Gun Control

USCCA Sets the Record Straight on “Red Flag” Legislation

USCCA Continues To Oppose Legislative Efforts Aimed At Stripping Americans of Their 2A Rights Without Due Process

The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), which provides education, training and self-defense protection to more than 300,000 responsible American gun owners across the country, said today that it will continue to oppose any legislative efforts at the state and federal level that seek to strip law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process.

This comes as anti-gun groups are pressuring lawmakers in a number of states to pass so-called “Red Flag” laws – which are also referred to as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) – and some have inaccurately suggested the USCCA would support these efforts.

USCCA President and Founder Tim Schmidt said today that the USCCA will continue to stand behind any law-abiding, responsibly-armed American who faces an unfounded “Red Flag” situation and will oppose legislative efforts that allow for the confiscation of firearms without due process. “We must ensure that dangerous persons with mental illnesses do not have access to firearms, but that cannot come at the expense of allowing our government to target law-abiding Americans and confiscate their firearms without due process,” Schmidt said today.

“Many of the so-called ‘red flag’ laws under consideration by various states would make it far too easy for bad actors to abuse them and target innocent people. Imagine, for example, losing your right to self-protection simply because someone with an axe to grind against you falsely claims you’re a danger. Many of these legislative proposals are nothing more than backdoor efforts by the anti-gun lobby to strip law-abiding Americans of their God-given right to self-defense, and the USCCA will continue to oppose them.”

Schmidt also noted in a new video that he recorded and shared with USCCA members today that the USCCA has been voicing its serious concern with “red flag” laws that have been passed by states like California for the last several years now including in a January 2018 message to USCCA members where he wrote, “Therein lies the ‘extreme risk of ERPOs: relying on feelings to potentially strip an individual of his or her constitutional right to keep and bear arms — all while neglecting due process.”

Senate Democrats Waste No Time Attacking Second Amendment Rights

Feinstein & Co. Introduce “Assault Weapons” Ban for 2019

Just a week into the 116th United States Congress a swarm of angry, misinformed democrat politicians have introduced legislation that would ban the sale, manufacture, and importation of hundreds of firearms by name and potentially thousands more based on largely cosmetic characteristics as well as putting the kibosh on any magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

Dubbed the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, the official title of S.66 is A bill to regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes. Seriously? “To ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited?” This from the people who swore an oath to uphold and defend a document that explicitly reads “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Try this on for size: infringe (verb): Act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.   Continue reading

Legal Challenges to Bump Stock Ban Begin Rolling In

As reported Tuesday and discussed on the GunLink Forums, the Department of Justice this week issued a new regulation reversing the BATFE’s longstanding position on bump stock devices. This regulation modifies the meaning of certain words and changes the codified definition of machine gun such that it now includes language inclusive of bump stocks.

This reclassification leads to a situation faced by many hundreds of thousands of owners of such devices whereby they must now either destroy or surrender to the BATFE their lawfully purchased property or become overnight felons in possession of illegal, unregistered machine guns.

No doubt worse than the fact that they must now hand over their property – purchased in good faith with assurance from the BATFE that the device was, in fact, not a machine gun – without compensation, is the manner in which the regulation came about.

To be certain, the regulation is causing an uproar among factions of the firearms community with talk about violations of everything from Article I of the US Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws to various and sundry elements of the Bill of Rights to include the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendments.

The Cato Institute published a piece rightly stating that “this regulation is not an attempt to clarify a vague law, but to seize political expediency to expand the power of the executive,” continuing that they may reserve their “right to intervene in the coming litigation.”

It should come as no surprise that the first legal challenges to the Bump Stock Ban were put into motion just a few short hours after the announcement that it had been inked by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker given that the opening shots in this legal battle were fired by some of the more prolific opposition to the change since its early stages.    Continue reading

GOA, NRA Offer Differing Views on Trump Admin’s School Safety Report

The White House yesterday announced the final report by the administration’s Federal Commission on School Safety. The full report can be read here.

Calling it a “comprehensive approach to making sure school campuses are safe places,” the commission offered a number of suggestions, including identification and treatment of mental issues, calling on media outlets to stop using names and photos of prolific attackers, and implementation of training, planning, and potentially placing armed staff.

However, the report is drawing mixed responses from pro-gun groups thanks to one contentious point: the recommendation for “extreme risk protection orders” (ERPOs), which the document describes as “also known as gun violence protection orders, risk warrants, or red flag laws, these state laws provide law enforcement (and in some instances, family members) with a legal, temporary way to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms.” So… basically firearm confiscation and removal of Second Amendment rights without due process.

In a Tuesday statement, NRA-ILA executive director Chris W. Cox highlighted some pet issues, saying “The National Rifle Association applauds the [report]. The report includes a number of recommendations for which the NRA has been advocating for years, including reforming our mental health laws, strengthening school security, and addressing an increasingly violent culture. It also calls on the media to stop reporting the names and photos of mass murderers, which only encourages copycat behavior.

Despite the fact that existing law – specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) – already “makes it unlawful for [any person 2ho has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution] to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition“, Cox continued to praise the ERPO language of the report.  Cox continued, “Finally, we appreciate President Trump’s support for keeping firearms out of the hands of those who have been adjudicated by a court to be a danger to themselves or others in the form of state Extreme Risk Protection Orders — provided they include strong due process protections, require mental health treatment, and include penalties against those who file frivolous charges to harass law-abiding citizens.

Sorry, Chris – that mechanism for keeping firearms out of those people’s hands, and the due process protections, are already in existing law and, on their face, appear to be precisely the opposite of what ERPOs achieve.

Gun Owners of America’s (GOA) executive director, Erich Pratt responded with a decidedly different take, calling it a continuation of the President’s “take the guns first, due process later rhetoric,” referencing the case of 61-year old Maryland resident Gary Willis, who was killed while officers were executing firearm confiscation orders. According to Breitbart, the details behind the issuance of the confiscation order against Willis were not reported; all that was known was that a niece said one of her aunts requested the order.

Pratt continued, “Instead of resorting to the ‘Minority Report’ style gun control preferred by Michael Bloomberg and Chuck Schumer, President Trump should encourage initiatives like Concealed Carry Reciprocity, repealing gun-free zones and arming teachers — all measures he has vocally supported in the past,” concluding “These Gun Confiscation Orders are a violation of Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, and GOA will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights and oppose these dangerous initiatives.

Acting AG Signs New Bump Stock Ban

Devices Must Be Destroyed Within 90 Days of Rule Being Published

After months of speculation on whether such a measure could be taken under an ostensibly pro-RKBA administration, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker signed a new rule today that classifies “bump stocks” as machine guns and bans their possession. The rule, set to take effect 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register – which is expected to happen this Friday – would require current owners of the devices to destroy them.

The BATFE had previously concluded that such devices were unable to be federally regulated as such because they are simply an accessory part. Following the Mandalay Bay attack in October 2017 in which the attacker allegedly used weapons equipped with such devices, President Trump prompted the DOJ to revisit the matter. AG Jeff Sessions introduced the proposed legislation in March 2018.

The new rule inaccurately concludes that these devices allow a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” making it a machine gun. Generally, under current regulations, possession or transfer of a machine gun manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 – the date on which the Firearms Owners Protection Act (and the Hughes Amendment thereof) went into effect.

The complete Final Rule can be read here. The summary of the rule reads as follows (emphasis added):

The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify that bump-stock-type devices […] are “machineguns” as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter. Hence, a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger. With limited exceptions, the Gun Control Act, as amended, makes it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the statute. The bumpstock-type devices covered by this final rule were not in existence prior to the effective date of the statute, and therefore will be prohibited when this rule becomes effective. Consequently, under the final rule, current possessors of these devices will be required to destroy the devices or abandon them at an ATF office prior to the effective date of the rule.

The BATFE sought public comment on the proposal, receiving upward of 100,000 comments, although passage of such a rule seems to have been a foregone conclusion with direction straight from the White House. Given the Second and Fifth Amendment concerns surrounding the issue and the time frame for it to go into effect, we expect to see a number of legal challenges to the rule.

Department of Justice Announces Bump-Stock-Type Devices Final Rule

BATFEToday, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced that the Department of Justice has amended the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), clarifying that bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law, as such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.

Acting Attorney General Whitaker made the following statement:

“President Donald Trump is a law and order president, who has signed into law millions of dollars in funding for law enforcement officers in our schools, and under his strong leadership, the Department of Justice has prosecuted more gun criminals than ever before as we target violent criminals. We are faithfully following President Trump’s leadership by making clear that bump stocks, which turn semiautomatics into machine guns, are illegal, and we will continue to take illegal guns off of our streets.”

On February 20, 2018, President Trump issued a memorandum instructing the Attorney General “to dedicate all available resources to… propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.” In response to that direction the Department reviewed more than 186,000 public comments and made the decision to make clear that the term “machinegun” as used in the National Firearms Act (NFA), as amended, and Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended, includes all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic firearm after a single pull of the trigger.   Continue reading

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