NICS Reauthorization Act of 2013

May 15th, 2013

The NICS system is up for reauthorization this year. It's still under debate in the Senate, but here's what's going on.

Under Section 103:

(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.–The NICS
Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is
(1) by striking "as a mental defective" each place that
term appears and inserting "mentally incompetent";
(2) by striking "mental institution" each place that term
appears and inserting "psychiatric hospital"; and
(3) in section 102(c)(3)–
(A) in the paragraph heading, by striking "as a mental
defective or committed to a mental institution" and
inserting "mentally incompetent or committed to a
psychiatric hospital"; and
(B) by striking "mental institutions" and inserting
"psychiatric hospitals".

Section …

How Gun Control Lost

April 18th, 2013

Following the defeat of the post-Newtown gun-control push, the invective is flying fast and loose. "Guilt," "shame," and "cowardice" are the words of the day. How this sort of rhetoric is supposed to win sympathy on the Hill is beyond me.

S. 649 is still up for consideration, but without the Toomey/Manchin amendment, it's going to be even less appealing to lawmakers. Harry Reid changed his vote at the last minute so he can bring the bill back to the floor for reconsideration, but at this point, the momentum is gone. They blew it.

Why? There are several reasons. The first …

S. 649: Defeated for Now

April 17th, 2013

First, the good news. The Manchin/Toomey amendment to S. 649 was defeated in the Senate by a 54-46 vote. The only way the bill was ever going to have a chance at passage was with that amendment, so it's safe to say it's dead.

John McCain voted "yea." Harry Reid waited until the very end to cast a "nay" vote. Some lady shouted "shame on you" from the rafters, and the President is calling the NRA liars (epic meltdown here). So, business as usual.

A look at the votes for various amendments is interesting. Feinstein's Assault Weapons Ban 2.0 …

S. 649: 11th Hour

April 16th, 2013

Senate Democrats spent much of the last two days scrambling to rally the votes for their gun-control bill, but without much success. While there are still amendments to be debated, Majority Leader Harry Reid has called an end to the stalling, and it looks like a vote will be taken tomorrow at 4:00 PM.

Of course, Feinstein's still trying to shoehorn her Assault Weapons Ban into the bill, and Lautenberg's pushing his magazine ban. Neither of those help its chances.

On the Republican side, Senator Toomey seemed to be avoiding contact with the press, and the mood seemed dour. …

Wavering Optimism

April 15th, 2013

Today, the Supreme Court declined to hear Kachalsky v. Cacase, a challenge to New York's arbitrary restrictions on issuing carry permits. I had high hopes for this one, but there are other potential candidates.

First is the Woollard case. We had a favorable ruling in the District Court, but it was overruled by the 4th Circuit last month. A rehearing is still a possibility.

The 7th Circuit's decision in our favor in Moore v. Madigan still stands. That creates a split among the Circuits, which begs hearing by the Supreme Court, but they …


April 13th, 2013

The Senate agreed Thursday to move forward on debate over S. 649, also called the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013. Contrary to what you may have heard, nothing has been passed. At the moment, they're hammering out the details. Amendments will be suggested, there will be debates, and it might go back to committee. After all of that, it heads to an uncertain fate in the House. It's going to be awhile.

At the moment, we really only have the broad outlines of the bill. Yes, the proposed text is available, but that's going to change quite a bit.

Of particular note is a "compromise" amendment proposed by Senators Toomey (R-PA) and Manchin (D-WV). Its title is the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act.

Sounds harmless, right? Well, so did the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, and look where that got us.