5th Circuit Affirms Ban On Sale Of Handguns To 18-20 Year Olds

In a decision released today, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the District Court opinion of Judge Sam Cummings that banning sales of handguns by FFLs to those over 18 but under 21 is legal. This case, originally named D’Cruz v. BATFE and now titled Jennings et al v. BATFE, was brought in US District Court for the Northern District of Texas back in September 2010 by the National Rifle Association.

According to a Reuters report on the 5th Circuit’s decision:

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston rejected the NRA’s argument that 18- to 20-year-olds had a right to buy the guns under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment.

A unanimous three-judge panel said Congress, in a law dating from 1968, adopted the sales ban to help curb violent crime. It also said that the nation’s founders and 19th-century courts and commentators believed that disarming specific groups did not trample on the right to bear arms.

“Congress was focused on a particular problem: young persons under 21, who are immature and prone to violence, easily accessing handguns,” mainly from licensed dealers, Judge Edward Prado wrote for the panel.

“The present ban appears consistent with a longstanding tradition of age- and safety-based restrictions on the ability to access arms,” he added.

You may remember that the Brady Campaign and other gun prohibitionist played gutter politics with this case. They accused James D’Cruz, then a freshman at Texas Tech, of having a Facebook page filled with “angry, violent Facebook postings.” D’Cruz was further demonized by Josh Horwitz of CSGV who said “he’s a poster boy for why we should prevent handgun sales to those under 21 years of age” and implied that he sounded like a school shooter.

The full 41 page opinion of the 5th Circuit can be found here. I have not had time to read it but hope to have an update posted after I have done so.

Busy Week For Alan Gura

This has been a busy week for Alan Gura. He has had not one but two oral arguments on back to back days before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Moreover, both cases involve gun rights.

The first case, Lane v. Holder, is a challenge to the Gun Control Act of 1968’s ban on the sales of handguns to non-residents of a state. The case was filed in 2011 and challenged the law on behalf of Michelle Lane, a resident of the District of Columbia, who had purchased two handguns in Virginia and could not pick them up there. At the time of the original filing, there was no active FFL in DC. The Second Amendment Foundation, Amanda Welling, and Matthew Welling are also plaintiffs in this case.

US District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia denied the motion for a preliminary injuction in July 2011. He also dismissed the case at that time. A few days later, Lane and the Second Amendment Foundation filed notice of appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The oral argument in this case were on Tuesday and an audio file is available here. The case was heard by Judges Diana Gribbon Motz, Allyson K. Duncan, and Henry F. Floyd. They were appointed to the 4th Circuit by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama respectively.

The arguments presented by both Alan Gura and the attorneys for Department of Justice and the VA State Police centered primarily around the issue of standing. Does the plaintiff have standing to ask for an injunction given the Federal and state laws in question restrict the FFL? Gura argues that they do and compares this case to other cases involving interstate wine shipments and contraceptives. The Supreme Court find in those cases that the restriction of distribution channels amounted to an Article III injury or, in layman’s terms, interference with interstate commerce. The counter-arguments from the attorneys for Holder and the VA State Police argue that there is no standing for the plaintiffs. The attorney for Virginia argued that their law would be valid if the Federal law was found unconstitutional or amended. They would transfer handguns to out of state residents because the person would meet the new requirements. The Department of Justice attorney argues that the out of state residents are not harmed as they can purchase a firearm anywhere and have it shipped to an in-state FFL. She also argued that Federal law merely backs up local laws and regulations regarding handgun sales.

Much of the questioning by the judges centered around having only one dealer in DC and the fees charged by Charles Sykes. One judge, I believe Judge Duncan, brought up the Ezell case and wondered how this differed from that. This question was aimed at the DOJ attorney.

The second case, Woollard v. Gallagher, has attracted more attention because the District Court ruled against the State of Maryland’s may-issue carry laws. The State of Maryland promptly appealed and the oral arguments were present yesterday. The audio of the oral arguments should be made available on Friday. In the meantime, thanks to Sebastian, there is a link to the Baltimore Sun’s coverage of the oral arguments.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has more on the oral arguments. The 3 judge panel consisted of Judges Andre Davis (Clinton), Robert King (Clinton), and Albert Diaz (Bush 44). 

UPDATE II: The audio file for Woollard v. Gallagher has been posted. You can download or listen to it here.

Cook County “Violence Tax” And Budget Public Hearings

Cook County (IL) Board President Toni Preckwinkle is going ahead with her proposed “violence tax” on arms and ammunition. It has been included in the proposed 2013 Executive Budget for Cook County. The tax officially called the Firearms and Firearm Ammunition Tax would levy a $25 fee per firearm on all new gun purchases as well as a 5 cent per round tax on all ammunition sales. The full text of the proposed Cook County Firearm and Firearm Ammunition Tax Ordinance can be found here.

The board will hold four public hearings on the 2013 Executive Budget over the next week beginning this evening. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has issued an action alert on these hearings and suggests that those who can attend one of these meetings make their voice heard. The hearing date and times are below. Note that if you want to testify you must sign up first.

Over the next week, there have been four public hearings scheduled
on the proposed 2013 Executive Budget. If possible please attend one
these hearings and testify in opposition to the tax. You must sign up first to testify.
Date Time Location
Thursday, Oct. 25 6:30 p.m. Second District Courthouse
5600 Old Orchard Road, Conf. Room 201
Skokie, IL
Friday, Oct. 26 9 a.m. Cook County Building
118 N. Clark St. Board Room, Rm. 569
Chicago, IL
Tuesday, Oct. 30 6:30 p.m. Sixth District Courthouse
16501 S. Kedzie Pkwy., Courtroom 098
Markham, IL
Thursday, Nov. 1 6:30 p.m. Fourth District Courthouse
1500 South Maybrook Dr., Courtroom 106
Maywood, IL

Even if you can’t attend one of these hearings, the NSSF suggests calling the members of the Cook County Board and expressing your displeasure over the “violence tax”. A list of board members and their phone numbers can be found here.

As Sebastian noted earlier this month, taxing a constitutional right for the purposes of discouraging it is unconstitutional. I’m sure the Second Amendment Foundation has no problems taking more money from the Chicago-area politicians in attorney’s fees. That said, I think everyone involved would just as soon see this stopped dead in its tracks at the county board level.

Does Obama Know About This Place?

In yesterday’s presidential debate on foreign policy issues, Barack Obama said in response to Mitt Romney’s criticism of the downsized Navy being smaller than the 1916 US Navy, “”You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”

I don’t think any of the president’s handlers ever bothered to inform him of the US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pickel Meadow, California. Established in 1951 to help train Marines for the cold weather conditions that they would have to fight in during the Korean War, the MWTC provides training in fighting in high altitude and cold weather conditions. The training it provides is being put to use daily in the “good war” in Afghanistan.

One of the more interesting courses that the MWTC provides is one on animal packing. It trains Marines as well as soldiers and airmen in the use of pack animals to deliver supplies and carry heavier equipment.

Lance Cpl. Tyler Langford, anti-tank missileman, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, leads his pack mule during a hike at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., Oct. 13, 2012. Photo by Lance Cpl Ali Azimi.

The MilitaryTimes just had a story on the pack animal training course a few days ago. They noted that the course had been taught for almost 30 years. The course lasts for two weeks and teaches the students how to pack and handle the animals in the mountainous terrain.

An official USMC public affairs story says of the training:

As the Marine Corps tries to solve the challenges of getting provisions to Marines in hard to reach battle spaces, they do not always look toward technology but rather apply solutions that were effective in the past.

The Animal Packers Course started as a concept course at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., in 1983.

The course is still taught today after nearly 30 years, but the United States had been using this technique since the early 1980s.

“It’s been around since both World Wars and the last time they were utilized was in Korea,” said Sgt. Justin Head, staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Animal Packers Program. “It’s been around for thousands of years. It’s something that’s worked for countless militaries.”

The 16-day course teaches Marines how to use animals in the region they find themselves in as a logistical tool to transport weapons, ammunition, food, supplies or wounded Marines through areas vehicles cannot reach.

“After coming through the course and learning the basic fundamentals they can pack any kind of animal, from llama, camel, anything,” Head said. “If you’re going to fight compartmentalized conventional war in the mountains, you’ve got to utilize animals. If you don’t, you’re not going to be able to get your logistics, your ammo, basically the five Bs, to your Marines.”

If you know anything about mules, you know they are a cross between the symbol of the Democrat Party – the donkey – and a horse. More specifically, between a jackass and a mare or female horse. While the nature of the military has changed, some aspects of warfighting haven’t changed. Too bad Obama didn’t realize that when he made his snarky, jackass of a comment last night.

Interesting Article On The .38 Super +P

I have a thing for the .38 Super and I blame author Stephen Hunter. If I remember correctly, Hunter introduced the .38 Super in his novel “Black Light” as the weapon used in the murder of Bob Lee Swagger’s father Earl. Hunter also talks about it in an article he did for the American Rifleman back in 2010.

Peter Fountain has an article out published yesterday in the American Rifleman on the .38 Super +P and why it should be considered for use in carry guns. He reviews the ballistics of a number of factory rounds as well as reviews two very nice iterations of pistols chambered for the .38 Super +P.

If you like the .38 Super, are considering getting a pistol chambered in .38 Super, or just wonder what all the fuss is about, I’d suggest reading Fountain’s article.

A Report On Early Voting

I took advantage of North Carolina’s early voting this afternoon. Today was the third day it has been available in the state. Turnout was very heavy according to the poll workers to whom I spoke. They estimate they had 1,600 voters in the first two days and they were thinking today would be just as heavy if not heavier. And this is one of two locations where voters can cast ballots in the Early One-Stop Absentee voting period.

Haywood County is a small to mid-size county with about 60,000 residents. According to the most recent NC State Board of Elections report, there are 42,383 voters in the county. Of this, 19,333 are Democrats, 12,321 are Republicans, and 10,650 are unaffiliated (or what would be called Independents elsewhere). It is also one of the least ethnically diverse counties in the state. The electorate is over 97% white with the remaining 3% spread amongst blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, multi-racial, and “other.”

Assuming the other polling location in Canton was not quite as busy, I’d estimate approximately 4,300 people have already voted in the county. This is 10% of the eligible voters in just 3 days of early voting.

I have never seen lines like this for early voting. My location had 10 machines which were all in use, a line of about 15 that had been checked in, and about another 5 to 10 in line waiting to get checked in. The poll workers I spoke with said they had lines waiting to get in at 8:30am this morning and that the numbers were just a little bit lighter when I got there. The age of the voters from what I saw tended to cluster in middle-age which, as much as I hate to admit it, would include me.

I take this turnout as a good sign for Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican ticket in North Carolina. I most certainly could be wrong but I don’t think so. The county went for McCain in 2008 and I have no doubts that it will go for Romney this time.

GRNC-PVF Has Released Their Recommendations

Grass Roots North Carolina-Political Victory Fund does not make endorsements. However, they do make recommendations based upon their candidate evaluations and basic electoral strategy.

GRNC generally does not provide blanket “endorsements,” but rather recommendations for effective voting strategies for the districts listed. Often, other candidates may be as good as the ones recommended, but might not get a recommendation for a variety of logistical reasons. If a district is not listed, GRNC has no recommendation for that particular race.

Their recommendations for the November general election are below. Early voting in the state started on Thursday, October 18th. You can check the State Board of Elections for more information on hours and locations in your county.


US President:

Vote for Romney (R, **). Libertarian Gary Johnson might well be pro-gun (although he failed to return GRNC’s survey and lacks a voting record on gun issues), but he stands no chance of victory. Given that Obama has publicly committed, during the presidential debates, to passing another “assault weapon” ban, voters should cast votes to keep him out of office. In this case, a vote for Johnson is effectively a vote for Obama.

US House:

District 1: Vote for Holloman (L, ****)
District 2: Vote for Elmers (R, ****)
District 3: Vote for Jones (R, ****)
District 4: Vote for D’Annunzio (R, ****)
District 5: Vote for Foxx (R, ****)
District 6: Vote for Coble (R, ****)
District 7: Vote for Rouzer (R, ****) due to 100% pro-gun voting record in NC Senate
District 8: Vote for Hudson (R, ****)
District 9: Vote for Pittenger (R, ****)
District 10: Vote for McHenry (R, ****), who has been a leader on gun issues both in the NC House and in Congress
District 11: Vote for Meadows (R, ****), who has made support for the Second Amendment a large part of his campaign
District 12: No recommendation
District 13: Vote for Holding (R, ****)


NC GOV: Vote for McCory. Dalton is anti-gun, having racked up only a 53% pro-gun voting record in his 6 terms in the NC Senate. Although Libertarian Barbara Howe is undoubtedly the most pro-gun candidate in the race, she stands no chance of victory. Voting for her will help put Dalton in a position to stop all pro-gun legislation for at least the next four years
NC LT GOV: Vote for Forest
SUPREME CT: Vote for Newby


NC Senate

District 1: Vote for Cook (R, ****)
District 2: Vote for Sanderson (R, ****)
District 4: Vote for Nail (R, ****)
District 6: Vote for Brown (R, ****)
District 7: Vote for Pate (R, ****)
District 8: Vote for Rabon (R, ****)
District 9: Vote for Goolsby(R, ****), a staunch gun rights supporter who sponsored pro-gun legislation in his first term in office
District 10: Vote for Jackson (R, ****)
District 11: Vote for Newton (R, ****). A former Jesse Helms staffer, in his freshman year Newton earned a co-chair position on the Judiciary II Committee through which gun bills are generally referred. He not only facilitated Senate passage of omnibus gun rights bill HB 650 – which contained Castle Doctrine, parks carry and much more – but actually wrote language to further strengthen Castle Doctrine. Newton is a leader for gun rights and the clear choice in this race.
District 13: Vote for Walters (D, ****)
District 15: Vote for Hunt (R, ****)
District 18: Vote for Doug Berger (D, ****), who has a 100% pro-gun voting record spanning 4 terms in the NC Senate and stood up to chamber leadership by offering a discharge petition to attempt to dislodge GRNC’s restaurant carry bill from committee. Opponent Barefoot claims to be pro-gun, but has as his mentor House Majority Leader “Skip” Stam, who has displayed consistent antipathy for gun rights by first trying to gut GRNC’s “Castle Doctrine” bill and then helping defeat a measure which could have allowed employees to keep guns in locked vehicles at places of employment.
District 19: Vote for Meredith (R, ****)
District 23: Vote for Carter (R, ***)
District 24: Vote for Gunn (R, ****)
District 25: Vote for McIntyre (R, ***)
District 26: Vote for Phil Berger (R, ****) . With a long history featuring a 100% pro-gun vote record and of sponsoring pro-gun legislation, as Senate President Pro Tempore, Berger passed omnibus pro-gun bill HB 650, containing Castle Doctrine, parks carry and other provisions. He lowered his evaluation by refusing a hearing to restaurant carry bill HB 111, but promises to give it a hearing in the next session. We will see whether he holds true to his promise
District 27: Vote for Trudy Wade (R, ****). Previously on Greensboro City Council, she fought against concealed carry restrictions in parks. Opponent Myra Slone is openly hostile to gun owners
District 29: Vote for Tillman (R, ****)
District 30: Vote for East (R, ****)
District 31: Vote for Brunstetter (R, ****)
District 33: Vote for Bingham (R, ****)
District 34: Vote for Brock (R, ****)
District 35: Vote for Tucker (R, ****)
District 36: Vote for Hartsell (R, ****)
District 38: Vote for Rivette (R, ****)
District 39: Vote for Rucho (R, ****)
District 40: Vote for Philip (R, ****)
District 41: Vote for Tarte (R, ****)
District 42: Vote for Allran (R, ****)
District 43: Vote for Harrington (R, ****)
District 45: Vote for Soucek (R, ****)
District 46: Vote for Daniel (R, ****) who has a proven record of supporting gun rights by helping pass HB 650, Castle Doctrine.
District 47: Vote for Hise (R, ****)
District 48: Vote for Apodaca (R, ****)
District 49: Vote for Clark (R, ****). In previous Senate terms, he compiled a 100% pro-gun voting record plus a willingness to stick his neck out for gun owners. He is the clear choice in the race
District 50: Vote for Davis (R, ****)

NC House

District 1: Vote for Steinburg (R, ****)
District 2: Vote for Karan (R, ***)
District 3: Vote for Speciale (R, ****)
District 4: Vote for Dixon (R, ****)
District 6: Vote for Lawson (R, ****)
District 8: Vote for Martin (R, ****)
District 10: Vote for Bell (R, ***)
District 12: Vote for Dancy (R, ****)
District 13: Vote for McElraft (R, ****)
District 14: Vote for Cleveland (R, ****). They don’t come more pro-gun than George.
District 15: Vote for Shepard (R, ****)
District 17: Vote for Iler (R, ****)
District 18: Vote for Harmati (R, ***)
District 25: Vote for Collins (R, ****)
District 26: Vote for Daughtry (R, ****)
District 28: Vote for Langdon (R, ****)
District 32: Vote for Bynum (R, ***)
District 34: Incumbent Deborah Ross is a committed anti-gunner. It might be symbolic, but vote for write-in candidate Apryl Major, who has vowed to support your rights. Yes, you will have to add her name to the ballot yourself.
District 36: Vote for Dollar (R, ***)
District 37: Incumbent Republican (and House Majority Leader) Paul “Skip” Stam has done his best to undermine gun rights. He tried to gut Castle Doctrine, and weakened omnibus pro-gun bill HB 650. His Democrat opponent, Jason Wunsch (D, 0-star) is undoubtedly also anti-gun and will undoubtedly lose the race. That said, GRNC asks you to vote for Wunsch to send a message to GOP leadership that RINOs like Stam will not be tolerated.
District 40: Vote for Avila (R, ****)
District 41: Tom Murry is ranked at 4 stars, but only because he “walked” on every difficult vote. After voting on only 3 of the 11 gun votes in the NC House, he then pronounced himself a gun rights supporter – this after GRNC mailed for him in 2010. GRNC-PVF recommends that you not cast a vote in this race, and then tell him why you didn’t by going to: http://votemurry.com/contact
District 44: Vote for Button (R, ****)
District 45: Vote for Szoka (R, ****)
District 46: Incumbent Republican Gaston Pridgen voted against gun owners by voting to weaken the measure in HB 650 which expanded concealed carry to parks. GRNC-PVF recommends that you not cast a vote in this race, and then tell him why you didn’t by sending him a message at: glpridgen@bellsouth.net
District 50: Vote for Chaney (R, ****)
District 51: Vote for Stone (R, ****)
District 52: Vote for Boles (R, ****)
District 53: Vote for incumbent Republican David Lewis, but with this caveat: Contact him and ask him why, after telling GRNC he would never vote against gun owners, he did so once in 2011 when he voted to weaken parks carry. Reach him at: http://www.davidlewis.org/contact/
District 54: Vote for Wright (R, ***)
District 55: Vote for Brody (U, ***). Note that he is unaffiliated, so a straight party vote won’t catch him. Vote him separately
District 61: Vote for Faircloth (R, ***)
District 62: Vote for Blust (R, ****)
District 64: Riddell (R, ***)
District 65: Vote for Jones (R, ****)
District 67: Vote for Burr (R, ****)
District 70: Vote for Hurley (R, ****)
District 71: Vote for McCann (R, ****)
District 72: Vote for Mellies (R, ****)
District 73: Vote for Hollo (R, ****)
District 74: Vote for Conrad (R, ***)
District 76: Vote for Ford (R, ****)
District 77: Vote for Warren (R, ****)
District 79: Vote for Howard (R, ****)
District 80: Vote for Dockham (R, ****)
District 81: Vote for Brown (R, ****)
District 82: Vote for Pittman (R, ***)
District 83: Vote for Johnson (R, ****)
District 85: Vote for Gillespie (R, ****)
District 86: Vote for Blackwell (R, ****)
District 87: Vote for Starnes (R, ****)
District 89: Vote for Setzer (R, ****)
District 90: Vote for Stevens (R, ****)
District 91: Vote for Holloway (R, ****)
District 92: Vote for Jeter (R, ****)
District 93: Vote for Jordan (R, ****)
District 94: Vote for Elmore (R, ****)
District 95: Vote for Brawley (R, ****)
District 97: Vote for Saine (R, ****)
District 98: Vote for Tillis (R, ****)
District 103: Vote for Brawley (R, ****)
District 104: Vote for Samuelson (R, ***)
District 108: Vote for Torbett (R, ****)
District 109: Vote for Bumgardner (R, ****)
District 110: Vote for Hastings (R, ****), who has fought tenaciously for gun rights in his first term.
District 111: Vote for Moore (R, ****), who has long been a gun rights leader.
District 112: Vote for Hager (R, ****)
District 115: Vote for Ramsey (R, ****)
District 116: Vote for Moffitt (R, ****). Opponent Democrat Whilden also earned 4 stars, but only on the basis of one relatively easy vote. Moffitt voted for gun owners 11 times in 2011 alone
District 117: Incumbent Chuck McGrady R, 0-star) twice voted against gun owners last year, and orchestrated the weakening of pro-gun legislation. Afterward, he was caught on videotape bragging about it to a leftist group. Tell him why you won’t be casting a vote in this race at: http://www.chuckmcgrady.com/index.php?option=com_smartformer&Itemid=65
District 118: Vote for Presnell (R, ***)
District 120: Vote for West (R, ****)

I notice that they didn’t make a recommendation in my house district (No. 119). Surprisingly for western North Carolina, neither the Democrat, former State Senator Joe Sam Queen (***), nor the Republican, Mike Clampitt (**), are really great on firearms issues. That said, I think personally that Queen would make a more effective representative in Raleigh given his prior experience. Clampitt is the ex-husband of a client and I think I should just leave it at that.

CCW Is On The Ballot In Randolph County, Illinois

The voters in Randolph County, Illinois will see a ballot measure dealing with concealed carry in November. It is an advisory vote that will carry no legal weight but it certainly will carry a lot of symbolic weight.

The very last item on the ballot is an advisory question that asks: “Shall any individual who is not prohibited from possessing firearms under the law be allowed to conceal, possess, carry and or transport firearms in any manner free from infringement?

Randolph County resident Arlyn Fisk he says if it were legal, he might not carry a firearm on his hip all the time, but he’d like to have the right to do so.

“I believe it to be a second amendment right to any citizen of the United States, provided they’re upstanding and law abiding,” said Fisk. “But we’re in the only state in the union that doesn’t allow concealed carry.”

That’s why Fisk and others passed petitions around town to get this on the ballot and put the issue to Randolph County voters.

“I think this is going to pass overwhelmingly, but we’ll see,” said Randolph County Board chairman Terry Luehr. Luehr says if the advisory question does pass it won’t mean Randolph county residents can start carrying concealed firearms.

“We can’t pass any laws on the county that supersedes the state,” said Luehr. “So even if this passes on the county ballot, it doesn’t really mean anything.”

As Mr. Fisk notes that even if the vote is advisory, it will put politicians on notice especially if it gets the expected high level of support.

Randolph County is located south-east of St. Louis and is the only Illinois county that has parts of its territory on the western side of the Mississippi River. It is also home to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta.

KFVS12 News

Tips On Weak Hand Shooting With Doug Koenig

In another of the training segments produced by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Doug Koenig discusses how to properly shoot with your weak – or non-dominant – hand. He shows how to properly transition the pistol from the holster to your weak hand. If you are shooting a 1911, he says it should have an ambidextrous safety so that the pistol is on safe as you make the transition.

Doug makes the point that you should practice this at home by doing dry fire practice before you do it with live ammo at the range. He notes that after a few transition cycles you will start to get comfortable with it.