December 22, 2008

2008 Gun Laws & News In Review

This year has been busy for From our initial startup in the middle of April through the recent elections, we’ve produced hundreds of gun-related stories about law, regulations, and politics that inform the site’s members.

Here’s a summary of some of the most important items from the past year:


The District of Columbia files its brief in District of Columbia v. Heller. The U.S. Supreme Court schedules oral arguments in the District of Columbia v. Heller case for March 18.

The Bush administration's Justice Department files a brief to the Supreme Court that effectively supports the District’s ban. The administration pays lip service to the notion that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership as an individual right, but the brief leaves the term essentially meaningless.

The District Columbia Court of Appeals finds that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act blocks lawsuits under D.C.'s Strict Liability Act."

Gun manufacturing volume rose slightly from 2005 to 2006, he ATF's latest Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report showed. Total firearm production in 2006 increased 3.3 percent, following a 4-percent uptick in 2005. Pistol and rifle production increased the most in 2006, while shotguns posted a slight increase, and revolvers a 14-percent decline.


The Morgan, Utah based makers of Winchester rifles and shotguns have announced the historic return to the original name given the brand nearly 150 years ago. In 1866 Oliver Winchester named his company ñ and the brand of rifles he was selling ñ Winchester Repeating Arms.

In a record-breaking total, 55 members of the Senate and 250 members of the House co-sign a Congressional amicus curiae brief affirming the individual rights view of the Second Amendment.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne directs Lyle Laverty, Assistant Secretary for Fish, Game and Parks, to "develop and propose for public comment … Federal regulations that will update firearms policies on [national park] lands to reflect … the laws by which the host States govern transporting and carrying of firearms on their analogous public lands."

MARCH 2008

The Supreme Court hears the Heller case. On March 18, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller, a case the Court has stated is "limited to the following question: Whether Washington, D.C.'s bans [on handguns, on having guns in operable condition in the home and on carrying guns within the home] violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes."

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) releases Ballistic Imaging, the report of a committee it assigned to evaluate the feasibility, accuracy, and technical capability of a possible national database of so-called "ballistic" images from all new guns sold in the United States. The committee concludes, "A national reference ballistic image database should not be established."

APRIL 2008

On April 5 Charlton Heston, a high-profile past President of the NRA, dies.

Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois said they support and respect an individual's right to own guns, but favor an assault weapons ban and expanded non-police access to federal gun-trace data.

Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama responds to gun owners in Pennsylvania, "I have no intention of taking away folks' guns." Later, Obama tells the Pittsburgh Tribune "I am not in favor of concealed weapons."

A proposal to ban the use of lead shot by small-game hunters on public lands in Minnesota's agricultural region was shot down.

Wal-Mart agrees to adopt a 10-point retailing system pushed by the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. recalls Ruger SR9 pistols manufactured between October 2007 and April 2008.

Federal Premium and Ruger introduce the 327 Federal Magnum cartridge.

MAY 2008

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rules that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 blocks New York City's lawsuit against a host of gun makers and distributor.

Doug Koenig was named the overall winner of the National Rifle Association (NRA) National Action Pistol Championship (Bianchi Cup).

JUNE 2008

In a 5-4 decision on June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirms that the Second Amendment protects a pre-existing, private, individual’s right to keep and bear arms, without regard to a person's relationship to a militia.

NRA files five lawsuits challenging local gun bans in San Francisco, and in Chicago and several of its suburbs.

A Pennsylvania court issues a permanent restraining order against two Philadelphia municipal gun control measures. The court rules that a ban on some military-style rifles and a one-a-month handgun purchase restriction violate Pennsylvania's state preemption laws.

JULY 2008

Wilmette, Illinois, repeals a handgun ban that has been on the books for almost 20 years.

The Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) is the latest addition to the company’s line of products.


D.C.'s mayor and City Council are sued when they continue to restrict firearms ownership following the Heller ruling.

The Village of Morton Grove, Illinois, repeals its ordinance banning handguns.

In a sudden death duel against Norway's Tore Brovold, Vincent Hancock captured the Gold medal for the U.S.A. in Men's Skeet. This is only the second Gold medal in Olympic history for the U.S.A. in Men's Skeet.

Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas) captured the gold medal and set two Olympic records in the Men’s Double†Trap at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.


The U.S. House of Representatives votes to approve the Second Amendment Enforcement Act by a 266-152 vote.

Alliant Powder issues warning that Blue powder Dot should not be used in the 357 Magnum load using the 125-grain projectile and in the 41 Magnum cartridge (all bullet weights).

The FBI’s 2007 crime report shows violent crime fell as the number of guns increased 4.5 million a year.

Washington, D.C. residents were able to buy handguns starting Sept. 9.

A study from researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland finds "no evidence that gun shows lead to substantial increases in either gun homicides or suicides. In addition, tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearm-related deaths."

"The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas":

Forjas Taurus S.A. announced September 9 its acquisition of the manufacturing and distribution rights of all Rossi products, including the Model 92 lever-action rifle.


Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation eliminates approximately 80 hunting-related rifle production jobs at its Rochester, New Hampshire facility.


Barack Obama is elected President.

The U.N. General Assembly endorses the idea of a treaty regulating the global arms trade, despite opposition from the United States.


Ruger's SR9 pistol was placed on the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale within the State of California, as well as the Massachusetts Approved Firearms Roster.

Retail sales of firearms iskyrocketed in the weeks after Election Day. Many states saw gun sales increase 10% to 40%.

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service change rules on carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. Gun owners are allowed to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes on most federal park lands.

Smith & Wesson recalls all of its I-Bolt rifles.

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