Newsletter: Biden Calls for More Gun Control as Election Rematch Locks in

I made it back from my talk with a Columbia University class in time to watch the State of the Union. Discussing gun policy and politics with some very smart and open-minded students was quite a lot more enjoyable than watching a lengthy political speech. But we did get some news out of the State of the Union.

President Joe Biden called, once again, for a ban on AR-15s and other popular firearms. I explain in a members’ piece why that might be a problem for his re-election bid.

Permitless carry advocates got a somewhat expected boost this week, too. After a series of stops and starts, South Carolina eliminated the permit requirement for concealed gun-carry. That puts the number at 29, which is an incredible expansion for the policy in just about 15 years. But Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman explains why the short-term ceiling for permitless carry may now have arrived.

Plus, NRA whistle-blower Phil Journey joins the podcast to explain his vision of the group’s future. And the ACLU defends its decision to help the gun-rights group in its First Amendment case at the Supreme Court but also trashes the NRA’s mission.

President Joe Biden gives his 2023 state of the union speech
President Joe Biden gives his 2023 state of the union speech / White House

Biden Doubles Down on AR-15 Ban in State of the Union Speech
By Stephen Gutowski

Headed into a tough re-election bid, President Joe Biden signaled he would stay the course on his aggressive push for new gun restrictions during his speech to the nation on Thursday.

The President laid out his view of how the country is fairing and his agenda for a potential second term. Part of that agenda is to pass new gun restrictions. Biden indicated passing and signing a new ban on popular firearms such as the AR-15 and other so-called “assault weapons” was at the top of his priority list on that front.

“I’m demanding a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said in his State of the Union address.

Click here to read the rest.

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An attendee examines a pistol optic at SHOT Show 2024
An attendee examines a pistol optic at SHOT Show 2024 / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Biden Won’t Track to Middle on Guns as Election Rematch Confirmed [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Despite trailing in the polls against former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden remains committed to his approach on gun policy.

With their respective primaries effectively wrapped up after they each won nearly all of the Super Tuesday contests, the 2024 election will be a 2020 rematch. It’s one most Americans didn’t want, and one each party’s most committed voters seem to believe they can’t lose. Of course, the polling suggests otherwise.

Trump is currently leading by about two points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. He’s led there for the entire year. But never by more than a few points. And there’s reason to think he should be up by significantly more, given how poor Biden’s approval rating has become. There’s also reason to believe Biden’s numbers could improve since a not-insignificant share of his disapproval is driven by voters in his party or people who previously picked him over Trump in 2020.

Either way, the most likely scenario for this race between two deeply unpopular candidates is one in which the margin of victory is razor-thin. That was the case in the last two elections, after all. In that scenario, persuadable voters become very important, which makes sticking to political positions primarily favored by partisans potentially perilous. That’s why moderating on gun policy could prove to help Biden—or Trump.

But President Biden’s State of the Union address certainly suggests he doesn’t plan to take that approach, though.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read the rest. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this and hundreds of other pieces!

A 1911 pistol holstered in a kydex holster
A 1911 pistol holstered in a kydex holster / Stephen Gutowski

South Carolina Lawmakers Pass Permitless Gun-Carry
By Jake Fogleman

Palmetto State lawmakers officially became the latest to do away with permitting requirements for public gun-carry.

The South Carolina Senate passed H. 3594 by a 28-18 vote on Wednesday. The measure will allow adults eligible to own a handgun to carry it in public, openly or concealed, without a permit. It now heads to the desk of Governor Henry McMaster (R.), who has pledged to sign it into law.

The bill’s passage clears the way for South Carolina to become the 29th state to adopt permitless carry and the 27th since 2010, in what has arguably been the most successful policy push of the modern American gun-rights movement.

Click here to read more.

A selection of holsters on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting
A selection of holsters on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Permitless Concealed Carry Cap is Fast Approaching [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

Gun-rights advocates have had astonishing success in popularizing permitless gun-carry around the country. But the hurdles to adding new states will soon become much higher.

Louisiana became the latest to join the ranks of states to do away with permitting requirements for concealed carry this week when its legislature officially passed Senate Bill 1. The measure will allow any adult eligible to own a handgun to carry it concealed in public without a permit. Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry (R.) has already pledged to sign the measure into law.

Once he does, the permitless carry count will officially stand at 28 states.

That’s a big win for gun-rights advocates at the end of a long road. But the tally is unlikely to tick up much higher than that, at least not for the foreseeable future.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this piece and hundreds of others!

A line of AR-15 triggers on display at Shot Show 2024
A line of AR-15 triggers on display at Shot Show 2024 / Stephen Gutowski

ACLU Defends Taking Up NRA Supreme Court Case, Trashes Guns
By Stephen Gutowski

The American Civil Liberties Union had harsh words for the National Rifle Association’s mission of “promoting guns,” even as the legal group justified its decision to represent the gun group in its upcoming appeal to the nation’s highest court.

On Monday, the legal group published a lengthy article explaining its view of NRA v. Vullo. The ACLU argued former New York banking official Maria Vullo had tried to compel “private companies to blacklist the NRA” and letting those actions stand risks creating “a loophole in the First Amendment’s protections.” But it also went out of its way to note the ACLU doesn’t support the NRA and even cast Vullo’s motivations in a positive light.

“The ACLU disagrees sharply with the NRA on many issues, yet we are representing the group in this case because of the First Amendment principles at stake,” Jennesa Calvo-Friedman, an ACLU staff attorney, wrote in a post for the group where she also said, “even those who oppose government censorship may be sympathetic to New York’s efforts to shut down the NRA.”

Click here to continue reading.

Podcast: NRA Whistle-Blower on the Group’s Corruption Verdict, Path Forward
By Stephen Gutowski

Last week, a jury found the NRA did not safeguard its charitable fund or those who raised concerns about how they were being spent on former CEO Wayne LaPierre’s lavish personal expenses. This week, we have one of those whistle-blowers on the show to give his view of the verdict as well as the group’s future.

Former NRA board member Judge Phillip Journey was among the eight insiders the jury said didn’t receive protection when he spoke out about the group’s mismanagement. He said the jury came to the correct conclusion. And he argued Judge Joel Cohen should appoint a monitor to make sure corruption is rooted out of the organization for good.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I dissect oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s bump stock ban case. We also go through the gun news of the week in our headlines section.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. Video of the episode is available on our YouTube channel.

Outside The Reload

The NRA Is Weaker Than Ever. How Much Does That Matter? | New York Magazine | By Benjamin Hart

NRA Trial Judge Says He’ll Look for ‘Private Remedies’ for Gun Group’s Reform | The Trace | By Sunny Sone

As the NRA struggles, the NSSF becomes more influential in D.C. | NBC News | By Suzy Khimm

LGBTQ+ Gun Owners Are Breaching the Right-Wing Arms Bubble | Washingtonian | By Andrew Beaujon

Seven States Move to Tax Guns and Ammo | The Trace | By Chip Brownlee

Rules on firearms storage, open-carry, buybacks, and gun dealers advance in Washington Legislature | KUOW | By Amy Radil

Philippines Relaxes Rules for Rifles to Counter Threats from China | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

Congressional budget deal includes VA funding hike, firearm ownership protections | Military Times | By Leo Shane III

‘Rust’ Armorer Convicted of Manslaughter in Alec Baldwin Shooting | New York Times | By Julia Jacobs

That’s it for this week in guns.

If you want to hear expert analysis of these stories and more, make sure you grab a Reload membership to get our exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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


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