TTAG Weekly Gun Law Roundup: The Administrative Threat, The Highest State’s Hi-Cap Mags, and a Sanctuary Town

Friday weekly gun law roundup

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With the NRA Annual Meetings under way today, you can be sure there’s no shortage of things to cover this week. If you’re in Indy for the meetings and exhibition, remember that individuals need to have valid license to carry.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Ever Expanding Administrative State

Everyone remembers former President Obama’s “pen and phone” threat to gun law, and even more recent in memory is President Trump’s embidoment of that Obama-era threat with his much-maligned bump stock ban. We’re seeing now that, on both sides of the mainstream political aisle, using executive agencies to make changes to law that the legislature is unwilling to do is less a thing of shame and growing more and more into a point of pride.

This week we saw 2020 Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris assert that, if elected president, she could impose “near-universal background checks” and close the “boyfriend loophole” without the help of congress. Oh boy. It sure would be nice if any of our elected officials had stayed awake in civics class.

colorado magazine ban

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Colorado’s Mag Ban Faces Highest State’s Highest Court

On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court announced that it will review a Second Amendment challenge to the state’s controversial 2013 ban on magazines holding more than 15 cartridges. Under the law, previously owned magazines were legal to keep, but not transfer. The lower state courts held the laws to be constitutional, applying a toothless analog of the “rational basis” test which basically stands for no other proposition but that the government wins.

The Court hasn’t yet set a date for oral argument, but there is room for cautious optimism as more case law develops in the area. Legal scholars disagree as to what factors are relevant in determining whether a magazine ban is constitutional. I am personally of the opinion that magazine bans, like speed limits, have no principled distinction when it comes to number. If banning magazines is unconstitutional (which it undoubtedly is) then whether th ban be on 10, 15, or 38 rounds ought make no difference. There’s no principled distinction between a 50 mile per hour road and a 55, and the same ought be considered when weighing a 10 round limit against 15.

cuomo safe storage law

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New York’s Safe Storage Bill

Last week, a 12-year-old boy died in Westchester County, New York after shooting himself while playing with a gun at home. NY lawmakers are using this, and other tragic—yet remote—incidents to push the “safe storage” bill headed to Governor Cuomo’s desk. The bill makes it a crime for anyone with children under the age of 16 in their home (or who know a 16-year-old may visit their home) to keep all firearms locked up when not in use.

There is a lot at play in these laws. Many states only impose liability if a child actually uses the firearm, but New York’s attaches by the mere act of having an unsecured firearm in a home, where someone under 16 might be able to access it. This is problematically broad.

Yes, gun owners need to exercise extreme care when there are children in the home, and a safe is an excellent form of that care. However, as the Supreme Court recognized in Heller, a gun in the home that’s not immediately usable doesn’t do much good when one needs a gun.

I’ve always advocated that people with children in their homes keep all firearms secured, save for the one designated for home defense, which be worn on the body. This ensures the child won’t access any firearms, without rendering the home defenseless.

However, every situation is different. I’ve met twelve-year-olds who handled firearms more carefully than police officers. A parent who knows their child is competent and respectful of a firearm ought not be made a criminal because of a bedside table gun in the parent’s room.

As for those parents who are truly irresponsible—we don’t need new laws to handle them. It’s classic criminal negligence to leave a loaded gun with an irresponsible child. New York’s law does nothing to mandate responsible parenting, but instead imposes the liability due a bad parent upon anyone who might have a sixteen year old in their house.

Phil Murphy gun control new jersey

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New Jersey Price Jacking

Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey renewed his push this week to discourage gun ownership in the garden state. Currently, New Jersey residents need to get a firearm owner ID card and, for handguns, a handgun permit. The ID card currently costs $5 and the handgun permit $2. Both come with considerable arbitrary delays and checks. The governor wants to see these increase to $100 and $50, respectively. Together, that’s the price of a brand new Hi-Point.

This breed of gun control — increasing prices to punitive levels — has always puzzled me when it comes from the political left. We see anti-gun activists decrying that you can buy an AR-15 for “just $1,100” (in reality more like $450). The argument seems to be, then, that guns are too affordable?

What flows from that, then, is that supporters of these laws don’t think economically disadvantaged people ought to have a means to defend themselves. Despite the fact that the disadvantaged, whom the political left tend to co-opt, make up the vast and sweeping majority of victims of violent crime. One would think people who care for the poor would want defensive arms to be more, not less, affordable. But here we are.

burrillville, rhode island

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Another Sanctuary

The town of Burrillville, Rhode Island voted unanimously to make itself a “sanctuary town” for gun owners this week. These are an excellent means of normalizing gun ownership and a great way of pushing the needle. The town essentially declared that it will not enforce any gun offenses that do not result in harming someone.

In a profound display of ironic cognitive dissonance, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence asserted that the town is abusing the term “sanctuary city.” It wrote that “in a time when our nation’s executive is using his administration’s power to threaten our most vulnerable communities, becoming a sanctuary city is a municipal tool” to protect those people.

What I love about this is that it exemplifies the exact reasons sanctuary treatment is valuable to any community whose rights are being threatened. Without realizing it, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence made the argument for gun sanctuary. And it’s beautiful.

comments

  1. avatar dph says:

    “The bill makes it a crime for anyone with children under the age of 16 in their home (or who know a 16-year-old may visit their home) to keep all firearms locked up when not in use.” I’m okay with this, except I think you meant to say “to not keep firearms locked up”

  2. avatar Freebird says:

    Putting aside for the moment the very questionable way B.A.T.F. was created . why can’t the already settled Jurisdiction argument be used to Beat Back the administrative overreach ?

    ” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, has no venue or jurisdiction within the borders of any of the 50 States of the united States of America, except in pursuit of an importer of contraband alcohol, tobacco, or firearms, who failed to pay the TAX on those items. As proof, refer to the July 30, 1993 ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1 F.3d 1511; 1993 U.S. App. Lexis 19747, where the court ruled in United States v. D.J. Vollmer & Co. that “the B.A.T.F. has jurisdiction over the first sale of a firearm imported to the country, but they don’t have jurisdiction over subsequent sales.”

    1. avatar Anymouse says:

      You keep posting this, but where did you get it from? It’s bad legal advice/opinion. Your quote isn’t even in the decision. You can look it up yourself at openjurist.org/1/f3d/1511/united-states-v-fj-vollmer-and-company-inc-l. It’s like the people saying the IRS isn’t relevant to most people (ask Wesley Snipes how well that worked out for him).

      The case was about “assault weapons” that were imported and only allowed to be sold to government agencies, and their subsequent sale to the general public who was not allowed to import them. The case was against a National Guard officer, Nevius, who said he was buying AUGs for “official duties,” but was actually reselling them to Vollmer. Like most decisions, it addresses the facts of the case (govt.-only import sold to “not for resale” purpose), and not civilian or subsequent sales in general. The results were the officer’s conviction for conspiracy to defraud and false statements was upheld, mail fraud convictions were reversed (BATF didn’t have material interest or ownership of the imported guns), and Vollmer got a new trial for conspiracy because the jury wasn’t polled as requested.

      Here are actual quotes:
      Para 19:
      Although the defendants’ argument seems persuasive on its face, we agree with other courts that have considered the issue that BATF’s authority extends to the first domestic sale of a firearm imported for government use. (In response to defendants’ claims that BATF didn’t have any authority to regulate sales.)

      Para 22:
      18 U.S.C. Sec. 925(a)(1). We conclude that this language grants BATF authority to regulate the transfer of a firearm from an importer to the law enforcement agency for which the firearm was imported. For purposes of this opinion, we refer to this as a “first sale.”

      Para 35:
      Nevius argues that BATF lacked the power to regulate the sales of Steyr AUG-SA rifles from GSI to Nevius because BATF does not have the authority to regulate domestic sales of firearms. However, we resolved this issue in our earlier discussion, when we concluded that BATF was acting within its proper jurisdiction in regulating “first sales”. Therefore, Nevius’ conviction for false statement is affirmed.

  3. avatar GS650G says:

    I see a country where laws are enforced based on the people who live in the areas of enforcement and thwart the efforts of those who try to federalize laws. This can be good or bad depending on the law. It also serves to Balkanize the country and that’s a negative.

    1. avatar Michael says:

      Why?

    2. avatar drunkEODguy says:

      Nah, its actually called Federalism. It works pretty well in most cases but we’ve unfortunately lost a lot of that. It was the double edge sword of selective incorporation of the Bill or Rights. While selective incorporation freed the slaves, and is the reason for many gun rights victories in the past several decades, it also lead to diminishing the autonomy of the states.

  4. avatar Common Tater says:

    Washington state has at least two gun bills now at the Governors desk awaiting signatures.

    HB 1225 requires law enforcement to confiscate any firearms from a residence where a domestic dispute call has been made.

    HB 1465 extends wait time for concealed pistol license holders to pick up their guns after purchase.

  5. avatar TexTed says:

    >>This breed of gun control — increasing prices to punitive levels — has always puzzled me when it comes from the political left. We see anti-gun activists decrying that you can buy an AR-15 for “just $1,100” (in reality more like $450). The argument seems to be, then, that guns are too affordable?

    What flows from that, then, is that supporters of these laws don’t think economically disadvantaged people ought to have a means to defend themselves. <<

    If you're puzzled, then you don't understand the political left. Let me help you:
    ANYTHING that stops ANYONE from getting ANY gun, is "progress" in their book. No, they don't think economically disadvantaged people ought to have a means to defend themselves. They don't think ANYONE should have the means to defend themselves. Your pointing out the inherent classism in their stance is shortsighted, because you don't understand the ultimate goal, which has always been and always will be complete disarmament.

    If guns are too affordable, more people will buy them. More guns = more death. That is their logic, that is their reasoning. In fact, they may even take their virtuosity so far as to say that more poor people with guns = more poor people shot, and therefore, by making guns unaffordable, they are "saving lives."

    That's what you're up against.

    1. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

      Too true………….

    2. avatar barnbwt says:

      Arms control has always been a class-thing

  6. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    “Colorado Supreme Court announced that it will review a Second Amendment challenge to the state’s controversial 2013 ban ”

    It will fall as will all states infringements,a magazine ban is a gun Ban.

    Kamala’s greatest claim to fame being the receptacle for Willie Brows willie,that qualifies her as what….

    If Negotiating Rights Away since 1934 want’s to remain they will force LaPierre and his band of miscreants out of the organization,from top to bottom or it will fail.

  7. avatar fiundagner says:

    “There’s no principled distinction between a 50 mile per hour road and a 55” is a poor argument to use in the context of the magazine ban. there are engineering and safety concerns involved in speed limits, particularly on turns and curves in the road. speed limits also necessarily take a generic, one size has to fit all, approach to vehicle speeds that take into account road materials (concrete vs asphalt), vehicle weights, and center of gravity. smaller cars can get away with higher velocities than fully loaded semi trailers on curves and wet roads for example. I agree that magazine bans are abhorrent and unconstitutional, just think you need to find a better analogy

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Plus, plenty of data showing strong correlation between speed limits & fatalities/wrecks (up to a point), plus it is an *act* vs. a possession.

    2. avatar barnbwt says:

      Save speed limit metaphors for when they try to expand Trump’s bump stock ban into a general rate of fire limit, or for magazine bans based on restricting the same.

    3. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Speed limits, are however, a good example of a law that is put in place, yet the law stops no one except for those who choose to follow it.

      I’d reckon there’s millions of speeding tickets given out nationwide annually. Multiple times to the same person, yet we don’t restrict privileges unless under specific circumstances. Usually, those circumstances are multiple tickets, and due process has occurred. There’s 10’s of, if not 100’s of thousands of car wrecks every year, and we don’t find a single issue letting teens, drunks, elderly, or anyone for that matter, drive a 2-ton chunk of steel and aluminum at high velocity near others doing the same. If your license is taken, eventually you’re able to get it back. Somehow, guns are completely different, despite the codification in the Bill of Rights.

    4. avatar SteveO says:

      Can’t wait until somebody brings up (what used to be) Montana’s “reasonable and prudent” speed declaration.

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        I miss the grand old days of reasonable and prudent…before the Nanny Feds extorted, blackmailed and beat us over the fiscal head with their threat of withholding “Federal Highway Money”…early on a Sunday morning, wx clear, dry and 65F no one else on the road..me, my buddy and his ’95 ZR-1 Vette radared @ 115 MPH. All the MHP officer said was please slow down when you encounter more traffic…roger that Sir.

        1. avatar edward kenway's ghost says:

          115mph? Is that all?
          Forget to feed the hamsters?

        2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          The hamsters were eating fine. 115 MPH was “reasonable and prudent” for the time and place…the MHP officer mentioned that somewhat faster and we probably would have been in violation of “reasonable and prudent” for the conditions.

          There is an anecdotal story regarding a professional race driver driving his personal vehicle on I-90 near Bozeman clocked at 130+. He was stopped, accompanied the officer to the Judge where he produced the vehicle maintenance records, his racing credentials and certifications of the mechanics who maintained his vehicle. The Judge released him on the basis that his skill, ability and vehicle condition coupled with the wx conditions were “reasonable and prudent”.

          One of the reasons it was replaced with defined limits was that it was too subjective a standard…it was good while it lasted.

  8. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    Why does Cuomo always look like he’s pissed off? And what the hell is the “boyfriend loophole” and we have pretty good background checks except for nuts.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      “The boyfriend loophole” is that if you beat your wife and get convicted of doing it you get a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction that bars you from buying a gun. If you beat your girlfriend it’s just a battery/assault charge like you got in a bar fight and since that’s not a felony or a “special” misdemeanor you do not lose your gun rights upon conviction.

      They’re saying the law means you can beat your girlfriend, get convicted for doing it and still go legally buy a gun to kill her but that you couldn’t do so if she was your wife and therefore a wife has “more legal privileges” than a girlfriend and that this is not equality before the law/is a loophole that lets violent people get guns so that they can murder their significant other.

      Make of that argument what you will, but in a nutshell, that’s what they’re saying.

  9. avatar strych9 says:

    “One would think people who care for the poor would want defensive arms to be more, not less, affordable. But here we are.”

    The mistake here is thinking that they care about the poor. They don’t. They care about harvesting votes from the poor. That’s it. Nothing else matters.

    They don’t want welfare reform or people getting out of poverty either. Independent people who don’t need a handout start to ask troublesome questions like “What are you using my tax money for?” and are no longer threatened by “Those people over there will cut off your welfare checks! Vote for us! We’re not mean like them!”.

    Maintaining an ongoing problem and continuously promising “solutions” that cannot work, thereby never actually solving the problem and leaving yet another “solution” for the next election cycle, is how these people maintain political power. When this creates more problems they simply offer more solutions paid for by other people’s money. Combined with an educational system that keeps people ignorant and therefore dependent, you end up with Chicago or Baltimore.

  10. avatar Constitutional Patriot says:

    Re “The Ever Expanding Administrative State“
    At some point in the future…
    It will be time to “Put up or shut up”
    Remember Gonzales, Remember the Alamo! Come and take it!

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