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In a victory for gun owners who spend at least part of the year in the Empire State, on October 15, 2013, the New York State Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Osterweil v. Bartlett that makes clear that part-time residents are eligible for New York handgun licenses.
On September 4, 2013, NRA filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in support of an American Civil Liberties Union suit against Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The suit challenges the National Security Administration’s mass collection of communication data under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, on the grounds that the program is not authorized by that provision of law and violates Americans’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. The NRA brief focuses on arguments that NSA’s data collection program violates the First Amendment rights of NRA members by “potentially chilling their willingness to communicate,” and that the NSA program could circumvent statutory protections barring the federal government from collecting gun ownership records.
On October 15, 2013, certiorari was granted by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Bruce J. Abramski v. United States, with oral arguments set for January 22, 2014. The case concerns whether BATFE’s policy barring the purchase of a firearm by a non-prohibited person for the purpose of selling it to another lawful purchaser exceeds the authority given to the agency under the Gun Control Act.
On December 16,, 2013, counsel for NRA brought a suit against the city of Sunnyvale, Calif., to invalidate the city’s recently enacted ordinance banning standard-capacity firearm magazines. The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of several law-abiding gun owners, and argues that the new law violates the plaintiffs’ right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment.
On December 12, 2013, NRA state affiliate Illinois State Rifle Association filed suit against the city of Highland Park, Ill., to invalidate the Chicago suburb’s comprehensive ban on popular semi-auto firearms and their magazines. The ISRA’s complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, filed in the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of Lake County, Ill., makes clear that Highland Park’s ban has “unconstitutionally infringed the fundamental right of law-abiding citizens under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes.”
On August 29, 2013, the Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously upheld a recently-enacted law that sought to restore the right to carry firearms openly within the state. Since an unfavorable decision in 1908, Mississippi’s ban on carrying a firearm that was concealed “in whole, or in part” was interpreted so strictly that one judge had opined that even the carrying a firearm by a leather string would violate the ban, as the string would obscure at least part of the firearm. Acccordingly, anyone lacking a Mississippi carry permit was unable to carry a pistol about his or her person without violating the law. Further, the law was interpreted so that any permit holder whose concealed firearm was partially revealed - while the person adjusted his or her clothes, for example – would run afoul of the law.
Last June, an NRA-sponsored lawsuit helped provide some relief to beleaguered Maryland gun owners by forcing the Maryland Attorney General and State Police to clarify rules regarding the transfer of regulated firearms (handguns and some semi-automatic rifles and shotguns). At the time, Marylanders were faced with, in some cases, a 10-week wait for the State Police to process applications for regulated firearms. Firearm sales were especially brisk, given that the state had recently enacted an expansive gun control law that upon taking effect would result in further restrictions upon many regulated firearms. The suit forced the state to acknowledge that gun dealers could lawfully transfer a firearm to a prospective buyer after seven days, regardless of whether the State Police had responded to the dealer on the buyer’s background check.
In the wake of another NRA-sponsored lawsuit, the Maryland State Police on September 19, 2013, announced the termination of a program which shared sensitive personal information of firearms purchasers with state agencies and employees that were unauthorized to receive it. Joining NRA in the suit were the Maryland Licensed Firearm Dealers Association, Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, and Maryland Shall Issue. The victory marked the second time in 2013 that Maryland authorities executed an abrupt about-face after the filing of an NRA-backed lawsuit aimed at protecting the “Free-State’s” gun owners.
Last August, there was an encouraging development in NRA’s lengthy battle to ensure the rights of those living in public housing under the jurisdiction of the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA). Rather than endorse a July 27, 2012, ruling by U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware Judge Leonard P. Stark, which upheld the housing authority’s gun policy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit remanded the case to the Delaware Supreme Court, where Judge Stark’s finding could be reversed. Since the Third Circuit’s ruling moving the case to the Delaware Supreme Court, NRA and others have filed briefs outlining the illegality of the WHA’s actions.
On December 20, 2013, Gabriel Drennen’s lengthy legal odyssey, following the self-defense killing of Leroy R. Hoster, came to an end when Fremont County, Wyo., District Court Judge Norman E. Young signed an order dismissing the remaining charges against him. The move followed an October 1st decision from the Wyoming Supreme Court that overturned Drennen’s initial conviction for first degree murder. Drennen’s case, supported by NRA, is important precedent in ensuring Wyomingites are able confidently to exercise their right to self-defense.
In an unusually forceful and straightforward opinion in the case of People v. Aguilar, the Supreme Court of Illinois unanimously held that the state's "comprehensive ban" on the "use of an operable firearm for self-defense outside the home" is invalid on its face under the Second Amendment. The NRA had participated in the case with an amicus brief.
To follow up on an earlier NRA report, on November 6, 2013, California's Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision invalidating a California law that threatened to limit access to, and compel recordkeeping for, ammunition sales.
Last Friday, Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the United States District Court for the District of Idaho issued a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing a regulation that, with limited exceptions, banned possession of firearms on lands under the Corps' control. The case, Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was brought by plaintiffs in western Idaho who use Corps' lands for recreation, including camping. The plaintiffs challenged the regulation as being an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment because of the burden the regulation placed on their right to self-defense in their temporary homes (tents) and their right to carry firearms for self-defense.
California:Legislators Return to Sacramento for 2014 Session Second Amendment Rights are at Risk Again
If 2013 proved anything, it is that California legislators are determined to impose radical gun control laws on the public. Fortunately, 2013 also proved that such efforts can be stopped, even in California. Last year over fifty gun-related bills were introduced, including such extreme measures as a nickel tax on every round of ammunition sold, a ban on hundreds of thousands of commonly owned rifles and a restriction on transferring standard pistols, even to offspring. But only thirteen of these bills were signed into law, most of which were benign or of little concern, and some actually beneficial to firearm owners. To view a list of these bills, please click here.
Louisiana's panoply of pro-gun laws will again be a source of debate for state lawmakers this year, as two legislators seek to extend the rights of concealed carry permit holders and law enforcement officials, while a third wants to require safety courses for most gun buyers.
People with concealed weapon permits could soon be able to carry their guns into South Carolina businesses that serve alcohol.The Senate amended a bill Thursday that allows permit holders to keep their weapon with them when they go out to dinner or enter a bar but bans them from drinking alcohol. The measure specifies that business owners can ban concealed weapons on their property by posting signs against it.
When Schuyler Taylor attended a gun buyback program in Seattle last year, he wasn't hoping to turn in an unwanted firearm for a $50 gift card. He was looking to pay cold cash for a rare weapon.Taylor, a 24-year-old gun enthusiast, is one of a growing number of collectors who has been showing up at the events, where towns, police departments, churches and nonprofits offer money or gift cards for old guns. The events have been held all over the country, credited by some for getting weapons off the streets and ridiculed by others for paying money for rusting junk. But collectors have taken notice that some of the guns, which are typically destroyed, are worth far more than they fetch at buyback events.
Hollywood producer and Obama mega fundraiser Harvey Weinstein used an appearance on The Howard Stern Show Wednesday to announce what he billed as a new anti-NRA movie, reportedly titled, The Senator's Wife. During the interview, Weinstein called NRA a "disaster area" and said of the film, "I'm going to make a movie with Meryl Streep, and we're going to take this head-on. And they're going to wish they weren't alive after I'm done with them."
As anybody who is a member of NRA knows, we support the dedicated men and women of law enforcement who put themselves in harm's way for the benefit of us all. We understand that most law enforcement officers take their oaths to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States seriously. We also understand that untold thousands of reassuring interactions occur between citizens and law enforcement officers every day.
We have previously reported on the incongruity of behavior demonstrated by the relatively long list of mayors who are associated with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" organization who have been implicated in illegal behavior. To that list we can add yet another name--former Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, Mayor James Schiliro. Ironically, the anti-gun mayor is headed to jail after unlawfully detaining a young man while armed with a gun.