Things are moving fast here at The Reload. Our podcast is less than a month old, but it has already cracked the top 100 politics podcasts on Apple Podcasts. That’s very exciting!
If you haven’t subscribed yet, go ahead and check it out below or find it on your favorite podcast app. This week’s episode features Duke University’s Jake Charles talking about the ruling against California’s assault-weapons ban.
Once you’ve subscribed to the podcast (and given it a review!), make sure you read the deep dive I just wrote on the first-ever Gun Makers Match. Then you can read about how Heller has wiped out a surprising subset of gun-control laws, and also about the setback faced by permitless-carry advocates this week.
Plus, read the Supreme Court brief filed by the country’s biggest black gun-owners group that talks about the racist roots of New York’s gun-carry law.
PLA plastic starts to melt at about 260 degrees Fahrenheit. When dozens of garage gunsmiths gathered in St. Augustine at the end of June, the humidity made the Florida heat feel as though it may actually reach that point and ruin the first-ever Gun Makers Match.
Luckily for the participants, guns made from 3D-printed parts are more durable than most might expect. And the technology has come a lot farther over the last few years than most might realize.
So have the people involved. What started as the passion project of a small group of committed internet activists has broadened into a vibrant and growing community. And that boiling hot Saturday at Ancient City Shooting Range marked the first time a bunch of them gathered in one place to commiserate and test out their creations.
People came from all across the country to join in. They traveled from as far away as Washington state, California, Pennsylvania, and New York to put faces to screen names and flesh out, in a rather literal sense, their online personas. About a hundred people crowded into Ancient City Shooting Range to meet and compete alongside media from outlets big and small.
This week I cover the stories I broke about Republicans’ efforts to stop President Joe Biden’s gun agenda and ATF nominee. Then I talk with one of the top gun law researchers in the academic world.
Jake Charles, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University, joins me to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the recent California “assault weapons” ban ruling. While he agrees the opinion was written in a way that makes it accessible to ordinary people, he argues it doesn’t do much to convince anyone who isn’t already on the gun-rights side of the fence.
We go back and forth on the metaphors used by Judge Roger Benitez as well as the backlash to them. And we talk about how influential his ruling might end up being in the long run. Plus, we dive into the different legal standards Benitez employs in his ruling, especially his “Heller test.”
Jake brings his years of experience studying Second Amendment litigation and historical gun laws to the conversation, which helps him provide a level of insight you just can’t find elsewhere. That’s why I often quote him in my stories and why I wanted to have him on when I saw his take on the California ruling was different from much of what I’d seen in the gun community.
I think the conversation was fruitful and something you simply won’t find anywhere else. When I say I want to bring on people who are both knowledgeable and have a different point of view, Jake is exactly the kind of person I’m talking about.
You can listen to the full episode here or on your favorite podcasting app.
Or you can watch it below:
The Supreme Court’s 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision has led to a wave of laws being tossed as incompatible with the Second Amendment but, perhaps, not the ones people expect.
While Heller was specifically about whether or not Washington, D.C., could completely ban the ownership of handguns, it was also the first time the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment secured an individual right. Many people on both sides of the gun debate believed it would lead to a slew of gun-control laws being tossed. When the Court incorporated the Second Amendment to the states two years later by striking down Chicago’s handgun ban in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the excitement among gun-rights advocates built.
But there were few outright bans on handguns left to go once Chicago’s was gone.
And the Court has remained almost entirely silent on restrictions beyond handgun bans since that time. It has not decided any significant Second Amendment case on the merits since Heller. The reckoning for gun-control laws has been delayed on almost every front. Except one: stun guns.
Gun-rights supporters in Louisiana were dealt a surprising setback on Tuesday.
Multiple senators who voted to pass a permitless concealed carry bill flipped their votes during a first-of-its-kind veto override session. Republicans Patrick Connick, Louie Bernard, Franklin Foil, and Democrat Gary Smith switched sides on the vote in order to block the override. A fourth Republican who voted for the initial bill, Ronnie Johns, was also absent for the override vote due to surgery.
“At the end of the day, the legislature got it right,” Governor John Bel Edwards (D.) told WAFB after the override session ended on Wednesday.
The failed override means Louisianans will still need to obtain a permit from the state to carry a concealed firearm legally. It also marks the first major defeat for permitless-carry advocates this year. It signals the difficulty those advocates face as they attempt to expand the adoption of permitless carry beyond states where Republicans control all levers of the lawmaking process.
The New York gun-carry law facing a Supreme Court challenge has racist roots, a leading black gun-owner group says.
The National African American Gun Association (NAAGA) filed a brief against the law on Monday. The group argued New York’s provision that allows government officials to deny full gun-carry permits based on their subjective judgment of whether the applicant has a “good reason” for one is rooted in past American law. However, it said, those laws were explicitly adopted to deprive black Americans of their gun rights.
“During the colonial, founding, and early republic periods, slaves and even free blacks, particularly in the southern states, were either barred from carrying a firearm at all or were required to obtain a license to do so, which was subject to the discretion of a government official,” the group said in the brief. “African Americans were not considered as among ‘the people’ with the ‘right’ to ‘bear arms.’”
David Chipman’s chances of becoming the next director of the ATF diminished this week.
We reported on Tuesday that several Democratic senators remain on the fence about his nomination. Several other outlets confirmed as much. It seems more moderate members like Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Angus King (I., Maine), and Jon Tester (D., Mont.) remain undecided.
Their public fence-sitting turned out to be more than just posturing, since Chipman didn’t get a vote this week. That’s important because Chipman passed the hurdle of the Senate Judiciary Committee just before Congress went to recess. This was the first week back, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) could have put him to a full vote, but he didn’t.
That’s almost certainly because he doesn’t think he has the votes—at least, not yet.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.