This week in gun rights – August 1, 2020

Matthew Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy at Firearms Policy Coalition. You can connect with him on Twitter @MattLaAtLaw.

The official 2020 DNC platform is out, and it’s unsurprising; Red Flag law buried in NDAA; Revelations regarding Justice Roberts; New York bans “Ghost Guns”; British Police raid home and arrest a 12-year old over a toy gun, while British press fearmonger over shotgun ownership.

The official 2020 DNC platform is out, and it’s unsurprising


     It’s finally here. The thing you’ve all been waiting for. The DNC’s platform for this election cycle, and boy does it look bad. Here are the absolutely batshit goals they’ve set going forward: mandating universal background checks, ending online gun and ammo sales, banning people from ownership for misdemeanor, nonviolent and speech-based offenses, and expanding the federal background check system. 

     That’s not it, either. They want to prevent the manufacture and sale of commonly owned rifles and standard capacity magazines. They want to pay states to add licensing requirements for gun ownership and to establish kangaroo courts to deprive people of their property without due process. They want to require you to disarm yourself in your own home, and for firearms manufacturers to be sued for the criminal acts of other people. 

     Policies like these don’t produce results, but they deprive people of their inherent right to protect themselves, their families, homes, and communities.


Red Flag law buried in National Defense Authorization Act


     As a safeguard against an uncontrolled military, Congress is required to sign off regularly on the National Defense Authorization Act, which is basically a budget proposal for the Department of Defense. The most routine contents of the NDAA are barebones cost assessments for maintaining operations in addition to discretionary spending for intelligence and special warfare activities. What those sneaky politicians don’t tell you is that they LOVE to bury additional laws in the NDAA, just like they do with the national federal budget and other pieces of legislation. They call these things “riders.”

     If you read the section about the DNC platform above, then I’m sure you already know where I’m going with this. The Dems snuck a red flag law into this year’s $740 billion NDAA while the Republicans weren’t paying attention. This version of red flag will permit military judges to issue ex parte (read: no due process) orders stripping servicemembers of their right to keep and bear arms. 


Revelations regarding Justice Roberts


     If you follow the Supreme Court, I’m sure you’re aware that they took a pass on hearing not one, not two, but ten Second Amendment cases this year. It’s baffling, I know. With what seemed to many like a five to four majority, why wouldn’t they take at least one or two of those cases and provide the clarification that’s so desperately needed by lower courts across the country? Well the truth always seems to come out, and it did, this time in the form of a SCOTUS leak. According to internal sources at the High Court, Chief Justice Roberts signaled multiple times while in conference with the other Justices that he would not side in favor of gun rights, so although there was enough support to hear Second Amendment cases this term - only four votes are needed to hear a case - the judges who would hear these cases instead declined. This is of course speculation, as most of us will never get direct access to the justices and their closed meetings. All we can do is what we’ve been doing, keep educating one another and keep the pressure on. 


New York bans “Ghost Guns”


     New York has done it again. In a vote this Wednesday, the state legislature decided to ban the possession of ghost guns. While stupid and pointless, this is an overall unsurprising turn of events considering the legislature’s viciously anti-gun majority. Voting 43 to 17, the New York Senate passed S.7763-A, which criminalizes “the manufacture or otherwise assembly of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun” by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith. It aggressively defines “gunsmith,” requiring pretty much everything to get a serial number and government notice.


British Police raid home and arrest a 12-year old over a toy gun, while British press fearmonger over shotgun ownership


     The British are coming. Into your home. To arrest your kid over . . . a toy gun. That’s the story for a mother of three children who was resting in her home in Camden, England when a dozen police officers arrived, demanding entry. When she let them in they pointed their firearms at her son and two daughters while an officer handcuffed the 12-year old boy and placed him under arrest. They then forced the daughters to stand outside in their pajamas on an adjacent street for an hour while a dog searched the home. Presumably a gun-detecting dog? The only thing they found was a BB gun. Given the police account of the incident, it’s safe to say that the raid and arrest was based solely on an anonymous report.

     Equally complicit in fostering the elimination of gun rights in the United Kingdom are the media, who are condemning the rise of firearms possession in Hampshire, England. According to The Daily Echo, “[h]undreds of guns, described as the "most dangerous" types of civilian-owned firearms, are legally held in Hampshire, new figures reveal.” Burying the lede a bit, the author of this fine hit piece eventually specifies that those big bad guns they’re talking about are shotguns and .22 caliber rifles. The kind you use for skeet shooting or varmint hunting. Stories like this serve as a reminder that the slippery slope fallacy isn’t quite a fallacy. This is a nation that previously was a world-leader in individual marksmanship and firearm design. After just a couple decades of aggressive gun laws, here we are. We hope things eventually take a turn for the better for our brothers across the pond.