Gun Law Roundup: November 2014

TOP STORY: Gun control advocates eye background check measures in Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Maine

Gun control advocates, after orchestrating a successful ballot measure to expand background checks in Washington state, are mounting a similar "common-sense gun laws" campaign in Nevada.

On November 12, Nevadans for Background Checks delivered nearly 250,000 signatures to the Clark County Clerk in Las Vegas—they needed 101,667 signatures—to place an initiative on the November 2016 ballot asking voters to approve a proposal to require background checks on all gun sales and transfers, including at gun shows and online, similar to the measure Washington voters passed on November 4.

Nevadans for Background Checks says felons, domestic abusers, and people with severe mental illness can now buy guns in the state from unlicensed sellers with no questions asked because federal law only requires background checks for gun sales at licensed dealers.

Nevada's Democratic-controlled legislature last year adopted a bill to strengthen background checks that was later vetoed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Groups like Americans for Responsible Solutions and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety, are also looking at lobbying for background check bills in Oregon, Arizona and Maine.

"There's no question that we are following in the heels of some other successful movements, like the marriage equality movement that first went to D.C. and found that it was much more profitable and effective to pivot to the states," Everytown President John Feinblatt told the HuffPost. "Our electoral strategy this year is driven by our plans to keep passing better laws that will prevent gun violence state by state, whether we're doing it through legislation or doing it through the ballot."

Although gun rights issues are often regarded as partisan, because conservative Republicans are more likely to care, Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told the HuffPost on November 11 that Republicans are more moderate on proposals designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Therefore, he said, the referendum approach to background checks could be successful.

"I think it's a very smart approach in states where it's not too difficult to bring a referendum directly to voters," Webster said. "I think when you boil it down and put it directly in front of the voters, as they did in Washington [state], you see a very clear win."

Elsewhere, state legislators in Ohio and Pennsylvania are expected to consider gun control bills.

In Ohio, lawmakers are likely to act on a House-passed bill making significant changes to the state's concealed-weapons law while, simultaneously, pondering adoption of a "stand your ground" provision that would do away with a state law requiring a person to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic lawmakers are trying to block the implementation of pro-gun legislation that outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett (R) signed into law this year. CeaseFirePA, the cities of Lancaster, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, and state Democrat officials have filed a lawsuit to stop Act 192, which allows citizens to challenge municipal laws that curtail the exercise of their Second Amendment rights.

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IN THE COURTS: Cities contest Pennsylvania law allowing residents to challenge local gun ordinances

A Pennsylvania measure that allows residents to challenge local firearms ordinances that are more restrictive than state and federal law will itself be challenged in court.

The state's two largest cities—Philadelphia and Pittsburgh—sued the state on November 10, arguing that lawmakers approved the law in violation of state constitutional provisions regarding transparency in the legislative process.

The new law, signed by Gov. Tom Corbett in early November, goes into effect in early January. Under its provisions, a gun owner would no longer have to prove they had been harmed by a local gun law to successfully challenge it, and "membership organizations, “such as the NRA, could stand in to sue on behalf of any Pennsylvania member.

The law allows the challenger to seek damages, prompting some to fear a wave of expensive lawsuits against municipalities.

"We'll fight this effort in every possible step. We're doing the right thing in trying to make people safe," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. told the Associated Press. "The NRA is wrong again, as usual."

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, said the bill was passed via "an egregious violation of the basic rules of legislating," noting the law allows the NRA "to sue our own citizens for protecting themselves and their communities."

Pennsylvania bars its municipalities from enforcing firearms ordinances stronger than state law. But the NRA and gun owners have complained that dozens of local ordinances go unchallenged in courts by residents who can prove it harmed them.

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INNOVATION v. REGULATION: Ammo designed for 3D-printed, plastic firearms spurs angst among gun grabbers

Michael Crumling, a 25-year-old machinist from York, Pa., has developed a shotgun shell designed specifically to be fired from 3D printed guns, sending ripples of panic through gun control zealots and lawmakers who aren't sure how the new ammunition can be regulated.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr on November 4, Crumling produced a video that shows how an $800 consumer model 3D printer can print a shotgun shell "almost as deadly as the ones you can buy by the box at any gun show. "

"This feat," The Inquisitr continues, "along with world’s first 3D metal printed handgun, is freaking out politicians who want 3D printable handguns banned."

Until now, all-plastic guns produced by 3D printers featured plastic that does not hold up from the stress of multiple shots. Crumling has found a way to transfer that stress to a .314 Atlas round. Made from a thicker steel shell, his casing can contain the explosion of the round’s gunpowder instead of transferring that force to the plastic body or barrel of the gun.

Crumling says that it allows a home-printed firearm made from even the cheapest materials to be fired again and again without cracking or deformation.

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