by Tanya Metaksa
We have again witnessed Sen. Feinstein’s war on law-abiding gunowners. Feinstein’s so-called “assault weapons” ban legislation, S-150, was introduced on Jan. 24, 2013. It is much more onerous than the Clinton Gun Ban of 1994 and there is no sunset clause. Her bill: 1. Names 157 firearms to be banned–the list can be found at http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/guns/2013/jan/25/miller-feinsteins-157-banned-guns-list/; 2. Ban all semi automatic rifles with a detachable magazine; 3. Ban all semi-automatic firearms that have fixed magazines that accept greater than 10 rounds; 4. Ban detachable-magazine pistols that also have a threaded barrel, second pistol grip or a magazine that mounts other than in the grip; 5. Ban all semi-automatic shotguns that have one more “bad” feature; 6. Ban all belt-fed semi-automatic firearms; 7. Ban all frames or receivers of banned guns; 7. Ban “part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment or accessory…to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle”; 8. Ban sale or transfer of ammunition feeding devices holding more than 10 rounds.
In the House of Representatives the leading anti-gun Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has introduced four bills, some of which she had introduced previously. HR-137, would create a federal database of prohibited persons; HR-138, bans magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds; HR-141, requires federal regulations as well as background checks at gun shows, and HR-142, banning mail order sale of ammunition with additional licensing and record keeping of “bulk” ammo purchases.
In addition Rep Jim Moran (D-VA) reintroduced a ban on all private transfers, HR-21, while two gun registration bills, HR-35 and HR-117 were also reintroduced.
On Jan. 16, 2013 President Obama and Vice-President Biden held a press event to announce his plan to reduce “gun violence.” He called on Congress to pass 10 different items of legislation. Many of these proposals have been around for decades. What he signed during that press event were three memoranda instructing his Cabinet Departments to develop regulations to: 1. Tracing of Firearms in Connection with Criminal Investigations; 2.Improving the transfer of Executive Branch Records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS),and 3. Using Public Health Research to find the Causes and Prevention of Gun Violence. He is using the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education to implement these directives. He also mentioned that he will utilize Obamacare to implement his gun control plans. The transcript of the event can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/16/remarks-president-and-vice-president-gun-violence
Fast and Furious
As of Feb. 2 the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee has not published their third and last part of a three-part joint staff report on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) “Fast and Furious” operation. The delay may be due to the fact that the lawsuit that the Committee brought against Attorney General Eric Holder has been delayed because the parties may be discussing a settlement”
All state legislatures will start new legislative sessions in 2013 with the exception of New Jersey. Last month we gave a schedule of the first 48 states that will start or have started their sessions. Here is the list of the final legislatures to go into session: FL starts March 5 and LA begins on April 8.
HB-24, a no-duty-to-retreat bill has been introduced. HB-55 allowing school districts and private schools to have permanent employees possess firearms.
SB-1112, prohibiting enforcement of federal gun laws passed after Jan. 1, 2013, passed the Public Safety Committee by a vote of 4-2-1. However, its primary sponsor Kelli Ward pulled it from consideration because of constitutionality concerns.
SB-71, allowing Right-to-Carry permit holders to carry in churches passed 28-4 in the Senate and 85-8 in the House. The House has to vote again as a result of more sponsors being added and then Gov. Mike Beebe has said he will sign it. HB-1035 will allow staff members of an institution of higher learning to carry a concealed firearm if the staff member has a Right-to-Carry permit.
The California legislature already began its 2013 session on Dec. 3. It is scheduled to adjourn Aug. 31, 2013. The following anti-gun bills have been introduced: AB-48, Reporting of ammunition sales, requires licensing of ammunition dealers and establishes other controls on ammunition sales similar to current controls on firearms sales. AB-169, People who currently own restricted firearms could only transfer them to other persons exempted.
AB-170 changes current law that allows organizations, including corporations and other associations, to have permits for assault weapons and machineguns to individuals only. AB-174, ending the grandfathering of existing weapons which are now illegal to purchase but are still legal to possess. AB-187, tax the sale of ammunition in California with proceeds going to a crime prevention fund that would be used in targeted jurisdictions suffering from high rates of violent crime. Other anti-gun bills are also waiting to be introduced.
At the end of January the Senate Judiciary Committee by votes of 3-2 rejected two pro-firearm-owners bills: SB-9, allowing a school employee to carry a firearm, and SB-62, to hold businesses that prohibit persons from carrying a firearms civilly liable. As of Feb. 2 the Democrats have not yet introduced their anti-gun proposals.
On Jan. 28, thousands of pro-gun citizens attended a public hearing on “gun violence prevention.” The hearing lasted 17 hours and 45 minutes in order to allow everyone to speak. Meanwhile, several anti-gun proposals are being considered in Hartford.
Gov. John Markel (D) has outlined a proposal that includes ban on semi-automatic firearms, magazine capacity restrictions, background checks on all firearms sales and “gun free” school zones. Legislation has not yet been introduced.
An attempt to repeal the firearms instructors’ liability exemption, HB-426, failed in Judiciary Committee on a 5-6 vote.
HB-997, a Right-to-Carry bill, has been introduced. Cook County has proposed an ordinance to penalize the victim of a stolen gun. If a firearm theft is not reported to the police within 48 hours from the time the victim
“should have known,” a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 will be levied.
SJR007, an amendment to the Indiana Constitution to provide a right to hunt and fish, was voted in the Senate Agriculture Committee 7-0 to proceed to the full Senate. Several other pro-gun bills have been introduced: HB-1563, wildlife legislation that includes hunting with a silencer, and two bills that deal with firearms on school property: HB-1473 and SB-97. HB-1563 has been referred to House Committee on Natural Resources, HB-1473 to the House Committee on Public Policy, and SB-97 to the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure.
SB-21, a Right-to-Carry reform bill was passed by the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs on Jan. 23. Two other pro-gun bills have been introduced: SB-45, prohibiting tax dollars to be spent lobbying against legal products, and HB-2055, allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns in a public building that “does not provide adequate security.”
In Henderson County a proposal to ban the carrying of concealed firearms in city owned or controlled buildings was tabled indefinitely on Jan. 24.
The Maine legislature began its 2013 session on Dec. 5.
Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) legislation, SB-281 and companion, HB-294, were introduced on Jan. 23, 2013. These bills include bans on semi-automatic rifles, registration of “regulated firearms” before Nov. 1, 2013, magazine capacity restrictions, and a state license to purchase a handgun.
Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has introduced HB-47. In a state with some of the most restrictive gun laws, his proposals are draconian. Magazine capacity to be limited to 7 rounds and all magazines with 10 or more round capacity must be sold or disposed of, one firearm per month purchase limit, and a required background check and fee for private transfers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-0 to send SB-49 to the full Senate for a vote. This bill keeps personal information of permit-to-purchase applicants confidential and exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests.
Two days of hearings are scheduled for the House Public Safety Committee in early February. The following bills will be heard: HF-237, requiring a seven-day waiting period to transfer handguns and semi-automatic riles and removing “judicial determination” from the definition of committed to an institution; HF-240, increases the mental health requirements for firearms permit applicants; HF-184, establishes a registry of persons who wish to be ineligible to purchase firearms and amends procedures for accepting firearms and ammunition; HF-244, making it a crime to falsely report a lost or stolen firearm and increasing penalties for such crime; HF-238, increase penalties for possessing firearms on school property; and HF-239, increasing penalties for persons carrying firearms on private property when ordered to leave. The hearings are schedule for more than one day and could include other bills.
HB-485, a bill to seal the records for Mississippi issued Right-to-Carry permits passed the House by a vote of 101-18. HB-2, a bill to clarify how a concealed weapon is to be worn passed the House by a 111-8 vote. The companion bill to HB-2, SB-2212, is awaiting action by the full Senate. SB-2048, allowing crossbows during archery season is also awaiting action by the Senate.
Two bills restricting the rights of law-abiding gunowners have been introduced in the Missouri legislature. HB-187 would deny any firearms transfers not done through an FFL and SB-124 would require a gun owning parent to notify a school board or private school within 30 days of enrolling his/her child.
In late January the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB-145. The full Senate will now vote upon it. SB-145 would make it impossible for the media to print lists of holders of Right-to-Carry permits by making those lists confidential. Three other bills of interest to firearms owners have been introduced. They are: HB-205, allow the use of suppressors while hunting; HB-223, exempt non-profit shooting ranges from property tax; and HB-240, limit the Board of Regents and the Montana University System from regulating firearm.
HB-135 had a hearing before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Jan. 22. This bill would negate last year’s bill that allowed citizens to use deadly force anywhere they were legally entitled. It also repeals the civil immunity provision and now defines even showing a weapon without shooting as deadly force.
AB-1216, legislation that increases the penalty for firearms possession on the campus of an educational institution from a second-degree crime to a third degree crime, passed the Law and Public Safety Committee on June 8, 2012, it is still viable in 2013. As of Feb. 1 six more restrictive gun bills have been introduced. Additionally Gov. Chris Christie has created a NJ SAFE TASK FORCE to hold hearings on crime and violence. The six bills are: AB-3666 and SB-2465 prohibit mail order sale of ammunition; AB-3659 changes the definition of destructive device to include .50 caliber or greater; AB-3664 reduces the maximum capacity of a magazine to five rounds; AB-3676 require a psychological exam and in-home inspection to purchase a firearm; AB-3688 requires a mental health exam and list of family members with mental illness prior to firearm purchase; and SB-2464 regulates the sale and transfer of rifle and shotgun ammunition.
Rep. Miguel Garcia introduced HB-77. This bill requires that all gun sales would be either through an FFL or the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. Additionally there would be a tax of $25 on private transfers and $35 if the transfer occurs at a gun show. Thus there would be a registration system being created. On Jan. 8 the bill was voted on in the House Judiciary Committee resulting in an 8-8-tie vote that would have killed the bill. However, the bill’s supporters have put forth a substitute that still makes it a crime to privately transfer firearms with a few exceptions and makes it mandatory to transfer through an FFL. Any rewrite would still damage the rights of law-abiding citizens
Gov. Mario Cuomo managed to get a bill (S-2230) passed within days of the opening of the 2013-2014 legislative session. The Senate passed it 43-18 and on the next day, Jan. 15, the Assembly voted 104-43 in favor and Cuomo signed it the same day. This law expands the “assault weapons” ban, institutes ”background checks on ammunition purchases, and requires mental health personnel to report if someone is a threat (without adjudication). It also limits magazine capacity to seven rounds and requires that you can only sell or give them away for a period of one yea; then they are forever banned and it requires background checks for all firearms transfers. One lawsuit has already been filed and a claim for filed for another suit.
Two pro-gun bills have been introduced in the first week of the legislative session. HB-17 makes information of holders of Right-to-Carry permits accessible only to the police and allows them to carry into establishments that serve alcohol. HB-49 would allow employees to keep their firearms in their locked vehicle when parked on the employer’s property.
Since South Carolina and other southeastern states have been the object of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sting operations, H-3044 was introduced to protect firearm retailers from such illegal purchases. H-3053 allows Right-to-Carry permittees to carry in an alcohol-serving restaurant. H-3072 would allow employees to keep their firearms in their locked vehicle when parked on the employer’s property. S-249 appropriates state funds for a School Resource Office in every school in a public school district in the state.
A bill to extend the life of a Right-to Carry permit from four to five years, SB-166, has been introduced. Bills to make information about those who have applied or have a carry permit confidential have been introduced
In the Tennessee legislature most bills are introduced with a companion bill in the other house of the legislature. In order to make it easier to follow the bills will be listed by topics with the House and Senate bill numbers following. Bills that would make information concerning the application and the issuance of a carry permit confidential (HB-9, SB-108). A bill prohibiting using state and local funds for enforcing any federal law, regulation, rule that becomes effective after Jan. 1, 2013 (HB-10, SB-40). A bill to allow employees to keep their firearms and ammunition in their locked vehicles when parked on the employer’s or state-owned property (HB-118, SB-142). Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has filed the Senate version. HB-6 allows trained school personnel to possess a firearm on school property. HB-108 provides that an employer cannot require information about ownership or storage of a firearm in the applicant or employee’s vehicle. SB-76 in an effort to keep records of gun permits confidential no more than 15 records may be copied in a 24-hour day. SB-77 allows certain persons in an education institution to possess a firearm.
As a result of Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott’s statement that Travis County Commissioners would face legal action if they banned gun shows, the Commissioners voted unanimously to not go forward with such a proposal. On the first day of the 2013 legislature, HB-47, a bill to reduce the number of classroom hours required for the issuance of a Concealed Handgun License from ten hours to four, was introduced.
Sen. Birdwell introduced SB-182, allowing adult Right-to-Carry licensees to carry on the campuses of public colleges and universities.
Although S-32, a semi-auto ban, was withdraw, HB-124 and HB-125 have been introduced. HB-124 bans magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, requires NICS check for sales at a gun show, institutes a requirement for carrying a firearm concealed, and allows mental health practitioners to testify as to mental health for owning firearms. HB-125 mandates that building #627 in Essex to be used “as a repository for unlawful firearms designated for ultimate disposition.”
As of the beginning of February all anti-gun bills have been defeated or tabled in Committees. In the House HB-1582 to permit armed security guards to carry firearms on school property passed 73-25 and is in the Senate Committee on Education and Health, HB-2317 that passed by a vote of 99-0 provides for residency requirements for members of the US armed forces include both the permanent duty post and the state in which the member resides. SB-1363 is the Senate companion bill and it passed the Senate 40-0. Several other bills were reported out of Committee by rereferred back by the full House.
HB-1588 called a “universal background check” bill was introduced on Jan. 31, 2013 and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. This bill is the beginning of a registration system in the state. All firearms sales must go through a dealer or law enforcement offer and will cost $20 per firearm. The two sponsors of this legislation sit on the Judiciary Committee.
Currently the legislature is adjourned until Feb. 13, but bills can still be introduced.
Two bills passed the House on Feb. 1. They are HB-103 that strengthens state preemption and HB-105 that expands the number of places where concealed handguns can be carried.