As an American, this has been an incredibly depressing week. Our forces beat a hasty retreat out of Afghanistan and let the Taliban retake the entire country save for a single chaotic airstrip. Tens of thousands of Americans and our allies are stuck behind enemy lines relying on the goodwill of a barbaric terror group.
The Taliban has already begun confiscating guns from civilians in Kabul. The group, infamous for brutal repression and child rape, assured residents they have nothing to fear. Many Afghans were skeptical enough of the terror group’s claims to crowd the American-controlled airport, and some even futilely tried to cling to the side of an American jet as it took off.
President Joe Biden’s response to the situation foreshadows how he may move forward with his gun actions as well.
Back in the states, there were legal victories for gun-rights advocates. But also some data calling into question how many new gun owners emerged over the past year. And Wake Forest University professor David Yamane joined the podcast to discuss the past and future of gun-carry regulations in America.
Report: Taliban Begin Confiscating Civilian Arms as America Surrenders
By Stephen Gutowski
Residents of Kabul are being forced to surrender their guns.
The Taliban are now collecting weapons from civilians, according to a Reuters report. The brutal Islamic extremist regime with a decades-long track record of violent and brutal repression of civilians told residents of the newly-surrendered Capitol they no longer needed guns. The triumphant regime, famous for public beatings and executions of dissenters, assured the people of Kabul they no longer need their own firearms.
“We understand people kept weapons for personal safety,” a Taliban official told Reuters. “They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians.”
When it comes to gun policy, there are two big takeaways I see from the debacle of the past week in Afghanistan.
The first is one that we really didn’t need this disaster in order to learn. It’s one that’s been demonstrated countless times throughout human history. But it’s also one that President Joe Biden has yet to learn: Military superiority doesn’t guarantee victory.
In June, as he’d done before, the president insisted that resisting a modern military’s overwhelming force is effectively impossible.
“Those who say the blood of… ‘the blood of patriots,’ you know, and all the stuff about how we’re going to have to move against the government,” Biden said in a speech. “Well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots. What’s happened is that there have never been—if you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”
Of course, the Taliban have recaptured the whole of Afghanistan without the use of F-15s or nuclear weapons. They did it without ever being capable of taking on the American military in open combat or creating soldiers anywhere near the quality of our own.
And they are far from the first to do so. The lesson has been taught repeatedly throughout the years. Whether by the Viet Cong or our own Founding Fathers. Many didn’t need a new teacher, let alone one composed of terrorist barbarians already imposing their own civilian gun-confiscation scheme, to learn this lesson. And I’m not sure President Biden will learn it this time either.
The second takeaway is a bit more subtle but also more directly applicable to the immediate political situation around guns in America.
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This week, Wake Forest Professor David Yamane joined me to talk about the fascinating history of gun carry laws in America.
Professor Yamane has turned his attention to an under-researched area: the normal use of guns. While most academics focus their time studying the criminal use of firearms, David has focused on far more common uses of firearms in America. And one area he’s focused on in particular is gun carry.
Gun-carry laws have evolved tremendously since the founding of the United States. And the changes have only accelerated in recent decades. But not many books have been written on the trend. David is the only one I’m aware of who has authored a deeply knowledgable but concise guide to American gun carry laws throughout history.
We discussed how Tombstone, Arizona’s gun-carry laws have changed dramatically from the days of the shootout at the OK Corral to today. And we get into where gun-carry laws are now headed.
Plus, I give an update on the new allegations of racism levied by a black former agent against President Joe Biden’s ATF director nominee. And major media’s perplexing silence on the matter.
You can listen to or download the full episode here.
Or you can watch the full episode on YouTube here.
Honolulu Immediately Folds in Face of Gun-Rights Lawsuit
By Stephen Gutowski
A Honolulu practice of denying gun rights to residents over non-criminal disorderly conduct violations was quickly felled on Monday.
A mere ten days after a lawsuit was filed, the city and county of Honolulu capitulated and signed an agreement with the plaintiffs. They agreed to no longer deny gun-purchase permits to people with mere violations instead of crimes. Plaintiffs said the case was simple and the localities knew they were on the wrong side of the law.
“The City and County of Honolulu were acting outside of what state law allows them to do,” Alan Beck, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, told The Reload. “I am glad that once we filed this lawsuit, the City was willing to accept that and agreed to enter into this judicially-enforceable stipulation with us.”
The agreement was entered into the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. It came as Beck and another group of plaintiffs secured a second win in the state.
Federal Court Sides with Pennsylvania Gun Club
By Jake Fogleman
Pennsylvania gun clubs and shooting ranges may soon enjoy new protections.
A lawsuit challenging the zoning restrictions on a Pittsburgh-area gun club will be allowed to proceed following a Federal Court ruling on Tuesday. A three-judge panel in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that a lawsuit against a locality’s restrictive zoning laws may proceed on Second Amendment grounds. It vacated the lower court’s dismissal of the suit and directed the district judge to reexamine the claims under heightened scrutiny.
“In identifying which rules invade the Second Amendment, we hunt for historical outliers,” Judge Cheryl Ann Krause wrote for the unanimous court. “Because the challenged zoning rules constitute outliers, and because the pleading-stage materials fail to justify their anomalous features, we will vacate the District Court’s dismissal order and remand for discovery.”
It’s fairly clear the Supreme Court is poised to strike down New York’s restrictive may-issue gun carry law. What’s far less clear is whether their decision will actually help those who aren’t relatively well off.
The Supreme Court is, of course, difficult to predict. And some experts have noted the outcome may not necessarily be a slam dunk for gun-right advocates. There is a real possibility the Court could punt or even uphold New York’s law.
But the most likely outcome is a ruling against the arbitrary nature of New York’s law. It’s unlikely the Court would have taken this case at all if they didn’t plan to reverse the lower court ruling upholding New York’s law. But the Court has been hesitant to initiate huge shifts in federal law overnight over the last decade or so.
So, they are unlikely to find gun-carry permitting to be completely unconstitutional. They’ll probably settle on eliminating the subjective aspects of may-issue permitting systems, effectively making shall-issue permitting the bare minimum law of the land. So, local and state governments won’t be able to arbitrarily deny permits to anyone able and willing to go through the permitting requirements.
That will be a significant boon to many of those who want to legally carry but live in one of the 8 states with may-issue laws–which could be up to 25 percent of the population.
But, recent history shows, it won’t be a boon to everyone.
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Polling Steady Despite Reports of New Gun Ownership
By Jake Fogleman
Gun ownership in America has remained largely stable, according to a poll released earlier this month.
Roughly three-in-ten Americans report personally owning a firearm, according to a Pew Research poll. Another 11 percent of Americans say they do not own a gun personally but share their household with someone who does–meaning roughly 106 million American adults report having a gun in their home.
This data mirrors previous results from 2017, where respondents gave identical answers to personal and household ownership questions. The most recent polling from Gallup found an increase from 2019 to 2020 but also produced numbers overall consistent with data over the last several years.
These results are surprising in light of previous reporting on unprecedented gun sales throughout 2020 and into 2021. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade group, conducted a retailer survey in 2020 that determined 40 percent of sales during the surge were to new owners. A 2020 University of California study also found 40 percent of Californians who bought a gun because of the pandemic were first-time buyers.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.