Newsletter: Biden’s Brace Ban Goes into Effect as Injunctions Mount

A collection of federal courts swooped in right at the deadline this week to block enforcement of Joe Biden’s pistol-brace ban. But there are some catches.

The main one is that the injunctions don’t apply to everyone. In fact, there was even some confusion about who exactly they do apply to earlier this week. I explain exactly what’s going on with these court rulings and where they leave one of President Biden’s biggest gun agenda items.

We also got new insight into how gun-control advocates are trying to influence Hollywood’s depiction of firearms in their TV shows and movies. Stephen Bole, our summer intern from the National Journalism Center, looks at a guide from USC that heavily sources its claims from Brady United and Everytown for Gun Safety.

Bole also updates us on two new statewide bans against using specialized credit card codes to track sales at gun retailers and the ATF’s reaction to Minnesota legalizing marijuana.

Meanwhile, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman looks at a new law in Texas that requires all schools to have armed security. And I explain why President Biden’s abysmal approval rating on gun policy is unlikely to rise anytime soon.

Plus, Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey joins the podcast to break down the gunfight between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump. And I give an update on my experience trying out appendix carry with the Phlster Enigma. What do you guys think? Should I switch over?

We also have a cross-promotion this week. As The Reload enters its third year, I’m looking for ways to keep the publication growing. So, when Ari David from Upward News reached out about sharing our newsletters across our respective email lists, I thought it made a lot of sense. Upward News is a startup that tries to aggregate and analyze the news for conservative-leaning readers in a sensible way that shuns much of the overheated rhetoric and bombast you often find elsewhere. I like that approach. So, I’m a subscriber. I think it’s definitely worth your time to check out. We’ve got more info on them below.

A gun equipped with a pistol brace on sale at a Virginia gun store before the ban went into effect
A gun equipped with a pistol brace on sale at a Virginia gun store before the ban went into effect / Stephen Gutowski

Third Injunction Issued Against Biden Pistol Brace Ban on Eve of Enforcement
By Stephen Gutowski

The ATF can’t enforce its pistol-brace ban against Texas state employees and Gun Owners of America (GOA) members.

That’s the ruling a federal judge handed down just hours before the ban is set to go into effect. On Wednesday, Judge Drew B. Tipton issued a preliminary injunction against the ban. He found the pistol-brace ban is likely unconstitutional, and should be blocked as the case against it moves forward.

“Defendants are ENJOINED from enforcing the Final Rule against (1) the private Plaintiffs in this case, including its current members and their resident family members, and (2) individuals employed directly by the State of Texas or its agencies,” Judge Tipon wrote in Texas v. ATF.

Click here to read more.

A pistol brace installed on a firearm for sale in a Virginia gun store before the ban went into place
A pistol brace installed on a firearm for sale in a Virginia gun store before the ban went into place / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: What the Injunctions Against Biden’s Brace Ban Actually Do [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Three federal court judges and one appeals panel have now issued injunctions against President Joe Biden’s pistol-brace ban. Worse for him and the ATF, the judges have clarified those injunctions extend to millions of members of a collection of gun-rights groups. However, they don’t extend to everyone.

This is a clear setback for Biden, the brace ban, and his larger effort to enact new gun restrictions through executive actions. But it isn’t a total win for gun-rights activists.

On Wednesday, three different federal courts released orders saying the ATF could not enforce the ban. They enjoined the agency against arresting the named plaintiffs in the case over the rule. The fact that three major gun-rights groups were named plaintiffs in those cases complicated things a bit. At first, it was unclear whether members of the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and Gun Owners of America (GOA) were covered by the injunctions.

FPC and SAF filed motions asking the courts to clarify shortly after the rulings came down, and the courts did.

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

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Pistols on display in a Pennsylvania gun store during April 2023
Pistols on display in a Pennsylvania gun store during April 2023 / Stephen Gutowski

USC Highlights Gun-Control Groups’ Talking Points in Guide Intended to Influence Hollywood’s Depiction of Guns
By Stephen Bole

The University of Southern California (USC) released a new guide for filmmakers that hopes to stigmatize some kinds of gun use in entertainment.

Trigger Warning: Gun Guidelines for Media,” published last week, provides guidance on how TV shows, movies, and even news shows should approach issues such as officer-involved shootings, gun storage, mass shootings, school shootings, and partner violence. USC said it aimed to change the impact that media have on how Americans view guns. However, despite claims the guide is about promoting “responsible gun ownership,” the school’s guide repeated a number of disputed studies and claims commonly used by gun-control groups.

“From ‘designated driver’ to ‘buckle up,’ we all know how Hollywood helped make our roads safer by depicting responsible driving. Could there be a better moment than this one for the entertainment industry to get behind a similar effort for gun safety, and depict responsible gun ownership?” Kate Folb, director of USC’s Hollywood, Health & Society, which published the guide, said in a press release. “TV shows are in a unique position to change the narrative, reset the bar, and provide representation of safe, responsible behavior when it comes to firearms.”

Click here to read more.

Pistols on display at the NRA's 2023 Annual Meeting
Pistols on display at the NRA’s 2023 Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

Montana, North Dakota Block Gun Retailer Tracking Codes
By Stephen Bole

Republicans continue to fight against the introduction of a financial tracking code for firearm retailers.

On May 19th, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R.) signed Senate Bill 359, which blocks transactions at firearm retailers from being flagged with a Merchant Category Code (MCC). Gianforte signed the law less than a month after North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (R.) signed a version in his state. Montana and North Dakota join Idaho, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Florida in passing laws to bar the use of specialized MCC codes for gun stores.

The laws represent continuing momentum in the firearms industry’s pushback against gun-control advocates’ efforts to enlist the financial industry in their work to restrict gun sales. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), an industry trade group, said “gun owners should worry about what’s in their wallet, not who’s in their wallet” and the collection of new financial regulations accomplish that goal.

Click here to read the full piece.

Texas flag
The Texas state flag blowing in the wind / Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Texas Lawmakers Pass Bill Requiring Armed Security at All Schools
By Jake Fogleman

Lawmakers in the Lone Star State have passed a sweeping school safety bill to harden schools to prevent future attacks.

The Texas legislature gave final approval on Sunday to a bill that would require armed security on every school campus in the state and boost mental health training for school employees, among other provisions. It reached Governor Greg Abbott’s (R.) desk on Tuesday. His office did not respond to a request for comment, but he is expected to sign the bill into law.

The bill’s passage arrives shortly after the first anniversary of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas. That school shooting, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers, is the deadliest in Texas history and one of the worst in American history.

The police response to the Uvalde shooting drew heavy criticism for the inaction of responding officers. It reignited the political debate over school safety, armed responses to mass shootings, and gun control. The bill reflects Republicans’ preference for providing armed deterrence and better mental health screenings to prevent future attacks, and its passage could serve as a model to other red states searching for politically palatable measures to curb school shootings.

Click here to read the rest.

A row of handguns on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting
A row of handguns on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

ATF Reminds Marijuana Users of Gun Restrictions After Minnesota Decriminalization
By Stephen Bole

As marijuana restrictions loosen around the country, the ATF wants Americans to know users of the drug are still prohibited from owning guns.

On Tuesday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) clarified what Minnesota’s recent legalization of marijuana means for current and future firearms owners in the state. The agency said the federal Gun Control Act of 1968 bars anyone who unlawfully uses a controlled substance from possessing guns or ammunition. And, while marijuana is now decriminalized in Minnesota and 23 other states, use of the drug is still unlawful under federal law.

“Until marijuana is legalized federally, firearms owners and possessors should be mindful that it remains federally illegal to mix marijuana with firearms and ammunition.” Jeff Reed, an ATF agent, said in a press release.

Although cannabis use is now legal in nearly half of the U.S. states and decriminalized in multiple others, the federal government has not budged on prohibitions surrounding gun and marijuana use. That has sparked efforts by some gun-rights advocates to change the law. Minnesota’s legalization adds momentum to the decriminalization movement and provides further opportunities for gun-rights advocates to challenge the status quo.

Click here to read the rest.

Podcast: Will DeSantis Attacks on Trump Gun Record Work? (Featuring Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey)
By Stephen Gutowski

This week, we have one of the people who inspired me to get into political writing all the way back in college.

Ed Morrissey, the managing editor of Hot Air, has long been one of the most insightful conservative political analysts out there. He joins the show to break down the early days of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, especially his latest attacks on frontrunner Donald Trump’s gun record. In one of his first interviews after launching his campaign, DeSantis said Trump’s 2018 call to ‘take the guns first, go through due process second’ was “wrong” and “unconstitutional.”

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I do our best to explain the latest developments with the injunctions against Biden’s pistol-brace ban. (The Fifth Circuit issued a clarification that it does cover FPC members and Maxim Defense customers after we recorded the episode)

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. Video of the episode is also available on our YouTube channel. As always, Reload Members get access on Sunday. Everyone else can listen when it goes public on Monday.

President Biden reacts to a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school
President Biden reacts to a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school / Screenshot

Analysis: Biden’s Poor Approval on Guns Unlikely to Rise Anytime Soon [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Just 31 percent of Americans think President Joe Biden is doing a good job of handling gun policy. That number marks a new low, but it’s also unlikely to rise much before the 2024 election.

On Monday, The Associated Press (AP) and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released a poll that showed Biden’s approval on the issue dropped five points from last June. A CNN/SSRS poll released on Friday found Biden’s approval falling to an all-time low as well, with just 30 percent of respondents happy with his performance. Both found his approval on guns was significantly lower than his overall approval rating.

Biden’s general approval, as you might expect, is highly polarized. Democrats are more likely to approve of the job he’s doing than Republicans. That’s true on gun policy as well, but to a lesser degree because Democrats are almost evenly split on how he’s handled that issue.

The AP poll shows 50 percent of Democrats approve of how the president has handled firearms, but 48 percent disapprove. Those are lower marks than they give him on the economy, immigration, and student loans.

But the underperformance on gun policy isn’t new for Biden. His approval on the issue has languished behind his general approval since early in his presidency. There are at least two factors at play that drive that dynamic.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, join today to read the whole piece!

Outside The Reload

Hunter Biden’s Lawyers Cite Landmark Gun Ruling in Bid to Stave Off Charges | New York Times | By Glenn Thrush and Michael S. Schmidt

Constitutional Carry set for final vote in Louisiana | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

New Jersey’s Effort to Pave the Way for Smart Guns Hits Another Bump | The Trace | By Champe Barton

NY passed a microstamping gun law. It’s already months behind schedule. | Gothamist | By Jon Campbell

U.S. judge upholds gun ban for those on probation for misdemeanors | Washington Post | By Spencer S. Hsu

Ghost gun maker Polymer80 agrees to pay LA $5 million and abide by new regulations | Courthouse News Service | By Hillel Aron

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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