Category Archives: Special Report

SCOTUS Backs Lautenberg

Supreme Court Accepts Broad Definition

    The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) today ruled that prohibiting firearms from those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence is OK even if the actual charge made no mention of a domestic relationship.

    In 1994 Randy Hayes was convicted of simple battery after an altercation with his wife.  The battery charge did not mention the domestic relationship.  In 2005 Hayes was prosecuted, and convicted, for being a "prohibited person" in possession of a firearm – police found a lever-action rifle under his bed.  Hayes fought that conviction based on the specific language of the notorious Lautenberg Amendment which added domestic violence misdemeanants to the list of "prohibited persons."  The argument was one of commas, syntax, and intent questioning whether the charge that a person was convicted of had to include something about a domestic relationship such as "Battery against a Spouse" or "Domestic Battery" as opposed to "Simple Battery" which does not address who the victim was.

    Hayes was initially found guilty of being a "prohibited person" in possession of a firearm, but that conviction was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit which ruled that the actual language of the Lautenberg Amendment should be understood to require that the "domestic" component be included in the criminal charge.  In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court reversed the 4th Circuit and said that regardless of the actual charge, as long as the crime involved violence or threat of violence and the victim was domestically related to the perpetrator, the firearms prohibition applies.

    Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia dissented saying that such an interpretation would require authorities to research the details of any conviction for assault, battery, or threatening to determine if there was a domestic relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. 

    Even though there was some buzz about this case within the Second Amendment community and some hope that the Heller decision would cause the Justices to take a more conservative position on any law which arbitrarily abrogated Second Amendment rights, there was no mention of the Second Amendment during oral arguments and none in either the majority or minority opinions.

    Today’s Supreme Court decision means that anyone who has ever been convicted of any misdemeanor crime of violence – to include threats of violence – even if there was no possible way for the threat to be carried out and even if the punishment for the crime was only a $25 fine – is barred from ever possessing firearms or ammunition for the rest of their life if the victim of their crime was a person within the perpetrators household.  This leaves a large number of people at risk of committing unintentional felonies like Hayes did and it means that anyone with any record of battery or assault is likely to face drawn out delays whenever purchasing a firearm as NICS will have to determine the details of the case before approving the sale.

    And of course – as with all gun control legislation – the objective and result of this law is not to keep guns away from dangerous criminals, but rather to make criminals of regular citizens and make gun ownership more cumbersome and problematic.  The passage of the Lautenburg Amendment cost thousands of police and military personnel their careers and often their pensions because they could no longer be in positions that required them to possess firearms, and it has ruined the lives of countless others who, like Randy Hayes, had no idea that they were not supposed to possess firearms and were caught up and prosecuted for being a "prohibited person" on possession of a gun.

Action Alert from NSSF

This just in from the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

Contact Your Legislators | Legislative Action Center | NSSF.org

VITAL INDUSTRY LEGISLATION

U.S. House and Senate MUST VOTE on
Excise Tax Reform Bills

CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY

Legislation to rectify a longstanding inequity in the collection of the firearms and ammunition excise tax (FAET) – a major source of wildlife conservation funding – needs to be heard before the end of the current legislative session in both the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 6310) and the U.S. Senate (S. 3331). If we are going to ensure hunting and conservation efforts throughout the United States, passage of this legislation is essential.

 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) — the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry — has been leading a broad coalition of sportsmen and conservation groups, including the National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited, in an effort to reform the federal excise tax.

 

While this legislation (H.R. 6310 and S. 3331) will not reduce the amount of the tax collected, it will allow the firearms and ammunition industry to pay the FAET on a quarterly basis, the same payment schedule as every other industry that supports conservation. Currently firearms and ammunition manufacturers must pay the FAET bi-weekly. This payment schedule forces many manufacturers to borrow money to ensure on-time payment, and industry members spend thousands of man-hours administering the necessary paperwork to successfully complete the bi-weekly payments — monies that are due long before manufacturers are paid by their customers.

 

The NSSF estimates that shifting to a quarterly payment schedule will free up approximately $22 million dollars annually for manufacturers to invest in new equipment and product designs, in turn leading to greater participation in hunting and the shooting sports.

 

Clearly a financially strong and growing firearms and ammunition industry will not only generate greater excise tax revenues, monies that will be used to fund conservation throughout the United States, but will also help ensure America's manufacturers remain competitive in an increasingly global economy.

NSSF is asking all hunters, sportsmen, gun-owners and conservationists to CALL your congressman and senators immediately, urging them to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation.

U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Send a letter to your U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senators

DC Gunowners Organizing

The following Press Release was sent out yesterday and is welcome news for DC gunowners and prospective gunowners.  Creation of an organized gun rights group in the nation's capitol is also good news for the movement.

The Firearms Coalition welcoms Capitol Gun Owners to the fight.

 

http://www.CapitalGunOwners.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 6, 2008

 

For more information contact:

 

Amy McVey,

George Lyon,

——————–

 

DC group to press for gun rights

 

            Washington, D.C. A group of DC residents, workers and college students have organized to press Congress and the Council to fully implement the right of District of Columbia residents to keep and bear arms as confirmed by the Supreme Court’s recent Heller decision.

            Capital Gun Owner’s (CGO) President Amy McVey, said that the group supports recent bills introduced in Congress to protect the second amendment rights of District residents.  “If the Council will not obey the Constitution,” she said “then Congress has an obligation to step in to protect the rights of persons living, working, attending college and visiting the District.”

            CGO Board Member Joe Brown, said, “The District has failed to make a good faith attempt to comply with the Supreme Court’s holding in Heller.  Its continued ban on semi-automatic hand guns and rifles is directly contrary to Heller’s holding that ordinary every day weapons are Constitutionally protected.  Also, the District’s trigger lock requirement continues to prevent effective use of a firearm for self-defense.”

            McVey, who was the first person to register a hand gun following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the District’s 32 year old hand gun ban, said the group’s goal is to overturn District’s continued ban on semi-automatic firearms and to streamline or eliminate the registration process.  “In addition,” she said, “District residents should have the right enjoyed by residents of virtually every other state in the nation to carry firearms for their protection, either openly or concealed.”

            CGO Board Member George Lyon, one of the original plaintiffs in the Heller case, said, “Our purpose is three fold, first to convince the city to fix its gun laws to comply with the Constitution, second to serve as a resource for gun owners to exercise their rights responsibly and safely, and third to educate the public concerning firearms issues.”

            Another of the original Heller plaintiffs, Gillian St. Lawrence, also a board member, said the group plans to meet with each of the Council members to explain what changes are needed in the District’s gun laws to accommodate the self-defense needs of District citizens.

###

                                               

 

 

             

 

Heller Case Goes Better Than Expected

I've again taken the liberty of appropriating Alan's report.  Sounds like it was a great day for gun rights.  As we've said before, the fight goes on regardless which way the Supremes rule, but if they go our way, it's better.

Thanks for a great report, Alan. — Chris

Here's a link to yesterday's report.

To listen to all of the Supreme Court arguments in Heller courtesy of DownRangeTV.com, click here.  

                                                                          ++++++++++++++++++++

    Unfortunately I do not share Alan's enthusiasm.  While I am convinced – as I have been all along – that the Court must and will agree that the Second Amendment references an individual right to arms, comments and questions in the arguments leave me with deep concerns about how the Court will come down on the issue of "reasonable restrictions." 

    I should have a comprehensive analysis posted later tonight. — Jeff Knox

 ++++++++++++++++++++ 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Full contact info at end

DATELINE: Washington, D.C. 3/18/08

Recovering from the Whirlwind of the Day

Heller Case Goes Better Than Expected

by Alan Korwin, Co-Author
Supreme Court Gun Cases

The bottom line is, I think we’re going to be OK.

When Justice Kennedy flat out said he believes in an individual right under the Second Amendment, there were no gasps in the hush of the High Court, but you could tell the greatest stellar array of gun-rights experts ever assembled, all there in that one room, breathed a sigh of relief — we had five votes to affirm the human and civil right to arms.

Continue reading Heller Case Goes Better Than Expected

24 Hours Prior to Heller Case

Friend Alan Korwin, publisher and architect of The Gun Owner's Guide series and co-author of Supreme Court Gun Cases dropped this note to his email list.  I'm taking the liberty of posting it here.  Hats off to him and the guys in line tonight. 

 

Chris Knox

 

====================== 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Full contact info at end

DATELINE: Washington, D.C. 3/17/08

24 Hours Prior to Heller Case

by Alan Korwin, Co-Author
Supreme Court Gun Cases

More people are on line in front of the U.S. Supreme Court for the D.C.
gun ban case tomorrow than seats are available, and the temperature is
hovering above freezing, but that's not stopping them.

Bob Blackmer and I were the first to arrive, Sunday night about 5 p.m.,
answering the big question of — Would two nights in advance be enough
— aside from did we have endurance to pull that off. Continue reading 24 Hours Prior to Heller Case