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The Reload Staff Newsletter: House Democrats Punt 'Assault Weapons' Ban Vote

Charlie T Waite

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The news fizzled a bit this week as the climactic "assault weapons" ban vote the House was building towards failed to materialize. Democratic leadership couldn't find the votes to get the ban to the floor. Now it will be at least two weeks before they have an opportunity to try again, and likely with an even smaller majority.

Falling approval of how the President has handled gun policy is unlikely to help the push either. Nor is the increasing perilous legal status of assault weapons bans as exemplified by a federal judge's ruling striking one down in a Colorado town this week.

That case wasn't the only Bruen byproduct worth nothing this week. A case out of California provides fresh insight into how the Supreme Court ruling is starting to affect criminal prosecutions. Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman examines the implications in a piece for members.

We also saw a state change their laws to allow certain staff to carry guns in schools and a new lawsuit against the Biden Administration's "ghost gun" kit ban. We also have an analysis from Mark W. Smith of a little-noticed-but-important portion of California's new gun law that could hamper legal challenges.

Plus, Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms joins the podcast to talk through the details of the assault weapons push.


House Democrats Balk, Delay ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Vote
By Stephen Gutowski

There will not be a House vote on the “assault weapons” ban this month.

Democrats failed to come to a compromise on how to move forward with both the ban and a police funding initiative on Wednesday. Instead of being scheduled for a vote by the end of this week, they have pushed both bills past the August recess.

“For safer communities, Members have been working on a package of critical public safety bills,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a statement to Punchbowl News, which first broke the news. “As those discussions are continuing, it is clear that the House will reconvene in August in order to vote for the Reconciliation bill.”

Click here to read more.


Analysis: Criminal Justice Applications of Bruen Begin to Take Shape [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

Months before the Supreme Court ever handed down its landmark ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) v. Bruen, criminal defense attorneys made the case for striking down New York’s restrictive gun-carry law on criminal justice reform grounds.

“New York’s licensing requirements criminalize the exercise of the fundamental Second Amendment right, with rare exception,” the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid and two New York City public defender services wrote in an amicus brief. “As a result, each year, we represent hundreds of indigent people whom New York criminally charges for exercising their right to keep and bear arms. For our clients, New York’s licensing regime renders the Second Amendment a legal fiction.”

Now that the Court has ruled and a fundamental right to bear arms in public has been firmly established, the real-world implications of the decision on the criminal justice system are starting to take shape. On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge in Sacramento County, California, threw out a case against a defendant charged with carrying a handgun without a license.

Bruen unequivocally holds that public carry is presumptively legal,” Judge Steve White wrote in his ruling. “At the time of defendant’s arrest, California provided one legal means by which an individual could exercise their right to public carry-to get a license under section 26150. That path was unconstitutional.”

If you're already a member, click here to read more. If not, join today for exclusive access AND to help us keep bringing you top-notch reporting and analysis.


Americans Unhappy With Biden Performance on Guns in Latest Polling
By Stephen Gutowski

Most Americans think the President is handling gun policy poorly.

That’s according to two surveys from major pollsters released on Wednesday. YouGov and The Economist found 53 percent of adults either strongly or somewhat disapproved of Joe Biden’s handling of guns, while only 32 percent strongly or somewhat approved. Morning Consult and Politico showed an even poorer performance among registered voters, with 57 percent disapproving and 34 percent approving.

The numbers represent a decline for the President compared to polling from last year. In May 2021, a poll from the Associated Press and the University of Chicago found 49 percent approved of Biden’s handling of guns, while 48 percent disapproved. By June of that year, a pair of polls found disapproval at similar levels but a significant drop in approval, landing at 34 percent.

Click here to continue reading.


Federal Judge Blocks Colorado Town’s ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban in Wake of SCOTUS Ruling
By Erik Eva

Bans on AR-15 rifles and similar guns are at odds with the Second Amendment, a federal judge determined on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore, an Obama appointee, issued a temporary restraining order against Superior, Colorado’s ban on “assault weapons.” The judge cited the Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen ruling extensively in one of the first significant decisions since the landmark case.

“In its simplest terms, the Second and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit governments from preventing ‘law abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear
arms,'” Moore said of the Court’s conclusion in Bruen.

Click here to read the rest.


17 States Sue ATF Over ‘Ghost Gun’ Rule
By Jake Fogleman

The legal challenges to President Biden’s first major gun-control effort are starting to pile up.

Seventeen state Attorneys General, spearheaded by Arizona’s General Mark Brnovich (R.), filed a new lawsuit against the Biden administration in federal court on Wednesday. The suit seeks to block the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing a newly finalized rule that aims to crack down on “ghost gun” kits–unfinished gun parts paired with the tools to finish them.

“The ATF is attempting to overshoot the authority granted to it by Congress,” Brnovich said in a press release. “The rulemakings are unconstitutional, impractical, and would likely put a large number of parts manufacturers out of business.”

Click here to read the full piece.


Mississippi Lets Schools Set Their Own Gun Policy
By Erik Eva

The Mississippi Board of Education is giving the green light to public schools to craft their own policies regarding properly licensed concealed carry.

Mississippi has an “enhanced carry permit” that gives permission to carry in areas normally off-limits, including schools, but since 1990 the education board has had an internal policy prohibiting anyone outside of law enforcement from carrying at a public school. However, late last week the board determined that policy is in conflict with 2011’s state law on enhanced carry permits, opening the door for different schools to have different policies.

“A school district may, in its discretion, prohibit or allow its employees who hold enhanced conceal carry licenses to possess weapons at the school,” Jean Cook, director of communication for the Mississippi Department of Education, told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Click here for the full story.


Podcast: Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms on the House ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban
By Stephen Gutowski

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted to move an “assault weapons” ban for the first time in decades this week.

So, I brought Cam Edwards from Bearing Arms on to discuss the changing tides. Cam is one of the most insightful pro-gun writers out there and has been for a long time. He follows gun developments in Congress as close as anyone.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about the armed bystander who ended an Indiana mall shooting.

You can listen to the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here.

Video of the full episode is also available on our YouTube channel.


Analysis: Examining the California Gun Litigation Trap Few Have Noticed [Member Exclusive]
By Mark W. Smith

California lawmakers just passed a law that will have an extraordinary chilling effect on Second Amendment rights—and it has received hardly any discussion.

The state’s latest move should scare anyone concerned about protecting the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The measure can be found toward the end of SB-1327, which both houses of the California legislature recently passed. It awaits Democratic Governor Gavin Newsome’s signature. The goal? To block court challenges to California’s gun laws.

The dry, legalistic language obscures the significance: “Notwithstanding any other law, any person, including an entity, attorney, or law firm, who seeks declaratory or injunctive relief to prevent [California, local governments, or government officials] from enforcing any statute, ordinance, rule, regulation, or any other type of law that regulates or restricts firearms, or that represents any litigant seeking that relief, is jointly and severally liable to pay the attorney’s fees and costs of the prevailing party.”

What does this mean in plain English? If you challenge California’s gun-rights restrictions in court and lose any aspect of the lawsuit, you will be held liable for paying all of the government’s legal fees and costs.

If you’re already a member, click here to read the rest. If not, consider joining today for exclusive access!

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