National

Senator Durbin (D-IL) Blocks Bill to Restore Rights to Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reported hundreds of thousands of veterans to NICS and prohibited them from possessing firearms if they had an appointed “fiduciary” to manage their benefits. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced an amendment to a Veterans Affairs Appropriation Bill that would have prevented the VA from reporting veterans without an adjudication that included a finding of dangerousness. Unfortunately, that amendment was blocked from being considered by Senator Durbin.

Social Security Rule Finalized

After President Obama issued executive orders on gun control, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began investigating the Department of Veterans Affairs program of NICS reporting as a potential model for the SSA. If implemented, anyone collecting Social Security using “designated payee” to manage that person’s finances would be put in the NICS system and prohibited from possessing firearms. The SSA has issued the final rule, and we’re fortunate it is not as bad as what was first proposed (but still bad). Under the final rule, the following all of the things below would have to be true before a person would be entered into NICS and prohibited from possessing firearms:

  • Has a designated payee who manages his or her finances.
  • Is a beneficiary disability payments, and not a retiree.
  • Filed for Social Security Disability under a mental health code.
  • Has attained the age of 18 (children automatically have a designated payee).

NRA has concerns because many mental health codes used by SSA don’t necessarily include a finding of dangerousness. Examples they used were “Sleep or Appetite Disturbance,” “Decreased Energy,” and “Inflated Self-Esteem.” There are other due process concerns as well, and whether this whole program is even legal, but the courts work slowly.

Pennsylvania

Sunday Hunting

Senate Bill 1080 and House Bill 1374 are still making progress in the Pennsylvania legislature. The bill would allow the PA Game Commission to permit hunting on Sundays. Delaware’s legislature just passed a similar bill which is now before the Governor. Right now our bill is still in the Game and Fisheries Committee.

PICS Repeal

Pennsylvania maintains its own background check system that is separate from the federal system. HB 921, which is coming up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee, would eliminate PICS, allowing firearms dealers to use the federal NICS system in its place. PICS costs the state a considerable amount of money to run, and is considerably less reliable than the federal system.

New Jersey

Blocking Governor Christie’s Rule Changes to Make it Easier to Get a Permit to Carry

As those of you from New Jersey may know, Governor Christie signed a series of executive orders to redefine how New Jersey gun laws are interpreted, including easing laws that include transporting firearms and easing the requirement to justify being issued a License to Carry a firearm. Unfortunately, this made the Democratic-controlled legislature angry, and they’ve introduced bills to stop this, namely ACR 175 and SCR 101, and also AB 3689.

New Hampshire Licenses Again Available to New Jersey Residents

New Hampshire Licenses to Carry were available to New Jersey residents up until the N.H. Department of Safety ended up changing its rule and required non-resident applicants to have a permit from their home state before being able to apply. However, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled last week in Bach v. N.H. Department of Safety that the requirement went beyond the department’s powers. New Hampshire licenses will again be available to New Jersey residents for those who want to carry in states that recognize the New Hampshire licenses.