The Reload Analysis Newsletter

Members’ Newsletter: Who the Supreme Court May Leave Behind on Gun Carry, and Examining Media Silence on Chipman

As you know if you’ve been reading The Reload this week, a black ATF agent accused director nominee David Chipman of racial bias. Of course, you wouldn’t know that if you haven’t been reading The Reload because nobody in the mainstream media has even mentioned the allegation. I’ve got some thoughts on why that is.

But, first, I want to talk a little bit about a thought I had recently. If the Supreme Court does away with restrictive “may-issue” gun-carry permit regimes what will that look like in practice? Based on where we’ve seen it happen to this point, who will benefit? And who probably won’t?

Plus, speaking of gun carry, I talk at length with Wake Forest Professor David Yamane about how America’s laws have changed over the years. And how quickly those changes have accelerated in recent years.

The Supreme Court of the United States and the American flag
The Supreme Court of the United States and the American flag / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Will SCOTUS Striking Down May-Issue Carry Laws Actually Help Disadvantaged People Carry Guns? [Member Exclusive]

It’s fairly clear the Supreme Court is poised to strike down New York’s restrictive may-issue gun carry law. What’s far less clear is whether their decision will actually help those who aren’t relatively well off.

The Supreme Court is, of course, difficult to predict. And some experts have noted the outcome may not necessarily be a slam dunk for gun-right advocates. There is a real possibility the Court could punt or even uphold New York’s law.

But the most likely outcome is a ruling against the arbitrary nature of New York’s law. It’s unlikely the Court would have taken this case at all if they didn’t plan to reverse the lower court ruling upholding New York’s law. But the Court has been hesitant to initiate huge shifts in federal law overnight over the last decade or so.

So, they are unlikely to find gun-carry permitting to be completely unconstitutional. They’ll probably settle on eliminating the subjective aspects of may-issue permitting systems, effectively making shall-issue permitting the bare minimum law of the land. So, local and state governments won’t be able to arbitrarily deny permits to anyone able and willing to go through the permitting requirements.

That will be a significant boon to many of those who want to legally carry but live in one of the 8 states with may-issue laws–which could be up to 25 percent of the population.

But, recent history shows, it won’t be a boon to everyone. Illinois and Washington, D.C. were forced by federal courts to trash their may-issue laws in favor of shall-issue ones. They did exactly that, and more residents have been able to obtain permits as a result.

However, both localities have been able to put significant burdens on obtaining licenses. They require specialized 16-hour training programs that cost hundreds of dollars on top of the hundreds they charge in application and fingerprinting fees. And they require live-fire training while Washington, D.C., and Chicago have kept any public ranges from opening within city limits.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is another example of how officials who favor more restrictions on gun carry can impact even longstanding shall-issue laws in a state. While the number of gun-carry permits soared in the rest of the state during 2020, Philly found ways to restrict the process so much they actually issued fewer permits. And they consistently issue fewer permits than many other counties in the state–11 in 2020–despite having the largest population.

Though state or city officials can’t outright deny applicants a permit for not having what they deem a “good reason” for one, they can still make it extremely difficult for those without the means to obtain one. Many working-class people live inside cities that don’t own cars or have the kind of free time and money to make it through onerous permitting processes.

Even if the court does strike down may-issue gun-carry laws, government officials who don’t want civilians to carry guns will still have plenty of ways to restrict permits, mainly to well-off applicants.

Of course, this phenomenon is not limited to gun-carry permits. It’s a common issue with gun-purchase permits in places like Chicago and New York City as well. And gun-rights advocates have begun to have success challenging the arbitrary and restrictive nature of high permit fees. Perhaps this problem will be alleviated after a one, two punch of SCOTUS rulings.

Just don’t expect a ruling in the latest gun-carry case, even one that goes in favor of gun-rights advocates, to realistically open up permits for every law-abiding American who wants one.

Podcast: Wake Forest Professor David Yamane on the Spread of Gun Carry in America [Member Early Access]

This week, Wake Forest Professor David Yamane joined me to talk about the fascinating history of gun carry laws in America.

Professor Yamane has turned his attention to an under-researched area: the normal use of guns. While most academics focus their time studying the criminal use of firearms, David has focused on far more common uses of firearms in America. And one area he’s focused on in particular is gun carry.

Gun-carry laws have evolved tremendously since the founding of the United States. And the changes have only accelerated in recent decades. But not many books have been written on the trend. David is the only one I’m aware of who has authored a deeply knowledgable but concise guide to American gun carry laws throughout history.

We discussed how Tombstone, Arizona’s gun-carry laws have changed dramatically from the days of the shootout at the OK Corral to today. And we get into where gun-carry laws are now headed.

Plus, I give an update on the new allegations of racism levied by a black former agent against President Joe Biden’s ATF director nominee. And major media’s perplexing silence on the matter.

You can listen to or download the full episode here.

Or you can watch the full episode on YouTube here.

The White House set behind its security fence
The White House set behind its security fence / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Why is the Media Ignoring Accusations of Racism Against Biden’s ATF Nominee? [Member Exclusive]

This week The Reload published a major story on one of president Joe Biden’s nominees.

It featured a black ATF agent accusing director nominee David Chipman of attempting to derail his career with a false and racially-motivated accusation of cheating on a promotion assessment. A second former agent vouched for his credibility and said he was told about the complaint when it happened. The Department of Justice confirmed Chipman accused an agent of cheating on an assessment.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is demanding documents from the department because of the story. His office has also collected additional whistleblower accounts that corroborate the story.

But you wouldn’t know that if you only follow mainstream media outlets. There has not been a single mention of the story in The Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, POLITICO, and so on. It has been radio silence thus far.

That’s despite the fact that many of the country’s top reporters from many of these outlets have vouched for my credibility in the past few weeks. And for years before that.

I think there are those who cry media bias at the drop of a hat and it’s often done in bad faith. But that doesn’t mean the media is beyond reproach. And I’m skeptical this story would have been ignored by these same outlets if Chipman happened to be a Trump or Bush nominee. It’s difficult to envision a legitimate reason those outlets would be incurious about whether the allegations Chipman made a false allegation of cheating against a black agent due to racial bias. 

I would have preferred if my source had been willing to attach his name to his allegation. An identified source is always stronger than an anonymous one. But, as every outlet on all sides of the political divide know well, sometimes people have legitimate reasons for not wanting to be identified. Every major media outlet regularly grants anonymity for far less pressing reasons than those at play here.

The Department of Justice has denied the allegation Chipman harbors any racist beliefs. However, Chipman himself hasn’t issued any denials. The White House hasn’t commented at all.

Isn’t anyone in mainstream media interested in knowing if the potential head of a federal law enforcement agency has held racist believes or even acted on them? Or at the very least interested in seeing him deny the claim?

It’s not that nobody is aware of the story yet. Most outlets have recently covered Chipman’s stalled nomination. And Fox News has covered the racism allegation. So have other conservative outlets including Bearing Arms and Townhall.

USA Today and POLITICO also mentioned the previous allegation an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint was made against Chipman over comments he made implying black agents could not have passed a promotion assessment without cheating while working at the agency’s Detroit office. So, mainstream outlets are aware of these controversies. They’ve simply chosen not to do more with the story thus far.

Maybe more coverage is coming. It’s possible but I’m not holding my breath.

But, in the end, I’m not surprised by any of this. This story probably never would’ve seen the light of day without The Reload. And that’s why I founded The Reload. We’ll break stories that others either can’t or won’t. We’ll scrutinize powerful people. We’ll bring you serious, sober firearms reporting. Always.

I’m considering trying a new segment on the podcast that features quick interviews with members. Would you guys be interested in something like that? If so, just email me or leave a comment. I think it could be a fun segment!

That’s all I’ve got for you today. I’ll talk to you all again soon.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

Join For Sober, Serious Firearms Reporting & Analysis

Free Weekly Newsletter

Get the most important gun news

  • Weekly News & Analysis Newsletters
  • Access to Exclusive Posts
  • Early Access to the Podcast
  • Commenting Privileges
  • Exclusive Question & Answer Sessions
Buy Now
Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


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

Comments From Reload Members

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Member Login

Go back to the home page.

Sorry, only paid members have access to the full story.

Join For Sober, Serious Firearms Reporting & Analysis

  • Weekly News & Analysis Newsletters
  • Access to Exclusive Posts
  • Early Access to the Podcast
  • Commenting Privileges
  • Exclusive Question & Answer Sessions
Buy Now