The courts were busy this week.
That includes the highest court we have. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court granted a DOJ request to issue a stay against a ruling blocking the ATF’s so-called ghost gun rule. But the Court didn’t give us much insight into why they decided to get involved.
So, I take a look at the little information we do have for Reload Members.
The lower courts delivered a series of wins for gun-rights advocates this week. Federal judges ruled against Hawaii’s new “gun-free” zones, the marijuana gun ban, and Colorado’s under-21 gun ban. Also, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman takes a look at whether gun accessories are covered by the Second Amendment after they were implicated in another recent federal court ruling.
And Gallup reminds us all that guns are one of the most polarizing issues in politics. Although, views haven’t remained completely stagnant over the past 20 years.
Plus, National Review’s Charles Cooke dissects all the recent court rulings against President Biden’s gun orders.
Supreme Court Allows ATF to Enforce ‘Ghost Gun’ Ban During Appeal
By Stephen Gutowski
The ATF can continue to enforce its rule against the sale of unserialized gun parts thanks to action from the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the Court granted an emergency stay to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that keeps the ATF’s rule in place for now. The Court said the stay would remain in effect until the DOJ’s appeal of a lower court injunction against the ATF rule has played out.
The Supreme Court decided to intervene in a case that implicates gun policy. But what that decision says about where the Court is headed on the Second Amendment isn’t completely clear.
The justices gave us very little to go off of when interpreting their move in Vanderstock v. Garland. They didn’t explain why they decided to issue a stay on the ruling against the ATF’s attempt to reclassify unfinished gun parts as functioning firearms after the Fifth Circuit declined to do the same. They didn’t speak on the merits at all.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some tea leaves to read. The first of which is what little the Court did say.
Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of Hawaii ‘Gun-Free Zones’
By Stephen Gutowski
Hawaii can’t ban those with permits from carrying guns in most parts of the state.
That’s the ruling handed down by U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi, a Barack Obama appointee, in her Tuesday order granting a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). She found the law the state passed in response to New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which struck down the state’s previous gun-carry law as overly restrictive, is itself overly restrictive when judged by the test adopted in that case. She determined the broad scope of the state’s new “sensitive places” restrictions on carrying had no basis in the historical tradition of gun regulation, as Bruen requires, and therefore violates the Second Amendment.
“[T]his Court finds that the balance of the equities and the public interest weigh in favor of issuing a TRO,” she wrote in Wolford v. Lopez. “The public has an interest in preventing constitutional violations, and the State has not established a factual basis for the public safety concerns regarding permit-carrying gun-owners who wish to exercise their Second Amendment right to carry a firearm in public.”
Smoking pot occasionally doesn’t negate an American’s Second Amendment rights, a federal appeals court has ruled.
A three-judge panel for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Wednesday to toss the conviction of Patrick Daniels, a Mississippi man arrested and sentenced to prison for possessing firearms as an unlawful user of marijuana. The panel found that Daniels’ conviction was inconsistent with the “history and tradition” of gun regulation.
“In short, our history and tradition may support some limits on an intoxicated person’s right to carry a weapon, but it does not justify disarming a sober citizen based exclusively on his past drug usage,” Judge Jerry E. Smith, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote for the unanimous panel in US v. Daniels. “Nor do more generalized traditions of disarming dangerous persons support this restriction on nonviolent drug users. As applied to Daniels, then, § 922(g)(3) violates the Second Amendment.”
Federal Judge Blocks Colorado Under-21 Gun Ban
By Jake Fogleman
Banning law-abiding young adults from buying firearms is likely unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.
Chief U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer, a George W. Bush appointee, issued a preliminary injunction Monday against Colorado’s new ban on gun sales for adults under the age of 21. He did so after finding that the country’s historical tradition of gun laws did not support denying 18-20-year-olds legal access to firearms, as required under the Supreme Court’s precedent in 2022’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.
“The Court finds that the Governor has failed to meet his burden to demonstrate that SB23-169 is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulation,” Judge Brimmer wrote in his opinion in the case RMGO v. Polis. “For the purpose of obtaining a preliminary injunction, the Individual Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.”
Ninth Circuit: Hawaii Butterfly Knife Ban Violates Second Amendment
By Jake Fogleman
A total ban on butterfly knives is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that upheld Hawaii’s complete ban on selling and possessing butterfly knives. It did so after finding that a categorical prohibition on the knives violates the Second Amendment because the state couldn’t justify the restriction under the test laid out in the Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decision.
“Because the possession of butterfly knives is conduct protected by the plain text of the Second Amendment, and because Hawaii has not demonstrated that its ban on butterfly knives is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of regulating arms, we conclude that section 134-53(a) violates Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights,” Judge Carlos Bea, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote on behalf of the unanimous panel in Teter v. Lopez.
Gallup: Stricter Gun Laws Among the Most Polarizing Issues
By Stephen Gutowski
Americans are far apart on whether their country needs more gun restrictions.
The argument that gun laws should be stricter produced a 53-point gap between Democrats and Republicans in a Gallup poll released on Monday. That is the second-largest gap of any policy position the pollster asked about, falling just two points behind the controversial healthcare and environmental positions with the largest gap. 84 percent of Democrats said they want stricter gun laws, while just 31 percent of Republicans said the same.
“The 24 issues and topics included in this analysis were selected because of their prominence in political discussions and controversies, so it comes as no shock to find universal, although variable, differences in how Republicans and Democrats view each of them as outlined in this analysis,” Frank Newport, a polling analyst for Gallup, said in a post on the results.
The last domino to fall in President Joe Biden’s gun agenda was toppled by a Fifth Circuit panel.
So, we’re bringing one of the best political writers in the country. Nationals Review’s Charles Cooke is one of the top conservative analysts on both the legal and political side of guns in America. He joins the show to talk about why Biden’s pistol-brace ban was tossed.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about how a Memphis school’s security procedures stopped a mass shooting.
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. As always, Reload Members get access a day before everyone else.
President Joe Biden’s attempt to heavily restrict pistol braces was tossed this week for pushing the ATF’s authority beyond its limits. But at least one judge thinks the accessories might also be protected by the Second Amendment.
On Tuesday, Judge Don Willett of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals joined a ruling that found Biden’s pistol-brace ban crossed the line from enforcing current law into legislating. The majority said the rule, like several other ATF policies before it, violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and can’t stand. The panel decided not to address Second Amendment claims since the plaintiffs won on their APA claim.
But Judge Willett wrote separately to contend the firearm accessories are probably protected under the right to keep and bear arms.
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Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.