This week in gun rights – July 25, 2020

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

Gun and ammo sales surge, more diverse gun buyers; Senate refuses to stop flow of military gear to police departments; Virginia sheriff taking steps to deputize thousands of residents; Canadian Human Rights Commission rejects complaint regarding Trudeau’s racist gun grab; D.C. messing with Heller again; and Biden hates the poors.


Gun and ammo sales surge, more diverse gun buyers

     Continuing the trend we’ve observed over the last few months, gun and ammo sales are continuing to climb, leading to shortages of both. According to the NSSF, retailers across the country saw an 87% increase in gun sales for the first half of the year, accompanied by a 92% increase in the sale of ammunition. Shelves across the country are bare, and it’s also getting difficult to find components like parts kits. You don’t have to take my word for it though--go out and try to buy an AR and some 5.56 to go with it.

     It’s interesting to note that despite the prevailing “only white men buy guns” narrative, there’s been a 42.9% increase in purchases by Asians, 49.4% increase by Latinos, and a 58.2% surge in purchases by African Americans, which exceeded the increase in purchases by whites (51.9%). From March to June, there were 7.8 million NICS background checks conducted, and many of the new purchasers are first time buyers. The increase in demand for guns and ammo is almost certainly tied to both civil unrest and mounting uncertainty related to the upcoming presidential election, with Joe Biden pitching a massive gun control plan. The surge has been so severe that NICS had to undergo maintenance in the middle of the week, shutting down background checks for part of Wednesday. Sounds like it’s time to start spooling up those 3D printers and ammo presses, folks. 


Senate refuses to stop flow of military gear to police departments

     In the Anti Federalist Papers, Centinel expressed his concern for the existence of standing armies and militias as instruments of tyranny. At the time of the founding, there were no government-run police forces as we understand them now. Now, though, thanks to the modern Congress, resources from the “Global War on Terror” have fallen into police hands to arm them like an occupying force. Despite the cries from the People and politicians alike about abuses of police power the Senate failed to kill the 1033 program, which has been responsible for the transfer of more than seven billion dollars worth of equipment, such as MRAPs, from the military to police forces.


Virginia sheriff taking steps to deputize thousands of residents

     The Sheriff of Culpeper County is standing up to Virginia Governor Jim Northam’s slew of new gun control laws in an interesting way. Sheriff Scott Jenkins is now asking current and former law enforcement officers to serve as background investigators to help the county sheriff’s office process applications for thousands of residents so that they may begin serving as “reserve deputies,” a status that would nullify some of Northam’s new gun control measures for those residents, particularly the new laws affecting possession of so-called assault weapons and what the rest of the country knows to be standard capacity magazines. I’m sure it’s going to bring relief for the insurance companies that were expecting boating accident claims. That said, it’s important to stress that “special rights for special people” are not a way to fix bad law.


Canadian Human Rights Commission rejects complaint regarding Trudeau’s racist gun grab

     In America we hold the government accountable when it discriminates against people based on race, sex, national origin, and certain other features (or at least we try our damndest). Having established a national Human Rights Commission, you’d think Canada would do the same, but you’d be wrong. The Canadian HRC has just rejected a complaint pertaining to Trudeau’s new gun ban. The complaint filed with the HRC explains that the Prime Minister’s recent, unilateral decision to seize firearms will be disproportionately applied, discriminating based on an individual’s status as an aboriginal or non-aboriginal Canadian. The HRC acknowledged that it has “received many similar complaints,” and even concedes that “[t]he threshold to show reasonable grounds in a complaint is low. However, the Commission is satisfied that in this case, the complaint does not demonstrate reasonable grounds that the federal government is engaging in a discriminatory practice.”


D.C. messing with Heller again

     The man who brought us the key case for private gun rights in D.C. v. Heller may be at it again. Dick Heller, a long-time resident of the District of Columbia, is considering another lawsuit against the federal district for its refusal to process his firearms transfer in a timely manner. If you’re wondering why the District is the one processing the transfer, that’s because the only FFL in the city has gone out of business indefinitely, so the Metropolitan Police Department is now the only means by which someone can process a firearms transfer. The issue isn’t particular to Heller - there are other residents who are experiencing significant delays, having waited several months while the police drag their feet. With all the demand for firearms these days, it’s a surprise nobody is attempting to set up shop as a private FFL, but I guess we’ll see whether the department steps up or if there’ll be another round of Heller v. D.C.


Biden hates the poors

     Guns aren’t toys for the rich. The obligation of watch and ward standing, which began in Medieval England, required all able-bodied men to bear arms for the protection of their families, homes, and communities, rich or poor. That tradition, along with the increasing availability of firearms due to mass manufacturing are why a guy who lives in a rough neighborhood can arm himself for a few hundred bucks. Unfortunately for that guy, Joe Biden, so-called “working-class hero” of Scranton (or Delaware, whichever is most convenient in the moment), is pitching a plan to make it so arms will be a luxury toy for his class.

     Joe’s plan is pretty straightforward - tax the everloving hell out of people by requiring them to register “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.” It’s basically an expansion of the National Firearms Act, but to an extreme. For example, a common AR magazine, which you can find almost anywhere for under $20, would have to be registered. How much money does it cost? $200. For. Each. Magazine. So if you own, say, 5 magazines for which you’ve probably paid a grand total of $100 (or less if you got a good deal), you’re coming out of pocket for Creepy Uncle Joe to the tune of $1,000. That’s right, a pile of plastic and some springs is going to cost you $1,000.

     Not only is Joe’s plan unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable. What I’ll never understand is how people can do things like become Vice President of the United States and not have a grasp on basic economics and constitutional law (especially when they’ve worked as a constitutional law professor at Widener University). All Joe’s plan will do is discriminate against poor people while simultaneously creating a black market for arms, and I guess Joe hasn’t heard that you can’t stop the signal - boy is he in for a surprise.