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The Weekly Reload Podcast

News & Politics Podcasts

A podcast from The Reload that offers sober, serious firearms reporting and analysis. It focuses on gun policy, politics, and culture. Tune in to hear from Reload Founder Stephen Gutowski and special guests from across the gun world each week.


United States


A podcast from The Reload that offers sober, serious firearms reporting and analysis. It focuses on gun policy, politics, and culture. Tune in to hear from Reload Founder Stephen Gutowski and special guests from across the gun world each week.






California Rifle and Pistol Association's Chuck Michel on Blocking the Magazine Ban

This week, we're looking back at the Golden State. It's once again in the news because a federal judge has found one of its strict gun-control laws unconstitutional. This time, it was the ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. So, we decided to bring on the head of the group that beat the ban. California Rifle and Pistol Association President Chuck Michel gave us his insight into the case. He said the outcome was expected because this was effectively a retread. Duncan v. Bonta was initially decided in favor of the gun-rights plaintiffs only for it to be reversed by an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals only for the Supreme Court to grant, vacate, and remand that ruling. The case is the first of those remanded by the High Court in the wake of the Bruen decision to reach a ruling. That ruling accelerates the magazine ban issue back up the chain in what will likely end with another Supreme Court showdown. Of course, as California's magazine ban was being tossed, Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) signed new restrictions on gun carry and a sin tax on firearms and ammunition. Michel explains the new laws and how his group has already filed challenges to them. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the Trump Campaign backtracking on claims he bought a gun while under felony indictment after finding out it would be illegal.


A New AI Promises to Help You Build a Gun (Feat. Cody Wilson)

This week, we're looking at a new AI product that promises to do what ChatGPT can't: talk to you about building guns. The cleverly named GatGPT went into beta this week. I got an early look at it. And, now, we're having the head of the company behind it on the show to explain why they created it. Defense Distrubuted's Cody Wilson said the end goal is to build an alternative to big tech initiatives in search and advertising. He argued AI could be a consequential tool in that effort. He said the kind of censorship ChatGPT has been saddled with, which keeps it from talking about guns and other topics its parent company OpenAI views as controversial, is holding back the mainstream efforts and gives GatGPT a potential edge. However, it does still suffer from some of the same accuracy issues other major AIs struggle with. Wilson said they hope to continuously improve GatGPT with beta testers and high-quality data from sections of the online firearms community. Wilson has garnered media attention and controversy since he first printed a gun back in 2013. He managed to retain his gun rights and take back control of Defense Distributed despite pleading guilty to a sex crime in 2018. His latest move shows he's remained as media savvy and controversial as ever, though. Unlike many other AI startups, Wilson said he isn't looking to sell hype and bring in investors at unrealistic valuations. But he is hoping to create a viable business model around the uncensored AI model. One he hopes can benefit the entire firearms industry, which he says has been "ghettoized" by large tech platforms for over a decade. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss USCCA's latest foray into the political realm. Special Guest: Cody Wilson.


The Second Amendment Foundation's Adam Kraut on Blocking New Mexico's Gun-Carry Ban

The emergency gun-carry ban implemented by New Mexico's governor has been blocked by a federal judge. This week on the show, we have one of the men responsible for securing that order. Adam Kraut is the Second Amendment Foundation's Executive Director. They were one of at least five groups to successfully challenge Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's (D.) order. He said the case is simple. The order was clearly an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment, especially given the Supreme Court recently ruled that gun carry is specifically protected just last year. Governor Lujan Grisham pulled back on the total ban late this week in a potential attempt to short-circuit the case against her, but Kraut explained the legal strategy his group is using to keep the case alive. Plus, I describe being stuck in the middle of a manhunt for an escaped murderer. And Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman discusses the political fallout from Lujan Grisham's failed order. Special Guest: Adam Kraut.


The Atlantic's Andrew Exum in Defense of Hunting

This week, we're talking about the importance of hunting. In a bit of a surprise move, The Atlantic published a superb article explaining why America needs hunting more than many might imagine. So, I thought it would be a good idea to have the author of the piece on. That's why Andrew Exum is joining the show. He describes the role that hunting plays in conserving American wildlife. He notes that it's not just important for wildlife population control either. Taxes on guns, ammunition, and hunting license fees are also a primary contributor to conservation funding. Andrew describes his background as a veteran and former Department of Defense official from the South who now lives in Washington, D.C. but still hunts regularly. We also discuss why he views guns like the AR-15 very differently from hunting rifles, and he responds to some common critiques of that worldview. He then describes his view that hunting is also an important component of sustainable living. And he gave me some advice as me and my girlfriend prepare to take our first hunter safety course later this month. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about Boston doubling down on delaying gun-carry permits. Special Guest: Andrew Exum.


Biden Moves to Expand Who Needs a Gun Dealing License (Featuring Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms)

This week, President Joe Biden announced new executive action aimed at tightening gun laws. This time, he wants to expand who must get a license to legally sell used guns. So, I brought back Bearing Arms editor Cam Edwards to review the ATF's proposed rule. We go over the new details of what the agency says will trigger the license requirement. Much of the rule codifies what the ATF has claimed for years about who might be prosecuted for selling guns without a license. But Cam notes the agency is seeking to expand its authority, perhaps beyond what's allowed under the law, even if it's claiming it will only use that power sparingly. He said the recent increase in "zero-tolerance" enforcement against licensed dealers could signal bad news for regular people the ATF decides need one too. The Biden Administration has pointed to changes made to the licensing law in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as justification for the new rule. Cam said he's skeptical that will hold up in court where the other recent Biden executive gun actions have had trouble. But we talk about why things might go differently this time. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about how Tennessee shows "red flag" laws have hit a political ceiling. Special Guest: Cam Edwards.


Law Professor Who Wants Heller Overturned Explains His View of New SCOTUS Gun Case

This week, we have Professor Dru Stevenson of the South Texas College of Law on the show to give his analysis of the Supreme Court's latest Second Amendment case. A few weeks back, we had pro-gun author and lawyer Mark Smith on to give his view of United States v. Rahimi. But I want to make sure we offer you all a wide variety of perspectives on where the case is headed. Stevenson certainly comes from a very different point of view, and he has an intimate knowledge of the case. He joined a brief in the case alongside other professors and a gun-control group. They argued the domestic violence restraining order gun ban should be upheld. However, they went much further and argued both Bruen AND Heller should be overturned as well. Stevenson and I discuss the reasons why he thinks the Court's view of the Second Amendment as guaranteeing an individual right to keep and bear arms is wrong. We go through the common arguments and discuss their validity. But Stevenson also acknowledged the Court is very, very unlikely to adopt his point of view. He said the brief was part of a long-term effort to build the foundation for completely undoing the Court's gun jurisprudence at some point down the line. In the meantime, he gave his thoughts on where a majority of justices might actually come down in this case. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about the lack of gun policy mentions during the first Republican primary debate. Special Guest: Dru Stevenson.


We Answer All Your Gun Questions

It has been a little while since we've done a Q&A podcast. So, we decided to take some questions from Reload Members for this week's episode. And we got a lot of great questions. I'm not sure if buying a Reload Membership makes somebody smarter or if only smart people buy Reload Memberships, but, either way, we always seem to get really great questions during these Q&As. This time was no different. We received shrewd questions on a variety of topics. Lots of members wanted to know about the timing of many of the gun cases that have made their way up the federal court system since Bruen was handed down last year. They also wanted to know what cases the Supreme Court is likely to take up. Will SCOTUS accept one of the "assault weapons" ban cases? What about the pistol brace ban? Also, what's going on with weed and guns? Where is that combination from a legal standpoint? And what are we seeing from all those new gun owners that have come into the fold over the last few years? Are the predictions of their huge impact panning out? How can we even tell? There were lots of other great questions too. So, make sure you listen to the full show.


An Interview With the Lawyer Dismantling Hawaii's Strict Gun Laws

This week, we're talking with one of the most prolific independent gun litigators in the country. Alan Beck set about successfully undoing the country's stun gun bans in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2016 Caetano ruling. He also challenged Hawaii's effective ban on gun carry in Young. Now, he's back taking on the Aloha State's strict gun laws in the wake of 2022's Bruen. And he's winning. This week alone he notched victories in two different cases against Hawaii. First, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled the state's total ban on butterfly knives violates the Second Amendment. Then a federal judge appointed by Barack Obama found Hawaii's post-Bruen "sensitive places" gun-carry restrictions, including in restaurants, also run afoul of the Second Amendment. Beck explains the ins and outs of those rulings as well as their significant implications for future cases in Hawaii and beyond. Then he describes a new suit he just filed against a Hawaii county trying to force concealed-carry permit applicants to waive nearly all of their privacy rights, including what they've told their lawyers or even priests. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the Supreme Court's intervention into the "ghost gun" case. Special Guest: Alan Beck.


National Review's Charles Cooke on the Courts Dismantling President Biden's Gun Agenda

The last domino to fall in President Joe Biden's gun agenda was toppled by a Fifth Circuit panel. So, we're bringing one of the best political writers in the country. Nationals Review's Charles Cooke is one of the top conservative analysts on both the legal and political side of guns in America. He joins the show to talk about why Biden's pistol-brace ban was tossed. Hint: It wasn't because of the Second Amendment. Instead, Cooke noted the courts have objected to the ATF overstepping its bounds when creating Biden's gun policies. He said that fact makes it very likely the Supreme Court would object on the same grounds. That's because, as presidents from across the political spectrum have taken to expanding the power of executive agencies, the Court has begun to pair back agency overreach. Cooke argued the losing streak is bad for President Biden's reelection. Despite what's shaping up to be an unprecedented 2024 election, which seems likely to include bump stock ban originator Donald Trump, Cooke said the constitutionally-deficient policies will drag Biden down. Especially because the majority of people who've heard about them are the ones they negatively affect. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about how a Memphis school's security procedures stopped a mass shooting. Special Guest: Charles Cooke.


Reason Magazine's JD Tuccille on Study Showing Some Americans Don't Tell Pollsters They Own Guns

This week, we're looking at a recent study that found a substantial number of gun owners may be unwilling to tell pollsters they own guns. To help illuminate some of the significant implications of the research, we have Reason Magazine's JD Tuccille joining us. He did a great piece on the study over at Reason and had several important insights. For one, he said the study may undercut almost everything we think we know about guns in America. After all, it raised the possibility that as many as half of the people who told the researchers they didn't own a firearm really did. If that's the case, our view of gun ownership has been far too limited. Tuccille also explained some major reasons gun owners may not want to tell researchers about their firearms. And there are several. Everything from concerns over the government getting ahold of the information to distrusting the motivations of academics at liberal universities. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the NYPD withholding gun permits even after the Supreme Court's latest Second Amendment ruling. And I talk about how the National Journalism Center's range day went (hint: pretty great). Special Guest: JD Tuccille.


Can a Short Video Stop Accidental Shootings Among Kids? (With OSU's Sophie Kjaervik)

This week, we're taking a close look at a new study that suggests showing kids a minute-long video stops them from handling a gun while unsupervised. We are lucky enough to have Ohio State University PHD student, and lead author of the study, Sophie Kjaervik with us for this episode. She explained that kids in her experiment that watched a short gun safety video featuring a uniformed police officer were far less likely to pick up a real, but disabled, gun in a controlled setting than kids shown a car safety video with the same cop. And the difference was significant. Kjaervik explained in depth how the researchers recruited the kids in the study, how they decided who watched which video, how they staged the guns, how they monitored the children, and collected data. She also noted there were a few additional factors that signaled a kid would be less likely to handle the guns they found. Those included a dislike for guns, but also parents who owned guns and experience with some other form of gun safety training beforehand. Overall, Kjaervik said the experiment showed that gun-safety videos are a viable way to prevent accidental shootings. But it also showed how efforts like the NRA's Eddie Eagle program could be improved. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I examine the ruling upholding San Jose's gun ownership tax and insurance mandate. Special Guest: Sophie Kjaervik.


Is the Murder Rate Finally Falling? (Featuring Crime Analyst Jeff Asher)

This week, we're taking a closer look at the data that indicates the murder rate is finally on a downward slope. And there's no better guest to have than the man who has documented the decline. Crime analyst Jeff Asher joins the show to give us insight into his methodology for tracking murder across the country. His numbers show what could be a historic reversal of the recent murder spike. The data from over 100 city police departments indicate murder may be down as much as 10 percent. But Asher also explains the limitations of real-time data as well as the continuing problems with the FBI's data collection. Still, he says trends in even a few cities can be broadly predictive nationwide. And what he's seeing is backed up by other measures as well. Of course, not every city is improving, and Asher highlights standout cities going in either direction. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about the downturn in gun sales. And we have another member segment!


Author Mark W. Smith Explains the New Supreme Court Gun Case

The Supreme Court just agreed to take up a brand new Second Amendment case. So, we've got author and member of the Supreme Court bar Mark W. Smith on the show this week. Smith, who also hosts the Four Boxes Diner YouTube channel, joins to talk about the ins and outs of United States v. Rahimi. The Supreme Court will have to decide whether the Second Amendment protects the right of those subject to a domestic violence restraining order to own guns. And, as Smith notes, it will be doing so for one of the least sympathetic defendants imaginable because Rahimi is the suspect in a long list of violent crimes. That means the Court could rule to uphold the restriction, according to Smith. And that's why, he argues, the case was appealed straight up to the Supreme Court by Attorney General Merrick Garland even though there was another level of appeal he could have gone to first. Still, Smith isn't convinced the case is that cut and dry. He argued the Court may well find the lower bar of evidence required to issue a restraining order compared to obtaining a criminal conviction could cause enough justices to turn against the restriction. And he said the Court has shown it is not as sensitive to public criticism as in previous years. He said the decision to take this case to SCOTUS may backfire on Garland, but also admitted it's not clear where the Court will come down. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about President Biden's "ghost gun" ban being vacated. And I discuss my continued frustrations with trying to renew my concealed carry permit. Special Guest: Mark W. Smith.


Examining the Ruling Upholding NYC's Synagogue Gun Ban With a Jewish Gun Club Rabbi

This week, we're examining a new ruling in favor of New York's ban on carrying a concealed gun in places of worship. It's a somewhat surprising decision that comes after the state already abandoned the total ban and several other judges have struck it down. So, the whole situation is a bit confusing. That's why we have New York State Jewish Gun Club member Rabbi Tzvi Hershel Goldstein on the show. He is directly affected by the new ruling, and his group helped fund the case against it. He argues the ban on worshipers carrying at synagogue violates not just his Second Amendment rights but his First Amendment rights too. He said the group plans to appeal the decision and expects to win at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, though the slower pace of this case may result in the issue being decided before they get there. Still, Goldstein said the club is willing to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. But that court will have to decide another gun case first. Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about the breaking news that the Supreme Court has agreed to take a new Second Amendment case. We go over the details of the case and try to read some tea leaves on where the Court may come down.


Examining Hunter Biden's Gun Deal With Popehat's Ken White

This week, we're looking closely at the deal Hunter Biden struck with federal prosecutors over his 2018 gun purchase while he was using illicit drugs. That's why I brought on a former federal prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney Ken White. He's also a podcast host and writes under the name Popehat. So, he's able to explain the ins and outs of the indictment and give some analysis of the politics of it all too. White noted that the felony charge Hunter struck a deal on is rarely pursued as a standalone charge. It's also almost never punished with the maximum possible sentence. He said the pretrial diversion program Hunter and prosecutors agreed to, which includes a lifetime ban on gun ownership, is not an unheard-of consequence for somebody without previous convictions on their record. He said the charge may not have been brought against other defendants under similar circumstances. But he agreed Hunter may have forced the prosecutors' hands by publicizing his drug use through a book and media tour. White also noted the deal does reflect poorly on Hunter's father because the senior Biden has pursued stricter gun laws in office while his son got himself in this mess. And all of the other controversies surrounding Hunter may leave people feeling he's received special treatment even if the deal he received was reasonable for the specific charges in the case. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the surprising failure of the pistol-brace ban repeal resolution in the Senate. And Jake tells us about a collectible gun he bought from the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Special Guest: Ken White.


Biofire Founder Kai Kloepfer Answers Questions About His New 'Smart Gun'

This week, we're joined by the man behind the first "smart gun" that's going to come to market. Kai Kloepfer is the founder of Biofire, a company that has been getting a lot of attention since announcing it will ship a 9mm pistol with integrated biometric locks this year. He answered a wide array of different questions on smart guns and the Biofire model in particular. He explained how Biofire intertwines the operation of the firing mechanism with biometrics. Instead of using an electronic device to block a traditional trigger setup, they have eliminated the traditional system to substitute it with a fire-by-wire system. He said that was the only way they found to make the gun lock and unlock quickly enough to be useful for home defense. He also talked at length about how the company has worked to make the gun reliable--a key consideration for most gun owners that will likely determine if the company sinks or swims. He also addressed key political questions. Kloepfer said he believes his gun should be an option for consumers but never mandated. That's why he's filed an amicus letter in the case against California's handgun roster. We also talk about the unique possibilities that a fire-by-wire system opens up for things like adjustable trigger weights, shooting statistics, and even maintenance notifications. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss Congress taking on the pistol-brace ban. And I talk about the setback I just had in obtaining my DC concealed carry license. Special Guest: Kai Kloepfer.


NRO's Jim Geraghty on Biden's Brace Ban Bust

This week, National Review's Jim Geraghty comes back to the show to give us his reaction to President Joe Biden's pistol-brace ban. As we reported first at The Reload, only a tiny fraction of the guns required to be registered actually were. Geraghty said he thinks Americans are distrustful of the government and unwilling to tell them what guns they have. He argued that effect is especially strong with Joe Biden in office given how aggressively he is trying to expand gun restrictions. That's part of the reason his gun policy approval numbers have tanked, Geraghty said. And it could affect him in a general election matchup with a pro-gun Republican. Of course, that could also drive disaffected Democrats back to his side. That is, if California Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) doesn't try to swoop in first. We discuss the possibility his new push to partially repeal the Second Amendment is actually a kind of shadow presidential campaign. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about a federal appeals court casting down on the non-violent felon gun ban. Special Guest: Jim Geraghty.


Author Radley Balko Explains Why Courts Are Starting to Reject Firearms Ballistic Analysis

On this week's episode, The Watch's Radley Balko details the landmark decision of a Chicago judge not to allow firearm forensic experts to testify in a criminal case. Balko said the court's decision comes after years of criticism aimed at the field of forensic pattern matching. He argues many of the techniques made famous on shows like CSI have little scientific basis. Many, he said, are based on little more than the best guesses of examiners who are mainly just eyeballing evidence. He explained the idea that matching a mass-produced bullet to the mass-produced gun it was fired from, to the exclusion of all other guns, may well be impossible. Or, at the very least, we don't have advanced enough techniques to pull it off with the level of certainty you'd want for evidence that could put somebody in jail for years or even decades. Indeed, Balko noted, most examiners cited as experts in court are unwilling to even submit to outside tests of their methods. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I talk about how far the injunctions against President Biden's pistol-brace ban extend. Jake also tells us about his latest rifle purchase, which is a bit of a throwback. And I give an update on how I'm liking the Phlster Enigma and appendix carry. Special Guest: Radley Balko.


Will DeSantis Attacks on Trump Gun Record Work? (Featuring Hot Air's Ed Morrissey)

This week, we have one of the people who inspired me to get into political writing all the way back in college. Ed Morrissey, the managing editor of Hot Air, has long been one of the most insightful conservative political analysts out there. He joins the show to break down the early days of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, especially his latest attacks on frontrunner Donald Trump's gun record. In one of his first interviews after launching his campaign, DeSantis said Trump's 2018 call to ‘take the guns first, go through due process second’ was "wrong" and "unconstitutional." DeSantis has spent months bolstering his pro-gun legislative accomplishments, and now he and his supporters are going after Trump's weak spots on guns and other policy positions. Ed said the strategy is a sound one and could pay dividends in the long run despite Trump's huge early polling lead. But he also said DeSantis would have to match that rhetorical attack with a robust ground game to have any hope of beating the former president. We also looked even further ahead at the potential general election matchup against President Joe Biden. His approval ratings have been tanking for a long while now, and Americans are particularly unhappy with how he's handled gun policy. Ed said Biden had nobody to blame but himself, especially overpromising Democrats on what kinds of gun control policies he could actually get done. Still, Ed noted those unhappy Democrats may ultimately come back and vote for him in a general election. I also give an update on how my new carry setup is evolving. I'm trying out the Phlster Enigma and modding it to try and get it as comfortable as possible, which may convince me to switch to appendix carry full-time. However, I ran into some new issues with my Sig Sauer P365 X-Macro and the red dot it came with. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I do our best to explain the latest developments with the injunctions against Biden's pistol-brace ban. (The Fifth Circuit issued a clarification that it does cover FPC members and Maxim Defense customers after we recorded the episode) Special Guest: Ed Morrissey.


Second Amendment Foundation's Alan Gottlieb Responds to Financial Questions

This week, Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) joined the show to respond to questions about the group's finances. As I promised on the previous podcast, I asked Gottlieb about the ins and out of how the two non-profits he's a director of interact with the private entities he operates and what safeguards are in place to ensure the groups aren't being overcharged. He said SAF and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) have boards that approve the contracts with the private companies he owns, and he has no say over those decisions. He noted the relationships have been disclosed on the group's financial filings for decades, as required by law. He also attacked Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D.) for a year-long investigation into the group that has yet to produce any charges or legal action. He accused Ferguson of targeting the gun-rights groups because they have started several lawsuits against the state's gun laws in recent years. He compared the investigation to harassment and said they filed a civil rights suit against the state over the cost of compiling the documents they requested and the lost man-hours involved in complying with the AG's various demands. He said The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news of the investigation and raised questions about the gun group's finances, was negligent in repeating some of the accusations the AG has reportedly pursued without proper context. Gottlieb said one of the groups the paper implied he was profiting off of is actually a co-op that operates at cost. He said the other company he owns that does business with SAF and CCRKBA offers services at below-market rates. Gottlieb answered several other questions about how the groups have operated under his leadership over the years. And he gave an update on SAF's latest lawsuits against New Jersey and Maryland's latest gun-carry restrictions. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the Supreme Court's decision not to issue an emergency injunction against an Illinois city's AR-15 ban. Special Guest: Alan Gottlieb.