Always with the Democrats

January 31st, 2014

We've got eleven Democrats retiring from Congress this year: four from the Senate and seven from the House. While gun owners will hardly miss Carolyn McCarthy or Henry Waxman, we're also losing a few allies. For all the facile claims that the Republicans support the 2nd Amendment and the Democrats don't, this may be of interest.

Tom Harkin of Iowa and Carl Levin of Michigan both co-sponsored the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act and have F ratings from the NRA, as does Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. On the other hand, consider Max Baucus, who holds a B rating. Despite some …

United States v. Chovan

November 20th, 2013

The 9th Circuit has ruled that §922(g)(9), also known as the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, does not violate the 2nd Amendment. Furthermore, they found that it continues to bar firearms ownership, even after all other civil rights have been restored.

The upshot is this:

Despite restoration of other civil rights, the lifetime ban on firearms ownership is constitutional
Intermediate scrutiny applies to 2nd Amendment challenges
The "core" right acknowledged by Heller applies to “law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home."
Mr. Clovan's misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence forever exempts him from that category.

Daniel Chovan was convicted of corporal injury on a spouse in 1996. In 2009, he attempted to buy a gun and was denied. Upon further investigation, the FBI found videos Mr. Chovan posted on YouTube in which he carried firearms while participating in improvised border patrols and fired guns across the border into Mexico.

So, yeah, this guy's a winner. He's certainly not the ideal plaintiff for such a constitutional challenge. Should that matter? No. Does it matter? Yes.

Moore v. Madigan

December 11th, 2012

This case was a challenge to the constitutionality of Illinois' complete ban on carrying firearms outside the home. Illinois is the last state to have such a ban, and the 7th Circuit has found it unconstitutional.

Judge Posner's opinion is here [pdf]. There are three relevant points:

To deny the right to keep and bear arms outside the confines of the home is to divorce it from its purpose of self-defense, and that's inconsistent with the Supreme Court's findings in Heller and McDonald.
Rational basis doesn't fly when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. Illinois needed to make a "strong showing" to justify a ban on carry, and they failed to do so.
Claims that public safety may be adversely affected (the "blood in the streets" argument) are unclear, inconclusive, and have little bearing.

This is a big win, and not just for Illinois. Congratulations are due to the 2nd Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA). This wasn't an easy one.

Yep, He Went There

October 16th, 2012

In tonight's debate, the President was asked point-blank if he'd support a ban on "assault weapons." His answer was an unequivocable yes. It's a bit ironic, since he acknowledged that most of the violence in his hometown was carried out with "cheap handguns" rather than AK-47's.

This places him on shaky rhetorical ground when he claims to support the 2nd Amendment, but the shocking thing is that Governor Romney implied that he'd support it if it "provided opportunities for both [sides] that both wanted." Just like they did in 1993.

Flaunting that NRA endorsement a bit, aren't we Mitt?

I'm not worried about such a thing happening, as the votes aren't there in Congress. Even if the idea had support, everybody remembers the political fallout from 1994. What gets me is that both men were either so overconfident or so utterly…I don't know, what's the opposite of smart?

ETA: It's interesting that Romney brought up the Fast & Furious debacle, which both Crowley and the President conveniently sidestepped discussing. Mittens also thinks machine guns are illegal, when in fact they're simply taxed and regulated by the NFA.

The actual quotes follow.

How Not to Win, Part II

August 30th, 2012

After being detained for strolling around a suburban park with a Draco pistol, Leonard Embody tried suing the officers who detained him. If you're not familiar with his story, I've got background here. In short, and as usual, he lost.

He then appealed to the 6th Circuit, who were none too sympathetic [pdf].

For his troubles, Embody has done something rare: He has taken a position on the Second and Fourth Amendment that unites the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Second Amendment Foundation. Both organizations think that the park ranger permissibly disarmed and detained Leonard

Sharp Edges and Frayed Nerves

November 28th, 2011

CZ P-01 w/Bayonet

The Supreme Court has refused [pdf] to hear United States v. Masciandaro. That leaves Woollard v. Sheridan, which still has decent odds of making it to the calendar.

There's been some scuttlebutt that the Court would rather hear a "pure" case in which the petitioner isn't someone appealing a criminal conviction. Both the Heller and McDonald cases fit this bill, as they were brought by law-abiding citizens appealing unjust laws. In such cases, the Court can address a constitutional issue directly, without having other …

Friday Quickies

October 28th, 2011

Joe McCarthy?  No, worse!

You too can be Irony King (or other monarch) of the week by going here and giving your address.  They send you one of these bumper stickers free.  The site says it'll take 4-6 weeks to ship, but that's still plenty of time before the primaries.

In other news, there's a promising verdict from the North Carolina Superior Court (opinion linked at Volokh) upholding a felon's right to keep and bear arms.

Before you flinch at that, bear in mind that one can be punished as a felon for crimes that do little or no real harm to anyone.  Rehabilitation or decades of clean living don't matter:  a felony conviction of any sort is a lifetime ban from owning firearms.  However, if the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental liberty (as the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald), can felons be denied its exercise forever?  After all, they still have rights to freedom of speech and legal counsel, right?

When All Else Fails, Lie

October 20th, 2011

CSGV Alarmism

H.R. 822 now has 245 cosponsors.  I have my reasons for thinking it's the wrong approach, and even if it does get through the Senate, it won't be signed.  That's alright.  I like this one for one very salient reason: it's got folks in certain corners going all kinds of asplodey.

Today's exhibit is from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV).  They were originally formed in 1975 as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.  One of the founders was Edward Welles, who also started the Violence Policy Center.  At some point, they decided …

Newsflash: California Possibly Not Sinking

October 12th, 2011

Things might not be what they seem. I have very little to substantiate this at the moment, but some folks with their ears closer to the ground than mine are wondering what Governor Brown might be playing at with the gun-control bills he signed into law this week.

We've got an interesting snippet from a statement he made today:

The governor tried to explain to an audience in Belmont why a bill that bans the open carrying of unloaded handguns and another that makes it easier to carry a concealed weapon were both signed.

“There is a phrase called the coincidence of opposites. I can even say it in Latin—coincidentia oppositorum. It means that apparently antagonistic measures can be melded together in a higher unity.”

This got me thinking.

Mulford Act: Full Circle

October 10th, 2011

Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 144 into law, making open carry of any sort a misdemeanor.

Since 1967, there's been a loophole in § 12031 that allows an unlicensed citizen to carry a handgun, as long as it's visible and unloaded. It's a questionable mode of carry, but at least it's an option when others are not available. Now, Californians don't even have that. Who's to blame? Portantino? Brown? Nope. We are.

For over 40 years, the whole technicality was something of an open secret, but it was never front-page news. That is, until a bunch of pro-gun …

Dave's Not Here, Man

October 4th, 2011

Law-Abiding Bender

The ATF recently distributed a letter to firearms dealers to remind them that they cannot sell guns to users of marijuana. People are suddenly up in arms about the situation, which I find odd, since this isn't anything new.

Good old Kentucky Blue has been Schedule I since 1970, and the accompanying prohibitions date back to 1968. Having or consuming the stuff is illegal, and those who do so are prohibited under U.S.C. § 922(g) from receiving or possessing a firearm. Thanks to an unpleasant trend in jurisprudence, federal law overrides any state laws …

A Right Deferred

October 3rd, 2011

The Supreme Court has chosen not to hear Williams v. Maryland this term.  Are we screwed, then?

The implications aren't encouraging. The first is that we couldn't get four Justices to take an interest.  The second is that there might have been four, but they didn't think they could convince a fifth to their side.  A loss at the Supreme Court level would essentially end the reach of the 2nd Amendment at the doorstep of one's home.

While Williams was our best overall case, we've still got Masciandaro and Woollard awaiting review.  However, their chances aren't looking too bright …

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