The Supreme Court may already be considering wading into the debate over the constitutionality of so-called assault weapons bans.
This week, Justice Amy Coney Barrett requested Naperville, Illinois submit a defense of its ban after a gun-rights group requested an emergency injunction from the Court. That means at least one justice wants to hear more on the case before SCOTUS decides what to do with the emergency request. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Court will intervene and block the city’s ban, but it is a live possibility.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R.) also made a splash this week. He signed a new bill to block banks from closing the accounts of gun businesses. His decision to do so stems in part from a story The Reload broke earlier this year.
Colorado made its own waves by going in the opposite direction. Governor Jared Polis (D.) signed a package of new gun restrictions, and more may be on the way soon. Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman does a deep dive into the state’s recent experiment in gun control and whether it has had the desired effect in reducing gun murders, suicides, or even mass shootings.
He also explains why the latest ruling against former president Trump’s bump stock ban casts a new shadow over President Biden’s “ghost gun” and pistol brace bans.
Plus, gun-rights scholar David Kopel joins the podcast to talk about the legal case against “assault weapons” bans.
Naperville, Illinois, will have to defend its ban on the sale of AR-15s and similar firearms before the Supreme Court.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the circuit the case against the ban is happening in, asked the city to respond to an emergency request for an injunction against the ordinance on Monday. That means at least one justice wants to hear more about the case before the High Court decides whether or not to weigh in. The city has until May 8th to answer claims that the ban violates the Constitution.
“We’re thankful the Supreme Court is taking the Second Amendment rights of Illinoisans seriously,” Dudley Brown of the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), a plaintiff in the case, said in a statement.
Florida’s DeSantis Signs Law Banning Banks From Dropping Gun Businesses
By Stephen Gutowski
Florida banks can’t deny services to gun owners or companies under a new law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis (R.) this week.
The governor signed House Bill 3 on Tuesday, enacting new financial regulations over who banks can cut business ties with and why. Under the rules, banks can’t deny credit or accounts to anyone on the basis that they are lawful gun owners, makers, or dealers. It also bars the state from using so-called “social credit” scores to determine who to do business with or work with any bank that uses the scores.
DeSantis said Floridians need those protections because some companies have begun discriminating against people whose politics they dislike.
“If you’re engaged in traditional energy production, they don’t like that. If you have a gun store or you’re a gun owner, they don’t like that,” he said at a signing ceremony for the bill. “There are certain things that they don’t like. And people feel the brunt of that. So, we wanna make sure that in Florida people have access to these services and they’re not discriminated against based on their political orientation or their religious beliefs or anything like that.”
Lawmakers in the Centennial State have officially added to their decade-long gun-control push with a fresh crop of new restrictions. Gun-rights advocates in the state aren’t taking it lying down.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D.) signed into law a package of four bills on Friday. They include waiting periods for gun sales, an expansion of categories of persons able to file for an Extreme Risk Protection Order, a total ban on gun sales to those under 21, and a repeal of the state’s gun industry liability shield against lawsuits for gun crimes committed by third parties.
“Today we are taking some important steps to help make Colorado one of the ten safest states, and building upon the ongoing work to make Colorado communities safer,” Polis said in a statement.
Before the ink was dry on the bills, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) filed two separate lawsuits against the waiting period and sales ban for 18-to-20-year-olds. The group called the new laws “unconstitutional” and said they would harm victims of violent crime.
Colorado has again expanded its gun regulations, but how effective has the decade-long push for more restrictions been?
Governor Jared Polis (D.) signed a package of four new gun-control bills into law last Friday. The signed bills include new three-day waiting periods for all gun sales, an expansion of who can file for an Extreme Risk Protection Order, a total ban on gun sales to those under 21, and a repeal of the state’s gun industry liability shield against lawsuits for gun crimes committed by third parties.
“I was honored to sign these bills alongside the survivors of gun violence, advocates, and state lawmakers,” Governor Polis said. “Together, we are working to make Colorado one of the 10 safest states in the nation and address this challenge.”
A fifth bill that would ban the sale and possession of unserialized firearms and firearm components, referred to as “ghost guns” by advocates, has already cleared the state Senate and is expected to pass the House and get signed into law by Polis after the end of the legislative session next week. A sixth bill to allow county governments to ban shooting firearms on private property has also already cleared one chamber, though its path to the Governor’s desk before the end of the session is less certain.
The bills together mark one of the most significant legislative sessions in years, but they continue a recent trend in the state. Since 2013, the once-purple state has adopted fourteen new gun-control laws, mainly in response to high-profile mass shootings in Colorado. That has made the state an outlier in state-level gun policy over the last decade and is, therefore, one of the gun-control movement’s biggest political success stories.
“Colorado has many strong firearm laws and has made significant progress in its gun law strength in the years since the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting,” the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety said of the Centennial State on its website.
The group currently ranks the state 12th in the nation in terms of “gun law strength.” The gun-control group Giffords likewise gives Colorado high marks for its strict gun laws in the form of a “B” grade in its latest rankings (which does not include the four bills signed into law this session).
Given that the state’s turn towards stricter gun laws has often responded directly to mass shootings and other violent crimes, it’s worth evaluating how a decade of gun control has moved the needle on either front.
Another federal judge ruled on Friday that so-called assault weapons bans likely violate the Second Amendment.
So, the Illinois ban is blocked for now. But Washington’s was just signed. And Delaware’s 2022 ban is still standing. Elsewhere, bans on the popular guns, including the AR-15, have been forestalled by political reality.
Independence Institute’s David Kopel understands the fight well having just gone through it in his home state of Colorado, where Democrats who control the government weren’t able to push a ban over the finish line. But he has also filed many court briefs and written even more books or academic papers on the topic from a pro-gun point of view. He joins the show to discuss the political and legal landscape in the fight over assault weapons bans.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the wide-reaching implications of the bump stock ban being stuck down by another federal appeals court.
The full episode is available on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. Video of the show is also available on our YouTube channel. As always, Reload Members get access on Sunday. Everyone else can listen or watch on Monday.
The Supreme Court has more incentive than ever to weigh in on the Trump-initiated bump stock ban. If it does, the implications could extend to Biden’s gun orders.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Kentucky man who challenged the legality of the ATF’s administrative ban on bump stocks. The unanimous panel ruled that it is unclear whether bump stocks fit within the current statutory definition of “machinegun” because of the multitude of existing legal opinions on the matter—including from the ATF itself. Therefore, the court determined that the definition should be interpreted to exclude them.
“An Act of Congress could clear up the ambiguities, but so far Congress has failed to act,” Judge Ronald Lee Gilman, a Clinton appointee, wrote on behalf of the court in Hardin v. Garland. “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (the ATF) has been on both sides of this issue, with its current regulation (the Rule) banning bump stocks as a machinegun part. In this situation, the rule of lenity that is applicable to criminal offenses requires us to rule in favor of Hardin.”
In other words, because the legal experts tasked with evaluating the regulation and the agency that administered it can’t seem to agree on whether bump stocks are machineguns, an average citizen cannot be subject to criminal enforcement.
The ruling is significant for two reasons.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.