When a federal judge in Lubbock, Texas early last month dismissed charges against a man for owning a gun while under a restraining order, legal experts said the development could be used to challenge gun control laws, reported the Associated Press.
“If appealed, this could be the springboard for a definitive Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment,” said Stephen Halbrook, the attorney who challenged successfully certain provisions of the Brady Law before the Supreme Court.
The ruling on April 1 involved Dr. Timothy Joe Emerson of San Angelo, Texas, who was charged last year under a law which was included in the massive 1994 Clinton Crime Bill with violating a restraining order after brandishing a pistol in front of his wife and daughter.
Defense lawyers argued that Dr. Emerson had a right to own guns under the Second Amendment and that any law infringing on that right was unconstitutional.
Judge Sam R. Cummings of Federal District Court in Northern Texas agreed, ruling that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is an individual right, and not just a right belonging to an organized militia, as federal prosecutors
Judge Cummings said he based his decision on a “historical examination of the right to bear arms, from English antecedents to the drafting of the Second Amendment.”
Government lawyers said they planned to appeal.
The Associated Press reported that those on both sides of the issue agreed that the decision might be the first in which a judge specifically called a law unconstitutional because it infringed on an individual’s Second Amendment rights.
In another Clinton-Gore Administration “let’s sock it to gun owners” move, the U.S. Justice Department proposed a regulation that it will turn over the identities of lawful firearm transferees to the BATF so that the BATF can “audit” such persons as well as the Federal Firearms Licensees from whom they purchased the guns. The FBI says it wants to keep the records for three months, in arrogant violation of the Brady Act, which requires that National Instant Check System (NICS) records be destroyed and which forbids “any record or portion thereof” generated by NICS from being “recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed or controlled by” the United States, and also forbids using NICS “to establish any system for the registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions.” The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 also made it illegal for BATF to have such records. Comments from those opposed to this proposed registry can submit comments opposed to the proposed regulation by the comment period deadline of June 1, 1999 to Emmet A. Rathbun, Unit Chief, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Module C-3, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306-0147.
In Washington, D. C., Congresswoman Sue W. Kelly introduced H.R. 1330, a bill to amend title 18, U. S. Code, to increase the mandatory minimum penalties provided for possessing, brandishing or discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence of drug trafficking crime. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Anti-gun Sen. Charles Schumer of New York introduced S. 637, the proposed Internet Gun Trafficking Act of 1999, to require anyone who operates an internet web-site which offers firearms for sale or otherwise facilitates the sale of firearms posted or listed on the web-site to become a federally licensed firearms manufacturer, importer or dealer, and to notify the Secretary of the Treasury of the address of the web-site.
S. 637 would require anyone who operates an Internet web-site which posts or lists firearms for sale on behalf of other persons to serve as a “middleman” for any resulting gun transactions. The web-site operators would do this by prohibiting the posting of information on these sites that would enable prospective firearms sellers and buyers to contact one another directly (such as phone numbers or e-mail addresses) and thus bypass involvement by web-site operators, and require that all firearms sold as a result of their being listed on their web-sites be shipped to them, as federally licensed firearms dealers, rather than directly to the buyers.
S. 637 would prohibit unlicensed individuals who offer firearms for sale on “gun show” web-sites from shipping firearms sold as a result of being listed on such web-sites to anyone other than the web-site operator.
It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Its companion measure, H. R. 1245, by Rep. Bobby L. Rush of Illinois, was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, a CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Awardee, introduced H. R. 407, the proposed Second Amendment Restoration Act of 1999. It would provide that notwithstanding any provision of the law of any state or political subdivision thereof, a person who is not prohibited by federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping or receiving a firearm and who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of any state and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm, or who is otherwise entitled to carry a concealed firearm in and pursuant to the law of the state of a person’s residence, may carry in any state a concealed firearm in accordance with the terms of the license of with the laws of the state of the person’s residence, subject to the laws of the state in which the firearm is carried concerning locations in which firearms may not be carried. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.