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Charlie T Waite

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  1. Supreme Court – -(AmmoLand.com)- After the oral arguments in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen, Second Amendment supporters have to play the waiting game – it takes time for the Supreme Court to come up with their opinions. It seems likely that there will be a win for the Second Amendment, but how big that win will be is up for debate. There are two likely scenarios for how this case gets decided: One is a 6-3 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining Associate Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas in striking down New York’s requirement to show “proper cause” to obtain a concealed carry permit. The other is 5-4, with Roberts joining Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer in dissenting from the opinion to strike down New York’s discretionary-issue system. Each of these would have pros and cons. You might wonder how either scenario would have a downside? Well, let’s go over the scenarios. 6-3 Ruling, Roberts joining ACB, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas Pros: The biggest benefit to a 6-3 ruling would be the margin. It would be harder to argue that a ruling striking down New York’s discretionary issue (really a de facto non-issue in parts of the state) is radical when you have what is essentially a supermajority ruling. It also would bode well for challenges to magazine and semiauto bans, like those working up from Roger Benitez’s courtroom, while also making Heller and McDonald almost unassailable via the courts for the foreseeable future. It would also force those who wish to pack the Supreme Court to add at least four justices. This would look far more radical than merely adding two. Cons: The biggest downside to a 6-3 win is the lack of certainty Second Amendment supporters have as to the scope of the win. Roberts has not been reliable, especially when intimidation is involved. As chief justice, he would assign the opinion if he is in the majority. We could see a narrow ruling written by Roberts himself that doesn’t advance the ball much, and which would force further litigation on the long road to the Supreme Court. There would still be cries of bloody murder from anti-Second Amendment extremists amplified by the media. He could assign it to one of the other justices, and we’d get a more sweeping opinion. Second Amendment supporters just don’t know what would be handed down. 5-4 Ruling, Roberts joining Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer Pros: The biggest upside in this scenario is that Clarence Thomas would be assigning the opinion – and Thomas would likely be taking on the task of writing that opinion himself. The ruling would likely be a massive win, one that leaves lower courts little, if any, wiggle room to uphold restrictions of any sort. We could possibly even see nationwide constitutional carry and/or reciprocity. In essence, this would be a massive shift in the political and legal landscape in favor of Second Amendment supporters. It would certainly bolster Heller and McDonald, as well. Cons: With Roberts among the dissenters, it becomes easier for anti-Second Amendment extremists and their media allies to paint the ruling as radical and extreme, and packing the Supreme Court would take on greater urgency for them – and they could ask for as few as two new justices. The 5-4 margin would also leave little room for error in the event of a retirement or death before a pro-Second Amendment president were to take office. Remember the anxiety felt after the death of Antonin Scalia? That could be a way of life for Second Amendment supporters until control of Congress and the White House is returned to pro-Second Amendment candidates. One thing should be very clear: This case will not end our fight to protect our Second Amendment rights. No matter which outcome emerges from this case, Second Amendment supporters will need to work hard to defeat anti-Second Amendment extremists via the ballot box at the federal, state, and local levels as soon as possible. About Harold Hutchison Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.
  2. State Sen. Terri Bryant, a Republican from Murphysboro and gun rights advocate, said her office continues to field multiple complaints from constituents daily. By Belleville News-Democrat Madison County’s top prosecutor filed a brief Monday urging the Illinois Supreme Court to find the state’s FOID law unconstitutional, a decision one gun control advocate said would be “short-sighted.” Illinoisans must have a Firearm Owners Identification card to legally own guns, but Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine, a first-term Republican, said the law violates the Second Amendment and should be struck down. “Even in your own home you have to ask permission from the state to possess a gun or it’s a criminal violation,” Haine said. “That reaches right into the core of Second Amendment rights.” The state Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case of Vivian Brown, an Illinois woman who challenged the gun law after she was charged in 2017 with owning an unlicensed rifle. She was eligible and required to have a FOID card at the time but didn’t. The law also allows law enforcement to deny or revoke cards to people convicted of felonies or violent offenses such as domestic violence, assault or battery. Haine said he decided to file a document known as an amicus brief supporting Brown because the city of Chicago and Cook County all had filed briefs supporting FOID. “We wanted to make clear where Madison County stood,” Haine said. While Chicago and Cook County argued in their briefs that the FOID law prevents gun violence, it doesn’t have the same effect in Madison County, the state’s attorney said. The Madison County state’s attorneys office has prosecuted 200 violations of the law since 2016, of which only a third resulted in convictions, according to the brief. The office prosecuted more than 20,000 felonies in general duringqw that same time. The court’s decision in this case could do away with FOID for good, Haine said. Eliminating the gun control measure could put public safety at risk, said Trish Oberweis, a criminal justice professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. “The rationale for the FOID law is to ensure that there’s some minimum safety standard and ensure we can keep guns out of the hands of people who for one reason or another ought not to have them,” Oberweis said. Tracking gun ownership through a database of firearm owners also helps police investigate gun trafficking, she added. But having their names on a government database causes “deep angst” among gun rights advocates who fear “a lack of secrecy.” Haine’s actions, Oberweis said, reflect that fear. “A step like that is fairly alarmist and not related to any real risk,” Oberweis said. “It’s short-sighted at best and presumably no more than political posturing.” Haine said he is merely making good on promises he made during his 2019 and 2020 campaign. “This is simply promises made promises kept,” Haine said. “To me, this is nonpolitical. ... I wanted to make sure our pro-Second Amendment, anti-FOID views are adequately and loudly heard before they make a decision in this case.” It’s not known when the court will hear oral arguments in the case. This story was originally published November 9, 2021 5:00 AM. For the second time, a county judge in southern Illinois has ruled the state’s Firearm Owner Identification Card law unconstitutional, as applied to one state resident, Vivian Brown. The ruling from Judge T. Scott Webb means the Illinois Supreme Court will, also for the second time, be in a position to decide whether to strike down the FOID card law as unconstitutional. Capitol News Illinois file photo Kelsey Landis is an Illinois state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat. She joined the newsroom in January 2020 after her first stint at the paper from 2016 to 2018. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2010 and earned a master’s from DePaul University in 2014. Landis previously worked at The Alton Telegraph. At the BND, she focuses on informing you about what your lawmakers are doing in Springfield and Washington, D.C., and she works to hold them accountable. Landis has won Illinois Press Association awards for her work, including the Freedom of Information Award. https://www.bnd.com/news/politics-government/article255643736.html
  3. DALLAS, TX (November 9, 2021) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) today filed a new federal Second Amendment lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas seeking to restore the right to carry arms in public for adults under 21 years of age. Defendants in the case include Steven McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The lawsuit seeks a declaration finding the Texas carry ban as to adults under age 21 unconstitutional, an injunction, and attorney’s fees and costs. The complaint for Andrews v. McCraw can be found at FPCLegal.org. “Under the 18-to-20-Year-Old Carry Ban that Defendants enforce, Plaintiffs Andrews and Blakey, along with other similarly situated members of Plaintiff [FPC], are categorically prohibited from obtaining a license to carry a handgun and denied the right to carry a handgun for self-defense on their person in public, in direct violation of the Second Amendment, as incorporated against the State by the Fourteenth Amendment,” the complaint says. In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the FPC-supported H.B. 1927 into law, enacting “constitutional carry” (i.e., permitless carry) in the Lone Star state. However, the bill did not extend the Texas statutory right to bear arms to adults under age 21. Through today’s lawsuit, FPC now seeks to ensure that all non-prohibited adults in Texas can exercise their fundamental Second Amendment right to bear arms outside the home. “This lawsuit is part of our nationwide strategic litigation program designed to restore the Second Amendment and ensure that all non-violent individuals are able to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” said Adam Kraut, FPC’s Senior Director of Legal Operations. “While we were glad to see Texas enact constitutional carry for adults over 21 years of age, that bill left us the important task of seeking judicial relief for adults under 21. We look forward to vindicating the rights of our members and all young adults who reside in Texas.” In the complaint, the plaintiffs “acknowledge that their facial challenge to Texas’s ban on public carry by 18-to-20-year-olds is foreclosed in this Court by National Rifle Association of America Rifle, Inc. v. McCraw, 719 F.3d 338 (5th Cir. 2013), but they believe that case was wrongly decided. They therefore institute this litigation to vindicate their Second Amendment rights and seek to have McCraw overruled by a court competent to do so. Even under McCraw, however, this Court can and should rule in favor of Plaintiffs’ as-applied claim with respect to 18-to-20-year-old women asserted by Plaintiffs Blakey and FPC on behalf of its similarly situated members.” Thus, while the District Court could still find in favor of Plaintiffs Blakey and FPC on the as-applied claim, the case seeks to have the wrongly-decided McCraw case overruled by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in a FPC-supported Second Amendment challenge to New York’s “may issue” scheme. Among dozens of other Second Amendment cases, FPC has filed lawsuits challenging unconstitutional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms in Minnesota, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Georgia.
  4. Armslist is a website for people buying and selling firearms. All parties are required to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, they just facilitate the meeting. It’s not any different than someone who knows a person selling a gun and another person interested in buying said gun and simply arranging a meeting. Yet the site has been the target of moral outrage for years. How dare anyone try to sell a legal product using the internet to facilitate gun sales. That should be reserved for adult films, drug paraphernalia, and things like that! Anyway, it seems Armslist gets targeted for lawsuits whenever anyone gets the chance. I suspect the job with the most security is to be the website’s attorney. You’re always going to have work. Luckily, at least some judges recognize the stupidity of those lawsuits. A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against an online firearms marketplace by the father of a woman fatally shot by her estranged husband in Harrison in 2018. … Robert Schmidt wasn’t allowed to have a gun due to an ongoing domestic violence case — also involving Sara Schmidt. Robert Schmidt used Armslist to connect with a 19-year-old private seller and bought a handgun for $550 in a Walmart parking lot a day before he fatally shot his wife. While federal law requires background checks for sales by licensed gun sellers, no such requirement exists for private sales. In a decision filed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Griesbach dismissed Webber’s lawsuit against Armslist, concluding Robert Schmidt’s actions “constituted a superseding cause, alleviating” Armslist of liability for Sara Schmidt’s death. “There is no reason to believe that even if Schmidt’s estranged husband had not purchased a gun from a person who posted an advertisement on the Armslist website, Schmidt would still be alive,” Griesbach’s decision says. “Armslist is hardly the only source of guns in this country, and one does not need a gun to take another person’s life. “Schmidt was killed by a person so determined to take her life, so consumed by hatred, that he was even willing to take his own. The likelihood that such a person would have found another source from which to obtain a firearm or another way to take Schmidt’s life is more plausible than plaintiff’s claim that she would still be alive.” Judge Griesbach ain’t wrong, folks. Schmidt was a broken person, apparently, and had he not obtained a firearm through Armslist, he likely would have purchased a firearm from somewhere else. Face-to-face transfers are perfectly legal where this happened, after all, so he probably could have found another way to get a firearm. Plus, even if he hadn’t been barred from owning a gun, there’s no guarantee that Sarah Schmidt would still be alive. As the judge said, there are other ways to take a human life. I get her family being upset and wanting someone to pay. Schmidt took his own life, so there’s no way he can be punished. The kid who sold him the gun didn’t do anything illegal, so the family turns to Armslist. The problem is, Armslist didn’t do anything illegal either. It basically just connected a buyer and a seller. It has absolutely no way of knowing a potential buyer is ineligible to buy a firearm, even if it had an obligation to find out. Luckily, the judge understood the reality and ruled accordingly. Unfortunately, this also won’t be the last lawsuit Armslist has to deal with. There will always be someone with an ax to grind and a lack of any other convenient targets, so there will be more lawsuits to come. That’s a shame, too, because they don’t actually do anything except waste money for all parties.
  5. The Illinois Supreme Court, in a split ruling, upheld the Village of Deerfield’s ordinance banning assault weapons, which allows fines of $250-$1,000 a day for violators. In 2013, the Deerfield Village Board passed an ordinance that regulated assault weapons and created certain measures that had to be taken when transporting or storing them. In 2018, the Deerfield Village Board amended the 2013 ordinance to prohibit the possession, sale and manufacturing of certain types of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The ordinance allowed the village to fine violators $250-$1,000 a day. A lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Daniel Easterday, the Illinois State Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation Inc., Guns Save Lifes, Inc. and John Wombacher. The suit challenged Deerfield’s authority and said they violated state law that forbids municipalities from enacting new assault weapon regulations after July 20, 2013. Deerfield argued that the ban was simply an amendment to the town’s existing regulations on storing and transporting the guns and not a new amendment. In March 2019, a Lake County judge ruled that Deerfield created a new law rather than amending it, and the ordinance could not be enforced. Last December, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the ruling and agreed that the Illinois State Legislature allowed for home rule units, like Deerfield, to regulate assault weapons, including complete bans if they followed the correct statutory process. The appellate court also found that Deerfield acted lawfully by enacting a regulation within the 10-day period following the adoption of the state law and then later amending it. The case was ultimately appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court and oral arguments were heard in September. David G. Sigale and Brian Wesley Barnes were the attorneys for the opposing side and Christopher Brennan Wilson was the attorney representing the Village of Deerfield. When asked about ownership versus possession, Barnes argued that although the 2018 ordinance did not explicitly ban ownership of assault weapons, the strict prohibition of assault weapons amounted to a ban in ownership of them. He also argued that Deerfield should have enacted the amendment within the 10-day window in 2013 rather than in 2018. Wilson argued that the amendment was not a new law and that the amendment in 2018 was simply tightening the current regulations. He also argued that there were no limits on the ownership of assault weapons; rather, residents must store and use the weapons outside of village limits. “There’s no limitation on ownership. Anyone within Deerfield can own an assault weapon. They just need to store it somewhere else,” Wilson said. “You’re not allowed to use an assault weapon within the village limits. So this is just saying if you’re going to go hunting with an assault weapon, if you’re going to go target shooting with an assault weapon, that needs to be stored outside the village limits,” he added. Throughout their oral arguments, judges asked whether the amendment was too radical to be an amendment and if the amendment was a new law or repeal. Sigale argued Deerfield’s 2018 amendment was a repeal of the 2013 ordinance, citing past court cases and Deerfield’s own municipal code. “Yet one day you have a regulation where you could park your truck and then the next day you have a regulation banning trucks altogether. Are you going to really say the second one is an amendment of the parking code?” Sigale said. Chief Justice Anne Burke said in September the case, Guns Save Life, Inc. v. The Village of Deerfield, would be taken under advisement. On Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court said Justice Michael J. Burke recused himself in the case and the remaining members of the court were divided in a 3-3 split. “It is not possible to secure the constitutionally required concurrence of four judges for a decision,” the court said in their ruling. The appeal was dismissed, which the court said was the same as an affirmance by an equally divided court. “We have been confident all along that the Deerfield ordinance would be upheld by the Courts. The Second District Appellate Court decision entered last December provided a strong affirmation of our ordinance. We are pleased that the Second District opinion will stand, and that our ordinance has been validated,” said Village Attorney Steven Elrod. The village said they will continue to enforce the ordinance in a “manner consistent with other local ordinances.” It will initially be enforced primarily through education and voluntary compliance. A police officer may issue a citation for the violation. “Any other enforcement of this ordinance, including search or seizure to affect this ordinance, must comply with the requirements of State and Federal law. The Village does not intend to have members of the Police Department go ‘door to door’ to ensure compliance,” the village said in a statement.
  6. If you’re reading this, the name Dick Heller should be in your memory bank. If you don’t quite know who Dick Heller is, to bring you up to speed, he’s the lead plaintiff from the 2008 challenge to Washington, DC’s ban on handguns. When people talk about “The Heller” decision, that’s the one that’s being discussed. Well, Dick did not stop fighting for freedoms in 2008 and recently a case coined “Heller 4” has bared some fruit. In September of 2021 Heller filed a challenge against DC’s 2020 ban on so-called ghost guns as well as an older prohibition on building one’s own firearms. The law included a very broad definition of “ghost gun”. (9B) “Ghost gun”: (A) Means: (i) A firearm that, after the removal of all parts other than a receiver, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar; or (ii) Any major component of a firearm which, when subjected to inspection by the types of detection devices commonly used at secure public buildings and transit stations, does not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component; and (B) Includes an unfinished frame or receiver. That law affected more than just homemade firearms. The law also banned those which were already commercially available. The frame or receiver did not need the ectoplasm of DIY craftsmanship on it to be banned. From the complaint we get a better understanding of the law’s ramifications. In sum, the District makes it a criminal offense to make a firearm in the District, and makes it a criminal offense to possess components to make a firearm frame or receiver. In addition, the District makes it a criminal offense to possess a firearm the bare frame or receiver of which is less detectible than 3.7 ounces of ferrous metal. As discussed herein, these provisions raise grave constitutional issues under the Second Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. […] 55. All polymer pistols legally sold or imported in the United States comply with this federal statute. Such guns contain more than the equivalent of 3.7 ounces of metal in their slides and barrels, and the frames of these guns are accurately depicted when passing through an X-ray machine. Thus, the federal statute prevents someone from passing a functioning gun through an airport type metal detector or even a stripped down frame through an X-ray machine. 56. By contrast, the District’s definition of “Ghost Gun” requires that a pistol’s frame alone, exclusive of the slide and barrel, contain the equivalent of 3.7 ounces of metal. Because of that requirement, District law outlaws all models of the Glock handgun as well as most polymer framed pistols sold or possessed in the United States. (We say most, because the polymer frame of the S&W M&P series is constructed over a metal chassis that may or may not contain sufficient metal to comply with the D.C. statute.) The complaint is correct. The law would have made/did make all these popular commercially available firearms illegal “ghost guns”. Naturally the police and military were immune to these provisions, as they’re excluded from nearly every gun control law on the books in every jurisdiction. That silver bullet to blanket the police and military while creating a caste system. A holy water atonement from the gun-grabbers. This fun little quip from the complaint should serve as a warning message to all the anti-freedom caucus members as well as foreshadowed a bit of the outcome: The District has clearly not learned from its numerous defeats of in the courts, and this case arises from that predicament. The District’s antipathy toward firearms, a Constitutional protected item, extends so far as to flatly prohibit the manufacture of a firearm in the District; not a particularly dangerous and unusual firearm, see, e.g., Heller, 554 U.S. at 571 (discussing that laws forbidding the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons were presumptively valid), but any firearm. See D.C. Code § 7-2504.01(a). You shouldn’t need a Ouija board to see where this headed. DC, not wanting to be entangled in another grudge-match with champion civil rights activist Dick Heller turned Ghost Buster, made modifications to the law to meet some of the statutory items noted in the prayer for relief. In a memorandum from Councilmembers Charles Allen and Chairman Phil Mendelso to the Secretary of the Council, Councilmembers, et.al. the following was stated/requested to be addressed at the November 16th legislative meeting: District law currently prohibits the registration and possession of ghost guns. Recently, however, this prohibition, and a pre-Heller provision categorically prohibiting the manufacture of firearms, has been challenged in federal district court as violative of the Second Amendment. Consequently, there is an immediate need for clarifications to these laws in order to ensure that they prohibit only undetectable and untraceable firearms—true ghost guns—while permitting the self-manufacture of serialized registered firearms. Specifically, there is an immediate need for clarifications to the current definition of “ghost gun” to ensure that only undetectable firearms are captured within it, and that excepted from the definition and the District’s prohibition on manufacture, are self-manufactured firearms, made solely for personal use, that have unique serial numbers and are lawfully registered. This emergency legislation would preserve the District’s strong prohibitions on ghost guns but clarify the law’s reach. The amendments are consistent with federal law and the best practices of other states. One deceleration and two amendments were introduced to partially satisfy the mooting of Heller’s suit: “Ghost Gun Clarification Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2021” “Ghost Gun Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2021” “Ghost Gun Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2021” A summary of these changes were put out by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and they are as follows: Under the approved change, firearms would have to be detectable with their barrel, trigger and firing mechanism attached, even if the receiver is polymer-based, to prevent construction of a completely plastic gun. This is similar to the Undetectable Firearms Act, which requires all firearms to contain at least 3.7 ounces of metal. The amended language also says homebuilt firearms cannot meet the new definition of all-plastic “ghost guns,” must be registered, only for personal use and are required to have a unique serial number. The changes are not 100% set in stone because they are temporary. In a The Reload article, Heller was quoted to say that: We have no interest in violating federal law. I’m happy to put a ‘DH-1’ serial number on it [helps in court cases] and, at the moment, register it […] D.C. only passed an emergency measure; it still has to permanently repeal the offending provisions, and I still have a claim for monetary damages for the violation of my Second Amendment rights. I did have the chance to catch up with Heller’s attorney on this case. George L. Lyon, Jr. from Arsenal Attorneys had the following to say about the situation: The District of Columbia continues to have to be dragged kicking and screaming to respect the Second Amendment. For the District to think that it could ban the manufacture of a constitutionally protected item says a lot about the mentality gun owners face in the national’s capitol. Not everyone on the board was in support of accepting these changes. Which is ridiculous. In just looking at the complaint and probably with some nudging from the anti-freedom caucus, 12 of the 13 Councilmembers were able to deduce the change was necessary to not get further tied up in a court battle. Moreover, the move would make it to remove the potential that every “ghost gun” law would be vulnerable to being nullified by getting run over by the Heller train. If the case progressed to SCOTUS an opinion under the current make up of the court could be a real poltergeist for the anti-gunners. According to the Washington Post Councilmember Brooke Pinto was the lone member to vote against these changes: The legislation was approved 12-to-1 and now heads to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) for consideration. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) was the only vote against the measure. She argued that “the proliferation of ghost guns in our city is certainly not what the founders anticipated or intended,” even if it is subject to legal challenge. “I’m hoping for more clarification on why we as a city have to continue allowing something that in my view is extremely outside the scope of what the founders intended,” she added. It’s this kind of hubris that leads to judicial upsets for the anti-freedom caucus members. To her statement we’ll add another citation from Heller’s complaint: “Our citizens have always been free to make, vend, and export arms. It is the constant occupation and livelihood of some of them.” Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Hammond, British Ambassador to the U.S., May 15, 1793, in 7 The writings of Thomas Jefferson 325 (Paul Ford ed. 1904). Madam, I’d have to say your assertions are wrong. History would say your assertions are wrong. If we had a séance today I’m confident the founders would be not only be onboard with the etheric ghost guns Pinto et.al. are scared stupid over, they’d be looking towards Rob Pincus to get involved in a DIY gun building event. Imagine a parallel universe where the founders could 3D print their own arms! To all of this we must say “bravo!” to Mr. Dick Heller, the god-daddy of the modern Second Amendment. If you asked Dick about his involvement in cementing our rights through the judicial system, he’d very humbly refer to his case (Heller I) as Scalia’s opinion, rather than his complaint. Heller in his down to Earth manner is a true patriot for civil rights. What’s next? Who’s gonna be hit by Dick in Heller V? Hard to say. But you can follow all the great work that Heller is doing over at the homepage for The Heller Foundation.
  7. Pennsylvania is just one step away from joining 21 other states that have passed legislation protecting our constitutional right to carry a concealed firearm. Yesterday, the General Assembly sent Senate Bill 565 to Governor Tom Wolf for his consideration. Help us make Alabama the next state to allow law-abiding citizens to carry handguns for self-defense without first having to go through government red tape or pay fees. 2022 will be OUR year to pass meaningful legislation to defend our right to self-defense! Thank you to Representative Shane Stringer who has prefiled House Bill 6 for 2022. Please contact your state representative and respectfully ask them to support House Bill 6. Constitutional carry legislation isn’t for criminals, despite the claims of the bill’s opponents. Rather, it simply puts law-abiding citizens, who are otherwise legally able to possess and carry a firearm, on equal footing by codifying the inherent right to carry a firearm into statute.
  8. Today, the House of Representatives voted 60-32 to pass House Bill 227, the constitutional carry bill. It will now go to the Senate for further consideration. Please contact your state senator and ask them to SUPPORT House Bill 227. House Bill 227 allows a law-abiding adult who is at least 21 years of age, and legally allowed to possess a firearm, to carry a handgun without first having to obtain government permission. This ensures that citizens have the right to self-defense without government red tape or delays. Additionally, this legislation maintains the existing concealed handgun license system, so citizens who still wish to obtain a permit may do so. Again, please contact your state senator and ask them to SUPPORT House Bill 227.
  9. Pennsylvania is just one step away from joining 21 other states that have passed legislation protecting our constitutional right to carry a concealed firearm, five of which did so this year. Yesterday, the General Assembly sent Senate Bill 565 to Governor Tom Wolf for his consideration. Wisconsin has the chance to promptly become the next constitutional/permitless carry state. Senator Mary Felzkowski’s Senate Bill 619 already received a committee hearing on October 28th, where there was no testimony or registration in opposition to it. SB 619 simply ensures that law-abiding adults who are legally eligible to possess a firearm, may carry a handgun for self-defense without government red tape or fees. It does not change the legal criteria for who is eligible to carry. It also maintains the existing concealed weapon license system, so citizens who wish to obtain a license can still do so. Please contact your state senator and ask them to SUPPORT SB 619.
  10. This month, a federal district court in Wisconsin dismissed a lawsuit against Armslist, the operator of an online marketplace for firearms, arising out of its role in allegedly facilitating or enabling the sale of a handgun that was later used by a prohibited person in a crime. The plaintiff, Richard Webber, on behalf of the estate of Sara Schmidt and supported by the gun control group Brady, sued Armslist and its co-founder, Jonathan Gibbon. Schmidt had been shot and killed in 2018 by her estranged husband who was, at the time, prohibited under federal and Wisconsin law from possessing a firearm. He had allegedly bought the gun from a private individual through an advertisement the seller posted on the Armslist.com website. Essentially, the lawsuit rested on claims that the defendants had been reckless or negligent in the design and operation of the Armslist.com website by incorporating features like “private party” or “private seller” tags on advertisements, which assisted users in finding private sales that did not necessarily involve licensed dealers or require background checks under state and federal firearm laws. According to the plaintiff, these design features and business practices “encouraged, assisted and facilitated unlawful conduct” and illegal gun sales. Buying and selling firearms is a legal activity. The plaintiff conceded that, beyond providing the online platform, neither defendant participated in the transaction in which Schmidt’s estranged husband acquired the gun, and that Wisconsin law did not require background checks for “private seller” sales, meaning that an ad identified as such was not unlawful under state law. As pointed out in the defendants’ court filings, the plaintiff also “refrained from suing in this action … the man who allegedly sold [the] husband the gun used to kill” Schmidt. In 2019, another Brady-backed case involving almost identical claims against Armslist was dismissed by Wisconsin’s highest state court after it determined that a federal law, the Communications Decency Act (CDA), 47 U.S.C. § 230, precluded liability. The CDA prohibits the “provider or user of an interactive computer service” from being “treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Regardless of foreseeability or intent, this immunized a provider from liability for passively displaying or hosting content created by third parties, even if the provider’s design features made illegal content more easily available. Armslist, the court concluded, did not “develop” the content, as its design features were “editorial choices that fall within the purview of traditional publisher functions.” The defendants here moved to dismiss the case, relying on the CDA and arguing, further, that the claim failed under state tort law because their actions did not cause the plaintiff’s loss. The U.S. district court (noting it was not bound by the 2019 decision) disagreed with the broad interpretation of CDA immunity, ruling that the claims in this case were “not the kinds of claims to which § 230 by its plain language applies.” Even assuming that the law did apply, the case was not premised on Armslist as the “publisher or speaker” of the third-party content that led to Schmidt’s husband obtaining the gun, but on the defendants’ own conduct in creating a service that allegedly facilitated the illegal sale of firearms. Despite its rejection of the CDA-based immunity, the court nonetheless granted the defendants’ motion and dismissed the lawsuit. Under Wisconsin negligence law, the facts alleged by the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendants’ conduct was a substantial factor in the death of Sara Schmidt: … there is no reason to believe that even if Schmidt’s estranged husband had not purchased a gun from a person who posted an advertisement on the Armslist website, Schmidt would still be alive. Armslist is hardly the only source of guns in this country, and one does not even need a gun to take another person’s life. Schmidt was killed by a person so determined to take her life, so consumed by hatred, that he was even willing to take his own. The likelihood that such a person would have found another source from which to obtain a firearm or another way to take Schmidt’s life is more plausible than Plaintiff’s claim that she would still be alive. Independent of the causation problem, civil liability was precluded on public policy grounds. The injury suffered by the plaintiff was “too remote from and out of proportion to” the defendants’ conduct, and allowing recovery would place an unreasonable burden on the defendants. “[L]awfully providing a forum for individuals to engage others interested in buying and selling firearms is simply too far removed from and out of proportion to the criminal act committed by Schmidt’s killer,” and his “conscious, pre-meditated decisions and actions … served as a superseding cause” of the loss. Holding the defendants liable for this loss was “out of proportion to the lawful conduct in which they engaged and would likely destroy their business. Indeed, the latter might be Plaintiff’s goal.” In that regard, the defendants had raised the fact that the lawsuit was “yet another filed by the Brady Campaign … intended to harass Defendants out of business.” Besides the Wisconsin cases, for example, the Brady Campaign had been involved in a 2012 case against Armslist, a failed attempt to hold it liable for a third party’s criminal acts in Illinois. Readers may also remember Brady’s disastrous litigation against ammunition distributor Lucky Gunner and other retailers, brought by the parents of a woman killed by James Holmes. Lucky Gunner alone spent more than $150,000 to defend itself against claims of civil liability. In dismissing that lawsuit, the judge ordered the plaintiffs to pay the defendants over $200,000 in costs and attorneys’ fees, commenting that the “case was filed to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center,” being more an “opportunity to propagandize the public and stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order which counsel should have known would be outside the authority of this court.” After the lawsuit backfired, the plaintiff parents were left to deal with the financial aftermath and filed for bankruptcy, with the defendants’ award of costs remaining unpaid. This latest litigation boils down to yet another attempt to ignore or rewrite the law, circumvent settled legal principles, and stretch the limits of liability. The “universally accepted rule” in common law tort doctrine is that a private individual has no duty to act affirmatively to protect another from criminal attack by a third person absent some kind of special relationship; further, it is generally reasonable to assume that a person will not violate the criminal law. Statutes like the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (and state counterparts) were enacted specifically to end predatory lawsuits against the firearm industry that sought to impose liability for the unrelated actions of third party criminals. For anti-gun groups like Brady, though, even a loss is a win. Besides inflicting onerous litigation expenses on defendants in the hope that they will be bankrupted out of existence, these failed cases offer an opportunity to exploit tragic criminal events to “propagandize the public” against firearms and lawful gun owners, and “stigmatize” legitimate businesses rather than the criminals responsible for the illegal behavior.
  11. Everyone’s least favorite adrift office seeker is back in the national spotlight. On November 15, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke announced his candidacy for Texas governor. Should the work-shy politico secure the Democratic nomination, it would likely set up a 2022 showdown with two-term Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R). In 2018, the perennial candidate failed in an attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). In 2019, Beto ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and dropped out before securing a single delegate. Gun owners are most familiar with Beto for his flamboyant support for gun confiscation. During the September 12, 2019 Democratic debate, Beto was asked about his proposal to confiscate commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Beto responded in part by saying, “hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15!” The Beto campaign would go on to sell t-shirts with the anti-gun slogan. Less than a week later, Beto reiterated his call for gun confiscation on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time. During an interview, Chris Cuomo asked Beto, “All right, so let's state the proposition. Are you, in fact, in favor of gun confiscation?” Beto responded with “Yes.” In addition to confiscating commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, Beto has endorsed all manner of other gun restrictions. In September 2019, Beto demanded that banks and other financial services providers stop doing business with firms that manufacture commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Moreover, Beto demanded that these financial institutions prevent prospective gun purchaser from using their own credit or money to purchase lawful products. Specifically, Beto commanded, Banks and credit card companies must: 1. Refuse to take part in the sale of assault weapons. 2. Stop processing transactions for gun sales online & at gun shows without background checks. 3. Stop doing business with gun & ammo manufacturers who produce or sell assault weapons Illustrating how out of step Beto is with the Lone Star State, in June, Texas lawmakers enacted S.B.19. The law is aimed at preventing financial institutions from discriminating against companies that produce products that help Americans exercise their Second Amendment rights. Specifically, the law prohibits governmental entities from contracting with financial institutions that discriminate against “a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, supplier, or retailer,” a sport shooting range, or a firearm trade association. Beto was also the only presidential candidate to endorse the gun control “Peace Plan” put forth by David Hogg and his associates at March for Our Lives. The plan’s tenets included, “reexamine the District of Columbia v. Heller interpretation of the Second Amendment,” annual gun licensing, a federal ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines, and “a reduction of our domestic firearm stock by at least 30%.” The two-time failure hasn’t backed off his gun confiscation stance since announcing his gubernatorial bid. Speaking with the Texas Tribune for an item to coincide with his campaign announcement, Beto stated, “I think most of us also understand that we should not have military-style weapons used against our fellow Texans.” The candidate also criticized recent changes to Texas law that respect the rights of law-abiding Texans to carry a firearm for self-defense without having to acquire government permission. In addition to Beto’s seeming desire to extend his political losing streak, some might also be confused by how Beto has the time to run for office. After all, voters were promised that Beto would have an important role tackling guns for the Biden administration. At a March 2, 2020 campaign rally in Dallas, Beto endorsed Biden for president. Sharing the stage with his former rival, Biden stated, “I want to make something clear. I’m going to guarantee you this is not the last you’ll see of this guy.” Biden went on say, “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on ya.” Following the campaign event, Biden and Beto went to local burger chain Whataburger, where the septuagenarian continued to heap praise on Beto’s anti-gun advocacy. Speaking about Beto and gun control, Biden stated, “This guy changed the face of what we’re dealing with regarding guns, assault weapons… and I just want to warn [Beto’s wife] that if I win I’m coming for him.” Of course, Biden never came for him. That could reasonably be chalked up to the befuddled president’s waning memory. It might also be the case that given the strong opposition to Biden’s radical ATF Director nominee, gun control lobbyist David Chipman, posting an even more toxic figure to an administration post would have proved even more untenable.
  12. Amidst a growing wave of crime, combined with calls for defunding law enforcement, Americans have chosen to arm themselves in record-setting numbers; new data also indicates Americans are dropping their support for stricter gun-control laws. A new poll from Gallup found that support for stricter gun-control measures is down to 52% from 67% in 2018, reaching its lowest point since 2014. The same poll found that 35% of American adults think laws covering the sale of firearms should be kept as they are, with 11% favoring less-strict firearms laws. Support for a complete ban on handguns hit its lowest point since 1959, when Gallup first started polling the American public on “a law which would forbid the possession” of “pistols and revolvers.” Previously, we reported that crime actually increased in 2020, according to FBI crime data, during a time when many called for defunding law enforcement. At the same time, Americans have chosen to purchase firearms in record-setting numbers, and also seem to favor fewer restrictions on their right to keep and bear arms. Another Gallup poll found that 88% of gun owners now say they own a gun to protect themselves from crime, a sharp increase from the 67% figure in 2005. Beyond this, the poll found that 31% of adults own a firearm, and 44% of households have a firearm owner. While the accuracy of such polls may be open to question, the trend is clear; Americans are losing interest in radical anti-gun legislation, and are increasingly relying on themselves to ensure their safety. Americans have embraced their Second Amendment rights and now understand that it is incumbent upon them to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones. After all, even the best law-enforcement responses can take minutes when seconds matter. It is encouraging to see Americans understanding just how valuable this constitutional right is.
  13. If a number of politicians who are hostile to the Second Amendment get their way, American banks will essentially begin spying on American citizens who buy guns and/or ammunition. And if those citizens are buying what the politicians consider to be too much ammunition or too many firearms, those very citizens could be labeled potential domestic terrorists. Recently, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) introduced companion bills titled “Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act.” The bills state: “(1) IN GENERAL.— Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, FinCEN shall request information from financial institutions for the purpose of developing an advisory about the identification and reporting of suspicious activity relating to— (A) how homegrown violent extremists and perpetrators of domestic terrorism procure firearms and firearm accessories for the purpose of carrying out lone actor or lone wolf acts of terror within the United States; and (B) the ways in which the firearms market in the United States is exploited to facilitate gun violence in the United States.” “FinCEN” refers to Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau within the U.S. Treasury Department. According to the bureau’s website, “FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.” Much of the bureau’s focus is “to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.” According to a press release from Markey’s office, bill proponents cited the terrorist who murdered people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla., and the murderer who killed people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. The implication is, if this bill were law, banks and credit card companies could have spotted these purchases and informed authorities. They also argue, “Under existing regulations, financial institutions are required to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to raise red flags about money laundering, human trafficking, terrorist financing and other criminal activity. The lawmakers’ legislation would require FinCEN to collect and analyze data from financial institutions to determine what indicators, if any, might precede a mass shooting or terrorist attack. FinCEN would then be required to issue an advisory on how financial institutions should use these indicators to comply with regulations.” “We cannot allow banks and financial institutions to turn a blind eye as shooters bank a pile of guns and ammunition in a lead up to an attack,” said Sen. Markey in the press release. “The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act will give us the guidance on how these institutions can help pinpoint and prevent gun violence across the country.” The bill doesn’t define what might constitute “suspicious activity.” It appears that lawmakers would have to craft such guidance for FinCen, likely the same lawmakers who are proposing this misguided legislation. For example, would a gun collector who sees a great opportunity and so purchases a dozen guns from an estate be considered suspicious and, as such, be treated as if he or she is a terrorist? Or consider the person who competes in handgun matches and comes upon a batch of 9 mm ammunition being offered at a sale price. The competitor decides to buy up several thousand rounds for practice. Would he or she qualify as a “homegrown violent extremist” and be subjected to an investigation by law enforcement? All Americans are concerned about terrorism, but wouldn’t such a law bury authorities in false leads as they investigate law-abiding Americans? Isn’t such an invasion of privacy based on biased views of American gun owners a form of harassment? “Licensed [firearms] retailers cooperate with law enforcement all the time and report suspicious activity,” noted Larry Keane, vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), in an article on this proposed legislation. “However,” Keane added, “this bill is similar to the federal government snooping around libraries and bookstores to see what books people are reading and what websites are visited. It is a deeply troubling intrusion into the civil liberties of gun owners and the exercise of their Second Amendment rights that should trouble all Americans. This legislation should be recognized for what it is – another attempt by lawmakers to circumvent civil rights and co-opting financial institutions to advance an anti-gun agenda.” This is not the first time such a bill has been introduced. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), along with Rep. Dean, introduced a similar bill in the last Congress, H.R. 5132, also titled the “Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act.” During a town hall meeting, Rep. Wexton explained to voters that her bill was part of an attempt to explore “whether credit card transactions could be used as a warning tool for mass shootings.” That bill gained no traction. Hopefully, the same will be said for this latest attempt to turn our banking system into an anti-Second Amendment spy network.
  14. Incredible! A Tibetan monk has been discovered in the mountains of Nepal. He is considered the oldest person in the world at 201 years old. He is in a state of deep trance or meditation called "takatet". When he was first discovered in a mountain cave they thought he was a mummy. However scientists examining what they thought was a mummy discovered that he had vital signs and was alive! Among his things, they found a piece of paper that said: "Stop believing all the BS you read on The Internet or Hear on TV"
  15. As legacy press outlets have lost much of their ability to manipulate public opinion, these institutions have resorted to increasingly desperate tactics to shape public discourse. Enter tattletale “journalism.” This genre of article consists of identifying something that offends the delicate sensibilities of the prestige press and the elites they cater to and then reporting the offensive conduct to various authorities under the guise of asking them for comment. The transparent goal of such pieces is to pressure those in authority to stamp out the behavior. This sometimes takes the form of a “journalist” alerting one of the tech oligopolies to material hosted on their platform that the reporter deems politically incorrect. This tattletale or media hall monitor culture was on full display this week when NBC News’s Ken Dilanian took it upon himself to alert the U.S. Secret Service to the sale of AR-15 lower receivers emblazoned with a censored version of an insult to President Joe Biden. Those more lucid than Biden will know that the 46th president is not very popular. An October NBC News poll showed that 42-percent of the country approves of the job Biden is doing, while 54-percent disapprove. 71-percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. Moreover, as an NBC News item summarized, “just 37 percent of adults give [Biden] high marks — on a 5-point scale — for being competent and effective as president.” The NBC numbers could be somewhat generous, considering Quinnipiac recorded a 38-percent approval rating for the president in early October. Some Americans have been vocal about expressing their displeasure with the president. Since the beginning of fall, chants of “F*** Joe Biden” have erupted at sporting events around the country. Others have also put the, admittedly vulgar, slogan on various items such as signs, flags, shirts, and bumper stickers. On October 2, NASCAR spectators at Talladega Super Speedway broke into a “F*** Joe Biden” chant as NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast interviewed race winner Brandon Brown. As the audible chant was being picked up on television, Stavast told viewers that the crowd was chanting “Let’s go Brandon,” in honor of the driver. Justifiably suspicious that NBC was attempting to cover up the public’s vocal contempt for the president, Biden opponents began using “Let’s go Brandon” as both a cleaner substitute for the original slogan and as a way to poke fun at the legacy media’s obvious bias. As with its R-rated counterpart, “Let’s go Brandon” is now being used as a political rallying cry to oppose the president and adorns all manner of materials. Recognizing that many Second Amendment supporters oppose Biden due to his desire to confiscate law-abiding Americans’ firearms, Palmetto State Armory developed a special edition “LETSGO-15” AR-15 lower receiver. The front of the receiver features Biden’s likeness above a checkered flag, in reference to the race that gave rise to the phrase, along with the phrase itself. A censored version of the original chant adorns the fire selector settings. To a reasonable observer cognizant of the existence of the Bill of Rights, the “LETSGO-15” lower is an exercise in speech protected by both the First and Second Amendments. Political speech is at the core of what is protected by the First Amendment. In West Virginia Board of Ed. v. Barnette (1943), the U.S. Supreme Court explained, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion…” As it relates to the use of vulgarities to convey a political message, in Cohen v. California (1971), the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the conviction of a young man who was charged with disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket with the words “F*** the Draft” in a courthouse. In his opinion, Justice John Marshall Harlan II explained, Surely the State has no right to cleanse public debate to the point where it is grammatically palatable to the most squeamish among us… For, while the particular four-letter word being litigated here is perhaps more distasteful than most others of its genre, it is nevertheless often true that one man's vulgarity is another's lyric. Indeed, we think it is largely because governmental officials cannot make principled distinctions in this area that the Constitution leaves matters of taste and style so largely to the individual. Emblazoning political speech on an item protected by the Second Amendment does not change this calculus. In a November 1 news item titled, “Gun dealers sell parts, ammo using anti-Biden meme 'Let's go, Brandon',” Dilanian explained how he ran to the federal government with his concerns about Palmetto State Armory’s product. However, “A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates threats against the president, declined to comment.” In an attempt to bring further attention to his baseless squealing, Dilanian tweeted out a link to the article along with the message “I called the Secret Service about this. They had no comment.” Despite the reporter’s best effort to goad them, the U.S. Secret Service appears to have a more comprehensive understanding of the First Amendment than NBC News and at this point has demonstrated the requisite restraint after being confronted with conduct protected by the Bill of Rights. A popular adage in journalism is that its purpose is to “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” Dilanian and NBC News might try challenging political power from time to time, rather than attempting to shield one of the most powerful men in the world from salty language and minor insults.
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