Is Anybody Watching?

States Scramble To Get Around Bruen, But …

Capitol buildings like this one in Olympia, Washington are busy places,
and we need to keep our eyes open. Photo by Dave Workman.

December was a pretty busy month for gun rights organizations and their attorneys, and now — in mid-January with many if not most state legislatures in session — is the time to be watching what those lawmakers are up to, because chances are, at least in liberal states, it is not good.

To get a feel for what has been happening since before the holidays, take a look at the Second Amendment Foundation’s website. Click on the “News and Releases” column and just start scrolling. This outfit has been filing legal actions and supplemental briefs in the federal courts on both coasts.

California is a hot spot. So is Oregon, where Measure 114 is in the crosshairs. New York and New Jersey are battlegrounds because of the June 2022 Bruen ruling, and don’t forget Maryland, where the ban on so-called “assault weapons” might take us all back to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Then there is Washington, where the 2023 Legislature convened about 10 days ago with calls once again for a ban on semi-auto rifles. The ban on so-called “large capacity magazines” adopted last year is already being challenged in federal court. So is the provision in Initiative 1639, passed by voters back in 2018 (I’ve written before about the snail’s pace at which federal civil lawsuits seem to crawl), prohibiting young adults from purchasing “semiautomatic assault rifles.” Right, the gun doesn’t exist anywhere except on paper, but why worry about the little details, eh?

One might think politicians would be putting any further gun control schemes on hold, waiting to see what the high court might do with some of these cases, but remember, politicians need headlines. It’s essential to their goal of making it look like they are doing something.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could make the Sunshine State No. 26 on the list
of “constitutional carry” states if legislation reaches his desk. Source:

Ah, Florida

Whatever else people say about the Sunshine State, they can’t complain about the politics being dull, and this place just might become the 26th state where permitless (aka “Constitutional”) carry could become legal.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has already indicated he would sign such a bill if it gets to his desk. That may be a big “if,” and it will require lots of grassroots work, but keep an eye on Tallahassee.

Florida is one of a handful of states where there have been more than one million concealed carry licenses issued. True, a fair number of those licenses may be held by non-residents, but the number of legally-armed residents just might be staggering to a gun control proponent in, say, any state in the Northeast.

The good folks at Florida Carry have been working this issue for a while. They’re a dedicated bunch. Let’s leave it at that, and stay out of their way.

Presuming DeSantis doesn’t get pulled into some early media-driven presidential campaign speculation and completely distracted, which does not seem likely, he could be the fellow to make a bit of history by helping tilt the nation toward lawful, unlicensed carry.

Big Stink Over Deleted Data

The CDC ignited a big stink last month when it was reported that information about defensive gun uses (DGUs) had been deleted from agency data at the request of gun control advocates.

This started way back in September 2021, when Mark Bryant, executive director of the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) sent a note to CDC officials complaining about an estimate of 2.5 million DGUs annually, based on what Bryant called a “small study” by researcher Gary Kleck.

In his note, Bryant wrote, “And while that very small study by Gary Kleck has been debunked repeatedly by everyone from all sides of this issue [even Kleck] it still remains canon by gun rights folks and their supporting politicians and is used as a blunt instrument against gun safety regulations every time there is a state or federal level hearing.”

A few lines later, Bryant declared “I would strongly recommend that one of two things occur with the CDC statement on Defensive Gun Use. Either remove the size estimates based on small surveys and clarify that there are an unknown number of DGU incidents based on personal reporting decisions of those who participated OR, remove the section altogether until valid numbers can be gleaned by peer review studies.

He then demanded, “that 2.5 Million number needs to be killed, buried, dug up, killed again and buried again.”

The complete text of Bryant’s letter to the CDC Director can be found here.

Writing at The Reload, veteran journalist Stephen Gutowski noted, “Kleck, Professor Emeritus at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, stood by his research.” Does that sound like Kleck “debunked” his own research?

Sen. Charles Grassley is looking into a flap created by the
CDC when information about defensive gun use was deleted
from agency data, apparently at the request of gun control advocates.

Into the middle of this debate has stepped Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), flanked by four of his colleagues, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) They sent a letter to Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH at the CDC explaining their “growing concern and disappointment” the CDC had “succumbed to pressure from gun control organizations to delete references to a commissioned study from the CC’s website that detailed defensive gun use (DGU) estimates.”

In the letter to Walensky, they wrote, “Lobbying groups should not be able to influence your research and reporting. This is a dereliction of duty by the CDC.”

I know a bit about Grassley, having interviewed him during the Fast & Furious “gun walking” scandal of the Obama administration a decade ago. When he wants answers, he better get them.

A tip of the hat to Stephen Gutowski at The Reload.

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