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Charlie T Waite

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  1. FAIRFAX, Va.– The National Rifle Association of America declared victory in San Francisco today, after Mayor London Breed formally disavowed key provisions of a municipal resolution that signaled the blacklisting of contractors linked to the Second Amendment advocacy group. On September 3, 2019, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which is the legislative body for the City and County of San Francisco, unanimously approved a resolution that called for the City to investigate ties between its contractors and vendors and the NRA. The city declared the NRA was a “domestic terrorist organization.” Not surprisingly, the NRA sued. On September 9, 2019, less than a week after the resolution was enacted, the NRA challenged it as government action adversely affecting its First Amendment rights. In its filing, the NRA called the resolution a “blacklisting” measure, and urged San Francisco’s federal court to “step in and instruct elected officials that freedom of speech means you cannot silence or punish those with whom you disagree.” Late last week, rather than await “instruction” from a court, San Francisco Mayor London Breed backed down. In a formal memorandum to City officials, she declared that “no [municipal] department will take steps to restrict any contractor from doing business with the NRA or to restrict City contracting opportunities for any business that has any relationship with the NRA.” “Through these actions and our public advocacy, we hope the message is now clear,” says NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA will always fight to protect our members and the constitutional freedoms in which they believe.” The NRA is represented in its lawsuit by William A. Brewer III and Sarah Rogers of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, along with Garman Turner Gordon LLP. “The memo serves as a clear concession and a well-deserved win for the First and Second Amendments of the United States Constitution,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel for the NRA. “It is unfortunate that in today’s polarized times, some elected officials would rather silence opposing arguments than engage in good-faith debate. The NRA - America’s oldest civil rights organization – won’t stand for that.” The NRA’s challenge to a similar ordinance in Los Angeles remains pending. Last month, the city’s motion to dismiss was denied in its entirety by federal district judge Stephen V. Wilson, who found that the NRA had stated a clear First Amendment claim.
  2. https://membersurvey.nra.org/2ASurvey/Survey1
  3. On Monday, the plaintiffs in the NRA-supported case of Worman v. Healey filed their petition for writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States. This case challenges Massachusetts’s unconstitutional ban on commonly-owned, semi-automatic firearms as a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, citing the Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. The petition for writ of certiorari represents the first, important step toward the Supreme Court’s review of a manifest legal error. After going through the laborious appellate process, the case has finally reached the opportunity for a final ruling by the nation’s highest court. This particular petition asks the nation’s highest Court to review an issue of critical importance: the Massachusetts Attorney General’s persistent infringement of the Second Amendment. In 2016, Attorney General Maura Healey took it upon herself to unilaterally “interpret” Massachusetts’ law as prohibiting a vast array of commonly-owned firearms that are traditionally—and lawfully—owned by Bay State citizens. Healey announced the change in an “enforcement notice,” which informed existing owners that they would not be subject to prosecution at that time, but that the attorney general “reserves the right to alter or amend this guidance.” The petition before the Supreme Court cites what NRA members already know: Massachusetts’ ban violates the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller, which reaffirmed that “the government may not ban, arms that are ‘typically possessed for lawful purposes like self-defense.’” It is undisputed that the AR-15 satisfies this standard. As the petition in this case explains, the “anned firearms based on the AR-15 platform are the most ergonomic, safe, readily available, and effective firearms for civilian defensive shooting.” In support of this petition, NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet stated, “The NRA believes this case embodies a critical moment for America’s gun owners. With 2020 presidential candidates and members of Congress encouraging the confiscation of commonly-owned firearms—like the AR-15—it is vital that the Supreme Court remind politicians that they swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, which includes our sacred Second Amendment.” The Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), an NRA Massachusetts state affiliate and plaintiff in the Worman case, echoed Ouimet’s sentiments. As GOAL’s Executive Director, Jim Wallace, put it, “The importance of this case cannot be overstated. A decision at the Supreme Court recognizing the citizens’ right to purchase and possess commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines will vindicate the rights of gun owners nationwide.” Wallace went on to add, “Massachusetts gun owners are grateful for the NRA’s support. The NRA has helped us fight this battle every step of the way.”
  4. Anti-gunners talk about how bad firearms are. They contend that guns are the only things that allow criminals to commit horrific acts against their fellow citizens. They say no one in a “civilized” society needs a gun. What they never acknowledge, however, is that among the most vulnerable people in society often need—and use—a firearm to protect themselves. People on opposing sides of the gun-ownership aisle argue about how many defensive gun uses (DGUs) there are every year. And, truth be told, it is nearly impossible to come up with a hard number of such cases, partly because the parameters can fluctuate. Do you count just the cases in which an intruder or attacker is killed? Do you expand your search to include any gunshot injury? Or, do you even consider instances when a person uses a firearm to scare off a perpetrator before a crime is committed? The fluidity of the definition goes a long way to explain why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can do nothing but generalize, estimating DGUs as occurring anywhere from 500,000 to 3 million times per year. Arguments over the numbers aside, you never hear the anti-gunners talk about real-life situations in which a firearm leveled the playing field and kept a physically disadvantaged citizen from becoming the next homicide victim. And there are plenty of such instances happening every day throughout our country. Here are some recent examples. A physically disabled Florida homeowner used an AR-15-style rifle to save himself in August after four burglars broke into his house. So when political candidates say they want to “take your AR-15s, we can only surmise they don’t care if the crime victim lives or dies in similar situation like the aforementioned case. A hearing-impaired woman shot and killed an intruder this month inside her Oklahoma residence, located in a rural area with ranches and farms. The woman “yelled at the man to get out of the house and shot him once when he moved toward her.” She said she'd never seen him before. Sgt. Terry Winn, an investigator from LeFlore County Sheriff, said the 31-year-old intruder, who had a criminal record, was shot in the chest by a large-caliber rifle. Sgt. Winn told America’s 1st Freedom that the homeowner was deaf and had a concealed-carry permit, which “was unnecessary because she was inside her home” during the shooting. “It is not uncommon for most farmers or ranchers carry to firearms for self-protection. It is a little out of the order for someone to enter onto the properties and into homes in this area because it is well known that people here will use a firearm to protect themselves. So we try to put the word out to the criminal element not do to these things,” he said. A Kansas man recovering from quadruple bypass held a bad guy at gunpoint recently to keep his daughter and himself safe during a home invasion. Those who read the NRA’s Armed Citizen accounts can probably tick off dozens of other cases where the elderly or infirm have used a firearm to fend off someone who would have liked to do them harm. Criminals prey upon the vulnerable. They lack human decency. Their consciences do not prevent or stop them from attempting to harm a person with a physical disadvantage. Rather, illness, age and poor health can make some people look like an easy mark to most criminals—unless, unbeknownst to the hoodlum, that person has a firearm on hand. If we look back at the Florida AR-15 case, a five-round magazine might not have been enough against four intruders. Instead of recognizing the everyday reality that guns can be used—and often are—for protection, news-media outlets and some ambitious liberal politicians love to play up the gun-control political agenda. Anti-gunners seek to limit the opportunity for these vulnerable people (and all Americans) to bear arms and stand up against the unsavory actors in this world. Restrictions take many forms: maybe they want to limit the type of firearm you own; maybe they want to limit how much ammunition you can buy, or perhaps they’ll simply limit magazine capacity. And they make each of those limitations sound so innocuous, saying you’ll still have a chance to protect yourself. DGUs and the fact that a firearm can erase a physical disadvantage that a citizen might have against a criminal are vital aspects to protect our Second Amendment right. As voters, we must let the liberal politicians who attack our Second Amendment know that we understand that when they limit our rights to keep and bear arms, they devalue our basic right to life. And it is unforgivable that they have no qualms about taking away and restricting firearms and ammunition that provide life-saving ways for weaker members of our society to defend themselves from criminals.
  5. Given that so much gun-policy research is explicitly funded by individuals hostile to our rights, gun owners are right to be skeptical of many academics. However, there are times when well-respected academics have proven confident enough to challenge the prevailing anti-gun orthodoxies. Such is the case with recent pieces from James Alan Fox, professor of criminology, law, and public policy at Northeastern University, and Thomas Abt, research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In a July 23 item for USA Today, Fox pondered why a recent mass killing in Kyoto, Japan, did not garner significant attention in the U.S. media. On July 18, a man entered the Kyoto Animation studio and doused parts of the building with an accelerant and screamed “drop dead” or “die!” before setting the building ablaze. The resulting fire killed 34 people and injured more than 30. A reasonable person might have expected such a heinous attack perpetrated in a notoriously peaceful country to get the attention of the press, but as Fox explained, the “Kyoto Animation arson killings didn’t get much attention because we couldn’t demonize guns.” Comparing coverage of the Kyoto massacre to the March shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, Fox noted, “U.S. newspapers and wire services featured the Christchurch massacre five times as much as the Kyoto mass murder.” Fox went on to explain that a significant portion of massacres are carried out with weapons other than firearms, adding, “It is the politics and controversy surrounding gun control that highlight mass shootings above the rest.” In closing, Fox pointed out: “Whatever the reason, the lesser attention given to mass killings that do not invoke guns is disrespectful to the victims whose lives are tragically cut short. Is the crime any less serious if there were no gunshots? Are the victims any less dead? In fact, victims of burns, suffocation or stabbing often suffer a much slower and more painful death than gunshot victims. “It is surely fruitless to assess the relative severity of mass killings on the basis of weaponry. Our sense of outrage and concern for the victims should be the same whether they died from a firearm or fire.” Fox is not pro-gun, but has long served as a voice of reason in the hysterical aftermath of high-profile shootings. Since 2012, Fox has repeatedly made the case that common gun-control proposals—such as so-called “universal” background checks and semi-automatic firearm bans—are unlikely to curtail high-profile shooting incidents. In a 2018 research report titled, “Schools are safer than they were in the 90s, and school shootings are not more common than they used to be,” Fox provided concrete data for his conclusion that, “there is not an epidemic of school shootings.” Pouring cold water on the gun-control policies advocated in the wake of school shootings, Fox noted: “The thing to remember is that these are extremely rare events, and no matter what you can come up with to prevent it, the shooter will have a workaround.” In a July 19 article for The Boston Globe titled, “Democrats are skipping out on the most important gun fight of all,” Abt took issue with the 2020 Democratic presidential field’s approach to violence perpetrated with firearms. Abt noted that, “the candidates are still failing to focus on what is simultaneously the most serious and most solvable form of such violence: shootings and killings on the streets of our cities.” High-profile shootings garner significant media and political attention, but as Abt pointed out, “Urban violence accounts for the overwhelming majority of homicides in the United States.” Moreover, this urban violence is highly concentrated and necessitates targeted strategies. Abt explained that, “because urban violence concentrates among a small number of people and places, strategies that target those concentrations tend to work best. In most medium to large cities, violent crime clusters among a few hundred individuals and a few dozen micro-locations known as 'hot spots.' Less than 1 percent of a city’s population and less than 5 percent of its geography will generate the majority of its lethal or near-lethal encounters.” The researcher went on to promote a handful of targeted law enforcement and social policies that could alleviate the problem without resorting to broad gun controls. Highlighting one problem with the effort to tackle urban violence, Abt wrote: “Mass shootings account for less than 1 percent of all gun deaths annually, yet they dominate the debate on gun violence and distort the search for solutions.” This recognition that a significant portion of firearm homicides take place within a small geographic area and fraction of the population suggests that policies narrowly targeted at problem areas and social networks are more appropriate approaches to curbing violence than sweeping gun controls, which restrict the rights of the population at large. Like Fox, not all of Abt’s positions are laudable. The researcher expressed passing support for so-called “universal” background checks and a semi-automatic firearm ban—both of which have been shown to be ineffective. Moreover, in the Boston Globe article, the academic took an unnecessary and clumsy swipe at President Donald Trump. Despite these shortcomings, Fox and Abt’s more reasoned analyses of the gun issue expose the gulf between the haphazard rhetoric and policies peddled by gun-control advocates and what might emerge from a more thoughtful approach to curbing violent crime.
  6. Three Senate sources told the Washington Free Beacon that the House's impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump has stalled efforts to pass new gun control laws. "Hard to imagine Trump doing a signing ceremony of anything with Speaker Pelosi at his side, and Democrats are the only ones agitating for gun control," one staffer told the Free Beacon on Wednesday. The inquiry, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.) officially labeled an impeachment investigation, will consume Washington for the weeks and months ahead, according to the sources. They also said it will be difficult to move key legislative priorities like a reworked North American trade deal and lowering the cost of prescription drugs, not to mention a passable gun control package. "I think the impeachment stuff sucks up all the oxygen," a second Senate staffer told the Free Beacon. A third Senate staffer said gun control was something that wouldn’t be on the front burner at least "for a while" and that some staffers had already begun preparing for how to handle impeachment proceedings should they come. "Policy and legal staffers got quick reminders in impeachment procedures yesterday but that doesn't mean anything," the staffer told the Free Beacon. "It's more like, ‘well, if it happens, we better be ready.'" Gun control activists and members of the media have applied immense public pressure to pass new gun control measures in the wake of mass shootings last month in Texas and Ohio. However, while polling has shown support for some of the measures pursued by gun control advocates, that support has declined even in polls taken shortly after the shootings. Additionally, calls by gun control groups and Democratic politicians alike to confiscate tens or even hundreds of millions of firearms from Americans have complicated efforts by the White House to find a workable gun package. The impeachment inquiry may have ended any hope to find a gun bill that could pass in the near term. "I'm hoping that these things can be compartmentalized and that we can continue to pursue policy that I’ve been advocating," Senator Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) told Politico. "But I acknowledge that a lot of clamoring for impeachment is not helpful. It makes it more difficult." Some senators are still holding out hope for something to get done, and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland, who floated the idea of a universal background check system on Capitol Hill to a frosty reception last week, told Politico the White House is still working to find a way forward. Despite the dim prospects a new gun control package currently faces in the Senate, sources said the impasse is not necessarily permanent. "Things can always change on a dime as happened this week," the second Senate staffer told the Free Beacon.
  7. There comes a point during every American gun-control debate at which the side calling for draconian restrictions gives up on arguing the specifics or proposing detailed legislative change and rushes stupidly to deceit. Often, this rush involves the frustrated and farcical insistence that the U.S. Constitution does not, in fact, protect an individual right to bear arms. On other occasions, it involves the attempt to destroy the reputation of the Second Amendment by granting that, while the provision may protect the private ownership of guns in some form, it was nevertheless designed for ugly or base reasons, and that it is therefore tainted. In both cases, the intention is the same: To short-circuit a debate that they know cannot be won. By removing from the discussion one of the core checks upon which the American political system relies, opponents of the right to keep and bear arms hope to demote it from a cherished part of the much-admired Bill of Rights to an embarrassing vestige of an age long gone, and, thereby, to cast it as a mistake that should be rectified as soon as is politically possible. This tendency is a destructive one, in part because it is a sin to lie about history in order to advance contemporary political goals. It is also destructive because it has the effect of funneling all of our historical attention onto 27 words in the federal Constitution. This, in turn, permits the integrity of one of our core liberties to be rendered contingent upon our opponent’s willingness to accurately read a single sentence of law. It was, of course, entirely obvious to the men who wrote the federal Second Amendment that its purpose was to protect the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. It was obvious, too, to the commentators who explained it, to the jurists who interpreted it and to the citizenry that ratified it. Nevertheless, contrary to the implications of the “but actually” brigade, it is simply not the case that the Second Amendment has served as the sole, or even the primary, protection of that right throughout American history—or, indeed, that it is the sole means by which the right is legally affirmed. There are also ubiquitous equivalents at the state level—equivalents that are both numerous and robust. Should they wish to fight back against the straight-to-the-root tactics that are gaining currency and favor, advocates of gun rights must broaden the shoulders of the giants on which they stand and make it clear that they, not their opponents, enjoy the slam-dunk historical case. That case is strong. If the Second Amendment is either irrelevant to the question of the private ownership of arms because it pertains only to federal authority over the militias, or because it is irrevocably stained by Founding-era motivations such as slavery, then one would not expect to see 44 out of 50 states with their own provisions; one would not expect to see pre-Second Amendment state-level provisions that explicitly mention an individual right; one would not expect to discover that non-slave states adopted the right more enthusiastically than slave states; and one would certainly not expect to see states in the mid-to-late 20th century willingly adding their own Second Amendment equivalents into their constitutions. (Why would any state, let alone nearly all of them, have enthusiastically echoed a historical accident?) That we can, in fact, see all of these things should show us just how deeply unserious is the idea that the contemporary understanding of the Second Amendment is a hoax. Americans, the record clearly shows, have always enjoyed the right to own guns for their defense. And, crucially, they would have done so nearly everywhere had the federal Constitution never been written. The first post-Declaration protection of the right to keep and bear arms was introduced into the Constitution of Pennsylvania in 1776, a full 15 years before the ratification of the Bill of Rights. It contains explicitly individual language holding “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” One year later, the wording of Pennsylvania’s provision was copied verbatim by Vermont into the same Constitution with which the state abolished slavery within its borders. If, as Professor Carl Bogus and others have disingenuously suggested, the entrenchment of gun rights in America was the product of a widespread desire to put down slave rebellions, one would not expect to see a free state serving as a trailblazer, nor to see that state’s language being copied literatim into a document of renewal and manumission. This chronology alone should be sufficient to render as abject folly the oft-repeated suggestion made by Connecticut’s Senator Chris Murphy that the Founding generation did not conceive of gun ownership as anything other than a collective endeavor. But when one considers that Murphy’s own state, too, has, since 1818, boasted a Constitutional provision recognizing that “every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state,” his approach begins to look somewhat sinister. If, as Murphy suggests, the Founders did not intend anyone but the members of militias to keep and bear arms, they had a pretty funny way of showing it. Equally inconvenient to the “ancient vestige” theory is that the states have seen fit to add their own protections during all periods of American history—and that, in almost every case, they have made sure to include a clear-cut reference to the rights of the individual. Even when they have not, with the exception of Massachusetts, their courts have. As a matter of fact, ensuring that the right to keep and bear arms was constitutionally protected was often one of the first orders of business for newly admitted states. If, as a host of gun-control activists now claim, the Second Amendment shows that the right was historically understood to apply only to the members of militias, how should we interpret the language adopted by the vast majority of states after the Second Amendment was approved? In 1792, Kentucky included in its inaugural Constitution: “That the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” In 1802, Ohio declared: “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State.” In 1816, Indiana ensured that “The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.” In 1817, Mississippi entrenched that “Every citizen has a right to bear arms, in defense of himself and the State.” In 1819, Alabama recognized “That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” In 1820, Missouri affirmed that “[the] right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State cannot be questioned.” In 1835, Michigan confirmed that “Every person has a right to bear arms for the defense of himself and the State.” In 1836, Texas maintained that “Every citizen shall have the right to bear arms in defense of himself and the republic.” And so on, and so forth. Were they mistaken? In 1889, Wyoming declared: “The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied.” In 1896, Utah certified that “The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.” In 1912, Arizona guaranteed that “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired.” Both Alaska and Hawaii copied the Second Amendment verbatim into their constitutions upon joining the Union in 1959. Nevada, Delaware, New Hampshire and West Virginia all realized in the 1980s that they had no explicit protections within their state charters and set about remedying that oversight. If this is really only a right for state militias, then we are looking here at one of the great mass delusions in American history—a delusion that affected lawmakers, constitution-drafters and judges alike, and that, astonishingly, both predated and followed the ratification of the sentence that allegedly caused all the confusion. To put it simply, there has been no point in American history in which the states have not moved to protect the individual right to bear arms. They did so before the Constitution was written. They did so immediately after the Constitution was written. They did so before the Civil War. They did so after the Civil War. They did so in the North and in the South and in the Midwest and in the West. They did so in the 19th century, and in the 20th century and have continued to do so as recently as 1998 (Wisconsin). In all of American history, only six states—California, New York, New Jersey, Iowa, Maryland and Minnesota—have declined to echo or improve upon the Second Amendment in their state constitutions. Isn’t it more likely that it is they, not the rest, that represent the exception? That our gun-control debates tend to be marked by ignorance and hysteria is a problem. That, increasingly, they are being soiled by grammatical sophistry and historical revisionism is a crisis. Those who wish to see their Second Amendment rights protected need to arm themselves with the historical facts, as the truth is clearly on their side. To proceed in any other way is to be sucked into a black hole of fallacy and deceit from which there is no escape, and from which no worthwhile deliberation can emerge. To paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, we are all entitled to our own opinion, but not to our own history. That history is on our side—if we can keep it.
  8. More and more businesses are wading into the gun-control debate day by day. Over the last several months, Americans have seen many businesses— including banks, social media magnates, sporting-goods stores, grocery shops, and a multitude of other commercial entities—seek to levy and advocate anti-gun policies, regulations and legislation against law-abiding Americans in attempts to control their Second Amendment rights. People favoring this type of oppression call it “advocacy.” Yet, it is the opposite of advocacy. Advocacy, by definition, is the support or recommendation of a certain idea or approach—it is not the systematic targeting of a particular group in order to enforce certain ideals or behavior. That is discrimination. Who are the people behind these unjust business policies? They are predominantly people who live a vastly different lifestyle from those they choose to oppress with their anti-gun politics. These business owners, leaders of banks, and large corporate entities do not have to worry about keeping their businesses open in the short-term. This is unlike small gun vendors, family-owned sporting-goods enterprises and ordinary law-abiding gun owners who can be financially hurt by the decrees of these corporate giants. Wealthy and privileged business leaders who support anti-gun policies act as though they can enforce their ideas. Like their opinions about politics matter. They are not elected leaders. Nobody voted them into public office. Yet, they act as though they have the authority to force you to give up your Second Amendment rights. Who gave them such authority? American citizens did not. Business leaders are stepping up to exert pressure on political issues because their paychecks and products give them a sense of power and entitlement. They want to use money and material to compel elected leaders and responsible gun owners to conform to their personal views and abstract ideals. Is this American democracy? It is not by any stretch of the word. Instead, it is oligarchy. America has reached a point in its history where business leaders are usurping the roles of elected officials and are attempting to govern. They are attempting to use business policies in place of laws. They seek to enforce these policies by depriving citizens of money and goods. In some cases, law-abiding citizens are being denied access to places of commerce or being forced to leave premises—just because they are legal gun owners. In recent months, business establishments have become so emboldened by their ideas of authority that they have even mistreated law-enforcement officers. Policemen, whose duty it is to uphold our laws, have been subjected to discrimination due to the firearms they carry to lawfully protect citizens. This era—in which even police officers are targeted by overreaching business policies—is unprecedented in our country’s history. America is a great country because ordinary people—from all backgrounds and walks of life—are entitled to freedoms guaranteed to them by law. These freedoms—including our Second Amendment freedoms—were created to protect all citizens from being oppressed by wealthy and influential people. America is not a country where rich business owners, social media magnates and corporate kingpins can use financial pressure to force citizens to comply with their wishes. That is why the U.S. Constitution, its Articles and Amendments were created—to construct balances of power in our society. America is a democracy—not an oligarchy. What can be done in the face of corporate discrimination against legal gun owners? Contrary to what they might think, business leaders are not all-powerful. Money does not fall into corporate bank accounts like manna from heaven nor is it harvested from trees—rather, businesses earn money because it is given to them freely by hardworking citizens. That means that citizens who disagree with discriminatory business policies are free to deny those businesses financial support. That logic also applies to investments. It is fortunate in America that we have many options in terms of those we choose to give money to or do business with. In this age when popular social-media personalities and trendy business conglomerates dominate headlines and try to enforce their views, responsible gun owners wishing to uphold their Second Amendment rights must also let their voices be heard. Law-abiding gun owners must not allow their freedoms to be carried away by corporations or business leaders trying to usurp the authority of elected officials. In America, every citizen’s voice matters. We do not accept edicts from banks, business magnates, or corporations to lead us. We freely choose our leaders in elections with our individual votes.
  9. A Colorado woman challenged Beto O’Rourke’s gun confiscation plan at a town hall last week and the video went viral. Lauren Boebert’s interaction with the presidential candidate was viewed more than 5 million times on NRA social media and was shared 190,000 times. Boebert was even featured on national news. The NRA sat down with Boebert for a Q&A. Here’s what she had to say.
  10. FAIRFAX, Va. -- The National Rifle Association released the following statements on Friday regarding the politically motivated report issued by Democrats in the Senate Finance Committee: William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA: “This report promotes a politically motivated and contrived narrative. An avalanche of proof confirms that the NRA, as an organization, was never involved in the activities about which the Democrats write. This report goes to great lengths to try to involve the NRA in activities of private individuals and create the false impression that the NRA did not act appropriately. Nothing could be further from the truth. As noted by the committee Republicans in their rebuttal, this report is a transparent effort to justify yet another ‘fishing expedition’ into the NRA.” Andrew Arulanandam, NRA managing director of Public Affairs, speaking of a 2015 trip to Russia: “Certain NRA members made the trip of their own accord. The record reflects it was not an official NRA trip. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre was opposed to it and, at his directive, no NRA staff members or employees attended.” Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.
  11. On Sept. 12, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted: “Democrats say we have guns in America because of ‘corruption’. No, we have guns because it’s our God-given right enshrined in the Constitution.” The tweet went viral and drew reactions from Americans who know a lot about their freedom and from those who know little or nothing. Some of these later comments mocked Sanders’ mention of God. “Oh, was God at the signing of the Constitution…?” wrote one. Many responded by saying that yes, indeed He was. One troll, who uses an image of one of the small people from the original movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971) as his or her picture, mocked Sanders’ allusion to God by writing: “You don’t remember ‘And He sayeth unto Thomas and George, ‘Carry thine holy musket forth and improveth upon it so that it mayeth slay many enemies in a matter of a minute. But stayeth away from lawn darts, as they are deadly and a sin in mine eyes.’”? Funny, but really just an attempt to keep the conversation from exposing the ignorance of those criticizing Sanders. At a time when gun-control is being talked about by many in Congress and by Democratic presidential candidates, more people clearly need to learn more about the nature of their rights. Thomas Jefferson actually asked in 1782: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?” Really though, this debate needn’t become religious as we all have the freedom to practice the faith we are called to or to practice none at all. Regardless of this individual decision, we all have the same fundamental rights, as Sanders says, “enshrined in the Constitution.” The U.S. Bill of Rights is erected upon the fundamental belief that we have a body of other rights, natural rights we inherently have until someone else takes them away. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson said natural rights were granted to us by “the Creator.” Others believe they are philosophical rights that developed in nature. Some today, however, deny that natural rights even exist. They don’t want to acknowledge there is a deeper philosophical, or perhaps theological, foundation for our rights, because such rights have long acted as a moral check on government. This debate is, however, very American. During the U.S. Constitutional period, in the Federalist Papers (no. 84), Alexander Hamilton asked, “Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?” Hamilton thought a Bill of Rights would be superfluous because the federal government was then thought to be restricted to the powers it is granted in the Constitution. Other politicians, however, mainly the Anti-Federalists, such as Patrick Henry and George Mason, saw the need for a bill of rights to spell out an additional list of limitations on the federal government to prevent a centralized bureaucracy from exceeding its constitutional limitations. So yes, from the beginning, there was a debate about whether a Bill of Rights should be included in the Constitution. The Founders had read thinkers like John Locke (1632-1704), who defined natural rights as “life, liberty and estate [property].” And Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who, in Leviathan (1651), said natural rights extend from the “state of nature.” Hobbes thus argued that man has the essential human right “to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life….” The idea that we have the natural right to preserve “our own nature” underlies our rights to self-defense, to protect our own property, to speak the truth as we see it and so on. Sanders is exactly right. Unfortunately, today’s educational system rarely teaches these fundamental underpinnings of our freedom.
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