It was obvious that, with anti-gun Democrats in control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, we would not see any real advancement of gun rights coming out of Washington, D.C. In fact, all we have seen is the confirmation of radical anti-gun extremists to the Biden Administration, and the promotion of legislation designed to remove any semblance of Second Amendment protections offered to law-abiding citizens.
Thankfully, many states have been bucking that trend, so we will endeavor to update NRA members on all the positive news coming out of state capitals throughout the country.
Arkansas Bolsters the Right to Self-Defense
In March, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed S.B. 24, which made stand-your-ground legislation the law in the Natural State. Introduced by Sen. Bob Ballenger (R), and championed in the House by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R), S.B. 24 removed the “duty to retreat” standard law-abiding Arkansans were subject to when faced with a violent criminal while away from their home.
“This law ensures the rights of law-abiding Arkansans are protected,” said NRA-ILA’s Jason Ouimet, while praising the signing of the bill. “Victims have little time to react when confronted with a criminal attack; they should not be required to try and run away before defending themselves. This is a common-sense piece of self-defense legislation.”
Montana and Utah Join the Ranks of Permitless Carry States
On Feb. 12, Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R) signed H.B. 60 into law, making the Beehive State the 17th state to allow law-abiding gun owners to carry a firearm for personal protection without first asking the government to do so.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Walt Brooks (R), removes the permit requirement for lawful concealed carry in the state of Utah. This ensures that citizens have their right to self-defense without government red tape or delays. Additionally, this legislation maintains the existing Concealed Firearm Permit (CFP) system, so citizens who still wish to obtain a permit may do so.
“There is no reason a law-abiding person should have to ask for permission to carry a firearm for self-defense,” Ouimet said. “The passage of this bill demonstrates Utah’s commitment to protecting the Second Amendment rights of its citizens.”
“We thank Gov. Cox, Rep. Brooks and all who supported this important bill,” Ouimet concluded.
Less than a week later, Montana became the 18th state to join the permitless carry club. Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed H.B. 102 into law, which strengthens Montana’s self-defense laws by allowing law-abiding Montana gun owners to carry a firearm for self-defense throughout the state without a government-mandated permit. The bill also removes a number of Montana’s “gun-free zones,” and ends the unnecessary disarming of Montanans as they go about their day-to-day lives.
“On behalf of the NRA’s more-than-five-million members, we thank Gov. Gianforte for his leadership in recognizing the right of law-abiding Montanans to defend themselves and their loved ones without being required to seek government permission,” Ouimet said.
“The NRA will continue standing up and stepping forward to protect and preserve our most basic, fundamental freedoms here in Montana and across the United States.”
A number of other states have seen similar permitless carry bills make legislative progress, so we hope to be able to report in the near future that the march of the Second Amendment continues to progress at the state level.
South Dakota Passes Protections During State of Emergency
The South Dakota legislature passed S.B. 100, which provides protections for gun stores, ranges or any other entity that engages in the lawful selling or servicing of firearms, components or accessories. The bill also prevents the prohibition, regulation or seizure of citizens’ Second Amendment rights during a declared State of Emergency.
As this issue went to press, we were awaiting Governor Kristi Noem’s (R) expected signature.
NRA Victory in Washington Court of Appeals
In addition to legislative victories, we are also seeing success in the courts. A February decision by the Washington Court of Appeals upheld the state’s preemption law and struck down a pair of local ordinances that restricted the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“Today’s ruling is an important victory for the people of Washington,” said Lars Dalseide, NRA Washington state spokesman. “Hopefully, jurisdictions like Edmonds will realize that violating the Washington State Constitution is neither legal nor in the best interest of personal protection.”
The case, Bass v. City of Edmonds, centered on two regulations requiring firearms to be locked at all times within the home and imposed liabilities on gun owners if a prohibited person ever accessed their guns.
“Washington state law prevents local jurisdictions from passing laws that are inconsistent with, or more restrictive than, state law. We thank the courts for faithfully applying the preemption law and securing the rights of those who choose to protect themselves, their families, and their homes,” Dalseide concluded.