Shooting Prompts Calls for ‘Congressional Carry,’ Delays Hearing Protection Act Deliberations
If House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was not the third-ranking member of Republican congressional leadership, and, therefore, provided an armed detail of Capitol Police protecting him, bitter ideologue James Hodgkinson could have taken his time gunning down all those at the GOP baseball team’s practice on June 14. There would have been no one to stop him.
As it was, Scalise’s assigned security did stop Hodgkinson, but not until five were wounded, including Scalise. The incident has prompted many in Congress who are not accorded such security to recognize how vulnerable they are to violence by angry lunatics in a time of violent, angry partisan rhetoric being marketed as “news” on the radio, on the TV, on social media everywhere, all the time.
According to Matt Vespa of Townhall.com, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) is among Congressional legislators vowing they aren’t going anywhere anymore without their personal firearm.
Although the shooting occurred in Alexandria, Va., Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky) and 19 other cosponsors introduced a measure proposing an exemption from the District of Columbia’s stringent anti-gun laws — which place the lawfully disarmed at a disadvantage to the unlawfully armed — to permit members of Congress to carry concealed carry firearms in jurisdictions where they are prohibited from doing so. The exemption would be to Washington D.C.’s no-reciprocity policy on concealed carry permits with other jurisdictions.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham both defended D.C.’s current gun laws but, at least, did say they would consider this proposal if formally presented. Of course, being a federal district, they wouldn’t have much choice if Congress adopted such a measure.
The shooting in Virginia forced the House Committee on Natural Resources to cancel its first hearing scheduled that morning on the Hearing Protection Act (HR 367) as part of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), which proposes to lift restrictions on suppressors by eliminating a $200 transfer tax and pre-empting state or local laws that regulate the accessory.
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Blockchain-Based App Claims It Can Remotely Track, Disable Firearms
The Blocksafe Foundation, an organization “evangelizing smart-gun technology and gun-ownership freedoms,” has developed a application and web portal that can track and disable firearms that are not in the hands of registered users.
In a June 13 article in Bitcoin Magazine by Michael Scott, Blocksafe says it has produced technology that delivers “a blockchain-centric solution” that can mitigate the dangers posed by firearms “when they migrate into the hands of non-owners.”
The app gives “citizens, law enforcement agencies and armed security firms … 24/7 real-time access to the secure and anonymous Blocksafe network, thereby allowing them the ability to self-monitor their supported firearms devices,” Scott writes. “Owners can receive notifications if shots are fired by an unauthorized user of their guns. Moreover, they have the ability to locate and disable a stolen weapon, all through the Blocksafe app or web portal.”
The Blocksafe app cannot identify the actual shooter utilizing the firearm. “Rather,” Scott adds. “it’s more of a tracking mechanism for both individual owners as well as gun store owners, giving them peace of mind as to where their firearms are at all times.”
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‘Drastic Policy Change’ Extending Gun Prohibitions Buried In California Budget Bill
Language buried in a California state budget bill — Assembly Bill 103 — arbitrarily extends prohibitions on the legal possession of firearms to those with outstanding warrants for a felony, or certain misdemeanors.
Sounds reasonable at first glance but, when subjected to a second thought, the bill presents a “drastic policy change” hidden within a budget bill, warns NRA California liaison Daniel Reid.
The budget should not be used to push through major policy changes because it bypasses a more detailed public hearing process, Reid told the Associated Press.
“This drastic policy change will violate an individual’s right to due process as warrants can be issued without notice or hearing,” he said.
The budget trailer bill — which will be presented to the Assembly for a vote on June 22 — also includes a provision that would “help” gun owners by extending the deadline for registering all semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines by six months, a regulation mandated by a 2016 California law that the NRA and other groups are challenging in court.
By July 1, only 10 state legislatures will be in regular session, or set to reconvene for another round go lawmaking before adjourning for the year. The Oregon State Legislature is scheduled to adjourn July 10 and the California State Assembly ends its annual session on Sept. 15, leaving eight state legislatures — Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts — either in session, or in recess before resuming sessions in late-summer or fall.
Since most state legislatures focus on setting biennium budgets during odd-year sessions, it is not unusual for fiscal wrangling to go into overtime. As many as six state legislatures — Alaska, Washington, Louisiana, Florida, West Virginia, North Carolina — were in special session in mid-June as lawmakers ironed out two-year spending plans.
Outdoor Life’s Gun Shots will compile a comprehensive roundup of gun rights state legislation in late July. It’s been a busy year for gun owners in state capitols across the country.
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IN THE COURTS
Is 11th Time The Charm For Peruta?
Justices reviewed what could be the next significant Second Amendment case to go before the U.S. Supreme Court on June 15th when they met in private conference to discuss Peruta v. California, among other possible cases.
There was no word on whether the case will be placed on the docket for this year’s session, which begins, as tradition dictates, the first Monday of October — Oct. 2.
It was the 11th time, including four reschedulings, that the case has been on the justices conference agenda to review since the attorney Paul Clement, of Kirkland & Ellis, Washington, D.C., filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari — in layman’s terms, review — on Jan. 12 on behalf of Edward Peruta, Michelle Laxson, James Dodd, Dr. Leslie Buncher, Mark Cleary and the California Rifle & Pistol Association Foundation.
According to Elura Nanos in a June 15 Lawnewz.com article, justices were expected to discuss if they want to take “a position on the boundaries of the Second Amendment — something the high court has tried its best to stay away from” since its 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald rulings.
Essentially, the case comes down to “shall issue” vs “may issue.” California law allows county/municipal officials to require applicants demonstrate “good moral character” and “good cause” before they “may” issue a concealed carry permit.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) argue a bureaucrat or law enforcement official does not have the Constitutional authority to determine when, or if, a citizen “may” exercise a fundamental individual right. If an applicant meets permit criteria, it “shall” be issued.
Peruta has been working its way through the courts since 2014 when a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court sided with “shall” proponents. In June 2016, an en banc panel overturned the 2014 ruling in a 7-4 decision that determined “there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public."
On Aug. 15, 2016, the 9th Circuit rejected a petition to review its June determination, prompting the request for review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Peruta is hardly the first case to bring state gun restrictions up to the Supreme Court. Several cases have raised similar Constitutional challenges to state gun laws, but SCOTUS hasn’t been too keen on getting involved,” Nanos writes. “Peruta, itself, was listed for the justices’ private conference 11 times and rescheduled four times. Now that Neil Gorsuch is on the bench, though, we may see some new gun decisions.”
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