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

New year, new laws going into effect

It’s the new year and governments across the country have resolved to infringe on the rights of their people. In Nevada, this means the implementation of A.B. 291, which includes a red flag statute, bans bumpstocks and similar devices (we thought Trump already did this by fiat), and makes it a misdemeanor to leave a firearm in a place where it can be accessed by a minor under certain circumstances. The red flag provisions of this bill are extensive, and the most minimal standard for permitting the state to take firearms from individuals is that the filing party “reasonably feared for their safety.” Thankfully a group of Nevadans are standing up to the state legislature, having filed for an injunction against this law in court this past December.

Also in Nevada, S.B. 143 requires nearly all firearms purchases and exchanges to be conducted using an FFL. In its infinite wisdom, the legislature noted that most Nevadans live within 10 miles of an FFL, but of course they failed to consider three things: 1) the increased financial and procedural hurdle of having to go through an FFL to purchase or exchange a firearm; 2) that almost nobody fails a background check in the first place; and 3) that the NICS system is fundamentally busted. Nye County has responded like many Virginia counties, declaring itself a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary. Although this declaration was made by passing a resolution, which is merely an expression of intent and does not carry the force of law.

Hawaii is implementing its own red flag law as well, and it allows family members, police, doctors, and even neighbors petition to have firearms and ammunition seized by a star court. Some of the justifications for seizing your property include making a threat that is unrelated to the use of a firearm, “reckless” storage of a firearm, getting a DUI or public intoxication charge, or bizarrely, recent acquisition of a firearm or ammunition, so don’t invite your neighbor into your house to show them your coffee table handgun of the week that you just bought.

Tennessee, on the other hand, has introduced a less-burdensome CCW licensing option. The new program is being criticized because it does not require in-person training. While we’d prefer to see carry restrictions abolished entirely, progress is progress.

2020 also brings additional restrictions in where else but California. One of the 15 bills Governor Newsom signed last year, SB 61 bans the sale of centerfire semi automatic rifles to persons under the age of 21. So what is Nanny Newsom trying to tell Californians? Adults, who up until this year have been allowed to vote, buy cigarettes, and serve in the military, aren’t deserving of rights. Certainly the irony of this scenario cannot be lost on the 184,000+ service members currently in California, especially not on the roughly 80% of Marines who are 20 or younger and stationed at 29 Palms. Despite what the state would have you believe, even sources unfriendly to us admit that laws like this have little to no impact.


Fort worth shooting somehow spurs gun debate

In White Settlement, Texas, a murderer produced a shotgun and began firing at church parishioners. An armed man in the church immediately responded, taking down the attacker. While the Lieutenant Governor of Texas lauded Jack Wilson’s the man who stopped the murderer, gun-grabbers didn’t hesitate to claim this response would have been unnecessary if there had been adequate gun restrictions in the first place. This argument is absurd for a host of reasons.

Let’s not forget the odds of being involved in an event like this are remarkably low, and banning firearms from “sensitive places” like churches are more likely to disarm men like Mr. Wilson than murderers. This particular incident should serve to drive this point home - the murderer had a fairly substantial rap sheet.


Northam wants a special gun grabber task force

In continuing the ludicrous circus that has been Virginia politics for the past few months, Governor Ralph “Smooth Criminal” Northam is seeing to summoning an 18-man posse to enforce any new state gun laws. His plan? Spend $4.8 million of Virginians’ tax dollars on enforcement of new gun laws, despite 91% of the state’s counties openly opposing new gun control, declaring themselves 2nd Amendment sanctuaries. The governor’s plan also includes hiring 10 more overseers to enforce a new background check, purchase restriction, and red flag provisions. With multiple Virginia counties resolving to form militias, it seems pretty clear this policy lacks the consent of the governed.

 

Florida municipalities want to pass gun laws really super bad

A few weeks back we covered Florida cities’ desire to file in a challenge to a component of the sunshine state’s preemption law. Basically, local gun laws have been preempted in Florida since 1987. In 2011, a series of penalties were added for local governments that violated the law and restricted peoples gun rights anyway. Now, a group of cities are suing to try to get rid of these penalties.

The cities prevailed in the lower court, where the judge developed new theories of immunity shielding public officials from such fines. That decision is being appealed, and the local governments are not having it. This week a big splash was made as state politicians took opposing sides on the question.

State agricultural commissioner Nikki Fried—a person every Floridian associates with the smell of gasoline because of her taxpayer-funded personal branding exercise—is taking the side of the ban-happy municipalities. Naturally this isn’t because she wants governments that agree with her to be immune from the law, of course not. It’s about integrity. Or something.

This whole suit is a sham. The local governments want to be free from consequence for callously violating the law, and turning the state of Florida into a minefield for typical gun owners. There are good reasons for preemption. It’s hard enough having to take account of whether your right to a competent means of self defense will be respected on interstate journeys, Floridians don’t need to worry about whether they’ll be imprisoned on their daily commute.


Fighting For Your Rights in the Digital Era

Since the colonial era, the town square has been the center for the free expression of ideas. As society has become less communal, the mode of expression shifted from town squares to shopping malls and eventually, to online forums and social media platforms. The First Amendment protects the right to freedom of expression and assembly, but there’s a tension when speech is hosted by private companies. Because social media companies are non-state entities, no First Amendment protection exists on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, So what do you do when these sites are the only avenues for the discussion of Second Amendment rights, especially when their leadership is openly hostile toward firearms ownership? Chuck Rossi, who is the cofounder of Open Source Defense, and Cam Edwards, Editor at bearingarms.com sat down for a thoughtful discussion of how to fight for your rights under these conditions. To watch, click here.