New York officials are back to sticking their thumb in the Supreme Court’s eye.
This time, it’s the NYPD. A new report indicates they issued even fewer gun permits after the Court struck down the state’s old restrictive law as a violation of the Second Amendment than the year before. And a lower rate too.
I explain for Reload Members why that could help undo the state’s latest gun-carry law.
Speaking of the courts, they were busy this week at the federal and state level. We got the full details of what’s in Hunter Biden’s gun deal with federal prosecutors even as that agreement unexpectedly fell apart at the last moment. His father’s “ghost gun” was denied a stay by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this week after being stuck down last week. But a Michigan state court upheld Michigan State University’s campus carry ban.
Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman examines a question raised by a federal judge upholding Oregon’s ammo magazine ban: what exactly constitutes “common use”?
Plus, Ohio State University researcher Sophie Kjaervik answers questions on the podcast about her study showing a short gun safety video can prevent accidental shootings among kids.
NYPD Gun Permit Approvals Crater Despite SCOTUS Ruling
By Stephen Bole
New York City officials approved fewer gun permits in 2022 than the year before, even though the Supreme Court ruled the state’s restrictive gun-carry law unconstitutional.
The NYPD approved just 21 percent of 7,260 such applications in 2022, according to data gathered by reporters at The City. That’s down from 56 percent of the 4,663 applications for gun permits it approved in 2021. The department also ended up leaving the vast majority of 2022 applications neither approved nor denied, in violation of state law. The NYPD did not answer The Reload‘s questions about why the permit approval rate had dropped so drastically, nor did it say why it has let so many applications go without approval or denial past the state-mandated six-month deadline.
Lawmakers and law enforcement officials in New York continue to push the Second Amendment’s limits as outlined just last year in a case they lost at the Supreme Court.
This week, we found out the NYPD’s reaction to SCOTUS striking down the state’s restrictive concealed carry permitting regime for being too selective was to issue fewer permits and at an even lower approval rate than before. In 2021, a new report from a local publication called The City shows, officials approved 2,591 of 4,663 gun ownership or carry permit applications–or 56 percent. In 2022, that number fell to 1,550, or 21 percent, of the 7,260 applications it received.
The numbers from the six months after the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen were even worse than the overall average for 2022. Applications for that period more than doubled from just over 2,000 to just under 5,000 as demand for gun permits rose in the wake of the ruling. However, the city only approved 503, or just over 10 percent, of those applications. And the change is unlikely to be caused by a surge in people applying who don’t qualify for a permit because the NYPD has only denied 16 of those applicants. They are simply sitting on the rest of them.
This is not a positive development for New Yorkers who wish to legally arm themselves. But it’s also bad news for the NYPD’s permitting division, which is likely susceptible to a civil-rights challenge, and the state’s new restrictive concealed carry law, which has already garnered skepticism from key members of the High Court as a potential attempt to disregard Bruen.
Details of Hunter Biden Gun Deal Revealed as Legal Drama Unfolds
By Stephen Gutowski
The terms President Joe Biden’s son would have to accept in order to finalize his deal with federal prosecutors over a felony gun charge were revealed on Wednesday.
A copy of the diversion agreement signed by Hunter Biden’s lawyers and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, but not yet accepted by a federal judge, was published by Politico shortly after the deal hit a snag in a Delaware federal courtroom. The agreement lays out what the younger Biden appears ready to stipulate to avoid jail time over the illegal possession charge. It also explains the conditions he must meet to avoid further punishments after the two-year diversion period.
“Biden shall waive indictment in relation to the information filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on June 20, 2023, which charges Biden with one count of knowingly possessing a firearm while then an unlawful user of or person addicted to a controlled substance, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(3) and 924(a)(2) (2018),” the proposed agreement said
Michigan Court Upholds Campus Carry Ban
By Jake Fogleman
Banning civilian gun possession on all university property does not violate the Second Amendment, a state appeals court has ruled.
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Article X, the University of Michigan’s policy of banning guns on all university property, is legally permissible. It determined that the entire campus qualified as a “sensitive place.”
“We conclude that the University is a school, and thus, a sensitive place,” Appellate Judges Mary Cavanagh and Deborah Servitto wrote on behalf of the court. “Therefore, Article X is constitutionally permissible because laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places are consistent with the Second Amendment.”
The ATF will not be allowed to enforce its attempt to redefine what counts as a firearm while it appeals a lower court ruling.
On Monday, a three-judge panel for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the agency’s request for a stay in VanDerStok v. Garland. The ATF was hoping to see a lower court decision vacating its rule on unfinished frames and receivers put on hold. That way it could continue regulating the parts, which are often used to build homemade firearms or “ghost guns” as President Joe Biden often labels them.
“Because the ATF has not demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits, nor irreparable harm in the absence of a stay, we DENY the government’s request to stay the vacatur of the two challenged portions of the Rule,” the panel wrote in a per curiam opinion. “This effectively maintains, pending appeal, the status quo that existed for 54 years from 1968 to 2022.”
This week, we’re taking a close look at a new study that suggests showing kids a minute-long video stops them from handling a gun while unsupervised.
We are lucky enough to have Ohio State University PHD student, and lead author of the study, Sophie Kjaervik with us for this episode. She explained that kids in her experiment that watched a short gun safety video featuring a uniformed police officer were far less likely to pick up a real, but disabled, gun in a controlled setting than kids shown a car safety video with the same cop. And the difference was significant.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I examine the ruling upholding San Jose’s gun ownership tax and insurance mandate.
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. Reload Members get access on Sunday, as always. The episode goes public on Monday.
A federal judge has now ruled that commonly-owned ammunition magazines do not fall under the Second Amendment’s protection. How she arrived at that conclusion may catch the Supreme Court’s eye.
Late last week, U.S. District Judge Karin Immergut, a Trump appointee, upheld Oregon’s ballot-initiated Measure 114. That law bans the possession and sale of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammo and institutes a permitting requirement to purchase a firearm. Immergut found that not only did the nation’s historical tradition of gun regulations support a ban on “Large-Capacity Magazines” (LCMs), but the Second Amendment’s plain text itself did not cover them.
“The evidence in the record illustrates that LCMs are not necessary for firearms to function and are not commonly used for self-defense,” Immergut wrote in her decision. “Because this Court finds that the Second Amendment’s plain text does not cover LCMs, BM 114’s restrictions on LCMs are constitutional.”
While Immergut is not the first federal judge to uphold a magazine ban after the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, she is one of the first to do so by saying that they fall entirely outside the scope of the Second Amendment’s text. Before even arriving at the main part of the test outlined in Bruen, Immergut concluded that a ban on a commonly-owned firearm accessory, which typically comes standard with the purchase of most modern firearms, could pass constitutional muster.
It’s an analysis that essentially short-circuits Bruen, applied to one of the most hotly-contested policies in all of gun politics. If it catches on, it could have significant policy ramifications for blue jurisdictions nationwide searching for a legal basis to target disfavored magazines and other firearms hardware.
But it’s one that could also run into trouble at the Supreme Court.
If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read the rest. If not, join today for exclusive access to this and hundreds of other analysis pieces!
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.