After the District of Columbia’s handgun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller, and its ban on bearing arms was struck down by the District Court in Palmer v. D.C., the District responded by prohibiting all persons from bearing arms unless “the applicant has good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol.” D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4506(a)-(b).
A “good reason” “at a minimum require[s] a showing of a special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or previous attacks that demonstrate a special danger to the applicant's life.” § 7-2509.11(1)(A). Living or working in a high-crime area was not enough. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24 § 2333.4.
In Bauer v. Becerra, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $5.00 fee on all firearms transfers intended to fund a program that disarms prohibited persons who possess firearms.
California requires every transfer of a firearm to go through a licensed dealer. California further requires every transferee to pay a fee of $19.00. This fee pays for the $14.00 it costs to run a background check on the transferee—which is directly related to the transfer of the firearm to the transferee—and the fee pays $5.00 towards a program preventing persons who have become prohibited persons from continuing to possess firearms—which is not directly related to the transfer of the firearm to the transferee. [Read More]
In Kolbe v. Hogan, the Fourth Circuit, sitting en banc, became the first Federal Circuit Court to hold that so-called “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines” are not protected by the Second Amendment. But the court’s decision resulted from a misinterpretation of Supreme Court precedent. [Read More]
In Silvester v. Harris, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California law requiring a 10-day waiting period for all firearm purchases, as applied to purchasers who already own a firearm and concealed carry permit holders. The plaintiffs argued that they should be able to possess their purchased firearm as soon as their background check is completed. The government argued that the 10-day waiting period provides a much needed “cooling off” period, even when the purchaser already owns a firearm. [Read More]
On November 8th, voters approved recreational marijuana initiatives in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada, and medicinal marijuana initiatives in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas (Montanans voted to roll back already existing medical marijuana restrictions). 28 states and the District of Columbia have now passed laws legalizing the medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana.
Meanwhile, Americans set a record in each of the last 18 months for the number of National Instant Criminal Background Check System firearm background checks processed, which is the most accurate indicator of the number of firearm sales (because nearly all sales by federally licensed firearm dealers require a background check, as do many private sales). This year almost certainly will surpass 2015 as the year with the most firearm background checks ever.
Thus, legal marijuana use and firearm ownership are likely both at all-time highs. However, since federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3)) makes it a felony for an “unlawful user of … any controlled substance” to “possess … any firearm,” and since marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, it is a felony for a user of marijuana to possess a firearm. [Read More]