saveanzacrange.com.

READ the NSW Supreme Court Ruling
CLICK HERE for Transcript of New South Wales Supreme Court Judgment and Order in NSW Rifle Association Inc. v. The Commonwealth of Australia.

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July 5th, 2010

NRA Officially Opposes Elena Kagan Nomination to Supreme Court

On July 1st, the NRA and NRA-ILA sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In the letter, the NRA explained that “throughout her political career, [Kagan] has repeatedly demonstrated a clear hostility to the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution”. CLICK HERE for PDF file with full text of the NRA/NRA-ILA letter.

Highlights of NRA and NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) Letter

As [Kagan] has no judicial record on which we can rely, we have only her political record to review. And throughout her political career, she has repeatedly demonstrated a clear hostility to the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

Elena KaganAs a clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall, Ms. Kagan said she was “not sympathetic” to a challenge to Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns and draconian registration requirements. As domestic policy advisor in the Clinton White House, a colleague described her as “immersed” in President Clinton’s gun control policy efforts. For example, she was involved in an effort to ban more than 50 types of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms — an effort that was described as: “taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole new class of guns.” And as U.S. Solicitor General, she chose not to file a brief last year in the landmark case McDonald v. Chicago, thus taking the position that incorporating the Second Amendment and applying it to the States was of no interest to the Obama Administration or the federal government. These are not the positions of a person who supports the Second Amendment.

During her confirmation hearings last year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor repeatedly stated that the Supreme Court’s historic Heller decision was “settled law”. Even further, in response to a question from Chairman Leahy, she said “I understand the individual right fully that the Supreme Court recognized in Heller’.” Yet last Monday in McDonald, she joined a dissenting opinion which stated: “I can find nothing in the Second Amendment’s text, history, or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as ‘fundamental’ insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes”. We would also note that both Heller and McDonald were 5-4 decisions. The fact that four justices would effectively write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution is completely unacceptable.

Ms. Kagan has repeatedly declined to say whether she agrees with the dissenting views of justices Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor, which leaves unanswered the very serious questions of whether she would vote to overturn Heller and McDonald or narrow their holdings to a practical nullity.

Any individual who does not believe that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self-defense should not serve on any court, much less receive a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Justice Sotomayor’s blatant reversal on this critical issue requires that we look beyond statements made during confirmation hearings and examine a nominee’s entire body of work.

Unfortunately, Ms. Kagan’s record on the Second Amendment gives us no confidence that if confirmed to the Court, she will faithfully defend the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding Americans.

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July 5th, 2010

Lawyer Alan Gura Talks about Landmark Supreme Court Second Amendment Cases: McDonald v. Chicago, D.C. v. Heller

In McDonald v. Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the Second Amendment applies to State and Local goverment actions, not just to Federal laws and activities. In so ruling, the High Court established that State and municipal laws can be challenged on the grounds that they violate a citizen’s individual right to “keep and bear arms”.

This landmark decision was the focus of the July 4th edition of Gun Talk Radio, when host Tom Gresham interviewed Attorney Alan Gura, lead counsel for Otis McDonald and other plaintiffs. Gura was also the lawyer who successfully challenged the District of Columbia gun ban, in D.C. v. Heller.

If you missed the July 4th broadcast, you can still hear what Gura has to say about the Supreme Court rulings in the McDonald and Heller cases. Gun Talk Radio archives its past broadcasts. Just right click on the Podcast icon below and “Save As” to download an .mp3 file with the Alan Gura interview. This is a very thought-provoking interview. We strongly recommend you listen.

podcast guntalk
Guntalk 2010-07-04 Part A
Hour One – Guests Alan Gura, Attorney
and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, R-OK

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June 8th, 2010

Kagan Involved in Anti-Gun Policy-Making as Clinton Advisor

Elena KaganThe NSSF reports that newly released documents show Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was involved in forming Clinton Administration policy on gun control, including, apparently, proposing that President Clinton issue an Executive Order to prohibit firearm sales without prior police certification/approval. The Washington Post reports that Kagan helped formulate gun control measures during the three years she served as a domestic policy advisor for Clinton.

After analyzing documents turned over by the Clinton Library, the Washington Post revealed: “Kagan was immersed in initiatives on gun control. In deliberations about how the Clinton administration should respond to a Supreme Court ruling that the federal government could not force local or state police to conduct background checks on gun purchasers, she appears to support such checks.” One document revealed that Elena had suggested that Clinton might issue an Executive Order banning gun sales without prior police approval. Based on these documents, it appears Kagan showed a strong anti-Second-Amendment bias when she worked in the White House, advising President Clinton.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings this summer, NSSF looks forward to a full exploration of Kagan’s involvement in gun-control issues during the Clinton administration, the most anti-gun administration in history.

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April 20th, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Hunting Videos Are Protected by First Amendment

U.S. Supreme CourtThe United States Supreme Court today struck down a federal law banning depictions of “animal cruelty” on the basis that the law violated the Free Speech protections of the First Amendment. In its 8-1 ruling in United States v. Stevens, the High Court upheld a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision voiding the conviction of Robert Stevens for violating 18 U.S.C. 48, which prohibits depiction of animal cruelty.

The Supreme Court’s majority opinion was authored by Chief Justice Roberts, who declared that that the law was overbroad, and could potentially be used to ban TV shows about hunting, as well as educational videos. At issue was a 1999 federal law that makes it a crime to create, sell or possess videos and other depictions of cruelty to animals. The case arose over the conviction of Robert Stevens, who received a three-year prison sentence from a Western Pennsylvania court for selling videos that included scenes of hunting with dogs. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction on constitutional grounds, accepting Stevens’ argument that his videos were protected under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court upheld the Third Circuit’s decision. Had the Third Circuit’s decision been overturned, all images of legal hunting and fishing could have been deemed illegal under the law.

The Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) took a lead role in bringing journalists and outdoor industry organizations together in support of the First Amendment argument presented before the Court by Robert Stevens’ attorney Patricia Millett. “POMA is grateful to the Court for this important decision,” said Laurie Lee Dovey, POMA executive director. “The First Amendment rights of traditional outdoor sports journalists, those who cover legal hunting and fishing and promote the enjoyment of these American heritage sports, are protected. The impact of this decision on POMA members, all journalists, and the outdoor industry can not be overstated.” The ruling in U.S. v. Stevens was a setback for animal rights groups and the Obama Adminstration’s lawyers, who asked the Supreme Court to overrule the Third Circuit and send Robert Stevens to prison.

CLICK HERE for full text of Decision in U.S. v. Stevens

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March 3rd, 2010

Transcript of Supreme Court Argument is Available

Those interested in the landmark McDonald v. Chicago Second Amendment case can now read the complete transcript of the Oral Arguments conducted yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court. We added the link to the transcript late in the day on Tuesday, so you might have missed it. (FYI, the written opinion in this case is not expected until June, 2010).

CLICK HERE for transcript of Oral Argument
(PDF file, 77 pages, 342kb).

To learn more about the plaintiffs in this case, click the link below to read a profile in the Chicago Magazine website. The ‘name’ plaintiff is Otis McDonald, a 76-year old retired maintenance engineer (and grandfather). The son of sharecroppers, McDonald grew up in Louisiana, then moved to Chicago at age 17. Now he simply wants the right to have a handgun to defend himself in his home.

Otis McDonald

Chicago Magazine Story on McDonald v. Chicago Plaintiffs.

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March 2nd, 2010

After the Argument — Supreme Court Appears to Favor Extension of Second Amendment

SCOTUSLyle Denniston, reporter for the Scotus (Supreme Court of the United States) Blog, attended the oral argument in McDonald v. Chicago (Docket 08-1521) this morning. Analyzing the comments and questions of the Justices, Denniston concluded that the High Court is very likely to extend the Second Amendment to state and municipal actions, on the basis of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. However, the Justices were skeptical of the argument that “incorporation” of the Second Amendment was likewise mandated by the “privileges and immunities” section of the 14th Amendment.

CLICK HERE for transcript of Oral Argument
(PDF file, 77 pages, 342kb).

Denniston writes: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed poised to require state and local governments to obey the Second Amendment guarantee of a personal right to a gun, but with perhaps considerable authority to regulate that right. The dominant sentiment on the Court was to extend the Amendment beyond the federal level, based on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “due process,” since doing so through another part of the 14th Amendment would raise too many questions about what other rights might emerge.”

During the course of the oral argument, the Justices disagreed as to the scope of the Second Amendment — whether it should be limited to a “core right” of self-defense or whether it could be applied much more broadly in future cases. The Scotus Blog explained: “The liberal wing of the Court appeared to be making a determined effort to hold the expanded Amendment in check, but even the conservatives open to applying the Second Amendment to states, counties and cities seemed ready to concede some — but perhaps fewer — limitations. The eagerly awaited oral argument in McDonald, et al., v. Chicago, et al. found all members of the Court actively involved except the usually silent Justice Clarence Thomas. And, while no one said that the issue of “incorporating” the Second Amendment into the 14th Amendment had already been decided before the argument had even begun, the clear impression was that the Court majority was at least sentimentally in favor of that, with only the dimensions of the expansion to be worked out in this case and in a strong of likely precedents coming as time went on.”

We recommend that those interested in Second Amendment issues read the full Scotus Blog Entry, which includes detailed explanations of the key arguments, and analyses of how individual justices stand on the question of how the Second Amendment should be applied to the States — i.e. whether broadly or narrowly.

CLICK HERE to read SCOTUS BLOG re McDonald v. Chicago.

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March 2nd, 2010

High Court Hears "McDonald v. Chicago" Today

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in McDonald v. City of Chicago, a major Second Amendment case that will determine whether cities and states must honor the Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms, set forth in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It will be argued that the protections of the Second Amendment should extend to state and local government activity, based on the provisions of the 14th Amendment.

The key words from the 14th Amendment are “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . . . ”

McDonald v. Chicago

You can consider McDonald v. City of Chicago as the sequel to the 2008 landmark case — the District of Columbia v. Heller — in which the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment is an “individual” right to keep and bear arms. The Court’s decision, however, applied only to areas regulated by the federal government, such as the District of Columbia. As a result the Heller decision inspired further legal attempts to clarify how the right to keep and bear arms applies to citizens nationwide.

After Heller, many lawsuits were filed to overturn municipal and state laws that prevented individuals from owning handguns. In Chicago, several residents brought suit challenging the city’s long-standing gun ban. These residents, among them 76-year-old Otis McDonald, wanted a handgun to protect themselves and their families. McDonald, interviewed by ABC News, lives in a crime-ridden neighborhood and wants a gun to defend himself in his home: “If I’ve got a gun, and if others have guns in their homes to protect themselves, then that’s one thing that police would have to worry about less.”

How broadly or narrowly the Second Amendment will be applied to state regulations is the key question in today’s hearing in McDonald v Chicago. Today, one hour has been set for oral arguments. Attorney Alan Gura, who won the Heller case, will argue for the petitioners Otis McDonald, et al. Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement will argue for the NRA, which is also a party to the case. Chicago’s defense will take up the remainder of the time.

Final Decision is Months Away
Legal experts will attempt to predict how McDonald v. Chicago will be decided, based on the questions/comments of the Justices during oral argument. However, we will have to wait many months before the Supreme Court’s actual written ruling. In a case of this significance, we can expect a lengthy written opinion (with dissents), that may not be issued until summer 2010.

Report and Photo Courtesy NSSF

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