Today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co will be the last show of 2021, so I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at some of the big stories of this year as well as previewing some of the fights ahead, and I’m glad that the Second Amendment Foundation’s founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb could join me with his take on what gun owners can expect in the new year.
While there’s plenty of potential for good news on the horizon, Gottlieb accurately points out that Democrats and the gun prohibitionist lobby aren’t going to simply accept any setbacks or losses on their part. With the midterm elections looming and Democrats in Washington, D.C. unable to advance any gun control legislation through Congress, Gottlieb foresees a wave of anti-gun legislation in reliably blue states like California and New York in an attempt to both pump up the Democratic base and engage in a scorched-earth legal battle over the right to keep and bear arms.
While blue-state lawmakers are going to try to ram through magazine bans, storage mandates, bans on “ghost guns”, and other restrictions, Gottlieb sees the right-to-carry revolution continuing in red states. There’s the potential for close to a half-dozen states adopting Constitutional Carry laws, and the SAF founder believes we’ll see continued expansion of Second Amendment sanctuaries as well. Already, as Gottlieb points out, more than half the counties in the country are covered by either locally approved resolutions or state law, but we’re still seeing counties debating and adopting these provisions on an almost daily basis.
At the federal level, new gun control legislation appears unlikely to pass out of the Senate, but gun owners still have to deal with the Biden administration’s pending executive actions on pistol stabilizing braces and home-built, unserialized firearms, which are expected to be finalized in the next few months.
Gottlieb says any executive actions that are officially put in place will be challenged in court, and in fact SAF has already filed a challenge to the ATF’s pending pistol brace rules, though the lawsuit is on hold until the final rules have been published. Those rules have the potential to impact millions of legal gun owners, who could be forced to register their brace-equipped pistols as short barreled rifles under the federal National Firearms Act or face years in federal prison if convicted of illegally-possessing a firearm they lawfully purchased, and it’s good to see that litigation is already queued up and ready to go once the administration officially adopts the new language.
In fact, as much as action as we’re likely to see in statehouses next year, courtrooms are going to be even busier dealing with 2A cases. Not only do we have the pending Supreme Court decision in the case challenging New York’s “may issue” carry laws, but that opinion is expected to have major ramifications for other Second Amendment-related cases that are making their way through the federal judiciary. The Court will obviously be weighing in on whether or not New York’s licensing regime violates the rights of residents, but the opinion is also widely expected to include instructions from SCOTUS on the proper standard of review that courts should use when considering the constitutionality of other gun control laws.
Gottlieb predicts that gun owners will get a win in the Bruen case, but says it’s too early to know just how expansive the Court’s decision will be; broad enough to directly impact the seven other states that still have “may issue” laws on the books, or so narrowly crafted that we have to file additional lawsuits in states like California and New Jersey in order for the anti-gun officials in charge to reluctantly recognize that the right to bear arms is a real thing.
It’ll likely be June before we know the answer to that question, and between now and then 2022 promises to be an exciting year for gun owners, albeit one with its own set of challenges. We’ll be covering it all here at Bearing Arms and on Cam & Co in the months ahead, and with an active and engaged 2A community, I’m hopeful we’ll be able to report on far more successes than setbacks.