Gun News of the Week: Unnoticed Provision Bans Federal Money for Gun Training Programs

Plus: American Outdoor Brands Sees ‘Flattish’ Firearms Sales

TOP STORY

Unnoticed Provision Bans Federal Money for Gun Training Programs

The House last week approved in a voice vote a bill that directs the Homeland Security Department to research and develop new tools for combating vehicular attacks, providing $900 million in grant resources “to address security vulnerabilities of public spaces, such as bus stops, bike paths and other mass gathering locations.”

It is a good bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Donovan, (R-NY) after last October’s terrorist attack in Manhattan, when a man drove a truck onto a bike path, killing eight people.

The bill’s chief purpose is to open the grant programs so they can be used to deter terrorist attacks that make use of vehicles, and offers $900 million to states and localities for counterterrorism efforts.

The bill heads to the Senate, where a provision unaddressed by the House has drawn some notice — a measure tucked into the bill that blocks any of the brant money from being spent on programs to provide anyone with a gun or the training to use one.

Provision sponsor Rep. Val Demings, (D-Fla.), said the reason for including the provision was to stymie any use of the funds in programs to arm teachers.

“Three months ago we heard rumors of plans to use precious homeland security funding to distribute guns to teachers,” Demings told the Associated Press. “Arming teachers would be both impractical and immoral.”

President Donald Trump said he would support arming teachers after the Valentine’s Day Parkland shooting. In February, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson called for the Trump administration to allocate some of those grant funds to arm teachers.

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SOS FOR AOB?

American Outdoor Brands Sees ‘Flattish’ Firearms Sales

American Outdoor Brands (AOB), the corporate parent of Smith & Wesson, reported a nearly 25 percent decline in fourth quarter sales that ended April 30 and will “operate under the assumption that fiscal 2019 will deliver a flattish consumer market,” AOB President and CEO James Debney told analysts last week.

In a statement accompanying Debney’s conference call comments, AOB said “consolidations, bankruptcies, mergers and political posturing continue to drive uncertainty in the sporting goods channel for some time.”

The company further cited the "actions of social activists" as a risk factor in its annual report.

AOB investors faced backlash following the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., as students called for a protest of the firearms industry.

Asset manager BlackRock Inc., AOB’s largest shareholder, with more than a 12 percent stake, demanded answers to its questions related to gun safety and the risks associated with selling firearms.

AOB reported adjusted earnings of 24 cents a share for the quarter ended April 30, compared with 57 cents a share a year earlier. Analysts had expected 10 cents, based on the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue declined to $172 million, better than analysts' expectations of $165.6 million.

"Fiscal 2018 was a year characterized by lower consumer demand for firearms, heightened levels of inventory in the consumer channel, and a host of aggressive, industry-wide promotions," Debney said.

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STATE ROUNDUP

Civil Rights Groups’ Suits Demand Ohio Uphold State Preemption

Two civil rights group sued Columbus and Cleveland on June 21, arguing the cities are not allowed to regulate firearms under Ohio law.

Buckeye Firearms and Ohioans for Concealed Carry filed both lawsuits, including one against Columbus in Franklin County Common Pleas. The Columbus City Council this spring banned bump stocks and imposed further restrictions to keep firearms from convicted domestic abusers

“This will be the seventh and eighth time we have had to bring legal action against municipalities,” Gary Witt, with Ohioans for Concealed Carry, told Ben Garbarek of nbc4i.com. “We will win again.”

Ohio’s state preemption law is quite clear, Witt said.

“These laws already exist on the federal level,” said Derek DeBrosse, the attorney filing the lawsuit on behalf of the gun rights groups. “It’s 10 years in federal prison if you commit a crime of domestic violence and caught with a firearm so why is the city doing it? Not for public safety, but for political points.”

“We are bound by state law,” City Attorney Zach Klein told Garbarek. “We had to be creative and find loopholes that allow us to hold individuals accountable who are domestic violence abusers, who have violent criminal histories.”

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IN THE COURTS

Are Handgun License Applications Public Records? Old Issue with an Executive Twist

Are handgun license applications and issued permits public records? What if the handgun license application was the President’s and his sons’, who are his chief gun policy advisers?

It’s an old issue with an executive twist.

According to Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, the New York City Police Department on June 21 was slapped with a lawsuit demanding it publicly release handgun license applications submitted by President Donald Trump and his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

NYPD’s “failure to fulfill their public disclosure obligations has stifled public knowledge of matters of great public interest regarding the president and his sons (who are also his advisors on gun-related issues), their applications for and ownership of guns, and hand gun licensing practices in New York City in general,” attorneys for the Daily Dot wrote in an 9-page petition. “Such secrecy benefits no one and erodes public trust in government. The documents should be disclosed.”

The Daily Dot, a Texas-based digital media company, filed a Freedom of Information Law request on Jan. 25 seeking copies of Trumps’ handgun license applications, receiving a rejection a week later from NYPD Lieutenant Richard Mantellino on privacy grounds.

“The denial letter stated that, in addition to constituting an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, disclosure of the requested handgun license applications ‘would endanger the life or safety of the applicant,’” the petition states.

Rejecting these excuses, the Daily Dot argues: “None of the grounds for nondisclosure cited by the NYPD apply.”

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