Tag Archives: NRA

Demand soars for concealed carry permits, data shows

second amendment3

Shannon Watts hardest hit.

From Fox News:  The number of concealed carry permits in the United States has topped 15 million over the last year, according to data collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center.

That’s the largest one-year increase ever in the number of permits issued, according to the research center. In July 2016, the center reported that 14.5 million people had concealed handgun permits. As of May of this year, the number is already 15.7 million.

John Lott, founder of the group and a Fox News columnist, said several states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Texas, have seen a big jump in the number of gun permits issued. There are several reasons for the increase – most notably, a rise in women and minorities seeking to purchase handguns, Lott said.

“I think you’re continuing to see a change in the composition of people who go and get permits,” Lott said. “Women are growing at a much faster rate than men.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Lott said, the growth rate for women was twice as much as it was for men. He also said minorities are purchasing handguns at a higher rate compared to previous years.

Firearms instructors are reporting an increase in the number of black women learning how to use guns around the country, as noted in an earlier Fox News report. Gun instructors who teach self-defense courses say more women are looking toward guns to protect themselves against crime.

In a May 10 statement to Fox News, NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said women are the fastest growing segment of firearms buyers in the country. “The NRA is a natural home for women firearms owners,” Mortensen said. “Increasingly, women today don’t want to rely on a spouse or neighbor for protection. They want to be able to protect themselves and their families.

The Crime Prevention Research Center – a nonprofit, gun advocacy research group – releases an annual report each July documenting firearm statistics by citing numbers provided by state agencies. The center’s official report for 2017 is due in July but Lott said data already collected shows a significant increase in permits in a number of states.

Arizona had 272,622 such permits in 2016 and 315,107 as of May 2017. Florida had 1,581,742 last year compared to 1,755,580 as of April 30.

Lott noted other factors contributing to an increase in permits. “You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” he said.

In contrast, states like California and New York have among the toughest requirements for permits in the nation. 

In Sacramento County, as of December 2016, residents are “required to pay $220 in application fees, pass a state criminal background check, take a 16-hour training course and have approval of the sheriff’s department by having ‘good moral character’ and a good reason to have CCW,” according to the center.

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Latest firearm legislation in Washington state focuses on protecting victims

drew hansen]

Brainchild of this bill, Drew Hansen

Victims in Seattle of serious crimes wait for more than an hour for police assistance. Also, Seattle neighborhoods hire their own security because police are a rare sighting in their areas. Color me skeptical that the police (at least in the larger cities) are well equipped and staffed to notify a domestic violence survivor in a timely manner.

From MyNorthwest.com: In 2014, Washington State voters approved universal background checks for gun buyers. But what happens to felons, domestic abusers and others who fail those background checks and illegally try to buy a gun? Not much, as it turns out. However, there’s an effort in Olympia to change that.

The idea behind House Bill 1501 began with a conversation between State Representative Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island) and another lawmaker last year.

“If a criminal tries to buy a firearm from a gun store and fails a background check, does law enforcement get notified? Do domestic violence survivors get notified if criminals are ineligible because of a restraining order? Do cops on the street get notified?” Hansen asked. “The answers to those questions are no, no, and no. Our bill makes the answers to those questions yes, yes, and yes.”

The bill adds teeth to the universal background check law. “We had over 3,000 failed background checks in Washington state last year,” Hansen said. “About half of which were failed because the purchaser was a criminal or fugitive … That is a lot of dangerous people trying to buy firearms.”

“If you walk into a gun store and you know you’re ineligible and you try to buy a firearm anyway and get caught and turned down, there should be an investigation, an arrest, and, in appropriate cases, prison time.”

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg agrees. When voters passed universal background check law, there was an implied understanding that there would be consequences for someone who fails a background check, he said.

Hansen says one of the key parts of the legislation is making sure victims, especially domestic violence survivors, are notified when their abuser is trying to arm themselves.

Lying on an application is a felony, and under federal law punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Right now, however, there really isn’t much follow up happening. The legislation would target domestic abusers, felons, people who have been involuntary committed, and people with warrants.

It would also require failed background checks to be reported to local law enforcement. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs would also maintain a statewide system to handle the notifications for domestic-violence survivors.

State grants would help local police agencies pay for the needed follow-up. Prosecutors and local law-enforcement agencies, including the Seattle Police Department, support the legislation. Hansen says they worked closely with the National Rifle Association to ensure Second Amendment rights were protected.

Hansen says it passed out of the House with overwhelming bipartisan support — so he’s hopeful they’ll get this one on the books this session.

DCG

US appeals court upholds Maryland assault weapons ban

debbie ar15

Me shooting a “weapon of war.” Molṑn Labé.

Next stop: SCOTUS.

From Fox News: Maryland’s ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons and its 10-round limit on gun magazines were upheld Tuesday by a federal appeals court in a decision that met with a strongly worded dissent.

In a 10-4 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said the guns banned under Maryland’s law aren’t protected by the Second Amendment.

“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote for the court, adding that the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller explicitly excluded such coverage.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who led the push for the law in 2013 as a state senator, said it’s “unthinkable that these weapons of war, weapons that caused the carnage in Newtown and in other communities across the country, would be protected by the Second Amendment.”

“It’s a very strong opinion, and it has national significance, both because it’s en-banc and for the strength of its decision,” Frosh said, noting that all of the court’s judges participated.

Judge William Traxler issued a dissent. By concluding the Second Amendment doesn’t even apply, Traxler wrote, the majority “has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.” He also wrote that the court did not apply a strict enough review on the constitutionality of the law.

“For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland’s law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home, and it should at least be subject to strict scrutiny review before it is allowed to stand,” Traxler wrote.

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said, “It is absurd to hold that the most popular rifle in America is not a protected arm' under the Second Amendment."</strong> She added that the majority opinion "clearly ignores the Supreme Court's guidance from District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects arms that arein common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense.”‘

The NRA estimates there are 5 million to 10 million AR-15s — one of the weapons banned under Maryland’s law — in circulation in the United States for lawful purposes. Asked about an appeal, Baker said the NRA is exploring all options.

But Elizabeth Banach, executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, said the decision is “overwhelming proof that reasonable measures to prevent gun violence are constitutional.”

“Maryland’s law needs to become a national model of evidence-based policies that will reduce gun violence,” Banach wrote in a statement.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake upheld the ban in 2015, but a divided three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that she didn’t apply the proper legal standard. The panel sent the case back to Blake and ordered her to apply “strict scrutiny,” a more rigorous test of a law’s constitutionality. The state appealed to the full appeals court.

Maryland passed the sweeping gun-control measure after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that killed 20 children and six educators in Connecticut. King mentioned the massacre at the start of the ruling.

“Both before and after Newtown, similar military-style rifles and detachable magazines have been used to perpetrate mass shootings in places whose names have become synonymous with the slaughters that occurred there,” King wrote. He listed the 2012 shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado; the December 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, California; and the shootings last year at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, where 49 people were killed and 53 injured.

King also noted that enacting the law is “precisely the type of judgment that legislatures are allowed to make without second-guessing by a court.”

“Simply put, the State has shown all that is required: a reasonable, if not perfect, fit between the (Firearms Safety Act) and Maryland’s interest in protecting public safety,” King wrote.

DCG

Washington senator insists insurance bill is not about gun control

maralyn-chase

Maralyn Chase: Fully believes in your Second Amendment rights, HOWEVER…

Attention Ms. Chase:

  1. You have a Constitutional right to own a firearm. A home or car is not a Constitutional right.
  2. You do NOT have to purchase insurance (unless you are financing in which case it is usually required). Sure, you take on higher risks and even fines yet there are plenty of people who opt out of purchasing insurance.

From MyNorthwest.com: The Washington State Legislature is considering a series of gun control measures that includes Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s assault weapon ban and a gun lock safety bill.

One senator has introduced a measure that takes on the issue a different way, requiring liability insurance before someone can buy a gun.

Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-Edmonds) says people have to buy insurance for their homes, their cars, and other items, so having it for guns makes sense to her (of course it does – she’s a democrat).

Chase insists her bill is not about gun control, but rather public and private protections.

“I fully believe in Second Amendment rights, however, with those rights come great responsibilities,” Chase said. “We see the destructive power of guns almost nightly on the news and yet we do not require gun owners to have any type of liability insurance. Requiring liability insurance may cause an irresponsible gun owner to exercise extra care in preventing firearm-related accidents, especially in tragic accidents involving children.”

Dave Workman, senior editor of thegunmag.com, doesn’t believe gun liability insurance will do anything to cut down on crime or gun related accidents. “This is one more hoop that somebody is trying to throw out there to require people to jump through before they can exercise a civil right,” he said. “If they did this, or tried to do this, the howling would be heard all the way from our Washington to Washington D.C.”

Workman says politicians can only go so far with something like this before getting a negative reaction from the public. He doesn’t believe the bill will get much traction in Olympia.

Senator Chase agrees. She admits it will be difficult to get it out of the Senate given the current political makeup. But, she says, it’s important to get the discussion started. For now, her bill sits in the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee, with no hearing scheduled.

There is one group that’s in favor of gun liability insurance — insurance companies. Insurance companies sell policies for self-defense use of guns and concealed carry. It’s even NRA-endorsed. As described in a video promoting “Second Call Defense,” the “legal aftermath of a self-defense shooting can sometimes seem worse than what causes you to use lethal force in the first place.” (See the video at the MyNorthwest.com article.)

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Court rules that Florida doctors can ask patients about guns and gun safety

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Circuit Court Judge Adalberto Jordan

Guns, what guns?

From Fox News: A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Florida doctors can talk to patients about gun safety, declaring a law aimed at restricting such discussions a violation of the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law does not trespass on patients’ Second Amendment rights to own guns and noted a patient who doesn’t want to be questioned about that can easily find another doctor.

“The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” wrote Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan (appointed by Obama and born in Cuba) in one of two majority opinions covering 90 pages. “There is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients.”

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a finalist in President Donald Trump’s search for a Supreme Court nominee, said in a separate concurring opinion that the First Amendment must protect all points of view.

“The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it,” he wrote. “The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority.”

The law was passed in 2011 and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott with strong support from the National Rifle Association. It was the only one of its kind in the nation, although similar laws have been considered in other states.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted it was necessary because doctors were overstepping their bounds and pushing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

The law was challenged almost immediately by thousands of physicians, medical organizations and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of free speech in what became known as the “Docs v. Glocks” case. A legal battle has raged in the courts since then, with several conflicting opinions issued.

“We are thrilled that the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

The 11th Circuit noted that Florida lawmakers appeared to base the law on “six anecdotes” about physicians’ discussions of guns in their examination rooms and little other concrete evidence that there is an actual problem. And doctors who violated the law could face professional discipline, a fine or possibly loss of their medical licenses.

“There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients’ firearms or otherwise infringed on patients’ Second Amendment rights,” Jordan wrote for the court.

The NRA and Florida attorneys had argued that under the law doctors could ask about firearms if the questions were relevant to a patient’s health or safety, or someone else’s safety, and that the law was aimed at eliminating harassment of gun owners. But the 11th Circuit said there was no evidence of harassment or improper disclosure of gun ownership in health records, as law supporters also claimed.

“There is nothing in the record suggesting that patients who are bothered or offended by such questions are psychologically unable to choose another medical provider, just as they are permitted to do if their doctor asks too many questions about private matters like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, or drug use,” the court ruled.

The ruling did determine that some parts of the law could remain on the books, such as provisions allowing patients to decline to answer questions about guns and prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for people who lawfully own guns.

The case will return to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami for a ruling that follows the 11th Circuit’s direction. The case could, however, also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

DCG

California “snafu” releases personal information of nearly 4,000 gun safety instructors

clerical-error

From Fox News: The private information of thousands of California firearms instructors was accidentally released by the state late last year in response to a journalist’s Freedom of Information request.

The data request was made in August, when a reporter for Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), an NPR affiliate, sought all information on Firearms Safety Certifications available from the California Department of Justice.

The information was released in October, and a clerical error gave the reporter wide access to the personal information of 3,424 firearms instructors — whose dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and California identification numbers were handed over, according to NRA-ILA, the legislative arm of the National Rifle Association.

The error was caught two months later, and the California DOJ sent out a letter to all of the Golden State’s instructors letting them know their personal information had been compromised.

“The Department discovered the data breach on October 17, 2016, and notified the requestor of the error and asked that the information be destroyed and that no further dissemination of it occur,” said the letter, sent by the Office of the Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris is now a U.S. senator.

The letter also recommended the firearm instructors place a fraud alert on their credit. Since driver’s license numbers are appealing to identity thieves, a fraud alert could prevent criminals from misusing someone’s personal data.

NRA officials blasted the California DOJ for its data breach and questioned why it took the department so long to alert the thousands who were affected. “This privacy breach is just another example of the California Department of Justice’s disregard for the rights of gun owners,” Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs for the NRA, said to FoxNews.com.  “There’s no reason why the private information of firearms instructors should have been released – the DOJ redacts information all the time.”

Baker also questioned the length of time it took the state to inform victims of the breach.  “It’s time the California government start awarding gun owners the same respect as it does non-gun owners.”

Some security experts said that while it wasn’t a significant data breach, there is still cause for concern. “The main concern, if any, would be identity theft, simply because it is so prevalent,” police consultant and retired Los Angeles Police Lt. Raymond Foster said to FoxNews.com. “I don’t think anyone would threaten these instructors, but one concern is that many of them are retired police officers and that could put them at an additional risk. Most of them when they are off-duty like to lie low and blend in. But I’d imagine that NPR would never publish this info and would likely just rip it up.”

The reporter, who the NRA-ILA identifies as Aaron Mendelson, acknowledged in his FOIA request that part of his request would be redacted. “…Please inform me of the redaction and the legal justification for it,” said the request, which was obtained by FoxNews.com.

Since receiving the data, it appears that none of the information has been published in any recent stories. In its letter to firearm instructors, the California DOJ said that it had asked the reporter to destroy the information he received and if he did not do so he would face legal action.

Neither Mendelson nor officials for Southern California Public Radio immediately returned calls for comment.

Gun instructors in California took the news of their information being released in stride. Dennis Santiago, an independent gun safety instructor in the Los Angeles area, who received the DOJ letter, told FoxNews.com he at first thought it was a hacking incident. “I was speaking with other instructors at a gun shop about it and they didn’t seem too concerned,” Santiago said. “They took it as being the cost of being in America.”

DCG

Agitators Call for End to FedEx Discount for NRA Members

grinch

From Bloomberg: A coalition of gay-rights and gun-control activists is taking on FedEx Corp. for discounts it offers to members of the National Rifle Association, targeting the global shipper during the peak of the holiday season.

The group is launching an online campaign and planned to protest on Wednesday at FedEx retail stores in Denver; Atlanta; Memphis, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida, said Igor Volsky, director of Guns Down, a Washington-based group that advocates for fewer guns in the U.S. and is one of 10 participating organizations. A Dec. 7 letter to the company got no response, he said. FedEx doesn’t comment on specific customer agreements, Melissa Charbonneau, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

FedEx offers shipping discounts of as much as 26 percent to members of the NRA, the gun-rights group with 5 million members, as part of a program that also has special offers for Visa Inc. cards, according to Guns Down. Separate programs offer deals on Hertz rental cars and Wyndham hotels, according to the NRA website.

“FedEx is one of the biggest and most recognizable brands” with NRA discounts, Volsky said. “If they really value investing in under-served communities, which we think they do, then partnering with the NRA really undermines that mission.”

Judge Judy shakes head rolls eyes

LGBT groups have increased their anti-gun activism since a shooting in June that killed 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando. Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, added gun safety to its action platform for the first time this year, although it’s not part of this campaign.

Guns Down is joined by Color of Change, which advocates for minorities, Newton Action Alliance and Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, Volsky said. Color of Change was credited for helping discourage companies from supporting this year’s Republican National Convention because of President-elect Donald Trump’s views on minorities.

Gays Against Guns, a separate group, also has targeted FedEx, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and Wyndham Worldwide Corp. for giving discounts to NRA members. In August, it called out BlackRock Inc. for investments in gun companies in index-based funds. The New York-based company has said it supports LGBT rights and that the gun investments are automatic, as part of the index, and not managed by BlackRock.

FedEx, which is based in Memphis, and United Parcel Service Inc. have forecast they will handle record package volumes this holiday shopping season, fueled by an estimated 17 percent jump in online spending. FedEx handled 325 million packages in the 2015 peak shipping season, and has hired more than 50,000 temporary workers for this year’s period.

DCG