March 12, 2021
It is no secret that the Biden Administration – along with a Democrat led Congress – is attempting to enact new federal firearms restrictions into law. The new Administration recently called on Congress to pass laws requiring background checks on all firearms sales, ban “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, and eliminate the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a federal statute that provides immunity to firearm manufacturers, distributors, and sellers from liability arising out of the criminal misuse of firearms by third parties. In fact, the House of Representatives took the first step to fulfilling the Biden Administration’s directive by passing a bill this week that would require federal background checks for all firearm sales or transfers. Under existing law, background checks are not required for firearm sales or transfers by unlicensed or private sellers, such as the sale of a firearm between family members. There is further indication that this is likely the first of many potential bills being considered by the House of Representatives for the purpose of enacting additional firearm restrictions as proposed by the Biden Administration. These proposed restrictions would have a profoundly negative impact on the firearm industry and the right to bear arms generally. In an effort to combat these possible changes to existing law, various state legislatures have proposed – and in some cases enacted – preemptive measures to reinforce citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment, and to protect against potential new federal firearm restrictions. The following outlines some of the measures taken by state legislatures:
- Montana. A bill was recently signed into law in Montana eliminating a license requirement to carry concealed firearms in most places. The law expands the list of places where concealed firearms can be carried to include bars, banks, and college campuses.
- Kentucky. Kentucky recently passed a bill to prevent financial institutions from discriminating against firearm businesses.
- South Dakota. The State legislature recently passed a bill to prohibit restrictions against citizens’ Second Amendment rights during a declared state of emergency. Another bill was passed to reduce the cost of obtaining a concealed carry permit from $7.00 to $3.00.
- Arkansas. A stand your ground law was recently enacted in Arkansas which eliminates the requirement that citizens must retreat before using force to defend themselves.
- West Virginia. A bill was recently proposed prohibiting college campuses in the State of West Virginia from excluding citizens with concealed carry permits from carrying firearms on campus.
- Tennessee. A bill was recently proposed to eliminate a license requirement to carry concealed firearms.
- South Carolina. A bill was recently proposed to allow those who hold a concealed carry permit to open carry. Under existing South Carolina law, citizens are not explicitly permitted to open carry even if they hold a concealed carry permit.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor nationwide efforts to protect Second Amendment rights in light of the Biden Administration’s attempt to impose new federal firearm restrictions. If you have any questions concerning the potential impact of proposed federal law or the effect of any proposed, or newly enacted, law in your state, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.MM