Federal Legislation

Although S. 649, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) anti-gun proposal, was pulled from the Senate floor, Reid promised the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense that he would bring up the bill before the midterm elections in 2014.

It was reported by CNN that NYC Mayor Bloomberg hosted a fundraiser for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) at his home in July,

Although the House of Representatives is not considering any gun control legislation until the Senate passes a bill, the House is considering other gun issues. The House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs of the House Veterans Affairs Committee approved HR-602 setting terms so veterans who are adjudicated mentally incompetent cannot be added to the NICS system denying them their right to own a firearm without the “order or finding” of a judge that the veteran is a “danger to himself or herself or others.” The House Appropriations Committee during consideration of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014 approved an amendment that includes a one-year ban on federal funding for implementation by the State Department of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). As we reported earlier another defunding of the ATT was included in H.R. 1960, the Defense Authorization Act for FY 2014. The Kelly amendment was targeted at Defense Department appropriations.

Two new anti-gun bills have been introduced in Congress. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-TX) Justice Exists for Us All Act (H.R. 2812) would penalize states that did not require a “duty to retreat” by cutting previously allocated funds by 20%. In the Senate Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced S. 1337, the Crime Gun Tracing Act, that would reward police departments that traced more guns. Seven anti-gun senators added their names as co-sponsors.

Several Democrat representatives including Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), and John Tierney (D-MA) have introduced many anti-gun measures that as of the August recess have not been considered in the House Judiciary Committee. Yet on July 17 when the House Appropriations Committee met to approve the Fiscal Year 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill there were two attempts to subvert current law that protects gunowners. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) proposed an amendment to allow the release of firearms trace data for purposes other that legitimate law enforcement. Lee’s amendment was defeated 30-18. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) also proposed an anti-gunowner amendment that would have allowed the federal government to use “government terrorist lists” to deny Second Amendment rights. Lowey’s amendment went down 29-10. An amendment by Rep. John R. Carter (R-TX) to stop ATF’s requirement that Southwestern FFLs report sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within 5 days to a single individual was passed.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced H.R. 2247, the “Collectible firearms Protection Act.” This bill would allow the importation of US origin “curio or relic” firearms into the country bypassing State Department restrictions.

On June 14 the House of Representatives passed a resolution that stated any active duty member of the military living in Washington, DC, should have the right to carry a gun.

Obama Administration

   Following the George Zimmerman verdict both Attorney General Holder and President Obama have attacked Stand Your Ground laws, even though the Florida law was not an issue in the Zimmerman trial. Florida in 2005 was the first state to adopt a Stand Your Ground law and now such laws are in at least 24 states. The Florida Sheriffs Association announced that members agreed to support the law “as currently written.”

ATF

   On July 5 the Los Angeles Times reported that earlier this year Luis Astorga, a police chief in a Mexican city and his bodyguard were shot to death by a rifle allegedly “”ost” in Operation Fast & Furious. According to ATF records Jacob A. Montelongo of Phoenix, AZ, was allowed to illegally purchase this firearm on Feb. 22. 2010. The article went on to say, “Court records show Montelongo personally obtained at least 109 firearms during Fast and Furious.”

On Aug. 1, 2013 the US Senate was forced to delay the confirmation vote for hours in order to wait for the vote of North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) who flew back to Washington, DC, specifically to vote on closing debate. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was intensely lobbied to change her vote from NO on closing debate to YES. She became the final necessary vote to close debate. 40 Republicans led by Grassley (R-IA) were strong in their opposition to Jones, who was confirmed on a 53-42 vote.

US Supreme Court

   According to SOCTUSblog (www.scotusblog.com) “The National Rifle Association and two individuals under the age of twenty-one have asked the Supreme Court to strike down a federal law that bans licensed dealers from selling handguns to minors.” A Fifth Circuit Court split eight to seven in refusing to reconsider a decision by a three-judge Circuit panel that upheld current law. The case is NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (docket13-137).

State Legislatures

Alaska

The Alaska legislature has adjourned. HB-24, a no duty to retreat bill that expands where Alaskans do not have to retreat before using deadly force, was signed on June 20 by Gov. Sean Parnell.

California

After a summer recess the legislature returned in early August for its final month before adjournment. This is the time most anti-gun bills are passed in California. The following bills have passed their originating chambers and are under consideration in the second House:AB-48, prohibiting modifications that allowed gunowners to swiftly reload their firearms, has passed the Senate Public Safety Committee and is before the Senate Appropriations Committee. AB-169, banning the sale of all handguns that are not on the state’s “safe” handgun roster list, was moved to the suspense file of the Senate Appropriations Committee; it will not be brought up until August at the earliest. SB-53, requiring all purchasers of ammunition to get a permit including a background check and pay a fee, and SB-293, requiring biometric technology on all guns purchased in CA, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee and are before the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB-755, adding to the list of firearms-prohibited persons those who have been convicted of additional drug and alcohol offenses, failed its first vote in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on July 2.

The Senate passed the following anti-gun bills: SB-47, prohibiting modifications that allowed gunowners to swiftly reload their firearms; SB-299, requiring gunowners to notify law enforcement within 48 hours if a gun is stolen or lost; SB-374, prohibiting semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines; SB-396, bans magazines with over 10-round capacity  including currently owned magazines; SB-567, adding to the definition of already banned shotguns to include a shotgun-rifle combination; and SB-683, requiring a firearms safety certificate for rifle purchases.

The Assembly has passed: AB-170 changes current law that allows organizations, including corporations and other associations, to have permits for assault weapons and machine guns to allowing only individuals to own such firearms; AB-231 that would expand the Criminal Storage of Firearms and child access law; AB-232, a gun buyback credit up to $1000; AB-539, persons who are temporarily prohibited from owning firearms can store them with an FFL; andAB-711, to ban the taking of wildlife with lead ammunition;

The following anti-gun bills have failed: AB-187AB-239AB-1020 and AB-1296.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a ban on the sale and possession of certain ammunition and requiring the reporting of ammunition sales of 500 or more rounds. The NRA has challenged the ban and oral arguments are set for the summertime before the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Colorado

Two Democrat members of the Colorado legislature are facing recall elections as a result of their support for Colorado’s new restrictive firearms’ laws. Senate President John Morse, who introduced a far more onerous bill than the one that was passed, and Sen. Angela Giron, a first term legislator, face the voters on September 10.

Colorado Sheriffs filed a federal lawsuit challenging Colorado’s new firearms laws on May 17.

Connecticut

The Connecticut legislature has adjourned. The new gun law has been challenged in federal court. It has been reported that the State Police will no longer assist manufacturers in designing firearms within the parameters of the new law.

District of Columbia

The DC City council always ready to impose draconian restrictions on gun owners is working on a bill to require gun owners to carry $250,000 liability insurance.

Delaware

The Delaware legislature has adjourned. Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed SB-16, a bill to require owners of lost or stolen firearms to report the loss within 48 hours on June 12. The law became effective upon the governor’s signature.

Florida

The Florida legislature has adjourned. HB-1355, sending the names of persons already in a mental institution under a Baker Act petition who have been diagnosed as dangerous to themselves and/or others to NICS, was signed by Gov. Rick Scott. The Republican stated, “Mental health and second amendment advocates worked together to produce this bill that does not affect persons voluntarily seeking mental health exams or treatments but rather closes a loophole in current law that could potentially put firearms in the hands of dangerous, mentally ill individuals who are a threat to themselves or others as determined by a court.”

Illinois

The Illinois legislature has adjourned. The decision in the court cases Moore v. Madigan andShepard v. Madigan required the Illinois legislature to pass a “shall issue” Right-to-Carry bill.HB-183, a concealed carry bill with many onerous restrictions, has passed the Legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) vetoed the bill with further restrictive amendments. The legislature on July 9 voted to override the Governor’s veto, so Illinois at last joins all other states in having legal concealed carry.

More than a dozen municipalities have rushed to pass gun restrictions that could be passed before July 19 , 2013 under the states new Right-to-Carry law. Gun rights advocates went to court to let Illinois citizens carry firearms without waiting. On Aug. 5, the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal but said that it will give the matter a speedy review. Written briefs were scheduled to be submitted by Aug. 14.

Massachusetts

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 AP reported that over 60 gun bills have been introduced and a series of hearings on these proposals are being heard across the state. The hearings are expected to continue throughout the summer.

Michigan

On May 8, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law blocking a statewide vote on a 2012 law that allows wolf hunting in Michigan. 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. The elimination of concealed weapons boards has again been introduced as SB-0213. On May 9 Democrat Reps Jim Townsend, Vicki Barnett and Andy Schor announced the introduction of several anti-gun bills: HB-4774, requiring a license to purchase, carry, possess or transport firearms; HB-4775, changing some firearms crimes to felonies; and HB-4776, changing Michigan laws regarding pistols into firearms laws. All three bills are currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

New Jersey

On Aug. 8 Gov. Christie signed many gun bills including SB-2804, that upgrades and increases penalties for unlawful possession of a firearm; SB-2468, allowing police to impound cars where any occupant has an illegal firearm; SB-1279, increasing penalty for giving a gun to a minor; SB-2720, the total number of firearms purchase permits are a public record; AB-3687/SB-2485, disqualifying persons on the terrorist watch list from owning a gun; AB-3796, establishes 180-day period for disposal of an illegal weapon; AB-3788, banning the sale of .50 caliber rifles; AB-3717, requiring submission of mental health records to NICS; SB-2719, enhanced penalties for gun trafficking; and SB-2430, creating a study commission on violence; Gov. Christie had previously vetoed AB-3668, prohibiting the state of New Jersey from investing state pension funds in companies that are involved in the manufacture of so-called assault weapons.

The following “gun” bills were sent to Christie in May for his action: AB-3583, establishing an 11 member School Security Task Force and AB-3797, reporting of firearms trafficking crimes. In June the General Assembly passed more gun bills and sent them to Christie: SB-2715, requiring Department of Education to distribute pamphlets on limiting violence available to children; AB-3659, includes .50 caliber weapons as destructive devices; and SB-2723, Senate President Sweeney’s omnibus bill including waiting periods for handgun purchases, bans all private sales, creates an ammunition registry and long gun registry, and changes the Firearms Owner ID card system. Gov. Christie has yet to act on these bills.

The NJ law requiring “justifiable need” for a permit to carry a handgun will be before the state Supreme Court starting its new session in September.

New York

A complaint has been filed by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association challenging the SAFE act in the United States District Court for Western New York. It has been alleged by many sheriffs that Gov. Cuomo told them in a meeting to stop discussing their objections to the SAFE act.

North Carolina

The House passed a resolution that the right to bear arms should not be infringed. It passed along party lines 73-35. SB-443, a bill to allow the sale of firearms received by law enforcement rather than destroying firearms, was signed into law on June 19 by Gov. Pat McCrory. HB-714, prohibiting law enforcement officers from destroying fully operational firearms passed the House by a vote of 91-22. In the Senate it was replaced with SB-443 that passed both Houses and was signed by McCrory on June 19. HB-937, a Right-to-Carry reform bill, went to a conference committee where the Senate passed version with the exception of an amendment to modify the permit issuing process was added. Gov McCrory signed the bill on July 30.

HB-17, making information of holders of Right-to-Carry permits accessible only to the police and allowing RTC holders to carry into establishments that serve alcohol has passed the House, S-201, allowing suppressors to be used for hunting, has passed the Senate and is still in Judiciary Subcommittee A. HB-49 would allow employees to keep their firearms in their locked vehicle when parked on the employer’s property.

Pennsylvania

Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D), who ran on a platform of stopping Pennsylvanians from using Florida concealed carry permits, is modifying the Pennsylvania-Florida reciprocity agreement so that only Florida permits of Florida residents will be recognized. The modification went into effect on June 8. The following anti-gun measures have been introduced: HB-239, complete firearms registration of all firearms; HB-518, repeals Castle Doctrine self defense measure passed in 2011; HB-1010, requiring background checks, is being supported by a group of Democrats including AG Kane; and SB-191, implementing one-gun-a-month limit on purchases. SB-876, firearms preemption legislation, was introduced in mid-April. All bills have been referred to their respective Judiciary Committees.

South Carolina

The South Carolina legislature has adjourned. On June 27, HB-4494, a comprehensive rewrite of South Carolina gun laws, passed both houses of the legislature, after it appeared to be dead at the end of the legislative session. However, it was included in the adjournment resolution and was voted upon favorably in both legislative branches. Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill on June 29, 2013.

Washington

Seattle venture capitalist, Nick Hanauer, is reportedly bankrolling the effort by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility to begin the process for an initiative proposal for universal background checks. The group must get 246,000 signatures on a petition for initiative I-594 by Jan. 3, 2014.

Washington state gunowners have begun their own petition drive to put initiative I-591, Protect Our Gun Rights, on the ballot. This initiative makes it unlawful for any government agency to confiscate guns from citizens without due process. Additionally it would become unlawful to require background checks “unless a uniform national standard” has been implemented.

Wisconsin

AB-194, a bill to allow the use of crossbows during hunting seasons, has passed the Assembly unanimously and is scheduled for a hearing before the Committee on Natural Resources in the Senate.