Creating Universal Ammo Access By Mimicking Abortion “Shield Laws”

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

I’m a long-suffering resident of New York. The labyrinth of our laws is unfathomable to those living just over the border in Pennsylvania or Vermont. 

My state’s NRA affiliate, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA), gave a gift to the country in the form of NYSRPA v. Bruen, which acknowledged the right to bear arms in public, and also brought forth the text/history/tradition test to (supposedly) stop anti-Rights judges’ shenanigans.


However, the Bruen victory unleashed the wrath of vindictive legislators. New Yorkers are in a much worse position now than before the Bruen victory. The State has increased the burdens to obtain a carry permit and sharply limited where guns can be carried by lawful citizens. (Criminals happily wipe their rear ends with New York’s laws, of course.)

There’s a new license to get any semi-automatic gun; previously, the crazy restrictions were limited to New York City, but now Upstate residents need to obtain the government’s permission to buy a semi-auto. The State also stopped using the FBI for background checks and routes them through the state police. This lets New York create a gun owners’ registry and a full database of what new guns they purchase.

The worst of all is the new ammo background check law. You cannot get a single round of ammunition without the state police background check. You have to pay a “fee” for the privilege of subjecting yourself to the State’s humiliation. And, of course, the State records your ammunition purchase, so even if you don’t buy a new gun, you will still be tagged as a proximate gun owner in their database.

New York legislators’ hatred and scorn are misplaced, as almost all bullets end up hitting paper targets, not people. On the contrary, every abortion pill taken by a pregnant woman results in the termination of potential human life. (Disclosure: I’m politically pro-choice with reasonable limits.) In the eyes of New York lawmakers, that’s acceptable and perfectly normal. How acceptable do they think it is? Acceptable enough that the state is one among a bunch that passed “Shield Laws” that give liability protections to abortion practitioners providing services to women in anti-abortion states. NPR reported (archived link) this recently:


"Shield laws" create new access in untested legal terrain.

Another way some states have expanded abortion access is by passing "shield laws." These are laws that say doctors and nurses in states where abortion is legal can't be prosecuted by another state if they provide abortion across state lines. They apply if a woman travels to another state for an abortion or if the abortion provider mails pills to someone in a state with restrictions.

Lauren, who is 33 and lives in Utah, got a telehealth abortion from a provider in a state with shield laws. [...] Abortion is technically legal in Utah until 18 weeks, but access is severely restricted. It can only be performed in hospitals, for instance. So Lauren chose an online company called Aid Access, that provides telehealth abortion for people in all 50 states. [...]

She filled out a form online with questions about how far along she was and her medical history, connected with a doctor via email and text messages, and received abortion medication in the mail. She had her abortion at home.

How commonly are abortion pills mailed out-of-state under these “Shield Laws”? The Guardian provides (archived link) some numbers:

Over the last five months of 2023, medical providers shipped abortion pills to over 40,000 people living in states that forbid abortions, via new “shield laws” that protect providers who mail pills to people living under abortion restrictions.


Pro-abortion states thumbed their noses at anti-abortion states and facilitated 40,000 abortions in just the last 5 months of 2023. Abortion opponents have brought a lawsuit to stop mail-order mifepristone:

In June, the US supreme court is expected to issue a decision on a case that could slash access to telehealth abortions. Anti-abortion activists have asked the court, which is dominated 6-3 by conservatives, to reverse measures by the Food and Drug Administration that allowed abortion patients to receive the common abortion pill mifepristone remotely, rather than forcing them to pick up pills in person.

The justices, who heard the case in March, appeared skeptical of the wide-ranging arguments made by the anti-abortion groups that brought the case.

This begs the question: if pro-abortion states can facilitate the violation of the laws of anti-abortion states, why can’t pro-Second Amendment states facilitate the violation of unconstitutional laws of anti-Second Amendment states?

Federal law, by a twisted reading of the interstate commerce clause, governs the purchase of new guns through the FFL licensee regime. But what about ammo?

Why shouldn’t Texas copy New York’s “Shield Laws,” replacing abortion with ammo, and let us receive shipments? UPS and FedEx will balk at the legal risk, and USPS isn’t allowed to ship ammo. Perhaps the next Postmaster General can use the rule-making process like the ATF Director and unilaterally allow the shipping of ammunition via USPS?


Pro-abortion activists have given us another gift-wrapped idea with their “Shield Laws” and it’s time to use them as inspiration.

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