Newsletter: Massive Virginia Gun-Control Package Vetoed

This week, we learned the destiny of a huge collection of gun-control measures that have been sitting on Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk.

There had been some suspense over what Youngkin might do with all the bills. His veto pen put an end to the speculation and sealed the fate of dozens of new restrictions. But Youngkin uniformly rejecting a slew of aggressive gun policies that only made it to his desk on party-line votes also capped off a back-and-forth that shed a lot of light on the state of the fight over guns.

That lesson leads in well to the Presidential race, where the same polarization is at play. The incumbent in that race is facing a tough task to win re-election, and the latest measure of his performance on guns paints an ugly picture. Fewer than 30 percent of Americans now approve of how Joe Biden has handled gun policy through his first term.

The gun industry faced another setback in a liability suit this week. A federal judge determined Mexico’s lawsuit against Arizona gun dealers could move forward despite liability protections afforded under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. It’s the second case where Mexico has cleared early procedural hurdles to move forward with its suits.

Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman also examines whether Colorado is likely to pass an AR-15 ban of its own this year. If you’re a Reload Member, you should definitely check that detailed analysis piece out.

Plus, FIRE’s First Amendment Scholar Bob Corn-Revere joins the podcast to discuss how the NRA faired in oral arguments for its Supreme Court free speech case.

A sign welcoming drivers to Virginia
A sign welcoming drivers to Virginia / Stephen Gutowski

Youngkin Vetoes Slew of Virginia Gun-Control Bills
By Stephen Gutowski

Dozens of new gun restrictions won’t become law in Virginia.

That’s because Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed them this week. He rejected measures that did everything from banning the sale of AR-15s and other guns to restricting gun-carry to expanding the state’s “Red Flag” law. All told, he vetoed 30 different gun-control measures.

“I swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of Virginia, and that absolutely includes protecting the right of law-abiding Virginians to keep and bear arms,” Youngkin told The Reload.

Click here to read more.

The trigger of an AR-15 on display at SHOT Show 2024
The trigger of an AR-15 on display at SHOT Show 2024 / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Virginia’s Gun Politics Mirror America’s Polarization [Member Analysis]
By Stephen Gutowski

This week, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R.) sided with his party and vetoed a slew of gun-control bills. That came after those bills made it to his desk from the Democratically-controlled legislature on strict party-line votes. The purple state’s back-and-forth fight over gun policy encapsulates that of the nation at large.

On Tuesday, Youngkin rejected 30 different gun bills. The move cemented Virginia’s gun laws in nearly the same place they were before the legislative session began. Youngkin argued Virginia already “has some of the strictest gun laws in the country,” and the proposals would “affect law-abiding citizens” by “violating our constitutional rights.”

Virginia Democrats trashed his decision. House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D.) said she is “ashamed of the Governor’s vetoes.” House Democratic Caucus Chair Kathy Tran said they “threaten the safety and prosperity of our communities across the commonwealth.”

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read the rest. If not, join today for exclusive access!

President Joe Biden speaks to families of the Buffalo shooting victims on May 17th, 2022
President Joe Biden speaks to families of the Buffalo shooting victims on May 17th, 2022 / Screenshot

Poll: Biden Approval on Guns Falls Below 30 Percent
By Stephen Gutowski

Americans are unhappy with how President Joe Biden has handled gun policy.

On Wednesday, Yougov and The Economist released a poll indicating just 29 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s performance on guns. That’s down seven points from the last time the poll was conducted in February. 54 percent disapproved of his performance, up four points from the previous poll.

The latest results, taken from a poll conducted between March 24th and the 26th, put Biden at his lowest approval rating on guns since last summer.

Click here to read more.

A collection of rifles on sale at a Virginia gun store in July 2023
A collection of rifles on sale at a Virginia gun store in July 2023 / Stephen Gutowski

Judge Greenlights Mexico’s Lawsuit Against Arizona Gun Sellers
By Jake Fogleman

Mexico can continue to sue five Arizona gun businesses over criminal gun trafficking through the southern border, a federal judge ruled Monday.

US District Judge Rosemary Marquez denied the firearms dealers’ request to have the case dismissed under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). She rejected claims that the statute, which generally prohibits lawsuits against the gun industry for crimes committed by third parties, barred Mexico’s allegations that the gun dealers’ sales practices helped fuel criminal violence south of the border. She found Mexico met the bar to carry on with some of its claims, such as negligent entrustment of firearms to dangerous buyers or unjust enrichment through those sales, while tossing several others.

Click here to continue reading.

Podcast: FIRE’s First Amendment Scholar on the NRA’s Supreme Court Case
By Stephen Gutowski

This week, we’re looking at another Supreme Court case. This one involves the National Rifle Association, but not the Second Amendment. Instead, NRA v. Vullo is a First Amendment claim.

On Monday, the High Court held oral arguments in the case. So, we’ve got FIRE’s Bob Corn-Revere on the show to discuss how those went. He filed a brief in support of the NRA on behalf of the group. But he also has a long history in First Amendment litigation, including at the Supreme Court.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about a report that shows the Maine shooter could have and should have been disarmed.

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. An auto-generated transcript of the show is available here.

AR-15s in a booth at SHOT Show 2024
AR-15s in a booth at SHOT Show 2024 / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Will Colorado Ban ‘Assault Weapons’ This Year? [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

Gun-control advocates in the Centennial State hit a new milestone this week by getting an “assault weapon” ban passed out of a House committee. Whether that momentum will translate into law, however, remains quite murky.

On a 7-3 party-line vote, House Democrats advanced HB24-1292 out of the Judiciary Committee and onto the floor early Wednesday morning after a marathon hearing that lasted more than 14 hours and saw more than 600 people testify on the bill.

That marked the first time a sales ban on AR-15s and other semi-automatic firearms has ever passed out of a committee in Colorado’s history. It is also a quick reversal of fortune for AR-15 ban supporters since a similar measure died just last year in the same committee when multiple Democrats crossed over to vote against it alongside Republicans.

With the wind at their backs and near supermajority control of the state legislature, on paper, Colorado Democrats appear to have their best opportunity yet to make the state the eleventh in the nation to adopt a ban on sales of popular guns. But significant hurdles remain.

Here’s a look at the road ahead for supporters of the gun ban effort.

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!

Outside The Reload

Parks, bars, protests stripped from bill that would create gun-free zones in Colorado | The Denver Post | By Nick Coltrain

The Second Amendment on Appeal Post-Bruen | Duke Center for Firearms Law | By Jake Charles

Kamala Harris announces new office to implement ‘red flag’ gun control laws | The Guardian | By Richard Luscombe

Wyoming governor vetoes bill to allow concealed carry in public schools and meetings | ABC News | By Mead Gruver

Washington governor signs package of new gun control bills | The Seattle Times | By Jim Brunner

Gun rights YouTuber Brandon Herrera gains momentum in race against U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales | Texas Tribune | By Matthew Choi and Renzo Downey

CT ghost gun lawsuit puts Florida company out of business | CT Insider | By Peter Yankowski

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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