Virginia Gun Owners Should Worry About Governor Northam’s Gun Control Package

Earlier today, Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA)  announced his intention to promote a “reasonable” package of legislation aimed at “preventing gun violence” and “improving “the safety of Virginia’s citizens and communities” during the upcoming General Assembly session in Richmond, VA. Session will commence on January 9th.

“We lose too many Virginians each year to senseless gun violence, and it is time we take meaningful steps to protect the health and safety of our citizens,” said Governor Northam. “I look forward to opening a dialogue with the General Assembly on this legislative package of reasonable gun violence reforms, which appropriately balances Second Amendment Rights with public safety.”

The provisions included in this package are the following:

  • Establishing an Extreme Risk Protective Order
  • Reinstating the  previously enacted One Handgun a Month law;
  • Prohibiting individuals subject to final protective orders from possessing firearms under red flag laws;
  • Banning so-called “assault firearms”—largely semi-automatic in nature
  • Preventing children from accessing firearms
  • Requiring individuals to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement more quickly
  • Banning magazines exceeding 10 rounds

 

Virginia gun owners should contact their state lawmakers and attend Lobby Day on January 21st, 2019, to lobby their delegates and state senators to vote down this legislation.

Retreat On Wall Funding And Bump Stock Ban May Cause Cracks In Trump’s Base

Donald Trump boasted during the 2016 campaign that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters.” Until now that has been true. No matter what Trump has done or what revelations have come out his supporters have stuck with him. This week may have been the breaking point for some Trump supporters, however.

Core Trump supporters have a few issues that rise above all others. For many, guns and immigration top the list and this week saw President Trump take positions on both issues that are unpopular with many members of his base.

First, Trump, who many supporters lauded as a fighter, surrendered to Democrats on a temporary funding bill for the government. As recently as last week, Trump had vowed not to sign a new spending bill that did not include $5 billion in funding for his border wall. On Tuesday, however, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders retreated from that position, telling reporters, “At the end of the day, we don’t want to shut down the government. We want to shut down the border.”

Trump supporters almost universally support the border wall, even to the point of launching a GoFundMe campaign that has so far raised $1 million for the project. Many were also strongly in favor of a government shutdown over funding for the wall. The White House acquiesence to a temporary funding measure will be viewed as a defeat by many members of the base.

Even worse for Trump is the long-awaited bump stock ban. The Second Amendment is considered untouchable by many Trump supporters and conservatives yet President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to outlaw the rapid-fire devices and require Americans who own them to either turn them in or destroy them within 90 days. There is no provision for compensating bump stock owners for their devices which could cost hundreds of dollars. Worse, the ATF under President Obama told Congress that the government did not have the authority under current law to ban the devices.

The Trump Administration’s ban has brought criticism from many Second Amendment supporters. Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgia Carry, told the Atlanta Journal, “When you start banning accessories to firearms, then you really get on a slippery slope. It doesn’t change the function of the firearm, and therefore it shouldn’t be banned.”

“It is nibbling away at our second amendment rights,” Janelle Westrom, owner of Davenport Guns, told Iowa’s TV-6. “I don’t like the decision but, myself personally, it doesn’t affect me,” she added.

“I don’t care about bump stocks,” tweeted Sean Davis, Trump supporter and a founder of The Federalist, “but I care a great deal about lawless government power grabs, based on utter lies, that will instantly turn innocent people who did nothing wrong into felons and be used to justify nationwide confiscation regimes.”

Davis also noted in a separate tweet, “Under the new rule, an individual who illegally brings a loaded rifle into an elementary school will get a shorter maximum prison sentence (5 years) than a woman who has a bump stock in her garage but doesn’t own any actual guns (10 years).”

On the other hand, some people do support the bump stock ban. “I have to agree with the ban,” Geoff Wilson of Hendersonville, N.C. told WLOS TV.. “Turn them in, get rid of them. And like I said, I’m a full supporter of the Second Amendment.”

Another supporter of the ban is Mary Margaret Oliver, a Democrat state representative who introduced a similar bill in the Georgia General Assembly earlier this year. Rep. Oliver’s bill went nowhere but she told the AJC, “I’m delighted that I can say that President Trump did something that makes me happy.”

While some Trump supporters will rally around the president and deny that the bump stock ban is an infringement of the Second Amendment and an unconstitutional overreach of executive authority, for others Trump’s moves will be a breach of trust. Where Trump’s past statements in support of gun control can be overlooked by many, the bump stock ban initiated by the president without getting anything in exchange cannot be explained away as a bargaining ploy or mere rhetoric.

Trump’s support won’t evaporate overnight but this week may mark a turning point with his base. Issuing an ultimatum on wall funding to Democrats and then backing down smacks of weakness while the bump stock ban calls into question Trump’s core principles. Supporters who have not doubted the president up to this point may now start to do so. Trump’s base won’t vote Democrat but they may stay home. This may be the president’s Fifth Avenue moment.

Donald Trump Just Restricted The Second Amendment More Than Barack Obama

Although he is still endorsed by the NRA, President Trump just presided over the biggest federal restriction on the Second Amendment since President Clinton signed the assault weapons ban in 1994. On Tuesday, the Trump Administration officially banned bump stocks in a regulatory move that bypassed Congress.

In a scenario reminiscent of the worst fears of gun owners, the new federal regulation makes it illegal to possess a bump stock. Any person who possesses one of the rapid-fire devices must either surrender it to authorities or destroy it when the new regulation takes effect. Per the Associated Press, the deadline to comply will be 90 days after the regulation is published in the Federal Register. That is expected to happen Friday, meaning that bump stock owners will have until late March to decide how to dispose of their property.

The regulation was signed into law by President Trump’s newly appointed Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. The president had directed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns” last February. CNN reported in November after the election that the regulation had been finalized and would be issued soon.

The bump stock ban seems to be a solution in search of a problem. The devices, which use the recoil of the gun to help the shooter pull the trigger rapidly, are not typically used in crimes. The exception was the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre in which the murderer used a rifle with a bump stock to kill 59 people. Bump stocks make it difficult to aim and shoot accurately, but concert-goers in Las Vegas were packed into such a tight area that aiming was hardly necessary.

Ironically, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms under Barack Obama determined that a regulatory bump stock ban was not legal under current law. In 2013, the assistant director of the ATF wrote to a member of Congress that bump stocks “are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms statutes” and were therefore legal. The letter stated that the devices did “not provide an automatic action — requiring instead continuous multiple inputs (trigger pulls) by the user for each successive shot” and were therefore not subject to the Federal Firearms Act. In the expert opinion of the ATF, a bump stock ban would require Congress to pass new legislation.

Now, five years later, the Trump Administration is arguing that the Obama-era ATF was wrong and that bump stocks are in violation of the Federal Firearms Act. The laws of physics have not changed over the past five years. Guns with bump stocks still require separate trigger pulls to fire multiple times. Neither has the Federal Firearms Act changed. The only thing that has changed is the Trump Administration’s interpretation of the law.

Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, told the AP that the organization was “disappointed” by the ban. Baker said that the regulation “fails to address the thousands of law-abiding Americans” who bought the devices before the Trump Administration deemed them to be illegal and argued that current owners should be grandfathered in with an amnesty.

The Trump bump stock ban contains many of the worst aspects of liberal gun control plans and sets a dangerous precedent. First, the ban is arbitrary and will have little, if any, effect on public safety. The rationale for the ban, that no one really needs a bump stock, is the same rationale that many liberals use to advocate banning AR-15s and guns in general. Proponents say that bump stocks are a gun accessory and not protected by the Second Amendment, but the same argument could be made for many other items including scopes, reloading equipment, magazines, and ammunition.

More disturbing is that the Trump Administration is bypassing Congress to invoke the ban in violation of the Federal Firearms Act. Current law defines a “machine gun” as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” However, as the ATF pointed out in 2013, that does not describe a bump stock’s operation. Reading the law to mean something that it does not say is usually strongly criticized by conservatives.

The new regulation goes further in restricting the Second Amendment than anything successfully enacted by Barack Obama, who was notoriously anti-gun. The Republican Congress killed Obama’s proposed gun restrictions limiting the former president to issuing a series of Executive Orders that fell short of banning any weapon or accessory.

President Trump’s bump stock ban is a blueprint that future anti-gun Democrat presidents can use to bypass Congress and further restrict the Second Amendment. In addition to being an anti-gun measure, the move is a flagrant abuse of executive authority.

There is no word on whether the NRA will endorse President Trump for reelection.

Report: Trump To Issue Order Banning Bump Stocks

Now that the election is over, President Trump is reportedly ready to issue his long-promised ban on bump stocks.

You may remember that the president ordered then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” Trump added that he expected the regulations to be finalize soon. That was in February.

Now CNN is reporting that the moment of truth has finally arrived. In March, the Department of Justice submitted a proposed rule that would reinterpret an Obama-era regulatory interpretation that allowed the devices. In 2013, the assistant director of the ATF wrote to Congress that bump stocks were not subject to the Federal Firearms Act because they required “continuous multiple inputs (trigger pulls) by the user for each successive shot.”

Per CNN’s report, the ban will be announced within a few days. As part of the rule change, owners of bump stocks would be required to either turn in or discard their devices.

A senior DOJ official told CNN, “Bump stocks turn semiautomatic guns into illegal machine guns. This final rule sends a clear message: Illegal guns have no place in a law-and-order society, and we will continue to vigorously enforce the law to keep these illegal weapons off the street.”

Democrats support a bump stock ban but argue that an executive ban would be subject to legal challenges in the courts. Republicans typically oppose new gun controls, but many have urged the Justice Department to enact a bureaucratic ban, arguing that bump stocks are a gun accessory that is not protected by the Second Amendment.

Shockingly, even the National Rifle Association has called for increased regulation of the devices. In a statement released after the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, the NRA said, “Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.” The Las Vegas massacre appears to be the only crime of note that has been committed with a bump stock.

Along with the obvious questions of what the Administration hopes to gain by banning a device that has almost no history of use in violent crimes and whether it is constitutional for a president to unilaterally decide to reinterpret existing law to accomplish his dubious policy goal, another question should haunt Second Amendment activists as they prepare to bid their bump stocks goodbye:

Isn’t ammunition also a firearms accessory?

Originally published Nov. 29, 2018

In Defense Of Bump Stocks

In the days since the Parkland school shooting, politicians of both parties have lined up in favor of a ban on bump stocks. Even many Republicans voters have given their assent to a ban on the rapid fire devices without much more than a whimper.

 

Two things make the matter of Republicans favoring gun control even more odd. First is that the proposed ban is an emotional reaction from a party that typically counsels against quick, emotional legislating after tragedies. Second, the Parkland massacre did not involve a bump stock.

 

A maxim of aviation is “don’t just do something, sit there.” It is very seldom that that any action needs to be taken so quickly that the consequences cannot be considered. In that spirit, let us take time out from the cacophony to look at the issue logically.

Bump stocks may be rare in crimes because they decrease the accuracy of the weapon. Andrew Wickerham, who trains police and security guards, told the Christian Science Monitor, “I’ve always thought these bump stocks were just a novelty. They’re not that good, and they’re hard as hell to control.”

 

A bump stock ban would almost certainly be ineffective because a modestly handy gun owner can craft a bump stock from common parts cheaply and quickly. It took me about two minutes to find the instructions on the internet.

 

In 2013, the assistant director of the ATF wrote to a member of Congress that bump stocks “are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms statutes” and were therefore legal. The letter stated that the devices did “not provide an automatic action — requiring instead continuous multiple inputs (trigger pulls) by the user for each successive shot” and were therefore not subject to the Federal Firearms Act.

 

Marianos’ change of heart is exactly why the rule of law is important. Laws should be objective and consistent, not subject to the changing whims of regulators. If the Federal Firearms Act did not apply to bump stocks in 2013, it doesn’t apply now just because the president wants to ban them.

 

If President Trump and the rest of the nation decides that a bump stock ban is what the people want, there is a constitutional process in place to make it so. This is How A Bill Becomes a Law.

 

President Trump is falling into the same trap of abusing executive authority that plagued President Obama. The difference now is that Republicans at least tried to hold President Obama accountable.

 

What President Trump and other pro-gun control Republicans don’t consider is the precedent that they are setting. A presidential bump stock ban would begin a pattern of emotionally regulating policies that would make no difference to the overall problem of mass shootings. It would reinforce the Obama-era model of presidents bypassing Congress to decree laws from the Oval Office. Further, the argument that “no one needs a bump stock” sounds suspiciously like the left’s argument for a total gun ban.

 

President Trump’s bump stock ban won’t reduce the crime rate or solve the problem of school shootings. It also won’t placate the anti-gun left. It will, however, force Republicans to live with themselves after violating their principles on multiple levels.

Originally published Feb. 25, 2018

DC City Council Implements More Gun Control, Red Flag Law

This won’t deter criminals—just penalize law-abiding gun owners, who are increasingly scarce in Washington, D.C.

It will be increasingly harder for law-abiding gun owners to possess certain gun accessories in the District of Columbia.

The newly-enacted Firearms Safety Omnibus Amendment Act, largely supported by Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, is calling for “stronger gun laws” to be witnessed—including increased penalties for those in possession extended magazine clips, for those in possession of bump stocks, and the implementation of the controversial and dangerous red flag law—which recently resulted in the tragic death of an Anne Arundel, Maryland, man.

When enacted, this red flag law in D.C. will allow “family members, physicians, officers and others” to file a petition to have firearms removed from individuals, largely family members, they believe are a danger to themselves or others. Moreover, red flag laws give more authority to judges to certify the petition for removal of firearms within hours of a request being filed. This law has been rightfully criticized for incurring Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment right violations.

Here’s more on their justification for this provision, which will certainly alarm civil rights advocates:

“It gives a process through the courts where that gun can be removed temporarily to prevent them from doing harm to themselves or to others,” explained Allen.

He also said the red flag law could exempt someone from criminal punishment through an immunity provision if they are found to possess a gun illegally.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham was critical of the immunity provision in a letter sent to the council recently, saying it will create an environment more accepting of illegal guns.

Newsham said in the letter, “by expanding the immunity provision to include felons, fugitives from justice, or anyone with a domestic violence conviction, the legislation will undermine efforts to protect the community and other potential victims of violence.”

“If that gun was used in a crime, immunity is gone,” said Allen responding to the chief’s concerns. “If they aren’t allowed to have a gun because they are under court supervision, they are prohibited – no immunity.”

“This is a very narrow, narrow piece that is the barrier between someone making a phone call because they’re trying to weigh, do I think they are going to do harm or do I want to have them get a criminal consequence? And we want to get the gun out of their hands,” said Allen.

Like other examples of gun control measures, this will absolutely do nothing to deter violent crime in the nation’s capital—which rated as the _ most dangerous city in the country. This will only penalize law-abiding gun owners, who already have a difficult time in the district.

Washington, D.C. recently became a shall-issue territory—meaning the city council couldn’t legally restrict concealed carry applicants from applying and exercising their rights. As of November 2018, there was a 1,440% percent increase in carry permit holders since last year’s landmark ruling in the District’s Circuit Courts of Appeals, where now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh previously sat on. Daily Caller also reports that prior to the ruling, only 123 D.C. residents had carry permits. That number, as confirmed by Metropolitan Police Department, has increased to 1,896 total concealed carry permits issued by them this year.

Guns and Ammo magazine ranked Washington, D.C. as the 47th worst place for gun owners of all 50 states and the District of Columbia—just behind California. Their report assessed each state using the following criteria: Right to Carry (RTC), access to “Black Rifles”, the states’ use-of-force laws (i.e., Castle Doctrine or CD), the prohibition of items regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) and a catch-all Miscellaneous (MISC) column.

Per the recently launched FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, Washington, D.C. was rated the 44th most violent city in the U.S. It last held the 27th spot. Hate crimes are reportedly up 62 percent. D.C.’s 2017 violent crime rate was 6, 584 per its population of 693,972—with 116 homicides.

This D.C. bill will likely be challenged by gun groups for its numerous violations of individual rights.

The author of this story consulted Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen’s Republican challenger, Michael Bekesha, during the 2018 election cycle.

Now That Democrats Retook The House, They Aren’t Shy About Pushing Gun Control.

Any gun control effort will thankfully die in the GOP-control U.S. Senate and not be signed into law by President Trump.

Since winning the House of Representatives, Democrats have already pledged on proposing tough gun control laws — especially in wake of the tragic shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA.

 

When appearing on CNN with Chris Cuomo, Pelosi was quoted in saying the following about this “top-priority” come January:

 

“There is bipartisan legislation to have common sense background checks to prevent guns going into the wrong hands,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday night.

That means concealed carry reciprocity and the Hearing Protection Act will be dead-on-arrival, per the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

 

During this past midterm election, two things should be noted.

 

First, several prominent A-rated NRA lawmakers were defeated by virulently anti-gun candidates, who flipped many Republican seats Democrat. This was especially seen with the defeat of Rep. Culbertson in Texas, Mike Coffman in Colorado, and Karen Handel in Georgia.

 

Second, gun control groups spent far more than pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment groups. Two gun control groups Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions cumulatively spent $37 million combined in the 2018 elections. Alternatively, gun rights groups spent only $20 million this past election cycle. Fortune Magazine has the figure at $11 million for gun control groups, $2 million more than pro-Second Amendment groups.

 

There is some good news, however. Democrats may flex their gun control muscle in the House but their efforts will die in the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. You need both chambers of Congress to pass legislation which would then go on to be signed by President Trump. Trump has pledged and reiterated that he won’t support any gun control legislation or sign it into law.

 

There are so-called moderate Democrats who said they will support common sense gun control legislation. If our worst fears become true, these people must be held accountable and their votes and statements must be recorded.

 

We will keep a watchful eye on anti-gun extremists and those who pose as moderates here at The Resurgent.

Montana’s “Moderate” Governor Admits Desire to Ban Semi-Automatic Firearms

Semi-automatic firearms aren’t assault weapons—even Montana voters won’t be fooled by those claims.

 

Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) is alienating much of his constituency in Montana with recent statements affirming his support of a ban on semi-automatic firearms, which mainstream media outlets have deemed an endorsement of “assault weapons ban.” If you recall the 1994 assault weapons ban, it had little-to-no effect in reducing overall gun crime in this country.

 

During an interview yesterday on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Jake Tapper, Bullock was pressed if he would support a ban on semi-automatic firearms — i.e. your basic hunting rifle or AR-15 — in an effort to root out “assault weapons.”

 

Bullock said, “You know, I would, Jake.”

 

“If we really step back for a minute, I think most folks, be it in Montana or elsewhere, that are firearms owners want to keep themselves and their families safe.”

 

In wake of these statements, Bullock’s spokesperson said this:

 

“Gov. Bullock is doing what most Americans are right now — reflecting on how we got to the point where mass shootings are a common event — and trying to find a way to stop it,” Abel said. “Like many Montanans, Bullock is a gun owner and a hunter and he personally doesn’t see the need for these kinds of firearms for hunting or personal safety.

 

“There are things we can do to keep guns out the hands of people who shouldn’t have them without taking privately owned weapons from those who legally own them.”

 

For a supposed gun owner and hunter, Governor Bullock’s comments come from a place of deep-seated ignorance. Semi-automatic firearms — meaning per one pull of the trigger, one bullet exits the chamber and is fired versus one pull of the trigger and many bullets are fired — are most firearms on the marketplace, including hunting rifles. His contention with so-called assault semi-automatic firearms, like those before him, is that they are physically intimidating and scaring looking, just like one expert on CNN who deemed semi-automatic firearms “fully semi-automatic” in nature. This factual inaccuracy is embarrassing and by all definitions “fake news” for it is non-existent in firearms nomenclature.

Is Governor Bullock aware of this statement and the repercussions that will arise from it? Butchering ballistics terminology by conflating semi-automatic firearms with so-called assault weapons (which are fully-automatic in nature) shows the moderate governor really isn’t what he claims to be. He’s just another advocate for disarmament who fooled his constituency. He appears eager to align with national Democrats as he mulls a run for the presidency in 2020 (claims which he has repeatedly denied.)

 

In wake of the Parkland shooting, the presumed “moderate” Montana governor has taken steps to shed his supposedly pro-gun shell in support of more extreme gun restrictions that are out of the mainstream in the Treasure State. Back in May, he wrote he had a change of heart on universal background checks and wrote the following in USA Today: Here’s an excerpt of the column, emphasis on bolded parts:

 

Americans calling for protection of the Second Amendment want their families to be safe. I know because I’m a gun owner who believes in the Constitution, yet also recognizes its limits*. Two-thirds of Americans who own guns say one of the main reasons is to* protect themselves and their families.

 

If we approach gun violence from the shared value of protecting our families and focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us, I am convinced we can make meaningful progress. We need to work towards a society where mass shootings and schoolyard deaths are not onlyillegal, they are unheard of*.*

 

Let’s dispense with shiny objects intended to distract from the issue.Arming teachers is absurd; period*. Those licensed to carry concealed are not trained law enforcement officers, and we shouldn’t confuse the two. And mental health, while critically important for our nation to address, is a challenge requiring a separate set of solutions.*

 

Let’s focus on what works. Most gun owners are law abiding, yet too often guns get into the wrong hands*. That’s why the first step ought to be* universal background checks and cracking down on straw purchases of guns*.*

 

There are many issues with his statements from this supposed Constitutional-loving gun owner. First, there are already limits to gun ownership with basic background checks and disqualifying past criminal behavior for gun ownership. Second, committing mass murder, or any murder for that matter, is already illegal—but law-abiding gun owners get pinned for the evil wrongdoing committed by criminals. Third, he believes arming teachers is an absurd notion because he believes, like most disarmament proponents, that concealed handgun permit holders aren’t as trained as law enforcement. (Law enforcement in PennsylvaniaOhioMichiganFlorida, and even California, for example, want more concealed handgun permit holders to help them combat crime.) Fourth, regarding universal background checks, that would deter criminals from illegally obtaining firearms nor committing crimes. This is an enforcement issue, which can be fixed by reforming NICS.

 

If semi-automatic and fully automatic “assault” firearms are to be conflated with one another, then in the case of Montana, Bullock’s state, most hunting rifles would be banned from the market. Can you imagine how pissed Montanans would be by this move? Very pissed—so pissed, they may vote out all remaining Democrats in statewide office and replace them with folks who aren’t bamboozled by poorly thought-out, dangerous disarmament rhetoric. In a state that voted for Trump 56.2% to Clinton’s 35.7%, Bullock’s comments shouldn’t sit well with voters there. Montana is comprised of 335,000 hunters and anglers, who spend “$983 million annually and support 16,515 jobs”according to the Congressional Sportsman Foundation. Bad move, Governor Bullock.

 

Assault weapons and semi-automatic firearms shouldn’t be conflated with one another. You can learn the difference here.

 

Montanans should vote for people who broadly speak for them and don’t champion full disarmament—by voting for candidates unlike Bullock.