The last week saw major developments that will have a significant long-term effect on the fight over guns in America.
The first was a New York judge’s decision to dismiss the effort to completely dissolve the country’s largest gun group over accusations of corruption against its leadership. It is official: the NRA will not be shut down. However, the case isn’t over and NRA leadership could still face stiff consequences.
The second development is President Biden announcing his pick to fill Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the Supreme Court at the end of this term. He choose Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and the gun-control groups cheered. But were they right to do so? I take a look at what her record shows.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reached a new level of violence and depravity this week. The Ukrainian people’s heroic resistance has thus far thwarted Putin’s invasion. Armed civilians, and even members of parliament, have played a significant role in that resistance. Their example may soon change how the rest of Europe views civilian gun ownership.
Anthony Constantini joins the podcast to discuss the expansion of Ukrainian gun rights and what it means for the entire continent.
The push for permitless gun-carry picked up steam as well. Several states moved one or even two steps forward towards adopting the policy. It could soon become the dominant way to regulate the concealed carry of firearms.
Plus, the fight over gun confiscation is now set to be a major issue in the Texas gubernatorial race after the results of Tuesday’s primary elections.
New York Judge Rules Out Dissolving the NRA
By Jake Fogleman
New York Attorney Letitia James (D.) has been dealt a major setback in her corruption case against the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Justice Joel Cohen of the Supreme Court of the State of New York dismissed James’ attempt to dissolve the country’s largest gun-rights group on Wednesday. He said James’ accusations of corruption primarily involved private harm to NRA members and donors, and thus did not warrant such a sweeping penalty if proven.
“In short, the Complaint does not allege the type of public harm that is the legal linchpin for imposing the ‘corporate death penalty,’” Justice Cohen wrote in his opinion. “Moreover, dissolving the NRA could impinge, at least indirectly, on the free speech and assembly rights of its millions of members.”
Gun-Control Groups Back Biden Supreme Court Pick
By Stephen Gutowski
President Joe Biden’s (D.) pick to become the next Supreme Court justice is finding support among gun-control advocates.
All of the major gun-control groups praised the choice of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. The groups argued that while Jackson has no history of ruling on Second Amendment cases during her time on the D.C. Court of Appeals, they believe she aligns with their views on gun law constitutionality.
“President Biden not only made history nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, but he’s also nominated someone who we are confident will determine that common sense gun safety laws are constitutional,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement. “Our grassroots army of volunteers across the country were proud to help elect the strongest gun safety administration in history, and today’s nomination shows the importance of that work. We look forward to supporting Judge Jackson’s nomination and call on the Senate to swiftly confirm her.”
What does Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson think about guns?
President Joe Biden (D.) nominated her on Friday to replace Justice Stephen Breyer after his retirement at the end of this term. Jackson has a relatively long resume in legal work and has been a judge on the D.C. Circuit since 2012.
So, what has she done on guns in that time?
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Biden Calls for More Gun Control in First State of Union
By Jake Fogleman
President Joe Biden (D.) doubled down on his calls upon Congress to pass major gun-control legislation Tuesday night.
During his first State of the Union address, the President explicitly directed Congress to pass several of his preferred gun control policies. He called for a ban on “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines as well as the repeal of civil liability protections for gun makers.
“And I will keep doing everything in my power to crack down on gun trafficking and ghost guns you can buy online and make at home—they have no serial numbers and can’t be traced,” President Biden said. “I ask Congress to pass proven measures to reduce gun violence. Pass universal background checks. Why should anyone on a terrorist list be able to purchase a weapon?”
President Joe Biden (D.) dedicated a portion of his first State of the Union Address Tuesday night to calling for gun control. While his inclusion of the subject wasn’t noteworthy, the way he talked about it was.
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A member of the Ukrainian Parliament and leader of one of its political parties announced she is volunteering to take up arms against the Russian invasion on Friday.
Kira Rudik posted a picture of herself holding an AKS-74U rifle and declaring her willingness to fight. She said she’d started training with the gun, but the situation felt “surreal as just a few days ago it would never come to my mind.” She also said she is fully willing to use the gun if forced to do so.
War continues to rage in Ukraine as Russia attempts to capture cities across the nation despite fierce resistance.
Part of that resistance has been made up of civilian volunteers who’ve gained new protections for their right to armed defense and been given guns by the military. Anthony Constantini, who received a master’s degree in arms control and strategic studies from St. Petersburg State University, joined me on the show to discuss how this strategy of arming civilians represents a departure from traditional European views. And we talk about how it may play out.
Anthony wrote an analysis piece for The Reload on how this shift towards civilian gun rights may impact the entire region’s attitudes. The situation strikes at the heart of what many gun-rights advocates in America have long believed: an armed populace is harder to oppress.
But the reality is the fight will be brutal and could last for a long time. Arming the public, especially when done just as an invasion begins, is not a magic silver bullet that guarantees an easy win. There is no reason to envy the position Ukrainians are in right now, but they’ve given us many reasons to admire them.
Ukraine is unique and better positioned to employ volunteer civilian fighters than many in the west may realize, though. Anthony pointed out the country has been fighting a war with Russian-backed separatists for the past 8 years and volunteers have played a major role. Plus, the government has been actively training those volunteer groups and incorporating them into the military for a good while now.
The situation is moving quickly and there is no way to know how things will turn out. However, it appears the Russian invasion has not met its main goal of capturing the country’s major cities and deposing its government. We don’t know for sure how much the armed population is bolstering the country’s military operations, but everything we’ve heard from the Ukrainian people thus far indicates they have the kind of resolve that will make it extremely difficult to keep them under Putin’s heel.
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Ohio Legislature Passes Permitless Gun-Carry
By Jake Fogleman
A bill that would make Ohio the 22nd state to enact a permitless gun-carry regime is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 215 cleared the Ohio state House on a 57-35 vote Wednesday afternoon. It then passed on concurrence in the Senate 24-8.
“A person who is a qualifying adult shall not be required to obtain a concealed handgun license in order to carry in this state… a concealed handgun that is not a restricted firearm,” the bill reads.
Georgia Senate Passes Permitless Gun-Carry Bill
By Stephen Gutowski
Georgia has taken a significant step towards repealing concealed gun-carry permit requirements.
The state senate passed a bill that would allow adults who can otherwise legally possess a gun to carry them. Senate Bill 319 passed by a vote of 34-22 on Monday. The bill will need to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives before making its way to the desk of Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
“This is about letting lawful people be able to carry their weapon and protect themselves,” Kemp told The Reload in an exclusive interview earlier this month.
Beto O’Rourke Secures Democratic Nomination for Texas Governor
By Jake Fogleman
It looks like Texas voters will get a chance to decide how the politics of gun confiscation plays in a statewide election.
Texas Democrats have officially made Beto O’Rourke their nominee for governor as they hope to unseat incumbent Greg Abbott (R.) this November. In landslide fashion, Texas Democratic primary voters swung for O’Rourke with more than 90 percent of the vote as of Tuesday night, besting lesser-known challengers Joy Diaz and Michael Cooper.
“Thank you, Texas!” O’Rourke tweeted following his primary victory. “We are going to win this race with one another, for one another.”
The Reload in the Media
I also wrote an overview of the Remington/Sandy Hook settlement over at The Washington Examiner Magazine. You should check that out for some of my added thoughts on how important that outcome really was.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.