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Litigation Highlight: Virginia Judge Strikes Down Provisions of Federal Law that Prohibit Federally Licensed Dealers from Selling Handguns to Those Under Age 21

Posted by on June 2, 2023

On May 10, Judge Robert Payne of the Eastern District of Virginia issued a decision in Fraser v. ATF invalidating the statutory framework that prohibits federally licensed firearm dealers (or FFLs) from selling handguns to individuals under the age of 21.  Federal law makes it unlawful for an FFL to sell or deliver a handgun, […]

Court Battles Over Assault Weapon Bans—And A New California Ruling

Posted by on May 30, 2023

Restrictions on select kinds of semi-automatic firearms (often labeled assault weapons) are back in the news after the Supreme Court last week declined to halt Illinois’s new law. The request to the Court came on the justices’ so-called shadow docket, where the challengers were seeking emergency relief before the Seventh Circuit had even considered the […]

Litigation Highlight: Southern District of Illinois Strikes Down Illinois Assault Weapons and LCM Ban

Posted by on May 17, 2023

On April 28, a judge in the Southern District of Illinois issued a decision in Barnett v. Raoul granting a preliminary injunction of Illinois’ ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines (LCMs) enacted earlier this year—the Protect Illinois Communities Act, or PICA.[1]  Two federal judges in the Northern District of Illinois had previously denied motions […]

Litigation Highlight: Federal Judge Upholds D.C. Law Banning Large-Capacity Magazines

Posted by on May 12, 2023

On April 20, a federal judge in the District of Columbia denied a motion for a preliminary injunction of a Washington, D.C. law banning the possession, sale, and transfer of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition in Hanson v. D.C.  The decision continues a trend of federal courts upholding large-capacity magazine, […]

District Judge Strikes Down Minnesota Law Restricting 18-to-20-Year-Olds from Carrying Handguns in Public, but Issues Stay Pending Appeal

Posted by on May 5, 2023

On March 31, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Menendez issued a decision in Worth v. Harrington finding portions of a Minnesota statute unconstitutional and enjoining the state from enforcing the statute in the future. The provision struck down in Worth is a part of the state’s permit-to-carry statute. In Minnesota, a permit is required to […]

The Most Disputed Federal Law Post-Bruen

Posted by on May 3, 2023

One federal law has generated more dissensus in the lower federal courts post-Bruen than any other: 18 U.S.C. § 922(n). That provision bars individuals under felony indictment from shipping or transporting guns or ammunition in interstate commerce or receiving guns or ammunition that have been shipped or transported in interstate commerce. Just over a week […]

Second Amendment Sanctuaries, Preemption, and Lessons from the Immigration Context

Posted by on April 26, 2023

Over the past several decades, two trends in gun regulation at the state and local level have come into conflict with one another.  First, beginning in the 1980s, states increasingly adopted broad preemption laws that limit the authority of local and municipal governments to regulate firearms.  As Rachel Simon describes, “[f]orty-five states have adopted express […]

Litigation Highlight: Third Circuit Considers the Scope of PLCAA’s Predicate Exception

Posted by on April 21, 2023

Shortly after Bruen was decided, New Jersey enacted a statute (A1765, codified at N.J. Stat. § 2C:58-35) authorizing the state attorney general to bring lawsuits against gun manufacturers who “knowingly or recklessly create, maintain, or contribute to a public nuisance in this State through the sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing, or marketing of a gun-related product.”  […]

Litigation Highlight: En Banc First Circuit Clarifies Rehaif’s Application to 922(g)(9) Prosecutions

Posted by on April 14, 2023

In its March 24, 2023 en banc decision in United States v. Minor, the First Circuit wrestled with the application of Rehaif v. United States to Section 922(g)(9) charges – the heart and soul of the federal domestic violence initiative. In a nutshell, 922(g)(9) prohibits the possession of firearms and/or ammunition by a person convicted […]

Litigation Highlight: Eighth Circuit Rejects Challenge to Illegal-Alien Prohibition at Bruen Step One

Posted by on April 12, 2023

On April 4, the Eighth Circuit issued a published decision in United States v. Sitladeen rejecting a post-Bruen challenge to the federal ban on “alien[s] . . .  illegally or unlawfully in the United States” possessing firearms.  The decision employed a different “step one” analysis than the Fifth Circuit panel in Rahimi, ultimately focusing on […]

Litigation Highlight: Federal Judge Strikes Down California Law Requiring Certain Safety Features for Handguns

Posted by on April 7, 2023

On March 20, a judge in the Central District of California granted a motion to preliminary enjoin a California law requiring that handguns have certain features before becoming eligible for the roster of handguns permitted to be sold in the state.  The plaintiffs in Boland v. Bonta challenged three specific provisions of California’s Unsafe Handgun […]

Firearms Law and the Decline of Chevron

Posted by on April 5, 2023

The Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, Inc. signaled an expanded role for federal agency regulation by generally requiring courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous federal statute and allowing the executive branch to “make [] policy choices—resolving the competing interests which Congress itself either inadvertently did not […]

Litigation Highlight: Eleventh Circuit Upholds Florida’s Under-21 Purchase Ban

Posted by on March 24, 2023

On March 9, the Eleventh Circuit issued a published decision in NRA v. Bondi holding that Florida’s law prohibiting those under the age of 21 from purchasing (but not possessing) firearms is consistent with the Second Amendment post-Bruen.  The case deals with a Florida statute enacted in 2018, after the February 14, 2018 mass shooting […]

Litigation Highlight: Legal Challenges to ATF Rule on Stabilizing Braces

Posted by on March 22, 2023

In January of this year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) published Final Rule 2021R-08F, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces.’” The new rule changes the operative definition of “rifle” in the Code of Federal Regulations such that most pistols with attached stabilizing braces (often called “pistol braces”) will now […]

The Emerging Second Amendment Civil-Criminal Distinction and Red Flag Laws

Posted by on March 15, 2023

Extreme risk protection order laws, commonly known as “red flag” laws, are currently on the books in 19 states and the District of Columbia.  Generally speaking, these laws allow firearms to be removed temporarily from individuals whom a judge has determined present an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others.  The laws often specify […]

Litigation Highlight: Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Argument in Challenge to Hawaii’s Butterfly Knife Ban

Posted by on March 3, 2023

First principles of federalism suggest that state-to-state variety is a feature, not a bug, of the American system. Each state can generally determine for itself how to exercise its police power and provide for public safety. However, recent litigation following the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision suggests that differentiation among state weapons regulations may raise constitutional […]

The Third Circuit Wrestles with “Inherently Dangerous” Felonies

Posted by on March 1, 2023

In a November 16 panel opinion, the Third Circuit upheld the application of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), the federal ban on felon possession of firearms, to an individual convicted of making false statements when applying for federal welfare benefits.  We covered that opinion in Range v. Attorney General here, and this earlier post by Dru […]

Litigation Highlight: Western District of Oklahoma Strikes Down the Federal Ban on Gun Possession by Unlawful Users of Controlled Substances

Posted by on February 24, 2023

On February 3, a federal judge in the Western District of Oklahoma struck down 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3)—the federal provision banning possession of a firearm by “any person . . . who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance”—in United States v. Harrison.  The defendant in Harrison was apprehended while out […]

Related-Case Rules and Second Amendment Jurisprudence in the District Courts

Posted by on February 17, 2023

As lower courts have wrestled with how to apply Bruen over the past seven-plus months, a small group of federal district court judges has issued some of the highest-profile Second Amendment decisions regarding state laws passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.    This is due in large part to the presence of […]

Litigation Highlight: Indiana Federal Judge Rejects Challenge to Federal Serial-Number Law

Posted by on January 30, 2023

On December 15, Senior District Judge Robert Miller of the Northern District of Indiana issued an opinion in United States v. Reyna rejecting a Second Amendment challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(k)—the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm with a removed, obliterated, or altered serial number.  The decision is notable, especially when compared to an […]

Litigation Highlight: District Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order of Certain Portions of New Jersey’s Sensitive-Places List

Posted by on January 27, 2023

On January 9, District Judge Renee Bumb issued a decision in Koons v. Reynolds granting a temporary restraining order of certain sensitive-places prohibitions in New Jersey’s newly-enacted gun law.  That law was enacted in late December in response to Bruen, and among other things it designated a lengthy list of sensitive places where guns are […]

Litigation Highlight: Tennessee Judge Upholds Federal Felony-Indictment Ban and Notes Outstanding Post-Bruen Questions

Posted by on January 19, 2023

On November 16, Judge Aleta Trauger of the Middle District of Tennessee issued a decision rejecting a Second Amendment challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(n), which prohibits receipt of a firearm while under felony indictment.  Judge Trauger first summarized Bruen and its doctrinal framework.  She observed that: The modern world is different from the world […]

Litigation Highlight: Rhode Island Federal Judge Rejects Challenge to State’s Large-Capacity Magazine Ban

Posted by on December 28, 2022

In a December 14 decision in Ocean State Tactical v. Rhode Island, District Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. denied a motion to preliminarily enjoin Rhode Island’s recent statutory prohibition of “Large Capacity Feeding Devices,” or LCMs.  The Rhode Island law, which was passed and became effective in June, bans the possession of magazines that are […]

Litigation Highlight: Federal Judge Denies New York’s Motion for Remand of State-Law Claims Against “Ghost Gun” Manufacturers

Posted by on December 16, 2022

On December 8, District Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York denied New York state’s motion for remand in New York v. Arm or Ally, LLC et al., a case brought by the state against manufacturers of “‘unfinished’ firearm frames and receivers that can be quickly and easily converted into functional firearms.”  […]

Litigation Highlight: Federal Judge Rejects Challenge to Oregon’s Ballot Measure 114, but the Measure is Enjoined by a State Court

Posted by on December 14, 2022

On December 6, a federal judge in the District of Oregon denied a motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 114, a ballot initiative that narrowly passed in the November election.  Measure 114 enacts a permit-to-purchase requirement, mandates safety training, fingerprinting, and a criminal background check to obtain a gun permit, […]