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U.S. House of Representatives Considering National Right to Carry Reciprocity Bill…

Urge Your Representative To Cosponsor H.R. 822, The National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act Of 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
Congressmen Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) have introduced vital legislation that will enable millions of permit holders to exercise their right to self-defense while traveling outside their home states.

There are now only two states that have no clear legal way for individuals to carry concealed firearms for self-defense.  Thirty-nine states have shall-issue permit systems that make it possible for any law-abiding person to obtain a permit, while most of the others have discretionary permit systems.

H.R. 822 would make a major step forward for gun owners’ rights by significantly expanding where those permits are recognized.

Dozens of states have passed carry laws over the past 25 years because the right to self-defense does not end when one leaves home.  However, interstate recognition of those permits is not uniform and creates great confusion and potential problems for the traveler. While many states have broad reciprocity, others have very restrictive reciprocity laws. Still others deny recognition completely.

H.R. 822 would solve this problem by requiring that lawfully issued carry permits be recognized, while protecting the ability of the various states to determine the areas where carrying is prohibited. The bill would not create a federal licensing system; rather, it would require the states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced similar legislation since 1995.

In the few weeks since its introduction, H.R. 822 has added over 163 cosponsors. Click here to see if your Congressman is a cosponsor. However, more support is needed to make this bill a higher priority.

If your Congressman is not yet a cosponsor, respectfully urge him or her to support the fundamental right to self-defense by becoming a cosponsor of H.R. 822. If your Representative is already a cosponsor, please offer your thanks for his or her support.  And remember to watch this alert for updates!

The complete text of this bill is included below.

This information was provided by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.  http://www.nraila.org

The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Bill

H.R. 822, introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes. A state’s laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within its borders. The bill applies to D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. It would not create a federal licensing system; rather, it would require the states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced such legislation since 1995.

• H.R. 822 recognizes the significant impact of the landmark cases, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), which found that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms and that the protections of the Second Amendment extend to infringements under state law.

• Today, 48 states have laws permitting concealed carry, in some circumstances. Forty states, accounting for two-thirds of the U.S. population, have right-to-carry laws. Thirty-six of those have “shall issue” permit laws (including Alaska and Arizona, which also allow carrying without a permit), two have fairly administered “discretionary issue” permit laws, and Vermont (along with Alaska and Arizona) allows carrying without a permit. (Eight states have restrictive discretionary issue laws.)

• Citizens with carry permits are more law-abiding than the general public. Only 0.01% of nearly 1.2 million permits issued by Florida have been revoked because of firearm crimes by permit holders. Similarly low percentages of permits have been revoked in Texas, Virginia, and other right-to-carry states that keep such statistics. Right-to-carry is widely supported by law enforcement officials and groups.

• States with right-to-carry laws have lower violent crime rates. On average, right-to-carry states have 22 percent lower total violent crime rates, 30 percent lower murder rates, 46 percent lower robbery rates, and 12 percent lower aggravated assault rates, compared to the rest of the country. The seven states with the lowest violent crime rates are right-to-carry states. (Data: FBI.)

• Crime declines in states with right-to-carry laws. Since adopting right-to-carry in 1987, Florida’s total violent crime and murder rates have dropped 32 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Texas’ violent crime and murder rates have dropped 20 percent and 31 percent, respectively, since enactment of its 1996 right-to-carry law. (Data: FBI.)

• The right of self-defense is fundamental, and has been recognized in law for centuries. The Declaration of Independence asserts that “life” is among the unalienable rights of all people. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms for “security.”

• The laws of all states and the constitutions of most states recognize the right to use force in self-defense. The Supreme Court has stated that a person “may repel force by force” in self-defense, and is “entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force” as needed to prevent “great bodily injury or death.” (Beard v. United States (1895))

• Congress affirmed the right to own guns for “protective purposes” in the Gun Control Act (1968) and Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (1986). In 1982, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution described the right to arms as “a right of the individual citizen to privately possess and carry in a peaceful manner firearms and similar arms.”

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Arizona Constitutional Carry About to Become Law…

April 15, 2010 2nd Amendment Issues, AZ CCW Laws Comments Off

A bill that would eliminate the requirement for Arizona residents to have a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona has passed both houses of the Arizona Legislature and is awaiting Governor Jan Brewer’s signature before it becomes law.  If signed by the governor, the new law would take effect 90 days after the close of the current legislative session.  Since the session usually ends in late June, this would mean the law would actually take effect sometime in late September.  If the governor does not sign or veto the legislation within 5 days of final passage, it will become law without her signature.

Arizona’s Senate Bill 1102 makes sweeping changes to the current law that requires an Arizona resident to possess a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed firearm.  Arizona has traditionally been what is described as an “Open Carry” state where citizens may carry a firearm openly anywhere it is legal to have a firearm.

In order to carry concealed in those same places, residents needed to have a “CCW permit” which was obtained by taking an 8 hour training course, qualifying with a firearm and passing a criminal background check.  This law would eliminate the permit requirement but not the permit program.

The key element in the new law is that a concealed carry permit is not necessary “unless required by any other law”.  For example, to carry a concealed firearm in a restaurant, Arizona law requires that you have a concealed weapons permit.  Similarly, federal law requires a state issued permit if you wish to carry concealed in a national park.  Anyone wishing to carry a concealed firearm in another state will need an Arizona CCW permit in order to have reciprocal privileges outside of Arizona.

Residents will still be able to get a CCW permit by taking a course that meets the requirements of the new law and submitting an application to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.  Courses that will satisfy the requirement include any NRA course, any approved Hunter Safety course or a course from an approved CCW instructor.

The courses offered by CCW instructors would probably be the best bet since they are specifically geared towards concealed carry and most instructors provide the application and fingerprinting service as part of their courses.

Opponents of the law feel that the current CCW process is a good one and has worked well for over 14 years.  Most feel that the minimal safety and marksmanship training requirement and education in the laws relating to the use of lethal or physical force in self defense are important for anyone carrying a concealed firearm.

Advocates of the new law argue that Second Amendment rights should not be constrained by concealed carry laws.  They also point to the fact that in 12 states across the US, concealed carry permits are issued without any training requirement or background check.  They further argue that criminal penalties associated with concealed carry can result in severe penalties for people that might inadvertently cover their firearm while carrying openly.

If signed into law, Arizona will become the third and the most heavily populated state to adopt ‘constitutional concealed carry’.  Currently only Alaska and Vermont permit concealed carry without a permit.

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Question about the "Parking Lot Law" in Arizona

January 21, 2010 2nd Amendment Issues, State Firearms Laws, Vehicle Carry Comments Off

Question:  Strictly going by hearsay and not actual word for word of the new law, if my employer bans guns on the property can I leave the firearm in my personal vehicle?  I also possess an
Arizona Concealed Carry permit.  Can they enforce their policy and also is there a link to that new law?  I also meant to mention
that there are fences, concrete barriers, cameras, and “loss prevention personnel” that periodically do their rounds through the parking lot.

Answer: If you read the text of the law you will see that under the circumstances that you describe, the employer may restrict the carrying of firearms on to their property.  The exact text reads:

3. The property owner, tenant, public or private employer or business entity provides a parking lot, parking garage or other area designated for parking motor vehicles, that:
(a) Is secured by a fence or other physical barrier.
(b) Limits access by a guard or other security measure.
(c) Provides temporary and secure firearm storage. The storage shall be monitored and readily accessible on entry into the premises and allow for the immediate retrieval of the firearm on exit from the premises.

In other words, if there is a fence or physical barrier and if access is limited by a guard or other security measure, they can restrict you from bringing a firearm on the property only if they “Provide temporary and secure firearm storage.  The storage shall be monitored and readily accessible on entry into the premises and allow for the immediate retrieval of the firearm on exit from the premises.”

If they don’t restrict access with a guard or they don’t provide secure storage, they cannot restrict you from leaving the firearm locked inside your vehicle.  Having a CCW is not relevant as long as you are lawfully in possession of the firearm and you are otherwise transporting it lawfully.

If you would like to review the exact text of the law, you can find it at the following link:  http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/12/00781.htm&Title=12&DocType=ARS

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Response to a Comment on the "Parking Lot Law"

I wanted to respond to the following comment that I received on my earlier post on the passage of what is referred to as the “Parking Lot Law” in Arizona.

Here was the comment of one of my readers…

“OK I read the law and I am shocked. Are we in city that has a high morality rate for people getting into their car in the parking lot from being car jacked at gun point? Do we have such a high crime rate and several people are being shot at their doctor appointment due to gangs?

This law is ridiculous now the people that were upset that they had to leave their guns at home while going to the grocery store won and now Governor Brewer signed it into law, people like me who do not condone in violence and now I have to worry if a drunk person in a bar or leaving a bar is going to pull out a gun.

So even though a company wants to provide a safe and comfortable work environment for their employees they cant unless they get a security guard, parking garage or attack dogs. Otherwise Mad Max will pull his gun out and blast someone away. I expected this from Texas not Arizona

I am all for people being able to protect themselves but as I am a HR Manager and I have had employees make threats to other employees and all I would need is someone to go to their car and get their gun and settle the fight. It happens all over the US and now we are giving them the green light”

My response to this gentleman’s comment can be found below:

The point of the “Parking Lot Law” is this.  Each person has the constitutional right to bear arms in order to defend themselves and their family while going about the normal course of their lives.  The “parking lot law” restores a right to an employee that their employer took away from them by prohibiting them from bringing a firearms with them to work and storing it in their vehicle.

Violent crimes occur every day in the Phoenix area.  All you need to do is take a look at the Arizona Republic on any given day to confirm that.  In certain parts of the Valley, gang crime IS pervasive despite what you might think.  I would suggest you have a conversation with the gang units in Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale or any other jurisdiction in the Valley.  Just because you aren’t aware of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  A little less than two weeks ago, Mesa PD arrested 127 persons for gang related crimes in Operation Summer Surge.  The arrests involved over 33 gangs in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Apache Junction and Scottsdale.  In fact this multi-agency task force has made over 400 arrests of gang members since the beginning of the year.

Just so we are clear, I don’t “condone violence” either, but that does not mean that violent crimes don’t occur.  If you are expecting the police to protect you from violent crime, you are being incredibly naive.  In the City of Phoenix there are a total of just over 3800 officers and support personnel.  The population of the City of Phoenix is approximately 1.55 million.  Even if half of the entire force is on duty at any given point in time (which I doubt is true), that would mean that there is one member of the police force protecting 815 people on any given day.  The chances of a police officer ‘coming to the rescue’ in time to actually stop a criminal act is almost zero.

People have the right to defend themselves in the event of a violent criminal attack that might occur during their travels to and from work.  If they can’t leave their guns in the car and they can’t take them into the workplace, their right to self defense is compromised.  This law simply gives an employee back that right of self defense.

I would also challenge your assertion that there are large numbers of people shooting each other in the work place.  According to USA Today the average number of people killed in workplace violence in 2004 was approximately 50 persons.  Compare that number to the 14,180 persons that were homicide victims in 2008 or the 1,382,000 violent crimes that were committed in 2008 (FBI Uniform Crime Report – 2008).  To me, nearly 1.4 million violent criminal attacks is a significant number.  Workplace violence represents approximately 0.3% of the total homicides in 2008.

I remember the arguments that have been made over and over again when concealed carry statutes were introduced and when the assault weapons ban was about to sunset.  Those that don’t understand or appreciate our Second Amendment rights predicted that ‘blood would run in the streets’ and there would be gunfights all over the place.  In fact, the exact opposite occurred.  In states that have implemented concealed carry laws, crime rates drop almost immediately.  The expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban was a non-event.

My final comment would be this.  Do you really think that any law, including the parking lot law would be obeyed by a violent criminal bent on committing homicide or mayhem?  No, only law abiding citizens obey the law.  Criminals don’t.  Let’s stop trying to pass laws that make otherwise law abiding citizens break the law to protect themselves and their families.

Doug Little

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Information on HR 45, known as the Blair Holt Act and SB 2099.

September 3, 2009 2nd Amendment Issues, Federal Firearms Laws Comments Off

I have received a lot of questions regarding the status of a proposed bill currently pending in the US House of Representatives known as HR 45, or the Blair Holt Act.  In the email currently circulating around the web, the bill is said to include language that would make it illegal to own any firearm using a magazine unless the owner has been:

  • Fingerprinted
  • Has a current driver license
  • Supplies a Social Security number
  • Submits to a physical and mental evaluation on request
  • Notifies a government agency if the firearm is transferred either through an FFL or privately
  • Mandates the creation of a Federal database of all firearms sales and transfers.

There are a whole host of additional provisions and penalties discussed in the circulating email.

To clarify the status of this genuine legislation, I researched it on the House website and the Library of Congress website.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush, (Democrat, IL) on January 6, 2009 has been referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.  It has NO co-sponsors.

While the mere fact that a bill like this has been introduced is troubling, it is not surprising considering the individual that introduced the legislation.  Rep. Rush has represented the district that is principally the south side of Chicago since 1993.  He was the co-founder of the state’s Black Panther Party and served 6 months in prison in 1969 for illegal possession of firearms.  He is also a supporter of Barack Obama.  While he has consistently refused to take Project Vote Smart’s  ‘political courage’ test, his legislative record suggest that he is highly supportive of the current administration’s far left proposals.

The good news in all this is that without co-sponsors the legislation is unlikely to move forward.  Many Democratic legislators understand that this particular issue can be ‘political kryptonite’ and are avoiding an association with any gun control issues.  Even Hillary Clinton when asked about the possibility of restoration of the Assault Weapons Ban by MSNBC, was quoted as saying “it would be a heavy lift” to get Congress to consider the issue.

While this legislation is not currently a threat to become law, the legislation is real and being closely monitored by organizations that support Second Amendment rights like the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

In addition, the email also discusses a bill referred to as “SB 2099″ that would supposedly require gun owners to list their firearms on the tax returns.  It supposed requires fingerprinting of the gun owner and requires the payment of a $50 fee per gun owned.  This bill was supposedly introduced in February 2009 and further was to be treated as an amendment to the Internal Revenue Act of 1986.  The email states that it could be passed by vote of the Senate Finance Committee and would not have to come before full Senate for a vote.

Gun owners should not be concerned about this since “SB 2099″ actually does not exist at all.  The original SB 2099 entitled ” the Handgun Safety and Registration Act” was introduced in February 2000 by Senator Jack Reid (Democrat, RI).  It was referred to the Committee on Finance where it died without ever coming to a vote.  The statement that the bill could be passed without a vote is also completely untrue.  Like any other Congressional bill, it would have to be passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the President or passed by Congress over his veto to become law.

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Guns on Campus – A Texas Success…

August 18, 2009 2nd Amendment Issues Comments Off

Packing for school: Guns on campus one year later

Ann Work Times Record News
Thursday, August 6, 2009

WICHITA FALLS — One year ago, David Thweatt made a decision so controversial and groundbreaking the story about it sped around the world.

The superintendent of the isolated Harrold Independent School District, about 30 miles northwest of here, made history last August when he and his school board decided to allow select teachers and staff members at the 110-student school to carry guns on campus — a first for Texas and the nation.

For Thweatt and his board, the decision was pure mathematics.

The school, which sits in the middle of a prairie, was too far from law enforcement for police to come in time to fend off would-be attackers. The students and staff would be safer if on-site, trained staff members were equipped to handle a crisis at a moment’s notice, they decided.

Thweatt had already installed a $100,000 state-of-the-art security system in the school. Now, arming certain unnamed school staff members by allowing them to strap a firearm under their clothing was the final flourish.

In the year since that historic decision, a gun was never brandished or fired at the school. There were no problems, Thweatt said.

However, one week after school began, police busted a methamphetamine lab set up in an abandoned house that sat 50 feet from the school property.

A deputy had peered inside and “saw something in the walls and windows and called for backup,” Thweatt said. “They made it to the abandoned house in 15 minutes. We had figured it would take 18 to 20 minutes in a typical situation.”

Had that been an armed intruder at his school, response time would have been too slow.

“We’re the first responders. We have to be,” Thweatt said. “We don’t have 5 minutes. We don’t have 10 minutes. We would have had 20 minutes of hell” if attackers had targeted the school.

Harrold students, who grew up on ranches and in the middle of the North Texas gun culture, were unperturbed by the school district’s new gun policy.

“The kids just laughed about it,” Thweatt said.

Thweatt himself is the son of a retired minister/missionary/teacher in Abilene and a 1978 graduate of Abilene High School and Hardin-Simmons University.

Too small for athletics, Thweatt spent his time at Abilene High focused on his studies, particularly interested in journalism.

He wrote music and played guitar in a Christian band on weekends and was active in his father’s nondenominational Abilene Fellowship ministry.

Thweatt drove a school bus for the Abilene ISD and occasionally worked as a substitute teacher to help fund his education, graduating in 1983.

In Harrold, media attention was fierce all year. He talked to reporters from as far away as Ireland and New Zealand; he participated on more than a dozen talk shows. The story continues to spread; recently he saw a write-up in a Jerusalem newspaper. Only Finland and Switzerland reporters ignored the story; they already have high gun ownership rates, he said.

“I had a lot of interviews from kids and college kids,” he said. “They needed to learn. I’m an educator,” said Thweatt, who is opinionated but patient in interviews.

“Would you stick a sign at a school that says, ‘No guns on this property’? Why wouldn’t you? It invites nasty people to come,” he said. “That’s what you’ve done to every public school in the nation. That’s why there were no shootings until Columbine. It’s turned into a dad-gum shoot fest.”

Thweatt took calls from “just a handful” of Texas districts considering the same policy, but he wouldn’t say if any other districts had modeled Harrold’s M.O.

According to Barbara Williams with the Texas Association of School Boards, Harrold remains the only Texas school district with a guns-on-campus policy.

“We’re not aware of any others,” she said.

However, when Harrold made its groundbreaking decision one year ago, she watched the story go as far as Malaysia. She was even called by the Dr. Phil show, who asked her to help plan a show on the topic because they were so fascinated by it. She refused.

To her, it was so obvious as to be a non-issue. Dr. Phil, who claims to be a Texan, should know that, she said.

“This is Texas. I have a magnet on my refrigerator of the state with a plastic gun glued to it that says, ‘We don’t call 9-1-1.’ We find that funny in Texas,” she said.

When a London reporter asked Thweatt to explain why so many kooks go into schools looking for a body count, Thweatt said he couldn’t explain such a devolution of society, but he did know a simple way to stop it — the same solution he chose for Harrold ISD.

“Good guys with guns — good,” he said. “Bad guys with guns — bad.”

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Posting a "No Firearms" Sign at the Entrance to a Medical Office…

Question:  I represent a doctors office.  We have a patient that has a permit and carries a gun into our office. We are not really comfortable with that and would like to put up a sign requesting patients to not carry in our office. Is that OK?  We do not want to violate anyone’s rights?

Answer: Under Arizona law, any establishment may post a sign that prohibits a person from carrying a firearm into their private property or place of business.  All you would need to do is put up an appropriate sign at the entrance stating that no weapons are allowed.  By law, anyone in possession of a firearm would be required to not enter your premises with a firearm.  They would probably have to leave it in their vehicle.

You stated that you were concerned about violating someone’s rights by doing this.  That is a somewhat sensitive issue.  Here’s why…

Under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, each citizen has the fundamental right to carry a firearm for the purpose of either self-defense of one’s self or one’s family.  When a business puts up a sign such as you suggest, you are asking your patients to relinquish that right during their visit to your office.  This would also prevent them from maintaining control of their firearm which could be stolen while locked inside their vehicle.

There are just a couple of things to consider before you decide to post a sign of this type.

First, do you believe that a criminal intent on committing a crime would be deterred from bringing a firearm into your office by a sign?  I would submit that they would not.  Only law abiding citizens will obey any sign of this type.  It would create an environment where only a criminal would be armed.

Second, I realize that you probably feel that there is a low likelihood of any problem that would require a firearm to solve.  I would also suggest that there is also a very low chance of a fire in your building, but you still have sprinklers, fire extinguishers and fire alarms in your building.  Generally, people that carry firearms for personal defense hope they never need one but they carry it ‘just in case’, because if they need it, it may be several minutes before police might arrive to assist.  You can look at the countless examples where a massacre could have been stopped if someone had only had a gun (VA Tech, Columbine, San Diego McDonalds shooting, etc.)

Third, the person legally carrying their firearm into your office has received training in safe gun handling, the laws in Arizona relating to handguns and the use of force and has undergone a significant criminal background check in order to get their AZ CCW permit.  Unless the person is doing something unsafe with their firearm, there should be no risk to anyone and the person carrying the firearm should be no threat to anyone.  They are, in fact, a “certified good guy”.

I guess the last question I’d have you consider is why the presence of a gun makes people in your office uncomfortable.  Generally I find that it is because people are unfamiliar with guns and based on portrayals by anti-gun folk, many consider them ‘evil’.  They are no more or less deadly that the scalpels that are routinely used in hospitals each day since it is the way the tool is used and the intention behind it that counts, not any inherent characteristic of the device itself.  By learning more about firearms and how they work, many people are no longer frightened of them.  They certainly should be treated with respect, but with proper education they should not cause ‘fear’.

You are certainly within your rights to put up a ‘no firearms’ sign at the entrance to your office, but I hope you’ll consider the impact on your patients and potentially your own employees as well.

Best regards,


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In Border States, BATFE Asks: "May We See Your Guns?"

August 4, 2009 2nd Amendment Issues, Federal Firearms Laws Comments Off

Friday, June 19, 2009

NRA-ILA has recently received several calls from NRA members in border states who have been visited or called by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  In some cases, agents have asked to enter these people’s homes, and requested serial numbers of all firearms the members possess.

In each case, the agents were making inquiries based on the number of firearms these NRA members had recently bought, and in some cases the agents said they were asking because the members had bought types of guns that are frequently recovered in Mexico.

This kind of questioning may or may not be part of a legitimate criminal investigation.  For example, when BATFE traces a gun seized after use in a crime, manufacturers’ and dealers’ records will normally lead to the first retail buyer of that gun, and investigators will have to interview the buyer to find out how the gun ended up in criminal hands.  But in other cases, the questioning may simply be based on information in dealers’ records, with agents trying to “profile” potentially suspicious purchases.

On the other hand, some of the agents have used heavy-handed tactics.  One reportedly demanded that a gun owner return home early from a business trip, while another threatened to “report” an NRA member as “refusing to cooperate.”  That kind of behavior is outrageous and unprofessional.

Whether agents act appropriately or not, concerned gun owners should remember that all constitutional protections apply.  Answering questions in this type of investigation is generally an individual choice.  Most importantly, there are only a few relatively rare exceptions to the general Fourth Amendment requirement that law enforcement officials need a warrant to enter a home without the residents’ consent.  There is nothing wrong with politely, but firmly, asserting your rights.

If BATFE contacts you and you have any question about how to respond, you may want to consult a local attorney.  NRA members may also call NRA-ILA’s Office of Legislative Counsel at (703) 267-1161 for further information.  Whether contacting a local attorney or NRA, be sure to provide as many details as possible, including the date, time, and location, agent’s name, and specific questions asked.

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State Attorneys General Support Second Amendment Incorporation Case…

August 4, 2009 2nd Amendment Issues, Legal Issues, State Firearms Laws Comments Off

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fairfax, Va. – Two-thirds of the nation’s attorneys general have filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case of NRA v. Chicago and hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This bi-partisan group of 33 attorneys general, along with the Attorney General of California in a separate filing, agrees with the NRA’s position that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms in the home for self-defense, disagreeing with the decision recently issued by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

“The historical record clearly shows that the Second Amendment was intended to apply to every American in every state in the country,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “As the Supreme Court said clearly in last year’s landmark Heller decision, the Second Amendment protects an individual right that ‘belongs to all Americans’. Two-thirds of America’s state Attorneys General agree.”

The Seventh Circuit claimed precedent bound it from holding in favor of incorporation of the Second Amendment. However, it should have followed the lead of the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Nordyke v. King, which found that those cases don’t prevent the Second Amendment from applying to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The Seventh Circuit opinion upholds current bans on the possession of handguns in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois.

California attorney general Edmund G. Brown Jr. is filing a separate brief arguing that the Supreme Court should take up NRA’s appeal and hold that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the States.

“It is fundamentally wrong to violate the civil rights of any law-abiding person based on their zip code,” Cox concluded. “The fundamental right of self-defense must be respected by every jurisdiction throughout our country.”

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National Right to Carry Defeated in the US Senate Despite Majority Vote…

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fairfax, Va. – Today, by a margin of 58-39, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate voted in favor of an amendment offered by Senator John Thune to provide interstate recognition of right-to-carry permits. The amendment to S.1390, the National Defense Authorization Act, would acknowledge that the right to self-defense extends across state lines. Under this provision, individuals with carry permits from their home state, or who are otherwise allowed to carry a firearm in their home state, could carry in any other state that issues permits.

“Today’s strong majority vote in the U.S. Senate was an important step forward in the National Rifle Association’s decades long effort to make right-to-carry and national reciprocity the law of the land,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

Expanding right-to-carry enhances public safety, as criminals are deterred from attempting crimes when they know or suspect that their prospective victims are armed. A Department of Justice study found that 40 percent of felons had not committed crimes because they feared the prospective victims were armed. The Thune-Vitter amendment recognized that competent, responsible, law-abiding Americans still deserve our trust and confidence when they cross state lines.

Passing interstate right-to-carry legislation would not only reduce crime by deterring criminals, but — most important of all — would protect the right of honest Americans to protect themselves if deterrence fails.

“While we are disappointed that the 60 vote procedural hurdle was not met, the vote shows that a bipartisan majority agrees with the NRA,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “We would like to thank Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), along with all senators who voted in favor of this amendment on both sides of the aisle. The efforts of these senators were not in vain, as the NRA will continue to work tirelessly to ensure this important legislation finds the right avenue to come before Congress once again.”

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