Federal Judge Upholds Gun-Free School Zones Act in Latest Blow to Gun Rights

Gun-free zones remain a blight on the body politics of the United States.

Since the passage of The Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990, schools nationwide have been turned into soft targets for mass shooters. In addition, this law states that the possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school is illegal, thereby creating arbitrary anti-gun carve outs.

Gabriel Metcalf, a resident of Billings, Montana learned this the hard way. Metcalf’s residence is across the street from Broadwater Elementary School in Billings, Montana. In August of 2023, Metcalf was allegedly walking outside his front yard while carrying a rifle. He did so as a precautionary measure against a perceived threat from a neighbor who had previously threatened his mother. As a result, the mother had to obtain a protection order against the neighbor.

Nevertheless, ATF agents ended up arresting Metcalf for possessing a firearm in this arbitrary “gun-free” school zone on August 23, 2023. Naturally, Metcalf has fought this case in the courts.

Sadly, a federal judge, Susan Watters, issued a ruling stating this gun-free school zone is constitutionally sounded in nature. She reached the conclusion that the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act is perplexingly in line with “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

Such logic demonstrates that federal judges are pulling off Olympic-levels of mental gymnastics to justify the preservation of unconstitutional gun grabs. Such brazenly unconstitutional behavior looks even more shameful after the Supreme Court ruled in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen decision that the Second Amendment enshrined the right for an individual to not only keep guns at home for self-defense but also to carry them in public for the same use.

On paper, the GFSZA features an exemption for firearms “on private property not part of school grounds.” At first glance, Metcalf was not engaged in any illegal activity, as long as he stayed in his yard. However, he revealed that he had walked onto the sidewalk and street close to his house — a move that federal prosecutors argued made him guilty of a felony that could land him up to five years in prison.

The federal statute also includes an exemption for individuals who are “licensed” to carry firearms where a school is located if police are able to “verify that the individual is qualified” to “receive the license.” According to Montana law, any individual who is legally allowed to own a firearm “is considered to be individually licensed and verified by the state of Montana within the meaning of” the GFSZA.

Metcalf cited that provision to argue that he could not be prosecuted for being in violation of the aforementioned federal law. Watters did not agree with Metcalf’s argument, declaring that Montana’s notion of “verification” to be inadequate.

Watters alluded to “a historical analogue” in a 1776 Delaware constitutional provision and laws passed during or after Reconstruction that prohibited firearms close to polling places. She contended that education, like voting, is “essential for a responsible citizenry.”

These laws are as arbitrary as they get. Any individual who is allowed to publicly carry a firearm under state law but is not “licensed” ends up committing a felony as outlined by federal law simply for leaving their home as demonstrated by Metcalf’s case

In the end, none of Metcalf’s arguments swayed Watters, which could now put him on the path to facing real jail time. Metcalf’s case not only demonstrates the arbitrary nature of gun control laws coming from the federal government but also how the judicial system is still filled with judges who have a despotic outlook on individual rights. The court system has its use in rolling back gun control, but it often has hard limits as the system still has plenty of anti-gun judges working to undermine gun rights.

The cold, hard fact is that gun-free zones are criminal safe spaces as they allow deranged lunatics to potentially rack up massive kill counts. According to pro-Second Amendment researcher John Lott’s discoveries, 94% of mass shootings have taken place in gun-free zones since 1950.

Unfortunately, we are dealing with an enemy that does not care about facts. It’s going to take a multi-pronged strategy of litigation, electioneering, and grassroots lobbying to push back against these arbitrary laws and ultimately restore the Second Amendment.

6 responses to “Federal Judge Upholds Gun-Free School Zones Act in Latest Blow to Gun Rights”

  1. LMB Avatar

    Excuse me! What a bunch of dumbass laws that don’t protect anyone from a Mentally Ill person from coming into a Church/School where a LAW ABIDING CITIZEN is mandated NOT To CARRY a gun to protect everyone thats there!!! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!!

  2. GRA Avatar

    To be expected coming from an Obama-appointed leftist/activist so-called “judge”. We obviously need term limits for this now-corrupted position too.

  3. JS Avatar

    Nothing says “soft target” like announcing it to everyone on earth.

  4. Mr.H Avatar

    Susan Watters is precisely the kind of tyrannical government official that the 2nd Amendment was intended to protect against.

  5. Mr.H Avatar

    From Wikipedia: “On May 23, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Watters to serve as a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the District of Montana”
    Ah……an Ovomit appointee. No surprise here.

  6. mgoode Avatar

    It is also time for “Federal” officials of all kinds to get their Pinocchio-sized noses out of matters that the states have control over. Nullify the Feds.

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