NRA-ILA has provided a year-end look at the big news stories for members in 2009:
- A federal lawsuit filed by NRA to challenge a San Francisco Housing Authority ban on firearms in public housing is settled. Under the settlement, the agency will no longer enforce a 2005 rule that prohibited the otherwise legal possession of guns and ammunition in public housing units. The City of San Francisco later pays NRA $380,000 as reimbursement for legal fees.
- U.S. Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), introduce H.R. 197– the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009”–a bill that would provide national recognition for valid state Right-to-Carry licensees.
- A three-judge panel of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upholds an Oklahoma law allowing employees to store legally owned firearms in locked, private motor vehicles while parked in employer parking lots. This decision upholds NRA-backed legislation passed in 2004.
- Just over five weeks after Inauguration Day, Attorney General Eric Holder announces that the Obama Administration will seek to reinstate the expired federal “assault weapon” ban and impose additional restrictions. Holder said that new gun control laws are needed because in Mexico, a country with a history of corruption and disregard for individual rights, there’s a shooting war going on between drug gangs and government troops, and some of the gangsters’ guns have been illegally purchased in the United States.
- The United States votes to adopt an amendment offered by Nevada Senator John Ensign (R), that seeks to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens in the District of Columbia. The amendment, attached to S.160, the “D.C. Voting Rights Act,” seeks to repeal restrictive gun control laws passed by the District of Columbia’s (D.C.) city council in defiance of the landmark D.C. v. Heller Supreme Court decision. The vote margin was 62-36.
- A federal district court in Washington, D.C. grants anti-gun plaintiffs a preliminary injunction against implementation of the new rule allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by carrying a concealed firearm in national parks and wildlife refuges. NRA files an appeal.
- In a letter to Attorney General Holder, 65 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressman Mike Ross (D-Ark.), express their opposition to the reinstatement of the failed 1994 ban on semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines. These congressmen cite numerous studies that proved the 1994 ban was ineffective, and they strongly urge Attorney General Holder to stop his effort and instead focus on the enforcement of existing gun laws.
- NRA files a second amended complaint in Dick Anthony Heller et al v. District of Columbia in U.S. District Court, asking the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent the D.C. Council from implementing laws that violate the Second Amendment and from enforcing its prohibitions on the possession of commonly owned firearms.
- U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) introduce legislation (S.816) to restore the Second Amendment rights of visitors in national parks and wildlife refuges (its companion bill, H.R. 1684 was introduced previously Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.)).
- On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, “we [members of Congress] have to find some level of compromise” on guns. She notes that the Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller, ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to guns. But, she said, “We want them registered.” Pelosi also uses the word “draconian” to describe legislation before Congress to reform D.C.’s gun laws. This is followed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the Senate sponsor of the now-expired federal “assault weapons” ban, saying on a CBS “60 Minutes” program that she is only temporarily holding off on introducing legislation to reinstate the ban. “I’ll pick the time and place. No question about it,” Feinstein says.
- During an official visit to Mexico, President Obama announces his support for Senate ratification of an inter-American treaty on firearms trafficking. In response, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox note, ” .NRA knows that anti-gun advocates will still try to use this treaty to attack gun ownership in the U.S. Therefore, the NRA will continue to vigorously oppose any international effort to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding American gun owners.”
- Anti-gun Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduces S. 843, calling for massive new government powers to register gun show customers, register gun owners, retain information on people who pass criminal records checks when buying firearms, heavily tax both gun collectors and gun sales, and require gun show promoters to police gun show customers, as if they were agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
- Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduce S. 941- the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act,” representing the first time such BATFE reform legislation has been introduced in the Senate. Representatives Steve King (R-Iowa) and Zack Space (D-Ohio), introduce its House companion–H.R. 2296.
- 375 staunch, pro-gun patriots attend the standing room only NRA-ILA Grassroots Workshop, held in conjunction with NRA’s Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Phoenix–double the attendance from last year’s workshop in Louisville.
- U.S. Reps Peter King (R-N.Y.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Mike Castle (R-Del.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (D-Ill.), and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduce H.R. 2159, which would give “the Attorney General the authority to deny the sale, delivery, or transfer of a firearm or the issuance of a firearms or explosives license or permit to dangerous terrorists. . . . if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof, and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.” The legislation disregards traditional ideas of due process, as well as the well-documented problems with the government’s “terrorist watchlists.”
- NRA-backed legislation to restore the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens in national parks and wildlife refuges passes in the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 279-147, and is signed into law. The legislation will take effect on February 22, 2010.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issues a proposed rule change that directly targets the importation of “assisted opening” folding knives. (Read the proposed rule here.) The proposed regulations would designate all these knives as “switchblades” (despite the fact they do not fall under the federal definition of “switchblades”), and would make them illegal for import into the United States. The proposed change could affect all knives that can be opened with one hand.
- American gun owners celebrate the anniversary of the landmark D.C. v. Heller case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban and affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.
- Two-thirds of the nation’s attorneys general file a “friend of the court” brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of NRA v. Chicago and hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment. This bipartisan group of 33 attorneys general agrees with the NRA’s position that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the home for self-defense, disagreeing with the decision recently issued by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
- The Senate unanimously passes an amendment to the Federal Switchblade Act as part of the Homeland Security appropriations bill. The amendment, authored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), changes the federal law under which CBP tried to redefine many common knives as switchblades.
- Gun owners and Second Amendment advocates earn a victory as the House Financial Services Committee considers and adopts an amendment offered by Representative Tom Price (R-Ga.) to protect the Second Amendment rights of public housing residents.
- NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre and ILA Executive Director Chris Cox announce NRA opposition to Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, noting, “We believe any individual who does not agree that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right and who does not respect our God-given right of self-defense should not serve on any court, much less the highest court in the land. Therefore, the National Rifle Association of America opposes the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the position of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.”
- A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate votes in favor of an amendment offered by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-La.) to provide interstate recognition of Right-to-Carry permits. The amendment to S.1390–the National Defense Authorization Act–would acknowledge that the right to self-defense extends across state lines. Under this provision, an individual with a carry permit from his or her home state, or who is otherwise allowed to carry firearm in his home state, could carry in any other state that issues permits.
- On an appearance on “Meet the Press,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces that he will raise money to counter the influence of the NRA. Bloomberg trumpets the meager 39 votes he was able to muster to squeak out a defeat of national Right-to-Carry reciprocity.
- Yet another mayor, Village of Walton Hills, Ohio Mayor Marlene Anielski (R), resigns her membership from Bloomberg’s mis-named Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) coalition. Mayor Anielski informs the Buckeye Firearms Association of her decision, reporting that she had not realized the real agenda of MAIG. In fact, she reported, she and her husband are NRA Life Members!
- On August 6, by a vote of 68-31, the full Senate votes to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Garen Wintemute, of the University of California (Davis), releases another of his “studies” in favor of gun control. His new piece is called “Inside Gun Shows: What Goes On When Everybody Thinks Nobody’s Watching.” “Gun shows” are just the hook, however. While repeating gun control supporters’ mantra about the need to run instant background checks on people who buy guns from private parties at gun shows, Wintemute admits important factors that undercut his goal. First, he notes that straw purchases – the very purpose of which is to thwart the background checks he pretends to be concerned about – “are a major source of crime guns.” Second, he admits that “The proportion of all gun sales nationwide that occurs at gun shows is relatively small” and that “most sales at gun shows involve licensed retailers,” who are already required to perform background checks.
- During consideration of H.R. 3288 (the FY 2010 Transportation–Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill), the Wicker Amendment is adopted, to allow the transportation of firearms on Amtrak trains.
- Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns has lost over 50 members because gun owners took action to tell their mayors the truth about this organization. Many of the mayors who have resigned from MAIG have indicated they were unaware of the full extent of their anti-gun agenda. They now know they were mislead by MAIG’s claims that it was only concerned with “illegal” guns
- The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear the landmark Second Amendment case of McDonald v. Chicago. The case will address the application of the Second Amendment to the states through either the Due Process clause or the Privileges or Immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), join forces with U.S. Representatives Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.), in filing a joint, pro-Second Amendment amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief before the Supreme Court in the McDonald v. Chicago case.
- The so-called Bi-National Task Force on Rethinking the United States-Mexico Border produces a report, which, among other things, calls for re-imposition of the federal “assault weapon” ban of 1994-2004, saying it would improve security in both countries. The “border-rethinking” group has been put together by the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations. The group consists mostly of former U.S. and Mexican officials and journalists, none of them currently elected by the people of the U.S. or Mexico to make policy on these issues.
- The U.S. Senate and House pass crucial legislation that will protect pocketknives used by tens of millions of Americans. The amendment will block CBP’s earlier proposed policy change and keep pocketknives from being classified as illegal switchblades.
- NRA files a complaint in the Superior Court of Washington State against the City of Seattle, asking the court to enjoin and declare invalid a recently enacted parks and recreation administrative policy that prohibits firearms in parks, community centers and other city-owned buildings. Other plaintiffs in the case include state correctional officers and private citizens, as well as the Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation.
- The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund’s (NRA-PVF) endorsed candidates for statewide office in Virginia–Bob McDonnell (R) for governor, Ken Cuccinelli (R) for attorney general, and Bill Bolling (R) for lieutenant governor–win handily in the November 3rd general election. Additionally, 98 percent (58 out of 59) of NRA-PVF-endorsed candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates win their respective races.
- On November 16, the NRA files its brief with the U.S. Supreme Court as Respondent in Support of Petitioner in McDonald v. City of Chicago. The NRA brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.
- In another transparent attempt to undercut the Second Amendment, Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, alleges that the multiple murders that took place on Ft. Hood recently could have been prevented by changes in federal gun laws.
- The U.S. Supreme Court schedules oral arguments in the McDonald v. City of Chicago case for Tuesday, March 2, 2010.
- New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s MAIG releases the findings of a “poll” conducted by a political consulting firm called “The Word Doctors,” whose slogan is “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.” The pollster claims the results of his misleadingly worded questions show that NRA members and gun owners support restrictive gun laws; he fails to highlight results that show strong opposition to other measures, and serious concern about the Obama administration’s future plans on the issue.
- The U.S. House of Representatives approves an NRA-backed amendment, introduced by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), to allow Amtrak travelers to transport firearms in checked baggage where checked baggage service is available. The Wicker amendment isincluded along with several government agencies’ appropriations bills in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010.
- U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 3326-the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010. NRA’s efforts on the huge spending bill were rewarded with the restoration of a longstanding rider to protect M-1 carbines, M-1 Garands, M-14s, .22 caliber rifles, and others from being destroyed. The language also included a prohibition on the destruction of small arms ammunition and components, passed in response to the short-lived concern over destruction of spent brass casings earlier this year.
Tomorrow we’ll have a preview of what 2010 holds for gun owners and where your help will be needed to advance the Second Amendment.