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This Week in Gun Rights is TTAG’s weekly roundup of legal, legislative and other news affecting guns, the gun business and gun owners’ rights.

Senate Judiciary Committee votes in favor of confirming Amy Coney Barrett, 12 – 0

Activists opposed to the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, dressed as characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” protest at the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

It’s happening (maybe)! The Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously voted to advance Amy Coney Barrett for confirmation. If you’re wondering why the vote was unanimous, it’s because the Senate Dems walked out in protest. In any case, this means that Judge Barrett is one step closer to obtaining a spot on the Supreme Court, finally granting the people the necessary number of Justices to hear the gun rights cases that have been on hold for the last several years.

Judge Barrett’s full Senate confirmation vote will be held on Monday. 

Wyoming to expose identities of gun rights donors

If you’ve donated to any gun rights groups in Wyoming, your identity may be about to be exposed by your Secretary of State. In a letter filed by his office on October 14, Ed Buchanan ordered Wyoming Gun Owners to provide a list of all its financial contributors by November 4 or face a fine.

The basis for this demand was a formal complaint being filed the organization for violation of the state’s campaign finance laws. Wyoming Gun Owners is not new to state politics, but it seems that the success or, rather, the failure of anti-gun candidates is being used as justification for complaining that WYGO is “electioneering,” and as such has failed to properly register as a PAC.

Under most American election law speech is severely constrained, especially speech made by non-profit organizations. The goal of the restriction is, of course, noble: to stop people from buying elections. The problem with these laws is that it prevents organizations from fiercely advocating for the causes that they were formed to support, e.g. a gun organization opposing people who, if elected, would endeavor to deprive people of their natural right to keep and bear arms.

At a minimum, campaign finance laws should be amended to ensure that organizations are free to criticize the government without facing the additional regulatory and incorporation costs of forming a political action committee; after all, criticism of the government and those who would run it are the core components of the First Amendment.

CDC tax dollars at work

Centers for Disease Control CDC

This week the University of Connecticut announced that one of its researchers received a $250,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control to study “cyberbanging”, which is supposedly a situation in which “cyberbullying” leads to increases in gun-related youth violence.

Let’s address the first issue: “cyberbanging” sounds like a porn hashtag, so if they’re going to invent problems to solve they should maybe reconsider that term. Second, there’s no reason why the CDC should be spending money on researching criminal activity. Crime isn’t a disease. If anything, it’s the result of poor socio-economic conditions or parental neglect.

But while we’re on the topic of economics, I think it’s worth mentioning that the United States carries a national debt of $27 trillion thanks to gross misspending by government agencies such as…the CDC, which was shockingly ill-prepared to handle Covid, an actual disease.

While it would take a Herculean effort to alleviate that debt, it doesn’t mean that we should continue allowing the feds to waste taxpayer money, especially on programs that will inevitably be used to enable government surveillance of the public under the guise of “public safety.”

Young Pennsylvanians challenging the Commonwealth’s discriminatory gun laws

The Firearms Policy Coalition is helping young adults in Pennsylvania sue the government. Under Pennsylvania law, individuals are required to possess a license to carry during publicly declared emergencies; licenses which are unobtainable for adults under the age of 21. As a result, young people, many of whom are financially vulnerable and have to go out in public and work to pay their bills, are unable to effectively defend themselves in emergency situations.

What’s most baffling about the law is that the Pennsylvania government doesn’t seem to want to recognize the obviously irrational distinction between bearing a handgun while watchstanding for a military reserve unit and doing the same out of uniform; if their theory was that young adults are incapable of making rational decisions, they should logically also preclude military service for individuals under the age of 21.

Appeals court declines to hear non-violent petitioner’s request to restore gun rights

Judge In The Courtroom. Male Judge Striking The Gavel.

This week the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petitioner’s request to have his gun rights restored following a 1987 conviction for smuggling. Given the time period, you might think he was convicted for smuggling cocaine, but you’d be wrong. The petitioner’s conviction was for smuggling and copyright violation. That’s right, he was bringing in counterfeit cassette tapes. Probably the most dangerous man of the time, am I right?

The 11th Circuit’s decision on this one is wrong for a couple of reasons. First, there’s a clear exception under the Gun Control Act provisions: 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(A), which says that the term “crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” doesn’t include “any Federal or State offenses pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices.”

Anti-smuggling and copyright laws are unambiguously restraints on trade and business practice, and the statute doesn’t distinguish between felonies and misdemeanor convictions under federal law.

Second, this position is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s analysis under United States v. Heller. History and tradition inform us that the Founders only wanted to prevent people who were actually violent from posing a threat to their communities, something established by conviction and imprisonment for murder or being adjudicated dangerously mentally defective. It is quite clear that neither of these scenarios apply here, and I hope that the Supreme Court will consider this case in the near future.  

Another Appeals Court rules against community property rights for gun owners

national gun control confiscation
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

On Wednesday the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a petitioner seeking to have firearms returned that were confiscated from the couple as the result of her husband’s felony DUI conviction. The petitioner wrote a letter to the police explaining that she had an ownership interest in the firearms that were taken from her property. Nonetheless, the court found that her claim — that the government’s unlawful retention of her property — was “too novel a theory to warrant Fourth Amendment protection.”

The crux of the court’s decision on Wednesday is that it’s perfectly acceptable to deprive an individual who hasn’t broken the law of their property rights as a result of the criminal act of another person. In other words, it’s okay for the state to take your stuff when your spouse breaks the law, even if you lawfully own that property and haven’t done anything to justify the seizure of that property.

Gun rights aside, this is massively problematic, what with that whole right to “life, liberty and property” guarantee under the Fifth Amendment. 

Virginia laws to stop unreasonable search and seizure practices, rehiring of bad cops

Mirror Police side rear view rearview mirror

The Virginia Legislature has decided to take a break from savaging gun rights, and will instead focus on passing something that’s actually useful — a Fourth Amendment protection bill.

VA SB 5029, which protects drivers from unreasonable vehicle searches based on claims like “detecting the odor of marijuana,” broken taillights, loud exhaust systems, window tint, and visual obstructions. This means that the police can’t make you pop the trunk without a warrant, and it’s a step in the right direction in preventing the police – the people who will take your guns when they’re ordered to – from unconstitutionally searching your vehicle.

The next step is to convince Northam and the VA Legislature to stop creating the problems they’re passing these bills to solve.

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  1. Something to keep in mind, and to spread throughout the gun community…….if we do it right, and Trump wins in November and we keep the Senate…..Justice Thomas will only have 2 years in which to retire, or risk being like ginsburg and allowing a democrat to possibly replace him. Keep that in mind when you vote….maybe Truth ABout Guns could do an article on this…..

    • “…if we do it right, and Trump wins in November and we keep the Senate…..Justice Thomas will only have 2 years in which to retire, or risk being like ginsburg and allowing a democrat to possibly replace him.”

      He may not be interested in bowing out. Ginsburg was the same.

      Besides, I have the distinct impression he’s chomping at the bit to see that the 2A “gets the proper respect it deserves”…

      • I think you’re right about Thomas wanting to get another big body blow in on the 2A side. He’s definitely one of the great ones; it’s a bit shameful to remember what my ignorant young self thought of him during the slurs of his confirmation.

        But I don’t think it’s fair to compare to Ginsburg. RBG wanted to be the one to step down and let the seat be the first that the first woman president filled*. Thomas doesn’t seem to have any of those silly drums to beat so my bet is that he’ll Kennedy out with honor.

        * IMO the fact that RBG failed in every possible way is almost hilarious enough to forgive the wasted years of her on the SC

  2. “While it would take a Herculean effort to alleviate that debt,…”

    Well, we could start by telling China to F off. You caused the recent mess, we owe you nothing. Current debt cancelled.

    If they’d like, they can start buying US debt again at a clean slate.

    • Those Chinese Communist are our friends, as we Marxist have always been close with them.

      China along with the Democratics will help us Marxist reorder the U.S. into a more socially just society.

      Once you get your “Social Credit Score” you will understand better.

      Harris 2020

    • Justifiable or not, I’m guessing that would have a negative impact on our national credit rating, which would in turn have some other negative ramifications. Whether or not that would be worth it, I don’t pretend to know.

  3. CDC has no business investigating guns. A gunshot is an immediate external injury, by definition not a disease. Bullets are not pathogens. Racism is not a disease. Homophobia is not a disease. Crime and poverty are not diseases. Alcoholism and drug abuse are not diseases, although they could lead to them, like liver psoriasis. That’s not to say this study is worthless, but it’s more appropriate for NIH, DOJ, or even FCC.

      • But if we bureaucrats cant allow scope creep in our job duties how can we exercise power over the unwashed masses………..I mean better serve the public.

  4. Whut?!? So much for Wyoming being the miraculous cowboy state where all is well for gun owner’s(HINT: Nowhere is safe!) HINT 2: give the gun seizing goons a token gat. Like a rusty 22 revolver😏😏😏😏

  5. I don’t get it.. The lady [Bennett] had her weapons returned.. She just needed to comply with the states safe storage laws as her now convicted felon husband would have had access to them at the house… What is the problem?

    • because even when you say, store the weapons in a safe or secured container protected by password or code the state generally doesn’t acquiesce on the matter of the guns being in the “immediate control” of the felon. Basically, the state doesn’t believe that said person wouldn’t share said access codes/passwords, or that container or its contents would remain secure at all times from the other spouse and always under supervision/control when not secured (E.x. only opening the container to retrieve something then immediately locking it again before leaving direct supervision, any weapons removed from the safe are kept on the immediate person of the non-felon spouse).

      Basically, the wife would essentially have to live separately and given compelling evidence that her husband doesn’t have access, and the state probably wouldn’t even relent then. This isn’t simply me being a BS shade-tree lawyer, this exact circumstance happened to a friend of mine who had a girlfriend get a felony DUI and the subsequently came after him because he kept a gun in the nightstand. He attempted to satisfy the court from seizing his pistol by getting a small pin-code lockbox, but they took his pistol anyway because the language of the law had a broad interpretation of “immediate possesion/control”. The worst part was they didn’t even cohabitate. Long story short, he got it back after a lot of hemming and hawwing once the relationship ended. This was IL so that may have been a big factor.

  6. Regarding the second circuit case cited above, if you read the decision in the link, it reveals that she failed to follow the states safe storage law that applied because her husband was a convicted felon.

    Be that as it may, at the very end of the decision, the court noted that the guns were returned after the wife informed the police that she now complied with the states safe storage law.

    This actually sounds like a great case for ACB to rule on the merits of restoring the gun rights to convicted felons.

  7. The CDC and FDA should be shut down based on nothing more (or less) than their epic institutional incompetence of the last year.

    • True, but our best bet will be to see their expansive administrative powers clipped.

      And as luck would have it, it appears the new court may be interested in performing some constitutional surgery that could make that happen.

      We shall see…

  8. “Under most American election law speech is severely constrained, especially speech made by non-profit organizations. The goal of the restriction is, of course, noble: to stop people from buying elections.”

    Meanwhile, the interests with big money to spend set up shop on K Street in Washington DC and buy laws at wholesale rates.

    • “The goal of the restriction is, of course, noble: to stop people from buying elections.”

      Bloomberg, Soros and the Sillycon Valley oligarchs have proven that America is for sale — but not cheap.

  9. “The Virginia Legislature has decided to take a break from savaging gun rights, and will instead focus on passing something that’s actually useful — a Fourth Amendment protection bill…”

    No, this is not a “4th Amendment protection bill,” it is a democratic legislature writing laws that make sure the police are not allowed to enforce laws. In other words, this is Minneapolis in Virginia. To wit:

    “Provides that no law-enforcement officer may lawfully stop a motor vehicle for operating (i) without a light illuminating a license plate, (ii) with defective and unsafe equipment, (iii) without brake lights or a high mount stop light, (iv) without an exhaust system that prevents excessive or unusual levels of noise, (v) with certain sun-shading materials and tinting films, and (vi) with certain objects suspended in the vehicle….”

    Why are these laws? If you don’t want a vehicle with defective and unsafe equipment operating on the road, why can’t police do anything about it?

    The police can’t stop someone for driving at night with their lights off (an indicator of DUI). Okay, have the law at all?

    “The bill prohibits any local ordinance relating to the ownership or maintenance of a motor vehicle from being cause to stop or arrest a driver of a motor vehicle unless such violation is a jailable offense. The bill prohibits a law-enforcement officer from stopping a pedestrian for jaywalking or entering a highway where the pedestrian cannot be seen.”

    Guess what? Anyone can block any road they want in Virginia now. Because while jaywalking is still a crime, police can’t do anything about it.

    Except in a driver emergency or when the vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped, no holder of a learner’s permit shall operate a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth while using any cellular telephone or any other wireless telecommunications device, regardless of whether or not such device is handheld. *No law-enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for a violation of this subsection.*
    (*=new text) Again, why have this law just to not enforce it?

    Don’t think for a second that this has anything to do with the 4th Amendment with the possible exception of searches based on the odor of marijuana (which could have been a standalone bill). This is the Virginia democratic legislature making sure law enforcement doesn’t enforce laws. But they’ll pass more laws tomorrow to not enforce.

    • You’re right, although the “why” is remarkably simple: to ensure there is legal standing for them to selectively enforce laws against anyone who disagrees with them

    • EXACTLY!! The author here REALLY missed the boat on this one.

      The provision regarding searches pertained ONLY to the smell of marijuana. None of the other safety stops.

      The author also missed this update: after MUCH outrage from the public, the Governor did return the bill to the General Assembly with a recommendation to at least allow officers to stop vehicles that were operating without headlights or brake lights.

      Ironically in my local area, a man wanted for murder in another state was just recently apprehended after being pulled over for an inoperable tail light. I guess these cop-hating Democrats want accused murderers out on the streets among us.

  10. “Cyberbanging”

    I thought it was gonna be a portmanteau of cyber and gangbang (as in being in a street gang, not the sexual slang), and yet somehow it was even dumber

    • I thought it was the modern computer aged version of phone sex…Just wait until it comes out in VR. (Or has it done that already? Sex sells better than guns.)

      • “I thought it was the modern computer aged version of phone sex…Just wait until it comes out in VR.”

        There is some of that as of right now. And face it, that’s exactly what will be a main driver of a next-generation VR headset…

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