Our efforts with America’s various legislative bodies are, of course, critical to immediate threats to the Second Amendment. Those efforts, including election activities, are also critical to being able to move the practical application of our right to keep and bear arms closer to what was originally envisaged by our Founding Fathers. But, as we often state, what happens in the courts will usually carry longer-term dividends.
With that in mind, here are some updates that key in on the judiciary.
Virginia Shows THAT Elections Matter
The Solicitor General of Virginia, Andrew Ferguson, of the office of Attorney General Jason S. Miyares, stated in a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court that the Commonwealth of Virginia now supports the right to keep and bear arms outside the home in the NRA-backed NYSRPA v. Bruen case. Previous Attorney General Mark Herring had filed a brief supporting New York’s restrictive carry-permit-licensing scheme that arbitrarily denies this right to citizens.
The letter states:
“Following the change in Administration on January 15, 2022, the Attorney General has reconsidered Virginia’s position in this case. The purpose of this letter is to notify the Court that Virginia no longer adheres to the arguments contained in its previously filed brief. Virginia is now of the view that New York’s handgun permit regime is irreconcilable with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which secures an individual right to bear arms outside the home for self-defense.”
To read the full letter, go to supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/20/20843/211741/20220128182129817_
NRA Supports New Hearing on Bump Stocks
In early February, NRA-ILA filed an amicus curiae (or friend of the court) brief in support of a petition to have the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rehear a challenge to ATF’s 2018 rule that classified bump stocks as machine guns. A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit upheld ATF’s rule in December, and this brief urges the Fifth Circuit to hear this challenge en banc, meaning before all of the judges of the circuit. NRA-ILA remains dedicated to ensuring that law-abiding Americans will not be made criminals overnight for possessing a previously legal firearm or accessory based upon the whims of a nameless, faceless bureaucracy.
ATF had previously determined that bump stocks were not machine guns on 10 separate occasions from 2008 to 2017. But the ATF abruptly changed course in 2018 when it announced that it would review its regulatory definition of machine guns. NRA-ILA filed comments opposing ATF’s reinterpretation at that time. In spite of all of their previous determinations, ATF reversed its position and reclassified bump stocks as machine guns. That change spawned lawsuits across the country.
When Congress defined “machinegun,” it “focused solely on the trigger’s mechanics, not the process by which the trigger is pulled,” the brief argues. But, in reinterpreting “machinegun,” ATF “went off target” and examined factors that were not found in the statute.
But, this case is about much more than bump stocks. It’s about how much leeway ATF has to interpret provisions of the Gun Control Act that impose criminal liabilities. For 200 years, the Supreme Court has consistently held that “the power to create crimes lies exclusively with Congress,” the brief argues. Thus, when criminal liability is on the line, “ATF’s position is ‘not relevant at all.’” Multiple appellate courts have now heard cases on this rule, and one case is currently pending before the Supreme Court.
This case is captioned as Cargill v. Garland.
Colluding with Foreign Governments to Circumvent Constitution and American Law
Last year, Brady—one of the older, gun-prohibition advocacy groups in the U.S.—teamed up with the government of Mexico to launch an assault against the American firearms manufacturing and distribution industry. The move came in the form of a lawsuit that seeks to hold lawful and federally licensed companies in these industries responsible for the crimes of violent Mexican gangs and drug cartels, to the tune of $10 billion, according to media reports.
The suit, while filed in U.S. federal court, makes the breathtakingly audacious demand that the court ignore both U.S. law and the Constitution, and rule against gun manufacturers under Mexico law.
In February, more than a dozen U.S. states have joined in this scurrilous attempt to undermine our rule of law. They have signed onto an amicus brief supporting Mexico’s outrageous lawsuit. It should come as no surprise to know that the states involved are some of the most anti-gun states in the nation, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. Washington, D.C., of course, has also signed on.
A separate amicus brief signed by more than two dozen district attorneys was also filed in support of the Mexico lawsuit. Among the signees to that brief were some of the most anti-gun, and embattled, district attorneys in the country—many financially supported by radically anti-gun billionaire George Soros, who has funneled nearly $30 million dollars since 2016 into the election of district attorneys.
Government officials colluding to undermine the Second Amendment? Again, elections matter.