The Bush Administration failed to follow Federal environmental laws in its attempt to give the gun lobby a last-minute gift by allowing loaded, hidden guns into national parks and wildlife refuges, a Federal judge ruled. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction restoring prior rules that weapons be unloaded and safely secured in those public lands. The Brady Center filed suit on behalf of its Brady Campaign members on December 30, 2008, to block the Bush rule. It took quite a while for the proceedings to finish, but the decision was right and in accordance with U.S. legislation.
The court found the Bush Administration’s last-minute rule was a product of “astoundingly flawed process,” and held that the Brady Campaign is “highly likely to prevail” in showing that the rule was illegal. The success of the Brady Campaign’s actions shows that the judicial system is sometimes slow to react, but can, eventually, lead to positive results in gun control. This organization will keep up with their activities for more restrictive gun control legislation and a reduction in gun violence.
No Guns at Atlanta Hartsfied Airport
In a victory for common sense, a federal appeals court has ruled that the Georgia legislature can’t force Atlanta’s International Airport to allow people to carry concealed weapons on airport property. From now on, passengers, visitors and employees will not be able to carry any kind (firearms, bladed weapons etc.) of weapons onto Atlanta International Airport grounds.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit accepted arguments made by the Brady Center in an amicus brief it filed, along with Georgians For Gun Safety. This non-profit advocacy organization, GGS for short, consists of concerned Georgians who aim to reduce death and injuries by firearms in the state of Georgia since 1993. They focus on education and communication and work closely with other, larger organizations, such as the Brady Center.
The Court upheld a lower court decision that the City of Atlanta could prohibit visitors from carrying concealed firearms in its airport. We hope that other institutions and organizations which have an unreasonably benevolent view towards firearms and other concealed weapons in public will also follow the example of the Airport’s management. This is just another small step in the fight against gun violence in the United States.
Restrictions on Guns for Domestic Abusers
The U.S Supreme Court rejected arguments by convicted domestic abuser Randy Edward Hayes and the gun lobby that federal law allowed Hayes to possess firearms. This man was convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence back in 1994 and pled guilty to the crime after striking his spouse several times, inflicting serious injury. Afterward, he was arrested after the police found a Winchester rifle in his possession.
The 7-2 ruling in United States v. Hayes was a blow to gun lobby groups that had urged the Court to severely narrow the federal Lautenberg Amendment that bars gun possession by abusers convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. This Amendment (The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban) bans access to firearms by persons who were previously convicted of domestic violence. The name comes from the sponsor of the Amendment, Senator Frank Lautenberg.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Congress’ intentions and underlying concerns in its 1996 law were clear: “Firearms and domestic strife are a potentially deadly combination nationwide.” Justice Ginsburg was citing the Brady Center’s brief in her opinion. Her efforts and decisions were applauded nationwide, primarily by the Brady Center, one of the most critical gun control groups in the country.
Brady President Paul Helmke said the ruling is “the right one for victims of domestic abuse and to protect law enforcement officers who are our first responders to domestic violence incidents.” He also pointed out that this decision will inevitably decrease the total number of injuries and deaths among domestic violence victims, but also in the ranks of the police.