Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Handgun Open Carry Set To Pass In Texas

A law legalizing the open carry of handguns is close to passing in the Lone Star State, one of only six states that still don’t allow any type of open carry. The state does allow long guns to be openly carried in public.

The bill was approved 101-42, despite efforts by Democrats to water it down and allow big cities to opt out. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill after it is combined with a similar bill that passed the State Senate last week.

In addition to the handgun open carry bills that just passed, there is also a campus carry bill that is currently sitting in the House.

Despite its reputation for cowboys and conservatism, Texas has always had restrictive gun laws due to the political influence of big cities like Houston and Dallas. Now the state is finally living up to its image.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Real Reason For The NRA’s Rand Paul Snub

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will not be appearing at the NRA annual meeting this weekend due to his affiliation with National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR).

While a number of Republican presidential candidates were invited to the convention, including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, Paul was left off the list.

NRA officials have blamed Paul’s absence on scheduling concerns, but a new report states that he has been banned from NRA events “as long as he remains affiliated with NAGR.”

Sen. Paul has been affiliated with NAGR since 2010, often appearing in their publicity materials.

NRA-ILA President Chris Cox criticized NAGR in today’s report, saying: “It’s amusing when some self-proclaimed ‘gun groups’ try to take credit for the work of the five million men and women of the NRA.”

NAGR president Dudley Brown is also quoted in the article, saying: “I’ve been a gun lobbyist for 22 years and there’s never been a point at which we not have tension [with the NRA]. We’re younger, we’re hungrier and we care less about the cocktail parties in Washington, DC.”

Instead of attending the NRA convention, Paul will continue the kickoff tour for his presidential campaign, launched earlier this week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

NRA Putting GOP Establishment Over Gun Owners At 2015 Annual Meeting

The list of politicians appearing at the 2015 NRA annual meeting this weekend illustrates how the NRA has ceased being a gun rights group and has become little more than a puppet organization for the establishment wing of the Republican Party.

The NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on Friday will include a number of political insiders with questionable records on guns, like Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal. Truly pro-freedom legislators like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Utah Senator Mike Lee were not invited.

This comes after an election year where the NRA endorsed several establishment types (like Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran) over conservatives with stronger records on guns, before going on to pour millions into barely contested Senate races while leaving Washington state gun owners out to dry.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the most head-scratching speaker at the forum. In addition to supporting universal background checks on all gun purchases, he is also the poster child for Republican support of immigration amnesty. As David Codrea has smartly pointed out, amnesty is a critical issue for gun owners because it would introduce millions of anti-gun voters to the electorate.

Another speaker is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who signed a law last year allowing the state to seize firearms from people accused of domestic abuse, calling it “one more big step toward trying to make sure that for every gun you take away, it’s that much better for (a victim, their) family and friends and loved ones who care about that person.”

Also speaking is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who signed a confiscatory law in 2013 allowing state officials to share mental health records with to the federally administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for firearms purchases. History shows that laws like this are ripe for abuse by the government, which uses them to target average citizens in addition to the dangerously mentally ill.

Meanwhile, Gun Owners of America A+ rated Rand Paul, who vowed to filibuster all gun control legislation in 2013, and Sen. Mike Lee, who last month introduced a ban on all federal gun control, were left off the guest list.  

Instead of giving career politicians a platform to pay lip service to gun rights, the NRA should be boosting leaders who actually make gun owners a priority.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Arkansas Senate Passes Three Pro-Gun Bills

The Arkansas Senate passed three pro-gun bills this week expanding concealed carry rights and reforming the process for obtaining items under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The bills will be sent to Governor Asa Hutchinson with an almost undivided seal of approval: the two measures expanding concealed carry rights each received only a single opposing vote and the NFA reform proposal passed unanimously.

HB 1505 would expand state code allowing lawful concealed carry on a public school, college or university campus to include sporting facilities and stadiums. The bill will also allow permit holders to store their handguns in their vehicle while on public college campuses and in the parking lot of the state Capitol.

HB 1372 would allow private schools to set their own policy regarding guns on their campuses. Currently Arkansas has a statewide prohibition banning concealed carry on private school grounds.

HB 1488 would reform a state law that gives law enforcement the power to approve or deny private firearms transfers at their own discretion. The new law would mandate that officials approve all transfers needed to obtain automatic weapons, shotguns and other firearms under Title II of the NFA, so long as the recipient of the firearm is legally allowed to possess it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

After ATF Ammo Ban Fails, Dem Leaders Double Down

Following ATF’s decision to delay a proposed ban on M855 ammo, Democrat legislators are trying to ban the ammunition on their own.

M855 ammo has traditionally been exempt from restrictions on “armor piercing” ammunition because it is primarily used by hunters and sportsmen. It is one of the most popular rounds on the market due to its widespread availability and accuracy.

Last month, the ATF announced plans to re-categorize the ammo and “armor piercing,” taking it off the general market. After receiving more than 80,000 complaints, ATF backed down and announced that the ban would be delayed.

The new bill, introduced to the House by Rep. Jack Speier (D-CA) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), expands on the ATF proposal by banning any ammunition that can be loaded into a handgun and “can penetrate the soft body armor often worn by police.”

As has pointed out, this would technically include any rifle round that can be loaded into a handgun.

Republicans fired back on Monday with their own bill specifically exempting M855 ammo and all other rifle ammo from the government’s definition of “armor-piercing.”

NRA Investigating Grover Norquist’s Alleged Ties To Muslim Groups

The NRA is investigating board member Grover Norquist’s alleged ties to Islamist groups, following Glenn Beck’s vow to resign his lifetime membership if Norquist is re-elected to the board this year.

Beck reported on Norquist's alleged ties to terrorist groups on his show last week. His report focused on an organization that Norquist co-founded, the Islamic Free Market Institute, which Beck says may have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Whether Beck’s claims have any merit will be determined by the investigation. Norquist himself welcomed the inquest, saying that he hopes the NRA investigation will “put a stake through the heart” of the rumors once and for all.

But the NRA’s investigation also raises another question – why is Grover Norquist on the NRA board in the first place?

Norquist is a professional influence peddler and establishment-type best known for using his “anti-tax” organizations to funnel money to Jack Abramoff. He has also lobbied for Fannie Mae, attacked Ted Cruz’ effort to defund Obamacare and, most recently, served as the public face of an advertising campaign for immigration amnesty funded by George Soros.

The NRA’s involvement with Norquist might be excusable if he were an uncompromising supporter of the Second Amendment. But he isn’t. In 2012, the Examiner reported that he had endorsed, campaigned for, and made a video on behalf of award-winning gun control advocate Robert Dold.

NRA leaders are doing the right thing in investigating Beck’s allegations against Norquist. But they put themselves in this position by allowing an establishment moderate – with no commitment to gun rights -- onto their board in the first place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Supreme Court Judge Refuses To Stay California City’s Magazine Ban

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy rejected a request to block enforcement of Sunnyvale, CA’s new ban on large capacity magazines. The ban, which was passed in 2013, went into effect last week.

A group of gun owners has been challenging the ban in court, alleging that it violates their constitutional rights. Last week, an appeals court refused to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the ban from going into effect while the legal challenges to the ban are still underway.

The appeals court ruled that the ban “applies only the most minor burden on the Second Amendment,” adding that “Sunnyvale’s interests in promoting public safety and reducing violent crime were substantial and important government interests.”

Following last week’s appeals court ruling, the plaintiffs turned to Justice Kennedy as a last resort. His refusal to issue an injunction is not all that surprising, given that the Supreme Court rarely awards emergency injunctions in cases like this.

In practical terms, though, this means that any resident of Sunnyvale who owns a magazine that holds more than ten rounds is now committing a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

While it is not clear how many Sunnyvale residents will be affected by the ban, research has shown that more than half of the magazines in the United States hold more than ten rounds.

The ongoing legal battle over the ban will continue in April, when the parties are due to submit their briefs.