One of the provisions of the so-called SAFE Act is background checks for ammunition buyers.
This provision has never gone into effect because NICS cannot be used and a new system would have to be created from scratch. That has not happened because the records do not exist in a form which can easily be imported into a searchable database.
In case anyone thought our politicians would simply let the matter drop there’s this:
“New York Attorney General Letitia James, as part of a coalition of 16 attorneys general, is fighting to ensure states have the right to use various means to protect their residents from gun violence. In an amicus brief filed in support of the State of California in Rhode v. Becerra, Attorney General James and the coalition defend a California law that requires gun dealers to conduct background checks prior to all ammunition sales, and that also requires all ammunition sales to occur face-to-face, among other requirements. The coalition argues that states have the right to enact reasonable firearm restrictions that protect public safety and reduce the prevalence of gun violence in their states …”
Jake Charles writes at the Duke Center for Firearms Law regarding Justice Alito’s position in the NYSRPA v. City of New York case:
“… That brings us to NYSRPA—a civil lawsuit challenging New York City’s since repealed restrictions on firearm transport. There, Justice Alito devoted most of his attention to the mootness question. But he also went on to decide—as “not a close question”—that the restriction violated the Second Amendment. The transport law impacted “the same core Second Amendment right, the right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense” as in Heller because it did not permit the necessary concomitants of that right. And “[o]nce it is recognized that the right at issue is a concomitant of the same right recognized in Heller, it became incumbent on the City to justify the restrictions its rule imposes.” (By recognizing the need for a justification after first finding the right burdened, Justice Alito might be seen as implicitly endorsing the two-part framework used by all the courts of appeals, and thus implicitly rejecting a categorical historical approach.) He went on to say that “[i]f history is not sufficient to show that the New York City ordinance is unconstitutional, any doubt is dispelled by the weakness of the City’s showing that its travel restriction significantly promoted public safety.” He found no evidence to justify the restrictions. He concluded: “We are told that the mode of review in this case is representative of the way Heller has been treated in the lower courts. If that is true, there is cause for concern.” …”
Read the full article here.
Some firearms-related action in the 2nd Circuit:
“In United States v. St. Hilaire, 19-640 (May 21, 2020), the Second Circuit (Jacobs, Calabresi, Chin) affirmed a sentencing enhancement for possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, even though at least one of the serial numbers on the weapon was legible … St. Hilaire was arrested in November 2017 and a protective frisk uncovered a semiautomatic pistol … The pistol that was found on St. Hilaire bore three different serial numbers, each on different components of the weapon. One of the numbers was slightly scratched but clearly legible; another was scratched but still showed most of the characters clearly; and a third was so heavily scratched that some of the numbers were not clear. The presentence report applied a four-level sentencing enhancement for possessing a firearm with “an altered or obliterated serial number,” pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(4)(B) … St. Hilaire objected to the enhancement, pointing to the fact that at least one of the serial numbers was clearly legible and that by comparing the three serial numbers, one could determine they were all the same. Because the Second Circuit had never interpreted what it means for a serial number to be “altered or obliterated” pursuant to the Guidelines, the district court looked to the case law of other circuits for guidance. The court applied the enhancement, finding that the serial number was not visible to the naked eye and therefore had been “altered,” as that term was intended under the Guidelines … St. Hilaire appealed, challenging the four-level sentence enhancement on the grounds that one legible serial number on the firearm renders the enhancement inapplicable …”
The 2nd Circuit ruled that the enhancement applies if a single iteration of a serial number has been altered or obliterated, notwithstanding whether another may be legible.
I found this story regarding the case of U.S. v. Cruz, 19-cr-775 on the Inner City Press website:
“… Eric Cruz was up for sentencing on gun charges on May 18 and in his defense submission was this: “Mr. Cruz’ possession of the firearm at issue was solely for use in the ceremonial practice of his religion, Palo Mayombe. Firearms hold only symbolic meaning in the ritual practice of the religion and involve no violence or threat of violence.” U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein weighed this claim against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and found it wanting … Judge Hellerstein said, He is citing a Cuban religion as a basis for having a gun. But a loaded gun? He cites the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 – government must show a compelling interest. But that does not require the US to do handstands… I find that there is not a burden on this religion, and that even if there were it would be acceptable to control guns … Judge Hellerstein ultimately imposed a sentence of 21 months in custody, to be followed by three years of supervised release …”
No action either way by SCOTUS today on any of the gun cases. They are relisted for next time.