Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case About ATF Bump Stock Ban (Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, 1:00pm)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday once again declined to hear a challenge to the federal ban on “bump stock” devices that modify semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly. The ban, implemented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, went into effect in 2019 after the Supreme Court declined to block it. The court’s refusal to review the case, which comes after the Justices declined to take up similar efforts to overturn the bump stock prohibition last month and in 2020, leaves intact a Trump-era measure enacted in 2017.

In its challenge to the bump stock ban, the Petitioners, which included gun rights advocates who had purchased bump stocks prior to the ATF ban, did not directly argue that the ban violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Rather, they argued that the government did not have authority to ban bump stocks under the National Firearms Act, a law enacted in 1934 to regulate machine guns and amended in 1968 by the Gun Control Act. Specifically, the Petitioners argued that the ATF erred when it concluded that bump stocks meet the definition of accessories “for use in converting a weapon” into a machine gun, and that the ATF has distorted the legal definition of machine gun beyond that recognized under the NFA. The Petitioners also argued that the ban, which did not include a “grandfather” protection allowing owners of devices purchased prior to the regulation to keep their property, amounted to an uncompensated government taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case means that prior lower court rulings from the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had upheld the ban, will remain in force.

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Federal Court Stops New York from Enforcing Recently Enacted Concealed Carry Law (Wednesday, November 9, 2022, 9:00pm)

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction regarding New York’s recent concealed carry law, which was enacted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling holding that most of the provisions of the state’s previous concealed carry law were unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby ruled to halt enforcement on most parts of New York’s “Concealed Carry Improvement Act”, saying that several elements of the law superseded New York officials’ authority, including measures that required people applying for a gun license to submit proof of “good moral character” and to provide a list of social media accounts and family contact information.

Additionally, the ruling invalidates carry restrictions in certain places that were included in the law’s list of “sensitive locations”, such as Times Square, saying that the state’s list of gun-free zones was overly broad, but did allow gun bans to remain in places such as polling locations and schools.

The state had already appealed Suddaby’s previous decision to issue a temporary restraining order against the law that followed many of the same conclusions as his preliminary injunction.

A separate federal judge has already blocked the law’s church-carry prohibition in the Western District of New York after a pair of religious leaders sued, saying they wanted to “exercise their fundamental individual right to bear arms” on church property in the event of a dangerous situation that arises. Meanwhile, a group of armed Jewish worshipers is currently challenging the church-carry provision in the Southern District.

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Members of U.S. Congress and State Attorneys General Voice Opposition to Credit Card Tracking of Firearm Purchases (Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 12:00am)

In the wake of a proposal by credit card companies such as Visa, American Express and MasterCard, and major banks issuing such credit cards, to track gun purchases via the establishment of a Merchant Category Code (MCC) to categorize firearm sales, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, has sent a letter to the CEO of Visa, signed by 100 Republican members of U.S. House of Representatives, setting forth the lawmakers’ concerns and specifically seeking answers to address those concerns.

Stefanik and fellow House Republicans argue the move has violated the Second Amendment and that prior efforts to authorize firearm-specific codes for gun purchases have failed. They also questioned how “suspicious” sales would be labeled. “This is a transparent attempt to chill the exercise of constitutionally protected rights and to circumvent existing legal restrictions on the creation of firearm registries by the government,” the letter reads. A copy of the letter can be found here: https://stefanik.house.gov/_cache/files/3/2/327afb2a-664b-41dc-ba6c-ce0f93af68ad/B339C19813330E1FBB3AD3B51FA773F2.rep.-stefanik-letter-to-visa.pdf

In addition, Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) sent his own letter to the CEOs of Visa, MasterCard & American Express suggesting the decision to categorize the sales would allow banks to restrict purchases and could lead to an erosion of Second Amendment rights. “This is not the solution. We demand you to reverse your decision to adopt any new firearms tracking code and prioritize the privacy of law-abiding gun,” Babin wrote. The lawmaker also said law-abiding gun owners who purchase firearms for hunting and competition shooting would be unfairly impacted by the decision. Rep. Babin’s letter can be read here: https://twitter.com/repbrianbabin/status/1571999766690537476

In addition, two United States Senators have spoken out against the proposal.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has also written a letter to the heads of Visa, Mastercard and American Express, saying “this new system is ripe for abuse” and that categorizing firearm sales would impact minority groups. Hawley, in his opposition to the move by the companies, mentioned how conservatives were blocked from donating on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to the Canadian “Freedom Convoy” truckers earlier this year. “Americans have had enough of massive companies using their market power to drive ordinary people out of the public square,” Hawley wrote. “These practices must end.” Sen. Hawley’s letter can be read here: https://twitter.com/HawleyMO/status/1569699373784891392

Also, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) has sent a letter, co-signed by twelve (12) other GOP Senators, raising questions about the tracking of gun sales. Marshall and his colleagues argued the International Organization for Standardization is a voluntary organization and that the companies’ hand was not “being forced” to categorize gun sales. The senators also warned the MCC classification would create a “backdoor gun control law.” “It is clear that these changes are being pushed for much more nefarious reasons and is likely only step one with calls for declining to process gun sales altogether coming in the near future,” the letter reads. “You have become antigun activists yourselves, wittingly or no.” To read this letter, please click on the following text link: https://www.marshall.senate.gov/wp-content/uploads/V-M-Amex-Letter-on-Gun-Merchant-Code.pdf

At the state level, 24 states, including South Carolina, have, through their respective Attorneys General, joined in submitting a letter demanding banks and credit card companies stop tracking, or monitoring, firearms purchased using credit cards. The coalition of Attorneys General alerted the CEOs of American Express, MasterCard, and Visa that the recent adoption of the Merchant Category Code for the processing of firearms purchases from gun stores is “potentially a violation of consumer protection and antitrust laws.”

In the letter, the Attorneys General stated that the monitoring and tracking of firearms purchases creates a “list of gun buyers” and creates the obvious risk that law-abiding consumers’ information will be obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights. “Why would banks and credit card companies need a separate code to process gun purchases, if not to possibly track and monitor people who buy them?” S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson asked in a press release.

The following states joined in the coalition submitting the letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, and West Virginia. To read the letter, click the following link: https://www.scag.gov/media/hbhpl2pf/second-amendment-iso-merchant-code-multistate-letter-final-2.pdf

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Legislative Update for August 2022 (Sunday, September 11, 2022)

There has been nothing to report for the month of August, since neither the federal nor state legislatures were in session this month, and there has been no legislative activity.

It is not anticipated that much, if any, further shooting sports and/or firearm-related legislative activity will occur at the federal level between now and November, since it is expected that members of Congress, particularly in the House of Representatives, will be spending the upcoming months concentrating on campaigning for the mid-term elections. We will continue to monitor, and promptly inform the membership of any news.

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(click link below)

https://midcarolinarifleclub.us/legislative-updates-archive/

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