Ordinarily on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co I try to stick to a one-guest, one-topic format, but we’re daring to be different with today’s show. The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Larry Keane and U.S. Concealed Carry Association’s Tim Schmidt both sit down with me for extended interviews touching on the Supreme Court, the various restrictions on gun stores and ranges around the country during the coronavirus state of emergencies that have been declared, and the growing number of gun owners that we’re seeing in states from coast-to-coast.
We kick things off by speaking with Larry Keane about a new letter sent by 19 U.S. senators to members of the Trump administration, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, urging them to ensure that financial institutions aren’t jerking around businesses in the firearms industry when it comes to the disbursement of PPP funds. The senators point out that some of our biggest banks have been growing more hostile to the firearms industry in recent years, and they want to make sure that anti-gun politics don’t play a role in what businesses are receiving the payroll protection funds.
“Several of the nation’s systemically important financial institutions use their market dominance to financially discriminate against legal and compliant businesses for political reasons. This includes the firearms and ammunition industries,” the senators wrote. “A vocal but small minority has weaponized federally-backed banks against politically disfavored businesses that operate in good faith and compliance with the law, by denying them financial services based on political reasons that have nothing to do with creditworthiness.”
The NSSF’s Keane says the examples of discrimination in recent years gives senators good reason to be concerned about how the PPP applications are being approved, and notes that the anti-gun moves by financial institutions aren’t limited to our biggest banks. Even some smaller community banks have been demonstrating outright hostility to businesses in the firearms industry. Keane is hopeful that legislation authored by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) called the Freedom Financing Act will soon get a vote in the U.S. Senate, and says if the legislation were to become law, it would go a long way towards ensuring that lending institutions treat businesses fairly, including those in the firearms industry.
Keane also spoke to me about several of the ten cases being considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court today. The NSSF has filed amicus briefs in two of the cases that justices are taking a look at.
Mance v. Barr is a case challenging the federal interstate handgun transfer ban on Second Amendment grounds. A Washington, D.C. couple sued after they were prohibited from purchasing two firearms from a Texas federal firearms licensee without going through D.C.’s only licensed firearm retailer. The NSSF filed a brief arguing that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, including handguns, does not stop at the border of a state.
The NSSF also filed a brief in a case called Worman v. Healey, which is a Second Amendment challenge to Massachusetts’ ban on so-called assault weapons. In their brief, the NSSF’s amicus brief argues that lower courts have split on the standard of review that should be used when examining whether laws have violated the Second Amendment, and says the “intermediate scrutiny” standard has no grounding in the Second Amendment. Instead, the NSSF claims the standard gives judges unlimited discretion to approve and disapprove firearms regulations.
Keane and I also discussed the Pena v. Horan case, which takes on California’s microstamping law. Since the law has gone into effect, no new models of handguns have been made available for sale in the state, and Keane says more than 50-percent of the handguns that had previously been approved for sale have now been taken off of California’s roster of handguns that can be sold. Keane argues that the law, which requires all new models of handguns sold to do the impossible and imprint a unique identifier on two parts of an ammunition cartridge, amounts to a slow-motion handgun ban that should be overturned by the Court.
Tim Schmidt of the USSCA also spoke with me about a couple of Second Amendment cases being considered by the Supreme Court that are challenging the concealed carry laws in the states of New Jersey and Maryland. As you can imagine, Schmidt would love to see the Court strike down the laws that require applicants to show “good cause” or a “justifiable need” to carry.
Schmidt says the staggering number of new gun owners across the country is leading to a surge in interest in the group, with March being the best month for new members in about two years. Schmidt’s also been busy online, hosting special events on the USCCA YouTube page with industry leaders and influencers, and he tells me that it’s become both easier and more important than ever before for gun owners and Second Amendment organizations to bypass the anti-gun media and take their message straight to the people.
Make sure you check out both interview above, and thanks as always for watching, listening, and spreading the word.