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EXCLUSIVE: Sportsmen group had “a good day” at court concerning waiting periods/magazine limits

By Michael Bielawski,

The Executive Director of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen Club Chris Bradley has updated VDC that they have begun the court process for determining if there will be a stay (a pause on any enforcement) on two new gun laws, one concerning a waiting time to receive a purchased gun and another concerning magazine capacity limits.

They were in court on Thursday where both sides began presenting witnesses. Bradley told VDC that “it was a good day for the sportsmen.” He said more specifics will have to wait as the case is ongoing.

Vermont gun law 13 V.S.A. § 4019 requires a 72-hour wait time from the time of purchase until the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) comes up with a unique identification number (via a background check) or seven business days have passed.

“The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (VTFSC) fought this bill every step of the way, and while we were successful in changing some parts of the bill, the most egregious section of the bill remained untouched. That section imposed a 72-hour Waiting Period between the purchase of a firearm and the ability to take possession of it,” the Federation states.

The other law that is being challenged regards magazine capacity limits or 13 V.S.A. § 4021. This law states, “A person shall not manufacture, possess, transfer, offer for sale, purchase, or receive or import into this State a large capacity ammunition feeding device.” This means limits of 15 rounds for handguns and 10 rounds for long guns.

The Federation states that the magazine limit does not meet the standards of law set by the nation’s founders. They write, “Likewise, there were no laws that prevented or restricted firearms that could shoot more than one shot without re-loading (muli-shot firearms most assuredly did exist at the time of our founding), and our own 2nd Circuit has already ruled that high-capacity magazines are in ‘common use.’”

Bradley told VDC that the common use standard is an important point. They wrote, “The ‘common use’ test determines the constitutionality of a firearm ban and is central to the Heller, McDonald, and Bruen decisions. It is an extremely important point, since the “common use” test is central to the Heller, McDonald, and Bruen decisions. This test dictates that the magazine ban should also be struck down as unconstitutional.”

Three critical court cases

He shared with VDC how each of these three SCOTUS cases has reshaped the legal landscape in recent years favorably for the 2nd Amendment.

Regarding the Heller case, the Federation calls it “the first major Second Amendment case to be examined since the 1939 case of U.S. v. Miller. The Heller decision struck down as unconstitutional a District of Columba law that required firearms to be 

either disassembled or locked up in one’s own home – a law which effectively prevented self-defense.”

On the McDonald case, the Federation states “SCOTUS struck down as unconstitutional a Chicago law that prevented citizens from defending themselves outside of their home.

For the Bruen case, the Federation says that the SCOTUS took the opportunity to further clarify how lower courts should be coming to their rulings concerning the 2nd Amendment.

They write, “SCOTUS recognized that since the Heller decision was made, lower courts had been steadily infringing on the core of the Second Amendment, doing so by using various means-to-ends tests and intermediate scrutiny to determine whether a given law was constitutional or not.”

According to the Federation, the SCOTUS observed a trending double standard when it came to the lower court’s treatment of people’s rights.

“SCOTUS saw that Second Amendment cases were being treated differently than how other Rights were handled, so they set about providing explicit instructions that all courts should follow when hearing a Second Amendment case,” they wrote.

They explain the new standard that lower courts must now follow. The Federation writes, “If an existing or proposed law impacts the core right of the Second Amendment, SCOTUS ruled that the law should be considered presumptively unconstitutional UNLESS the government can prove that such a law was in line with the text, history, and tradition of firearm ownership at the time of the founding.”

Costly court cases?

Governor Phil Scott has stated that by allowing the 72-hour waiting period to become law without his signature, the courts would ultimately work out whether it is constitutionally sound.

“Knowing that my constitutional concerns will be addressed through the legal process, I will allow H.230 to become law without my signature, and await the judicial branch to decide the fate of waiting periods,” Scott said.

Bradley said in the future he would like to know how much these legal battles are costing the taxpayers.

The author is a writer for the Vermont Daily Chronicle


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