Newsletter: Suit Claims Strict DC Gun Laws Result in Racist Enforcement

Washington, DC is targeting minorities with illegal stops and searches to enforce its strict gun laws, according to a class-action lawsuit.

A federal judge recently ruled plaintiffs have shown enough evidence to continue the suit. She denied a request by the city to have the case tossed. I spoke with the plaintiffs’ lawyers who said they hope to end DC’s own version of the infamous “stop and frisk” policy championed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

But there’s another important aspect to the story. The inequitable enforcement of “stop and frisk” policies gets most of the attention. But I explain why the gun laws they’re enforcing create the incentives that lead to these scandals.

There were also two big gun-carry stories this week. Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R.) took another step toward shoring up his pro-gun credentials by signing permitless concealed carry into law on Monday. At the same time, Minnesota’s ban on 18-to-20-year-olds carrying guns was struck down in federal court.

I also take a close look at the new template judges are using to uphold bans on AR-15s and similar firearms. It has already been used in Deleware and Oregon. Expect to see it repeated throughout the country in the near future.

Plus, Pepperdine University professor Jake Charles joins the podcast to explain how significant Bruen‘s impact on the lower courts has already been.


Tourists visit the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
Tourists visit the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. / Stephen Gutowski

Judge Allows Discrimination Claim Against DC ‘Stop and Frisk’ Gun Enforcement to Move Forward
By Stephen Gutowski

A lawsuit accusing the nation’s capitol of engaging in discriminatory “stop and frisk” tactics to enforce its strict gun laws can continue.

That’s the ruling Federal District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, an Obama appointee, handed down last week. The class-action suit claims the Gun Recovery Unit (GRU) of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) routinely detained and searched residents without probable cause, especially Black men who live in poorer parts of the city. The judge found the plaintiffs presented enough evidence in the case to overcome an attempt by the city to have the case dismissed.

“The court has found that Plaintiffs have adequately alleged that policymakers either knew or should have known of the GRU’s unconstitutional ‘stop and frisk’ practices,” Judge Chutkan wrote in Crudup v. DC.

Click here to read more.


A Capitol Police patrol car parked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
A Capitol Police patrol car parked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: How Strict Enforcement of Strict Gun Laws Begets Discrimination [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Washinton, DC, has been accused of using unconstitutional and discriminatory tactics to enforce its gun laws.

Last week, a federal judge ruled a class-action suit against city officials over alleged targeting of Black men in poorer sections of the city for unwarranted scrutiny can move forward. The lawsuit claims police would use pre-texts to stop the men without probable cause to believe they’d committed a crime and then search them without permission or a warrant. This was all done in pursuit of getting guns off the street.

It’s a familiar story. Infamously, Michael Bloomberg instituted an even more aggressive version of this “stop and frisk” strategy during his time as New York City mayor. At least until it was ruled unconstitutional for targeting minorities. The scandal surrounding Baltimore, Maryland’s Gun Trace Taskforce reached new lows using similar methods, combined with outright corruption, in their own pursuit of racking up gun seizures.

But these enforcement schemes all have something in common beyond a blatant disregard for the Fourth Amendment rights of their victims: they’re the result of gun laws that are nearly impossible for many to actually comply with.

And that’s no coincidence. It’s the intended design of many of the laws in question. But it’s also the part of the story that often goes unexamined.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read the rest. If not, join today for exclusive access!


A Sig Sauer P365 in an inside the waistband holster
A Sig Sauer P365 in an inside the waistband holster / Stephen Gutowski

Florida Governor Desantis Signs Permitless Gun Carry Into Law
By Stephen Gutowski

A majority of states no longer require law-abiding residents to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

On Monday, Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R.) signed HB 543. The bill will allow anyone over 21 who would qualify for a concealed-carry permit to carry without obtaining one first. That makes Florida the 26th state to adopt permitless carry.

“This bill is a big step, a big step to help the average law-abiding citizen, to keep them from having to go through the hoops of getting a permit from the government to carry their weapon,” Bill sponsor Chuck Brannan (R., Macclenny) said on the floor of the statehouse last month. “It is also not going to change who can and who cannot carry a gun. People that are prohibited now are still going to be prohibited.”

Click here to read more.


Leather holsters on sale at a Virginia gun store in July 2022
Leather holsters on sale at a Virginia gun store in July 2022 / Stephen Gutowski

Federal Judge Strikes Down Minnesota Age Limit for Gun-Carry Permits
By Jake Fogleman

18-to-20-year-olds in Minnesota may soon be able to exercise the same right to carry a handgun as their peers.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Menendez, a Biden appointee, ruled on Friday that a Minnesota law requiring an applicant for a concealed carry permit to be at least 21 years of age is unconstitutional. She noted that the state government failed to demonstrate a historical tradition of “relevantly similar regulations” singling out adults under 21 from carrying firearms for self-defense.

“Based on a careful review of the record, the Court finds that Defendants have failed to identify analogous regulations that show a historical tradition in America of depriving 18–20-year-olds the right to publicly carry a handgun for self-defense,” Menendez wrote in her Worth v. Harrington opinion. “As a result, the age requirement prohibiting persons between the ages of 18 and 20 from obtaining such a permit to carry violates the Second Amendment.”

Click here to continue reading


Podcast: Bruen is Outpacing the Effects of Heller (Feat. Pepperdine University’s Jake Charles)
By Stephen Gutowski

This week, we’re discussing the tremendous effect the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision has had on the lower courts in a few short months.

Jake Charles, an associate professor at Pepperdine University, joins the show to give us an overview of his latest paper. In it, he comprehensively breaks down how many Second Amendment claims have been successful thus far and which ones have performed best. With 31 successful claims, the post-Bruen era has seen far more decisions against gun laws than the immediate aftermath of 2008’s Heller decision.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about a federal judge upholding Delaware’s “assault weapons” ban despite finding the guns are in “common use” for self-defense.

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 to the show on Sunday. Everyone else will be able to listen on Monday.


The Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
The Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: A Legal Template for Upholding AR-15 Bans is Emerging [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

A federal judge upheld Delaware’s “assault weapons” ban this week using reasoning likely to resonate with other courts inclined to reach the same outcome.

On Monday, Federal District Judge Richard G. Andrews, an Obama appointee, found the state’s ban on AR-15s, AK-47s, and similar firearms–along with its ban on magazines that hold more than 17 rounds–is constitutional. He did so despite finding the guns were “in common” use for lawful purposes.

“[I] conclude that the prohibited LCMs, like the prohibited assault long guns, are in common use for self-defense and therefore ‘presumptively protect[ed]’ by the Second Amendment,” Judge Andrews ruled in Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association v. Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

That probably left a lot of people doing a double-take. But Judge Andrews came to his conclusion after arguing AR-15s and the like weren’t common during the founding era and represented a technological advancement that is responsible for a uniquely modern problem: mass shootings. Because of this, he argued Bruen allowed him to look for historical analogues that show a history of regulation instituted for the same purpose and using the same means.

He ruled there was such a tradition.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, join today to read the whole piece!


Outside The Reload

Oregon legislators move to pass gun restrictions based on ballot measure held up in state court | OPB | By Jonathan Levinson

DOJ agrees to $144M settlement in Sutherland Springs lawsuit alleging background check negligence | Fox News | By Greg Norman

California backlog persists on illegal guns | CalMatters | By Nigel Duara

The NRA Paid a $12 Million Settlement to Its Former PR Firm | The Trace | Will Van Sant

Firearms Law and the Decline of Chevron | Duke Center for Firearms Law | By Andrew Willinger

Massachusetts handgun roster goes before First Circuit | Courthouse News Service | By Andy Monserud

Do ‘More Guns Lead To More Deaths’? | Reason | By Nick Gillespie

NM Governor wants lawmakers to take up assault weapons ban in 2024 | Sante Fe New Mexican | By Daniel Chacon


That’s it for this week in guns.

If you want to hear expert analysis of these stories and more, make sure you grab a Reload membership to get our exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Thanks,
Stephen Gutowski
Founder
The Reload

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