This is TTAG’s weekly roundup of legal and legislative news affecting guns, the gun business and gun owners’ rights. For a deeper dive into the topics discussed here, check out this week in gun rights at FPC.
New York State Rifle & Pistol – Will the city succeed in avoiding review?
Monday saw the Supreme Court oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. The City of New York, a case we’ve been discussing almost ad nauseum for the last year or so. As we’ve also been covering, the city engaged in what Justice Gorsuch called a “herculean, late-breaking effort to moot the case.”
That characterization is pretty apt. We’ve been unsure whether the City’s attempt to get out of review would work. This puts the justices between a rock and a hard place.
The Constitution is pretty clear about the requirements for federal courts to have jurisdiction over a case in Article III. There’s a reason for strict standing requirements, but the ones in our constitution enable situations like this. If the City has really “mooted” the case, the Court has no legal jurisdiction to decide the case.
The focus of the argument was pretty squarely on mootness. The liberal wing of the Court have bought the mootness argument, with Kavanaugh and Roberts being the possible “swing” on the mootness question.
Nothing we can do now but watch and see. Even if this case fails on mootness, there are more solid cases in the pipeline the Court could just as easily take up. Check out briefs filed in Medina and Worman for some examples of the other Second Amendment cases waiting in the wings.
Injunction Sought Against California’s Assault Weapon Ban
This week, Firearms Policy Coalition announced the filing of a motion for a preliminary injunction in Miller, et al. v. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al., a Second Amendment challenge to California’s assault weapons ban. The focus in Miller being a ban on common rifles with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds. The court filings are available at www.assaultweaponlawsuit.com.
The motion, before Federal District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez, argues that the federal Court in California had already “recognized that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear common arms and firearm magazines that are useful for self-defense or use in a militia. . . This case is a logical result of [that] analysis and seeks nothing more or less for the common arms that can use those magazines.”
The motion seeks to have the state barred from enforcing those aspects of law inconsistent with the court’s precedent and the Second Amendment.
Major Businesses Under Fire From Gun-Free Zone Advocates
The holidays are finally here and what better way to celebrate than to read score cards on… retail store gun policies? Various anti-gun organizations have formed a loose confederation called Business Must Act, which assigned grades to 29 companies ranging from “A” (read: most oppressive policies) to “F” (we presume this stands for Freedom).
The grades are based on three standards: prohibiting customers from bearing arms, donating to Congressional recipients of NRA dollars, and “demanding action on gun reform.” They also grant bonus points for ending gun sales.
This isn’t the first time private businesses have tried to enforce their political views on legitimate businesses, and it certainly won’t be the last. These measures have nothing to do with gun safety. Of the above factors, only prohibiting customers from carry can’t be even remotely considered related to safety, and even still, such policies are largely unenforceable.
The rest of the metrics are obvious attempts at accruing passive support for defeating political candidates and policies that their group considers undesirable. In addition to being unrelated to safety, the scores are at times bizarre.
The group gave Kroger, a grocery store chain, five bonus points for no longer selling guns. The silver lining is that you are always free to shop at and support Second Amendment-friendly businesses, and the “Freedom” rank might be helpful for that.
Fidelity, Bravery, Incompetence – The FBI Failed to Complete Hundreds of Thousands of Background Checks Over the Last Six Years
On Wednesday, Roll Call reported that data they had obtained indicates that the Federal Bureau of Investigation purged 1,115,630 unresolved NICS transactions from the beginning of 2014 through September 30, 2019. Out of an average 8.2 million background checks per year, these purges constitute an average of 2.3% of all applications.
This is nearly double the percent of denied applications, which is only 1.2%, and pales in comparison to the number of background checks delayed longer than 72 hours which rang in at an average of 10.7%.
So what can we glean from this? The federal government is massively inefficient at regulating the sale of firearms, despite substantial funding and Congressional support.
Rampant erroneous actions on the part of the government here is also consistent with our position that universal background checks won’t have a significant impact on public safety, especially not enough to justify the costs to Americans.
Philly asks parents to sweep kids’ rooms for guns
In a fantastically bizarre twist on the typical tactic to “get guns off streets” through “buybacks,” the Philadelphia City Council, police commissioner, and others urged parents this week to search their children’s rooms for weapons, and to hand in any discovered derringers or hidden holsters at four churches on Saturday.
This whole charade is just weird. It makes one wonder how many underage kids managed to get hold of guns in Philly for the city to even conceive of this. Also, asking others to turn in someone else’s property with “no questions asked” is a pretty dubious position for the government to put itself in.
Does this mean the city doesn’t care if parents of legal adults are empowered to dispose of a lawfully owned gun?
Clinging to an absurd conception that a specific firearm has any relevance to a criminal, acting Commissioner Christine Coulter rationalized the move with. “If we get one turn-in from a gun buyback, odds are that gun will never be used in violence.”
In similar fashion, if I feed my keyboard to a trash compactor, it will not likely be used to write about gun rights again. This, of course, has nothing to do with my propensity to do the same.