Blog 9/01/23

Weekly Spotlight 9/1/23 – 9/7/23

Settlement Approved for Gun Owners Who Were Wrongfully Arrested

Imagine this scenario.  You just got off a long day of work and you’re on your commute home.  You have about 30 minutes left on your drive and you’re cruising through Interstate 395 in Washington, D.C.  As it’s often easy to do, your speed gets a little too high and those blue lights start flashing in your rearview mirror.  Never a good feeling.  When the police officer who pulled you over approaches your window, you greet him and calmly tell him you own a firearm, which you’re permitted for in your home state of Maryland, and that it’s locked in a safe in the back seat.  

One would think the officer would appreciate the responsible actions of the driver, give him his speeding ticket, and move along.  But what if the police officer arrested the driver simply for possessing a gun he lawfully owned in a locked safe and driving through the District of Columbia?  Crazy, right?  Well, this case actually happened, and the Maryland driver named Gerard Cassagnol, was arrested and ultimately jailed for two nights.  

Cases like this were recently brought to light as the District of Columbia government settled a class action lawsuit from Mr. Cassagnol and five other plaintiffs who experienced similarly unjust arrests in our nation’s capital.  According to the judge who gave preliminary approval to the settlement, the laws that were in place and drove these responsible gun owners to be arrested were part of a “gun control regime that completely banned carrying handguns in public.”  Those laws have since been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, giving the plaintiffs a strong case.  

This settlement agreement teaches two very clear lessons.  First, every law-abiding gun owner has the right to possess their firearm in public, whether it’s concealed on their person or securely stored in their vehicle.  Laws that make it impossible to do so are blatant violations of the Second Amendment and deserve to be struck down.  Second, the landmark judicial wins for gun ownership rights over the past 15 years are clearly making a difference for law-abiding gun owners who simply want to exercise their right to self-defense.  It’s essential to maintain this momentum not just in the courts, but also in the halls of Congress and state legislatures across the country.  There can be no resting on our laurels. 

The USCCA-FSL Action Fund has been a tireless advocate for National Concealed Carry Reciprocity and constitutional carry, which would ensure cases like Mr. Cassagnol’s and the other plaintiffs in this D.C. settlement never happen to another law-abiding gun owner.  In order to get such legislation passed, Second Amendment champions must unify their message, make their voices heard, and vote for leaders who will unapologetically support them.  Will you join us? 

Write a letter to your member of Congress supporting National Concealed Carry Reciprocity!


A majority of Americans are happy or prospective gun owners who keep firearms around to protect themselves, Pew Research found in its latest poll.  The poll, which surveyed 5,115 U.S. adults in June, found that, contrary to Democrats’ anti-gun rhetoric, Americans across all demographics enjoy exercising their Second Amendment rights by personally owning guns or living with someone who does. Nearly two-thirds of Americans either already live in a household with a gun or have expressed interest in buying a gun in the future. Considering the U.S. is experiencing the highest personal gun ownership uptick since 2011, even those who aren’t firearm owners yet could be soon.

The federal law prohibiting handgun sales to adults under 21 years old violates the Second Amendment and should be blocked across the entire country, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. Senior Judge Robert Payne of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled the sales ban unconstitutional in May. He then asked the plaintiffs and government to agree to a path forward in issuing an injunction. Because the parties couldn’t agree, he sided with the plaintiffs on Wednesday and issued a nationwide injunction against the law.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R-MT) filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit over a Maryland county law he says is defying the Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment test by establishing “unconstitutional” gun-free buffer zones. Knudsen led a group of 19 attorneys general in filing the brief Monday at the Virginia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, asking the court to side with plaintiffs who say it is “practically impossible” to carry a gun for personal defense in Maryland’s most populous county, Montgomery County, due to a restrictive gun control law passed in late November.

In the expo building at the Florida State Fairgrounds, vendors are getting things set for one of the biggest gun shows in the state. The Florida Gun Show in Tampa this weekend will bring upwards of 10,000 people in. And because of a recent law change, it’s likely a growing number of those people will be first-time gun buyers. Nearly two months ago, a new law went into effect allowing Floridians to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.