The States Must Use All Measures to Hold the Line on 2A

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Cam Edwards at our sister publication Bearing Arms had this to say about Biden’s gun control agenda:

“It hasn’t happened yet, but my guess is that the Biden administration will turn its attention to gun control in earnest in the very near future; likely after a COVID-19 relief bill has been worked out. In the meantime, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the first few anti-gun executive actions this week as the administration seeks to reassure anti-gun activists that they’re still a valued part of Biden’s coalition.”

As it is not a matter of “if”, but “when”, States are taking incremental and large measures to build a firewall against federal encroachment under the guise of “partnership” with gun control groups like Parkland kid David Hogg’s March for Our Lives and Gabrielle Gifford’s Everytown for Gun Safety.

One incremental gain in Missouri, involves a 2015 case where a University of Missouri employee sued for his right to keep a gun while on campus.

“Employees of the University of Missouri System may bring their guns to campus after a ruling by the Western District Court of Appeals on Tuesday.

“At issue was whether a university rule for all campuses was at odds with a state statute focused on state employees. Since the university is a public university, faculty and staff are state employees.”

This rule in section 571.030.6 prohibits possession and discharge of weapons, firearms and explosives on campuses except for those using them in the line of duty (e.g., campus police). The state statute says that state employees cannot be prohibited from having a gun on state property, so long as the firearm is in a locked vehicle and cannot be seen.

“Boone County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Harris ruled in November 2019 that the university rule did not conflict with state law. The appeals court reversed that ruling. The circuit court now will have to review this part of the case based on the appeals court ruling.”

In other words, the case still hinges on language in a small subsection of the clause: “notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary.”

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According to the appeals court ruling,

“The trial court’s analysis focuses primarily on the notwithstanding clause itself and ignores the mandatory directive that is contained in section 571.030.6. In doing so, the trial court’s analysis fails to give proper effect to the words following the notwithstanding clause, the mandatory directive language of section 571.030.6. “‘[E]very word, clause, sentence, and provision of a statute must have effect.’ Presumably, the legislature did not insert superfluous language in a statute.”

Rulings that hang on a few words is how granular the 2A battle has gotten; especially in Blue States, where gun control is done through erosion rather than sweeping mandates.

And this recent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms notice is a combination of both. In November, ATF published a notice that would have required millions of AR-15 pistols and similar firearms—which are designed with braces that strap on to a shooter’s forearm—to be either registered, turned in, destroyed, or dismantled. The standards that ATF laid out for determining the devices’ legality, such as caliber or weight, provided no objective measures, and the agency said it could also use undisclosed factors to judge the legality of the devices.

This notice reflected a lethal combination of sweeping change with language that could be arbitrarily applied. If implemented, little tweaks and amendments to plug the holes in the original notice would only serve to further erode gun rights.

The Second Amendment Foundation, the NRA, and other gun rights organizations fought against this change in policy, and rallied 89 Congressional lawmakers to join the fight.

Because of the push back, ATF tabled the ruling, but left it open for reconsideration. The Second Amendment Foundation is keeping the pressure on by filing lawsuits against ATF and the Department of Justice.

The state of Iowa has chosen to go big, moving to incorporate the language of the 2nd Amendment into their State Constitution. The measure was approved by the Republican-majority Iowa Legislature,

“The Iowa Legislature has approved a proposed pro-gun amendment to the Iowa Constitution for the second time, paving the way for it to appear on Iowans’ ballots in 2022.

“The Senate approved the resolution Thursday afternoon in a 29-18 vote along party lines after about two hours of debate. Hours later, the House voted 58-41, also along party lines, to pass the same measure. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans. Every Republican present voted in favor of the amendment, while every Democrat was opposed.”

Whether through increment, lawsuits, or constitutional changes, it will be up to the States to continue to hold the line against a Biden administrations gun-grabbing agenda.

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But, this is the fight.



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