Monday, July 31, 2023

Does the Second Amendment Safeguard the Use of Suppressors in Illinois?


FN Rush 9Ti 9mm Suppressor

On November 25, 2022, in the Southern District Court of Illinois, a lawsuit was initiated by Larry Morse and Theodore Ray Buck, Jr. against Illinois, arguing that the state's prohibition on the sale and possession of suppressors infringes on the Second Amendment. Supported by the American Suppressor Association, a parallel lawsuit was launched by Carlin Anderson and David Clark on February 27, 2023. These cases, Morse v Raoul and Anderson v Raoul, were merged on June 15, 2023. All parties agree that the central dispute concerns whether suppressors fall under the protection of the Second Amendment. Morse and other plaintiffs contend that suppressors are unquestionably bearable arms that are widely used, hence their ban in Illinois is unconstitutional.

The plaintiff's filing in Morse v. Raoul provides evidence that as of 2020, over 2 million suppressors were legally owned, according to the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). This is a greater quantity than the number of AR-15s, which was considered common use by the DC Circuit. These figures exist despite the legal obstacles to owning a suppressor, including paying a $200 transfer tax, providing a detailed application and fingerprints, and waiting several months for the federal government to process the application.

According to the plaintiffs, suppressors are employed for a range of legal activities. These include hunting, self-defense, and target shooting - activities which have been upheld as part of the Second Amendment right by various courts. They assert that suppressors are widely used and crucial to the legal use of firearms.

Conversely, Illinois authorities argue that suppressors are not arms but mere accessories. They state that suppressors aren't necessary for the effective use of a firearm and are not used for self-defense, hence don't fall under the term "Arms" in the context of the Second Amendment.

However, this claim has two key issues. Firstly, both Illinois and federal law expressly categorize suppressors as arms. While suppressors are not "arms" in isolation, they undeniably enhance firearms' efficacy and contribute to their legal use, such as in self-defense. Secondly, accessories that improve a weapon's efficiency, like aiding in training, are protected under the Second Amendment. Applying Illinois' argument could lead to the prohibition of other firearm accessories like magazines, telescopic sights, red dot sights, flash suppressors, rifled barrels, or recoil pads.

The Supreme Court in Caetano clarified that all bearable arms used for legal purposes, and in common use, fall under the protection of the Second Amendment. Hence, blanket bans on such arms aren't allowed. This is why Illinois authorities are arguing that suppressors are not arms. However, if they are not arms, then why are they subject to regulations and bans under Illinois and federal weapons laws? 

Should the court conclude that suppressors are arms protected by the Second Amendment, a lawsuit against the NFA restrictions on suppressors in Texas will become more plausible. Illinois' attempt to gradually erode the Second Amendment by claiming that accessories enhancing a weapon's efficiency can be banned, could reduce the amendment to a farcical level, allowing only a single, muzzle-loading shotgun for home defense. Such a ridiculous result is not permitted under the Second Amendment.

Illinois Firearms Legislation Could Compel Gun Owners to Self-Incriminate

IMG iStock-534364755
IMG iStock-534364755

Firearms owners in Illinois are grappling with a series of constitutionally questionable gun laws. These extend beyond the legal challenge against the ban on semi-automatic weapons and their magazines, a case that has progressed through the southern and northern districts and now resides in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The controversy also touches on a potential violation of the 5th Amendment due to compulsory registration that firearm owners must complete.

The regulation in question doesn't merely ban certain types of semi-automatic firearms and their magazines; it also obliges owners to register these items. This mandatory registration is due to start in October.

The alleged 5th Amendment infraction stems from the obligation imposed on Illinois gun owners to register by January 1, 2024. This mandate requires gun owners to provide the State with an inventory of all their newly outlawed firearms, including all "prohibited" semi-automatic guns and components. Essentially, the state of Illinois appears to be coercing its gun owners into self-incrimination, thereby undermining the 5th Amendment rights of American citizens.

The 5th Amendment asserts that no individual should be forced to answer for a serious crime unless indicted by a grand jury, among other protections. This amendment also guards against self-incrimination and deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

Lawyer Thomas Maag plans to file a legal challenge against the state of Illinois, citing the 5th Amendment. He voiced concerns about the forthcoming registration process, stating, "We're really concerned when this whole registration period starts if it's not previously enjoined, that, with the vagueness, with a whole host of issues, people would be incriminating themselves.”

Though Maag previously filed a 5th Amendment argument in the Southern District, it was deferred, and the law remains in effect. However, he intends to resubmit the challenge, with the aim of safeguarding gun owners from self-incrimination and potential criminal implications if they fail to register. The issue is likely to work its way through the courts, potentially leading to a temporary injunction against the registry element of the law before it takes effect in October.

SIG SAUER Responds to the Video of a Montville, CT Police Officer's P320 Firing Incident

Previous coverage has extensively delved into the fervor surrounding legal cases asserting that the SIG SAUER P320 handgun is susceptible to "unsolicited discharges." Upon a deeper examination of the specifics of the majority of these cases, it soon becomes evident that many of these are instances where law enforcement officials unintentionally fired their weapons and are seeking to safeguard their careers.

Last week, a video started making rounds on social media showing a holstered P320 firing off while a police officer from Montville, Connecticut, was in an altercation with a suspect. The video is accessible here . . .

The video lacks audio, but it seems that the pistol fired when the officer, carrying the P320, collided with a fellow officer on his right.

Even though the Montville Police Department reportedly declined SIG SAUER's offers to investigate the incident, SIG has meticulously inspected the available video, frame by frame, concluding that the gun wasn't fully nestled in the officer's Safariland holster, and the protective retention "hood" wasn't covering the gun at the time.

The company released the following statement . . .

SIG SAUER has issued the following response concerning a reported accidental discharge involving an officer from the Montville, CT Police Department on Monday, July 24, 2023:

"We are aware of the news reports of the incident involving a P320 discharge at the Montville (CT) Police Department. We are confident, as always, that a thorough review of the evidence and circumstances will reveal that this was an unintentional discharge due to accidental contact with the trigger, and that the gun did not fire without a trigger pull.

Upon reviewing the currently available video footage of this incident, it appears that the involved firearm was not fully secured in its holster and the holster retention hood was not entirely shut over the pistol at the time of the discharge (images below). This incorrect holstering would have left the firearm's trigger exposed and prone to activation. Even when properly holstered, the characteristics of the involved holster can allow foreign objects to infiltrate and interfere with the trigger, as seen in other incidents.

We regret that the involved agency hastily drew conclusions regarding the cause of this discharge without meticulously examining the incident footage and giving SIG SAUER an opportunity to aid in the inspection of the involved firearm.

The P320 model firearm is used efficiently and safely every day, by both civilians and armed professionals. Despite years of litigation and extensive fact-finding, no one has been able to recreate a scenario where the P320 could discharge without a trigger pull, and experts attempting to argue such a claim have consistently been dismissed from court as unqualified or unreliable. Three separate federal courts (in the cases of Frankenberry v. SIG SAUER, Mayes v. SIG SAUER, and Hilton v. SIG SAUER) have determined that the two experts who proposed a theory of uncommanded discharge are unfit to testify in court because they are unqualified or their opinions are untested and unreliable. In the only case concerning a P320 discharge to proceed to a full trial (Guay v. SIG SAUER), a jury of 12 rejected these experts’ unsubstantiated and unscientific theory, and ruled unanimously in favor of SIG SAUER. SIG SAUER stands firmly behind the demonstrated safety and reliability of the P320.”

Potential Gun Ownership in America Could Be As High As 60%, Doubling Previous Estimates


An increase in the number of undisclosed firearm owners, akin to the politically renowned "unvoiced majority," has prompted weapons experts to think that the true percentage of American gun owners might be considerably higher than the often-quoted figure of 30%.

On the upper limit, it's conceivable that as much as 60% of Americans possess guns, a figure likely boosted by the rise in gun purchases by women and minorities during the pandemic, particularly in suburban and urban locations. At the lower limit, at least 40% of Americans are likely to own guns, according to an innovative research examining those who deceive pollsters about their firearm ownership.

The study, conducted by the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University, is making waves in the sector, which has struggled for years to ascertain accurate figures of U.S. gun ownership and understand the dichotomy between polled support for gun control and the lack of action when legislative measures are presented.

J.D. Tuccille, from Reason Magazine, brought portions of this study to light in an early July post, creating ripples in the firearm industry about the likelihood of significantly higher gun ownership in the U.S.

He underscored the study's inference that about a third of the respondents might not be truthful when denying gun possession. Tuccille detailed how the researchers developed profiles of verified gun owners and extrapolated these profiles to their sample of 3,500 respondents to predict who might be disingenuous about not having guns.

This attracted the interest of Stephen Gutowski, the founder of The Reload blog, who discussed Tuccille's analysis and the potential ramifications of the study in a recent video post.

Gutowski stated, “This has been a suspicion for some time, but now there's a study that provides quantifiable evidence. Their estimate suggests that almost half of those claiming they don't own guns actually do, causing a considerable inconsistency. The percentage could jump from roughly 33% to somewhere in the 60s,” he elaborated.

Tuccille referred to these misleading respondents as "covert gun owners," who might not be honest due to concerns about the government or their neighbors discovering their firearm ownership. He suggested that these individuals might deny owning a gun, especially in urban locations where it is often looked down upon. Local customs may also influence their responses.

Both Tuccille and Gutowski suggested that significantly higher U.S. gun ownership rates than those quoted by major pollsters like Pew and Gallup could significantly affect legislators promoting gun control. Tuccille highlighted the potential repercussions of this study, saying that if it's accurate, then gun ownership isn't exclusive to conservatives, and attempts by liberals to target the Right via gun control could backfire.

He further argued, "It’s no longer safe to target a good if you want to punish an enemy." In Reason, he added, “With a diverse and expanding group of gun owners, there are significant implications for politics and policy. These new gun owners are likely to resist any attempts to take away their self-defense tools and may take umbrage at the restrictive policies promoted by urban, left-leaning politicians, which impact all gun owners, regardless of their geographical location and political leanings. Essentially, the gun-ownership demographic is evolving, but newer owners are more reluctant than their predecessors to disclose their status to researchers and government officials.”

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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Legislative Proposals in Congress to Prohibit Armed IRS Agents

On June 14, 2023, a federal investigation led to an unexpected search of a firearms retailer in Montana. While routine audits are often warranted, the specific incident involving Highwood Creek Outfitters in Great Falls, Montana, has caused a stir. Not only did two dozen armed IRS agents scrutinize the establishment's financial records for an entire day, they also confiscated Form 4473s, which contain a plethora of personal information about gun buyers.

Such actions by the government have raised concerns about the extensive power bestowed upon bureaucratic agencies managed by non-elected officials. Nonetheless, the Biden Administration continues to assert that such interventions and assertive actions against private citizens are necessary for the safety of the general public.

In the wake of this episode, U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R) expressed his concerns in a letter to the IRS, seeking further details about the event. The letter highlighted the confiscation of sensitive documents, the involvement of armed agents, and the community's resulting anxiety and worry.

However, not all hope is lost as there are individuals in the Congress who continue to uphold the Constitution and the rights of Americans. Republican Congressman Matt Rosendale of Montana's 2nd District, along with 11 co-sponsors, proposed H.R.4436 merely two weeks after the incident. This bill aims to prevent the IRS from arming its employees.

On the same day, June 30, 2023, Congressman Clay Higgins from Louisiana introduced H.R.4416 with the support of eight co-sponsors. This bill seeks to restrict the use of federal funds for hiring armed regulatory enforcement officers within certain agencies.

Details of these two bills are as follows:

H.R.4436 — 118th Congress (2023-2024): Aims to prohibit the IRS from arming its employees among other things. It was introduced by Matthew M. Rosendale Sr. [Rep.-R-MT-2] and co-sponsored by 11 others. The bill was then referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on the Judiciary.

H.R.4416 — 118th Congress (2023-2024): Seeks to limit the use of Federal funds for the recruitment of armed Federal enforcement officers within specific agencies. Introduced by Clay Higgins [Rep.-R-LA-3] with the support of eight co-sponsors, it was referred to multiple committees for consideration.

Should legislation be required to prevent governmental infringement on citizens' rights? Certainly not. However, given the perceived radical influence within the White House and the Democratic party, such preventative measures appear to be necessary.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Police Chief Abandons Sig Sauer Following Terrifying Accidental Discharge Captured on Video

Montville Police Department

In Montville, Connecticut, the local police department is allocating a substantial amount of money to switch from Sig Sauer handguns to Glock pistols. This decision was made following an unnerving accidental discharge during an arrest on Monday, as reported by the department. Security footage recorded the shocking incident, which displayed the officers' shock when the firearm discharged while still holstered. Although no injuries resulted from the event, Chief Wilfred Blanchette declared on Thursday that the newly-established department would bear the $20,000 expense to swap the Sig Sauer P320s used by its 35 officers. "I am not at ease with our officers carrying these guns," Blanchette stated on Thursday, as quoted by Police1. Sig Sauer has been facing criticism recently for manufacturing firearms that seemingly discharge independently, with a significant number of officers, including the one involved in Monday's event, filing multiple lawsuits against the firearms producer this year.

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Legal Academics Suggest Utilizing Qualified Immunity as a Shield for Unconstitutional Gun Confiscation Post-Bruen Decision

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

In the landscape of academia, where a prominent left-leaning perspective often prevails, particularly amongst Law Professors, the concept of Qualified Immunity is now being championed as a potential means to circumvent the Bruen decision. If embraced, this could potentially pave the way for states to persistently infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of their citizens. Below are the insights and viewpoints of these Law Professors:

"The Supreme Court’s ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen threw the political project of gun regulation into question. Before Bruen, states could enact new kinds of gun restrictions if they passed a relatively stringent means-ends test. That is, if laws meaningfully reduced danger, while not too heavily burdening the right to self-defense, they were allowed. After Bruen, only gun controls actually in force in the founding era, and their close analogues, are permissible. Many fewer regulations will now pass the constitutional test.

Here, we suggest an unlikely source of continuing power, after Bruen, for states to disarm individuals they deem dangerous: qualified immunity. Qualified immunity shields state officers from monetary liability for many constitutional violations. In short, unless a previous case “clearly established,” with high factual particularity, that the officer’s conduct was unconstitutional, the officer does not pay. Thus, a state law enforcement officer may, after Bruen, confiscate an individual’s firearm if the officer deems that person too dangerous to possess it. The officer’s justifications may conflict with the federal courts’ understanding of Bruen or the Second Amendment—perhaps flagrantly. But unless a previous, authoritative legal decision examining near-identical facts says so, the officer risks no liability. And because each individual act of disarmament will be unique, such prior decisions will be vanishingly rare. The result is a surprisingly free hand for states to determine who should and should not be armed, even in contravention of the Supreme Court’s dictates. 

Proponents of gun rights, who skew conservative, may see this as lawlessness. In the past, it has been liberals and civil libertarians who have seen qualified immunity that way. Here, as elsewhere in the law, what’s good sauce for the goose is good for the gander. Gun rights advocates may therefore either accept qualified immunity’s implications for their preferred rights or join with their usual adversaries in opposing it everywhere."

Alito Temporarily Revives ATF Regulations on "Ghost Guns" as Supreme Court Considers Emergency Appeal

Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

On Friday, a ruling from a lower court which dismissed the Biden administration's limits on so-called "ghost guns" was momentarily halted by Justice Samuel Alito, thereby temporarily reinstating a regulation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Alito put forth a brief directive granting an administrative stay that would last until 5 p.m. on August 4. He granted the party contesting the ATF regulation, comprising of gun owners, manufacturers, and firearms advocacy organizations, until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to respond to the administration's appeal to reinstate the rule.

The Biden administration called for immediate intervention from the Supreme Court on Thursday, requesting the apex court to suspend a decision by a federal district court in Texas that discarded the rule managing ghost guns.

The rule by the ATF, implemented in August 2022, modified its guidelines regarding the meaning of a "firearm" under the Gun Control Act to tackle the growing issue of ghost guns. The rule described a "firearm" to "include a kit of weapon parts that can or is intended to be readily completed, assembled, restored, or alternatively converted to release a projectile through the explosive action."

The rule also expanded the definition of "frames or receivers," which are also offered in kits, to consist of a "partially finished, dismantled, or dysfunctional frame or receiver, including a frame or receiver parts kit," that can be made operational. This new interpretation of the law required manufacturers and sellers of certain kits to acquire licenses, label their products with serial numbers, execute background checks, and keep records to aid law enforcement in tracking firearms used in crimes.

The conflict brought before the Supreme Court last year involved two gun owners, two advocacy groups, and entities that manufacture or sell the products subject to the rule. They contested parts of the ATF's limitations— the inclusion of weapons parts kits under the "firearm" definition and updated interpretation of "frame or receiver" — as unlawful.

A federal district court blocked these disputed provisions, preventing the Biden administration from implementing them, but refrained from issuing a nationwide injunction.

Subsequently, earlier this summer, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor sided with the plaintiffs and obstructed the regulation nationwide, ruling that the ATF had overstepped its legal authority. The Biden administration appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to overturn the lower court's decision, but the appeals court refused to do so concerning the two disputed provisions. The 5th Circuit hastened the Biden administration's appeal and is scheduled to hear arguments in September.

Nonetheless, the Biden administration appealed to the Supreme Court, asking it to suspend the district court's order. If the court declines, the administration requested the Supreme Court to take up the case and conduct hearings in the fall.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote, "The district court's universal revocation is causing irreparable damage to the public and the government by allowing the surge of untraceable ghost guns into our nation's communities. Once these guns are sold, the harm is irreversible: some will already be in the possession of criminals and other banned persons — and when these guns are inevitably used in crimes, they are untraceable."

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Friday, July 28, 2023

Uncertainty Surrounds Tennessee Governor's Gun Control Proposal Support: Will it Secure Majority Votes?

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

Gov. Bill Lee remained noncommittal on Friday regarding the support his plan to restrict firearms for individuals deemed dangerous is receiving within the Republican-heavy Tennessee Statehouse, with a critical special legislative session looming on the horizon.

Legislators are anticipated to reconvene in Nashville in approximately three weeks. Their return has been spurred by a push to reevaluate the state's firearms laws, a movement invigorated after a devastating event where a gunman targeted a Nashville elementary school, leading to the loss of six lives, among them three 9-year-olds. 

Families severely impacted by this tragedy have passionately argued for stricter controls on firearms accessibility. However, their pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears as Republican lawmakers continue to show reticence towards pro-gun control measures.

Back in May, Lee announced his decision to call a special session after his fellow Republican legislators displayed initial reluctance to consider his proposal aimed at limiting access to firearms for potentially harmful individuals.

Since his announcement, the Governor declared on Friday that he has engaged with "hundreds of individuals", reviewing not only his own plan but also other proposals focusing on mental health, violent crime, and juvenile justice. These issues are also set to be discussed during the special session. His office has been inundated with public comments, predominantly backing some form of gun control legislation. 

"I am really inspired by the General Assembly members' proactive approach, bringing forth ideas to ensure a productive session that enhances Tennessee's safety," remarked Lee.

However, the Governor stopped short of speculating on the fate of his proposal within the Republican majority and sidestepped questions regarding the sponsorship of his legislation.

“Upon introducing legislation, the hope is, of course, that it gets passed," Lee said. "But the decision lies with the General Assembly."

Governor Lee has been actively promoting "temporary mental health orders of protection", insisting it is not akin to the contentious 'red flag' law, a term he views as a politically charged misnomer.

To date, red flag laws have been enacted in 19 states, often as a response to tragic incidents. For instance, Florida implemented such a law following the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, resulting in the death of 17 students. Law enforcement officials had received multiple warnings regarding the 19-year-old shooter's threatening behavior.

These laws, which allow courts to issue extreme risk protection orders, are designed to temporarily disarm individuals demonstrating potentially violent tendencies, typically for a year. In most cases, a family member or law enforcement officer must petition the court for the order. Under Governor Lee's proposal, law enforcement would initially evaluate whether an individual poses a threat. Subsequently, a hearing involving the person would generally be scheduled within three to five days. The judge would then determine whether to temporarily dispossess them of their weapons. If the decision is in favor, the person would be required to hand over their firearms and ammunition to a designated third party within two days. Moreover, their handgun carry license would be suspended within three business days. These measures would remain in effect for up to 180 days.

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New York Resident Receives Jail Time for Unlawful Firearm Following Report of Excessive Ammo Purchases

(court filing)

Federal authorities have given a prison sentence to Duane Hollenbeck, a 54-year-old resident of Cayuga County, for possession of an unregistered, short-barreled AR-15-style weapon, as announced on Friday.

In September, Hollenbeck was apprehended from Moravia, alongside 19-year-old Alec D. Hollenbeck from Lincklaen, Chenango County, following the discovery of several unregistered firearms and standard-capacity magazines in one of his properties.

Their trail was picked up when a worried firearms dealer reported Alec Hollenbeck's repeated large-scale ammunition purchases for over four weeks. As per the federal court's criminal complaint, this led investigators to Duane Hollenbeck's Pitcher, Chenango County retreat.

An Instagram image displaying Alec Hollenbeck with two rifles was also cited by the prosecution. Investigators discovered four AR-15 type rifles, five pistols, and five metal containers suspected to be homemade silencers, as detailed in court records. The firearms lacked serial numbers, as per the prosecution.

The barrel of one rifle was just slightly over 11 inches. As it was shorter than the required 16 inches, it was mandatory to have it registered with the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record. However, according to the prosecutors, this was not done.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brenda Sannes sentenced Duane Hollenbeck to 41 months of imprisonment for one count of possession of an unregistered firearm. If convicted, this sentence will coincide with a sentence issued by a state court, as per the court records.

Gabrielle DiBella, Hollenbeck's defense attorney, revealed in court documents that an impending sentence from Chenango County Court is likely. There, Hollenbeck faces charges of two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Court documents revealed that Hollenbeck used to engage in target shooting with his family as a leisure activity. Over three to four years, he and his relatives, including Alec Hollenbeck, assembled numerous guns at his retreat. The relation between the two Hollenbecks, however, wasn't clarified in the documents. It was also mentioned in the court records that many of the firearm parts were procured online.

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Ethan Crumbley's Disturbing Diary Excerpts Disclosed in Court: Oxford School Shooter Desired Victims to 'Suffer Just Like Me'

(AP Photo / Carlos Osorio)

On Thursday, courtroom attendees listened to diary entries and audio records from Ethan Crumbley, the Michigan teenager responsible for the fatal shooting of four students and injury of seven others at his high school in 2021. These were shared during the hearing to decide his sentence.

Crumbley confessed to his crimes in October 2022, pleading guilty to 24 charges, including four for first-degree murder. His victims were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 16-year-old Justin Shilling, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, all students at Oxford High School. The incident took place on Nov. 30, 2021.

"I am going to be the next school shooter," Crumbley voiced in a 20-minute audio clip played in the Oakland County court. 

During the majority of Thursday's proceedings, Crumbley kept his head low. The evidence is being considered by Judge Kwame Rowe of Oakland County to aid in his decision on whether Crumbley should face a life sentence without parole.

In a disturbing excerpt, Crumbley wrote, "The first victim has to be a pretty girl so she can suffer just like me."

(Carlos Osorio)

He self-identified as "evil" and aspired for notoriety for his crimes in his writings found by investigators. One journal entry revealed his wish to "hear the screams of the children as I shoot them". His writings further expressed his intention to drown children and throw a child "off a cliff."

As per Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald, the 17-year-old Crumbley did not anticipate committing suicide-by-cop following the Oxford High School shooting, as he aimed to "witness the suffering he created".

Crumbley referred to himself as a "demon" in one of the recordings and stated his understanding if he were incarcerated for his crimes. He also shared his views on the meaninglessness of school, college, work, and life in general, claiming the U.S. education system was "brainwashing" the working class. Crumbley's notes also suggested that he anticipated a life sentence.

"I'm going to spend the rest of my life in prison rotting like a tomato," he penned.

Crumbley's parents, James and Jennifer, are facing charges of involuntary manslaughter after they allegedly purchased the gun used in the crime as a Christmas present for their son.

(Oakland County Sheriff)

The prosecution is advocating for a life sentence without parole for Crumbley, citing the unique nature of his crime in terms of its premeditation, execution, and resulting fatalities. McDonald emphasized that video footage showed Crumbley shooting his victims "at point-blank range" in the school corridors.

Crumbley's notes cited his parents' neglect as a contributing factor to his depression. He had reportedly been "begging" his father for a 9mm.

McDonald pointed out that although Crumbley was the one who actually fired the gun, his parents' negligence in buying their "obviously troubled son" a firearm and their failure to securely store it or act upon seeing his violent drawings, contributed to the tragic incident. Their charges are not for being inadequate parents.

School officials reportedly held a meeting with Ethan and his parents to discuss disturbing drawings he created just hours before the deadly attack. The suspect managed to persuade them that the drawings were related to a "video game". His parents supposedly "flatly refused" to take their son home following the meeting, according to McDonald.

After his parents departed, Ethan executed the shooting.

Defending Crumbley, attorney Paulette Loftin contended that evidence would reveal that "15-year-old Ethan Crumbley is not one of those rare juveniles that is irreparably corrupt and without the ability to be rehabilitated."

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U.S. Supreme Court Primed to Address New Second Amendment Issue

(Joaquin Corbalan/

The Second Amendment ensures "the right of the people to keep and bear arms". Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court delineated who has the constitutional right to carry arms in public. This year, they may confirm the type of arms they can keep.

Gun rights groups have formally indicated their intention to challenge a federal judge's decision to support an Oregon law that prohibits the so-called "high-capacity" magazines, defined as those able to hold more than 10 rounds.

Judge Karin Immergut of U.S. District Court opined on July 14 that while the Constitution defends the right to self-defense, high capacity magazines "aren't regularly used for self-defense, hence are not safeguarded by the Second Amendment". Alan Gottlieb, the founding and executive VP of the Second Amendment Foundation, was taken aback by her judgment.

In a discussion with Newsmax, he commented that the judge was looking for reasons to uphold the law on magazine capacity, which in his view violates the Second Amendment. Amy Swearer, a senior legal fellow specializing in Second Amendment matters at the Heritage Foundation, argued that Judge Immergut misinterpreted Supreme Court precedents.

The key question, according to Swearer, should be whether there's a historical precedent for limiting magazine capacity. To her, the answer is a resounding no. Furthermore, she argued that even by the judge’s own metric — arms "commonly used in self-defense" — the state's 10-round limit would not pass.

Swearer has collected data illustrating scenarios where more than 10 rounds were fired in self-defense. Such cases often involved multiple attackers, extended gun battles, and situations where the perpetrators were using cover.

Gun owners claim that they primarily own high-capacity magazines for self-defense purposes, according to the 2021 National Firearms Survey. Therefore, Swearer maintains that these magazines should be covered under precedents such as McDonald v. Chicago and D.C. v. Heller, both of which upheld that the Second Amendment protects firearms "commonly used" for lawful purposes.

However, she pointed out that judges with an activist bent will always seek ways to circumvent Supreme Court rulings. The main challenge to their appeal, Gottlieb acknowledged, may be the jurisdiction. As the Ninth Circuit is traditionally the most liberal and activist circuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals system, they are not taking anything for granted.

Gottlieb anticipates that the ultimate decision on this matter will have to come from the U.S. Supreme Court. Last year, the court ruled that states cannot require citizens to prove a special need to get a concealed carry permit. This year, they might declare that so-called "assault weapons" and "large-capacity" magazines are permitted under the Second Amendment.

Despite President Biden's call on July 4 to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines again, the outcome might not be as he wishes.

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Understanding the Comprehensive Context of the Second Amendment in 2A Court Cases: More than Just 27 Words


Related to a previous AmmoLand write-up about Judge Roger T. Benitez vigorously safeguarding the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution against various breaches enacted by the California administration, a commenter stated: 

Working hard.?? Isn't it just twenty-seven words?

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This sentiment of exasperation is common among many Second Amendment supporters. Sometimes, their frustration is condensed into four words: … "shall not be infringed"!

A notable case in which a judge simply cited the Second Amendment was U.S. v Miller, brought to the Supreme Court in 1939 by the Roosevelt administration, known for its anti-Second Amendment stance, abetted by their anti-Second Amendment judge appointee, Heartsill Ragon.

The obstacle with merely uttering “What is it, like 27 words?’ or “Shall not be infringed” lies in the leftists' or progressives' core strength, which is the ability to manipulate language by insisting on their interpretations and definitions. Progressives' common counterargument to the Second Amendment is that it's a "collective right," not an individual one, or that "the people" refer solely to state governments or those individuals permitted to exercise the right through licenses and other measures.

The phrase “shall not be infringed” naturally raises the question: What shall not be infringed? The typical answer is: "The right to keep and bear arms."

Consequently, the question evolves to: What does the right of the people to keep and bear arms mean? You may believe you have the answer. As do Progressives. As does Senator Schumer. But remember, the Constitution is a legal document.

The practical approach to interpret the words of this legal document, the Constitution, is to understand what they signified to the parties who approved the document when it was first formulated and ratified.

This concept is known as originalism. It is the doctrine that currently prevails at the Supreme Court. For the better part of the last 90 years, the Supreme Court has predominantly followed the doctrine of a "living Constitution," stemming from Progressive ideology. The Progressives believe the Constitution should mean whatever enlightened judges decide it should mean, at the moment they rule, for the betterment of the nation (as long as the judges are Progressives). This ideology is fundamentally about enabling the government to act as it wishes or claims it needs to.

Now that the Supreme Court is reverting to originalism as the proper means to interpret the Constitution, the hundreds of pages of briefs on the Second Amendment's meaning all aim to demonstrate what the operative clause "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" signified at the time of ratification. There's a hint of what the prefatory clause "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" means. The debates about the militia clause are less intense because the prefatory clause doesn't restrict the operative clause, as understood at the time of ratification and in regular English construction.

Given that opponents are adept at contorting words and they control a majority of the media, universities, and significant influencers of popular culture, precision and care are needed in formulating arguments. This is where Judge Benitez shines with his logically sound and reasoned arguments.

It would indeed be an ideal scenario if those opposing an armed populace agreed on the definition of words, upheld logic and reason, and never lied or acted deceitfully. It would be fantastic if the dominant media could be trusted to report truthfully and without bias. However, the reality is that we can't count on the opponents of an armed populace to be honest, use common definitions appropriately, or report accurately.

Hence, more than just the 27 words of the Second Amendment or the four words "shall not be infringed" are required to argue the case in court. Expounding what the Second Amendment signified at the time of its ratification requires more than a few pages, especially when faced with adversaries who refuse to be bound by common definitions, logic, reason, ethics, or morals.

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Daily Kos Suggests: Solving 'Gun Violence' – Just Another Problem Needing More Funding

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Daily Kos, as with most left-leaning ideologies, puts forth the notion that the "solution" to gun violence is an increased financial investment. However, this appears to be a justification for directing your tax dollars into politically-aligned endeavors. Democratic-run cities have repeatedly proven that an increase in laws and funding does not necessarily yield peace and reduced violence. The theory that money can fix everything is, at best, optimistic thinking, and at worst, an unabashed attempt at resource accumulation. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Here's what the Daily Kos had to say:

"Money. That is always the answer in American Politics. Right or Left, Progressive or Tea Party, the only thing that really matters is money. A politician’s morals are dollar signs, their beliefs mirror those of their biggest donors, a voter’s voice is only as loud as their financial contribution. If you don’t give them money, then you are irrelevant. If your movement doesn’t give them money it will move nothing. If your protest doesn’t bring a check, you will be ignored. If you want change, then you need to be the highest bidder.

A politician has one job and one job only, to win elections. That’s it. Winning elections is the number one priority for a politician because that is how they keep their job. They keep winning elections; they keep getting all the perks of being an elected official. They don’t get to keep their jobs by making your life better or making your kids’ life better or making the country better. Those things, maybe, on occasion, will help a politician win an election. In reality the votes that politicians make in office on a day-to-day basis don’t win elections. Money wins elections. The more money they have the more money they can spend convincing you that they should keep their jobs. They tell you how great they are and how awful the person who is running against them is. None of it is honest. It’s all spin and exaggeration and hyperbole. But that is how you win an election in America; you outspend your opponent.

The candidates who run and the candidates who win are not the best people for the jobs. Not even close. Even the supposed good ones are terrible. The real reason they are in those positions is because they can be bought and they can raise money. Ted Cruz is hated within his own party, but they keep putting him up and backing his campaigns. Why? He can raise money and win elections. He has proven his actions have no impact on his electability. He fled to Cancun when people in his state were freezing to death. Didn’t matter. Trump called his wife ugly, he dropped to his knees and made campaign calls (raises money) for Trump. Spineless. Didn’t matter. Democrats hope for holding their Senate seats in 2024 is dependent on how much money they can raise. Their platform is just a means to raise money. 

Democrats need for cash drives their actions is office. Guns are a threat to every man, woman, and child in our country. Mass shootings are not even news anymore. And even though 70-80% of the country wants stricter gun laws, we’ll never see them. Why? Gun violence is too valuable to Democrats. Democrats fundraise off of gun violence. They tell us that they will do something to curb gun violence every election and nothing changes. If they pass laws to outlaw assault weapons it will cost the Democrats too much money, so they don’t do it. 

Abortion is the same. The worst thing to happen to Republicans was the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Promising to overturn Roe was their major fundraising vehicle. The Republican platform depended on the continuation of access to abortion. When that ended, they lost money. They did it, they won, and the money stopped. On the other hand, the best thing to happen to the Democrats was the Dobbs decision. People were rightfully furious. How dare they overturn 50 years of established law! People protested and signed petitions and, most importantly, donated money. Lots of money. So much money that the expected midterm red wave was nothing more than a passing pink drizzle. The Democrats could restructure the Supreme Court to overturn Dobbs by adding more seats or by impeaching sitting justices for a multitude of reasons (lying to congress, being bribed, ethics violations) but the Democrats will never do that because they have a new cash cow in Dobbs. 

Weapons of war will always be legal as long as there is an NRA type organization that pays off politicians. This will not change until there is an organization with more money than the NRA that pays off politicians to ban and continue to ban weapons of war.  The NRA gives politicians grades on how a politician supports guns and the 2nd amendment. Where is the organization that grades politicians on protecting people and saving lives? People continue to protest and have sit-ins and share social media campaigns and none of it matters and none of it will ever change anything. Create an Anti-NRA organization, raise money and buy politicians. 

Oil companies pay politicians to ignore the fact that our planet is on fire. That’s the extent that money influences politicians. Politicians would rather have more money in their campaign account than a planet to live on. Winning elections is more important to them than planet Earth. It’s true and it’s insane.

Name any problem in this country and the solution is money. Want to end racism? Start buying politicians. Equal rights for the LGBTQ community? Start buying politicians. Climate change? Buy some politicians. Decrease the wage gap? Increase the wages of politicians. Politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, don’t do the right thing for free, they don’t do anything for free. To them the right thing to do is the thing that pays the most money. 

Until this is fully understood by the left, nothing is ever going to change. Money influences politicians, not sit-ins or protests or sending emails. Change isn’t free. If you want it, you have to pay for it."

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Thursday, July 27, 2023

Biden Administration Appeals to US Supreme Court to Overturn 'Ghost Gun' Decision

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

On Thursday, the Biden administration made a formal request to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to reestablish a law targeting "ghost guns" or untraceable, homemade firearms, which was previously overturned by a subordinate court.

The administration implored the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of a Texas federal judge that nullified a Justice Department restriction on the distribution of ghost gun assembly kits, as they make their appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located in New Orleans.

The Justice Department introduced a rule in 2022 that targeted the increasing presence of these DIY weapons. It prohibited the sale of “buy build shoot" kits that lack serial numbers, which could be purchased online or in-person without any need for a background check. These kits enable the assembly of a fully functional firearm in a short time, around 20 minutes.

The new rule stated that these untraceable firearms fall under the definition of “firearms” in the federal Gun Control Act, meaning they require serial numbers and their makers must hold a license. The rule also implied that the distributors of these kits should be licensed and conduct background checks before making a sale.

The rule was contested in a Texas federal court by several plaintiffs, which included a pair of firearm owners and two groups advocating for gun rights.

Federal Judge Reed O'Connor issued an order on July 5 that blocked the implementation of the rule across the nation, asserting that the administration overstepped its legal boundaries when enacting it. The 5th Circuit chose not to overturn O'Connor's order while an appeal was in progress, as of July 24.

The administration cautioned the justices that if O’Connor’s verdict is allowed to prevail, it would result in the unchecked distribution of countless untraceable ghost guns into American communities.

According to data from the White House, approximately 20,000 potential ghost guns were reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) as confiscated in criminal investigations in 2021. This signifies a tenfold increase from the figures reported in 2016.

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Mountain States Legal Foundation Celebrates Legal Triumph Over Biden Administration's "Ghost Gun" Regulation

Jahi Chikwendiu | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The ruling in the case of VanDerStok versus Garland was issued earlier this month, and it was a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. This essentially overturned the Biden Administration's controversial "ghost gun" regulation, which had redefined certain gun parts as firearms. The Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), an organization dedicated to safeguarding Constitutional rights and focusing on Second Amendment, natural resources, energy, and equal protection litigation, was especially satisfied with this decision.

MSLF, a non-profit legal firm operating out of Denver, represented the plaintiffs in their legal battle against the federal government. This triumph was significant not only for the organization's clients, but also for the law's integrity. Brian Abbas, who heads MSLF’s Center to Keep and Bear Arms, explained that their clients were profoundly impacted by the broad-reaching rule imposed by the Biden Administration, necessitating a court challenge to safeguard their rights.

Abbas, in an exclusive conversation with Firearms News, remarked that the rule was exceedingly extensive and unfeasible. He pointed out that even raw materials such as filament and metal blocks had to be explicitly excluded by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). 

Abbas highlighted that the tradition of manufacturing one's firearms is deeply rooted in American culture, predating the Declaration of Independence. He mentioned that people, including their client Jennifer VanDerStok, participate in this practice by sourcing the necessary components and tools from businesses like Tactical Machining, another client.

Many readers may recall that the Biden Administration had attempted to pass a similar law in Congress, but it lacked sufficient support in both the House and Senate. While the Justice Department proposed this rule back in 2021, it failed to garner significant backing. Eventually, after relentless efforts, President Biden was successful in setting the new ATF rule, which reclassified many gun parts as firearms.

According to Abbas, it's critical to understand that the ATF's proposed rule could deem non-firearms as firearms, including mere assortments of parts. He expressed concerns that the ATF effectively empowered itself to regulate additional materials like tools, instructions, guides, and marketing materials to implement this rule.

Abbas expressed that MSLF’s legal arguments were simple and clear—the ATF had overstepped its congressional authority under the Gun Control Act by trying to redefine historically non-firearms as firearms. They argued their case based on ATF’s own previous declarations that the objects in question were not firearms and therefore fell outside the regulatory jurisdiction. Suddenly overturning this precedent posed serious threats to the business and legal statuses of citizens across the nation.

Judge Reed Connor of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas concurred with this argument in his ruling issued in early July. He stated that the role of the judiciary isn't to correct perceived policy loopholes—this responsibility rests with Congress. Until Congress enacts a different law, the court must enforce the existing law.

Abbas welcomed this ruling, stating that the court had recognized the rule's overreach by regulating items that the ATF was never intended to regulate, including firearm parts and items that are not yet firearms but could potentially become so.

Abbas also highlighted the importance of the ruling in reaffirming the right of individual Americans to construct their own firearms. He stated that due to stringent regulations in some states, many Americans choose to build their own firearms, which they are entirely entitled to do.

The government has appealed against this ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments are scheduled to commence on September 7. MSLF intends to remain resolute and continue their advocacy on behalf of their clients. As per Abbas, their primary argument remains the same: a piece of metal is not a firearm, and the ATF doesn't have the jurisdiction to argue otherwise.

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