Time for another installment of monthly 2A news. We have several positive judicial rulings for you, and the latest on the Illinois “assault weapons” ban. Let’s get to it.
US Post Office Firearm Ban Ruled a 2A Infringement
A federal judge in Florida has ruled in favor of Emmanuel Ayala, a US Postal Service employee who was fired for possessing a firearm in a Federal facility. Ayala sued the Postal Service, saying the law is unconstitutional because there were no historical equivalents when the Second Amendment was ratified.
The Supreme Court’s Heller Decision established that gun control laws that are not consistent with the historical traditions of the United States at the time of the Constitution’s adoption are unconstitutional. That finding was affirmed in the 2022 Bruen Decision.
The judge wrote that “the Supreme Court has been clear: the government must point to historical principles that would permit it to prohibit firearms possession in post offices. The United States fails to meet that burden. Thus, I dismiss the charge because it violates Ayala’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Now, this ruling only addresses the charge against Mr. Ayala. It does not mean that we can all start packing heat in post offices. Not yet anyway.
If the ruling stands, the law will be struck down. The government is appealing because they know that. The appeals process will have to play out before anything else happens. But this is a good first step. We’ll keep watching it for you.
California Ammo Background Check Struck Down
California continues to lose big in 2A cases. The current score is Federal Judge Roger T. “Saint” Benitez 5 – California 0. Once again, Judge Benitez (peace be upon him) has slapped down a draconian law that presumed Californians were criminals until they proved otherwise.
California continues to treat the Second Amendment as a privilege, not a right. Judge Benitez addressed that when he wrote, “Today, a person may choose to submit to a full credit check to buy an automobile. But he is not required to pass the same credit check every time he needs to refill his car with gas or recharge his battery at a charging station. And the Constitution does not mention a right to own automobiles (or carriages or horses).”
“And the Bill of Rights commands that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. With the recently enacted ammunition background check laws, gun owners in California undergo background checks more than one million times each year simply to buy ammunition.”
We could go on, but you get the point. Judge Benitez also ruled that the law violated the Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause by blocking direct ammo sales to Californians from out-of-state retailers. He goes on to cite Heller and Bruen’s requirement for historical consistency while noting that California’s attempts to do so did not meet the standard.
Finally, unlike other such rulings, Benitez did not grant a stay to give the state time to appeal, which California will certainly do. The anti-gun 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals will certainly grant that appeal, along with a stay. But until then, it’s game on for ammo sales in California. Stock up.
Government Housing Handgun Ban Violates 2A
Apparently, anyone who lives in federally subsidized housing must sign a contract that prohibits them from possessing a handgun in their home. I had no idea until now. But a challenge in New York, of all places, has seen the prohibition struck down as a violation of the plaintiff’s right to keep and bear arms. The government defended the ban, saying it didn’t block possession of rifles or shotguns. But the judge didn’t buy it, once again citing the lack of consistency with the nation’s historical traditions.
But the judge took it one step further, writing that “the bigger problem with the Defendants’ (the government) analogy is that they have not persuaded the Court that, during the time periods in close proximity to 1791 and 1868, the government was never permitted to limit one’s fundamental power to live together with one’s family.”
In other words, the government does not have the power to force a law-abiding citizen to choose between family and Constitutionally protected rights.
A preliminary injunction was granted, pending the outcome of the case. Kudos to the 2nd Amendment Foundation for taking the lead on this case.
Is Illinois Moving Toward “Assault Weapon” Confiscation?
The short answer is “maybe.” But it’s more nuanced than that, of course. We told you last month how a very small percentage of Illinois gun owners registered their “assault weapons” by the state-mandated deadline of January 1, 2024. The state extended the deadline, and a few more people complied, but not many.
The question now becomes, “What will Illinois do about it?” One thing is almost certain: no one is going door-to-door picking up guns. Only three of Illinois’ 102 county sheriffs have said they support the law and intend to enforce it. Twelve more have said they oppose the law but have taken no position on enforcement. Two others have declined to state their position. That leaves 85 of 102 sheriffs who have publicly opposed the law and said they will not enforce it. Not good for anti-2A Governor J.B. Pritzker.
You may recall that Pritzker’s cronies in the state legislature hijacked an innocuous insurance bill last January, changing it into an “assault weapons” ban with no debate and no input. It passed the heavily-Democrat legislature and Pritzker signed it. And he got away with it, despite violating several established legislative rules.
That willingness to play fast and loose is important to remember. Rumor has it that Pritzker is preparing an executive order requiring all registrants to surrender their “assault weapons” at a time to be determined. He will supposedly issue the order in the name of “public safety.”
Now, if these were mere internet rumors, I wouldn’t bother mentioning them. But we’re hearing this stuff from several prominent Illinois attorneys. Personally, I wouldn’t really be surprised to see Pritzker take that route, but I don’t think he will. Such an order would be even more brazen than New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s attempt to ban carrying firearms in Albuquerque unilaterally.
No, I think it’s more likely that the legislature will have a confiscation bill ready to go if a high-profile shooting occurs. It will pass with the same support as the ban, and Pritzker will sign it. That gives him legislative cover. This isn’t an original idea on my part. It’s just the scenario I’ve heard that makes the most sense to me.
Either way, you can bet your boots that Pritzker doesn’t like the low compliance numbers. Plus, history shows that the only reason governments mandate registries is to create the conditions for confiscation. Pritzker makes no secret about that goal. We’ll have to see how this one plays out.
Good 2A News Outweighs the Bad
The Second Amendment is winning. It may not always seem that way. My home state of Virginia is trying to enact an “assault weapons” ban, along with several other asinine laws. But the Heller and Bruen Decisions are nuking gun control from orbit. I just wish it was illegal for politicians to knowingly pass unconstitutional laws.
And they are doing it knowingly. The goal is to pass anti-2A laws, provoking legal challenges that may take years to move through the system. These politicians hope the Supreme Court’s makeup will change by then. It’s an underhanded strategy, but that’s how gun controllers operate.
But, again, we are winning. California and New York continue to take big losses. The ATF is losing big in court as well. We just have to stay the course. The best way to do that is to stay informed. We’ll continue trying to help you do that. Until next month.