by Tanya Metaksa
Latest developments—Federal: Sen. Jeff Sessions is now US Attorney General and Rep. Tom Price is Secretary of Health and Human Services; Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange appointed to US Senate; Judge Neil M. Gorsuch nominated by Pres. Trump to fill Antonin Scalia SCOTUS seat; H.J. Res.40, H.J. Res.49 and S.J.Res 18; Hearing Protection Act; Judicial: US v. Robinson; State Legislation: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, So. Carolina, So. Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, H.R.629: As we have reported under Pres. Obama the VA automatically reports any veteran using a fiduciary (someone to help him with his financial affairs) as “mentally defective” thereby disqualifying the veteran from owning a firearm. HR629 would require that a veteran be adjudicated mentally deficient before losing Second Amendment rights.
Congressional Review Act
Regulations implemented by the Obama Administration since May 2016 could be repealed under the provisions of the Congressional Review Act. This law allows Congress by a simple majority to repeal regulations and rules promulgated by the Obama Administration since mid-2016. Rep. Darrell Issa’s bill, H.R.21 that would allow the disapproval of multiple regulations, rather than one regulation at a time, has already passed in the House, it has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in the Senate. The House has passed H.J. Res.40, repealing the December regulation by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to characterize those persons whose disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income is being managed by a third party as “mentally defective” and thus reported to the National Instant Check System as prohibited from owning or purchasing a firearm. S.J.Res.14 is a companion bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Companion bills, S.J.Res.18 and H.J.Res.49, repealing the Fish & Wildlife nontoxic ammunition requirement, have been introduced. (see Last Days of the Obama Administration below)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduce S.59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017. In the House Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Rep. John Carter (R-TX) and 42 cosponsors have introduced the companion piece—H.R. 367.
These bills would remove sound suppressors from the current regulation under the National Firearms Act where the purchase of a suppressor is subject to the same background check, the transfer forms and the $200 tax as fully automatic firearms. The introduction of these laws has sent the anti-gun proponents and media into a frenzy with much editorializing that is misleading if not outright fallacious.
On Jan. 17 Sen. Rubio introduced S. 162, a bill to restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia. It has been referred to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
US Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) on the first day of the 115th Congress. The proposed legislation, with 63 co-sponsors, would compel states to recognize concealed carry permits issued from other states that have concealed carry laws within their own borders — much in the same way a driver’s license is recognized. The bill aims to eliminate the confusion of varying state-by-state laws and provide protection for Second Amendment rights for permit holders.
The Trump Administration
After two very contentious floor fights in the US Senate Sen. Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General and Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services,
President Trump has nominated Rep. Ryan Zinke, (R-MT) to head the Interior Department. His nomination has been passed by the Senate Committee and is now awaiting a vote in the full Senate. Additionally, Pres. Trump has nominated David Shulkin, the current under-Secretary at the VA to head the Veterans Administration and former GA Gov. Sonny Perdue to head the Department of Agriculture.
U.S. Senate: Luther Strange, the Alabama Attorney General, has been appointed to fill Sen. Sessions’ seat until a Special Election in 2018.
Last days of the Obama Administration
In the last days of his Administration, President Obama commuted 539 sentences and pardoned 64 criminals. On Jan. 19 the last full day of the Obama Administration the US Fish & Wildlife issued Directors Order 219 that read: Require the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on Service lands, waters, and facilities by January 2022, except as needed for law enforcement or health and safety uses, as provided for in policy. This effectively bans the use of lead ammunition and lead fishing gear on all Fish & Wildlife controlled land in the country.
Knutson v. Curry: A lawsuit brought by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) in which a legal resident, but not a US citizen, cannot apply for a Right-to-Carry permit due to current Montana law, has been stayed pending the disposition of Montana HB273. (see below under Montana.)
United States v. Robinson: In 2014 Shaquille Montel Robinson was arrested as a felon in possession after an anonymous tip of a man with a gun and convicted Robinson “filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the firearm and ammunition seized during the frisk, arguing that the frisk violated his Fourth Amendment rights.” A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Robinson’s conviction and the government requested a further hearing en banc. The en banc decision found that Robinson’s Fourth Amendment rights were NOT violated. However, in writing a separate brief Judge James A. Wynn wrote, “Individuals who choose to carry firearms are categorically dangerous to the Terry frisk inquiry. Accordingly, the majority decision today necessarily leads to the conclusion that individuals who elect to carry firearms forego other constitutional rights, like the Fourth Amendment right to have law enforcement officers ‘knock-and-announce’ before forcibly entering homes.”
Worman, et al. v. Charles D. Baker, et al: Massachusetts has banned so-called “assault weapons” but since 1998 has allowed similar firearms to be sold and transferred thus becoming “Massachusetts Compliant Firearms,” but in 2016 Attorney General Maura Healey redefined the phrase “copies or duplicates” and expanded the “assault weapons” prohibition to include “Massachusetts Compliant Firearms,” and criminalized the transfer of tens of thousands of such firearms. The lawsuit is arguing that the MA law on “assault weapons” violated the Second Amendment and that Healey’s definition denies the plaintiffs due process of law. During the week of Feb. 6 the Attorney General’s office sought an extension on responding to the complaint.
Rhonda Ezell, et al. v. City of Chicago: As a result of the McDonald v. City of Chicago SCOTUS decision the City replace a ban on ranges with “an elaborate scheme of regulations governing shooting ranges.” In order to justify the “scheme” the city included a distancing rule that limited where a range could be built to “2.2% of the city’s total acreage…even theoretically available.” They also included a blanket age restriction. The Court stated that the age restriction and the zoning restriction were not valid.
State of Arizona v. City of Tucson: This is a preemption case in which the AZ Attorney General gave an opinion in 2013 that the City of Tucson’s ordinance which allowed the destruction of seized firearms was contrary to the AZ preemption statute and therefore the state could deny the city $115 million in state-shared revenue. The AZ AG filed a lawsuit to get the city to comply. The city of Tucson went to court stating that they were a “charter city” and exempt from the state law. The Supreme Court of Arizona has ordered oral arguments in this case for Feb. 28, 2017.
John Teixeira, et al v. The County of Alameda: After a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the right to purchase and sell firearms is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment, Alameda County appealed for an “en ban” review. On Dec. 30 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it would rehear the case in San Francisco the week of Mar. 20, 2017. This case began in 2010 when Teixeira began the necessary paperwork to open a gun store in Alameda County. The measurement of a restricted zone of 500 feet from a residential area has been in dispute since that time.
National Shooting Sports Foundation, et al v. State of California: On Dec. 1, 2016 The Court of Appeal of the State of California Fifth Appellate District overturned a lower court decision that had dismissed NSSF’s challenge to California’s arbitrary and irrational requirement that all new semi-automatic handguns be equipped with so-called “microstamping” technology. As a result of this law not a single new semi-automatic handgun has been sold in the state since 2014. The Appellate Court agreed that “microstamping” technology as mandated by the law is impossible and has remanded the case to the lower court to re-decide the challenge to “microstamping.”
Sandy Hook victims (Soto v. Bushmaster): Although Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act gave immunity to the firearms industry and dismissed the case, the plaintiffs are appealing to the Connecticut Supreme Court. This lawsuit was filed Dec. 2014 by the families of nine of the victims and a teacher against Remington, the distributor and the gun dealer that sold the AR15 to Adam Lanza’s mother.
In 2017 Republicans will continue to control over 2/3 of the 99 legislative houses. Additionally 25 of the states not only have a Republican legislature, but a Republican governor as well, while only the states of HI, CA, OR, CT, and RI have a Democratic governor and Democratic controlled legislature. All states will be in session during 2017—46 states are already in session—the rest will be one each in March and April and three “to be determined.”
On Feb 7 the legislature convened. SB2, a clarification of Alabama’s preemption law, has been introduced.
SB1243, expanding where Right-to-Carry permittees can carry concealed is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Government Committee. BLM is holding two hearings on where areas of the Sonoran Desert National Monument will be closed to target shooting. The hearings are on Feb. 11 at the Cooper Sky Recreation Center in Maricopa and on Feb. 21 at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. Information can be found https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite&projectId=55195 and written comments can be submitted online at email@example.com.
HB1249, allowing employees with Right-to-Carry permits to keep their firearms and ammunition in their locked vehicles when parked on the employer’s or state-owned property, has passed the House. An anti-open carry bill, HB1265, has been deferred. Two pro-gun Senate bills have been introduced—SB37, creating a Second Amendment Appreciation Weekend in Sept as a tax holiday on firearms sales , and SB126, creating a Tax Holiday for firearms purchases.
California: The Cupertino City Council will consider a draft ordinance prohibiting discharge of a firearm, mandatory reporting of lost/stolen firearms, locked storage of firearms, a ban on magazines holding 10 rounds or more, and record keeping of ammunition sales. Kamala Harris, the former CA Attorney General, was elected a US Senator. Gov. Jerry Brown nominated anti-gun state representative Xavier Becerra as the next CA AG. He was sworn in on Jan. 24 and immediately attacked Pres. Trump.
Colorado: In 2013 the legislature met and passed a magazine capacity limitation law. Every year since a bill has been introduced to repeal that law—this year the bill is SB7 and it passed the Senate 21-13. A similar bill, HB1097, was defeated on a party-line vote in the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.
Connecticut: Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has a history of being anti-Second Amendment, has proposed increasing the state fee from $70 to $300 for Right-to-Carry permits in his budget proposals. Two bills, Proposed Bill 6001 and Proposed Bill 6200, requiring persons who openly carry firearms to display their permit immediately to law-enforcement have been introduced,
SB128, restoring the presumption of innocence in self-defense cases was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee 5-4 and now has been passed by the Senate Rules Committee 8-2. SB140, a bill to allow campus carry, open carry and carrying in public areas of airports introduced by Sen Steube has now been split into several individual bills: SB610, requiring businesses who prohibit Right-to-Carry permittees to assume responsibility for their safety, SB618, allowing Right-to-Carry permittees to carry firearms into an airport with the exception of a sterile area; SB616, allowing a Right-to-Carry permittee to open carry; SB620, allowing Right-to-Carry permittees to carry into a meeting of the Legislature; SB626, allowing Right-to-Carry permittees to carry into a meeting of the local governing bodies; SB644, allowing Right-to-Carry permittees to carry into a meeting of the Legislature and SB646, allowing Right-to-Carry permittees to temporarily display their concealed weapon. HB245, restores the original intent of the self-defense immunity law—presumption of innocence. HB6005, a campus carry bill. Several anti-gun measures have been pre-filed.
HB280, expanding campus carry, has been introduced. HB156, a constitutional carry bill has been introduced.
Two anti-Second Amendment bills have been introduced and scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Committee on Public Safety: SB280, prohibiting gun ownership to persons placed on the “Terrorist Watchlist.” and SB898, permanently stripping a person of Second Amendment rights due to n an ex-parte warrant application based on probable cause. HB1589, allowing the ownership and use of firearm sound suppressors while hunting, is scheduled before the House Water and Land Committee.
Senate Amendment 2 to SB9 would impose a 5% tax on membership or access fees for gun clubs, shooting ranges, training classes, etc. In addition it would require that any of those venues pay a state fee of $75. A reintroduction of a 2016 bill to legalize the possession and use of suppressors (SB50) has been introduced. A hearing on this bill was cancelled.
Several pro-gun bills have been introduced in the early days of the Indiana legislature. They are: HB1071, allowing those petitioning for a civil protective order to carry a handgun without a permit; HB1095, changing Indiana’s definition of “armor piercing ammunition”to mirror federal law; HB1159, a constitutional carry bill; HB1161, creating tax credits for purchasing safes for firearms or taking a firearms class; HB1258, allowing campus carry by those who have Right-to-Carry permits; SB13, allowing handguns to be used as collateral for loans; and SB14, allowing professional staff with Right-to-Carry permits to carry at the capitol.
Senate Joint Resolution 2, a constitutional amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would add a Right to Keep and Bear Arms, has been introduced with by 29 of the 50 Senators. Two anti-Second Amendment bills: HF145, expanding background checks to all firearms transfers, and HF157, prohibiting so-called “assault weapons,” have been introduced.
Several bills to repeal Kansas Right-to-Carry laws have been introduced: HB2113 and SB51, to block a 2013 law to enable Right-to-Carry permittees to carry in public universities beginning in July 2017; HB2074/SB53, repeal right to carry on college campus, and HB2150, ban the carrying of a firearm into the Kansas University Hospital. On Jan. 31 the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee defeated SB53.
SB7, a constitutional carry bill was introduced.
LD31, a bill to make the “Citizen Initiative” process more equitable, will be heard before the Committee on Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee on Feb. 13.
HB159, banning the possession or carrying of firearms on college campuses, was approved by the House on Feb. 10.
House File 188, a constitutional carry bill has been introduced—SF650 is the Senate companion. This bill does not eliminate the current carry permitting system which allows persons to get a permit if they so desire.
SD1884, calls for a new 4.75% tax on firearm and ammunition, personalization technology in firearms, and a restriction on all private sales.
HB458, a bill allowing lawful owners of firearms may transport or store firearm in locked, privately owned vehicles without fear of civil or criminal liability or employer retribution, has been introduced. Also introduced are SB318/HB766 that would add misdemeanor convictions as prohibiting Second Amendment rights.
HB273, allowing permanent lawful residents (not citizens) to apply for a Right-to-Carry permit, passed the House 98-2 and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee (see Knutson v. Curry in Judicial). HB262, a permitless carry bill, has passed the House and has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-4. Last year the city of Missoula enacted an ordinance that making all private firearms transfers without a background check illegal. On Jan. 26 Montana Attorney General Tim Fox issued Vol. 57, Opinion No. 1 in which he stated that the ordinance violates two MT statutes thus local government is prohibited from enforcing an ordinance “requiring background checks on firearm sales or transfers.”
Legislative Bill 68, creating a preemption law that ensures that firearm and ammunition laws are set by state statute will be heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Feb. 10.
SB12, a constitutional carry bill, was voted out of the Senate on Jan. 19 and approved by the House by a vote of 200-97. This bill had been vetoed Governor Maggie Hassan (D) in two previous sessions and now goes to Gov. Chris Sununu (R). HB201, a universal background check bill, and HB350, prohibiting carrying a firearm while voting, were killed by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Feb. 7/
This legislature meets over a two-year period starting on an even numbered year and ending on an odd numbered year. Legislation runs through the two-year period. A.4179 and A.4180, bills to require ranges to monitor their customers for FID cards and IDs was to have a hearing on Dec. 5 before the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee. As a result of gun owner protests the bill was pulled from the hearing agenda.
The Senate Public Affairs and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve SB48 and HB50 respectively. The House Judiciary amended HB50 to remove any exceptions and then passed it on a 7-6 vote. The bill is expected to be before the full House during the week of Feb. 13.The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper announced, “Lawmakers Vow to Close Gun Show Loophole” even though the bills do not address gun shows. SB 48 and HB 50, supported by Bloomberg’s national gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, would criminalize nearly all private firearm sales between individuals, regardless of where those transactions take place, and require them to be conducted through a federal firearms licensed dealer with extensive government paperwork and a payment of an undetermined fee.
HB1169, a constitutional carry bill has been introduced and was considered by the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The legislature convened on Feb. 6 and SB386, prohibiting the use of public monies for lobbying for gun control legislation, was introduced.
Legislature convenes on Feb. 1. Three anti-gun bills have been prefiled: SB232, requiring courts to ask a petitioner at an ex parte hearing for temporary restraining order whether respondent possess firearms and then adopting protocols to surrender or seize such firearms without the respondent defending themselves; HB2130, mandatory gun storage; and HB2237, allowing indefinite delay to firearms transfer if the Oregon State Police cannot determine eligibility.
The Game Commission unanimously passed rule making for the semi-auto hunting law at its Jan. 31 meeting. Final approval will be at the next meeting Mar. 27-28. An ivory ban that would make any currently owned ivory product illegal is being proposed by Rep. Madeleine Dean.
HB3240, allowing the recognition of all valid state Right-to-Carry permits, has passed the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee and is awaiting action before the full House Judiciary Committee, while HB3429, amending the state’s bankruptcy laws to allow the retention of a firearms up to a value of $5,000 during a bankruptcy, was passed by the House Judiciary Committee.
A hunting and fishing amendment to the South Dakota Constitution, HJR1001, has been introduced. HB1091, clarifying the process for renewing Right-to-Carry permits, has passed the House 66-1. HB1072, a bill allowing permitless concealed carry, has been scheduled before the House State Affairs Committee on Feb. 15 and Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) has threatened to veto any bill that includes permitless carry.
SB 16, reducing Right-to-Carry fees that will allow honest citizens at all income levels to have equal access to this vital personal protection option, was prefiled prior to the Jan.10 opening of the 2017 legislature. After Jan.10 both pro-gun and anti-gun bills have been filed including bills to streamline the Right-to-Carry process as well as restrictions on firearms transfers and allowing public institutions such as universities opting out of Texas open carry laws.
HB112, is a constitutional carry bill that would require the firearm to be unloaded, and should be amended while it is being considered by the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. Also before the Committee is HB237. This bill includes all the provisions of HB112 and would expand firearm prohibitions concerning domestic relationships.
SB1299, allowing any person 21 years of age or older covered by a protective order to carry a concealed handgun for 45 days after the issuance of the protective order has been passed in the Senate— and its companion bill, HB1852 has passed in the House. Two bills, SB1300 and HB1853, would provide funding for training for persons covered under SB1299, have passed their respective Houses. SB1023, prohibiting the sharing of information on Right-to-Carry permits with states that do Not honor Virginia permits, has passed in the Senate and is awaiting action in the House Militia Policing and Public Safety Committee.
SB6, a “universal” background check law has been introduced.
HB1483, allowing for the destruction of all firearms confiscated or forfeited to the State Patrol, is scheduled for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 9. HB1384, a bill to add a new permanent “Sexual Assault Protection Order” that had no expiration date, ensuring that the recipient of the order would lose Second Amendment Rights permanently, was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 2. Current law allows protection orders for a maximum of 2 years. HB1134 and SB5050, banning the private possession of so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines,” bills, promoted by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have been introduced. HB1387, requiring owners of so-called “assault weapons” to get licenses and complete a gun safety course, and HB1122, requiring gun owners to keep their firearms locked up, was heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 2, but no action has been taken as of Feb. 6.
On Feb. 9 the legislature convened. A priority for pro-gun citizens in the state is expanding Sunday hunting on public and private lands in the state.
AB28, revise current Right-to-Carry laws to extend permits for five years upon renewal from date or original issuance.
HB136, allowing persons with a WY Right-to-Carry permit to carry concealed on the campus of a public institution of higher learning, and HB137, allowing an individual to carry a concealed weapon to any government meeting, have passed in the House. HB194, a bill giving school employees the authority to carry a concealed firearm on school property has passed the House Education Committee and is awaiting action in the House.