The Supreme Court blew up the legal landscape on guns late last month. Now, the fallout has begun as states rush to pass new restrictions and gun-rights advocates rush to challenge them.
New York, the epicenter of the action, passed new restrictions, and now it’s facing a flood of new lawsuits. California’s laws are facing fresh scrutiny as well. In D.C., Heller, the namesake for the case that started the Second Amendment legal snowball rolling, is back with another suit. He’s not alone either, as other D.C. residents filed a sister suit against the city’s restrictions on where licensees can legally carry guns.
Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman details how states are reacting to the Bruen ruling and examines the new dynamic gun-rights advocates are challenging in two member-exclusive pieces.
President Joe Biden also notched another win this week with the confirmation of his ATF nominee. Steven Dettelbach will now lead the agency for the foreseeable future. He will now help implement the President’s aggressive “zero tolerance” approach to regulating the gun industry.
Plus, liberal New Yorker Laura E. Adkins explains why she wants to carry a gun in the wake of Bruen.
Heller Celebrates Bruen Decision, Takes D.C. Right Back to Court
By Stephen Gutowski
The man behind the Supreme Court’s first landmark Second Amendment ruling is cheering its second and hoping to create a third.
Dick Heller, the namesake for the Court’s 2008 ruling, which struck down Washington, D.C.’s total ban on handguns, said he felt vindicated by its latest gun ruling. He said the decision in last month’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen was a direct descendant of Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in his own case, where the Court recognized the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.
“That’s a good way to put it,” Heller told The Reload. “After that magnificent Scalia decision, everything just started to snowball because it basically gave permission to the rest of the populace to challenge their infringements. Because they realized it could be done. They could fight city hall and win.”
Lawsuits Come Rolling in Against New York’s New Gun-Carry Laws
By Stephen Gutowski
New York’s new gun-carry laws have come under immediate legal fire.
Three separate Second Amendment challenges were filed against the state on Monday. Plaintiffs challenged the new restrictions on where guns can be carried as well as the new process for reviewing applications. The three suits are direct pushback against New York’s attempt to sidestep the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen last month which struck down part of the state’s gun carry regime.
“Instead of acknowledging the clear line in the sand drawn by the U.S. Supreme Court, Governor Hochul and the radical anti-gunners in Albany are doubling down on nearly every front to restrict the rights of their citizens to carry arms for self-defense,” Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America (GOA), which filed one of the suites, said in a statement. “Especially when crime is on the rise in places like New York City, GOA stands ready to fight for Americans’ right to defend themselves in public when danger rises.”
Analysis: Shall Issue, May Carry? [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman
Though they may no longer limit the issuance of carry permits to those who can sufficiently demonstrate a special need, several states are now set on imposing comprehensive restrictions on where and when carry permits are valid.
Such restrictions are set to create a legal minefield for gun owners newly able to receive carry permits. They’re also likely destined to result in legal battles for many years to come.
In reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the state’s previous gun carry regime, New York passed a new law designed to dramatically restrict how permitted gun owners can carry within the state. Working off of the Supreme Court’s holding that gun restrictions in sensitive places are permissible under the history and tradition of the Second Amendment, the new law takes an expansive view of what constitutes a “sensitive place.” As such, it deems all government property, health care facilities, churches, schools, public transportation, protest locations, establishments that sell alcohol, and the entirety of Times Square “sensitive places” where licensed carry is criminally prohibited.
It also flips the traditional understanding of private property exceptions on its head by rendering all private business establishments presumptively off-limits for gun carry unless a business owner explicitly authorizes licensed carry with a visible sign on the premises.
Licensed gun carriers who find themselves carrying a firearm in one of the newly designated sensitive places would be subject to a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
Biden Pick Confirmed as Permanent ATF Director
By Stephen Gutowski
The Senate just approved the second permanent director in the history of the Burea of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive (ATF).
On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Steve Dettelbach to the position by a vote of 48 to 46. President Joe Biden’s nominee managed to garner a vote from every Democrat in attendance and those of Senators Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Rob Portman (R., Ohio). Dettelbach is the first director nominee to be confirmed in 16 years.
“Following the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, today’s vote is another important sign that both parties can come together to support law enforcement and stand up against the horrific scourge of gun violence,” Biden said in a statement.
Those looking to legally pack heat for self-defense in the Aloha State might finally have the ability to do so.
Hawaii Attorney General Holly Shikada (D.) issued an opinion letter on the state’s gun permitting law Thursday at the request of Governor David Ige (D.). The letter instructs state law enforcement agencies to begin issuing concealed carry permits in accordance with the Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen ruling.
“Following Bruen, the chiefs of police may not constitutionally restrict both concealed and unconcealed (open) carry licenses only to those who demonstrate a ‘special need,'” Shikada’s opinion reads. “The language in Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes requiring that an applicant ‘[i]n an exceptional case . . . show reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property’ in order to obtain a concealed carry license should no longer be enforced.”
The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) on Tuesday filed suit against New York’s “assault weapon” ban, alleging it violates the Second Amendment.
Gun-rights advocates have long argued such bans are unconstitutional. Long Island residents David Vanchoff and Andrew Cross, members of FPC, took legal action on the grounds that the banned firearms, including the AR-15, are covered by Second Amendment protections.
“The arms targeted by New York’s ban are ordinary arms, kept by ordinary people for ordinary–but extremely important–purposes, including the fundamental right to an effective self-defense,” Matthew Larosiere, FPC policy counsel, said in a statement. “There is no justification for threatening peaceable people with long stints in a government cage for merely possessing a firearm.”
Second Amendment advocates claim California is violating the First Amendment.
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the state’s ban on advertising “any firearm-related product in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors” by any “firearm industry member.” SAF and several other gun-rights proponents filed for declaratory and injunctive relief against California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D.), charging that Assembly Bill 2571, signed last month by Governor Gavin Newsom (D.), is unconstitutional. The suit argues that the law violates the First Amendment by restricting lawful speech and assembly as well as the 14th Amendment by targeting the firearm industry.
“You simply cannot single out people engaged in a legal business enterprise and forbid them from advertising or promoting their products just because you don’t like them.” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb said in a statement. “That’s what this case is all about.”
A Houston-area father and mother used their shooting and driving skills to escape from two suspected robbers near their home.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the mother of the two babies was driving up to their driveway just after midnight on Monday when two teens attempted to enter a rear door of the vehicle, where a one-year-old was sitting. The father was armed and fired at the two assailants, injuring both, as the mother drove them all to safety.
“The adult male feared for the safety of his family and fired shots and struck both suspects,” Harris County Sherriff Ed Gonzales said in a tweet. “The wife was driving and drove away after the shooting to get away from the suspects.”
Podcast: A Liberal New Yorker Explains Why She Wants a Gun
By Stephen Gutowski
With New York’s restrictive gun-carry law being struck down, more people will actually be able to carry in the state. So, it’s essential to understand who some of those people are and why they want to carry in the first place. That’s why we have Laura E. Adkins on the show.
Adkins said she is hopeful the Supreme Court’s ruling will mean she can obtain one soon. But she also recognized the new restrictions New York officials implemented in response to the decision will limit her options even if she does get a permit.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the Congressional reaction to the July 4th mass shooting.
You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here.
Video of the episode is also available on our YouTube channel.
After the Supreme Court ruled New York’s “proper cause” standard for issuing gun carry permits was unconstitutional last month, the half-dozen states with similar standards identified by the Court are starting to respond.
While some states were quick to renounce their respective “proper cause” standards, others have chosen to take a more antagonistic approach and add new restrictive standards designed to blunt the effect of the Court’s ruling. Still, others have chosen to do nothing at all, channeling former President Andrew Jackson who famously said, “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it” in defiance of a landmark Supreme Court decision.
Here’s a rundown of where affected states have chosen to stand following the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decision.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.