Feinstein to Introduce Updated Assault Weapons Bill in New Congress |Volokh Conspiracy

… So reports a press release from last week; note these details:

A Justice Department study found the Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decline in total gun murders. However, since the 2004 expiration of the bill, assault weapons have been used in at least 459 incidents, resulting in 385 deaths and 455 injuries.

Three thoughts:

1. The study that Sen. Feinstein is apparently referring to did seem to find that states in which an assault weapon ban was first introduced (but that lacked certain other confounding factors) “were 6.7 percent below the projection” of what the gun murder rate would be without the assault weapons ban. But in the very next sentence, the study says, “Random, year-to-year fluctuations could not be ruled out as an explanation of the 6.7-percent drop,” and later says, “The public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated.” Continue reading

When Is a Dog Sniff in Your Car Not a Search? | Volokh

Jonathan H. Adler • July 27, 2012 11:42 am

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided United States v. Sharp, a dog-sniff case.  Here’s the court’s summary:

It is well-settled that a dog’s sniff around the exterior of a car is not a search under the Fourth Amendment. Defendant appeals the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress because a narcotics dog jumped into his car and sniffed inside the car before “alerting” to the presence of narcotics. The canine’s jump and subsequent sniff inside the vehicle was not a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment because the jump was instinctive and not the product of police encouragement. Therefore, we AFFIRM.

Weapons Laws of the Russian Federation | The Volokh Conspiracy

For those of who have been waiting for an English translation of Russia’s arms statutes, your wait is over. Independence Institute intern Margot van Loon is the author of the new Issue Paper, Weapons Laws of the Russian Federation.  Here is a synopsis: Continue reading

Crime to Negligently Let Someone Stay in Your Home, Where You Have a Gun That the Visitor Knows About | Volokh Conspiracy

That seems to be the implication of United States v. Stegmeier (D.S.D. Dec. 2, 2011) (now on appeal). Stegmeier let a man named Kelley stay in his RV; Kelley was a fugitive from justice, and there was some evidence Stegmeier knew it. Stegmeier also told Kelley where Stegmeier kept his gun. When Kelley was caught, Stegmeier was prosecuted for various charges, including “dispos[ing]” a gun to “any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe” the person is a felon, under indictment for a felony, or a fugitive from justice. Continue reading