This Month in 2A News: December 2023

— William LawsonCADRE Dispatch

We’re back with more 2A news for the last month of 2023. We’re seeing rumblings of a possible Supreme Court challenge to so-called “assault weapon” bans, and the gun controllers are up to their usual antics. There’s also some good news regarding crime statistics, so let’s dive into this month’s 2A news.

Second Amendment news

Maryland Handgun Qualification License

Last month we told you that a federal appeals court declared Maryland’s Handgun Qualification License unconstitutional. Maryland Attorney general Anthony Brown has filed for a rehearing of the case, which has been granted. This story will be ongoing, and we’ll keep you updated.

California Sensitive Places Law is Unconstitutional, But…

California continues to fight the Supreme Court’s Bruen Decision. The Golden State’s latest ploy is designating most public spaces as “sensitive places” in which carrying a firearm is prohibited.

The law makes lawful concealed carry all but impossible. A federal judge struck down that law as unconstitutional, but the openly anti-2A 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the state’s emergency appeal for a stay. The 9th Circuit’s decision allows the law to take effect and be enforced.

This is the latest in a long string of 9th Circuit shenanigans flouting the Supreme Court’s clear directive to apply Bruen to its rulings. This case will continue, and we’ll stay on top of it.

Illinois “Assault Weapon” Law Non-Compliance

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is certainly not a 2A supporter. He infamously hijacked an insurance bill last January, turning it into a draconian “assault weapons” ban without following established legislative procedures. Pritzker and his legislative allies got away with it, and the law was implemented. But there’s one small problem.

The law required all owners of so-called “assault weapons” to register them with the state by January 1, 2024. Only two percent of Illinois firearm owners had done so by December 31. Obviously, not all gun owners have such firearms, but two percent is far below the number of those who do. To make things worse, 90 Illinois sheriffs have publicly stated that they will not enforce the law, which they deem unconstitutional.

So, the Illinois government must now decide how to deal with mass non-compliance, while faced with so many sheriffs who refuse to help. This should be a very interesting story moving forward.

Anti-2A Gun Controllers Sue the ATF?

This is a new one for us, but Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, along with the city of Baltimore, Maryland, is suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) over crime gun trace data. It seems that Everytown and Baltimore believe ATF should share that information with them to combat “gun violence.”

The only problem is that sharing such information would violate federal law. The trace data would include the gun’s original owner and the gun dealer from whom it was first purchased. The gun controllers say it would help crack down on supposedly “rogue” gun dealers. Never mind that most crime guns are stolen.

So, Everytown and Baltimore are suing the feds because they won’t break their own law to provide information of questionable value. It begs the question, however, whether Everytown has ulterior motives, such as gaining access to privileged data regarding gun owners and FFLs to pursue civil lawsuits against them. That’s the real purpose of so-called universal background checks and “safe storage laws.” They are unenforceable, but they can serve as after-the-fact cudgels to charge gun owners with something, even if it’s nonsensical.

Fortunately, that information is limited to agencies and prosecutors directly involved in the case involving a given firearm. Still, the whole thing is rather ironic. We’ll keep you updated on how this issue proceeds.

Pro-2A Supreme Court Declines to Intervene in Illinois AWB

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the Illinois “assault weapons” ban to stand, prompting an emergency appeal for US Supreme Court intervention. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who oversees the 7th Circuit, denied that appeal without comment.

While some hoped the pro-2A justices would respond, the denial was expected and not unusual. Justice Barrett is no doubt aware that several such cases are moving through the federal court system, and the Supreme Court almost always allows those cases to be fully adjudicated before accepting one, or more, on appeal.

While frustrating, this is a good thing. The Supreme Court’s job is to rule on a statute’s constitutionality. The work done by lower courts provides insights and arguments for the high court to consider and makes certain that each case has been fully examined.

Expect the Supreme Court to take at least one such case, or perhaps roll two or more cases into one. This is especially likely when different appellate courts reach contrary conclusions, which has happened between the 5th, 7th, and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeal, and possibly one or two others that we missed. We can’t say when that will happen, but it’s almost certain that it will. We will, of course, bring that to you.

School Shootings Down Significantly

Education Week, an education-related publication that also tracks school shootings, reports 37 school shootings in 2023, down from 51 in 2022. The number of people killed or injured also dropped from 100 to 42. Notice that these numbers are from an honest tracking organization, opposed to gun control and media organizations which would have us believe that hundreds of school shootings take place every year. They just don’t tell you that most of those involve drug deals gone bad on the playground at 2 AM or gang shootings adjacent to school property, also in the middle of the night.

This is also significant when paired with 2023’s record gun sales, which saw some five million new gun owners added to the ranks. Overall gun crime is also receding, despite gun controllers’ best efforts to convince us otherwise. It’s almost like their “more guns equal more crime” isn’t factual. Who would have ever thought that gun control advocates would push false narratives?

We should be clear that even one school shooting is one too many. But perhaps these numbers can help guide efforts to productive solutions, as opposed to the same tired old gun ban arguments.

Anti-Gun Shareholders Sue Smith & Wesson Board

You really can’t make this stuff up. A group of activist shareholders is suing Smith & Wesson’s Board of Directors, saying they opened the company up to unreasonable risk and liability by producing and marketing AR-15 rifles. This supposedly violates their fiduciary duty to the shareholders. Yep, you heard that right.

I can’t say whether these shareholders suddenly developed some kind of warped conscience, or they bought Smith & Wesson stock just so they could sue. Gun controllers do some crazy stuff, so this writer knows what he thinks.

I also find the “fiduciary duty” claim to be rather rich, considering Smith & Wesson’s M&P AR-15 line is among the bestselling firearms in the nation, netting the company millions in sales each year. Again, we’ll let you know how this goes, assuming it goes anywhere at all, which seems unlikely.

More 2A News Next Month

There you have it—the major Second Amendment-related topics for the end of 2023 as we see them. But the fight never ends, and we’ll return in a month with more goings-on. Let us know if we missed something important. We’ll be sure to follow up next month.

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