This week in gun rights – July 4, 2020
Matthew Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy at Firearms Policy Coalition. You can connect with him on Twitter @MattLaAtLaw.
Universal background checks don’t work, Lisa Dunn; Colorado Supreme Court gets it wrong, upholds gun magazine capacity limit; Facebook ambushes Boogaloo groups, banning over 500 groups and pages; Nuts write to Subway to complain about their gun allergy; Iowa expands the right to carry in public buildings; New Hampshire passes red flag law.
Universal background checks don’t work, Lisa Dunn
In an article recently published by American University Radio, Lisa Dunn discusses the efficacy of background checks. Like many “reputable” accounts, it starts with an incorrect interpretation of federal law, segueing casually into an analysis of universal background checks, finally concluding that “the results are mixed” when it comes to assessments of UBC’s effect on reducing violence. Of course Miss Dunn couldn’t come to the correct response - they don’t work. The program is part of a series called “Guns & America”, which is funded by the Kendeda Fund, a group that supports gun control. Here’s a quick summary of why she’s wrong on basically everything:
First, Dunn claims that private gun transactions, in person or online, may provide a “loophole” for prohibited people to obtain firearms legally. There are a number of mistakes here. You can’t buy a gun from someone who lives in another state without conducting the transfer through a licensed dealer, which means the person acquiring the firearm undergoes, you guessed it, a federal background check. Not that this is how it should be, but alas, the GCA leaves us with that. Second, even if you conduct a private sale, it’s both illegal for the prohibited person to take possession of the firearm, and it’s illegal to knowingly transfer a firearm to a prohibited person, so there’s no “legal” way for prohibited people to obtain firearms. Here’s the statute, enshrined in Title 18, right next to a bunch of other unconstitutional garbage which comprises much of our nation’s multiple thousands of pages of gun control law. That same garbage people like Dunn seem to think make up an unregulated hellscape. A hellscape it sure is, but one of excessive regulation.
As Dunn concedes, firearms transfers to prohibited persons will continue to occur, mostly without the government’s knowledge unless the firearm in question is used for an illicit purpose, which is unlikely. By regulating the acquisition of firearms, as was the case with the National Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the 1986 amendment to the Gun Control Act, all the government would be accomplishing is expanding the secondary market. With the advent of 3D printing and other home-shop arms, the concept of the universal background check has been rendered essentially moot - With items that can be commonly obtained at brick and mortar or online stores, people around the world are now able to build their own firearms, so why bother assessing the value of a UBC? Because it makes Moms and other NIMBY folk feel better about voting for the other old, senile guy running for the big chair this November.
Colorado Supreme Court gets it wrong, upholds gun magazine capacity limit
One of the core purposes for the reconstruction amendments was to apply the Bill of Rights to the states. This is to prevent state abuse of individuals’ constitutional rights. As the United States Supreme Court explained in McDonald v. City of Chicago back in 2010, the Second Amendment restrictions the actions of states as well. Despite acknowledging this fact, the Colorado Supreme Court issued an opinion on Monday in favor of the state’s ban on standard capacity magazines, stating that “because Plaintiffs do not challenge HB 1224 under the Second Amendment, we do not address whether the legislation runs afoul of the federal constitution.” This meant the Colorado Supreme Court was free to engage in their own analysis of the state constitution’s 2A analogue. So, did they decide to cast aside the decade of nonsense “tests” imposed by federal circuits and give the rights of Coloradans their due? No. They instead used it as an opportunity to manufacture and apply a substantially softer framework for analyzing the state constitution’s version of the right to keep and bear arms, which says outright: The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question.
The Colorado Supreme Court explained that the law banning the lawful possession of standard capacity magazines is permissible under the state constitution because it is a “reasonable exercise of police power,” which when placed immediately below the language of the state’s constitution, seems to be a plain error. Now I would never imply that politics have anything to do with a judge’s ability to interpret the law or to push an agenda in the court, but considering the court’s 6:1 ratio of Democrat to Republican appointees, I think it’s fair to say there may be some ideological bias against gun rights.
Facebook ambushes Boogaloo groups, banning over 500 groups and pages
While companies are busy virtue-signaling with a Facebook boycott, the social media platform has just labeled Big Igloo folks as a “dangerous organization,” conducting a “strategic network disruption” of what Vice refers to as “the boogaloo online infrastructure.” Hilarious. What they probably meant to say was that Mark realized that he also would have to do a fair bit of virtue-signaling in order to stop the hemorrhaging of cash caused by businesses leading the boycott. Vice, who is apparently waging war against veterans and Hawaiian shirt-wearing casuals, got people canceled on Discord last week, an online chat service. Since when did Vice go from covering slavs shooting Krokodil to functioning as a bunch of digital brownshirts?
Nuts write to Subway to complain about their gun allergy
They’re back. The people who refuse to “eat fresh” so long as freedom-loving people decide to embrace their right to bear arms as they stop by Subway to forage for footlongs. Over a month late to the party, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy of Connecticut, purveyors of gun control propaganda, are now joining the ridiculous push to force Subway to ban the possession of firearms in all of their nearly 45,000 locations. What sparked this, you ask? A couple of gun-friendly folks open carrying their long guns in North Carolina back in May, one of whom was carrying a fake AT4 as a lark. In their letter to the sandwich people, the senators wrote “No person should have to fear gun violence while visiting or working in Subway restaurants.” I agree, but just because people are open (or concealed) carrying firearms doesn’t mean it’s rational for other people to be afraid. Subway should absolutely disregard this tasteless grandstanding because, after all, Alyssa Milano, Blumenthal, and Murphy probably haven’t even been to one of their establishments in the first place.
Iowa expands the right to carry in public buildings
Good news, everyone! Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a law amending a provision which used to allow political subdivisions of the state to pass regulations barring individuals from carrying firearms in public buildings. Under the new version of the statute, localities may still regulate the carrying of firearms into sensitive spaces like courtrooms, but entry into common areas of public buildings is now permitted. Not only is this change in law a victory for Second Amendment advocates, but it is also a practical victory; by permitting people to carry in these spaces, Iowa is allowing them to provide for their own defense while also reducing the probability of firearms theft from vehicles while people are going about their business with the government.
New Hampshire passes red flag law
When General John Stark said “Live Free or Die,” he probably didn’t intend for it to be at hands of hopped-up cops issuing a no-knock warrant to recover firearms. Unfortunately for the people of New Hampshire, and in an absolutely partisan showing of disregard for the good general and the fight against government tyranny, New Hampshire democrats passed a red flag law in a 14-10, party-line vote. The new bill allows family members and anyone cohabiting with the government’s target to file for an “ex-parte” order, which means the person being subjected to a firearms seizure isn’t given notice or opportunity to be heard in the court before they are stripped of their rights. Passed under the guise of reducing the number of suicides in the state, the law sets a remarkably low standard for the government to meet before the judge, making it an excellent opportunity for aggrieved family members and housemates to subject gun owners to state-sponsored-swatting. This law is a horrible idea, will likely lead to harm, and is most certainly unconstitutional.