Category: Firearm News


By Edmund DeMarche

November 14, 2014

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Buffalo police confiscated nine illegal handguns in connection with a gun trafficking operation that stretched from the Decatur, Georgia area to Buffalo. The city has been focused on reducing the number of illegal guns on the street. (Buffalo Police Department)

A plan by police in Buffalo, N.Y., to begin confiscating the firearms of legal gun owners within days of their deaths is drawing fire from Second Amendment advocates.

The plan is legal under a longstanding, but rarely enforced state law, but gun rights advocates say, with apologies to onetime NRA spokesman Charlton Heston, it is tantamount to prying firearms – some of which may have substantial monetary or sentimental value – from the cold, dead hands of law-abiding citizens.

“They’re quick to say they’re going to take the guns,” said Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. “But they don’t tell you the law doesn’t apply to long guns, or that these families can sell [their loved one’s] pistol or apply to keep it.”

King said enforcing the state law is the latest example of authorities targeting law-abiding gun owners, while doing little to secure the streets.

“They’re quick to say they’re going to take the guns.”- Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derrenda said at a press conference last week that the department will be sending people to collect guns that belong to pistol permit holders who had died so “they don’t end up in the wrong hands.” The department will cross reference pistol permit holders with death records and the guns will be collected when possible, he said.

Derrenda said guns pose a threat if their owner is no longer alive to safeguard them, especially if a recently-deceased gun owner’s home is burglarized.

“At times they lay out there and the family is not aware of them and they end up just out on the street,” he said, according to WGRZ.com.

The state law says that if the permit holder dies, the estate has 15 days to dispose of the guns or turn them in to authorities, who can hold the weapons up to two years. LoHud.com reported that violation of the law by survivors is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine.

Pro-gun websites took Derrenda’s comments as an affront to the Second Amendment, with BearingArms.com claiming authorities could “use the relative’s pistol permit as the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent to get at every firearm they can, hoping to remove all the firearms from the home while the family is at their most vulnerable.”

The state law has been in the books for years but not enforced, King said. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office told FoxNews.com that it learned about the Buffalo police decision after the announcement, but has no plans to invoke it on a regular basis as the city of Buffalo does.

Dominic Saraceno, a Buffalo defense attorney, said he anticipates legal challenges. He is concerned that family members may simply allow police to retrieve the guns while not realizing their value.

“These gun collections can value into the hundreds of thousands,” he said. “If a police officer came to my door without a warrant signed by a judge, I’m not giving them anything. Most people don’t know that and get intimidated.”

Calls to Buffalo’s mayor’s office and to the police department were not returned. But the city has employed other programs, including buy-backs, to help counter gun violence. One such program took place in August and netted 840 guns. Critics of these buy-back programs say most people who turn in their guns are likely law-abiding citizens and these numbers do not necessarily estimate illegal guns off the streets.

“I say to those critics, again, if we can get one of these guns off the streets that could be used to commit a crime or injure a member of our community, it’s a good thing,” Mayor Byron Brown told WIVB during the summer.

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November 12, 2014 By Steve Sanetti

13violentcrimeoffensefigure-01The FBI released its annual Crime in the United States

report on Monday revealing that the country in 2013 saw the violent crime rate fall another 5.1 percent from the previous year, so it is now at its lowest since 1978.  Delving a little deeper, the murder and manslaughter rate fell 4.4 percent to the lowest level since 1968.This is very good news, and while it is being reported here and there, it will not get a small fraction of the air time that crime stories will get on local news affiliates around the country on any given night. So, sadly, we do not expect to see a perceptible move on the proverbial needle of current public perception that crime is increasing, not decreasing.

But from a public policy perspective, this is very important data that should help inform decision making and we urge you to point to it the next time you hear someone advocating the latest “common sense” proposal for more gun control laws.

While the crime rate has been dropping steadily for more than the last 20 years, the number of firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans has beenrising dramatically.  In June, we put together an NSSF video that illustrates this relationship and other useful points in a short, but impactful presentation. Now, we have another year of data that furthers the case.

In that realm of public perception, we are encouraged by the results of a new Gallup survey released last week that found 63 percent of Americans believe that having a gun in the house makes it a safer place, a doubling of that number since 2000. This result flies in the face of what anti-gun organizations have been trying to convince the public for many years now.

Public opinion can be fickle, of course, and survey results are best viewed as a snapshot in time. Still, that more than six out of ten Americans have reached this conclusion speaks volumes about the fact that millions of our fellow Americans do appreciate that they have the right to exercise their Second Amendment rights in defense of their families.  Spread the news.

 

Published November 12, 2014

Law-abiding Californians may not need to justify their need to carry concealed weapons, after the same three-judge panel that struck down restrictions on the permits earlier this year ruled Wednesday that it is too late for new opponents to join the fight against the ruling.

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would bar other law enforcement officials, including state Attorney General Kamala Harris, from appealing its ruling in a case originally brought by an independent journalist who sued the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department over its policy of requiring a specific reason for being allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has said he will not fight the ruling, meaning there is no one with standing left to challenge the decision made in February.

“Since becoming Sheriff, I have always maintained that it is the legislature’s responsibility to make the laws, and the judiciary’s responsibility to interpret them and their constitutionality,” Gore wrote in a letter to the county board of supervisors earlier this year, in which he said the court’s decision gave him clarity on the issuance of licenses. “Law enforcement’s role is to uphold and enforce the law.”

Edward Peruta sued Gore’s department over its policy of requiring a specific reason for being allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public, restrictions other counties around the state also had in place.

In its bombshell ruling earlier this year, the 9th Circuit found those policies to be unconstitutional and held that law-abiding citizens have a right to bear arms under the Constitution’s Second Amendment and could not be required to justify their reasons for carrying concealed weapons.

California counties have differed on policy in the wake of the decision, with Orange County issuing the permits on request and others waiting for a resolution in the case.

One judge on the panel disagreed with Wednesday’s ruling, saying the state should be able to intervene in the case to “present an argument on an important constitutional question affecting millions of citizens.”

The law would still not allow felons or the mentally ill to possess firearms, and would still prohibit the carrying of them in places such as schools and government buildings.

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Posted on November 4, 2014

Legal -Update

Long-suffering California gun owners received some rare good news in February when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recognized a right to bear arms outside the home. In its decision in the NRA-backed case of Peruta v. County of San Diego, the panel struck down San Diego County’s “good cause” requirement for a concealed carry license, as county policy failed to recognize general self-defense as sufficient good cause. The ruling, however, has been stayed as parties seek to intervene and petition for a rehearing of the case by a larger contingent of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime, droves of Californians intent on exercising their right to self-defense have already made their opinions known by applying for concealed carry licenses.

Like some other jurisdictions in California, San Diego County had operated under a strict may-issue carry policy that left the decision of who may or may not receive a license up to the discretion of the issuing law enforcement official. In San Diego, this discretion led to a policy by the Sheriff’s Office that an applicant had to show “good cause” for obtaining a license. As outlined in the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, this required all applicants to provide “supporting documentation” of their need.  The court went on to explain, “If the applicant [could not] demonstrate ‘circumstances that distinguish [him] from the mainstream,’ then he [would] not qualify for a concealed-carry permit.”

9thcircuit-peruta

The case originated in 2009, when resident Edward Peruta filed a complaint against San Diego County and Sheriff William D. Gore in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California after being denied a concealed carry license. Peruta argued that San Diego’s “good cause” policy violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. According to Peruta’s attorney, “It was deemed the Plaintiff did not have good cause, because Plaintiff could not document any specific threat of harm, and primary reasons for desiring a license to carry a concealed weapon were due to the fact that he often carried large amounts of cash, valuables and equipment in his motor home, and also because his duties as a news investigator placed him in high crime areas.” Later on, several other plaintiffs joined the case, along with NRA’s California state affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

In December 2010, the district court ruled in favor of San Diego. At the time, persons in California could lawfully carry an unloaded handgun with ammunition at the ready. The trial court opined, “to the extent … Defendant’s policy burden[s] conduct falling within the scope of the Second Amendment, if at all, the burden is mitigated by the provisions of [the law] that expressly permit unloaded open carry for immediate self-defense.” The opinion went on to reject the plaintiffs’ call for the use of strict scrutiny in determining whether San Diego was violating the Second Amendment right, opting instead to examine the policy under “intermediate scrutiny.” The court determined that “under intermediate scrutiny, Defendant’s policy need not be perfect, only reasonably related to a ‘significant,’ ‘substantial,’ or ‘important’ governmental interest,” and that the “Defendant’s policy satisfies that standard.”

On October 9, 2011, however, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 144, which outlawed the open carry of unloaded handguns (the open carry of loaded handguns had been banned years earlier). The legislation left those lacking a concealed carry license without even the prior, largely symbolic option of carrying an unloaded handgun outside the home for self-defense. Thus, enactment of this legislation ironically diminished one of the arguments used by the district court in rejecting the challenge to San Diego’s licensing policy.

The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where it was assigned to a three-judge panel consisting of Judges Diarmuid O’Scannlain, Sidney Thomas, and Consuelo Callahan. Oral argumentswere heard on December 6, 2012.

NRA filed a friend of the court brief outlining its position. The brief argued that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that is substantially burdened by San Diego’s “good cause” policy, and therefore the policy must be examined under a “strict scrutiny” test. In making this argument, the brief relied heavily on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Nordyke v. King, and the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller, and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The brief concluded its argument by stating: “The County interprets ‘good cause’ as meaning a particularly good cause that distinguishes an applicant from the average citizen. The fundamental problem with that interpretation is that every individual has a Second Amendment right and corresponding right to self-defense. There is no need for an individual to demonstrate an especially good reason that he should enjoy a constitutional right guaranteed by our founding document.”

On February 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in a 77-page opinion written by Judge O’Scannlain. First, O’Scannlain examined the question of whether the behavior restricted by San Diego’s policy falls within the scope of the right protected by the Second Amendment. The Judge pointed out that the Second Amendment protects a “right not only to ‘keep’ arms but also to ‘bear’ them.” After examining several sources, along with the Heller and McDonalddecisions, O’Scannlain concluded that the evidence “suggest[s] that the Second Amendment secures a right to carry a firearm in some fashion outside the home.”

Next the opinion delved into the matter of what the term “bear arms” encompassed in the founding era. On this point, O’Scannlain cited founding-era scholar St. George Tucker: “The right to armed self-defense, Tucker insisted, is the ‘first law of nature,’ and any law ‘prohibiting any person from bearing arms’ crossed the constitutional line.”

The opinion then went on to explore legal precedent for the correct interpretation of the right to “bear arms.” O’Scannlain cited the 1822 Kentucky case Bliss v. Commonwealth, in which the Kentucky Supreme Court held that the state’s right to bear arms amendment invalidated a ban on “wearing concealed arms.” The opinion then cited similar cases, including the 1833 Tennessee case of Simpson v. State, the 1840 Alabama case of State v. Reid,and the 1846 Georgia case of Nunn v. State, all of which offer evidence that the right to “bear arms” was understood to extend beyond the home.

O’Scannlain’s analysis then moved to the post-civil war period. Here the judge examined Stephen P. Halbrook’s scholarship on the Fourteenth Amendment and the post-slavery experience as it pertains to the right to keep and bear arms. Using a passage from the Heller decision, O’Scannlain determined that “[j]ust as it was ‘plainly the understanding in the post-Civil War Congress that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to use arms for self-defense,’… it appears that the right was also understood to encompass carrying weapons in public in case of confrontation.” After marshalling all of his historic evidence, O’Scannlain concluded that “the carrying of an operable handgun outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense, though subject to traditional restrictions, constitutes ‘bear[ing] Arms’ within the meaning of the Second Amendment.”

The opinion then analyzed whether San Diego’s policy is an infringement of the right to bear arms. O’Scannlain notably rejected the method of applying a certain level of scrutiny to an infringement on the Second Amendment right that other courts have used in similar circumstances. Instead, he noted that since there is no option in California for unlicensed open carry, the right to carry outside the home is effectively eliminated by San Diego’s policy, under which licenses are routinely denied. Thus, O’Scannlain found that a scrutiny test would be inappropriate, in that “the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”  In summary, “San Diego’s ‘good cause’ permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms for lawful self-defense.”

Despite O’Scannlain’s strong articulation of the right to carry outside the home, California gun owners and others under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction are not out of the woods yet. Following the ruling, gun control proponents petitioned to have the case reheard by a “limited en banc” panel of 11 judges. The Ninth Circuit has yet to determine whether or not it will grant this request.  In the meantime, the panel’s February 13 ruling has been stayed until a final disposition of the case has been made. This means jurisdictions that were operating under a “may issue” license framework may continue to do so in the interim. Nevertheless, a number of counties – including Orange, Ventura, and San Joaquin – have already changed their polices to recognize a desire for self-defense as a sufficient cause for the issuance of a concealed carry license to an otherwise qualified applicant.

In addition to being an important milestone for Golden State residents, the ruling could affect policy in other states. Another Ninth Circuit ruling in the case of Baker v. Kealoha held that a district court in Hawaii erred when it held that the state’s restrictions on carrying firearms outside the home did not implicate protected Second Amendment activity.  Further proceedings on that case, however, have been deferred pending resolution of the post-opinion matters in Peruta. Meanwhile, the U.S. territory of Guam passed legislation in response to Peruta that changed its concealed carry licensing regime from “may-issue” to “shall-issue.”

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November 7, 2014

Stinging Defeats for Radical Anti-Hunting and Gun Control Groups

Fairfax, Va. – On Tuesday, voters in Alabama, Mississippi and Maine came out in full support of protecting America’s hunting heritage and Second Amendment rights. The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) led the way to enshrine the Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife in the state constitutions of Alabama and Mississippi and worked with a coalition of sportsmen’s groups to protect hunters in Maine from extreme anti-hunting groups who aimed to ban traditional bear hunting methods in the state.

“Sportsmen and hunters are the true conservationists in the United States and the NRA will continue to lead efforts on the state and federal level to defend their rights,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “Hunting laws should be set by wildlife biologists and experts in the field who rely on sound science for wildlife management plans. On behalf of the NRA’s 5 million members, we want to thank the voters of Alabama, Mississippi, and Maine for supporting America’s hunting heritage and protecting our Second Amendment freedoms.”

In Alabama, NRA-backed Amendment 5 passed with an overwhelming 80 percent of the vote. The Right to Hunt and Fish amendment provides permanent protection for current and future generations of sportsmen in Alabama and ensures wildlife conservation and management decisions will be based on sound science and not the misguided emotions of anti-hunting extremists.

Also in Alabama, voters approved NRA-backed Amendment 3 to strengthen the state’s existing Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment. The words “fundamental” and “strict scrutiny” will now be added to that amendment in Alabama’s state constitution. “Strict scrutiny” is a standard of judicial review that provides the highest level of protection for constitutional rights.

In Mississippi, 88 percent of voters overwhelmingly approved NRA-backed Amendment 1, the Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife, creating permanent protections for current and future generations of sportsmen in Mississippi. Amendment 1 ensures wildlife conservation and management decisions will be based on sound science and prevents extreme anti-hunting organizations from diminishing the state’s strong hunting heritage.

Voters in Maine, for the second time in a decade, defeated efforts to ban traditional hunting methods critical to the state’s wildlife management and economy. The NRA strongly opposed the Maine Bear Hunting Initiative (MBHI). The restriction would have undermined the ability to control Maine’s bear population. Bear hunting is a longstanding tradition that is deeply engrained both in Maine’s heritage and economy.  Bear hunting contributes an estimated $60 million to the economy and sustains 900 hunting and outfitting jobs annually.

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October 15, 2014

A feminist writer and critic of video games has canceled a scheduled talk at a Utah university after learning that the school would allow firearms where she was speaking despite receiving an anonymous mass shooting threat.

Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak on the depiction of women in video games at Utah State University in Logan Wednesday morning. However, on Tuesday, the university received an anonymous e-mail from someone claiming to be a student at the university who threatened to carry out a mass shooting if the event was held.

University spokesman Tim Vitale says the FBI told school officials the threat was consistent with ones Sarkeesian receives when she gives speeches elsewhere.

The university consulted with federal and state law enforcement and had determined it was safe to go ahead with the presentation.

A university statement said that Sarkeesian asked if guns would be permitted at the venue where she was speaking and was informed that they would be, in compliance with the state’s open carry law passed in 2004.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Sarkeesian tweeted that she requested that the school install metal detectors or require officers to search people as they entered the venue. The paper reported that the school offered to increase security and ban backpacks from the venue, but would not ban guns. In response, Sarkeesian decided to cancel her scheduled appearance.

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Never miss another election again with California’s new voter registration technologiesand permanent vote by-mail balloting!  The power to win elections is in your hands.The general election on November 4 is less than a month away and California CANNOT afford to have any more anti-gun state legislators elected into office.

Print out a complete copy of all races go here:

http://cms.nraila.org/media/13466353/california_2014.pdf

Many Californians who believe in the right to keep and bear arms mistakenly believe that their vote won’t make a difference.  They are wrong!  Becoming a permanent vote by-mail voter helps increase voter turnout significantly enough to swing elections!  If every single gun owner and believer in the right to keep and bear arms registered to vote and always voted by mail, we could turn back the onslaught of gun bans coming from state and local politicians in California.

If you are not a registered voter, please click here.  After you register to vote, you can become a permanent vote by-mail voter at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/vote-by-mail/pdf/fill-in-vote-by-mail-app-instruct.pdf.

If you are already registered to vote and would like to use the convenience of voting by mail, please click here.

The last day to register to vote in the 2014 general election is October 20.

The last day to apply to vote by mail is October 28.

Register to vote now and help the Second Amendment in California!  California is living proof of the truth of the slippery slope of ever-expanding gun bans.  But if every gun owner and Second Amendment supporter voted in every election, the tide would be turned!  Help make it happen – Register to Vote Today!

Don’t wait to the last day to exercise your important right to vote, because our right to vote is what is needed to save our right to keep and bear arms!

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“Criminal” and “terrorism” concerns lead Home Office to change guidelines to support police knocking on lawful shooters’ doors

Police concern that members of the shooting community may be “vulnerable to criminal or terrorist groups” has prompted the Home Office to update its firearms guidance to support forces in England and Wales in their intention to start making unannounced home visits to legitimate gun owners.

 

The policy, which is effective from today, has been introduced ostensibly to ensure certificate holders are complying with firearms security measures — this is despite the fact that the Home Office’s own figures show that theft of guns is not a widespread concern. On average, in the past five years, annually just 0.025 per cent of the 1,837,243 legally held firearms and shotguns in England and Wales were stolen — an average of just 475 guns per year. The figures are not broken down to indicate whether a firearm was stolen from a home, military or commercial environment or whether it was stolen in transit. Despite such low figures and little evidence of a genuine problem, a dedicated Crimestoppers hotline has also been launched “to encourage members of the shooting community and the general public to report any concerns about legally held firearms”. BASC called the hotline “unnecessary and inappropriate”. The Countryside Alliance has launched an e-campaign for shooters to call on their MP to oppose the police campaign which, it says “encourages an untrusting and vindictive attitude from your friends and neighbours”.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh, the national policing lead for firearms and explosives licensing, called on the shooting community to lend its support to the new measures, saying: “The public and especially the shooting community can greatly assist the police in gathering intelligence and protecting our communities by being vigilant around firearms licensing. The shooting community is close, and will recognise sudden behavioural changes in fellow shooters that could cause concerns. However, they may not feel like they can act and the Crimestoppers hotline empowers people to voice concerns anonymously.”

He added: “If you are concerned that guns are being kept insecurely or notice signs that shooters may be vulnerable to criminal or terrorist groups or have shown sympathy towards extremist acts, please report it.”

The new Home Office guidance states: “Where it is judged necessary, based on specific intelligence in light of a particular threat, or risk of harm, the police may undertake an unannounced home visit to check the security of a certificate holder’s firearms and shotguns. It is not expected that the police will undertake an unannounced home visit at an unsocial hour unless there is a justified and specific requirement to do so on the grounds of crime prevention or public safety concerns, and the police judge that this action is both justified and proportionate.”

Importantly, shooters must understand that no new power of entry has been conferred on the police or police staff, and those undertaking a visit must provide “a clear and reasoned explanation” for doing so.

In launching the measure, Chief Constable Marsh stressed that the police’s intention is not to “catch out gun owners”. He said: “I know that the vast majority of gun owners understand their responsibility to secure firearms and in the main take this very seriously, which allows their continued lawful use for work or leisure purposes.”

BASC’s Richard Ali stated that the association backs the police in their efforts to help firearms certificate holders “maintain the excellent record of safety and security in England and Wales”. He added: “Where there is specific intelligence of threat, risk or harm then the police should act.”

The Countryside Alliance has called ACPO’s campaign to target the legitimate shooting community over security concerns “unjustified and ill-judged”. The CA’s director of campaigns, Tim Bonner, said: “This campaign is exactly the sort of knee-jerk reaction to an unrelated problem that the Government had promised to avoid. It is unjustified and ill-judged, and will serve only to waste police resources and alienate a large and law abiding section of the community.

“The public appeal for information about certificate holders through Crimestoppers will encourage malicious complaints and the link made with radicalisation and terrorism is insulting and ridiculous. We have not been made aware of a single recent incident in which a licence holder has misused a firearm in pursuit of an extremist agenda.”

This latest move follows on from the introduction last year of Operation Solitaire, a community engagement project which is, according to the police, “aimed at reducing the vulnerability of those with legitimate access to firearms, to using these weapons illegally.” The operation’s target audience includes people who have “regular interaction with holders of firearms and shotgun certificates”.

Police firearms enquiry officers and neighbourhood officers have visited shooting clubs and registered firearms dealers in recent months to highlight concerns surrounding the potential for terrorists or mass killers to exist within the shooting community.

One gun club member recently wrote in an online forum for armed services personnel that his personal experience of the Operation Solitaire initiative was: “the crappiest attempt by the plod at getting us to grass each other up as lone wolf killers”.

BASC’s advice on home visits:

The BASC is advising members to ensure their security arrangements are up to standard. The association is reminding shooters that the police are required to provide a clear and reasoned explanation to certificate holders at the time of an unannounced visit. Shooters should be left in no doubt as to why the visit is being made. The association has reiterated that the police DO NOT have an automatic statutory right of entry, but BASC recommends a sensible and co-operative approach to this type of situation.

BASC states: “It is possible that the reason for visiting may not be specifically about the certificate holder but may relate to other factors such as local rural or urban crime. There is an expectation of elementary co-operation from certificate holders following a reasonable request to check the security of your firearms.”

If shooters feel that any visit has not been undertaken properly, they should first draw this to the attention of the local force, clearly stating the reasons why they believe this to be the case. BASC has also stated that it will challenge robustly any police force which does not correctly follow the Home Office guidelines.

Follow these links to BASC’s advice to members and BASC’s advice for firearms security

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10/01/14

Gov. Jerry Brown agreed with three out of four gun control bills on his desk Tuesday. (Photo: Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press)

California’s governor vetoed a measure regulating homemade firearms but signed a trio of other anti-gun bills into law Tuesday, including one to implement an expanded series of gun seizure orders for those believed by friends or family to pose a danger to the community.

The three bills that were approved make California the first state to codify the practice of so-called “Gun Violence Restraining Orders,” add more marking requirements to airsoft guns, and place increased regulations on bringing firearms in from other states. However, many are taking as a “win” for gun rights Brown’s veto of one bill, SB808, that would have banned the transfer, and inheritance of home-built firearms as well as required serial numbers to be retroactively applied to these guns, referred to famously as “ghost guns” by state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D), the measure’s sponsor.

“I am returning Senate Bill 808 without my signature,” wrote Brown Tuesday in his short veto letter to the California State Senate. “SB808 would require individuals who build guns at home to first obtain a serial number and register the weapon with the Department of Justice. I appreciate the author’s concerns about gun violence, but I can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety.”

Gun rights groups saw reason to celebrate Tuesday. Brandon Combs, president of California Association of Federal Firearm Licensees (CAL-FFL),  hailed the veto on the homemade gun bill as a “significant victory for common sense.”

“Governor Brown was absolutely right to veto SB808,” Combs said in an emailed statement to Guns.com. “Senator de León’s bill would have created a nightmare for law enforcement and law-abiding gun owners alike.”

The firearms industry, even though it largely did not have a dog in the fight on the controversial legislation, was pleased at its veto because many pre-1968 guns — which were not produced during a mandated period for serial numbers — would have been required to have one if the bill passed.

“We opposed SB 808 because even though it did not pertain to the firearms industry per se, it would have required gun owners to place serial numbers on antique firearms, destroying their value as collectible items,” Larry Keane National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel told Guns.com Monday.

SB808 would have even placed regulations on 3D printed guns, which many in that industry felt were unneeded. Industry blog 3DPrint.com went so far as to say that, “Every year a staggering ‘0’ people are killed by 3D printed guns,” in their coverage of the bill.

Calling today’s actions by Brown “a bit of a mixed bag,” Combs noted that three other notable gun control measures were signed into law without comment from Brown and will change the state’s laws in a number of ways.

Assembly Bill 1014, the “Gun Restraining Order” bill introduced just days after the Isla Vista killings, will provide a framework for the temporary seizure of guns from an individual at the request of their family or friends. The legislation will allow the seizure for up to 21 days, from an otherwise legal gun owner who is believed to pose a “significant danger.” This initial order could be extended for as long as a year if the situation warrants. California is the first state to implement this sort of far-reaching measure.

Gun control groups championed the measure in the state legislature and were pleased with its passage into law.

“Today, Governor Brown helped to honor the life of my son, Christopher, and so many others killed by senseless gun violence by signing AB 1014 into law,” said Richard Martinez, father of Isla Vista shooting victim Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez and outreach associate for Everytown for Gun Safety, in a statement emailed to Guns.com. “Nothing we can do will bring back Christopher, but I’m confident this new law will help save lives and prevent other families from experiencing this same kind of tragedy. States around the country should be exploring this life-saving measure.”

However, gun rights groups feel the new law gives perhaps too much leeway and is open to abuse.

“AB 1014 trades our Constitutional right of due process for reactionary legislative sensationalism,” Combs explained. “While the restraining order bill that was signed today is a far cry from the insanity Assemblymember Skinner introduced in May, you can bet that we will be keeping a close eye on how the Gun Violence Restraining Order system is applied by the courts.”

Assembly Bill 1609, also signed by Brown Tuesday, will place restrictions on firearms coming into the state and, according to gun-rights groups, will criminalize common firearm transactions. Beginning in 2015, it would require all guns coming into the state to first be transferred to a Federal Firearms License holder who would perform required background checks and observe state-mandated waiting periods before the gun could then be transferred.

The third bill signed by Brown, Senate Bill 199, legislates increased marking requirements on airsoft guns in the state. Members of the milsim community as well as the National Rifle Association opposed the bill specifically in addition toits stand against the body of legislation as a whole as being a needless requirement in light of federal laws already in place.

De Leon’s office did not reply to emails from Guns.com for comment or statement on his legislation, SB808 and SB199.

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TSA Week in Review

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

TSA Week in Review – 48 Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags (40 Were Loaded)


48 Firearms Discovered This Week
 – Of the 48 firearms, 26 were loaded and 11 had rounds chambered.

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.

  • When TSA officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) opened a checked bag for a routine inspection, they discovered many household items, like baby wipes, coffee, lemonade mix, and a box of cat litter. After a closer look, they found two disassembled .40 caliber handguns, 350 rounds of ammunition, and 58 bricks of marijuana (33 pounds) concealed in the products. The traveler was arrested on state charges by the Port Authority Police.
  • A cane sword was discovered at New York Kennedy (JFK).
Firearms, Ammunition, and 33 Pounds of Marijuana (JFK)

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items  In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Stun Guns – 13 stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags. Two were discovered at Denver (DEN), and the remainder were found at Buffalo (BUF), Dallas Love (DAL), Gainesville (GNV), Knoxville (TYS), Las Vegas (LAS), Lewiston (LWS), Lubbock (LBB), Minneapolis (MSP), Oklahoma City (OKC), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), and Syracuse (SYR).

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as$7,500. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that’s for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

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September 23, 2014

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A federal judge has overturned a Hawaii law barring legal immigrants from applying for a firearm permit, the latest in a wave of rulings against similar laws across the country.

Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled last week in favor of plaintiff Steve Fotoudis, an Australian citizen who is a permanent resident living in Honolulu.

According to court documents, Fotoudis was a competitive shooter in his home country and “had extensive training in firearms use and safety” before he moved to the U.S.

However, when Fotoudis attempted to apply for a firearm permit at the Honolulu Police Department, he was told he was not allowed to because of state law. The law restricted police in Hawaiian counties to issuing gun permits only to U.S. citizens, with a few exceptions that did not apply to Fotoudis.

Seabright ruled that law unconstitutional.

“The undisputed facts establish that Fotoudis, as a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States (and resident of Hawaii), was denied the opportunity to apply for a permit to acquire firearms solely because of his alienage,” Seabright wrote. “This classification violates the equal protection clause of the U.S.”

Gun rights advocates, like Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb, say rulings such as this strengthen the rights of both permanent residents and Americans citizens.

“The Second Amendment is an individual right,” he told FoxNews.com.

The Hawaii statute  is the latest in a series of similar laws being struck down across the nation.

Earlier this year, another federal judge ruled that a New Mexico law that only allowed citizens to apply for concealed handgun permits was unconstitutional.

Judge M. Christina Armijo ruled the law violated the 14th Amendment rights of another Australian citizen, who was represented by the Second Amendment Foundation.

According the Washington Times, attorneys for the state in that case unsuccessfully argued that the law was necessary, as it is impossible to run a complete background check on an immigrant.

They also argued setting different standards for citizens and permanent residents was not discriminatory.

The Second Amendment Foundation has likewise been successful in Massachusetts, Nebraska and Washington on the issue and has filed similar cases in other states.

The issue of gun rights for legal immigrants has also gained support from another end of the political spectrum. The American Civil Liberties Union told FoxNews.com in 2011 they supported the rights of legal immigrants to apply for a concealed weapon permit.

That same year, the group successfully helped a British citizen who was a permanent resident sue the state of South Dakota for the right to apply for a permit.

Gottlieb said while his foundation was not involved in the Hawaii case, he is “really proud” that the judge in that case seems to have followed the precedent of prior decisions.

He said if legal immigrants benefit from other constitutional rights while living in America, they also deserve this one.

“Second Amendment rights should be treated the same way,” he said.

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

NORBORNE, Mo. — Sherry Falke  said her seven-year-old son came home from school Tuesday crying hysterically. She thinks the school went overboard with a punishment her son received at s bringing in a souvenir shell casing.

“He felt it in his pocket, and he took it out and was showing some of his friends at school,” Falke explained.

She says her son Zane forgot he left the shell casing in his pocket, a souvenir he received at the 9/11 ceremony from the VFW in Carrollton, given to him and his Cub Scout group.

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“The principal proceeded to reprimand him as though he were bringing live ammunition to school. I understand that’s in the policy, in the handbook, that they can’t bring guns to school, I fully support that, but it’s an empty blank casing,” Falke added.

Zane’s teacher took the shell casing, and took him to the principal’s office. Falke says they told Zane he could be suspended from school for 10 days, but instead gave him a silent lunch where he sat by himself, and missed two recesses.

“In today’s society, unfortunately, we do have to be concerned with those types of things in schools,” said Dr. Roger Feagan, the superintendent of the Norborne R-VIII School District.

He says while the shell casing is not a huge deal, the safety and security of students is their number one priority.

“Though this seems minor, if we don’t handle the minor things, they can unfortunately escalate into major things down the road,” added Dr. Feagan.

Falke said she called the school and explained the significance of the casing, and asked if they would reduce the punishment knowing now what it was.

“Had he brought a war medal to school, would he have been punished?” Falke asked. “They also passed out American flags to all the kids, if he brought that to school would he have been punished?”

The school said no, the punishment stands.

“We didn’t want anything to lead to anything further with that student or think that was OK to bring to school,” said Dr. Feagan.

The school handbook specifically says weapons, firearms, knives, and the like, are not allowed. While the shell casing doesn’t exactly fall into that category, the school feels the punishment was appropriate, and a common consequence for minor offenses.

The school says it stands behind the punishment, and the superintendent adds that hopefully this is a learning experience for everyone. He says had the school been informed ahead of time about the souvenir, and where it came from, it could have been a great discussion topic in the classroom.

 

September 17, 2014

Traditional Ammunition Ban to Cause Shortages, Price Spikes 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) today released a new report demonstrating the negative effects that the State of California’s ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition in hunting will have on hunters, the state’s economy and wildlife conservation. That report, commissioned by NSSF on behalf of the firearms and ammunition industry, was presented today at a public hearing of the Wildlife Resource Committee of the California Fish and Game Commission.

The survey-based report by Southwick Associates quantifies the problems that this ban will cause. Non-lead ammunition is not available for about half of hunting calibers, and the report found the California ban will cause severe shortages nationwide.

Due to technical and market-based constraints on manufacturers, the implementation of AB711 will at least triple the price of ammunition, driving more than one-third of the state’s hunters to hunt less or stop hunting completely. With the loss of more than 50,000 hunters in the state, California’s economy will see a loss of millions of dollars in salaries and in tax revenue.

In addition, as hunters are the primary source of conservation funding in the state, a dramatic decline in hunters means fewer dollars for wildlife conservation.

Access the full report here.

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US military’s new laser gun zaps drones

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Boeing’s High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). (Boeing)

The U.S. military is now one step closer to having a laser gun that can shoot down enemy drones in the blink of an eye.

Boeing recently announced that its mobile laser weapon, dubbed the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), successfully shot down more than 150 drones, rockets and other mock enemy targets in a third round of tests. The trials prove that the laser weapon is reliable and capable of consistently “acquiring, tracking and engaging a variety of targets in different environments,” according to Boeing.

The most recent demonstration of the 10-kilowatt, high-energy laser took place at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The laser was installed on a military vehicle, making it the first mobile, high-energy laser built and demonstrated by the U.S. Army, according to Boeing. [7 Technologies That Transformed Warfare]

Directed-energy technologies like the HEL MD could soon be used by the military to augment what are known as kinetic strike weapons, such as missile interceptors, that don’t contain explosives but destroy targets by colliding with them at extreme speeds.

Kinetic strike weapons are expensive, and the HEL MD could offer “a significant reduction in cost per engagement,” Dave DeYoung, Boeing’s directed-energy systems director, said in a statement.

This push for laser weaponryis part of the U.S. military’s Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move (GBAD) program. The goal of the program is to provide what officials from the Office of Naval Research call an “affordable alternative to traditional firepower,” to guard against drones and other enemy threats.

The recent demonstration of Boeing’s mobile laser weapon is just a prelude of things to come. By 2016, the military plans to have a 30-kilowatt laser gun ready for testing, according to the Office of Naval Research.

And Boeing isn’t the only defense contractor working with the military to develop high-powered laser weapons. In August, the Office of Naval Research awarded Raytheon an $11 million contract to build a vehicle-mounted laser device capable of shooting down low-flying enemy targets. The system will reportedly generate at least 25 kilowatts of energy, which will make it more than twice as powerful as the laser recently tested by Boeing.

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Border Patrol Agent Dies in Texas Wreck

A Border Patrol agent involved in a Friday morning car wreck while on duty died from his injuries, the agency said.

Agent Tyler R. Robledo, 34, died at the San Antonio Military Medical Center after a wreck just after 1 a.m. Friday on FM 2644 near Carrizo Springs, according to the Border Patrol. The driver of the other vehicle, a 2009 Dodge sedan, also died.

Robledo was stationed at the Carrizo Springs Border Patrol Station, according to the agency.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of Border Patrol Agent Tyler R. Robledo. Our hearts go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Agent Robledo during this difficult time,” Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch said in a statement.

Robledo had been in Carrizo Springs for three years, and it was his first assignment with the Border Patrol, an agency spokesman said.

Comments of the Facebook page of the El Dorado Success, the newspaper of the small town south of San Angelo, said Robledo had a wife and children.

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PA. Trooper Shot Dead Outside Police Barracks

BLOOMING GROVE, Pa. (AP) — Two troopers were ambushed outside a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania during a late-night shift change, leaving one dead and another injured, and authorities were searching Saturday for the suspect or suspects, state police said.

One trooper was leaving the barracks in Pike County’s Blooming Grove and another was arrived when shots were fired just before 11 p.m. Friday, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said. He confirmed that one trooper was killed and the other was injured and taken to Geisinger Medical Center in Scranton, where he was in stable condition.

Noonan said the attack seemed to be directed solely at state police.

“This has been an emotional night for all of us,” he told reporters.

Law enforcement officials from across the region, including New York and New Jersey, descended on northeastern Pennsylvania to help with the search. The Blooming Grove barracks is in a wooded area, surrounded by state game lands.

Noonan said authorities did not have a description of the shooter or shooters but said they were following several leads.

“We can’t say that the situation is completely in hand,” he said.

Noonan said police did not believe the general public was at risk, but they are asking everyone to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

Several roads around the barracks, including parts of Interstate 84, were closed Saturday morning. Blooming Grove is a township of about 4,000 people about 35 miles east of Scranton.

Trooper Adam Reed, a state police spokesman, said the Blooming Grove barracks covers most of Pike County, which runs along the Delaware River and borders New Jersey and New York.

“There’s a lot of rural area up where they patrol,” he said. “As the primary police force in the county, they’re going to respond to anything and everything.”

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