Gun News of the Week

Jan. 16: What's new in gun control, gun rights, the courts, and the states

TOP STORY

Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act could be approved this week

The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act — H.R. 367 — was introduced Jan. 9 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill, introduced by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and John Carter (R-Texas) and 66 cosponsors, could be presented for a vote this week.

Unlike a similar 2015 bill, it is expected to pass. If so, President-elect Donald Trump has said he’ll sign it into law. His oldest son, “a health issue, frankly.”

As usual, gun control proponents want to make it into something else, invoking images of an evil James Bond using a silencer to gun down innocents on sidewalks without anyone hearing anything, purposely currying an unreal fear among those unfamiliar with firearms.

Suppressors, of course, are not silencers. On average, they reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels. They are “by no means silent, or even quiet, but can go a long way towards protecting the hearing of sports shooters, hunters and their hunting dogs,” Duncan said in joint-statement with Carter.

Suppressors are actually legal in, of all places, Great Britain. “Even Britain, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, has no restrictions on suppressors,” Duncan said.

Suppressors are already legal at shooting ranges in 42 states. Nearly 800,000 were purchased in 2010, according to the FBI. Allowing hunters to use them in the field means they won’t have to wear ear earplugs or earmuffs and can better hear prey moving and communicate with others. he number of firearm suppressors in the U.S. has grown from 285,007 in 2010 to 792,282, federal statistics show.

The suppressor ban is a vestige of the National Firearms Act of 1934, which also barred personal ownership of automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns during the Depression Gangster Era

The bill will still require the same background check required to purchase a gun but it will die away with the $200 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives fee.

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PLAYING POLITICS

Crazy talk: Have gun, can’t travel

Contrary to the politicalized fallout from the gun-free zone gun massacre at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport on Jan. 6, Second Amendment advocates — the so-called “gun lobby” — do not oppose confiscating firearms from those embroiled in domestic violence proceedings or undergoing mental health evaluations.

The nuance is “due-process.” The resistance to blanket provisions in suspending a Constitutional right for someone deemed criminally violent or insane is that there be provisions for, eventually, under specified circumstances, a process in which the prohibited can, maybe, regain that Constitutional right. It’s called “due-process.” And it’s not a guarantee, only a limited venue for rescinding restrictions.

Clearly, Esteban Santiago’s firearms should not have been returned to him after he showed up at the Anchorage FBI field office and told agents that he was hearing voices and that the CIA was commanding him to watch ISIS videos.

Clearly, Santiago’s guns should have been confiscated by local police in January 2016 after he was arrested for smashing into his then-girlfriend’s apartment to choke and beat her. The fact that this case is still pending should have prompted local officials to confiscate his firearms … especially after the FBI referred him to them for a mental evaluation.

There is a documented link between domestic violence and gun violence. Clearly, like a growing number of states, Alaska must address such prohibitions, at least as a temporary measure.

Clearly, Santiago should have been on the “no fly list” and not allowed to travel with his 9-millimeter handgun in a locked case from Alaska to Minnesota to Florida. Again, Second Amendment advocates actually support the “no fly list” — that is, with a “due-process” provision that allows those whose names somehow, someway, end up on “the list” to question why they are on “the list.” Democrats purposely exclude this fundamental “due-process” clause from the “no fly” bill, which is why Republicans won’t support it, giving gun-control zealots the “dog-and-pony show” opportunity to play politics rather than actually solve a problem that they purposely sustain as a problem.

Although Santiago received an unsatisfactory-performance discharge — or general discharge — from the Alaska National Guard, he was eligible to access to VA mental-health care. Clearly, he should have been referred to the VA more than a year ago.

And clearly, under provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, approved late last year by Congress, had Santiago been referred by any agency for mental health treatment, that fact would have been passed along to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, preventing him from buying new weapons and, again, certainly prohibiting him from legally checking firearms on a commercial flight.

Clearly, what is not needed is the same ol’-same ol’ from the same old ideologues, such as U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D-Fla.), who told the Associated Press that it’s time to re-examine “the question of whether people should be able to travel with their firearms even if they’re in checked baggage.”

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STATE ROUNDUP

North Dakota, Minnesota, Tennessee lawmakers ponder permit less carry bills

North Dakota, Minnesota and Tennessee lawmakers will soon consider proposed bills that will enable residents to carry a firearm without having a permit.

The proposed bills in North Dakota and Minnesota are specifically related to concealed carry while the proposed legislation in Tennessee is would make it legal for non-exempt residents to openly carry a handgun.

Rep. Micah Van Huss’s (R-Jonesborough) Tennessee bill would still require residents who wish to conceal carry to obtain a permit. Huss’s legislation applies only to handguns and not other firearms such as shotguns.

Seven states — Maine, Arizona, Kansas, Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, and since Jan. 1, Missouri — do not require non-exempt citizens have a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

Thirty-one states allow the open carrying of a handgun without any license or permit, although in some cases the gun must be unloaded. Fifteen states — including Tennessee — require a permit to openly carry a handgun.

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— [Gun Bills To Come Before Wyoming Lawmakers This Session])(http://kgab.com/gun-bills-to-come-before-wyoming-lawmakers-this-session/)

IN THE COURTS

Lawsuit demands Tallahassee comply with Florida preemption law

State laws that prohibit local governments from adopting ordinances that are more restrictive — preemption — have been a tool used by Republican-controlled legislatures across the West for years, especially in protecting gun-owners’ rights. Preemption laws in Pennsylvania have drawn controversy and lawsuits recently and, depending how judges rule, could do so on Florida.

Florida's First District Court of Appeal heard arguments on Jan. 10 in a 2014 lawsuit filed by Florida Carry demanding the city of Tallahassee comply with the state’s 2011 preemption law that prohibits local governments from passing gun control measures and makes local officials personally liable for not complying with the State legislature's wishes.

Tallahassee has refused to repeal gun ordinances in place since 1957 and 1988, which prohibit someone from shooting a gun in a park. Under state law, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the city’s former mayor and two city commissioners, could be subject to a $5,000 fine and removal from office if they don’t repeal local gun ordinances in compliance with the state preemption law.

Gilliam has been defiant in refusing to buckle to state law. "If a law like this is able to stand, it allows for the state legislature to penalize personally elected officials who are dually elected by the citizens in their community over a policy difference," he told the Associated Press.

Florida Carry Attorney Eric Friday told the AP that if Tallahassee is not forced compelled to with state law, it could set a dangerous precedent.

"These officials swore an oath, and took a job, to follow the laws of the state of Florida. They have chosen not to do so," he said. "They have stated here that they want to continue to regulate firearms, whether the legislature tells them they can or cannot."

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