By Tanya Metaksa
The 2018 election has again made significant changes in the balance of power. As the 2016 election drastically changed the status quo in this country, so did the 2018 election. The midterm elections demonstrated the power of targeted campaign cash being directed to remove targeted elected officials. It also demonstrated that incumbent members of Congress do not always have an advantage in a reelection battle. There are lessons to be learned for gun owners. We must do more than just vote. We must communicate our interest not only in policy, but in working with a legislator to build a relationship.
2018 Federal Legislative Changes:
March: H.R. 1625, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, passed the House and the Senate and was signed on 3/23/2018 by President Trump. It included S. 2135, Fix NICS Act of 2017; H.R. 4909/S.2495, Stop School Violence, and an amendment that included language to allow CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to conduct research on gun violence.
May: The Trump Administration announced that the authority to approve international sales of small arms exports, including semiautomatic rifles and weapons that are .50 caliber and under would be transferred to the Department of Commerce from the State Department. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a rule banning Bump Stocks.
US Supreme Court
On June 27, 2018 Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would be retiring from the Supreme Court effective July 31, 2018. On July 9, 2018 President Trump announced his nomination for Justice Kennedy’s seat, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As Trump’s nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017 was supported by gun owners, so too was the nomination of Kavanaugh another plus for gun owners and those that believe in a strict constructionist view of the Constitution.
Cases decided in 2018
Village of Deerfield, IL:  The Village of Deerfield, IL, passed Ordinance 0-18-06 on April 2, 2018, banning “assault weapons”—a term defined by the ordinance. The Second Amendment Foundation, the Illinois State Rifle Association and Daniel D. Easterly filed suit in the Circuit Court of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois. The basis of this suit is that the issuance of such an ordinance is preempted under current Illinois law.  Guns Save Lives and The NRA Institute for Legislative Action have announced another suit. A temporary restraining order issued by the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court for Lake County, IL, has temporarily stopped the Village of Deerfield from enforcing the ordinance.
Ohioans for Concealed Carry, Inc., et al. v. City of Cleveland: In 2015 the City of Cleveland passed firearms ordinances. The Ohioans for Concealed Carry took the city to court alleging that the ordinances violated the state’s preemption statute. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed and invalidated most of the ordinances and required the city to pay plaintiffs’ fees.
Illinois v. Julio Chairez: In a 7-0 decision the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the state Circuit Court’s judgment that vacated Mr. Chairez’s felony conviction and found that the state law banning firearms within 1000 feet of public parks to be unconstitutional.
Ameren Illinois Co. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: After Brian Knox, an employee at Ameren Illinois, Co. and a Right-to-Carry permit holder, had a disagreement with a supervisor he was asked to consent to a search of his vehicle. A firearm was found stored in his truck on a company parking lot and he was fired with allegations of “threatening or intimidating” and having an “unauthorized” gun on company property. The dispute was first settled by arbitration in Knox’s favor, but the company appealed to the US Court of Appeals in the Seventh Circuit. The Seventh Circuit stated, that a reference to state and federal laws in the collective bargaining agreement “firmly established the intent of the parties (the union unconstitutional.
City of Missoula v. Timothy C. Fox: In 2016 the city of Missoula passed an ordinance requiring background checks for all firearms purchases from private unlicensed law such as the Concealed Carry Act within the scope of the bargain.” Knox was reinstated.
Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club, Ltd. v. Small: In 2017 the Delaware Supreme Court by a one-vote margin (3-2) ruled that residents’ right to Keep and Bear arms recognized under the Delaware constitution was being curtailed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and the Delaware Department of Agriculture regulations. The state agencies then rewrote their regulations. The Superior Court upon reviewing the revised regulations found them to be unconstitutional. The Court wrote Delaware “is an ‘open carry’ state. This right to bear arms includes the right to do so for purposes of hunting, recreation and protection of self and family both inside and outside the home.” The justices cited a case brought in 2010 against the Wilmington Housing Authority that ruled denying housing authority residents their right to keep and bear arms was sellers. In January 2017 Timothy C. Fox, the Attorney General for Montana, issued an opinion that the ordinance was not enforceable due to Montana’s preemption statutes. The city then went to court arguing that the AG opinion was erroneous. On October 11, 2018 Judge Robert “Dusty” Deschamps rejected the Attorney General’s ruling stating that Fox’s opinion “deprives Missoula of its own authority.” An appeal is possible.
Assn. of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc. et al, v. Attorney General New Jersey, et al: This is a case brought by NJ gun owners against the new law limiting magazines to no more than 10 rounds. In a 2-1 decision the Court stated that the law “does not unconstitutionally burden the Second Amendment’s right to self-defense in the home.”