[JURIST] The National Rifle Association (NRA) [advocacy website] CEO Wayne LaPierre dismissed [video; transcript] calls for a renewed ban on assault weapons on Sunday. LaPierre said that an assault weapons ban was a “phony piece of legislation” [AP report]. After LaPierre’s interview on Sunday, it is very unlikely that the NRA will support any new regulations on guns. LaPierre reiterated the NRA’s support for having an armed police officer at every school in the the country. Democrats in Congress have voiced their support for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Democrats in Congress, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California are calling for a renewal on the expired ban on certain types of guns and on the number of bullets that a magazine can hold. Last week President Barack Obama called on Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force to investigate and recommend policies to reduce gun violence in the US.
This story is the latest development in the Second Amendment and gun control debate [JURIST commentary] in the US. In July Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that his state would appeal [JURIST report] the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida [official website] ruling that struck down a Florida law that barred doctors from discussing the dangers of gun ownership with patients. In July 2010 the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a new gun control law that bans gun shops in the city and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, including porches and garages, with a handgun. Shortly thereafter a group of Chicago citizens, supported by both the NRA and the National Association of Firearm Retailers, filed suit against the city [JURIST report] claiming the new ordinance infringes on their constitutional rights. In June 2010 the US Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago [opinion; JURIST report] that the Second Amendment applies to states and municipalities as well as the federal government, thereby overturning Chicago’s ban on handguns and raising considerable uncertainty about what amount of regulations of firearms was permissible.