Newsletter: Trump Loses His Guns

Donald Trump became the first former president or major party candidate to become a convicted felon on Thursday. Because of that, he is also the first to become a prohibited person under federal firearms law.

As we discussed last October, Trump was already barred from obtaining new guns while under felony indictment and faced exactly this possibility if convicted. Unfortunately, as I explain in a new members’ piece, nobody else seems to have thought that was worth discussing. Not Trump’s primary opponents or the major gun-rights groups.

Whatever people might think of the verdict or the impact it might have on the election, it’s remarkable this possibility was never even a topic of conversation during the primary.

While it may have seemed like it, Trump’s convictions were not the only big news of the week. The NRA scored a win at the Supreme Court. The gun-rights group secured a 9-0 ruling in its First Amendment case against a former New York financial regulator—a veritable slam dunk.

We also saw the conclusion of a Texas runoff that pitted a Republican congressman who voted for gun control against a guntuber upstart. The outcome was far closer than anyone expected.

Plus, Vermont’s Republican governor allows two gun bills to become law without a signature. NRA reformer Judge Phil Journey reacts to the group’s leadership shakeup on the podcast. And Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman updates members on where Hunter Biden’s gun charges stand.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the 2024 NRA Great American Outdoor Show
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the 2024 NRA Great American Outdoor Show / Stephen Gutowski

Trump Loses Gun Rights as Jury Finds Him Guilty of 34 Felonies
By Stephen Gutowski

A jury convicted former president and current Republican nominee Donald J. Trump of 34 felonies on Thursday, which will bar him from possessing firearms.

While the convictions are for felonies under New York law, they trigger the federal ban on convicts owning guns. That means authorities will likely require Trump to turn over any firearms in his possession.

“What is commonly referred to as the felon-in-possession ban will apply to Trump because these New York crimes are punishable by more than one year in prison,” Gabriel Malor, a federal appellate lawyer and legal commentator, told The Reload.

Click here to read more.

A producer watches monitors as Donald Trump gives a speech to the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting
A producer watches monitors as Donald Trump gives a speech to the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: This Was Always a Possibility, But Garnered Little Attention From Gun Activists [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Donald Trump was convicted of 34 felonies on Thursday. He can no longer possess guns. That outcome was certainly foreseeable, given how many felony indictments he faced and still does. But this eventuality wasn’t broached by gun-rights groups or Trump’s primary opponents in the leadup to his nomination.

This stemmed from the general, inexplicable decision not to make guns a point of contention in the Republican primary.

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

The NRA logo on a sign at the group's 2024 conference
The NRA logo on a sign at the group’s 2024 conference / Stephen Gutowski

SCOTUS Unanimously Sides With NRA in First Amendment Case
By Stephen Gutowski

A New York official’s attempts to push financial institutions to drop their relationships with the National Rifle Association over the group’s pro-gun views ran afoul of the Constitution.

That was the unanimous ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Thursday. The High Court overturned a lower court ruling in favor of former New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) superintendent Maria Vullo and sided with the NRA.

“[T]he Court holds that the NRA plausibly alleged that Vullo violated the First Amendment by coercing DFS-regulated entities to terminate their business relationships with the NRA in order to punish or suppress the NRA’s advocacy,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Barack Obama appointee, wrote for the Court in NRA v. Vullo.

Click here to read more.

AK-47 rifles on display at SHOT Show 2024
AK-47 rifles on display at SHOT Show 2024 / Stephen Gutowski

GOP Incumbent Who Voted for Gun Control Squeaks by Texas Guntuber
By Stephen Gutowski

The Texas Republican who represents Uvalde, and voted for the new gun restrictions in response to the 2022 mass shooting there barely survived a primary challenge motivated by that vote on Tuesday.

Incumbent Tony Gonzales beat challenger and popular gun YouTuber Brandon Herrera by single digits after being forced into a runoff. Fewer than a thousand votes separated the two Republicans when Decision Desk called the race for Gonzales shortly before 11 pm Eastern. Gonzales will now face Democrat Santos Limon to decide who represents Texas’s 23rd district, an 800-mile area that runs along the border with Mexico.

“The future of America remains as bright as ever,” Gonzales posted after Decision Desk called the race for him. “Thank you #TX23 for continuing to place your faith in me.”

Click here to continue reading.

An AR-15 built with an unserialized lower receiver made by Defense Distributed on display at SHOT Show 2022
An AR-15 built with an unserialized lower receiver made by Defense Distributed on display at SHOT Show 2022 / Stephen Gutowski

Vermont Governor Allows ‘Ghost Gun’ Ban, Gun Free Zones to Take Effect
By Jake Fogleman

Despite questioning their effectiveness, a Republican Governor has given the green light to new gun-control measures.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R.) allowed S.209 to become law without his signature on Tuesday. The bill prohibits the possession and transfer of any unserialized firearm, frame, or receiver, commonly referred to as “ghost guns” by gun-control advocates. It also bans the possession of a firearm at or near any polling place.

“While my concerns on the practical impacts and enforceability keep me from signing this bill, I’m allowing it to go into law because I understand the fears behind access to untraceable firearms and respect the effort to tailor the scope and exceptions to limit impact for law abiding citizens,” Scott said in a letter explaining his decision.

Click here to read the rest.

Podcast: NRA Reformer Reacts to New Leadership
By Stephen Gutowski

This week, we’re talking to one of the men who led the effort to reform the NRA from within.

Phillip Journey has been an outspoken critic of the corruption that unfolded at the gun group during Wayne LaPierre’s tenure, and he’s been trying to fix the problems from within for nearly half a decade now. That work appears to be coming to fruition now. He and other reformers propelled alternative candidates to three of the NRA’s top four leadership positions last Monday, including LaPierre’s old position.

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.

On the news update, contributing writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss my time in Dallas covering the 2024 NRA Annual Meeting, where reformers had major success in getting their preferred candidates into top leadership positions. We also discuss what the leadership turnover says about the group’s ability to reform itself moving forward, especially in light of its latest financial reports showing continued budget and fundraising woes. Plus, we cover the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up a case on Maryland’s assault weapon ban and why there’s a good shot a conservative justice will issue the majority opinion on bump stocks. Audio is here. Video is here.

Rounds of 9mm ammunition stored in a box
Rounds of 9mm ammunition stored in a box / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Where Hunter Biden’s Gun Case Stands [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

On the eve of trial, Hunter Biden’s legal team has taken aim at what it means to be an “addict” for purposes of federal law while shifting Second Amendment jurisprudence continues to shadow his prosecution.

After multiple unsuccessful attempts to have his case dismissed, the President’s son is set to stand trial on federal gun charges beginning June 3rd. Specifically, a jury will decide if he is guilty of lying on a background check form used to purchase a firearm about his drug use and whether he illegally possessed the purchased firearm as someone who “is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.”

In a trial brief filed Thursday, Biden’s legal team suggested he plans to invoke a Bill Clinton-like interpretation of the federal prohibition and its temporal relationship to his drug use as a defense against those charges.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this piece and hundreds of others!

Outside The Reload

OSD 275: What’s gun ownership like in Europe? | Open Source Defense

In Hawaii, Permission To Use Medical Marijuana Precludes Permission To Own a Gun | Reason | By Jacob Sullum

San Diego wins first conviction for violation of gun violence restraining order | The San Diego Union-Tribune | By Teri Figueroa

Tennessee Governor Signs Anti-‘Red Flag’ Bill Into Law | Bearing Arms | By Cam Edwards

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.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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


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

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