Thursday, July 26, 2018

Why Trump Needs to Appoint Some More Supreme Court Justices

A few months back, a federal district court in Texas agreed that the Gun Control Act of 1968's ban on sale of handguns to residents of states other than the FFL's state of residence is a leftover from a period when it was impractical for an FFL to determine if a buyer from state X could lawfully possess a handgun.  Now that background checks are done by the federal government, this should not be a problem.  This particular case, Mance v. Sessions, involved a resident of DC who wanted to buy a handgun in Texas to avoid the absurd $125 fee charged by the only FFL in DC.

This case was of course appealed to the 5th Circuit.  They just ruled against us.  The argument is that for an FFL to figure out if Mance has permission to buy a handgun in DC is impractical, even if Mance has an official statement of this from DC.  Even the fairly sympathetic concurring opinion recognizes that even aside from the federal background check:
For example, California is a point-of-contact state, and the point of contact for background checks is the California Department of Justice (DOJ).[47] If a Texas FFL desired to sell a handgun to a California resident, and the California DOJ issued a handgun permit to that resident, then the Texas FFL would still have to ascertain and comply with other California laws. These include laws that: prohibit delivery of a handgun unless the purchaser presents documentation indicating that he or she is a California resident (the documentation includes "a utility bill from within the last three months, a residential lease, a property deed, or military permanent duty station orders indicating assignment within" California);[48] prohibit delivery of a handgun until a 10-day waiting period has expired;[49] require the handgun to be unloaded and securely wrapped or in a locked container at the time of delivery;[50] prohibit delivery unless a handgun safety certificate is presented;[51]and impose specific record-keeping requirements.[52] California law prohibits a dealer from delivering a handgun "unless the recipient performs a safe handling demonstration with that handgun,"[53] and the dealer must give instruction as to "how to render that handgun safe in the event of a jam."[54] The specific safe-handling demonstrations required are set forth by law; they differ, depending on the type of handgun;[55] and the firearms dealer must sign and date an affidavit stating that the requirements have been satisfied and obtain the purchaser's signature on the affidavit.[56] A firearms licensee is required by California law to "post conspicuously within the licensed premises a detailed list" of fees and charges required by government agencies for processing firearms transfers and license charges.[57] Effective January 1, 2018, California law directs firearms dealers to require agents and employees who handle, sell, or deliver firearms to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the California DOJ that he or she is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm.[58]
In short, California has created a maze of irrational rules intended to prohibit handgun ownership.  Trying to figure out if a sale would be lawful in California might be impossible.  (It already is almost impossible to figure out inside California.)


  1. The simplest way is to codify that handguns are treated like long guns - follow the laws of both states. That way a resident of most states can buy a gun in most other states. Residents of the crazier states would remain SOL.

  2. So incorporate the 2nd Amendment so that California has to obey it, which has been already done with the 1st, 4th and 6th Amendments.

    There is no reason that any State should be able to disregard the basic law of the land, which is still our Constitution no matter how much California hates it!

  3. Eskyman: McDonald v. Chicago (2010) did so, but the Courts of Appeal have found clever ways to ignore it. I am hoping Trump's appointment will cause some of these cases to be granted cert.

    KCSteve: If we had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, this would be easy.. We do? You're joshing me!

  4. I'm at a loss why it should be illegal to sell a gun to a California resident in Texas simply because it's illegal for the buyer to possess it in California.

    It's legal for him to possess it in Texas.
    It would be legal for him to take it to a shooting range in Nevada.

    There would be no crime unless he brought it into California, and if he did that would be a crime on his part that the seller in Texas had no part of.

    Or does California claim that residents of California are subject to California criminal law no matter where they go?