A Short List of Gun-Rights Victories

by Justin Hinckley, LPNC 2A Issues Coordinator

Read this article, and then check out Justin's site, Port City Firearms. Support your fellow Libertarians and protect yourself at the same time!

For much of the Twentieth Century, the U.S. was on a downward trajectory with respect to gun rights at both the national and state level. The National Firearms Act (1934), the Federal Firearms Act (1938), the Gun Control Act (1968), the Firearms Owners Protection Act (1986), The Brady Act (1993), and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (1994) are the major 2A anti-freedom laws enacted during this time, but there are quite a few others. However, since the 1960s the scales have slowly tipped in favor of the 2nd Amendment and the rights of the people. Below is a short list of the major actions occurring over the last 40ish years. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the major benchmarks by which we can measure where the country currently is with regards to gun rights. Please note, I have largely left the victories of 2023 off the list due to the current fluid nature of the many and conflicting rulings and laws throughout the US.

  • (2023) SCOTUS, NYSRPA, Inc v Bruen – Affirmed the duty of governments passing restrictions on guns and the exercise thereof to justify their new restrictions by demonstrating a contextual “historic tradition of firearm regulation” relating to the proposed restriction. It also reinforces the idea of a right to carry a firearm outside one’s home.
  • (2023) NC LAW, The North Carolina General Assembly overrides a veto from Governor Cooper to repeal the Pistol Purchase Permit and to legalize the carrying of firearms into churches attached to schools during worship service outside of school hours.
  • (2014-2021) STATE LAW Maine (2015), Kansas (2015), Idaho (2016), Missouri (2016), Mississippi (2016), West Virigina (2016), North Dakota (2017), New Hampshire (2017), Oklahoma (2019), South Dakota (2019), Kentucky (2019), Iowa (2020), Montana (2020), Tennessee (2020), Texas (2020), Utah (2020) all passed Constitutional Carry laws.
  • (2013) NC LAW, North Carolina passes major overhaul of their state gun laws, largely expanding the locations permit holders can carry including places that charge admission, parades, funerals, and places that serve alcohol. Pistol Purchase Permit repeal is defeated during this session.
  • (2013) FEDERAL COURT, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Illinois’ ban on carrying of firearms in public. Illinois passed a shall-issue carry law following this decision.
  • (2011) STATE LAW, Wyoming passes Constitutional Carry for residents. Wisconsin finally enshrines licensed carry into law.
  • (2010) SCOTUS, Mcdonald v City of Chicago – Extends the protections of the 2nd Amendment to state and local law.
  • (2010) STATE LAW, Arizona passes Constitutional Carry.
  • (2009) FEDERAL LAW, Obama signs “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010” in which Republicans inserted a provision requiring Amtrack to allow firearms to be transported in checked baggage.
  • (2009) FEDERAL LAW, Obama signs “Credit CARD Act of 2009”, in which Senator Tom Coburn, R-OK inserted a provision legalizing the carrying of firearms in national parks congruent with the state laws in which the park is located.
  • (2008) SCOTUS, DC v Heller – Affirmed the individual right to own firearms, specifically for the purpose of self-defense. This was also the first pro-2a decision at the SCOTUS in 122 years and the first ever SCOTUS decision that was focused on the individual.
  • (2003) STATE LAW, Alaska becomes the first state to go from a shall-issue permitting system, to a Constitutional Carry system (retaining an optional license for reciprocity and background check exemption). The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expires, legalizing AR-15s and many other previously banned rifles and shotguns.
  • (1987-1996) STATE LAW, Florida (1987), Oregon (1989), Pennsylvania (1989), West Virginia (1989), Idaho (1990), Mississippi (1990), Montana (1991), Alaska (1994), Arizona (1994), Tennessee (1994), Wyoming (1994), Arkansas (1995), North Carolina (1995), Oklahoma (1995), Texas (1995), Nevada (1995), Utah (1995), Virginia (1995), Kentucky (1996), Louisiana (1996), and South Carolina (1996) all passed bills legalizing the open and/or concealed carrying of firearms in public.
  • (1986) FEDERAL LAW, Reagan signs Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, limiting ATF powers, preventing the federal government from creating a central database of firearms transfers, and loosening restrictions on FFLs. This law is also listed as a negative above because it effectively banned automatic firearms.

Things are looking up for gun rights in the U.S.! We should celebrate these myriad victories and bring them up anytime pro-gun people try to say we are losing. We are winning, almost entirely because the culture accepts the fundamental truth that firearms are necessary for personal safety and protection. The fight continues to expand freedom and the place where we need to push the hardest is at the federal level, specifically the Executive and Legislative branches, who have done the least to expand and the most to restrict gun rights in the recent decades. Continue pushing, force politicians to take uncompromisingly pro-gun positions and actions.

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  • Rob Yates
    published this page in 2A Talk 2024-01-21 16:37:51 -0500
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