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Charlie T Waite

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Posts posted by Charlie T Waite

  1. Lawsuit Challenging California “Assault Weapon” Ban Moves Forward; Federal Judge Denies California’s Motion to Dismiss

    SAN DIEGO (September 23, 2020) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced that Southern District of California Federal District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez has issued an order denying the State of California’s partial motion to dismiss in the case of Miller, et al. v. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al., an FPC-led federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s “assault weapons” ban on common semi-automatic firearms. The Court’s order is available online at AssaultWeaponLawsuit.com.

    The order, filed today, states that, regarding the issue of standing, the “Court finds Plaintiffs have standing on all claims in large part flowing from the criminal penalties they could face.” Explaining that California’s Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 “imposes a felony criminal penalty for anyone who manufactures, distributes, imports, keeps for sale, offers for sale, or lends an ‘assault weapon’,” with “prescribed prison sentences [of] four, six, or eight years,” the Court’s order said that the “result is that any law-abiding citizen may lose his liberty, and (not ironically) his Second Amendment rights, as a result of exercising his constitutional right to keep and bear arms if the arm falls within the complicated legal definition of an ‘assault weapon.’” It went on, “If ever the existence of a state statute had a chilling effect on the exercise of a constitutional right, this is it.”

    Thus, the Court held, “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.” And while the “Defendants argue that Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge seven particular statutes among all of the various interlocking statutes affecting the regulation of guns deemed assault weapons,” the Court “finds to the contrary, that at least one and perhaps all of the Plaintiffs have Article III standing to challenge each of the statutes -- whether singly or as an entire regulatory scheme. To sum up, the Court finds that the individual Plaintiffs and the organizational Plaintiffs have standing to challenge the nuisance statute along with the rest of the statutory scheme which defines, identifies and restricts ‘assault weapons’ which are alleged to be protected by the Second Amendment for possession and use by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” Accordingly, the case will proceed. 

    Already pending before the Court is the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, filed last December. That motion was originally set for a March hearing, but circumstances surrounding COVID-19 delayed the hearing. According to that motion, the plaintiffs are seeking a “preliminary injunction” and “an order enjoining Defendants Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his agent, servants, employees, and those working in active concert with him, from enforcing or giving effect to California Penal Code sections 30515 (a) and (b), 30600, 30605, 30800, 30910, 30915, 30925, 30945, 30950, 31000, and 31005, as well as Title 11, California Code of Regulations section 5460 and 5471 during the pendency of this action.” The Court was subsequently informed that the plaintiffs will also seek relief against the newest expansion of the State’s “assault weapon” ban, enacted in Senate Bill 118 passed and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, a radical anti-Constitutionalist, this year.

    “We are delighted with Judge Benitez’s order denying the State’s motion to dismiss and look forward to moving on to litigating our pending preliminary injunction motion,” said Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. “As the order points out, the criminal penalties associated with a violation of the challenged laws can result in imprisonment and the loss of one’s ability to exercise their fundamental, individual Second Amendment rights. That’s why this case is so important to ensuring that people will no longer face those criminal penalties for responsibly exercising their rights.”

    “Today’s order means that this important lawsuit will move forward as quickly as possible,” explained FPC President Brandon Combs. “Under the Supreme Court’s Heller, McDonald, and Caetano decisions, the plaintiffs and all law-abiding People have a right to keep and bear these common semi-automatic arms for all lawful purposes. We will continue to work through this case and others to restore the full scope of Second Amendment rights in California and throughout the United States.”

    Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States—especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.

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  2. Late yesterday, the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee passed legislation that prevents the closure of federally licensed firearms dealers by public officials, Senate Bill 360.  This important bill now heads to the Senate Floor for a full vote.  The bill could be heard at any time, so please contact your State Senator and ask them to SUPPORT SB 360.


    Senate Bill 360 bars public officials from prohibiting all federally licensed firearms dealers (FFL) in the state or a specified geographic area from the commercial sale or transfer of firearms or their components or ammunition.  This will prevent the future closure of FFLs during declared states of emergency, including during the current Covid-19 outbreak.

  3. BELLEVUE, WA – “It was the biggest gathering of gun rights activists in the world,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, in the aftermath of this weekend’s 35th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, held entirely online for the first time in history.

    The event was viewed by well over 300,000 gun rights activists across the country on multiple platforms, and more than 4,100 people pre-registered for the event, which shatters all previous records, Gottlieb reported. He said it would be impossible to get an exact count of all the people who watched because several groups held “Watch Parties” attended by many people watching the program on large screens. What’s more, he said the GRPC program, which appeared as a live Facebook event, is still being viewed, either in its entirety or in segments, which may be found by visiting the SAF website or YouTube.

    There were about 120 speakers covering topics from state legislative affairs to the growing interest in firearms ownership by women. Several attorneys specializing in Second Amendment cases weighed in with reports on what has been happening, and what may be on the horizon. Several journalists, radio talk hosts and bloggers offered suggestions on how grassroots activists could cultivate better relations with the media, and there were discussions about invasive gun control and gun rights internationally.

    Members of Congress and the U.S. Senate made special appearances, and there were also presentations on the growth of gun ownership in the LBGTQ community.

    “We had 25 percent more speakers than usual,” Gottlieb revealed, “and much more content. It may be very difficult to return to our traditional in-person conference format, and we will be evaluating how to do it bigger and better next year and in the years ahead.

    Gottlieb credited people’s alarm for their personal safety over efforts to defund police, riots, looting and the Democrats’ push for more extremist gun control for this year’s increased attendance and participation.

    “I am simply overwhelmed at the support, participation and involvement in the upcoming election this year,” he concluded. “It was an exhausting and humbling experience, and my hat is off to all of those who joined us remotely and made this year’s GRPC a success.”

  4. Do red flag laws make anyone safer?

    Well, that’s a discussion we can certainly have. It should be right up there with whether it actually matters one way or another when it comes to a fundamental human right as the right to keep and bear arms.

    For proponents of these laws, though, it often seems like the safety argument vanishes after these laws are passed. Instead, they use a different metric to determine whether or not the law is working or not.

    That process is starting in Virginia.

    At least three dozen Virginia residents have been prohibited temporarily or potentially permanently from having firearms or purchasing them based on a new state law allowing authorities to convince a judge that a person would be a danger to themselves or others.

    The “red flag” law creating the petition for substantial risk orders began July 1, as one of many gun-related restrictions approved this year by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

    Twenty-six temporary and 10 potentially permanent orders were issued in July and August, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The numbers came from the Virginia State Police, which operates the Virginia Firearm Transaction Center. The state police is prohibited from releasing details about the orders.

    Of course, it should be remembered that temporary orders are issued on what amounts to hearsay evidence by third parties presented to a judge who issues a ruling without ever having spoken with the individual in question. Further, none of the people involved in the process are mental health professionals who may actually be qualified to judge someone’s mental state.

    Instead, it’s a couple of people who don’t necessarily understand psychology rendering a decision about whether another person gets to exercise a basic human right.

    There’s a lot we don’t know about these 36 individuals, such as what kind of threat they supposedly presented. Further, while we don’t know for sure, we can assume that none of have carried out any kind of murder or taken their own life following the orders being issued.

    For proponents, that just proves they work, but that’s not necessarily true. After all, there are tons of ways to kill yourself or someone else without ever touching a firearm. If someone was that determined, they’d do it regardless of the order.

    And that’s another problem with the orders. They leave the supposedly dangerous person to roam the streets. If someone is that big of a threat, shouldn’t you use the tools already available to commit them at least temporarily? Then it won’t matter if they have access to guns, knives, or high explosives at their home. They won’t be at their homes in the first place, but somewhere they can be evaluated by people who actually know what the hell they’re talking about.

    We’ll have to wait and see just how things shake out in the long term, but don’t expect to see anything else from Virginia other than raw numbers of how many orders are issued and a lot of preening from supporters of the law that claim those numbers show just how well the orders are working.

    Especially if homicide and suicide rates don’t decrease.

    Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger and lifetime shooter. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia. He's also the host of Unloaded TV on YouTube. https://bearingarms.com/author/tomknighton/


  5. Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge, speaks during the University of Notre Dame’s Law School commencement ceremony at the university, in South Bend, Ind. (South Bend Tribune via AP, File)

    Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, President Trump promised a crowd over the weekend that he’d be nominating a woman for the open seat. This morning, the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump will announce his nominee on Friday or Saturday.

    Mr. Trump maintained that the replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer at the age of 87, should happen swiftly. “We won the election and elections have consequences,” he said Monday morning on Fox News. “We have plenty of time.”

    Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump nominee on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, is reportedly one of the the President’s two front-runners for replacing Justice Ginsburg. While she’s only been on the 7th Circuit for about three years, she seems to have her head mostly screwed on straight when it comes to the Second Amendment.

    As the AP writes . . .

    She has long expressed sympathy with a mode of interpreting the Constitution, called originalism, in which justices try to decipher original meanings of texts in assessing if someone’s rights have been violated. Many liberals oppose that strict approach, saying it is too rigid and doesn’t allow the Constitution to change with the times.

    Barrett’s fondness for original texts was on display in a 2019 dissent in a gun-rights case in which she argued a person convicted of a nonviolent felony shouldn’t be automatically barred from owning a gun. All but a few pages of her 37-page dissent were devoted to the history of gun rules for convicted criminals in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    That dissent was issued in Kanter v. Barr. Barrett dissented from the majority which held that a felony conviction for even a non-violent crime — Medicare fraud, in this case — barred gun ownership.

    In the opening paragraph of her dissent (which starts here) she held:

    History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. Nor have the parties introduced any evidence that founding-era legislatures imposed virtue-based restrictions on the right; such restrictions applied to civic rights like voting and jury service, not to individual rights like the right to possess a gun. In 1791—and for well more than a century afterward— legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety.

    I would prefer that Judge Barrett had skipped the whole dangerousness argument. After all, if you can be trusted to walk the streets, you can be trusted with a firearm. Something more along the lines of ‘you have served your time, your civil rights are restored’ might have been better.

    Still, in her stance on the gun rights of non-violent felons, she is far better than most other judges when it comes to the the supporting natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right to own and carry the weapon of your choice.

    Barrett is only 48 years old and, if appointed and confirmed, could serve on the Court for three decades or more. America’s gun owners and those who support the right to keep and bear arms could do (and have done) a lot worse.


  6. Thanks to your phone calls and emails in opposition to Ordinance O-19-82 (mandating locked storage requirements for any firearms outside your immediate possession or control) and Ordinance O-19-83 (banning firearms at any building owned or leased by the city for conducting business with the public), the Albuquerque City Council defeated both measures on a 6-3 vote Monday night.  During debate on the proposals, one Councilmember remarked that she had received over 600 individual contacts against these ordinances!

    This comes on the heels of the Council also recently voting down Resolution R-20-68, which would have urged the New Mexico Legislature to pass legislation stripping the state firearms preemption language from the New Mexico Constitution and putting the proposal to voters for approval.

    Please take a moment to thank the following Councilmembers who voted against O-19-82 and O-19-83:

    District 1: Councilor Sena - lansena@cabq.gov | (505) 768-3183
    District 3: Councilor Pena - kpena@cabq.gov | (505) 768-3127
    District 4: Councilor Bassan - bbassan@cabq.gov | (505) 768-3101
    District 5: Councilor Borrego - cynthiaborrego@cabq.gov | (505) 768-3189
    District 8: Councilor Jones - trudyjones@cabq.gov | (505) 768-3106
    District 9: Councilor Harris - dharris@cabq.gov | (505) 768-3123

  7. On Monday, September 14th, the Capitol Commission voted 4-2 against a proposal to ban all firearms from the Capitol and 3-3 against a proposal to ban open carry at the Capitol.

    While this is a temporary victory for Second Amendment rights, the commission did agree to discuss the topic again after meeting with House and Senate Leadership, and left open the possibility of holding a special meeting solely to decide the matter.

  8. Earlier this year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a sweeping ban and confiscation plan on over 1,500 commonly used firearms. The good news is that Canadian citizens are fighting back. As Fox News reported, a Parliamentary e-petition to reverse the gun ban (petition number “e-2574”) has closed and been certified with 230,905 signatures, making it the most popular petition ever in Canada by over 55,000 signatures.

    “We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Prime Minister to immediately scrap his government’s May 1, 2020, Order in Council decision related to confiscating legally owned firearms and instead pass legislation that will target criminals, stop the smuggling of firearms into Canada, go after those who illegally acquire firearms, and apologize to legal firearms owners in Canada,” reads the petition.

    Trudeau announced the ban for “public safety” following the actions of a psychopath in Nova Scotia who shot and killed 13 people and then lit fires that killed nine others. The perpetrator of these heinous crimes, it should be noted, illegally acquired all of the firearms he used, including one he took from one of his victims, a police officer.

    In addition to the e-petition, Canadians have marched in protest of the Trudeau ban. Recently, an estimated 800 pro-freedom Canadians held a rally in Ottawa against the ban—the event was spearheaded by the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights.

    When the Canadian Parliament reconvenes this fall, the e-petition will be put on the Parliamentary docket. According to Canadian law, Parliament must officially respond.

    Trudeau’s gun ban requires people to surrender their firearms to the government in return for compensation, although that compensation plan has yet to be unveiled. In the meantime, using or transporting any of the firearms on the list is a crime.

    As America’s 1st Freedom reported, when the ban was first announced this past May: “Canadian gun owners will have a two-year ‘amnesty’ period in which they can still possess the many firearms being banned as the Canadian government works out plans to remove the firearms. According to CBC News, Trudeau said gun owners would receive ‘fair compensation’ for the soon-to-be-illegal firearms.”

    The banned list includes every AR-style rifle one can imagine, plus AR pistols, various other semi-automatics and some bolt-action hunting rifles, plus actual military ordnance one would assume were already illegal for civilian possession in Canada (and elsewhere), including rocket and grenade launchers, anti-tank rifles and mortars!

    Trudeau’s unilateral gun ban is a stark reminder that, in the United States, the constitutional protection afforded by the Second Amendment now prevents a president from effectively using an executive order to take this freedom from us.

    As we near November’s election, it is worth noting that the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, Joe Biden, has made his anti-Second Amendment stances very clear. On his own election website, Biden calls for a “ban” on semi-automatic firearms that he incorrectly terms “assault weapons,” and says he would have the federal government “buy back” these semi-automatic firearms from their rightful, legal owners.

    Biden has also made it clear he would nominate justices to the U.S. Supreme Court who would vote to effectively erase the Second Amendment. We know this because the U.S. Supreme Court’s minority opinions in Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) clearly told us that, if they had a majority on the court, they’d turn our individual right to keep and bear arms into a collective one that legislators could then ignore. In fact, Biden is even on record as disagreeing with the ruling in Heller, and apparently siding with the minority dissent that rejected the individual right recognized by the majority on the Court.

    Without the continued protection of our Second Amendment, bans and confiscation schemes can happen, unchecked. We only need to look north of our border to see an anti-gun, anti-freedom ban in action.

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