This Week in Gun Rights is TTAG’s weekly roundup of legal, legislative and other news affecting guns, the gun business and gun owners’ rights.
Chris Murphy to put forth Universal Background Check Bill
It’s being reported that Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut is planning to put forth universal background check legislation in the coming weeks. It won’t be the first one coming out of the federal legislature this session, but it’s clear this is the type of “Commonsense™” law the establishment is hedging on.
Murphy is waxing on and on about how President Biden “wants to sign” his bill, which may be true, but that doesn’t do him much good in the legislative process of the Senate. Still, though, these are the types of bills we need to keep our eyes on. The type of law that your “hunter” friends would think, “Well shucks, that ain’t so bad….”
In reality, though, something as seemingly simple as having all gun sales conducted through an FFL would have tremendous unintended consequences. Not to mention the millions of Americans living in rural America who depend on friends and family for guns in time of need, it also sets a perverse incentive for gun shops.
Think about it. The used market puts a lot of pressure on gun shops to keep prices reasonable. After all, why would someone spend $800 on gun X when it’s available on a local trading site all day long for $500? If all sales had to be conducted through the neighborhood dealer, what’s to stop him from setting the fee for a government transfer at $300 (short of morality)?
While my example may be egregious, we all know a local gun store that now charges $75, $100, or more, for transfers. If FFLs were given a hard monopoly on the gun transfer trade, it would be hard for morality to win out over the monetary incentive.
What’s at SCOTUS: 3D Printed Lawsuits and Excessive Force
Scotusblog covered two interesting cases, Grewal v. Defense Distributed, and City of Hayward v. Stoddard-Nunez.
Grewal is a fascinating case about federal court jurisdiction, because it’s a double-edged sword for all the parties involved. It involves New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who sent a cease and desist letter to Texas’s Defense Distributed.
DD argues (rightly) that Grewal overstepped his bounds, and violated their rights. So DD brings suit in federal court in Texas. Then, ironically, the New Jersey Attorney General (who just tried to exert his NJ authority on the Texas company) argues that the Texas Court has no jurisdiction to hear a case involving his conduct. A real head spinner.
The concept of personal jurisdiction is almost as old as English law itself, and it’s a constantly evolving field. There’s no telling which way this will go, but either way, it’s sure to change the landscape of how things move forward in our world. Surely one to keep an eye on.
Hayward v. Stoddard-Nunez is about qualified immunity and excessive force at the hands of police. Stoddard-Nunez, a passenger in a motor vehicle, was killed when a City of Hayward, California police officer fired nine shots into a fleeing vehicle, the driver of which was suspected of the high crime of drunk driving.
Officer Manuel Troche testified that the vehicle swerved toward him, and asserted the defense of qualified immunity. The District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the case on the grounds of qualified immunity, preventing the plaintiffs from going forward and proving whether or not Troche’s mag dump into the fleeing vehicle was reasonable.
The case is the latest in a long line challenging the judicially-invented legal doctrine of qualified immunity, which has come to stand for the proposition that, unless a government actor misbehaves in a way almost identical to one in a previous lawsuit, they are immune to civil liability. This has incentivized agents of the state to behave in uniquely bizarre ways, so as to shield themselves from lawsuits.
Forbes: Will the Nation’s Sheriffs Save us from Federal Gun Control?
Chris Dorsey over at Forbes is opining that the federal gun control agenda will “meet stiff opposition” from the America’s Sheriffs, who say they will not enforce unconstitutional laws. This comes amidst the growing popularity of “Second Amendment sanctuary” provisions, declarations, and otherwise. But what good will it actually do?
I’ve been complaining for a long time that if these Sheriffs actually want to help us, there is only one solution: give these sanctuary provisions teeth through civil damages.
Right now, in virtually all instances, if a deputy in one of these “sanctuaries” goes ahead and enforces gun laws anyway, there’s no recourse for the victim. This means the provisions are nothing but idle promises to placate the people in the jurisdiction, not to mention the fact that most of these sanctuary laws expressly exclude the most egregious forms of gun control (such as the GCA and NFA) from their exclusion.
The best way to solve this would be a civil damages provision, where anyone who has a law prohibiting simple possession of firearms enforced against them by the jurisdiction which is designated a sanctuary, gets an automatic money damages award to the tune of something like…$200,000. This would likely be enough to prevent wily deputies from simply ignoring the provision. But alas, the sanctuary laws remain toothless for now.
As Safe Storage Laws are Pushed, 12-year-old Defends Grandmother
We always hear from the ivory tower that, if minors might be in your home, you need to lock your guns up. Clearly not all minors are created equal, as has been proven time and again. This story from North Carolina proves the obvious problem with one-size-fits-all policy.
Congress Briefing on Braces
The Congressional Research Service has released a document on “the brace question,” seemingly priming Congress to “do something” about a non-existent problem. CRS is supposed to be a neutral party to inform Congress, but the brief smacks of bias, referring to braced pistols as a “gray area” in the law. Go figure.