Articles

March 28, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Gives Broad Reading to Federal Firearm Prohibition for "Domestic Violence"

Since 1996, the so-called "Lautenberg Amendment" (named for its sponsor, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)), has banned the acquisition or possession of firearms by anyone convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence."  Applicable crimes are limited to those that have "as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon" and that are committed by persons with a specified relationship to the victim, such as a current or former spouse or a parent.   The prohibition applies no matter when the offense occurred and can include convictions that predated the 1996 law.
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March 21, 2014

Safe at Home: Delaware Supreme Court Upholds Right to Bear Arms for Tenants of Public Housing

Thanks to a successful NRA-backed lawsuit, Delaware public housing tenants will be safer in their homes. In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court of Delaware held on March 18 that policies adopted by the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA), which prevented residents, their families and their guests from exercising the right to self-defense in certain areas of the housing authority's property, were unconstitutional.
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March 21, 2014

Ninth Circuit Requires Federal District Court to Reexamine Hawaii's Restrictive Carry Permit System

There was breaking news in Hawaii this week, as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision in the case of Baker v. Kealoha, which vacated a lower court decision that upheld Hawaii's restrictive "may-issue" carry permit system and required the lower court to reexamine the issue in light of the Ninth Circuit's recent Peruta decision.
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February 21, 2014

Dissenter in Heller & McDonald Argues for Decisions to be Over-ruled by Constitutional Amendment

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens found himself on the wrong side of law and history in both of the Supreme Court’s landmark cases on the Second Amendment in the early 21st Century, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010).  Together, these decisions recognized that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense that is not dependent upon service in an organized militia, and that this right binds the acts of federal, state, and local officials.
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February 14, 2014

Victory in Peruta v. San Diego: Ninth Circuit Confirms Right to Carry Arms in Public

In a tremendous victory for the right to keep and bear arms, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to carry firearms for self-defense in public.  The landmark decision came in the NRA-supported case of Peruta v. San Diego County, brought on behalf of the CRPA Foundation and five individuals who were denied carry licenses by the San Diego Sheriff.  In its ruling, this federal court struck down a San Diego County Sheriff’s policy that prevented most law-abiding adults from getting a license to carry a firearm.
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January 31, 2014

Ruling Upholds Connecticut's Expansive Firearm and Magazine Bans Despite Findings that Banned Items are Commonly Used for Lawful Purposes

On January 30, 2014, a federal court judge upheld Connecticut's new gun control law as constitutional, notwithstanding its finding that "the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights …."  The ruling comes from U.S. District Court Judge Alfred Covello in response to a lawsuit filed last May challenging the constitutionality of Connecticut's new gun control legislation. In April, the Connecticut legislature hastily passed wide-ranging restrictions on Connecticut gun owners that embody several long-term planks of the anti-gunners' agenda, including an expanded ban on so-called "assault weapons," restrictions on magazine capacity, expansion of an existing "eligibility certificate" requirement to all firearms and ammunition, an expanded ban of private transfers, and registration of all non-conforming firearms and magazines, the possession of which was grandfathered under the law.
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January 17, 2014

Chicago's Firearm Transfer Ban Falls to Second Amendment Ruling

Things are looking up for gun owners in Illinois.  On January 6, 2014, even as some 4,500 concealed carry applications flooded the state's online portal on its first full day of operation, Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang of the Northern District of Illinois issued a significant opinion that invalidated Chicago's ban on firearm sales and transfers within the city. The suit was brought by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and three individuals, with the backing of NRA.  
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January 17, 2014

Mixed Trial Court Ruling on New York's "SAFE" Act Ensures Appellate Action Will Follow

On December 31, 2013, Judge William M. Skretny of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York issued a decision in a legal challenge to New York’s recently-enacted gun control law, commonly known as the SAFE Act.  The suit was brought by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, among others, with support from the NRA.  Plaintiffs asserted that three provisions of the Act violated the Second Amendment.  These included its expanded ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” and its requirement that magazines be loaded with no more than seven rounds, even if they have a larger capacity. Various aspects of the law were also challenged as being unconstitutionally vague.  Finally, plaintiffs asserted that provisions of the law which effectively ban direct Internet or mail order sales of ammunition violate Congress’ preeminent role under the Constitution in regulating interstate commerce.
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January 17, 2014

Rights of Part-time New York Residents Affirmed

In a victory for gun owners who spend at least part of the year in the Empire State, on October 15, 2013, the New York State Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Osterweil v. Bartlett that makes clear that part-time residents are eligible for New York handgun licenses.
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January 17, 2014

NRA Files Friend of the Court Brief in Case Challenging NSA's Dragnet Data Collection

On September 4, 2013, NRA filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in support of an American Civil Liberties Union suit against Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The suit challenges the National Security Administration’s mass collection of communication data under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, on the grounds that the program is not authorized by that provision of law and violates Americans’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. The NRA brief focuses on arguments that NSA’s data collection program violates the First Amendment rights of NRA members by “potentially chilling their willingness to communicate,” and that the NSA program could circumvent statutory protections barring the federal government from collecting gun ownership records.
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January 17, 2014

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Abramski v. United States

On October 15, 2013, certiorari was granted by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Bruce J. Abramski v. United States, with oral arguments set for January 22, 2014. The case concerns whether BATFE’s policy barring the purchase of a firearm by a non-prohibited person for the purpose of selling it to another lawful purchaser exceeds the authority given to the agency under the Gun Control Act.
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January 17, 2014

NRA Files Suit against Sunnyvale, Calif., Over Magazine Ban

On December 16,, 2013, counsel for NRA brought a suit against the city of Sunnyvale, Calif., to invalidate the city’s recently enacted ordinance banning standard-capacity firearm magazines. The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of several law-abiding gun owners, and argues that the new law violates the plaintiffs’ right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment.
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January 17, 2014

Illinois State Rifle Association leads Fight against Highland Park Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban

On December 12, 2013, NRA state affiliate Illinois State Rifle Association filed suit against the city of Highland Park, Ill., to invalidate the Chicago suburb’s comprehensive ban on popular semi-auto firearms and their magazines. The ISRA’s complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, filed in the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of Lake County, Ill., makes clear that Highland Park’s ban has “unconstitutionally infringed the fundamental right of law-abiding citizens under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes.”
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January 17, 2014

Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds Law Clarifying Carry Rules

On August 29, 2013, the Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously upheld a recently-enacted law that sought to restore the right to carry firearms openly within the state. Since an unfavorable decision in 1908, Mississippi’s ban on carrying a firearm that was concealed “in whole, or in part” was interpreted so strictly that one judge had opined that even the carrying a firearm by a leather string would violate the ban, as the string would obscure at least part of the firearm. Acccordingly, anyone lacking a Mississippi carry permit was unable to carry a pistol about his or her person without violating the law. Further, the law was interpreted so that any permit holder whose concealed firearm was partially revealed - while the person adjusted his or her clothes, for example – would run afoul of the law.
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January 17, 2014

Maryland Forced to Clarify Firearm Transfer Rules

Last June, an NRA-sponsored lawsuit helped provide some relief to beleaguered Maryland gun owners by forcing the Maryland Attorney General and State Police to clarify rules regarding the transfer of regulated firearms (handguns and some semi-automatic rifles and shotguns). At the time, Marylanders were faced with, in some cases, a 10-week wait for the State Police to process applications for regulated firearms. Firearm sales were especially brisk, given that the state had recently enacted an expansive gun control law that upon taking effect would result in further restrictions upon many regulated firearms. The suit forced the state to acknowledge that gun dealers could lawfully transfer a firearm to a prospective buyer after seven days, regardless of whether the State Police had responded to the dealer on the buyer’s background check.  
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January 17, 2014

NRA-Supported Suit Prompts Maryland to Protect Gun Purchaser Privacy

In the wake of another NRA-sponsored lawsuit, the Maryland State Police on September 19, 2013, announced the termination of a program which shared sensitive personal information of firearms purchasers with state agencies and employees that were unauthorized to receive it. Joining NRA in the suit were the Maryland Licensed Firearm Dealers Association, Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, and Maryland Shall Issue. The victory marked the second time in 2013 that Maryland authorities executed an abrupt about-face after the filing of an NRA-backed lawsuit aimed at protecting the “Free-State’s” gun owners.
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January 17, 2014

Case against Wilmington Housing Authority Moves to State Supreme Court

Last August, there was an encouraging development in NRA’s lengthy battle to ensure the rights of those living in public housing under the jurisdiction of the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA). Rather than endorse a July 27, 2012, ruling by U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware Judge Leonard P. Stark, which upheld the housing authority’s gun policy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit remanded the case to the Delaware Supreme Court, where Judge Stark’s finding could be reversed. Since the Third Circuit’s ruling moving the case to the Delaware Supreme Court, NRA and others have filed briefs outlining the illegality of the WHA’s actions.
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January 17, 2014

Wyoming Man has Conviction Overturned and Charges Dismissed in Self-defense Shooting

On December 20, 2013, Gabriel Drennen’s lengthy legal odyssey, following the self-defense killing of Leroy R. Hoster, came to an end when Fremont County, Wyo., District Court Judge Norman E. Young signed an order dismissing the remaining charges against him. The move followed an October 1st decision from the Wyoming Supreme Court that overturned Drennen’s initial conviction for first degree murder. Drennen’s case, supported by NRA, is important precedent in ensuring Wyomingites are able confidently to exercise their right to self-defense. 
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January 17, 2014

Illinois Supreme Court Declares State's Ban on Carrying Firearms Unconstitutional

In an unusually forceful and straightforward opinion in the case of People v. Aguilar, the Supreme Court of Illinois unanimously held that the state's "comprehensive ban" on the "use of an operable firearm for self-defense outside the home" is invalid on its face under the Second Amendment.  The NRA had participated in the case with an amicus brief.  
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January 17, 2014

Appellate Court Affirms Unconstitutionality of California Ammunition Controls

To follow up on an earlier NRA report, on November 6, 2013, California's Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision invalidating a California law that threatened to limit access to, and compel recordkeeping for, ammunition sales.    
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January 17, 2014

Citing Second Amendment, Judge Issues Injunction Against Federal Gun Ban

Last Friday, Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the United States District Court for the District of Idaho issued a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing a regulation that, with limited exceptions, banned possession of firearms on lands under the Corps' control.  The case, Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was brought by plaintiffs in western Idaho who use Corps' lands for recreation, including camping.  The plaintiffs challenged the regulation as being an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment because of the burden the regulation placed on their right to self-defense in their temporary homes (tents) and their right to carry firearms for self-defense.
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November 8, 2013

Appellate Court Affirms Unconstitutionality of California Ammunition Controls

To follow up on an earlier NRA report, on November 6, California's Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision invalidating a California law that threatened to limit access to, and compel recordkeeping for, ammunition sales.   
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September 13, 2013

Illinois Supreme Court Declares State's Ban on Carrying Firearms Unconstitutional

In an unusually forceful and straightforward opinion in the case of People v. Aguilar, the Supreme Court of Illinois unanimously held that the state's "comprehensive ban" on the "use of an operable firearm for self-defense outside the home" is invalid on its face under the Second Amendment.  The NRA had participated in the case with an amicus brief.
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September 6, 2013

NRA Supports Lawsuit Challenging NSA's Mass Surveillance and Collection Program

NRA supports the whole Constitution, and demonstrated that support this week by weighing in on an issue that's been of concern for decades.
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September 3, 2013

22 States Join the National Rifle Association in Supreme Court Fight for the Second Amendment Rights of Young Adults

Fairfax, Va. – Twenty-one state attorneys general have co-signed an amicus brief filed by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange in support of the National Rifle Association’s challenge against a federal law that restricts the sale of handguns to young adults aged 18 – 20. The case, National Rifle Association of America, Inc., et. al. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, et al., seeks to end the federal prohibition of young adults to purchase handguns from federally licensed dealers.
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August 30, 2013

NRA Supports Successful Appeal in Mississippi

Fairfax, Va. – Important legislation passed earlier this year, and backed by National Rifle Association, will go into effect immediately due to a significant ruling by the Supreme Court of Mississippi on Thursday. The Supreme Court granted the appeal sought by state Attorney General Jim Hood (D) and determined that a Hinds County Circuit Court Judge incorrectly found House Bill 2 to be “vague and unconstitutional.” The Supreme Court vacated the Circuit Court’s order which had prevented the law from taking effect. HB 2 is now the law of the land in Mississippi.
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June 24, 2013

Suit Filed to Strike Down New York's "SAFE" Act

On February 28, NRA President David Keene addressed a rally gathered in Albany, N.Y. to protest the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms (SAFE) Act, telling the crowd of more than 10,000, “We’ll help you overcome these statutes in court.” On March 21, the NRA made good on that promise, assisting the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the Westchester County Firearm Owner Association, the Sportsmen’s Association for Firearm Education and the New York Amateur Trap Association, along with several businesses and individuals, in filing suit. The defendants are Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and other state officials. 
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June 24, 2013

State Organizations Lead Charge Against Connecticut Gun Law

On April 4, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed the inappropriately named “Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.” On May 22, a coalition of law-abiding gun owners led by the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen and the Connecticut Citizen’s Defense League, along with businesses and individuals, filed suit to strike down this new burden to lawful gun ownership. As explained in the complaint, the suit seeks to “vindicate the right to the people of the State of Connecticut to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.” The NRA is assisting in this litigation.
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June 24, 2013

Illinois Right-to-Carry: Litigation Leads to Legislation

While recent state attacks on popular firearms and on firearm transfers have been the focus of attention, another major front in the battle involves Right-to-Carry litigation. The epicenter of this litigation is in Illinois—still, as this edition of Legal Update goes out, the only state with no law on the books to provide a legal way for residents to carry firearms for self-defense outside one’s home or business for self-defense. But that may be changing, in a way that shows the complex relationship between legislation and litigation.
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June 24, 2013

Coast-to-Coast Action in Right-to-Carry Cases

Just a week before December’s NRA victory in Shepard v. Madigan, the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments against the abuse of California’s permitting structure by local authorities. The NRA-backed case of Peruta v. County of San Diego targets San Diego County, and Richards v. Prieto (a non-NRA case) challenges the practices of Yolo County. 
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June 24, 2013

Part-Time Residents' Gun Possession

Addressing a longstanding injustice that affects retirees and others who divide their time between different states, the case of Osterweil v. Bartlett challenges New York’s refusal to issue handgun permits to part-year residents. The plaintiff lives part of the year in Louisiana and part of the year in upstate New York, where local authorities denied him the permit that is required to possess any handgun in the home under New York law.
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June 24, 2013

Fifth Circuit Wrongly Upholds Ban on Young Adults' Handgun Purchases and Right-to-Carry

On Oct. 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the federal law that bans dealer sales of handguns to law-abiding adults between the ages of 18 and 20. The decision, in the case of National Rifle Association v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, involved a challenge to the law by several young adults, joined by the NRA on behalf of its members in the same age group.
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June 24, 2013

Federal Court Upholds Obama/Holder Gun Registration Scheme

On May 31, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Obama administration policy that requires federally licensed firearms retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles.  The case, National Shooting Sports Foundation v. Jones, was brought by two NRA-backed firearms retailers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation acting on behalf of its members in the Southwest.  
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June 24, 2013

Florida Firearm Owners' Privacy Act Under Review

On June 29, 2012 a federal district court in Florida blocked enforcement of several provisions of the state’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, resulting from the case Wollschlaeger v. Governor State of Florida.
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June 24, 2013

Appeals Under Way in Challenge to San Francisco Laws

On Nov. 26, a federal judge denied the plaintiffs’ motion (in the case of Jackson v. City & County of San Francisco) for a preliminary injunction to prevent San Francisco from enforcing its locked-firearm-storage requirement and its ban on the sale of popular ammunition that “serves no sporting purpose.”
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June 24, 2013

Judge Throws Out One Suit to Ban Traditional Ammunition, While Another Continues

On May 23, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia threw out a case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, which sought to force the Environmental Protection Agency into overstepping its congressionally designated authority by banning lead ammunition.
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June 24, 2013

Illinois Association of Firearm Retailers v. City of Chicago challenges five aspects of Chicago's law

Illinois Association of Firearm Retailers v. City of Chicago (formerly known as Benson v. City of Chicago) challenges five aspects of Chicago's law:
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June 24, 2013

Doe v. Wilmington Housing Authority, Challenging the Housing Authority's Ban on Gun Possession by Tenants, Changed Significantly

Doe v. Wilmington Housing Authority, challenging the housing authority’s ban on gun possession by tenants, changed significantly when the authority rescinded the total ban and replaced it with onerous regulations on gun possession outside tenants’ residential units.
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June 24, 2013

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York challenges New York City's Pistol Permits Law

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York challenges New York City’s law which states that a holder of a “Premises License-Residence or Business” for a handgun may not remove the handgun from the premises for which the license was given, except to shoot at a shooting range authorized by the city (of which there is only one), or to hunt. The complaint argues that the city’s law is invalid because “the safe, responsible and meaningful exercise of the Second Amendment right by an individual requires unrestricted access to gun ranges and shooting events in order to practice and perfect safe gun handling skills.” 
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