On the six-month anniversary of the Pulse night club massacre, gun control advocates were optimistic about the future of their gun control agenda.
John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, noted that voters in three states approved ballot initiatives strengthening gun control. The initiatives in Nevada, Washington and California — which were strongly opposed by the NRA — prevailed on the same day that Americans elected Trump, who has vowed to pass gun-friendly laws at the federal level.
“State by state is the way we’re going to win it,” Feinblatt said.
The plan to attack at the state level includes a posse of lawyers and law firms. A recent article in the New York Times details the blossoming relationship between the gun control movement and Big Law, which is donating its services to help the anti-Second Amendment movement.
This effort is highly unusual in its scale. Although law firms often donate time to individual causes, and some firms have worked on gun control on a piecemeal basis, the number and the prominence of the firms involved in the new coalition are unheard-of for modern-day big law. Other firms are expected to join in the coming months.
The focus will be on chipping away at state laws and regulations.
Rather than fighting the political headwinds, the coalition is focusing on courts and state regulatory agencies, among the few places where they might still gain some traction. The coalition is drafting lawsuits and preparing regulatory complaints that could be announced as soon as next month, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, one of the nonprofit advocacy groups that helped form the coalition, along with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brennan Center for Justice, a legal think tank at New York University School of Law.
On one front, the coalition will seek to overturn state laws that have gone largely unchallenged, including new policies that force businesses to allow guns to be carried on their property. The group also plans to mount the first formal challenges to congressional restrictions on publishing government data on gun violence. Taking a page from the fight against big tobacco two decades ago, it will seek the help of regulators to challenge what it views as the gun industry’s attempts to stifle competition.
Some Second Amendment supporters are already ahead of this effort. One state might consider a law that allows disarmed victims to sue businesses that are “gun free zones.” For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The NRA will continue to fight against the gun controllers’ agenda, especially after pro-2A Donald Trump’s presidential victory over the anti-gun Hillary Clinton.
“The power of the N.R.A. lies with our members and the tens of millions of Americans who support the Second Amendment,” said Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the organization’s lobbying arm. “The gun control lobby made this election a referendum on gun control, and they lost because the majority of Americans support the Second Amendment and they vote to protect their constitutional right to self-protection.”
Best of luck to the gun controllers — and see you at the SCOTUS!