The past week was scared by the slaughter of Israeli men, women, and children by Hamas. It was horrendous, and our prayers go out to everyone affected.
The news was followed by action on the part of the Israeli government. Not only are they carrying out a military response, but they are also loosening their gun laws. The changes aren’t as dramatic as what the Ukrainian government did in passing out guns to civilians on the street, but they are directionally similar in that they make it easier for Israelis to own and carry guns.
There was also a lot of gun news back home in America, especially at the Supreme Court. The Federal Government asked the High Court to review two new gun cases dealing with drug users and non-violent felons. And we saw a new poll showing the landmark Bruen decision’s core holding is as popular as ever.
Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman also takes a close look at what the defendant in the gun case SCOTUS is currently litigating is arguing.
President Biden and Congress also teamed up to fix a mess of their own making this week. One that will affect high school students across the country. And Jake explores the differences between Massachusetts’s new gun-control bill and the one that couldn’t make it through the state’s deep-blue legislature.
Plus, the head of USCCA’s new political arm joins the podcast to explain their approach.
Israel Loosens Gun Laws After Unprecedented Terror Attack
By Stephen Gutowski
It will now be easier for Israelis to carry firearms for self-defense in the wake of the worst terror attack in the nation’s history.
Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir announced on Sunday he has ordered officials responsible for issuing gun licenses to broaden its standards. As the death toll inflicted by terror group Hamas grew to over 600, Ben-Gvir said he wants more Israelis to be able to legally arm themselves.
“Today I directed the Firearms Licensing Division to go on an emergency operation in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves,” he posted, according to a Google translation. “The plan will take effect within 24 hours.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) wants the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to take up new gun cases.
This week, DOJ filed petitions for the Court to take up two cases. One case, United States v. Daniels, deals with whether a marijuana user can be barred from possessing guns. The other, Garland v. Range, deals with whether somebody who lied on an application for food stamps can.
Federal appeals courts ruled the Second Amendment protected both Patrick Darnell Daniels Jr. and Bryan David Range, invalidating their convictions. The DOJ wants the Supreme Court to reverse those lower court decisions and affirm the federal gun laws they called into question are constitutional.
The Supreme Court often gives the federal government deference in deciding which cases to take up, especially when in cases that would potentially settle a circuit split or resolve a situation where federal law is not being equally applied across the entire country. That’s the situation in both cases making them prime candidates for action by the Court. However, neither may result in a standalone case if the DOJ gets its way.
Poll: SCOTUS Gun Decision More Popular Than the Court Itself
By Jake Fogleman
Even while the Court itself loses some esteem among the broader public, support for its core holding in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen has remained high.
A new Marquette University law school poll released Wednesday found 64 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court finding that “subject to some restrictions, the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” Meanwhile, just 36 percent of adults said they oppose the decision.
The poll also identified a substantial intensity gap between supporters and opponents of the decision. Forty percent of respondents, the largest single share, said they “strongly favor” the Court’s ruling. By contrast, only 15 percent of adults, the smallest share, said they “strongly oppose” it.
Massachusetts lawmakers are back with another attempt to pass sweeping gun legislation and blunt the effects of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision. As with its failed previous effort, the new proposal aims to go much further than any other state’s efforts.
Massachusetts Representative Michael Day (D.) introduced HD 4607 last week. The bill replaces HD 4420—a sweeping 140-page bill its critics dubbed the “Lawful Citizens Imprisonment Act.” Its onerous regulations ultimately proved too controversial for even the state’s supermajority Democratic-controlled House to advance. Now, Day is back with a new bill, ostensibly meant to address some of the concerns critics had with his original effort, but no less aimed at the High Court.
“The U.S. Supreme Court, too, under the sway of a new conservative majority, has weakened gun safety laws and made it easier for millions of Americans to carry and use guns in public,” Day wrote in an Op-ed touting his bill published with Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano (D.). “We believe the Supreme Court’s recent decision was dangerous, and that we can and must do more in Massachusetts.”
It’s worth examining how different the new proposal is from the initial effort.
Biden Signs Law Restoring Funding to Hunter Safety Programs in Schools
By Stephen Gutowski
Congress and President Joe Biden have undone a mess of their own making.
On Friday, Biden signed the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act into law. Congress passed the law nearly unanimously. The legislation restores funding for school hunting and archery training courses.
“The benefits of hunter education and archery programs should be fully recognized as these classes teach future generations the important skills of public safety, confidence, and comradery,” Representative Richard Hudson (R., N.C.), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.
This week, we’re taking an in-depth look at a new player in the gun politics space.
Although, the main reason this group is worth paying attention to is that they aren’t new to being an influential gun group. The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) has been a significant presence in concealed-carry insurance and firearms training for a decade. They created a Super PAC two years ago as their first foray into organized political activism, and now they’ve followed that up by forming a new 501(c)(4) non-profit.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about a federal judge finding braced pistols are “in common use” and protected by the Second Amendment.
With oral arguments in the Court’s next big Second Amendment case less than a month out, all eyes are on how the two sides plan to argue United States v. Rahimi.
We reviewed the Government’s brief when it came out in August. Now, let’s look at Defendant Zackey Rahimi’s newly filed arguments with the Court. His brief lays out the leading critique of the domestic violence restraining order gun ban he was charged with violating. Unsurprisingly, his lawyers would like the High Court to uphold the Fifth Circuit ruling striking down that law as unconstitutional and vacating Rahimi’s conviction.
“This Court should affirm the decision below because it faithfully applied the holdings and reasoning of District of Columbia v. Heller and New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen,” the brief opens.
The brief primarily accuses the Government of failing to properly engage with the text, history, and tradition test required under Bruen in its justification for 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8). The brief asserts that’s because America’s Founding Era approach to individuals considered part of “the People” protected by the Second Amendment foreclosed categorical disarmament.
“The Second Amendment protects a U.S. citizen’s right to keep firearms within the home for self-defense and defense of others. Section 922(g)(8) severely punishes any exercise of that right,” Rahimi’s lawyers wrote. “Because there is no historical tradition of any similar restriction, the law is unconstitutional on its face.”
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Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.