This Week in Gun Rights – April 10, 2020
Matthew Larosiere is the Director of Legal Policy at Firearms Policy Coalition. You can connect with him on Twitter @MattLaAtLaw.
Teachers Lose Right to Self-Defense Courtesy of Bloomberg Gun Control Group
In an unfortunate turn of events this week, an appeals court in Ohio determined that in order to qualify for the right to carry on school grounds, teachers must train a minimum of 728 hours. Why such a large number? Because that is the level of training defined as “police levels.” You know, trained to the same level that guys like Mike Bloomberg’s NYPD were in 2012 when they shot 9 bystanders.
728 hours, for the record, is 18.2 work weeks. That means that in order to train to the level the Ohio court demanded, teachers would effectively lose their entire summer vacation AND their sick days to meet the hour requirement. I guess the judges didn’t have a calculator on hand when they were considering this opinion. Not only is this number asinine, it’s completely arbitrary – according to the DOJ, police academies across the country average a mere 110 hours on firearms training and only 8 on conflict management and mediation. I think the technical term for this is “yikes!”
So why such a high number of training hours? It’s clearly not to ensure the skill and safety of the firearm operator, and it’s clearly not for efficiency. It’s to ensure that teachers are either entirely dissuaded from pursuing training or are physically (and financially) incapable of completing the training. Any firearms instructor or will tell you that perfect practice makes perfect, but this is just obscene. Hopefully when the schools appeal (and they should), we’ll see the Ohio Supreme Court apply some actual common sense and overturn this ridiculous decision.
California Can’t Keep Criminals from Keeping Guns
Governor Newsom and his lackeys were so focused on implementing anti-2A legislation last year that they seem to have overlooked enforcing. This is, of course, at the same time the legislature seeks to impose a slew of new laws.
According to numbers from California’s Armed Prohibited Person System, as of January 1 of this year, 22,424 criminals and individuals considered mentally unfit to own a firearm are, in fact, in possession of firearms. This number is only 798 less than it was at the same time last year, which begs the question, why are Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature focusing so much energy on criminalizing otherwise lawful possession of arms, when there is an identifiable and overwhelming number of allegedly dangerous people on the streets at this very moment?
It’s about control. When California cops came for the gun stores this spring, it wasn’t for public safety. It was to minimize the number of firearms that end up in the hands of decent, innocent people. Just like with Bloomberg, Murphy, and President Trump, Newsom believes your civil rights are secondary to “safety and security.” But if it really was about safety, wouldn’t we see a sweeping (read: effective) effort from the California DOJ to take arms from this parade of horribles? I guess that wouldn’t leave them much for grandstanding come next election season.
Brady PAC Targeting 2020 Texas Elections
Following the Democratic victories in Virginia’s most recent state election, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the National Council to Control Handguns is trying to flip seats in Texas. Sure, it didn’t work when Beto ran for Senate, but they’re giving it another go. But they’re not the only ones. Other gun grabbers like Everytown for Gun Safety have also committed to spending millions in campaign funding to try to expand their tentacular reach into the suburbs. Though Brady PAC claims it is vetting candidates prior to lending them support, they have historically donated exclusively to Democrats, offering advertising support to 27 candidates in 2018. Surely not all of these candidates supported the Brady credo, so why are they donating so indiscriminately? Maybe it’s because they’re just a veiled fundraising wing of the DNC. Who knows. What I do know is that they’re going to have a tough time flipping seats down south, and they’re certainly going to have to dig deep into their donors’ pockets if they plan to win.
SCOTUS Strikes Blow to Fourth Amendment. Again.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Kansas v. Glover, holding that it’s okay for the police to pull over vehicles owned by people who have suspended drivers’ licenses, even if they can’t confirm that the driver is the person with the suspended license. The decision was an overwhelming 8 to 1, but it’s just another in a long list of cases which have slowly eroded your Fourth Amendment rights over the years.
The basis for the Justices’ decision was that officers must be able to make “commonsense judgments and inferences about human behavior,” pulling from a case in 2000, Illinois v. Wardlow, where the Court decided, quite contrarily, that sudden flight in a high crime neighborhood isn’t the kind of conduct that permits the police to briefly detain someone. Let’s take a moment here. The Supreme Court says that you don’t have to do anything at all except drive your friend, spouse, or family member’s vehicle, and the police can stop it, but if you’re running adjacent to a suspected crime scene, it’s not enough for the cops to stop you. Don’t get me wrong – the police should always have to show that they had reasonable cause to detain people regardless, but it’s patently ironic that engaging in behavior that’s significantly more suspicious is totally fine whereas merely existing on a highway is enough to get you detained.
Not only is the status of a drivers’ license an unreasonable basis for detaining someone, but it gives the police the power to conduct repeat stops, which means they can decide to routinely target particular individuals. No way that could be abused, right? In a state like Ohio, that means that if the police stop you, they can use the old “I detect the odor of marijuana” trick and bam! They’re searching your vehicle and you haven’t even failed to signal a turn.
How does this relate to firearms? Well, it pertains to the Bearing Arms part. The Fourth Amendment protects your right to be secure in your person, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. If you live in a state where the police are notorious for hating civilian gun ownership or for improperly classifying weapons or ammunition as illegal, that unwarranted traffic stop could result in your arrest and the seizure of your firearms. If the vast majority of police had common sense to exercise, they wouldn’t need things like qualified immunity to protect them from the kind of abuses that they would engage in when nobody is looking. And if their attitude is something along the lines of “nobody but a cop should have a gun,” it’s only a matter of time before these new tactics are used against law-abiding gun owners.
San Francisco board of supervisors panicked over “panic buying.”
Could you believe that, during a situation where people have a rational fear of civil unrest, and that the government will not be able to help them, the people would purchase products that could give them security? Well, this concept absolutely freaked out the San Francisco board of supervisors. So they’ve responded with a resolution to study (read: generate propaganda) to warn us peasants of the dangers of not strictly bending to the whims of the ruling class. You’ll be hearing more from me on this one, but be sure to check out the take action page.