Russian Ammo Ban Hurts Gun Owners, Not Vladimir Putin

“The sanctions are ostensibly in response to the poisoning last year by the Russian government of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. That was a truly horrendous crime committed by an authoritarian regime against one of the few figures who continues to rally dissidents against Vladimir Putin’s regime, even from prison.

“There’s no need to apply sanctions on Russia,” Navalny told The New York Times this week. “For now, all sanctions were tailored to avoid almost all significant participants in Putin’s gangster gang. Do you want evidence? Name one real evildoer who suffered. The airplanes, the yachts, the billions in Western banks — everything is in its place,” he added. Navalny recommends directly targeting Putin’s allies.

As Navalny’s comments suggest, restrictions on imports of firearms and ammunition are less likely to hurt well-connected Russian manufacturers, who will almost certainly find buyers elsewhere, than they are to hurt civilian consumers of those goods. Amid social fracture and loss of faith in institutions, American firearms sales are booming, the ranks of gun owners swelling, and ammunition manufacturers are struggling to meet demand. Cutting off the largest single source of imported ammunition to the United States can only reduce supply and drive ammunition prices higher.”

Fourth Amendment Forbids Handcuffing Driver Just Because He Has Gun + Gun Permit

“The question thus becomes whether Plaintiff’s disclosure that he had a pistol in the car coupled with presentation of a facially valid, but not yet verified, permit can “arguably” constitute probable cause to believe that he was unlawfully possessing a weapon in his vehicle. An assessment of arguable probable cause requires consideration of the statute Defendant believed Plaintiff might be violating.

Connecticut General Statutes § 29-38(a) makes the absence of a permit while possessing a firearm inside a vehicle an element of the offense, meaning that there needed to have been some evidence indicating the probability that Plaintiff was not licensed to possess a firearm in order to suspect that he had committed the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm in a vehicle. But at no time did Defendant have any reasonable suspicion or actual knowledge of Plaintiff’s possession of the firearm without simultaneously knowing that Plaintiff demonstrated that he had an apparently valid firearm permit.

Indeed, it is undisputed that Plaintiff told Defendant that he had a pistol in the driver’s side door compartment at the time he handed his driver’s license and pistol permit to Defendant. And in his deposition, Plaintiff stated that when he handed his license and permit to Defendant, he said, “That’s my license and including [sic] my pistol permit, I have a pistol on me.” In the absence of any articulable reason for Defendant to believe the permit was counterfeit or otherwise invalid, there is no indication that Plaintiff was even arguably unlawfully possessing a firearm.

In light of the uncontested fact that Plaintiff presented his pistol permit to Defendant before or at the time he disclosed that he was in possession of a pistol and the absence of any other indicia that Plaintiff was otherwise violating the statute, no reasonable officer could believe probable cause was present. Any contrary holding “would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals” by presuming a license expressly permitting possession of a firearm was invalid. To accept Defendant’s reasoning would permit police officers to detain any driver because he or she may have a counterfeit or otherwise invalid driver’s license which has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

Because, on the record read in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, no reasonable police officer could have believed he or she had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff, the Court denies summary judgment on the lawfulness of the de facto arrest”

More People Are Buying Guns. Fewer People Are Getting Background Checks.

“The share of background checks the FBI never completes has ticked up slowly since 2014, the first year on record, when it processed 8,256,688 checks and didn’t complete 172,879, or just under 2.1 percent.
But by 2019, the bureau was failing to complete about 2.5 percent of the background checks it processed, and it didn’t finish almost 3.4 percent in the first nine months of 2020.

Those numbers only include gun background checks run by the FBI, so they don’t count the 20 states that process some or all background checks themselves. It’s also important to remember that the number of background checks isn’t the same as the number of guns sold — many are also run when people apply for gun permits, for example, or when states check on the status of gun permit holders. A single background check can also represent multiple gun sales.”

“The FBI responds to most gun background checks with an immediate “yes” or “no.” But sometimes, it has to delay the check to do more research because its records are incomplete. After three business days, the dealer can sell the gun anyway. Many, including large chains like Walmart, choose not to. But ones that do don’t have to tell the FBI about it.

In an average year, almost 275,000 background checks take longer than three business days. In 2020, there were 535,786 such checks, according to FBI data. That number doesn’t include background checks for things like concealed-carry permits or explosives licenses, which aren’t subject to the three-business-day rule.”

“after 90 days, the bureau’s regulations require it to stop work and delete the background check from its computers. To make sure it doesn’t violate that policy, the bureau actually deletes unfinished background checks on day 88 just to be safe.

In the first nine months of 2020, the FBI deleted 316,912 unfinished background checks — 3.4 percent of all the checks it processed. In an average year, it deletes about 202,000. Again, this only includes background checks that are subject to the three-business-day rule.

If the FBI discovers that the potential buyer can’t own a gun in between day three and day 88, it contacts the dealer to see if the sale went through anyway. If it did, the FBI asks the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (the ATF) to retrieve the weapon.

Between 2014 and 2019, there were on average at least 3,800 of these so-called “delayed denial” sales annually, according to ATF data obtained by the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. But there were at least 5,807 in all of 2020, according to the ATF data — the most since 2006, the first complete year on record.”

“Asked why it didn’t finish so many background checks in 2020, the FBI said in a statement that it “depends on the availability of relevant information and records provided by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies.” The bureau also said that it has “reallocated resources to help ensure that it can continue processing background checks efficiently.”

Gun sales have surged since April 2020, thanks, at least in part, to the pandemic, protests last summer for racial justice and the election of President Biden in November. The FBI data shows how the background check system has struggled to keep up. And, at this point, it’s unclear when the problem is going to get better.”

The Feds Can’t Compel States to Enforce Restrictions on Guns or Immigrants

“Contrary to what the Times reported, that policy is not “legally shaky.” It relies on the well-established anti-commandeering doctrine, which says the federal government cannot compel state and local officials to enforce its criminal laws or regulatory schemes.

That doctrine is rooted in the basic design of our government, which limits Congress to a short list of specifically enumerated powers and leaves the rest to the states or the people, as the 10th Amendment makes clear. That division of powers gives states wide discretion to experiment with different policies, some of which are bound to offend the Times.

The paper suggests that defending state autonomy is disreputable, because that argument was “deployed in the past in the South to resist antislavery and civil rights laws.” But federalism does not give states a license to violate rights guaranteed by the Constitution or to flout laws authorized by it.

Although the Times tries to tar the anti-commandeering principle as racist, the same basic idea was a crucial weapon for Northern states that refused to help the federal government enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Today that principle likewise means that state and local officials have no obligation to participate in the “deportation crackdowns” that the Times decries.

Similarly, the ongoing collapse of marijuana prohibition—a development the Times welcomes—would be impossible if states were obligated to participate in the federal war on weed. While both progressives and conservatives might wish that federalism could be limited to achieving results they like, that is not how constitutional principles work.”

The case for requiring gun licenses

“the evidence on the effects of universal background checks and assault weapons bans is pretty weak. Several studies in recent years have found that universal background checks, at least on their own, don’t seem to have a big effect on gun deaths. Similarly, the research on assault weapons bans, including the national ban that Biden helped pass in 1994, found they have little effect on gun violence, largely because the vast majority of such violence is committed with handguns.

But there’s some solid evidence that a license system reduces gun deaths. A 2018 study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that universal background checks alone correlated with more gun homicides in urban counties, while license systems were associated with fewer gun homicides. Other studies have similarly found that license requirements lead to fewer gun deaths.”

“In Massachusetts, one of the few states with a license system, obtaining a permit requires going through a multi-step process involving interviews with police, background checks, a gun safety training course, and more. Even if a person passes all of that, the local police chief can deny an application anyway. That creates more points at which an applicant can be identified as too dangerous to own a gun; it makes getting and owning a gun harder.”

More Than A Dozen States Are Trying To Nullify Federal Gun Control

“a legal doctrine known as anti-commandeering, which has been upheld in five Supreme Court cases from 1842 to 2018. It holds that the federal government can’t require states and localities to participate in the enforcement of federal laws.”

Myanmar Protests Show an AR-15 Will Protect a Lot More Freedom than a Slingshot

“What good is an AR-15 against an oppressive government armed with tanks and bombers? That’s the question gun owners often get asked, as if the destructive power of the modern state is a mic-drop argument against private weapons ownership. That might be a bit more convincing if resistance fighters didn’t repeatedly go up against well-armed troops with whatever weapons they can make or scavenge in hopes of gaining breathing room and forcing change. Sometimes, they even win, and their chances would undoubtedly be better if they had better tools at hand to begin with.”

“Despite endorsement for resistance efforts from the pro-democracy shadow government facing off against the ruling junta, Reuters emphasized that a loosely organized group “[a]rmed with a few hunting guns made by village blacksmiths, catapults, some airguns and Molotov cocktails … were no match for forces hardened by decades of conflict and equipped with combat weapons.”
But, despite the paucity of their arms and training, the fighters gave government forces a day-long battle. They had to turn, at least for the time being, to makeshift weapons because the regime spent years trying to keep the population disarmed so that it wouldn’t have to face serious resistance.

“In Myanmar, civilians are not allowed to possess any firearms,” notes the University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org.”