The Reload Analysis Newsletter

Members’ Newsletter: Have We Reached a Peak in State Gun Legislation?

I want to say thank you to all those who’ve served our country. With the vaccination rate increasing and the decreasing covid infection rate, Memorial Day should be a lot happier than last. I hope you all make the best of it.

My Friday conversation on The Dispatch Podcast brought up something interesting that I haven’t seen discussed in the wake of Texas passing permitless gun carry. Are we starting to reach the limits of the past decade’s two quickest expanding gun policies?

Holstered gun
A holstered handgun / Stephen Gutowski

Permitless carry laws are starting to run out of red states. Red flag laws are starting to run out of blue states. How much further can the two most popular gun policies of the last decade realistically go in our current era of polarization?

Certainly, Texas adopting permitless carry will likely result in a few more states doing the same thing. But 21 states have now adopted the policy, and all but Vermont are states where Republicans currently have complete control of the state government. Florida, Ohio, Georgia, and Indiana are the only states left with full Republican control but no permitless carry.

Similarly, red flag laws may have already run out of friendly ground. There are only 15 states with full Democratic control but 19 states with red flag laws. They’ve already punched above their weight, likely because they poll much better than permitless carry, but they may not have room left to expand.

Interestingly, Vermont is the only state with a red flag law and permitless carry. Will any more follow?


David Chipman
David Chipman at the May 26th Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing / Screenshot

What moderate senators decide on David Chipman’s nomination to the ATF will probably determine a lot about how aggressively President Biden will be able to pursue unilateral action to restrict guns moving forward. A gun-control activist with decades of experience working in the agency as ATF head would give Biden greater latitude to push the limits of its power.

With key senators keeping quiet on how they plan to vote, all we can do right now is trying to read the tea leaves. I gave it my best shot and came down on the side that Chipman’s nomination is the odds on favorite, at least until some of the moderate senators publicly commit to voting against him.

Chipman standing by his position that AR-15s should be banned and current owners forced to register with the federal government, put him at odds with what those moderates are willing to vote for. But it didn’t spook them enough to publicly commit to voting against his nomination. So, the question becomes, will anything else he says or does from here on out?

NRA Annual Meeting 2018
A display at the NRA’s 2018 Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

Phillip Journey and his fellow disgruntled board members threw in the towel on the NRA’s bankruptcy this week. The group couldn’t foot the bill for what would’ve been a longshot appeal to the case’s dismissal. So, the NRA is now in a holding pattern.

The NRA spent upwards of $20 million on a federal bankruptcy gambit to upend the attempt by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.) to dissolve the group in state court. Now that the bankruptcy has failed but CEO Wayne LaPierre and other members of leadership remain intact, there likely won’t be any major shifts in the way the gun-rights group operates until the state case concludes in another year or two.

Journey and his fellow dissenting board members are likely to continue their fight to oust LaPierre from the board through internal maneuvers. Still, the rest of the board has shown very little appetite to remove any of the leadership to this point. It’s possible that could change, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. We’ll see if the failed bankruptcy has any impact on the board’s thinking when they meet again in Virginia at the end of June.

On Saturday, I had Brian Hatch and his wife Natalie out to shoot in Pennsylvania. They won the honor of having a range day with the least famous person in the Homes for Our Troops celebrity auction. The rain let up long enough for us to get quite a lot of shooting in at a family friend’s farm near my mom’s farm. They have a fantastic little range set up with some great steel targets, and the Hatchs had a fantastic time shooting a bunch of my guns.

I got to try out the little .22lr single-action revolver, and it was absolutely fantastic. What a fun gun to shoot for $150. I couldn’t be happier that I picked that thing up as an impulse buy a few weeks ago.

We also shot my Sig Sauer P365 with the new striker assembly. We didn’t have any malfunctions, so I’m still very hopeful the light-primer strike issue is solved. The P365 really is an impressive shooter for its size. Once I put a few more boxes of ammo through it, I’m definitely going to switch to carrying it.

With the ammo supply the way it is, that could still take a while. In fact, it led us to miss out on shooting the most interesting gun of the day. Brian brought a WWII-era Japanese Arisaka Type 99. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any 7.7mm ammo, and we couldn’t find any out there.

But that may be a blessing in disguise because it was a last-ditch Type 99 likely produced towards the end of the war when resources were scarce, and standards were lower. So, it may not be safe to shoot. The action cycles and the locking lugs look like they are in good shape, but it’s impossible to know for sure without doing some kind of test fire.

Either way, the gun was a fascinating piece of history. Looking up the markings and seeing which armory produced it and when was a fun bit of detective work.

Still, the best thing about the range day was that the money raised goes to help build specialized homes for disabled veterans. I can’t think of a better weekend to do a shoot benefiting veterans than Memorial Day weekend.

That’s it for this week. I’ll talk to you guys again soon.

Thank you,
Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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