Thursday, November 30, 2023

Colorado Federal Judge Suggests Buying a Gun Not Protected by Second Amendment


In a recent judicial decision, a Colorado federal judge declared that the Second Amendment does not encompass the right to purchase firearms. This pronouncement emerged from the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Polis case, which questioned Colorado’s law imposing a three-day waiting period on firearm purchases. This ruling stands in contrast to the U.S. Supreme Court's broader interpretation of the Second Amendment, particularly as illustrated in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case.

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The Supreme Court in Bruen asserted that activities explicitly covered under the Second Amendment are presumptively protected, setting a precedent that challenges the validity of Colorado's waiting period law, as such laws were unfamiliar to the era when the Second Amendment was formulated.

Judge John L. Kane, who was appointed in 1977, reached a controversial conclusion in his ruling. He argued that the right to possess firearms, as recognized by the Supreme Court in the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case, does not inherently include the right to purchase them. He reasoned that while the Second Amendment doesn’t explicitly mention the purchase of guns, the First Amendment similarly doesn’t specify the purchase of newspapers, yet an implied right exists there.

Judge Kane also provided several alternative viewpoints to support the Colorado law. He suggested that the Founders did not envisage immediate availability of firearms, a point he tried to substantiate with expert testimony on historical firearm purchase conditions. However, the experts conceded that the difference in purchase convenience between then and now was more due to technological and logistical advancements rather than legislative intent.

Moreover, Kane cited the Heller case to argue that regulations on the commercial sale of firearms were "presumptively lawful." He differentiated between regulations on sellers versus purchasers, a distinction criticized as artificially separating the interconnected rights of buyers and sellers. Additionally, Kane drew parallels between laws regulating the use of firearms by intoxicated individuals and the waiting period, arguing both aimed to prevent impulsive misuse of firearms.

Despite these arguments, Judge Kane’s rationale has been scrutinized for potentially diverging from the historical approach mandated by the Supreme Court in the Bruen case. Critics argue that his interpretations could lead to misapplications of the Second Amendment, especially when considering modern technological and societal contexts. This ruling thus highlights the ongoing debate and complexities surrounding Second Amendment interpretations and gun control legislation.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Federal Appeals Court Overturns Maryland Handgun Purchase Law as Unconstitutional



In a landmark decision on November 21, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found Maryland's recent handgun purchase law unconstitutional, as it unduly delays and complicates the legal acquisition of handguns. The court highlighted that the law, especially the 2016 add-on, impedes the Second Amendment right to obtain a handgun. The opinion states:

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"Before purchasing a handgun, additional preliminary steps must be taken: obtaining a ‘handgun qualification license’ requiring a background check, fingerprints, and a four-hour safety course with live firing. This additional license requirement, challenged by the plaintiffs, violates the Second Amendment as Maryland has not presented a historical justification for such a restriction. Consequently, we reverse the district court's decision and enjoin the enforcement of this law."

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The panel was divided, with two judges in favor of the majority opinion and one dissenting. The dissenting judge, Barbara Milano Keenan, argued that "infringe" implies total destruction, a contention that was refuted by Judge Richardson who referred to historical dictionary definitions that equate "infringe" with "hinder" or "obstruct for a time."

From footnote 8, page 11, Richardson clarifies: "Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster's dictionaries define 'infringe' as 'to destroy; to hinder,' with 'hinder' meaning 'to obstruct for a time.' This interpretation aligns with historical sources like St. George Tucker's Blackstone's Commentaries and the Nunn v. State ruling, emphasizing the unqualified nature of the right to keep and bear arms."

In contrast, Judge Keenan's dissent (footnote 9, page 36) interprets "infringe" as a total violation or destruction, suggesting a different understanding of the term within the Second Amendment.

The ruling opens the possibility for further appeals, including an en banc review by the Fourth Circuit or even a Supreme Court hearing. The decision emphasizes the ongoing debate over the interpretation of "shall not be infringed" within the Second Amendment, with contrasting views on the extent of governmental power in regulating firearms.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Connecticut Resident Receives Prison Sentence for Unlawful Production and Sale of AR15-Type Rifles

The content below is a direct press release from the ATF. As frequent readers of Gun Coyote News are aware, we maintain a specific position regarding this unaccountable Agency. We encourage our community to share their perspectives and engage in discussion by leaving comments below.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Vanessa Roberts Avery, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Gregory Leary, 35, of Wolcott, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by 2 years of supervised release, for manufacturing and dealing AR-15-style firearms without a license. Judge Underhill also ordered Leary to pay a $2,000 fine.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between January and March 2022, Leary received Polymer80 firearms kits from another individual and assembled them in the basement of his Wolcott residence. On three occasions during that period, Leary provided to that individual eight AR-15-style assault rifles with collapsible stocks and 30-round magazines; a “P80” 9mm semi-automatic handgun with a fully loaded, 10-round magazine; 190 rounds of .223 ammunition; one “Magtec” box containing 50 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition; and one “Independence” box containing 50 rounds of 9mm ammunition. The assault rifles and 9mm handgun contained no serial numbers.

Leary pleaded guilty on June 13 and admitted that he manufactured and dealt a total of more than 25 firearms to the same individual, knowing that the individual was selling the firearms to others.

This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Connecticut State Police Statewide Firearms Trafficking Task Force and Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force (Gangs Unit), assisted by the Statewide Narcotics Task Force Southwest and North Central Offices, and the Bridgeport, Shelton, Orange, Waterbury, and Hartford Police Departments.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara E. Levens and Rahul Kale through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

ATF is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. More information about ATF and its programs can be found at

Thursday, November 23, 2023

ATF Declares Solvent Traps Have Always Been Unregistered Silencers


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has recently shifted its stance on solvent traps, impacting many who have purchased these devices with the intention of legally converting them into suppressors. In a significant policy change, the ATF now denies the legality of solvent traps, stating they have always been considered unregistered silencers under federal law.

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For years, solvent traps have been utilized to collect cleaning fluids from firearms, attaching to gun barrels. These devices, often acquired from retailers including Chinese websites like Aliexpress and Wish, were commonly converted into suppressors by gun owners through a legal process involving ATF Form 1, a $200 tax stamp, and undergoing all necessary checks and balances. However, the ATF's recent letter to federal firearms licensees (FFLs) declares that these devices were never recognized under federal law.

“ATF has not classified any device as a ‘solvent trap,’ because that term does not exist in the relevant Federal statutes or implementing regulations,” the letter explains.

The ATF's scrutiny extends to the design features of solvent traps, asserting that many marketed as such are in fact suppressors due to characteristics aimed at reducing firearm decibels. The presence of elements such as index markings, which the ATF suggests serve as guides for drilling and converting these traps into suppressors, are a significant factor in their determination. The ATF's perspective aligns with their stance on AR-15s, where an index mark for the third hole is considered indicative of a machinegun.

Other components like baffles, spacers, and dampening material are also seen as indicators of a suppressor. "While increasing the effectiveness of a firearm silencer, these same objective design features offer no advantages in collecting or filtering cleaning solvent," the ATF states, emphasizing that even a single part like an end cap could result in severe legal consequences equivalent to possessing an unregistered machinegun.

The ATF further contends that completing paperwork to legally convert a solvent trap into a suppressor is not permissible, as the original manufacturing already resulted in an unregistered suppressor. This view effectively prohibits any legal rectification for solvent trap owners.

The importation of these items, primarily from China, adds another layer of complexity, as suppressors generally cannot be imported under the Gun Control Act (GCA) and National Firearms Act (NFA), with few exceptions applicable to civilians.

The ATF advises owners of solvent traps to consult their local field offices for guidance on divesting the devices, though it stops short of offering any immunity for those who come forward. 

Given the ATF’s hardened position and potential legal implications, Gun Coyote News urges readers to seek legal advice before contacting the ATF regarding solvent trap ownership.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Two Texans Sentenced for Illicit Firearms Trafficking to Mexico

Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note: Gun Coyote News presents the following report sourced directly from an ATF press release. We understand our readers have varied opinions on the actions and accountability of this federal agency as well as our stance on an unaccountable and rogue agency. As always, we encourage our audience to actively participate and share their perspectives in the comment section below.

In recent legal developments, two Texas residents have received prison sentences for their involvement in the illegal trafficking of firearms to Mexico, a case highlighting the ongoing efforts to combat cross-border arms smuggling.

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland expressed the Justice Department's commitment to addressing gun trafficking, stating, “Traffickers in fully automatic firearms from the United States to Mexico aid in the cartels’ efforts to manufacture dangerous drugs and smuggle them into our country. The Justice Department will do everything in its power to find and hold accountable the gun traffickers who are arming the cartels."

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Similarly, ATF Director Steven Dettelbach emphasized the bureau's determination to thwart the flow of ghost guns to Mexican cartels, utilizing tools provided by new legislation like the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Jaime Jesus Esquivel, 37, of Laredo, faced a 120-month prison term followed by 3 years of supervised release. His offenses included possession of a machine gun, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and conspiracy to possess intent to distribute cocaine. Esquivel acknowledged his role in producing and exporting automatic firearms to Mexico, intended for drug cartel use.

Jose Abraham Nicanor, 34, of Houston, received a 60-month sentence following a jury's conviction on 13 counts, including illegal firearm purchases and trafficking. Evidence showed Nicanor's involvement in organizing straw purchases of high-caliber rifles, with many firearms later found with Mexican drug trafficking groups.

Investigations revealed Esquivel's assembly of ghost guns, including AR-type automatic rifles and conversion devices, from various weapon components. Law enforcement seized numerous firearms, ammunition, and drugs during searches.

Nicanor's activities, proven through trial evidence, demonstrated a systematic approach to violating firearm laws. Both Jefferson and Garcia, his associates in straw purchasing, have already faced sentencing.

These cases, investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, ATF, Laredo Police Department, and aided by Mexican authorities, underscore the complexities of firearms trafficking and the collaborative efforts needed to address it. As these prosecutions conclude, they highlight the relentless pursuit of justice in the fight against international arms smuggling.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Second Amendment Foundation Seeks Full Court Review of Illinois Assault Weapons Ban

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), along with other plaintiffs, has filed a petition for a full en banc panel review in the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This action is part of the ongoing legal challenge against Illinois' ban on so-called "assault weapons" and their magazines. The consolidated federal court cases, known as Harrel v. Raoul, Barnett v. Raoul, and Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois v. Raoul, represent a significant legal confrontation with the state's firearms legislation.

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Attorneys Mark L. Shaw, Jennifer Craigmile Neubauer, Michael A. Danfore, C.D. Michel, Anna M. Barvir, David Sigale, David H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson, and William V. Bergstrom are representing the plaintiffs, including SAF, the Illinois State Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition, C4 Gun Store, and individual Dane Harrel.

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The petition filed by SAF underscores the appellate panel's decision as being in conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruen. It emphasizes that modern semiautomatic rifles are protected by the Second Amendment, countering the panel’s majority view that these firearms are not protected as they are not considered 'dangerous or unusual.'

Alan M. Gottlieb, SAF's founder and Executive Vice President, criticized the appellate panel for disregarding the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment in the Bruen case. He asserted that the panel's ruling, which seemingly deems all guns on the banned list as suitable only for military use and hence unprotected by the Second Amendment, is a significant deviation that requires correction.

Adam Kraut, SAF's Executive Director, echoed Gottlieb’s concerns, emphasizing the need for the full en banc panel to address this judicial error. He highlighted the necessity of adhering to the Supreme Court's rulings without letting subjective judgments influence the interpretation of the Second Amendment.

This legal effort reflects a broader challenge to state-level gun control measures in the wake of the Bruen decision and could potentially reshape Second Amendment jurisprudence in the United States.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

NY Times Criticizes Lake City Ammunition Plant for Its Supposed Role in Mass Shootings

(Dori Whipple/Lake City Army Ammunition Plant)

In a recent development, the Biden-Harris administration's ongoing campaign against firearms and the Second Amendment has taken a new turn, involving a strategic focus on ammunition manufacturers. This latest move is part of a broader series of actions targeting various aspects of gun ownership and usage.

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The administration has previously taken measures against "weapons of war" as they term them, leading some retailers to remove popular rifles from their inventory. Further actions include restrictions on homemade firearm kits, after-market triggers, and pistol braces. Additionally, there have been attempts to influence banks and credit card companies to limit financial services for firearms-related transactions, and threats have been issued to shipping companies involved in the transportation of firearms and related items.

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The most significant impact has been on law-abiding gun dealers, who now risk their business for minor administrative mistakes. These developments have not occurred in isolation but have been supported and publicized by the media to gain public backing.

The latest target in this ongoing campaign appears to be ammunition manufacturers. The Biden-Harris administration, with assistance from media allies such as The New York Times, has set its sights on these manufacturers. A recent front-page article in The Times titled “Army Ammunition Plant Is Tied to Mass Shootings Across the U.S.” focused on the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri. The plant, which has been operational since World War II, is crucial in providing ammunition to the U.S. military.

The Times' investigation suggests that ammunition from Lake City has been present at various mass shooting scenes, implying a level of responsibility on the part of the manufacturer. However, the article fails to provide a balanced perspective, dedicating only a single sentence out of 106 paragraphs to acknowledge that the majority of Lake City's ammunition is used by law-abiding citizens for legitimate purposes.

Furthermore, the article neglects to mention the significant role Lake City ammunition has played in saving lives, both in the military and among law enforcement officers, and overlooks the millions of American gun owners who rely on this ammunition for self-defense.

In one particular case, the article cites the Lewiston, Maine mass shooting, suggesting Lake City ammunition might have been used without providing conclusive evidence. The article also includes comments from Tom Hixon, a member of Everytown for Gun Safety’s advisory board, whose father was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Hixon did not attribute his father’s death to the government or the Army, indicating a discrepancy between his views and the narrative pushed by The New York Times.

The report also references sources within Lake City, claiming they were apprehensive about their ammunition being linked to high-profile crimes. However, these sources are anonymous, which casts doubt on the veracity of these claims. This aspect of the story seems implausible, especially considering the potential risks involved for Lake City employees in speaking to the media, particularly The New York Times.

Despite its critical tone, the article inadvertently provides a glimmer of hope for gun owners. It addresses rumors that Lake City might stop selling ammunition commercially, which would significantly impact the civilian supply of 5.56mm ammo. This potential issue was raised by Congressman Sam Graves and other lawmakers, who cautioned the Biden-Harris administration against such a move, citing Second Amendment violations. The White House and the Defense Department eventually refuted these plans.

The underlying message of The Times' article points towards a possible new strategy by the Biden-Harris administration: targeting ammunition, possibly through proposals for background checks on ammunition purchases. Such measures, already in place in states like New York, have proved problematic.

For gun rights advocates and owners, the situation is clear: the administration's next target in their ongoing gun control campaign could very well be ammunition. This step follows a pattern of gradually narrowing the scope of gun rights, moving from firearms themselves to the essential components that make them operable.

Monday, November 13, 2023

New Bill Proposes Redirecting ATF Tax Stamp Funds to Enhance Wildlife Conservation and Recreation


Congressman Blake Moore (R-UT) and Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME) have introduced the Tax Stamp Revenue Transfer for Wildlife and Recreation Act. This groundbreaking bill aims to reallocate the funds generated from tax stamp processing, enhancing wildlife and habitat conservation and recreation programs while also expediting ATF processes.

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Currently, under the National Firearms Act of 1934, applicants for suppressor transfers undergo a background check and pay a $200 tax stamp, with these funds deposited into the U.S. Treasury without specific direction. The proposed Act seeks a strategic allocation of these taxes to bolster wildlife conservation, recreation, and expedite ATF processing.

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"I am pleased to introduce this important bill that underscores our commitment to conserving America’s natural heritage, investing in outdoor recreation, and making ATF’s processes for law-abiding citizens more efficient,” said Congressman Blake Moore.

“By paying fees for licenses and equipment, Maine outdoorsmen have sustained our state’s recreational opportunities for generations,” added Congressman Jared Golden. “Applying this same principle to the sale of accessories like silencers will increase consistency with the law, bolster conservation efforts in Maine, and make the background check process more efficient and effective.”

Of the total revenue, 15% would go to ATF’s NFA division to expedite suppressor applications. The remaining 85% would be split further, with the majority supporting the Pittman Robertson Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund and a portion allocated to recreational shooting ranges development and maintenance.

Joel Ferry, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, remarked, “This bill dedicates significant resources that would accelerate wildlife conservation and restoration efforts, such as habitat improvement, research, and education. It’s a powerful commitment to conservation. It also improves ATF application efficiency, which will improve processing time for those seeking to legally obtain a suppressor.”

This Act builds on the rich conservation heritage of the U.S. by increasing conservation funding and enhancing the capacity and efficiency of the ATF and FBI in processing applications for suppressors, without altering the criteria for obtaining one.

U.S. Private Firearm Ownership Tops 500 Million Following October's Surge in Gun Sales

In October 2023, firearm sales in the United States saw a significant rise, with approximately 1.33 million gun transactions recorded. This figure marks a 9% increase compared to October 2022, positioning October 2023 as the third highest in firearm sales for the month of October. Notably, the FBI's National Instant Background Check System (NICS) processed about 2.26 million checks during this month, ranking it the sixth highest October for NICS checks since the system's inception in 1999.

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It's important to note that the number of NICS checks does not directly equate to firearm sales. NICS checks are utilized for various purposes, including gun permits, and a single check can authorize the purchase of multiple firearms. Additionally, in 25 states, individuals with qualifying permits can purchase guns without undergoing further NICS checks, affecting the ratio of checks to sales.

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The surge in gun sales was anticipated following the Hamas raid in Israel, which resulted in over 1,400 Israeli deaths, primarily civilians. Israel has since been reconsidering its strict gun control policies. Historically, the concept of regulated warfare is relatively modern, with roots in the philosophies of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. However, traditional tribal warfare often lacked such regulations. The recent events in Israel and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia highlight the harsh reality that those armed and willing to use their weapons can only be effectively countered by similarly armed and willing opposition.

In the U.S., the right to acquire weapons remains relatively unrestricted. Since 1996, the number of privately owned firearms has approximately doubled, with the current estimate nearing 500 million. This equates to over 1.5 guns per U.S. resident. The primary motive for owning firearms in the U.S. is self-protection and the defense of others.

With the addition of October's sales, the total gun sales for 2023 amount to approximately 12.01 million. Accounting for firearms already in private possession, about 10.4 million new private firearms were added in 2023. By the end of 2022, the estimated private stock of firearms was around 490 million, suggesting that as of October 2023, there are approximately 500 million privately owned firearms in the United States. This half-billion privately owned firearms stock represents a significant force, unparalleled by any other nation, especially if all capable individuals were integrated into local and state militias.

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Federal Appeals Court Rejects ATF's Firearm Receiver Rule, Citing Unlawful Action

A significant legal development occurred as the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on its contentious "Final Rule" regarding firearm receivers. The case, VanDerStok v. Garland, saw the three-judge panel, led by Circuit Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt, a Donald Trump appointee, remand the case back to the District Court for reconsideration.

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Judge Engelhardt emphasized that the ATF's rule overstepped statutory text and agency authority limits, essentially attempting to criminalize actions that were previously lawful without Congressional authorization. This action by the ATF was seen as an unlawful overreach and a direct contradiction to legislative intent.

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The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and other intervenors in the lawsuit welcomed the court's decision. SAF founder Alan Gottlieb celebrated the ruling as a major victory for gun owners, underscoring the ATF's overextension of its powers. SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut highlighted Judge Andrew S. Oldham's concurring opinion, which critiqued the ATF's rule as a vague and indeterminate multi-factor test that discouraged Americans from engaging in the traditional practice of crafting firearms.

In his opinion, Judge Engelhardt critiqued the ATF's attempt to assume Congressional authority in gun control matters, emphasizing that only Congress has the power to enact or modify legislation regarding firearms. He pointed out that the ATF's Final Rule unlawfully expanded the terms 'frame' and 'receiver' beyond their original 1968 meanings, including "partially complete, disassembled, or nonfunctional" items, which deviated materially from past definitions.

Judge Oldham's concurring opinion echoed these sentiments, criticizing the ATF's goal of replacing a clear rule with a vague, multi-factor test. He noted that this change would create uncertainty and act as a deterrent to law-abiding Americans and gun companies from pursuing their traditional activities due to the fear of violating the nebulous new rule.

This ruling is seen as another blow to President Joe Biden's gun control efforts, which have consistently faced legal challenges. Biden's long-standing stance on gun prohibition has been a point of contention in the firearms community, and the recent court setback adds to the series of obstacles his administration has faced in pushing its gun control agenda. As the nation moves towards 2024, the extent to which the Biden administration will continue to pursue its disarmament goals remains a subject of interest and debate.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Nationwide Halt on ATF's Pistol Brace Rule Ordered by Texas Federal Judge

In a decisive move, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas issued a comprehensive suspension on the ATF's enforcement of its contentious pistol brace regulation. This ruling came in response to the Britto v. ATF case, which took a firm stance against the ATF's new rule on firearms with attached stabilizing braces, a shift brought about by a directive from President Joe Biden. This directive led the ATF to backtrack on its previous classifications and nullify the determinations it had provided to brace manufacturers.

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The plaintiffs in the Britto case argued that the ATF's rule infringed upon the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), primarily because the final rule deviated significantly from the initial proposed rule, which included a point system (ATF Form 4999) aiding owners in determining the classification of their firearms. The final rule, devoid of the proposed point system, branded all pistols with braces as short-barreled rifles (SBRs), thus bringing them under the stringent National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA).

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Gun owners found themselves facing limited and stringent choices, such as registering their firearms under the NFA, modifying their weapons to comply with the Gun Control Act of 1968, permanently removing the brace, or surrendering the firearm to the ATF—options that many saw as tantamount to government confiscation or destruction of property.

Judge Kacsmaryk's decision to stay the rule nationally was bolstered by precedents from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had previously sided with the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) on a similar issue. The judge concurred that the ATF rule did not logically follow from the proposed rule and was thus unlawful.

The court's decision hinged on several key factors, including the likelihood of the plaintiffs' success in the case, the potential for irreparable harm without an injunction, and the public interest. Judge Kacsmaryk noted that the rule's illegality under the APA rendered any potential public interest moot and sided with the plaintiffs, who included veterans like Gabriel A. Tauscher, whose combat injuries necessitated the use of stabilizing braces.

With this stay in place, the rule is effectively put on hold, and all gun owners in the United States are shielded from the ATF's enforcement actions pertaining to the pistol brace rule, pending potential appeals from the ATF. This move has been seen as a significant victory for gun rights advocates and members of organizations like the Gun Owners of America (GOA), who have staunchly opposed the ATF's rule.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Defending Liberty and Practicality: Why State-Level Bans on Gun Sales to Corporations Miss the Mark

Roger Krahl, president of RGuns, left, gives information to Zack Johnson about an RGuns-brand TRR15 model rifle at Krahl's gun store in Carpentersville, Illinois. (Getty Images)

In article the "How to curb gun violence: States should ban corporations from selling guns," from The Hill advocating for severe restrictions on gun sales at the state level, Candidate Scott Budow (D) asserts, “On November 7, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in U.S. v. Rahimi to determine whether laws that prohibit possession of firearms by persons subject to restraining orders are constitutionally permissible.” However, this perspective misinterprets the constitutional protections afforded by the Second Amendment and disregards the crucial role of due process in American jurisprudence.

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The argument to focus on state-level reforms to restrict the sale of firearms oversimplifies the complex nature of gun violence and its root causes. While the article argues that “gun reform advocates need to focus on the states, not the federal government,” this approach ignores the foundational principle that the right to keep and bear arms is not granted by the state but is enshrined in the Constitution and recognized as pre-existing the government itself.

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Furthermore, the suggestion that “we can pass laws to close gun stores in the 17 states where Democrats have unified control,” and the proposition to force businesses to “either stop selling guns or stop doing business in our state,” not only impinge upon the free market but also upon the freedoms of law-abiding citizens. The premise that shutting down lawful gun stores would "stem the tide" of gun violence is speculative and unsupported by evidence, as it does not address the predominant sources of firearms used in crimes, which are often obtained illegally.

The article rightly points out that “the Constitution does not protect [the activity of selling arms],” in the context of illegal gun sales. However, conflating lawful and regulated firearm commerce with illegal gun trafficking is misleading. The legal purchase of firearms, with the myriad of checks and balances in place, is not the problem; rather, it is the criminal misuse of firearms that should be addressed.

Indeed, “if one state leads, others will follow,” but this notion cuts both ways. Restrictive gun laws often lead to legal challenges and public backlash as they can be perceived as overreach by the government into the constitutional rights of its citizens. The article acknowledges the Supreme Court's protection of individual possession of firearms, a recognition that aligns with the understanding that the right to self-defense is fundamental and not to be infringed lightly.

The claim that “if the law succeeds in reducing gun violence, other states across the political divide may also become interested in following” is speculative. Policy must be driven by clear evidence and respect for constitutional rights, not by a reactionary stance to a complex issue. Moreover, many measures such as background checks and waiting periods, already in place, are supported because they are reasonable, targeted, and do not blanketly infringe upon the rights of the populace.

To address gun violence effectively, we must target the actual causes of crime, which include socioeconomic factors, mental health issues, and the enforcement of current laws. A proactive approach to education, community engagement, and law enforcement's ability to enforce existing laws would be a more balanced and constitutionally sound strategy than the wholesale closure of gun stores, which punishes the many for the actions of the few.

The measures proposed in the article may be well-intentioned but they run counter to the principles of liberty, due process, and economic freedom. We need not sacrifice our constitutional rights in the pursuit of safety; rather, we must seek to uphold the delicate balance between the two, which is the hallmark of a free and just society.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Illinois Assault Weapons Ban Upheld by Federal Appeals Court Amidst Constitutional Debates

AP Photos

In a significant ruling on Friday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago aligned with Illinois regarding legal contests to the state’s assault weapons ban, which has been in effect for almost a year.

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The court acknowledged that while individual liberties are crucial, they are not without boundaries. “Similar to how certain expressions like a false alarm can be regulated, or the manner in which public assembly might require a permit, so too can regulations be placed on the Second Amendment rights,” noted Judge Diane P. Wood in her reasoning.

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During the deliberations over the ban that took place in late June, the judges appeared to grapple with the implications of a recent Supreme Court ruling, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, from June 2022, which set a precedent that firearms regulations must align with America’s longstanding traditions of regulating firearms.

Advocates against the Illinois statute contended that, based on the Bruen decision, the government has no right to prohibit arms that are widely utilized. However, Judge Wood expressed concern about determining constitutional rights based on the popularity of certain firearms.

Highlighting historical context, Judge Frank Easterbrook brought up the example of a law from the time of the Great Depression that banned machine guns, which were then prevalent in criminal activities in Chicago.

In opposition to the ban, one of the attorneys highlighted that historically, law-abiding individuals did not possess such notorious weapons as the Thompson submachine gun, known for its association with criminal entities rather than responsible citizens. Moreover, the attorney noted in written statements prior to the court session that while automatic weapons faced bans, semiautomatics typically did not.

On the flip side, state attorneys presented the view in their briefs that historically, society has seen the emergence of certain weapons that, upon becoming widespread, presented serious risks to public safety, and thus were subject to regulatory measures.

The controversial Illinois legislation restricts the sale of designated assault weapons and limits magazine capacities to 10 rounds for rifles and 15 for handguns. Owners of such firearms are permitted to retain them but must register them with the state authorities by a specified deadline.

The measure, which affects millions of American gun owners, was initiated in January following a tragic incident during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, where a shooter took the lives of seven individuals.

Subsequently, on August 11, the Illinois Supreme Court narrowly maintained the constitutionality of the ban in a challenge led by an Illinois lawmaker, who claimed that the extensive prohibition was at odds with the state’s constitutional provisions.

Senator Exposes Alleged ATF Firearm Trafficking to Mexico; Questions Agency's Oversight and Whistleblower Claims


Keen observers of gun policy may remember the controversial Operation Fast and Furious from the Obama era. This operation, carried out by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), involved allowing gun traffickers suspected of illegal purchases to obtain firearms. The objective was to track these firearms to uncover larger criminal networks. In certain cases, ATF even advised Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to proceed with transactions they deemed suspicious. However, the operation did not halt the flow of these firearms, allowing them to end up in Mexico.

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On a tragic note, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was fatally shot on December 14, 2010, by criminals near the Mexican border. Weapons found at the scene were later linked to Operation Fast and Furious.

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A decade past this incident, the ATF faces scrutiny over new claims suggesting another instance of linked arms trafficking into Mexico. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a probing letter to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach on October 18, addressing whistleblower claims concerning a former ATF employee's involvement in gun smuggling.

In the details outlined by Senator Grassley, there were accounts of an ATF worker, stationed in Tijuana, Mexico, who reportedly confessed to smuggling guns from the U.S. into Mexico for an extended period. This individual apparently procured firearm parts from U.S. internet and retail outlets for trafficking purposes. Internal memos from the ATF revealed that this person delivered these parts to a collaborator in Mexico, who then assembled and sold the weapons within Mexico, some allegedly to a state judicial official.

Senator Grassley critiqued the ATF for its seemingly insufficient investigation into these allegations, pointing out the lack of inquiry into possible connections between the trafficker and Mexican cartels, the extent of the trafficking network, potential accomplices, or involvement of other ATF staff.

Furthermore, the senator highlighted the lenient treatment that the accused ATF employee received upon discovery of the illicit activities, describing the disciplinary actions taken as more akin to an administrative HR issue than a criminal matter.

A noteworthy element in uncovering this alleged scheme was the involvement of a firearm dealer's tip, which points to the importance of cooperation between the ATF and firearms dealers – a relationship that may be strained under current policies.

Recent actions by the Biden administration's ATF have put pressure on gun dealers. A declared "zero tolerance" stance on "rogue gun dealers" could potentially impede the collaborative efforts that once played a significant role in discovering illegal activities, as indicated by concerns from law enforcement veterans.

This case, alongside Operation Fast and Furious, underscores the need for greater accountability within government operations, both in the U.S. and in Mexico, rather than deflecting blame onto American citizens who abide by their Second Amendment rights.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Revelations from Maine Shooting Suggest Oversight Failures by Authorities


In the wake of the devastating shooting in Maine that resulted in 18 fatalities, emerging details suggest that authorities may have missed critical opportunities to prevent the incident, according to statements from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). The organization has voiced criticism over the recent push for stringent gun control measures.

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According to a report by The Boston Globe, the perpetrator was subjected to an involuntary psychiatric commitment months before the incident, and family members had expressed concerns to law enforcement about his mental health status, as per an article by Reason, well in advance of the tragedy in Lewiston.

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The SAF has observed that rather than addressing these systemic oversights, figures from President Joe Biden to local policymakers have opted to re-introduce a familiar yet historically ineffective gun control narrative as a supposed solution.

Alan Gottlieb, the founder and Executive Vice President of the SAF, has pointed out the irony of the situation, noting that the perpetrator had already passed the background checks that gun control advocates are promoting. The firearm used in the incident had been purchased legally, with the transaction occurring months prior and after the family had reached out to authorities.

Gottlieb emphasized that, contrary to the assertions by advocacy groups like Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety regarding Maine's allegedly lax gun laws, the incident highlights a lapse in enforcement rather than a lack of regulation. There are indications that local Democratic leaders may propose additional gun laws, which, according to the SAF, would likely fail to deter future crimes and instead infringe upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Adam Kraut, the SAF's Executive Director, has pointed out that federal regulations already prohibit individuals with involuntary psychiatric commitments from possessing firearms and ammunition. He argues that calls for new legislation in the aftermath of tragedies, especially when government agencies have neglected their duties, are not only unproductive but also simply expand the criminal code unnecessarily. This behavior, as per Kraut, reveals a self-serving intent behind the gun control lobby's push for more restrictive laws.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

FBI Director’s Warning on U.S. Terror Threats Bolsters Second Amendment Advocacy



On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray unintentionally highlighted the importance of the Second Amendment during his testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee. He emphasized the heightened threat of a terrorist attack on American soil due to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

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Fox News reported Wray’s serious concerns regarding the possibility of Hamas or another foreign terrorist group taking advantage of the current turmoil to stage attacks in the U.S. This stark warning comes at a time when the Biden administration is actively pursuing gun control measures, including the proposed ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, in response to a recent mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine.

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Wray’s testimony, documented by NPR, underscores the necessity for Americans to remain vigilant and prepared. While he stated that there are no immediate credible threats from foreign terrorist organizations, he acknowledged that the current situation demands heightened attention and concern.

Amidst the instability in the Middle East and concerns over border security under the Biden administration, Wray’s remarks have drawn attention to the potential for terrorists to infiltrate the U.S. The Hill reported Wray’s admission that the FBI is closely monitoring the situation to understand how it might influence the intentions of these groups on American soil.

Currently, over half of the U.S. states permit citizens to carry firearms in public without a carry permit, while the rest have permit/licensing requirements. With millions of Americans legally armed and capable of carrying concealed weapons, an armed populace could potentially respond swiftly to a “lone wolf” terror attack, depending on where and how it occurs.

Wray highlighted the potential for terrorist groups like Hamas to serve as a source of inspiration for violence, a sentiment echoed by a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson. They noted an increase in reported threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities and institutions and emphasized the importance of public vigilance.

While the Biden administration and other Democrats have called for stricter gun control measures in the wake of recent violence, Wray’s testimony inadvertently supports the arguments of Second Amendment advocates. They assert that the right to bear arms remains crucial for individual protection, a stance solidified by over 230 years of constitutional precedence.

As President Biden continues his longstanding advocacy for gun control, it is estimated that up to 100 million Americans own between 300 and 400 million firearms. This includes approximately 24-25 million modern semi-automatic rifles, often inaccurately labeled as “assault weapons.”

Wray concluded his testimony by expressing concern over the potential for violent extremists, both foreign and domestic, to exploit the current situation. He warned of the risk posed by individuals or small groups drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern conflicts to attack Americans in their daily lives, including potential attacks on Jewish or Muslim communities.

Amidst these warnings, the gun control movement has not relented in its pursuit of restrictive policies. Their agenda includes calls for licensing, registration, universal background checks, waiting periods, and purchase limits—all measures that criminals and terrorists are likely to disregard.