The first step has been taken in the expansion of the Federal Background Check passed in the House of Representatives March 11, 2021 and is now headed to the newly appointed Democrat-led Senate for approval. We feel it’s important for 2A supporters to be fully educated on the actual bill and invite you to read for yourself the measures that are being taken that will affect your future rights.
COVID-19 hasn’t curtailed the California Legislature’s never-ending quest for gun control. Read how it’s all part of the process in the Golden State HERE
The same cannot be said for efforts to maintain good governance in the Golden State. Through restrictions on access to the state capitol and disorganized attempts at remote hearings, Californians have had their opportunity to be heard during the legislative process diminished by the pandemic.
At present, a handful of significant gun control measures are making their way through the California Legislature.
AB 2847, which passed out of the State Assembly’s Public Safety committee on May 19, would curtail the models of handguns available for purchase in California by requiring the removal of three firearms from the Roster of Certified Handguns for each new model of handgun added to the roster.
That same day the Public Safety committee also advanced AB 2362, which would empower the California Department of Justice to further harass gun dealers by levying fines of up to $1,000 for minor technical violations.
On May 20, the Senate’s Public Safety committee passed SB 914. This legislation would further restrict the ability to loan long-guns to minors and tax gun owners by raising the fees the California Department of Justice can charge for eligibility checks on certain ammunition purchases and precursor parts.
According to NRA’s resources on the ground in Sacramento, changes made to hearing procedure ostensibly for COVID-19 have limited stakeholder participation. Despite being home to Silicon Valley, technical limitations along with confused procedures have limited the opportunity to comment on proposed legislation remotely. In at least one instance, disorderly procedures made it so that witnesses attempting to testify were not notified of when they would be able to speak. Testimony for one committee hearing had to be cut short when the committee appeared incapable of troubleshooting the third-party vendor technology that they were using for the hearing.
Further, during the COVID-19 outbreak, lobbyists have been discouraged from attending committee hearings in-person and meeting with lawmakers in their offices. The term “lobbyist” has taken on a negative connotation in some corners, but when it comes to a civil liberties group like the NRA it is undeserved. In the case of NRA, average gun rights supporters from all over California pool their resources to ensure that their views are represented during the legislative process. Lobbyists that communicate to lawmakers the views and concerns of their constituency, especially those of a grassroots community like NRA, are a vital part of the legislative process.
Restricting avenues of participation in government is anathema to a proper functioning republic. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects “the right of the people… to petition the government for a redress of grievances.?” In regards to lobbying, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun noted in his concurrence in Regan v. Taxation With Representation of Washington that “lobbying is protected by the First Amendment?.”
With their actions during the pandemic, the California Legislature has made clear, that in their view, extremist gun control proposals are essential, but the average citizen’s opportunity to meaningfully participate in the legislative process is not.
Some of America’s most pro-gun people ironically inhabit some of its most anti-gun locales. Like plants that can survive the harshest desert climates, they are among the hardiest of their kind. And for those in the know, they are as much a part of the Second Amendment landscape as cacti are to the desert. READ MORE
In New York City, epicenter both to America’s COVID-19 outbreak and to anti-Second Amendment fervor, one of the city’s gritty gun culture icons has already succumbed to the economic pressures of the Big Apples interminable lockdown and another is fighting for its life. Your help can ensure the latter survives.
First, the bad news. John Jovino Gun Shop on Grand Street in Little Italy and Chinatown had served New Yorkers since 1911 and billed itself as “the oldest gun shop in the USA.”
Ironically, 1911 was the same year Tammany Hall grifters – including Sen. Timothy Sullivan – enacted a New York State law that made possession and carrying of concealable firearms subject to a license issued at the discretion of local officials. In New York City, the infamous “Sullivan Act” was openly promoted as a way to keep firearms out of the hands of such “undesirables” as working class Italian immigrants, or the same people the New York Times described at the time as “[l]ow-browed foreigners.”
Born in those inauspicious times, John Jovino Gun Shop nevertheless managed to survive World War I, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-69, the blackout of 1977, the Cold War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Passers-by were lured to the store by the unlikely sight in Manhattan of a giant wooden revolver hanging outside the shop.
But thanks to the modern manifestation of the Sullivan Act, there could be no impulse purchase of any such handgun at John Jovino. That act in New York City is still treated as a privilege reserved for the well-heeled or well-connected. At best, it involves hundreds of dollars in fees and takes the better part of a year, if it proves possible to the average city resident at all.
In the 1920s, John Jovino Gun Shop passed from its namesake founder to the Imperato family, who at the time lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Beginning in the 1990s, the business even included a gun factory in Brooklyn, which made reproductions of Civil War-era Henry Rifles and cap and ball Colt revolvers. That part of the operation later moved to Bayonne, New Jersey, and lives on as Henry Repeating Arms, now makers of fine lever-action rifles.
More recently, the Manhattan retail outlet was able to survive on the business of the local law enforcement community and some especially determined civilians. Fittingly for a New York City staple, it also appeared in hard-nosed film and television productions, including Serpico and Law and Order.
Charlie Hu, the store’s manager since 1995 and known in the neighborhood as Gun King Charlie, spoke emotionally to the local press upon the store’s closing last week. “I’m very emotional right now, as you can see, I am having a rough day. Everything is super sad,” he said. “My whole life went into this,” he continued.
Throughout the day, according to the article, longtime friends at the New York City Police Department called to thank Mr. Hu for responsibly serving the local community and to wish him well. Finally came a call from the boss himself, Anthony Imperato. “You are completing the mission,” he told his faithful employee of 25 years.
Meanwhile, further uptown on West 23rd Street, a steely survivor of the New York City Second Amendment community continues to fight for its life.
If making and selling guns seems unlikely in New York City, maintaining a public range in the heart of Manhattan seems downright preposterous. But Westside Rifle & Pistol Range has done just that for over half a century since its founding in 1964. Now it is Manhattan’s last surviving public range, offering equipment, facilities, and training to help local gun owners responsibly and effectively exercise their Second Amendment rights. It also helps New Yorkers negotiate the complicated process of applying for a handgun license in the city.
Unobtrusively located in the basement of a large office building, the facility has been run since 1989 by Darren Leung, a former New York State peace officer, who said a lifelong interest in firearms was shaped by uncles on both sides of the law. An NBC News profile noted in 2017 that local gun owners are as likely to come by Westside to shoot the breeze as the targets in the range’s multiple shooting bays. The business is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, its big city locale notwithstanding
A staunch supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, Leung and his business are undoubtedly a lynchpin in keeping a meaningful Second Amendment alive in America’s most populous city. Perhaps prophetically, Leung told NBC three years ago: “If I ever close, I might be killing off a whole couple of generations of shooters ahead of us. … So it’s always in the back of my mind that it’s important to maintain the range, and to maintain it correctly.”
That is exactly why members of the gun owning community have established a GoFundMe account to help keep West Side Rifle & Pistol afloat during the city’s ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. New York City rents are brutal under the best of circumstances. When there’s no opportunity for regular income, they can doom even the most resilient of businesses and business owners.
Gun owners to date have been generous, and the range remains determined to fight on for as long as possible. Said the organizer of the effort, “It’s both overwhelming and humbling to realize how many folks care and love us.“
For the time being, Westside continues to stand as a symbol of America’s Second Amendment culture even in the core of the Big Apple. A symbol that even the city’s many notorious anti-gun snobs, chief among them former mayor Michael Bloomberg, have yet been able to extinguish.
What the song said of New York is as true for the Second Amendment as it for aspiring talents: if it can make it there, it can make it anywhere. With luck, grit, and the help of gun owners, New York City’s pro-gun stalwarts will hopefully add the COVID-19 pandemic to the long list of challenges they have successfully overcome.
Of all the recent developments in American life arising from state lockdown orders, perhaps none is so sinister as public officials encouraging people to inform on their neighbors and community members for perceived violations of supposed safety protocols.
This trend is made all the worse by the fact that people are getting an unprecedented glimpse into each others’ homes through pervasive online video conferences now being used to facilitate activities like work, school, and religious worship. For one family in Pennsylvania, the “discomfort” a schoolmate’s parent felt about seeing a toy gun in a Zoom call even resulted in police showing up at their home.
A segment on the May 15 edition of the Todd Starnes Radio Show included an interview with Sheila Perez Smith, the mother of a 7–year—old first grader. Perez Smith recounted how the child had received a plastic toy gun as a gift, which quickly became the boy’s “favorite new thing.”
During a school-related Zoom call with his classmates and teacher at the Cumberland Valley School District, she said, the boy was seated with the toy next to him. He was not, however, interacting with it in any way.
After the call concluded, the family received an email from the child’s teacher “basically saying that another parent of another classmate had been very uncomfortable by the fact that the gun had been in view of the Zoom call.”
But that was not the end of the incident.
Within a couple of hours, Perez Smith said, an officer from the Hampden Township Police Department came to their home and asked the family to step outside so he could question them about a complaint involving a child and a gun.
The boy’s parents explained that it was only a toy gun and showed it to the officer. They went on to reassure the officer that they have no actual firearms in their home and that everyone in the residence was safe and well.
Perez Smith indicated she thought that would have ended any concern over the matter. Nevertheless, she said, “I did not feel that it was something where they said, ‘We understand. We just had to follow through.’ They took if very seriously, as if there was some sort of chance that we had weapons in the home.”
She also said the police officer made a point of continuing to lecture the family about the necessity of keeping children away from any sort of guns, even once he understood there was no danger to the kids.
Perez Smith stressed that she did not blame the school itself and called Cumberland Valley “a wonderful district that we have always loved.”
The problem, she believed, arose because another parent claimed to feel “uncomfortable” over the sight of a completely harmless object in the privacy of someone else’s home. “I don’t believe the accusation was made with concern for my own child,” she said, but because the other parent objected to that parent’s child being exposed to the sight of a fake gun.
Indeed, officious busybodies are being encouraged not only to report violations of public health orders but to call out perceived violations of political correctness during “virtual meetings.” An article providing advice from two professors at state public universities warned that the sight of wedding pictures and references to fun family activities during online meetings can be construed as “microaggressions.” Strategies to counter these offenses, they counseled, include “calling out microaggressions when they occur, whether “naming [them] on the spot” or taking action after the fact.
Yet the example of one Pennsylvania family shows how radical intolerance toward others’ private choices can have damaging effects on children who are too young to understand the culture wars being waged by politically-motivated adults.
Perez Smith described how her children – already experiencing anxiety, sadness, and confusion over the idea of having to shelter from a dangerous virus – were subjected to the additional fear that their parents would be taken away by the police.
She also noted that the family will be opting out of future school-related Zoom calls. While that will result in further isolation of the children from their peers, she sees it as a necessary safeguard against “completely bogus” accusations like the one her family endured.
Obama administration tried to cover up failed operation. READ MORE
Nearly a decade has passed since the public first learned of the botched Obama-era gunwalking scandal Operation Fast and Furious. These days, Barack Obama spends his time collecting money from a lucrative Netflix contract, shuffling between lavish homes in Washington, D.C. and on Martha’s Vineyard, and occasionally offering his tepid support for presumptive democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Former Attorney General Eric Holder enjoys a profitable position as a “rainmaker” at high-powered D.C. law firm Covington. Meanwhile, those who lost loved ones to the Obama Department of Justice’s misguided gun trafficking scheme are still searching for answers and accountability.
On Friday May 8, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador shared his intent to demand that the U.S. provide Mexico with further information on Operation Fast and Furious. According to Reuters, the failed operation has once again come to the forefront of Mexican politics “amid a debate over historic U.S.-Mexico cooperation on security.” Speaking of the gunwalking scheme at a news conference, Obrador said, “How could this be? A government that invades in this way, that flagrantly violates sovereignty, international laws.”
The following Monday, Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced in a video message that the country had sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. Embassy seeking information on Operation Fast and Furious. The minister made clear who he wanted information on. Reuters reported that “In the video, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard cited former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as saying Mexican authorities knew about the 2009-2011 scheme known as ‘Fast and Furious’” and that “It was the first time Ebrard or President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had made direct reference by name to a key U.S. figure connected to the program since the issue resurfaced in Mexico a week ago.”
Operation Fast and Furious was largely run out of the Tucson and Phoenix ATF field offices. Agents would allow suspected illegal purchases of firearms by gun traffickers to take place and then track the guns with the purported goal of uncovering the workings of a larger criminal organization for which these individuals were purchasing firearms. In some cases, concerned FFLs were instructed by ATF to go forward with suspicious transactions. Rather than interdicting these firearms, ATF permitted the guns to flow into Mexico.
On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death in a gunfight with armed criminals near the Mexican border. Following the incident, firearms used by the criminals were traced to Operation Fast and Furious. Subsequently, whistleblower ATF Agent John Dodson, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), intrepid gun rights supporters, and CBS journalist Sharyl Attkisson helped bring the truth of what happened to the public. Illustrating the opacity of the Obama DOJ, the DOJ inspector general was forced to open an investigation into whether the government had retaliated against Dodson after he came forward with information on the botched gunwalking scheme.
Word of the failed operation struck a nerve with gun rights advocates. Around the same time as the operation was taking place, American gun rights were being blamed by the Obama Administration for Mexico’s crime problem.
In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Americans, stating, “Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.” In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that same month, Clinton endorsed a ban on commonly owned semi-automatics firearms. Mitchell brought up the problem of Mexican violence and a potential “assault weapons” ban, to which Clinton responded “I think these assault weapons, these military style weapons don’t belong on any one’s street.”
By its conclusion, the failed operation involved as many as 2,000 firearms. The firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico. As of 2016, Operation Fast and Furious firearms were linked to at least 69 killings. That same year, CBS news reported that one of the firearms was found at the hideout of notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzman.
In 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 255-67 to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to hand over requested documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.
Mexico’s request for further information on Operation Fast and Furious is understandable, given the Obama administration’s extensive efforts to conceal the details of the gunwalking scheme. Moreover, American gun owners have an interest in a full accounting of the misguided operation.
Gun Control scheme backfires, targets law-abiding citizens. READ MORE
On April 5, 2019, three days after New Zealand’s Arms Amendment Act 2019 advanced from its first reading in parliament, NRA-ILA noted that “[g]iven the abundant research on Australia’s similar gun confiscation efforts, New Zealand officials can expect that their gun control measures will do little more than trample the natural rights of gun owners…” This week the first evidence vindicating this position came in when Radio New Zealand (RNZ) published figures it had obtained from the government showing that for last year crime involving firearms was the highest it had been since 2009.
According to an RNZ article titled, “Rates of gun crimes and killings using guns at highest levels in a decade in 2019,” last year “there were 3540 occasions where an offender was found with a gun.” The report went on to note that “in both of the last two years, the rate of deadly incidents involving a firearm was the highest it had been since 2009” and that “[t]he number of guns seized by police is also on the rise, up almost 50 percent on five years earlier at 1263 last year.” Making clear that the figures cited in the article were not skewed by the horrific shooting in Christchurch, the report noted that “[t]he 15 March terror attacks were listed as two separate firearms-related incidents.”
On March 21, 2019, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern targeted New Zealand’s law-abiding gun owners by unilaterally halting the sale of semi-automatic centerfire firearms that utilize detachable magazines to normal gun owners. The Arms Amendment Act 2019 was passed into law on April 10 and received royal assent the following day. The key provision of the legislation outlawed possession of all semi-automatic centerfire rifles and their magazines.
In order to enforce the ban, the legislation provided for a firearm confiscation scheme. As with Australia’s 1996 national firearms “buyback” program,” law-abiding New Zealand gun owners were forced to turn their lawfully-acquired property over to the government for a set amount of compensation. The program ran from June 20-December 20, 2019. Compliant gun owners were treated to poor compensation and a breach of their personal data.
At the end of the confiscation program the government had collected roughly 56,000 firearms. A June 2019 report from consulting firm KPMG had estimated that there were as many as 173,000 newly-prohibited firearms in the country. New Zealand gun rights group, the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners estimated that 170,000 prohibited firearms were still in the hands of Kiwis after the confiscation program.
It should come as no surprise that New Zealand’s new gun control laws haven’t appeared to effect gun crime. After all, gang members told the government as much.
At the outset of the gun control push, the Waikato branch president of the Mongrel Mob street gang, Sonny Fatu, made clear to the press that his gang and others have no intention of obeying further gun laws. The gang leader stated, “Will gangs get rid of their weapons? No. Because of who we are, we can’t guarantee our own safety.”
Moreover, as noted in the April 5, 2019 NRA-ILA article, the research on Australia’s confiscation program is clear. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice reviewed the available research on Australia’s firearm confiscation program and issued a memorandum that concluded that the effort had no effect on crime generally. In coming to this determination, the memorandum cited work from University of Maryland Professor Peter Reuter and Jenny Mouzos, aptly titled, “Australia: A Massive Buyback of Low-Risk Guns.”The NIJ memo made clear that the researchers “found no effect on crime.”
With this new data it is tempting to call the New Zealand’s gun control efforts a failure. However, to do so one must assume that Ardern and her government’s goal was to reduce crime perpetrated with firearms rather than to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Concerning the latter, Ardern’s gun control has proven an undeniable success.
Gun sales up over 200% in some states, most ‘new to gun buying’ READ MORE
Some of the top prepper advisers who rightly counseled people in the early days of the coronavirus crisis to hoard toilet paper and fuel are now urging the purchase of “defensive guns” as the national lockdown drags on through April.
Pew-Pew Tactical boss Eric Hung told us that firearms are still hot but that the focus has turned to “more oriented home-defense guns like pump action shotguns and cheaper handguns.” And with that, he added, ammunition and sights for those guns are surging.
What’s more, he said that makers of AR-style rifles are sold out. “AR-15s are selling briskly too with some manufacturers completely out of their inventory and only able to sell what they can make in a day,” he told us.
Hung, whose page is a one-stop educational, sales, and review website for weapons and prepping advice, said there has also been a surge in rookie gun buyers looking for self-defense items. “It seems a lot are beginner firearm owners as we see more searches to our intro articles and a 4x increase in our online beginner handgun video course,” said Hung, who has posted a Prepper 101 guide.
Justin Anderson, the marketing director for Hyatt Guns of Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the nation’s biggest, told us, “Most of the customers we’re seeing are new to gun buying. So, if there’s one bright spot during this crisis, it’s seeing people exercising their Second Amendment rights for the first time.”
The proof is in the surge of FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System, up 80% in March, and even higher in some states.
A new report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shared with Secrets Tuesday showed that the checks jumped over 200% in Michigan and Alabama, which have eliminated ways to skirt the checks.
While much in the world has been suspended or stopped, our efforts to protect and defend the Second Amendment must go on. Creativity is the the key!
While we all know the most effective methods of communicating with voters about an upcoming election involve person-to-person interaction, current circumstances make that near impossible. Thus, we must adapt and adjust to make sure we are utilizing all the tools in our grassroots toolbox to make sure our fellow Second Amendment supporters are kept updated on the importance of the 2020 elections, as well as all issues pertaining to our firearm freedoms. And as always, our efforts to engage voters is highly dependent on you!
Below are some of the ways that we are reaching out to remind everyone of the importance of the Second Amendment during these uncertain times. If you are interested in assisting, contact us at (800) 392-VOTE (8683) or ILA-Contact@nrahq.org, and we will put you in touch with your state’s Grassroots Coordinator so he/she may assist you. Or, you may undertake many of these activities on your own with your own networks.
Making Phone Calls: Now that more of the population is choosing to spend time at home, we are reaching out to them over the phone. Our goal is to remind everyone that with all of the declarations of states of emergency, now is an important time to stay vigilant in defense of our Second Amendment Rights. Make sure you are also proactively calling your family, friends, and fellow firearms owners as well, reiterating this important news and keeping them informed.
Sending Text Messages: One method of reaching out to voters that is relatively new in our Grassroots arsenal is to send text messages. Using a number of different systems, we are able to give volunteers log in credentials and then assign a list of voters to communicate with. The best part about this type of peer-to-peer text messaging is that you can actually see who responds to your message, and if the voter has questions, you can answer them in real time! As with phone calls, you too can simply create your own text groups and keep them posted with regular updates and calls to action.
Hosting Web Based Meetings: Another relatively new technology that your Grassroots Programs and Campaign Field Operations Division has used to expand our reach is our web-based meeting software. We have been able to hold virtual meetings in an effort to help educate and train new volunteers and campaign staff all across the country, and have taken steps to better utilize this software to stay connected during these uncertain times. As we host webinars open to our members and supporters, we will be sure to alert you and provide you with instructions on how to access these informative briefings.
If you would like to get involved in any of the efforts mentioned above, please contact us at (800) 392-VOTE (8683) or ILA-Contact@nrahq.org, and we will put you in touch with your state’s Grassroots Coordinator so he/she may assist you. Phone calls and text messages can be done from anywhere into any of our election priority states, and we can use the web-based meetings to show you how step-by-step.
It’s more important than ever that we continue to think and work creatively and strategically to make sure we and our supporters are as engaged in our mutual efforts as possible.
Act smart and be safe!??
Despite ongoing speculation as to whether a deteriorating Joe Biden will even be the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nominee, on April 28 failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton endorsed the former vice president’s White House bid. The endorsement took place during a socially distant “Women’s Town Hall,” where the lifelong politicians focused almost entirely on the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinton noted that the pandemic “would be a terrible crisis to waste” and urged that it should be used to enact permanent government interventions.
On the issue of gun control, the former secretary of state and the former vice president are a perfect match. Both Clinton and Biden support the prohibition and confiscation of common firearms owned by law-abiding Americans. Moreover, both reject the core holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller – that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms “in common use” for lawful purposes.
During an October 2015 campaign event in Keene, N.H., then-presidential candidate Clinton expressed her support for Australia-style gun confiscation. A member of the audience told the former first lady that Australia “managed to …take away …millions of handguns, and in one year, they were all gone.” He then asked her, “Can we do that?”
The candidate responded that both Australia and the United Kingdom were “good example[s]” of how countries should respond to a “mass killing.”
“The Australian example,”she said, “that was a buyback program.”She went on to explain that the Australian government “offered a good price” for “buying hundreds of thousands of guns, and then they basically clamped down going forward ….” They were thus able, she explained, “to curtail the supply” of guns and “to set a different standard for gun purchases in the future.”
Clinton went on to say, “I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level if that could be arranged,” adding, “certainly the Australian example is worth looking at.”
As NRA has repeatedly pointed out, an involuntary “buyback” is gun confiscation.
These Clinton-endorsed gun confiscation measures are right in line with what Biden has in mind for American gun owners.
When asked about commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms during an August 5, 2019 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Biden and Cooper had the following exchange.
Cooper: So, to gun owners out there who say, well, a Biden administration means they are going to come for my guns.
Biden: Bingo! You’re right, if you have an assault weapon.
In addition to wanting to ban and confiscate America’s most popular firearms, Clinton and Biden also share denial of the Second Amendment.
During the 2016 presidential race, Clinton repeatedly made clear that she does not believe the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms as the U.S. Supreme Court held in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.
On September 25, 2015, Clinton attended a private campaign fundraiser in Greenwich Village, New York City. An audio recording of the event captured Clinton telling those gathered, “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.”
A May 30, 2016 New York Magazine article shed more light on Clinton’s radical position. The article described a scene at a Clinton campaign rally at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. While speaking with a family that lost a loved one in the Sandy Hook shooting, Clinton told them her plans for gun control. During the interaction, Clinton described District of Columbia v. Heller as “a terrible decision.”
Given the opportunity to clarify her extreme position, Clinton refused to back off her incorrect interpretation of the Second Amendment. During the June 5 edition of ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Clinton, “Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right – that it’s not linked to service in a militia?”
Clinton evaded the question, prompting Stephanopoulos to reiterate, “Do you believe that [the court’s] conclusion that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right?” Refusing to concede that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, Clinton responded, “If it’s a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulations.”
Clinton will feel right at home in Biden’s camp.
Even two years after her loss to President Donald Trump, Gallup measured Clinton’s favorability rating an all-time low of 36 percent. With numbers like that, it’s unclear from a political standpoint why Biden would seek out a high-profile endorsement from the two-time presidential loser. From an anti-gun policy standpoint, it makes perfect sense.
Gun stores struggle to remain open during national crisis. READ MORE
Last week, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a preliminary injunction that allows gun stores to resume operation in the Bay State as long as they adhere to a set of social distancing guidelines. The ruling is an important victory in the fight to protect Second Amendment rights during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
On March 23, Governor Charlie Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 13, which required the closure of all businesses not deemed “essential.” The order did not designate gun stores as “essential” businesses.
On March 28, the Trump administration updated the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) guidance on the critical infrastructure that should remain open during state shutdown orders due to COVID-19. The guidance identified “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” as critical infrastructure.
Following the federal government’s determination, on March 31, Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 21. Complying with the DHS guidelines, the order designated firearms retailers as “essential” businesses.
However, later that same day the Baker administration removed firearm retailers and shooting ranges from the list of essential businesses. This reversal was cheered by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who declared to her Twitter followers, “Gun shops and shooting ranges are NOT essential businesses during a public health emergency.”
On April 9, a group of Massachusetts gun stores filed suit to halt Baker’s gun store closure on Second Amendment grounds. Later that month, NRA and its state affiliate Gun Owners’ Action League filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.
In the amicus brief, NRA made clear that Baker’s orders were an impermissible violation of the Second Amendment. The brief pointed out that in the landmark case District of Columbia v. Heller the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a total ban on the acquisition of a single class of firearm — handguns. Baker’s order effectively prohibited the acquisition of all classes of firearms in Massachusetts and therefore are illegal under Supreme Court precedent.
Further, the brief noted that Baker’s order was impermissible under First Circuit precedent. In the 2018 case Gould v. Morgan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit adopted a controversial two-step analysis for Second Amendment cases. First the court must determine “whether the challenged law burdens conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment’s guarantee.” If the measure does implicate the Second Amendment right then the court is tasked with determining what level of scrutiny to apply to the measure and whether the law is permissible under that level of scrutiny.
In Gould, the First Circuit “identified the core of the Second Amendment right as ‘the possession of operative firearms for use in defense of the home’ by responsible, law-abiding individuals.” As Baker’s order foreclosed the ability to acquire firearms for this purpose, the order struck at the core of the Second Amendment right.
The First Circuit also made clear in Gould that “A law or policy that burdens conduct falling within the core of the Second Amendment requires a correspondingly strict level of scrutiny.” Therefore analysis of the Baker orders demands strict scrutiny.
Strict scrutiny requires that the Government prove the restriction furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. A closure of all firearms-related businesses is not narrowly tailored. Moreover, the state cannot demonstrate that a blanket closure of firearm retailers will directly or materially alleviate the harms posed by COVID-19 considering the plaintiffs challenging the order stated that they would abide by all social distancing and workforce requirements for the operation of essential businesses.
Woodlock’s order underscores the excessive nature of Baker’s actions, as the standard for obtaining a preliminary injunction is rigorous. A plaintiff must show that they are likely to succeed on the merits of the case, show that there is irreparable harm without the injunction, demonstrate that the balance of equities is in their favor, and establish that the injunction is in the public interest. In granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Woodlock made clear that Baker’s orders are likely unconstitutional, cause irreparable harm to Bay Staters’ rights, and that this attack on Second Amendment rights was against the public interest.
According to Reuters, Baker told the press that his office will review Woodlock’s order and stated, “[w]e will certainly comply with any kind of judicial ruling on anything.” Sincere compliance with a lawful court order would mark a welcome change in the Baker administration. In late 2018, the Baker administration declared its intent to defy court orders issued by the state’s courts pertaining to the issuance of firearms licenses before backing down in early 2019.
NRA will continue to monitor the situation in Massachusetts and work to ensure that Second Amendment rights are not a casualty of the COVID-19 crisis. Please visit HERE to stay up-to-date on this and other important COVID-19 related Second Amendment issues.