AR Sales Skyrocket in Washington Ahead of New
We’ve talked about Washington’s Initiative 1639 before. It puts a host of new restrictions on gun owners, including requiring a permanent waiver of their HIPAA rights before buying a handgun or semi-automatic rifle.
Ahead of this, Washingtonians are buying up everything they can get their hands on. It will be interesting to watch Washington going forward, as this is in many ways an unprecedented restriction. A number of lawsuits are already winding their way through the courts. This will be worth watching.
Supreme Court Silent on Suppressors
You’ve probably heard about Kettler v. USA and Cox v. USA, but not likely by name. Those are the NFA challenge cases that came up after Jeremy Kettler bought made-in-Kansas suppressor from Shane Cox, and posted it on Facebook page. The ATF came after both the purchaser and the seller, who thought they were protected by the Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act.
The case has been heavily misreported in media, from articles claiming the Supreme Court “would hear” the case before they were even petitioned, to claims now that the Court “upheld” the convictions. What did happen this week, was the Court refused to hear the case. This isn’t an adjudication on the merits, it just means not enough justices wanted to hear the case.
The unfortunate result, though, is that it means the convictions stay in place.
This is an incredibly complicated component of Constitutional law. There are two different authorities under which the government claims to be able regulate suppressors, SBRs and machine guns; the taxing power, and the commerce power.
Since the suppressors in question were made in and never left Kansas, they are (or at least should be) beyond the scope of the commerce power. This is what the Second Amendment Protection Act enshrines.
What this doesn’t get around, though, is the government’s assertion of its taxing power. The law here isn’t really developed yet as to what extent the government can impose a taxing power to assert what is ostensibly a prohibition, especially with respect to the rights of Americans.
Regrettably, the lower court asserted (and the Trump administration agreed) that the Second Amendment does not protect firearm “accessories.” That’s dumb. For a lot of reasons.
There are more cases coming which more directly suss out the taxing power question, so there is still reason for optimism. Unfortunately, though, the lives of two Americans who harmed no one and believed they were following the law have been ruined. Whether you love suppressors or hate them, everyone should recognize what happened to Kettler and Cox as a horrible injustice.
Ammo Sales Surge in California Ahead of New Law
California’s Proposition 63, which puts restrictions on the purchase of ammunition, including requiring a background check, and for it to be purchased in person, goes into effect July 1. This week saw ammunition sellers in California reporting runs on ammo. People are stocking up ahead of the new law.
I’ve long been a proponent of reloading, and as these California residents are learning, it’s not just because I like shooting exotic cartridges. Adding rigmarole to the purchase of ammunition is going to drive up prices for Californians. That’s not fair to lower income people who want to practice and be able to provide a competent self-defense. But, as always, gun controllers leave those people out of their calculations.
Still More Attempts to Sue American Gunmakers
If there’s one thing lawmakers are good at, it’s naming their proposals. A wise man once said that when you read the title of any act of Congress, you can be pretty sure it will operate to do the opposite. Enter the “Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act,” announced this week. It aims to manufacture civil liability for the manufacturers of firearms when a crime is committed with their products.
This is so far beyond the scope of established products liability law it’s insane. Manufacturers are held liable for defective products, not products used with criminal intent. The attempt to characterize this as anything but an attempt to strangle the American firearms industry is dishonest at best.
Governor Northam Takes Gun Control on Tour
We talked about Virginia Governor Northam’s special session last week. This week he sent two members of his administration on tour to host a series of events to drum up support for new restrictions on gun ownership in the Old Dominion.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the events are centered heavily in Northern Virginia (which could more accurately be called West D.C.) where people will be more receptive. It’s pretty clear looking at the schedule that Northam isn’t too concerned about the opinion of inland Virginia. I wonder why that is.
Taking Aim at the Gun Free School Zone Act
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie this week introduced the “Safe Students Act,” in the US House which would repeal the “Gun Free School Zones Act” (a law that actually caused some really fascinating developments in Constitutional law in United Stated v. Lopez). Massie has consistently made efforts to try to get the law repealed, but with the new support for “arming teachers” and the like, perhaps he’ll gain ground. Perhaps.
Brazilian Senate Balks at Gun Liberalization
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made it a key point of his campaign to loosen Brazil’s gun laws. Brazil suffers from extremely high murder rates, many involving makeshift firearms.
Bolsonaro sees this problem in a way many Americans would be sensitive to: when people are at risk, they ought to have a mechanism to defend themselves. So he issued a decree to loosen the laws. But this week, a Senate committee rejected it. It’s heading for a full Senate vote, and a vote in the lower house. If either upholds the decree, it will stand.
Nevada Gun Omnibus At the Governor’s Desk
Nevada Assembly Bill 291, which bans bump stock at the state level, regulates the blood alcohol content of concealed carriers, and more, is at the desk of Governor Steve Sisolak. It was not signed yet at the time of this writing, but sources expect the Governor to sign it, despite attempts to encourage a veto.