Posts Tagged ‘Second Amendment’

Her home is her castle

Your Home is Your Castle and You Have a Right to Defend it

Since a young Oklahoma widow shot and killed a home intruder on New Year’s Eve 2010, the Castle Doctrine law has been making the national news. In the last few weeks, there has been a bigger push for states that do not have a Castle Doctrine law enacted to start one and even extend Castle Doctrine laws for states that have a form of the self-defense law. Most recently was Virginia’s House Bill 48 that passed the Senate on Friday, February 3, 2012 on a 12 to 6 vote and now will move to the Senate.

Virginia Senate in Session

Virginia State Senate Votes 21-19 to End One-Gun-Per-Month Limit

Today the Virginia State Senate voted to end Virginia’s long-standing limit of one handgun purchase per month. Virginia based this rationing of the 2nd Amendment right on the idea that limiting the volume of firearms sales could prevent illegal “gun running” to neighboring areas with stricter handgun laws or outright bans, such as Washington, D.C. They originally enacted the law in 1993 during a swelling of gun control measures that climaxed with the national assault weapons ban in 1994. Despite nearly two decades of this law’s enforcement, there is no evidence whatsoever that limiting law-abiding citizens to one handgun purchase a month had any effect on the illegal arms trade on the east coast.

The Second Amendment is my gun permit

Mentally Unfit? Who Says So?

On January 13, 2012, the First Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals ruled in United States v. Rehlander that the mentally ill should be able to own guns until there is a hearing “declaring them unfit.” The court stated that the right to bear arms cannot be revoked by the government without due process. The 14th Amendment, called the Due Process Clause, means that the government must follow fair procedures before taking away a constitutional right.

The Second Amendment is my gun permit

The Second Amendment is my gun permit.

In March 2007 and in April of 2007, Nathan Rehlander was involuntarily hospitalized under Maine’s “emergency procedure” for “suicidal impulses.” He was later discharged via court order stating that Rehlander needed treatment, but posed no risk of serious harm. In December 2008, during a response from an assault complaint, Rehlander was found in possession of a 9mm pistol. Under Maine law, Rehlander’s involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital meant that his right to own a firearm had been stripped away. He was indicted on the charge of possession of the firearm in September 2009. He pled guilty to the charge, but has since appealed the court’s decision.

The appellate court found that because there was no follow up from Rehlander’s hospitalization deeming him “mentally unfit,” there were no procedures in place to restore Rehlander’s rights to own a gun. “Thus, Maine treats its temporary hospitalization procedures as insufficient to nullify the right to possess guns.”

Today in History: The Hughes Amendment

Do you remember the shocking images of the North Hollywood shootout? How about the days of prohibition when early fully automatic weapons such as the Thompson submachine gun and the Browning Automatic Rifle, were used to commit numerous crimes in our country? To some the banning of machine guns seems like a natural, moral act. To others, the perception is a violation of gun owners’ rights. Whatever your political view, in the early morning hours of May 19, 1986 the federal government did exactly that. The amendment was part of a larger act called the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA). This law had many smaller portions such as the “Safe Passage” provision—which states that gun owners would not face incarceration for a firearms offense if they were considered to be “traveling.” This law also established a registry prohibition, forbidding the government from keeping a registry directly linking non-National Firearms Act firearms to their owners. Later revisions include a national background check, as well as a clarification of prohibited persons. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) interpreted the Hughes Amendment as a prohibition on the civilian possession of any fully-automatic firearm manufactured after May 19, 1986. This led to freezing the number of privately-owned fully-automatic firearms at about 150,000 nationwide. This freeze led to great controversy. At the time there had been almost no record of a legally owned, civilian fully automatic firearm used to commit a violent crime. The director of the BATF, Stephen Higgins, testified that the misuse of legally-owned fully-automatic firearms was “so minimal as not to be considered a law enforcement problem.”


ATF Opens Comment Period on Proposed Ban on Popular Shotguns

Following a study released last week by the ATF on the legality of importing shotguns with “non-sporting” features, many shooters and sportsmen expressed outrage. Following the release of that study, the ATF has opened up a 30-day comment period for feedback on its proposed ban on the importation of shotguns with certain “non-sporting features.”