April 2013

Downrange: April 2013

Todd Woodard

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there is no Second Amendment right to carry a concealed firearm in public. The broad wording of the decision in Peterson v. Martinez creates a far-reaching national precedent against carrying a loaded handgun outside the home. The case began on a challenge by a Washington State man against Colorado’s law to issue CHL permits only to state residents. But the final ruling held, “In light of our nation’s extensive practice of restricting citizens’ freedom to carry firearms in a concealed manner, we hold that this activity does not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment’s protections.” The federal court also rejected arguments that Colorado’s CHL law infringed on the  Equal Protection Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

US veterans are receiving letters from the government informing them that they are disabled and not allowed to own, purchase or possess a firearm. If the veteran does decide to purchase a firearm, he can be fined, imprisoned or both.

The VA letter said, “A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”

Attorney Michael Connelly, executive director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF), said, “I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling. The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA.”

“Think about it,” Connelly said. “The men and women who have laid their lives on the line to defend us and our Constitution are now having their own Constitutional rights denied. There are no clear criteria for the VA to declare a veteran incompetent. It can be the loss of a limb in combat, a head injury, a diagnosis of PTSD, or even a soldier just telling someone at the VA that he or she is depressed over the loss of a buddy in combat.”

Measures that would make federal gun-ban enforcement efforts illegal in three states are working their way through various legislatures. Alaska’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, HB69, has passed the State House 31-5. Montana House Bill 302 was introduced last month by State Representative Krayton Kerns. If passed, it would make it state law that no state agent, agency or peace officer working in the state of Montana would be allowed to enforce violations of the 2nd Amendment, including a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines. The Kentucky state Senate on Monday overwhelmingly passed a nullification bill (SB129) that would prohibit Kentucky from enforcing new federal gun-control laws if they’re enacted. The vote was 34-3.