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U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Every election season, we are bombarded with surveys and polls purporting to tell us what voters think and what their intentions are. The 2020 general election is no exception.
However, after the 2016 presidential election where polls appeared to confirm the near-certainty of a Hillary Clinton win, who in fact went on to lose to Donald Trump, trust in the predictive power of polling has waned significantly.
So when the Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) decided to do our own election survey, it wasn't because we claim the ability to better predict the outcome of the election. We simply believe we can better interpret the thoughts and intentions of one segment of the population: gun owners.
Our survey ran from October 8, 2020, to October 13, 2020, targeting BFA supporters and resulting in 4,100 responses. Here are the results:
Which candidates do you think have a realistic chance to win the election?
Survey responders overwhelmingly see Donald Trump (96.6%) and Joe Biden (36.3%) as the only candidates with a realistic chance to win. All other candidates come in at less than 1%. (Note that the percentages do not add up to 100 because survey takers could choose multiple options.)
In the end, which candidate do you think will actually win the election?
By a wide margin, responders believe Donald Trump (88.4%) will win the election over Joe Biden (10.1%). Again, all other candidates received less than a percentage point.
According to the RealClearPolitics National Poll Average (as of Oct. 7, 2020), 94% of those polled plan to vote for either Trump or Biden. About 3.4% plan to vote for third party candidates Jorgensen or Hawkins. Given how close election results may be, how concerned are you that third-party candidates with virtually no chance of winning will act as “spoilers” and take votes away from Trump or Biden, one of whom will actually sit in the Oval Office and make policy that affects your rights?
Those who are “very concerned” or “a little concerned” total 61.2%, while 38.4% are “not at all concerned.”
We asked these first three questions to focus on the effect third-party candidates may have on the election. People often answer predictive questions with wishful thinking, so we encouraged responders to be “realistic” about who has a chance to win before asking for a prediction on the winner.
The third question then sought to gauge voters' concern about third-party candidates acting as “spoilers,” and the results are a little surprising. Given how close this election may be in several battleground states, we would have expected more concern about this issue. But clearly, almost 4 of 10 responders are not bothered by fellow gun owners who may throw potentially election-deciding votes to candidates who can't win.
Which of the following best describes the reason why you vote for a particular candidate?
This question is a direct follow-up to the previous question and is intended to help us understand whether voters are pragmatic or idealistic in their approach to voting. The results track broadly with voter concerns over third-party candidates.
Exactly 76% of responders chose the pragmatic answer “I vote to affect the outcome of the election and the policies of the next administration,” while 19.8% chose the idealistic answer “I vote to make a statement about who I am and what I believe regardless of the outcome of the election.”
Personally, I wish more gun owners were pragmatic. In my view, elections are not about who you are or an opportunity to virtue signal, they are your opportunity to influence the future and steer policy in the real world one way or the other.
Of those who have a realistic chance to win the election, which candidate do you believe will best defend your Second Amendment rights?
Responders answered like this: Donald Trump 95.3%, Joe Biden 1.6%, and Jo Jorgensen 1.9%.
A very small segment of gun owners dislike Trump, distrust him on gun rights, and loudly voice their opinions on social media. However, this survey result shows how misleading this noise can be. Social media amplifies the loudest and most contentious voices while drowning out the silent majority.
Clearly, the vast majority of gun owners trust Donald Trump more than any other candidate to both win office and protect their gun rights.
Which of the following presidential candidates do you plan to vote for? Note: If you have already voted, by mail or in person, select the candidate you voted for.
This is the bottom line question. A full 93% of responders say they plan to vote for Donald Trump, 2.6% for Joe Biden, 1.3% for Jo Jorgensen, with 1.7% saying they are undecided.
I want to emphasize that these results are not intended to predict the outcome of the election. Gun owners are not all the same and don't all assign the same importance to gun rights. I even had one gun owner tell me he was okay with losing gun rights because he had other priorities.
However, as this survey shows, gun owners overwhelmingly care about their rights and favor Donald Trump for President.
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Thanks for sharing Buckshot
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Edited Wednesday at 11:24 AM by Charlie T Waite
Posted Wednesday at 11:22 AM
On 23 September, 2020, Judge Roger T. Benitez issued another impressive order in a case involving the Second Amendment.
A number of California residents, firearm businesses, special interest groups, foundations, and a political action committee have organized to sue California AG Xavier Becerra et al, to challenge the Constitutionality of California's complex net of regulations for the ownership and use of various firearms the state deems to be "assault weapons". The lawsuit has been winding its way through the federal legal system in the Ninth Circuit.
In Miller v. Becerra, the defendants moved to summarily dismiss the lawsuit on the basis of lack of standing, and for a failure to claim relief.
The judge in this case is Roger T. Benitez, of the United States District Court, Southern District of California. Judge Benitez has become well known for his superb, well reasoned and exquisitely written opinions in Second Amendment cases.
Judge Benitez has created another splendid example of his command of logic and rhetoric in the order denying summary judgement to AG Becerra and the other plaintiffs.
The order was issued on 23 September, 2020.
Judge Benitez demolishes the argument that plantiffs have no standing, because they have not suffered an injury. The chilling of the exercise of a Constitutional right *is* an injury in federal jurisprudence. Judge Benitez gives example after example in case law. From the order:
It has long been the case that a plaintiff possesses Article III standing to bring a pre-enforcement challenge to a state statute which regulates the exercise of a federal constitutional right and threatens a criminal penalty. “When the plaintiff has alleged an intention to engage in a course of conduct arguably affected with a constitutional interest, but proscribed by a statute, and there exists a credible threat of prosecution thereunder, he ‘should not be required to await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of seeking relief.’” Babbitt v. United Farm Workers Nat. Union, 442 U.S. 289, 298 (1979) (quoting Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 188 (1973)). “t is not necessary that petitioner first expose himself to actual arrest or prosecution to be entitled to challenge a statute that he claims deters the exercise of his constitutional rights.” Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459 (1974). “In Virginia v. American Booksellers Assn. Inc., 484 U.S. 383 (1988), we held that booksellers could seek preenforcement review of a law making it a crime to ‘knowingly display for commercial purpose’ material that is ‘harmful to juveniles’ as defined by the statute.” Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, 573 U.S. 149, 160 (2014). Of course, “uch challenges can proceed only when the plaintiff ‘faces a realistic danger of sustaining a direct injury as a result of the law’s operation or enforcement.’” Skyline Wesleyan Church v. California Dep’t of Managed Health Care, 968 F.3d 738 (9th Cir. 2020) (citations omitted). But the simple continued existence of the criminal penalty provision together with an absence of a defendant’s disavowal of prosecution satisfies the requirement of a credible threat of prosecution. Susan B. Anthony List, 573 U.S. at 164 (threat of future enforcement of the false statement statute is substantial with history of past enforcement).
Then Judge Benitez shows several recent examples where federal courts within the Ninth Circuit have granted standing on orders to thwart the Trump administration:
The bar for standing is not particularly high. For example, organizations that have been “perceptibly impaired” by a government rule “in their ability to perform the services they were formed to provide” is sufficient for organizational standing. E. Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, 950 F.3d 1242, 1266–67 (9th Cir. 2020) (“The Organizations are not required to demonstrate some threshold magnitude of their injuries; one less client that they may have had but-for the Rule’s issuance is enough. In other words, plaintiffs who suffer concrete, redressable harms that amount to pennies are still entitled to relief.”). An organization has standing to sue on behalf of its members when “the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization’s purpose.” Sierra Club v. Trump, 963 F.3d 874, 883 (9th Cir. 2020) (also noting individual’s standing to challenge border wall construction based on: “concern that the wall ‘would disrupt the desert views and inhibit him from fully appreciating the area,’ and that the additional presence of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents ‘would further diminish his enjoyment of these areas’ and ‘deter him from further exploring certain areas’ [while] worrie[d] that ‘construction and maintenance of the border wall will limit or entirely cut off his access to fishing spots’ along the border, where he has fished for more than 50 years.”).
There are several others. The reader can access the order on line to read in depth. Judge Benitez is using the Ninth Circuit's over the top precedent to allow any lawsuit against the current administration by applying the basic judicial principle of reciprocity. What is good for one plaintiff is to be applied to all plaintiffs.
The stakes are high. The plaintiffs are challenging California's byzantine network of complicated laws which make owning many common firearms a legal minefield in the state.
A divided Supreme Court has punted on enforcing Second Amendment rights for a decade. With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the likely confirmation of Amy Coney Barret to the Supreme Court, the time seems ripe for the Court to take on Second Amendment cases, and clarify obvious infringements such as effective bans on the carry of firearms outside the home; bans on magazines, bans on semi-automatic rifles, and lifelong bans on the exercise of Second Amendment rights for people who are not a danger to the community.
If President Trump wins re-election, he is likely to flip the Ninth Circuit with a majority of originalist and textualist judges.
Judge Benitez was born in Cuba, in 1950. He understands oppression.
Perhaps Judge Benitez will be elevated to the Court of Appeals. He is an obvious choice.
©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch