This week in gun rights – August 29, 2020
Matthew Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy at Firearms Policy Coalition. You can connect with him on Twitter @MattLaAtLaw.
Sports man doesn’t want people to bear arms; Ohio Supreme Court allows schools to arm staffers; New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy taxing rights to cover deficits; Four cities sue the ATF for fear of ghosts; Missouri bandages boo-boo; Everytown trying to buy Florida.
Sports man doesn’t want people to bear arms
In a recent statement, LeBron James said in reference to firearms being used for hunting, “[f]or Black people right now, we hear hunting we think you’re hunting us.” That’s a pretty over-the-top statement, but pretty routine for James, who has made multiple anti-gun statements. The guy is known for being a hypocrite. For instance, he criticized others for supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong while also tweeting statements like “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.” I don’t quite understand how you can support the Chinese Communist Party, remain silent about its genocide of minorities, and then bemoan the government’s mistreatment of American minorities at the same time.
The point of the Second Amendment is to enable the People to oppose tyranny. What is, of course, both ironic and unsurprising is that James made these statements in the presence of his personal security detail; people who are undoubtedly armed.
Ohio Supreme Court allows schools to arm staffers
On Wednesday the Ohio Supreme Court issued a stay on an inferior court’s order banning the Madison, Ohio school district from allowing its staff members to arm themselves. The school district’s policy, which permits teachers to arm themselves after receiving a minimum of 26 hours of firearms training, was instituted after a 2016 incident in one of the schools which resulted in four students being injured. Opponents of the policy argue that 26 hours is insufficient, especially considering the state’s mandatory minimum training time for law enforcement officers is 728 hours. These are the same people who fail to recognize what is painfully obvious - despite the multitude of hours of training that law enforcement officers may receive, little has much to do with safe or effective use of firearms, and still less to do with conflict avoidance and mitigation; at the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to recognize and properly exercise use of force, and you can’t stop bad actors.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy taxing constitutional rights to cover budget deficits
Need a gun for self-defense and you’re poor? Fuggedaboutit. On Tuesday, Phil Murphy, Lord Emperor of New Jersey announced that the state was suffering from a five billion dollar deficit (what a shocker). To address the state’s inability to balance its checkbook, Murphy plans to institute taxes (again, quelle surprise). In addition to common bad economic policy like taxing the state’s wealthiest residents - who are fleeing in droves - Murphy is going to tax the right to keep and bear arms. Specifically, the governor wants to raise the cost of handgun permit fees by nearly $50 and the cost of firearm owner identification cards by almost $100.
For working-class people, the cost of living in New Jersey is becoming untenable, and by increasing the cost of permitting, Murphy is essentially making a play to disarm of their prevent the armament of a large swath of the state’s current residents. While revenue streams are important for maintaining government services, constitutional rights shouldn’t be the fountainhead.
Four cities sue the ATF to try to get rid of ghost guns
Attorneys for four cities are displaying massive ignorance by suing the ATF this week, claiming that the language of the Gun Control Act of 1968 was clearly intended to define solid blocks of metal and polymer as firearms receivers. Chicago, San Jose, California, Columbia, South Carolina, and Syracuse, New York are suing the feds because they claim that so-called ghost guns are increasingly being used in crimes. For some reason this is starting to feel like groundhog day. In fact, we sued the Attorney General of Pennsylvania from trying to ban these products by fiat last year. Blocks of material aren’t receivers because they can’t receive anything. As the ATF clearly explained, these items “have not reached the ‘stage of manufacture’ which would result in the classification of a firearm.”
People have been manufacturing their own firearms since before the Revolutionary War - it’s an American pastime, and it’s something the government can’t physically stop anyone from doing; they can only punish people after-the-fact. While this lawsuit may be beneficial for political optics, it’s a pursuit of unconstitutional policy, a waste of time, and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Missouri patch-job on last week’s under-18 ban
It seems there’s been a sea change in the Missouri Legislature. Last week I reported that the Missouri Senate passed a bill that would’ve made it a felony for people other than parents to give people under 18 a firearm. This week, the Missouri House advanced a bill that would amend the law to only make it criminal to give minors a firearm when the intent is to avoid arrest or investigation.
I’m glad to see that they won’t be punishing people for taking their grandchildren out for a hunting trip, but even this proposed law is flawed. Think about it. If the state can figure out that you gave your gun to someone else to hide it, they’ve probably already got you for the primary crime, whether it was a robbery, murder, or something else; it’s unnecessary because you can usually charge an offender with obstruction anyway. Passing bills like these won’t stop or reduce crime, but they will get “law and order” candidates reelected at the expense of gun rights.
Everytown is trying to buy the Florida Election
Everytown is at it again. Their PAC, the Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, has announced that it will spend six million dollars on television and digital ads in Florida, specifically in Orlando and Tampa. The PAC’s stated goal is to bring about more gun control in swing-states like Florida, and they weren’t shy about explaining that they’re targeting the state’s Hispanic community. The funding for this election season will spent pushing the election of Joe Biden, who is of course, a gun control zealot. Everytown doesn’t care about Floridians, they care about exploiting voters in the Sunshine State so they can get a president that supports federal suppression of gun rights.