A Pivotal 90 Days in the Fight for Gun Rights

On November 10, 2020, exactly 3 months ago, Mountain States Legal Foundation launched the nation’s only in-house, litigation-only Second Amendment operation in the United States—the Center to Keep and Bear Arms (CKBA).

This effort had been in the works long before election day—in response to unprecedented threats to our right to keep and bear arms by all levels of government.  CKBA was founded upon MSLF’s history of fighting for the natural right to self-defense and in line with MSLF’s commitment to defending our  liberties enshrined in and protected by the U.S. Constitution.

As the struggle over gun rights intensifies, millions of Americans are taking their self-defense more seriously than ever.  An estimated 8.4 million people bought a gun for the first time during 2020.  This January, as the Biden-Harris administration took over, gun sales were up 80 percent from the same time last year.

Clearly, Americans are determined not to be disarmed. And the Center to Keep and Bear Arms is already taking this fight to the highest level.

CKBA is actively seeking to intervene on behalf of our clients in the cases of California v. ATF and Syracuse v. ATF—lawsuits brought by progressive cities and gun-control activists, threatening the rights of those who lawfully craft firearms for personal use.  By attempting to impose a new (and nonsensical) definition of “firearms” on the entire nation, activists are endangering our clients’—and countless Americans’—livelihoods and individual rights, as well as the American tradition of self-sufficiency.  CKBA stands in the way, arguing for the ATF’s longstanding application of the definition of “firearm.”

In California v. ATF, CKBA has fully briefed intervention.  Additionally, in order to ensure our clients’ voices are heard at each stage of the case, we asked the Court for leave to file a brief in support of the federal government’s motion to dismiss the entire case.  CKBA will argue for both of these positions before the court on February 25th.

In Syracuse v. ATF, the district court denied our clients request for intervention, stating that the federal government adequately represents our clients’ interests.  Based on the actions of the ATF and the incoming administration, however, that is obviously not the case.  So the Center appealed the district court’s decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and will brief and argue the appeal in the coming months.  Yet again, to ensure our clients’ interests are protected, the Center filed an amici curiae brief in support of the ATF’s longstanding definition of “firearm” at the district court while our appeal is pending.

But the Center to Keep and Bear Arms has done more than just litigate our own cases—we’re also supporting the larger gun rights movement.

In three amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, we argued against unjust and unconstitutional lifetime gun bans—imposed on peaceful citizens that have only ever been convicted of non-violent offenses, contrary to the text and original meaning of the Second Amendment.  These briefs—on behalf of Ken Flick, Lisa Folajtar, and Raymond Holloway—call on the Supreme Court to consistently apply its landmark gun rights decision in D.C. v. Heller and to vindicate the rights of tens of thousands of peaceful Americans.

In 3 short months, the Center to Keep and Bear Arms has filed 9 briefs and 1 appeal across 5 separate cases.

All of this was already happening before the Biden-Harris administration ever hit the ground.  We are ready for the challenges of the next four years, and beyond.  And with the help of our supporters, the Center to Keep and Bear Arms isn’t stopping any time soon.

Together we can outpace, outmaneuver, and outlast those who would strip away our rights.

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Since 1977, MSLF has fought to protect private property rights, individual liberties, and economic freedom. MSLF is a nonprofit public interest legal foundation. We represent clients pro bono and receive no government funding. Make your 100% tax deductible contribution today and join the fight.

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