Victory for due process

The New York Law Journal reports:

“A federal appeals court said there is “no clear reason” why a Nassau County woman whose rifles and shotguns were taken away as part of a now-expired order of protection should not receive a hearing to determine if her weapons should be returned. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed Eastern District Judge Joan Azrack’s 2015 decision to order a hearing on returning plaintiff Christine Panzella’s two rifles and two shotguns, which were seized as part of an order of protection filed by her ex-husband … Holding a “prompt” post-deprivation hearing would provide Panzella with a “timely and inexpensive” forum to challenge Nassau County’s retention of her weapons, the judge said …”

This could impact antigun efforts to enact laws which allow the “emergency” seizure of firearms when a family member complains because some police departments which take guns don’t want to return them.

Kennedy to retire next year?

SCOTUS not taking Peruta was a disappointment.

However, that disappointment may be short-lived because according to the Washington Post:

“… it is unlikely that Kennedy will remain on the court for the full four years of the Trump presidency. While he long ago hired his law clerks for the coming term, he has not done so for the following term (beginning Oct. 2018), and has let applicants for those positions know he is considering retirement … It’s not terribly surprising that Kennedy would consider retirement … but this looks like a pretty good indicator that it will come at some point in President Trump’s first term …”

It’s been only 9 years since Heller and 7 since McDonald.  Considering NRA started working on changing judicial opinion on gun rights back in the 70s, it really has not been that long since the Court took up a major gun issue.  I would rather wait another 5 years for a good decision from a new court then get a half-assed one written by Kennedy on his way out the door.

Peruta action/reaction

SCOTUS has declined to hear the right to carry case Peruta v. California.

Most cases appealed to the court are turned down, so while it’s a disappointment they did not take this one, it does not mean the issue is dead.  They could accept a different case sometime down the road.

Hopefully this will motivate Congress to take up pro-gun bills especially reciprocity.  That could force states like California and New York to make positive legislative changes.

A minimal burden

The NRA lost a California court case regarding the imposition of firearms transfer fee:

“… In a 3-0 decision on Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the law advanced California’s interest in disarming people who are forbidden from possessing guns and rifles, while imposing only a “minimal” burden on core constitutional rights under the Second Amendment …”

That this comes out of the 9th Circus does not surprise me.  It also builds upon the earlier NYC licensing fee case the 2nd Circuit ruled was also constitutional.  The difference with this one though is that part of the fee goes for law enforcement efforts against illegal purchases.  I can see where a court would agree that the state has an interest in preventing prohibited persons from obtaining firearms, but why should the cost be put upon legal purchasers and not the taxpaying public as a whole?

SCOTUS on gerrymandering

Gun owners spend a lot of time thinking about the next gun case SCOTUS will take up but there is another issue pending in the courts that could have a big impact especially in New York.  See The Hill’s article, Will the Supreme Court draw the line on gerrymandering?

Roughly 95% of our state legislature is re-elected every cycle in large part due to decades of gerrymandering which have made all but a handful of races competitive.  Since both chambers have to agree on district lines the majorities in each draw the districts to favor the party in power, Democrats in the Assembly and Republicans in the Senate.

If SCOTUS were to issue a decision that invalidates gerrymandering and New York was forced to redraw districts fairly it would impact gun rights in two ways:

First, there would be more competitive elections than there are now increasing opportunities for political action.  That’s good.

Second, it would in all likelihood wipe out the Senate Republicans.  That’s bad, but since it is only a matter of time before that happens anyway, it isn’t such a big deal.

Knowing this, I think this could be a plus for us.

Definition of “proper cause”

New York’s discretionary pistol licensing system requires applicants show “proper cause” for a license to be issued.

What exactly is that?

The NYPD defines it as giving officers booze, broads and bags of cash.

Another SCOTUS retirement coming?

Some more rumormongering about another SCOTUS justice retiring:

“During a visit to Muscatine Tuesday morning, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he expects a Supreme Court Justice resignation within the year. “I would expect a resignation this summer,” he said …”

Ted Cruz said the same thing back in February:

“Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told “Special Report with Bret Baier” Thursday that “I think the odds are very good” that a second seat on the Supreme Court will fall vacant this year. “If not this summer, next summer,” Cruz told Bret Baier. “You know, judges don’t like it when people kind of nudge them out, so they’ll go when they decide to go.” …”

Please, please, please let it be Ginsberg who goes.  She’s 84 and looks like half-past death now.

Here is an old list of possible Trump appointments the President could pick from if there is an vacancy on the court.  Thomas Hardiman from the 3rd District has a great record on gun rights:

“… Hardiman established an expansive view of the right to own and carry firearms under the Second Amendment in his opinion disagreeing with a New Jersey law that required people applying for concealed weapons permits to show a “justifiable need” to be armed in public. Although Hardiman was alone among three judges in his opposition to the law, he wrote that it was unconstitutional because the need for self defense exists both inside and outside the home. Hardiman also authored an opinion in support of restoring the rights to possess weapons of two men convicted of non-violent misdemeanors. He was in the majority, finding that the Second Amendment barred gun ownership only for people convicted of violent crimes. But Hardiman went further than his colleagues in the majority, writing a concurring opinion that even violent felons could regain Second Amendment rights if their crimes were far in the past and the ex-offender had lived a law-abiding life since his arrest …”

The carry case was Drake v. Jerejian which SCOTUS declined to hear. The other one was Binderup v. Attorney General.

Gorsuch to decide whether to take gun cases

We’re going to find out soon if Justice Neil Gorsuch is pro-gun or not as SCOTUS has two petitions pending on gun cases:

“… The most important is a petition from gun rights activists asking the court to find for the first time that the Second Amendment right to keep a gun for self-defense extends to carrying firearms outside the home. In cases from California, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that it did not. “Any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined — is necessarily allowed by the [Second] Amendment,” it said. A strongly worded dissent said “any fair reading” of the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision finding a constitutional right to gun ownership for self-defense “compels the conclusion that the right to keep and bear arms extends beyond one’s front door.” A second case involves whether those convicted of certain crimes can be barred indefinitely from possessing firearms …”

The California case is Peruta v. California which is backed by the NRA & CRPA.  This is the one that could ultimately make New York shall-issue.

I believe the second case is United States v. Games-Perez.

Justice Gorsuch

The Senate just confirmed Neil Gorsuch to SCOTUS by a vote of 54-45.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally had enough of Charles Schumer’s crap and eliminated the filibuster for judicial candidates.  Considering the penchant for Republicans to preemptively surrender to Democrats this is a dramatic shift and hopefully a sign of good things to come.

First, there have been repeated rumors of another SCOTUS justice retiring this year.  With longer any need to pander to Democrats we may get the opportunity to get another originalist justice on the court.

Second, while the legislative filibuster remains intact, Democrats may think twice about blocking popular bills just for the sake of being obstructionists. The reciprocity bill S.446 currently has 36 sponsors and probably more than 50, but less than 60, Yes votes.  If allowed to the floor it will be a huge will for gun rights.

Blumenthal admits Gorsuch opposition about guns

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal admitted his opposition to Neil Gorsuch is about guns (among other things):

“… Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Brian Schatz of Hawaii became the latest Democratic senators to announce their opposition to Gorsuch … “We must assume that Judge Gorsuch has passed the Trump litmus test — a pro-life, pro-gun, conservative judge,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “In question after question, Judge Gorsuch had an opportunity to distance himself from right-wing groups. His refusal to answer only deepens the doubt that he is not a neutral follower of the law — an umpire who just calls balls and strikes — but instead an acolyte of hard-right special interests.” …”

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