The Reload Analysis Newsletter

Members’ Newsletter: Looking Ahead at What’s Coming for Guns in 2022

We made it to a new year. I hope you all have a healthy, safe, and exciting time Friday night! Hope you got to set off some fireworks–the good stuff, not the weak junk they sell at the grocery store.

Now that 2021 is dead and gone, let’s take a look ahead at 2022. Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman details a few of the big stories to keep an eye out for over the next 12 months. It seems like June could be a big month in particular.

2022 is also going to be a big year up north with Canada’s deadline to turn in AR-15s and similar firearms hitting in April. I examine why Canadians haven’t been turning in their guns thus far and how successful the confiscation effort will be based on what we’ve seen elsewhere in the anglosphere.

Plus, we have a fantastic episode of the podcast featuring Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons!

A sign advertising guns outside a store
A sign advertising guns outside a store / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: A Look at What’s in Store for Guns in 2022 [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

2021 was undoubtedly a big year for the gun world. Will we see that continue into 2022?

Here are a few key things we know to expect in the new year, plus a few other possibilities.

Carry Rights

One of the biggest things guaranteed to happen in 2022 is the Supreme Court issuing a ruling in the New York gun-carry case. The Court heard oral arguments for the case NYSRPA v. Bruen earlier this November, and a ruling on the case could be released at any time before the end of June 2022.

Depending on which way the court rules, and how broad the scope of the ruling is, the decision could have major implications for gun carry across the country. The Court also seems poised to establish a standard for lower courts to follow when reviewing future Second Amendment cases, which will have even broader implications for gun rights.

Outside of the courts, gun carry is likely be a major feature of certain state legislatures in the new year. Expect to see the push for permitless carry to continue in states with unified or near-unified Republican control.

Both chambers of the Ohio legislature have now passed a version of a permitless carry. It is very likely that one of them will find its way to Governor Mike DeWine’s (R.) desk at some point in 2022.

A state senator in Nebraska has already pledged to introduce a permitless carry bill next year, and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (R.) has said he would sign such a bill if it reached his desk. Likewise, similar bills have been introduced in Indiana, Georgia, and Alabama. Momentum for a permitless carry bill is also building in Florida after Governor Ron DeSantis (R.) said he would support it.

ATF Rulemaking

We should get clarity on the two major gun rules pending with the ATF: the classification of pistol braces under the National Firearms Act and the updated definition of firearm “frames and receivers.” The proposed rules represent the biggest steps the Biden administration has been able to take in pursuit of the president’s aggressive gun-control agenda.

April Langwell, Chief of the ATF’s Public Affairs Division, previously told The Reload that the two proposed rules were among the most commented on in ATF history. She said the agency is reviewing the comments before finalizing the rules.

“ATF currently has a group of employees reviewing both the comments on definition of firearm and stabilizing braces,” she said. “Those reviewing track the comments expressing support and opposition. All comments are reviewed for content and given careful consideration. The notice and comment period enabled anyone to submit comments on any part of the proposed rules. While drafting the final rule, the agency will base its reasoning and conclusions on the rulemaking record, consisting of the comments, expert opinions, and facts accumulated during the rulemaking process.”

The proposed rule on pistol braces received 237,569 comments, and the proposed definition of firearm frames and receivers received 290,031. The majority of comments on both proposed rules were overwhelmingly negative.

She said the ATF’s final draft would then be reviewed by Congress before adoption.

“Congress and the Government Accountability Office will have an opportunity to review the final rule prior to its effective date,” Langwell said.

According to the Federal rulemaking website, the date for final action on the firearm frames and receivers rule is June of 2022. The date for final action on the proposed Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces is August of 2022.

Gun Control Legislation

With 2022 being an election year, expect swing states and the federal government to be a little more tentative on the issue of gun control. Democrats from vulnerable districts likely won’t be looking to push the envelope with such a hot button issue ahead of an election where Republicans are already poised to make gains.

There is one caveat though: you could see solid blue states where gun control is overwhelmingly popular doubling down on new laws to appeal to their base voters ahead of election season. The Governors of California and New York Attorney General announced plans to use the model of the Texas abortion law to go after guns. We could see those plans materialize into formal policy in the new year even beyond those two states.

Gun Sales

The question of whether or not elevated gun sales continue into 2022 will be one to watch. After the record-breaking year of 2020, 2021 carried on strong with the second-highest gun sales on record. Will that momentum carry over into the new year?

Pandemic-related anxiety and the civil unrest that helped fuel the spikes of 2020 and early 2021 have largely subsided. However, there’s at least some early evidence that new concern over crime is starting to spur another buying spree, even in unlikely places.

Whether or not that takes hold nationwide remains to be seen, but we know that concern over crime and personal safety—real or perceived—can be a major motivating factor for people to purchase firearms. Surveys routinely show that personal protection is the number one stated reason for gun ownership now.

As new data is released in the new year, we should have a better understanding of how the new normal for gun sales is going to look moving forward.

2021 certainly proved to be a year full of big gun news. It’s already looking like 2022 could be another consequential year.

Podcast: Forgotten Weapons’ Ian McCollum on the Appeal of Collecting Firearms
By Stephen Gutowski

One of my favorite YouTubers joins me on this week’s episode of the podcast. Ian McCollum has built Forgotten Weapons into the premier firearms history publication.

His videos documenting some of the world’s rarest and most interesting firearms have been viewed nearly a billion times. His depth of knowledge on guns dating to the early 19th century is unrivaled and his ability to explain the unique, and often complex, mechanisms unique to hundreds of different guns from across the globe is impressive. And the way he is able to connect the development of the gun with the historical context to create a compelling story sits at the core of what makes his channel so successful.

We talk about what motivated Ian to get into making gun videos and how he chooses which guns to make videos about. What is it that makes a gun a Forgotten Weapon? What is it about a gun’s history that makes it interesting enough to grab hold of millions of eyeballs?

We also get into what it’s like to run a successful gun channel while YouTube is continually cracking down on gun content. How does Forgotten Weapons deal with not being able to rely on YouTube for ad revenue?

Plus, Ian discusses whether there were guns throughout history that should’ve been more popular than they were. He also talks about where gun design is headed and whether something like the Laugo Alien is going to lead to new innovation through the rest of the industry.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here.

You can also watch the full episode on our YouTube channel.

mounted police, rcmp, canadian
Royal Mounted Police | Photo by KeithJJ on Pixabay

Analysis: Will Canadians Hand in Their Recently-Banned Guns? [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Just four months remain before it becomes a crime to possess AR-15s and similar firearms in Canada. In the year and a half since the confiscation plan was announced only 160 guns of an estimated 100,000+ have been turned in.

So, how many will comply before the deadline arrives?

The answer is a bit less obvious than it appears at first glance. Yes, the compliance rate is extremely low right now and there is very little time before the deadline kicks in. However, the Canadian government has effectively incentivized people not to turn in their guns up to this point through basic incompetence.

The “buyback” part of the mandatory buyback has yet to come online. The details of it haven’t even been released. On top of that, the government has told gun owners if they choose to turn in their guns now they won’t be compensated whenever a buyback does appear.

It’s not clear at this point whether the lack of compliance is a sign most Canadians who own the affected guns will never turn them in or they’re just waiting for the compensation plan to kick in.

Many American gun owners may assume the majority of Canadian gun owners who haven’t turned in their guns will never do so. However, it remains to be seen if their neighbors to the north have the same inclination to resist gun seizures.

Efforts to confiscate guns, magazines, and accessories in America have consistently fallen flat.

The bumpstock ban enacted unilaterally under the Trump Administration collected very few of the devices despite former President Donald Trump (R.) being popular with many gun owners. Shortly after the ban, which made it a felony to possess the devices, went into effect in March 2019 the ATF reported Americans turned in just 582 of an estimated 500,000 bumpstocks.

Additionally, when New York expanded their definition of “assault weapons” in 2013 to include upwards of a million guns, only about 44,000 or four percent were actually registered by the deadline.

New Jersey saw even less compliance with its ammunition magazine confiscation. When the state lowered its magazine capacity restriction from 15 to 10 rounds in 2019 it made millions of magazines illegal to possess. State police reported that not a single one had been turned in nine months later.

None of these schemes involved strict enforcement, of course. There was no door-to-door effort to take any of these arms. In most cases, these laws are not enforced at all or only as arbitrary tack-ons to more serious violent crimes. But, having a potential felony hanging over their heads, despite how life-disrupting the consequences could be, has not been enough of a threat for most to comply.

Some factors that led to minuscule compliance in the United States may well apply in Canada. After all, they appear to be taking the same enforcement approach. The law seems to be written in the same confusing manner as many of the ones above and it appears to be garnering very little attention in the media as the deadline approaches.

Given the often broad and vague nature of the bans and lackluster attempts to inform those affected, many gun owners likely don’t even realize they’re supposed to turn in their guns, magazines, or accessories. The Canadian ban uses measures such as rifles capable of handling ammunition that produces “10,000 joules” of energy or bore diameter that will likely be unfamiliar to most gun owners.

There are about 100,000 registered guns the Canadian government estimates are affected by the new ban. The government can likely reach those owners who will then have to make a more pressing decision about whether to comply. However, the government admits there are many more affected by the law which are not registered and will be much harder to get the word out about.

Plus, ownership of the guns in question is far less common in Canada. While ARs are immensely popular in the United States with industry estimates putting the number owned by civilians at nearly 20 million, they are obviously not as popular across the border. So, those who have gone out of their way to pick them up may be committed to the idea of keeping them.

And, of course, many may be bothered by the implication they can no longer be trusted with their own firearms because they may turn into a mass murderer. Some may feel the guns are uniquely dangerous, as many gun-control advocates do, and turn them in anyway. Though, it is not common for people to buy guns they themselves agree are too dangerous for civilians to own. And gun owners often find the distinctions between guns that are banned and those allowed to be arbitrary or unimportant.

Still, cultural factors may have an opposing impact.

Canada does not have the same tradition of arms as the United States. Nobody does, really. Resistance to gun confiscation is quite literally built right into our founding mythos. The Red Coats that Paul Revere warned were coming, were going to Concord to seize a cache of powder and arms.

The shot heard round the world was fired during a standoff over a gun confiscation effort.

That tradition has carried up through to the modern era. The National Rifle Association, the largest gun group in America, has long declared “from my cold, dead hands” as their motto. Many American gun owners remain deeply committed to resisting any form of confiscation.

Our neighbors to the north achieved independence without an armed revolution. They have more in common with Australia or New Zealand in that regard. All three countries have now passed mass confiscation laws with little initial political pushback.

New Zealand’s 2019 mandatory buyback collected more than 56,000 guns. Australia managed to collect over 700,000 guns between its buybacks in 2001 and 2003.

Perhaps Canadians will be as inclined to turn them in as their former commonwealth cousins instead of following the more rebellious tendencies of their southern neighbors. Perhaps the government will extend the April deadline and announce the buyback details to make that easier. Time will tell.

Of course, even in those best-case scenarios the numbers aren’t as impressive as they might seem. Some estimates put New Zealand’s compliance rate at less than 30 percent and gun-control advocates are already calling for stricter measures in the wake of rising gun crime. Estimates for Australia’s compliance rate go as low as 20 percent and Australians have already replaced all of the guns taken out of circulation by the mass confiscation.

Then, even if Canadians do comply in large numbers, the question of whether any of this is actually effective will likely remain hotly debated. A Rand research review of Australia’s 25-year-old program published this year found little evidence it actually produced noticeable effects on even just firearm murder and suicide in the country. And the reduction in violent crime Australia experience after their gun ban was comparable to the one experienced in the United States during the same time period even as the U.S. saw tens-of-millions of new guns sold.

It will be interesting to see what the Canadian government does by April 2022, how Canadian gun owners react, and what impact it all has.

That’s it for now.

I’ll talk to you all again soon.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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


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