This week we saw the latest attempt by two of the states with the nation’s strictest gun laws to respond to the Supreme Court’s gun-carry ruling. One more successfully than the other.
California and New York both tried to implement effectively the same new gun-carry restrictions. Opting to push the limits of the Court’s ruling in Bruen rather than take a more restrained approach, the states sought to pass new gun-carry laws. Those laws included a myriad of new hurdles for obtaining a permit, including subjective measures of “good moral character,” and new restrictions on where a gun can be carried, including all private property that doesn’t post a sign explicitly allowing carry.
California failed to pass its bill into law. New York faired better. It staved off an injunction against its law at the last moment and it is now in effect.
Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman takes a look at that ruling for members and explains why it’s not as much of a win for New York as it might seem at first.
The NRA is back in the news too. Dissident board member Philip Journey appears to be on his way out, and not by his choice.
The federal courts have made several moves that gun-rights advocates will be happy with. A judge blocked Boulder County, Colorado, from enforcing its AR-15 ban. A number of other Colorado localities agreed to stay their own bans and combine the cases against them. Jake also looked at how the federal courts are increasingly defending the gun rights of 18-to-20-year-olds as public opinion has turned against them.
Plus, Cam Edwards from Bearing Arms joins the podcast to talk about rising support for gun control.
New York Enacts Gun-Carry Restrictions in Rebuke to Supreme Court
By Stephen Gutowski
The Empire State has made it harder than ever to legally carry a gun.
On Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul (D.) signed a series of new restrictions on where licensed carriers can take their guns and who can get a license in the first place. She painted the new measures as a direct response to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in New York State Pistol and Rifle Association v. Bruen, which struck down a key provision of the state’s previous law.
“[T]he Supreme Court issued a reckless decision removing century-old limitations on who is allowed to carry concealed weapons in our state — senselessly sending us backward and putting the safety of our residents in jeopardy,” Hochul said in a statement. “Today, we are taking swift and bold action to protect New Yorkers.”
Prospective gun carriers in the Golden State are breathing a sigh of relief Thursday morning.
California lawmakers failed Wednesday night to get SB 918, a wide-ranging bill restricting concealed carry rights, across the finish line. The bill fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority support it needed to clear the legislature.
The final vote marks a rare defeat for new gun regulations in a state known for having the strictest gun laws in the nation. The bill’s chances of success were made more difficult due to the decision of state Senator Rob Portantino (D.), the lead sponsor of SB 918, to add an urgency clause to the bill. The clause would have made the bill take effect immediately upon passage rather than in the following year, but it increased the votes required for passage from a simple majority to a two-thirds requirement.
A federal judge may have allowed New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) to take effect, but that doesn’t mean the law is constitutional. In fact, the opposite is likely true.
On Wednesday, US District Judge Glenn Suddaby rejected an attempt by gun-rights advocates to block the state’s new concealed carry law from going into effect and dismissed the suit without prejudice. He did so after determining the plaintiffs in the case, Gun Owners of America, “failed to demonstrate standing.”
The decision means that New Yorkers hoping to legally carry a gun for self-defense are under heightened restrictions starting Thursday, much to the delight of the state’s elected officials. Governor Kathy Hochul (D.) took the dismissal as legal approval of the new carry regime.
“A federal court has dismissed Antonyuk v. Bruen and denied the motion for a preliminary injunction,” Hochul tweeted. “This is a just and right decision, and our smart, sensible gun laws will go into effect as planned tomorrow to keep New Yorkers safe.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.) also took a victory lap.
“The gun lobby is trying to destroy New York’s common-sense gun law,” she said in a tweet. “We beat them in court. Let’s go.”
But their optimism is likely short-sighted given the full scope of Judge Suddaby’s reasoning. He’s quite frank about his thoughts on the legality of New York’s gun-carry replacement law in his analysis of the merits.
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For the second time in as many months, a federal judge has blocked a Colorado locality from enforcing an “assault weapon” and ammunition magazine ban ordinance.
U.S. District Judge Charlotte Sweeney, a Biden appointee, issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Tuesday against Boulder County. It stops enforcement of the county’s ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons, which include the popular AR-15, and ammunition magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds.
“On this admittedly limited record and with a liberal analysis of this factor, the Court finds that Plaintiffs establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” Judge Sweeney wrote, citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen as justification for her analysis.
The TRO order marks the second indication of early success for gun rights advocates in the state since the Supreme Court handed down its landmark gun carry decision in June.
NRA Board Moves to Keep Dissident Member Off Ballot
By Stephen Gutowski
Another critic of National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre is being pushed out of the organization.
Judge Philip Journey, who has been at the center of several efforts to remove current NRA leadership, has not been renominated to appear on the ballot for next year’s board election. That makes his road back onto the board far more difficult.
“As an incumbent Director your name was submitted to the NRA Nominating Committee which met on August 27, 2022,” NRA Secretary John Frazer said in a letter to Journey on Monday. “I regret to inform you that you were not renominated.”
The move is the latest in a long-running internal fight between LaPierre supporters and detractors at the NRA. After it was revealed that LaPierre and other members of leadership systematically diverted millions of dollars in the non-profit’s funding towards lavish personal expenses, including private flights and trips to exotic locations, the gun-rights group has endured a power struggle that has seen a dozen board members, former president Oliver North, and former top lobbyist Chis Cox pushed out. Journey’s likely departure is also another example of LaPierre’s staying power and continued control of the organization.
This week we’re talking about the implications of a polling trend and new political developments that should worry gun-rights advocates.
So, I asked Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms to join the show. He is one of the most insightful gun writers on the planet and one of the few who has a solid understanding of national politics.
We also have member Cody Claxton on the show this week. He tells us how he learned to shoot in the military, got back into it because of a threat to his life, and stayed in it because of competitive shooting.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about a federal judge ruling 18-to-20-year-olds have a right to carry a gun in Texas.
You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. You can also watch the show on our YouTube channel. New episodes come out every Monday and Reload Members get early access on Sunday.
On Thursday, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that there was no valid historical tradition that would allow Texas to restrict the ability of law-abiding adults aged 18 to 20 to carry handguns in public for self-defense. It marked the first age-based gun restriction to be struck down in a federal court since the Supreme Court’s landmark gun-carry decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.
“Based on the Second Amendment’s text, as informed by Founding-Era history and tradition, the Court concludes that the Second Amendment protects against this prohibition,” Judge Mark Pittman wrote in his order. “Texas’s statutory scheme must therefore be enjoined to the extent that law-abiding 18-to-20-year-olds are prohibited from applying for a license to carry a handgun.”
But although it was the first case to fully employ the Bruen test to do so, it was not the first federal case to uphold the Second Amendment rights of 18–20-year-olds in recent months. Indeed, federal courts had already begun to trend toward recognizing the gun rights of under-21-year-olds, something the new Bruen standard may only accelerate.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.