May 2017

More Winning Gun Laws, Please

Todd Woodard

Man, everywhere you look, there’s good new laws pertaining to guns, gun rights, gun culture, you name it. At the top of the list would be sending congratulations to our subscribers in North Dakota. Governor Doug Burgum (R) signed House Bill 1169 into law. HB 1169 will eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit in order to lawfully carry. HB 1169 will make the current permitting system optional to allow citizens to obtain permits and take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states. Other states with Constitutional Carry (some version of permitless carry) include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

1. Judge Neil Gorsuch endured marathon questioning in three days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) whether or not the Second Amendment was unlimited and if it was ambiguous. In particular, Sen. Feinstein questioned Judge Gorsuch on his views on the District of Columbia. v. Heller, the landmark 2008 decision establishing firearms ownership as an individual right. She quoted Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion that noted the Second Amendment is subject to regulation and posed the question, “Do you agree with that statement that under the Second Amendment weapons that are most useful in military service, M-16 rifles, and the like, may be banned?”

Judge Gorsuch’s answer put the okey-doke on Sen. Feinstein. “Whatever’s in Heller is the law, and I follow the law,” Gorsuch said, adding, “It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, senator, respectfully, it’s a matter of it being the law and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”

2. Federal legislation to protect travelers who are transporting firearms interstate for lawful purposes has been filed. H.R. 358 deals specifically with transporting unloaded firearms, rather than for carry en route. It would strengthen the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) intended to protect the right of law-abiding gun owners to transport firearms throughout the nation. FOPA’s safe transport provisions (18 U.S.C. 926A) guarantee the right of a law-abiding person to transport an unloaded firearm between two locations where he or she may legally possess it, regardless of state or local laws along the route of travel that would otherwise prohibit such conduct. Under the current law, the gun must be cased or otherwise not readily accessible.

3. Not quite on the same scale, but interesting to me personally nonetheless, is a bill reducing fees for License to Carry permits. It has been passed by the full Texas Senate. Senate Bill 16 would cut $100 off the initial cost for obtaining a handgun license to $40. Currently, initial permits cost $140. Hoo-rah. Not tired of winning yet.

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