Newsletter: Is the Texas Abortion Strategy Coming to Guns Soon?

We’re inching closer to Christmas. I hope you’re all staying safe, and getting your holiday shopping done (we can help with that if you want to give the gift of sober, serious firearms reporting and analysis).

This week saw dueling rulings in state and federal court. Nevada saw parts of its “ghost gun” ban spiked by a state judge. At the same time, a panel on the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Trump-era bump stock ban.

Plus, I discuss the unique charges brought against the parents of the Michigan school shooter with a law professor who has serious concerns about the kind of precedent it might set. We dive deep into the implications of the prosecution, and its potential fallout on the podcast.

But, first, let’s take a look at how the novel tactic employed in Texas’s abortion ban is bleeding over into gun policy.


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Gun-control supporters
Gun-control supporters at the March For Our LIves event in Washington, D.C. on March 24th. 2018 / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Are Blue States About to Co-Opt Texas Abortion Tactics? [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Incentivizing people to sue their neighbors as a workaround for avoiding pre-trial injunctions against legally-problematic laws is all the rage right now.

Texas Republicans got the party started with their law banning abortions after six weeks, but only allowing the ban to be enforced through private civil suits. Now Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R.) wants to extend it to critical race theory training in schools and even at private businesses. But this isn’t a partisan impulse.

After the Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to stand while limiting, though not eliminating, paths for the plaintiffs to challenge it, Democrats started to dip their toes into the water as well.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced over the weekend he would pursue a gun law in the mold of the Texas abortion law. He said he would use the same tactic to restrict access to firearms.

“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, and largely endorsing Texas’s scheme to insulate its law from the fundamental protections of Roe v. Wade,” Newsom said in a statement. “But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”

Then New York Attorney General Letitia James weighed in on Monday, backing up Newsom.

If you’re already a Reload member, click here to read the full piece. If not, buy a membership today for access to this post and other exclusive content! Every membership helps support our independent, informed journalism!


US flag and California state flag in front of a palm tree in Monterey, CA.
Photo by Tina Chelidze on Unsplash

California Governor Wants Gun-Control Bill that Mirrors Texas Abortion Law
By Jake Fogleman

Golden State residents may soon be able to take gun-control enforcement into their own hands.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) announced on Saturday he will seek new legislation, modeled after Texas’ restrictive abortion ban. The proposal would allow private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells assault weapons or “ghost gun” kits and parts.

“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, and largely endorsing Texas’s scheme to insulate its law from the fundamental protections of Roe v. Wade,” Newsom said in a statement. “But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”

Click here to continue reading.


Letitia James on The View
Letitia James on The View / Screenshot

New York Attorney General Backs Gun-Control Policy Mirroring Texas Abortion Law
By Jake Fogleman

Just days after California Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) called for gun-control advocates to copy the tactics of Texas’ abortion law, a top New York official is ready to follow suit.

On a Tuesday appearance on ABC’s “The View”, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.) praised Newsom’s statements. She told the show’s hosts that she would soon be pushing for a similar strategy that allows civilians to enforce gun bans or sue gun makers for criminal acts by third parties as a strategy to delay judicial action against the policies.

“When I heard about that, I said to my team, ‘We need to follow his lead,’” James said.

Click here to read more.


Podcast: Professor Evan Bernick on Charges Against the Michigan School Shooter’s Parents
By Stephen Gutowski

On this episode, I talk to Northern Illinois University College of Law professor Evan Bernick about the unprecedented charges against the parents of the 15-year-old who allegedly murdered 4 of his classmates in Michigan late last month.

We discuss his recent piece in The Washington Post warning of the dangers of the case. Bernick is skeptical of the logic being employed by prosecutors to charge the parents with negligent manslaughter in an attempt to hold them responsible for their son’s criminal acts. He argues the prosecution could set a troubling new precedent that will be used against vulnerable populations once this high-profile case fades from the headlines.

He said expansions of how broadly serious criminal offenses are interpreted tend to lead to an increase in prosecutions of minorities. We discuss how that principle often applies to gun laws but is rarely given the same level of discussion. We also look at how the same question is being considered in the Supreme Court’s gun-carry case.

At the same time, we debate the culpability of the parents involved in the Michigan school shooting and what kind of consequences they should face. Prosecutors allege the pair were informed about their son’s notes and drawings indicating he was about to carry out his attack on the very day it happened but did nothing to intervene. If the parents shouldn’t be charged for the killings themselves despite allegedly providing access to the firearm and doing nothing to respond to the warning signs, what should be done instead? Are safe storage laws a good alternative as Bernick suggests?

Plus, contributing writer Jake Fogleman and I cover the latest developments on permitless carry in Florida as well as Beto O’Rourke’s faltering poll numbers in the Texas gubernatorial race.

You can listen to the podcast on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here.

You can also watch the video podcast on our YouTube channel.


Guns displayed on a rack at a gun store
Guns displayed on a rack at a gun store / Stephen Gutowski

Gun Industry Takes Aim at New York’s Attempt to Side Step Federal Liability Protections
By Jake Fogleman

The first major test of New York’s latest attempt to circumvent firearms industry legal protection is underway.

A collection of gun makers and dealers filed a federal lawsuit against New York on Thursday. The suit alleges that a recently passed New York law imposing new civil liability on the industry is unconstitutional.

“Enacted with the specific purposes of overriding the protections from litigation provided by Congress through the PLCAA, the Act attempts to hold Firearm Industry Members responsible for the alleged creation of a ‘public nuisance’ based on out-of-state conduct that is lawful where it occurred but is later determined to be either unlawful, or even ‘unreasonable,’ by a New York judge or jury,” the suit reads.

The lawsuit comes just one day after New York Attorney General Letitia James (D.) announced she was pursuing further strategies to attach civil liability to gun manufacturers and dealers in the model of a recent Texas abortion law.

Click here to read the rest.


Nevada Judge Strikes Sections of State ‘Ghost Gun’ Ban
By Jake Fogleman

Nevada’s attempt to prohibit “ghost guns” suffered a major setback following a state district court decision filed Friday.

The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, unfinished-gun-frame manufacturer Polymer80. He found two separate provisions of the state’s “ghost gun” ban were unconstitutionally vague and lacked objective enforcement standards.

“Nevadans would face the risk of discriminatory enforcement by police and prosecutors alike as they, in their sole discretion and without guidance, could label almost anything an ‘unfinished frame or receiver,’ if it in any way even resembles a firearm’s undefined frame or lower receiver,” Nevada state court judge John Schlegelmilch said in his ruling.

Click here to read the full piece.


Holstered gun
A holstered handgun / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Momentum Likely to Carry Permitless Gun-Carry to more Red States [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Permitless gun-carry is on the move again.

Now, advocates for removing the permit requirement for concealed carry are seeing promising signs in some of the biggest and most-watched states. Pennsylvania’s legislature passed a permitless carry bill late last month, so did Ohio’s House, and now Florida’s governor has thrown his support behind the idea.

None of those states will have the policy by the end of the year, but it wouldn’t be surprising for all of them to be permitless by the end of 2023. The same can be said for Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Indiana.

Any state where Republicans control all levels of government will feel intense pressure to pass permitless carry from here on out.

If you’re already a Reload member, click here to read the full analysis. If not, buy a membership today for access to this post and other exclusive content! Every membership helps support our independent, informed journalism!


justitia, goddess, goddess of justice
Photo by pixel2013 on Pixabay

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Bumpstock Ban
By Jake Fogleman

Opponents of the bump stock ban were dealt another setback in court on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the 2019 rule banning the sale or possession of bump stocks. In its ruling, the court found that the ATF correctly classified bump stocks as machine guns under the National Firearms Act.

“After a trial, the district court rejected Cargill’s claims, concluding in a 75-page order that the Rule ‘properly classifies a bump stock as a ‘machinegun’ within the statutory definition,’” the court wrote. “Because we agree with the district court that bump stocks qualify as machine guns under the best interpretation of the statute, we AFFIRM.”

The decision marks the third Federal Appeals Court to uphold the controversial ban. Earlier this month, an evenly divided Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the ban to remain in place, and a 2020 Tenth Circuit decision upholding the ban is currently awaiting review by Supreme Court.

Click here to get the full story.


Outside The Reload 

17 gun firms flee to friendlier states | Washington Examiner | By Paul Bedard

Ohio Senate Passes Permitless Carry | The Columbus Dispatch | By Anna Staver

Washington Democratic lawmakers to again propose ban on high-capacity magazines, other gun restrictions | The Seattle Times | By Joseph O’Sullivan

Newsom’s Texas-style gun ploy is an emotionally satisfying, and very bad, idea | L.A. Times | By the Times Editorial Board 

California Sheriff Indicted In Concealed Carry Bribery Scandal | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

The Paradox of the 2020 Gun-Sales Spike | National Review | By Robert VerBruggen 

Urban liberals rethink guns and policing amid crime spike on their doorstep | Washington Examiner | By Sarah Westwood


That’s it for this week in guns.

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

I’ll see you all next week.

Thanks,
Stephen Gutowski
Founder
The Reload

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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