Newsletter: Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee Gets Confirmed

The Supreme Court’s makeup is about to change. Ketanji Brown Jackson will officially become the first African-American woman to be seated on the High Court after being confirmed in a 53 to 47 vote on Thursday. But, what does her appointment mean for the balance on Second Amendment litigation?

I sum up what’s been said about her, what she’s said, and what it all means.

NBC News made the news this week by potentially violating federal gun laws surrounding “ghost guns” during a report on how loose they are. And it’s not the first time a major media outlet has done that. I try to answer why reporters keep breaking the very laws they’re reporting need to be tightened.

Gun-control advocates were active this week as well.

Several groups attempted to revive an old tactic. They’re calling on the Federal Trade Commission to effectively ban gun ads that claim guns are beneficial for home defense. Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) suggested federalizing California’s gun laws as a solution to a horrible shootout in California over the weekend.

I also do a deep dive into the latest data we have on all those new gun owners from the past two years. What it shows is pretty fascinating.

Plus, NRO’s Charles Cooke joins the podcast to talk about Florida’s last chance to pass permitless carry this year.


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks after President Joe Biden (D.) announces her nomination for the Supreme Court
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks after President Joe Biden (D.) announces her nomination for the Supreme Court / Screenshot

Ketanji Brown Jackson Appointed to the Supreme Court
By Stephen Gutowski

Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the next Justice of the Supreme Court.

By a vote of 53 to 47, the Senate approved President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee on Thursday. Jackson, the first African-American woman appointed to the Court, arrives as a wild card on Second Amendment issues.

Gun-control groups have backed her nomination by citing President Biden’s personal record of advocating for stricter gun laws. Gun-rights groups have opposed her nomination for the same reason. But neither side has pointed to decisions or arguments Jackson made during her legal career as the reason for their decisions.

Click here to continue reading.


A picture of NBC studios in New York
A picture of NBC studios in New York / Photo by Ramiro Checchi on Unsplash

ATF Responds to Calls for Investigation of Potentially Unlawful NBC News ‘Ghost Gun’ Segment
By Stephen Gutowski

NBC News may have violated state and federal gun laws while attempting to demonstrate how loose they are during a recent report.

A collection of gun-rights groups are calling for an investigation into a March 17th report from the network. The groups said an NBC reporter’s decision to purchase a “ghost gun” kit outside his home state and then give it to others to build into a finished firearm may have violated state and federal law. The activists called for authorities to investigate the details of the purchase and transfer.

“We call on the Biden Justice Department to investigate possible violations of federal gun law, same as that agency would investigate any private citizen who had done the same thing,” Alan Gottlieb, head of the Second Amendment Foundation, said in a press release. “You don’t get a pass simply by working for NBC.”

Click here to read the full piece.


A printing press churns out copies of a newspaper
A printing press churns out copies of a newspaper / Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

Analysis: Why Reporters Keep Breaking Gun Laws While Trying to Prove They’re Too Loose [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

A lot of ink has been spilled over how major media outlets get gun politics, legislation, and culture wrong, but it has an even more startling shortcoming: ignorance of gun laws to the point of literal criminality.

The most recent example comes from NBC News. On March 17th, they aired a report purporting to show how easy it is to obtain and build an unserialized gun. But in the process, reporter Vaughn Hillyard may have run afoul of state and federal law. Gun-rights groups have called for an investigation into Hillyard’s actions, and the ATF has responded to those calls.

The legal limbo Hillyard now faces results from ambiguity over what level of competition a handgun frame has to reach before the ATF considers it a firearm under federal gun laws. The unfinished frame Hillyard bought at a Pennsylvania gun show is not considered a firearm because key components necessary to make the gun fire when assembled are missing.

If you’re already a Reload member, click here to read full analysis. If not, make sure you pick up a membership today! Your purchase will help fund our pursuit of sober, serious firearms reporting and analysis. It’ll also get you exclusive access to dozens of pieces like this one.


A display of Smith & Wesson AR-15s at the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show
A display of Smith & Wesson AR-15s at the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

Giffords, Brady Petition Biden Administration to Crack Down on Gun Advertising
By Jake Fogleman

Prominent gun-control groups are coming after gun ads.

The Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce (FACT), a coalition of lawyers representing the interests of some of the largest gun-control organizations in the country, petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday. They want the agency to crack down on “unfair, deceptive, and illegal advertising practices” by the firearms industry. The group claims promoting guns for home protection should be illegal.

“This petition demands that the FTC exercise its broad investigative and enforcement powers to investigate and regulate the gun industry’s advertising practices,” the petition reads. “The FTC’s inaction has allowed the gun industry to spend decades using unfair and deceptive advertising to sell deadly weapons to an American public that has been falsely led to believe that gun ownership is a safe way to protect their home and family.”

Click here to read more.


Podcast: National Review’s Charles Cooke on Florida Permitless Carry and Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee
By Stephen Gutowski

Florida is going to have a special session where Governor Ron DeSantis (R.) says he hopes permitless gun-carry is added to the agenda. So, who better to bring on the show to discuss this news than Florida Man Charles Cooke?

The National Review senior writer joined the podcast to give some insight into the state of the proposal. He said it will likely be an uphill battle to get the policy through the legislature even with the backing of DeSantis. He also explained the unique nature of Florida’s gun laws which lag behind those of other red states despite the Sunshine State’s reputation as the “Gunshine State.”

Cooke also weighed in on the success of the permitless carry movement thus far. He said the momentum generated by the incredible sweep gun-rights advocates have been able to pull of in such a short period of time will generate enough pressure to get the policy passed in Florida. But, he said, it might not be until next year.

We also look at what Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings revealed about her views on the Second Amendment.  She has a sparse record on guns, but she was nominated by a staunch gun-control proponent and the gun-control groups all support her. However, there is some reason to believe she may take a more expansive view of the Second Amendment than previous Democratic nominees.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman looks at new data on first-time gun owners and we have another member segment!

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

You can also watch the show on our YouTube channel.


Dianne Feinstein speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on July 21, 2021
Dianne Feinstein speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on July 21, 2021 / Screenshot

Dianne Feinstein Calls for Federal Adoption of California Gun Laws in Wake of California Shooting
By Stephen Gutowski

Federalizing California’s laws is the answer to preventing future mass shootings like the one that happened in California this weekend, according to one of the state’s senators.

Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) called for a collection of new federal gun laws in response to a shootout in Sacramento, California, on Sunday morning, which left six dead and a dozen injured. She said Congress should adopt universal background checks, bans on “assault weapons” and “ghost guns,” as well as an ammunition magazine capacity limit to prevent similar future killings.

“Congress knows what steps must be taken to stop these mass shootings, we just have to act,” Feinstein said in a press release.

Click here to read the full story.


A woman examines a handgun at a display during the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show
A woman examines a handgun at a display during the 2022 NRA Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: What We’ve Learned About All Those New Gun Owners [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

New research is confirming suspicions about the changing makeup and attitudes of recent gun buyers.

survey published on Thursday by the University of Chicago provides further credence for predictions about how gun owners are changing and how those changes could affect American politics. It backs up the idea gun ownership is growing, becoming more diverse, and that those first-time buyers are moving towards support for less-restrictive gun laws.

If you’re already a Reload member, click here to read full analysis. If not, make sure you pick up a membership today! Your purchase will help fund our pursuit of sober, serious firearms reporting and analysis. It’ll also get you exclusive access to dozens of pieces like this one.


Outside The Reload

‘Mere possession’ of gun doesn’t permit police deadly force, appeals court says | Washington Examiner | By Kaelan Deese

California may empower citizens to sue over illegal firearms | AP News | By Don Thompson

Biden to take second crack at filling top gun official role | Politico | By Laura Barron-Lopez and Christopher Cadelago

Philadelphia and St. Louis citizens defend themselves–with force | City Journal | By Thomas Hogan

Texas Gun Sales, Carry Permit Applications Tick Up in March | The Texan | By Daniel Friend


That’s it for this week in guns.

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

I’ll see you all next week.

Thanks,
Stephen Gutowski
Founder
The Reload

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