Most gun rights activists are familiar with the concept of state preemption, a statute reserving all authority for setting and administering gun laws in the hands of the state legislature.

It’s a good system because it mandates uniformity from one state border to another.

Proof that preemption is the proper way to regulate firearms lies in the opinion of government officials. Big city mayors and councils hate it with a passion because they want to enforce their own concept of gun control within their jurisdictions.

Recently, Judge Jocelyn Newman of the Court of Common Pleas in Columbia, S.C. ruled that the City of Columbia’s attempt to dance around the Palmetto State’s preemption law was a non-starter. She invalidated ordinances passed in the city because they violated the state law.

The National Rifle Association cheered the ruling, which by the time you read this may be under appeal.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson successfully defended his state’s
firearms preemption law. (Screen snip: YouTube, Carolina Business Review) )

The legal action against Columbia’s gun control ordinances was mounted by state Attorney General Alan Wilson. That’s as it should be, since it’s the duty of a state attorney general to enforce and defend state law, including the preemption statute.

Jump 2,200 miles to the Pacific Northwest, where two Washington cities—Seattle and Edmonds—adopted so-called “safe storage” ordinances, in direct violation of the state’s 36-year-old preemption law. Despite this fact, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson didn’t step in to challenge those ordinances. The Second Amendment Foundation and NRA filed lawsuits instead, and so far, they’ve been on the winning side.

A state court of appeals unanimously ruled against the City of Edmonds. Acting Chief Judge Beth Andrus wrote the opinion, with Judges Bill Bowman and Lori Kay Smith concurring. Judge Andrus explained, “We…conclude that the legislature’s express preemption of ‘the entire field of firearms regulation’ is unambiguous and necessarily extends to regulations of the storage of firearms.”

The Seattle case was still pending at this writing, but Seattle is in the same Appeals Court District, so the smart money is on a similar outcome.

The difference between South Carolina and Washington is simple. A.G. Wilson is a Republican. A.G. Ferguson is a Democrat who has previously called for a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and supported a radical gun control initiative passed in 2018.

‘Gun Safety Symposium’

Earlier this month, a group calling itself “97 Percent” conducted what it claimed was a “gun safety symposium” that it headlined “Bridging the Divide: Bring Together Gun Owners and Non-Gun Owners for Real Reform.”

There was just one glaring problem. No genuine “gun safety” organizations were represented. The NRA wasn’t there, nor was the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms or the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. The list of topics was impressive:

Gun Owners and How They Can be Part of the Solution
Guns, Race and Social Justice
Which Policies Actually Help Save Lives?
Legislative Perspectives – What’s Possible in a Biden Administration?
Technology & Guns – Is the Future Finally Here?
Personal Stories from Gun Violence Victims – It’s Not What You’d Expect
What’s Possible – where do we go from here?

Back in January, “97 Percent” identified itself as “a new gun safety organization” in The Hill, the famous Capitol Hill newspaper. Its executive director is Mathew Littman, who “previously served as chief speechwriter to Joe Biden (2006-2008) and was executive director of the pro-Biden SuperPAC ‘Win the West.’”

While the agenda included remarks by “gun violence victims,” there was no presentation by armed citizens who defended themselves or their families listed on the agenda. The speakers included Fred Guttenberg, father of a student killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. He reportedly told Florida lawmakers, “All our legislators who stand with the NRA, they’re standing with a terrorist group.” Yeah, such remarks always help break the ice with gun owners.

The list of panel suggestions includes “Gun Owners and How They Can be Part of the Solution.” The question is, what is the problem, and what sort of “solution” is the goal? If the goal is reducing violent crime involving firearms, the solutions are simple: certainty of punishment, long-term incarceration of armed criminals and relaxed concealed carry laws.

Addressing guns and race is a good idea, since many minority citizens and women are among the 8 million-plus new gun owners who joined the firearms community over the past year.

Which policies save lives depends on one’s perspective. Laws that recognize the right of self-defense are good policies and they work.

What’s possible in a Biden administration? Let’s hope we never find out.

Technology and guns? There is nothing wrong with new technology as it works every time and it isn’t mandated.

Where do we go from here? A logical first stop for participants in this symposium might be Gunsite or Thunder Ranch, maybe the Firearms Academy of Seattle or Front Sight.

Several Kahr Arms pistols are on the California roster, though this one
doesn’t appear to be one of them. That shows how arbitrary the law is.

A ruling from U.S. District Chief Judge Dana Sabraw last month suggested California’s “handgun roster” law might be unconstitutional, encouraging Golden State gun owners.

The law requires the removal of three handguns on the current “approved” roster for each handgun model added. The law was challenged in a federal lawsuit filed in November by SAF, the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, Firearms Policy Coalition and a private citizen, Lana Rae Renna, for whom the case Renna v. Becerra is named.

The state will likely appeal but something Judge Sabraw wrote seems to pin down the intent of those behind the new “roster” law.

“Plaintiffs allege the UHA’s roster imposes a significant burden on their Second Amendment rights,” the judge observed. “Specifically, the (complaint) alleges the number of handguns available for purchase on the roster continues to decline and ultimately will ‘shrink into oblivion’ as handguns are removed from the roster, including by AB 2847’s three-for-one provision. Taking Plaintiffs’ allegations as true, this limits the ability of law-abiding citizens to acquire firearms, which is critical to ensuring the Second Amendment right to keep arms.”

“This case shows California’s amended handgun law seems ultimately designed to shrink the available number of approved handguns to virtually zero,” SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb concurred. “Judge Sabraw appears to recognize this unconstitutional dilemma near the end of his opinion.”

Subscribe To American Handgunner