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Charlie T Waite

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  1. Written by Michael Boldin, Mises Wire Published: 25 November 2019
  2. Fairfax, Va. - The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauds Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for signing Sunday hunting expansion into law. Senate Bill 147, which had overwhelming bipartisan support in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, expands opportunities for Pennsylvania hunters by providing for three additional days of hunting on Sundays during the season. “Today is a huge win for sportsmen and women in Pennsylvania,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director, NRA-ILA. “Hunters have waited far too long for the freedom to hunt on Sunday, the same freedom they enjoy any other day of the week that works for them and their families. I thank the Pennsylvania House and Senate for passing this historic legislation.” Many hunters are prevented from introducing their children or friends to hunting because it is difficult to find time and opportunities outside of the work or school week. Countless hunters stop hunting because of this reality in their hectic lives. Senate Bill 147 seeks to increase Pennsylvania hunters’ ability to enjoy America's hunting heritage and will improve hunter recruitment and retention efforts. Hunters are responsible for millions of acres of habitat restoration and conservation dollars through Pittman-Robertson taxes paid on firearms and other hunting equipment and should have access to the public lands made possible by these funds.
  3. On Friday, the National Rifle Association announced the filing of a joint legal challenge with the Oregon Hunters Association to contest Oregon Initiative Petition 40, which seeks to impose sweeping restrictions on the storage of legally owned firearms. "Denying law-abiding gun owners the ability to choose a storage solution that best meets their individual needs puts their lives and their families at risk," said NRA Oregon State Director Keely Hopkins. "Our challenge will help ensure the rights recognized in DC v. Heller, to have an operable firearm available for self-defense, remain intact." If passed, Initiative Petition 40 would require all firearms to be locked with a trigger-locking device or kept in a locked container, unless physically carried on the person while at home. Anyone whose firearm is lost or stolen would be liable for any injury to persons or property committed using the firearm within four years if the firearms were not stored in compliance with the law. Firearm owners would also be liable for any injury occurring within four years of transferring a firearm if it was not transferred in a locked container or with a locking device. "This poorly conceived initiative imposes a one-size-fits-all solution to an incredibly complex issue. We thank the Oregon Hunters Association for joining us in this fight to protect the rights of Oregon’s law-abiding gun owners," concluded Hopkins. The initiative must receive more than 110,000 valid signatures by July in order to appear on the November ballot. They cannot begin signature gathering, however, until the legal challenge is resolved.
  4. Washington, D.C. has never been a particularly safe city, at least not in my lifetime. There are parts, of course, where you can go about your business unmolested and without a care in the world and probably never have an issue. Other parts of the city, though, are like any other large urban center. It’s just not pretty. However, it seems that one particular brand of “gun violence” has been declining in the District of Columbia. Of course, there’s no mention of just what they mean by “robberies without a gun,” which is kind of an important thing. For example, if they’re talking about property crimes, then things are really looking up in D.C. More likely, though, they’re using something akin to the legal definition of robbery which means there needs to be either a threat, force, or intimidation. That means the problem is actually getting worse, but the crooks aren’t using firearms. I have a theory for that, though. You see, not that long ago, the city was forced to become a “shall issue” jurisdiction after a court ruled against them in a lawsuit. The suit took issue with the “may issue” law in effect. The city opted not to go to the Supreme Court with it because they figured they’d lose and there would be ramifications throughout the nation in that case. The result of that, though, is more people having concealed carry permits than ever before. Criminals can be dumb, but they’re not universally stupid. Some are bound to figure out there are more armed people and thus more of their potential victims are armed. Using a gun to rob someone might be a hell of a way to get your butt shot. On the other hand, their reasoning might well go, using your fists or just intimidation may well give them pause. After all, D.C. isn’t exactly a Stand Your Ground jurisdiction. Folks carrying firearms have to pause for a minute to make absolutely sure they’re clear to engage. The bad guys may be playing on that fact. They’re also hopeful that if they do get shot at, they’ll be able to spin it as they were just asking for a few dollars for the bus or something and this person just went nuts. That’s easier to do if you don’t have a gun on your person. Either way, the use of a gun is down in a city that’s known to have a crime problem. This is good news, right? It should be all over the media. It’s not, though, because there isn’t some new gun control law they can point to. That’s why the Washington Post is quick to note that non-firearm robberies are up. Heaven forbid that anyone get the idea that guns save lives or anything, right? Except, they do.
  5. States that are waging war against the right to keep and bear arms are finding out that the battle is costing them good manufacturing jobs. As Stag Arms LLC pulls up stakes for a move to Wyoming, Connecticut has joined the list of anti-gun states that are losing good-wage, skilled-labor jobs. “We needed to solve for three things: visionary customer-centric leadership, a business-friendly, pro-growth economic environment and a cultural climate that reflects Stag’s brand image of independence and free spiritedness,” Elie Azar, founder and chief executive officer of White Wolf Capital LLC, which owns a controlling interest in Stag Arms, said in a statement Nov. 18 about the move to Cheyenne, Wyo. Consider some of the moves in recent years: Weatherby Inc. bade farewell to California for Wyoming. Kimber Manufacturing Inc. picked Alabama, instead of its long-time home of New York, for its expansion. Check-Mate Industries fled New York for the welcoming arms of Georgia. Magpul Industries left Colorado for Wyoming (production) and Texas (administrative offices). While it’s not yet on the scale of the migration of textile jobs from New England to the South in the second half of the 1900s, the similarities are striking. Material manufacturers in the 1950s and 1960s were fleeing the high cost of doing business; today, the gun industry is likewise looking for more politically hospitable climes. Wyoming has been particularly adept at attracting firearm companies with a magnetic pull not only because of its political embrace of the Second Amendment, but also because the Equality State has laid out the welcome mat in terms of training people to work in the industry. “Cheyenne came out on top on most of the individual criteria,” said Elie Azar, founder and CEO of White Wolf Capital, LLC, which owns a controlling interest in Stag Arms, “and considering our requirements as a whole, it was by far the superior site. Not only is Wyoming an incredibly hospitable place to do business, it is also a top destination for outdoor recreation, including hunting and shooting sports, which reflects its citizens’ unwavering support for the Second Amendment.” In commenting about Stag Arms, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon stated: “We have a deep-seated commitment to the Second Amendment that I will continue to uphold. Ultimately, Stag Arms had to make a business decision and I believe this announcement is an affirmation that Wyoming is continuing to cultivate a culture that allows private enterprise to flourish. My administration will work collaboratively with the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS to ensure Stag's move goes smoothly. I thank Stag’s Board of Directors and Chad Larsen for selecting Wyoming.” That sentiment echoes one that Adam Weatherby voiced when he announced his company’s plans to move to Sheridan, Wyo. Besides its staunch defense of the right to bear arms, Wyoming attracts big-game hunters and, in Weatherby’s case, committed to a training program in machine tooling, a key skill for arms making, at a nearby college. Stag Arms is noted for making AR-15-style rifles—one of the most popular rifle platforms in the country, but one that today’s anti-gunners criticize as serving no valid purpose. The company currently has a staff of about 20, is looking to grow with the move, targeting a payroll of 60 or more once the move is complete.
  6. In early October, economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center released “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2019,” his annual report on the number of concealed-carry permit holders in the United States. We’ll let Lott’s summary deliver the key finding: “In 2019, the number of concealed handgun permits soared to now over 18.66 million—a 304 percent increase since 2007. About an 8 percent growth over the number of permits since 2018.” Let that sink in. More than 18.66 million Americans hold a permit to lawfully carry a concealed firearm to protect themselves and their loved ones. That number does not include the increasing number of states that do not require a permit to legally carry a firearm. While 7.3 percent of American adults hold a concealed-carry permit, it is by no means a homogenous group. Some states provide permit-holder data by gender and race. “Among those states, women averaged 26.5 percent of permit holders—a half of one percentage point increase over 2018.” The increase in female permit holders outpaced the increase in male permit holders across the same time period—and the number of African American permit holders increased faster than the number of white permit holders. Lott reports that, in Texas, the number of black permit holders has grown more than twice as quickly as the number of white permit holders. Within states that provide data by both gender and race, black female permit holders were the fastest growing population. In fact, as Lott reports, “The rates of permit holding among American Indian, Asian, black and white females all grew much faster than the rates for males in those racial groups.” Besides being an increasingly diverse group, permit holders continue to prove they are law-abiding citizens. Lott presents permit revocation rates to demonstrate. The highest-revocation rate listed is 0.72 percent in Connecticut; only one other state (Maryland) is even above 0.5 percent. To be clear, that is less than 1 percent of permit holders and, as Lott notes, “Most of these rates include revocations for any reason, including people moving out of the state, and for the states where the revocation rates are higher than hundredths of a percentage point are due to residency revocations.” These findings should reinforce the fact that law-abiding gun owners are not criminals and should not be the targets of efforts to reduce crime. As we have seen time and again, focusing on the actual criminals yields results. Efforts to demonize law-abiding gun owners will only increase as politicians get desperate for attention from a fawning media. They will ignore that crime rates have fallen, that the number of permit holders has increased and that criminals don’t follow laws. Sounds like common sense. Don’t anti-gun politicians all believe in common sense?
  7. As part of an effort to keep individuals from buying guns illegally, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has created a website to make it easier for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to verify in some cases that someone who wants to buy a gun can, indeed, own one. Under Texas law, a Texas License to Carry (LTC) card allows gun owners to avoid going through a National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) check when they want to purchase a firearm. Basically, since the person has already submitted fingerprints and passed an investigation, the state allows LTC holders to use their card as an alternative permit. Now Texas is cracking down on people who have had their right to own firearms stripped from using this shortcut to slip through the cracks and purchase more guns. Past trends indicate that fewer than 35% of LTCs are surrendered upon state request. The new website allows FFLs to enter the carry license number to make sure it’s still valid. Texas DPS officials note that they are unaware of anyone trying to use a revoked LTC during the purchase of a firearm, but they view the new system as a way to reduce the possibility of that happening in the future. And it’s not intended as a blanket stopping of the gun purchase. Rather, if a person presents a carry license that registers as invalid, it simply means that a NICS check must be performed before the sale proceeds. Although the DPS has been sending out notices about the website and the program, not all FFLs have heard about it yet. An employee at Patriot Firearms in Desoto, Texas, hadn’t yet heard about the effort when contacted by a reporter, but welcomes the idea. The gun store already checks and takes pictures of everyone’s LTC during firearm purchases and, if anything seems out of order, they won’t sell without a NICS check. An easy way for FFLs to check the validity of a license could be helpful, the employee said. An Amarillo FFL at Texas Panhandle Firearms said he knew the program was in the works, but he didn’t know it was up and running yet. He views it as another hoop for dealers to jump through if it becomes a mandatory step in the gun-buying process, though it is currently being advertised as an optional step that is designed to help them. And in Fort Worth, another FFL said the DPS apparently hasn’t done a very good job of getting the word out yet, though he expects that to change soon enough. Typically, about half of his handgun buyers use a carry license as a way to avoid the NICS check, he said, so it might not be much of a convenience for dealers, but if it helps keep people honest, he said it might be worthwhile.
  8. Correct in part - additionally Once the immediate task of winning the war had passed, states began to look to their own interests rather than those of the whole country. By the mid-1780s, states were refusing to provide Congress with funding, which meant the Confederation government could not pay the interest on its foreign debt, pay soldiers stationed along the Ohio River or defend American navigation rights on the Mississippi River against Spanish interference. In 1782, Rhode Island vetoed an amendment that would have allowed Congress to levy taxes on imports in order to pay off federal debts. A second attempt was made to approve a federal impost in 1785; however, this time it was New York which disapproved. The Confederation Congress also lacked the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce. Britain, France and Spain imposed various restrictions on American ships and products, while the US was unable to coordinate retaliatory trade policies. (essentially they couldn't govern under Articles of Confederation. The first thing the Convention did was choose a presiding officer, unanimously electing George Washington president of the Convention. The Convention then adopted rules to govern its proceedings. The rules gave each state delegation a single vote either for or against a proposal in accordance with the majority opinion of the state's delegates. This rule increased the power of the smaller states. When a state's delegates divided evenly on a motion, the state did not cast a vote. Throughout the Convention, delegates would regularly come and go, with only 30–40 being present on a typical day, and each state had its own quorum requirements. Maryland and Connecticut allowed a single delegate to cast its vote. New York required all three of its delegates to be present. If too few of a state's delegates were in attendance, the state did not cast a vote. After two of New York's three delegates abandoned the Convention in mid July with no intention of returning, New York was left unable to vote on any further proposals at the Convention, although Alexander Hamilton would continue to periodically attend and occasionally to speak during the debates. The rules allowed delegates to demand reconsideration of any decision previously voted on. This allowed the delegates to take straw votes in order to measure the strength of controversial proposals and to change their minds as they worked for consensus. It was also agreed that the discussions and votes would be kept secret until the conclusion of the meeting. Despite the sweltering summer heat, the windows of the meeting hall were nailed shut to keep the proceedings a secret from the public. Although William Jackson was elected as secretary, his records were brief and included very little detail. Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, supplemented by the notes of Robert Yates, remain the most complete record of the Convention.[30] Due to the pledge to secrecy, Madison's account was not published until after his death in 1836. Just a bit of history here....Love It!
  9. I almost forgot to add that as stated, It would take the votes of 34 state legislatures to call a constitutional convention to order. A majority of legislatures already have voted to do so. Bear this in mind while you contemplate the gravity of this: "Such calls remain valid indefinitely" — until 34 states have joined in a particular cause or the states rescind their appeals. To date only Maryland’s House of Delegates and Nevada’s Senate, rescinded their calls for a federal constitutional convention decades after approving them. Currently, the claims are that 28, of the minimum required 34 state legislatures, have called for an Article V Convention, (which prior to Maryland’s and Nevada’s rescinding we were at 30) so we are closer than most people think. Again, JMHO Charlie
  10. Many of us can point to one constitutional provision or another that we believe we could improve upon if given a chance. But a convention could do great damage to a charter that, on balance, has worked pretty well for a pretty long time. To take such a risk on behalf of a stupendously unworthy causes especially in a country so divided would be foolhardy in the extreme. Nearly everything about this powerful process would be uncertain. Convention rules, which would be written ad hoc, could be manipulated to favor one party, region or interest group over another. It is not even certain that three-fourths of the states would have to approve the convention’s work for it to become the law of the land, as the Constitution currently prescribes. The 1787 constitutional convention ditched preexisting ratification rules; who is to say a 2019 or 2020 convention could not? , so again I fell that nearly everything about this powerful process would be uncertain and foolhardy in the extreme. JMHO Charlie
  11. A week after he told voters that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect “a magazine with a hundred clips in it,” 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden offered supporters more of his singular brand of anti-gun nonsense. While attending a private campaign event in Seattle, the former vice president reportedly called for a ban on 9mm pistols. According to an article from the Seattle Times, Biden was in town to attend two private fundraisers, one of which was at the home of “a top Amazon executive.” The posh soiree set attendees back a princely $2,800 per-person. The other fundraiser was held at the home of a local philanthropist. That staider event offered donors a relative bargain with a $500 minimum price tag. While speaking to attendees of the latter event, Biden claimed that he supports the Second Amendment. The 77-year-old then went on to ask “Why should we allow people to have military-style weapons including pistols with 9mm bullets and can hold 10 or more rounds?” Biden also shared his tired and inaccurate claim that because there is a shot-shell restriction for migratory bird hunting, “We protect geese from Canada more than we do people.” In targeting 9mm pistols, Biden has called for a ban on one of the most popular firearms in America. According to ATF’s Firearms Commerce in the United States FY 2019, there were over 3.6 million pistols manufactured in the U.S. in 2017. This was more than 1 million more guns than the next most popular category of firearms, rifles. Further, over 3.2 million handguns (including revolvers) were imported in to the U.S. in 2017. In its annual report on the U.S. firearms industry, Shooting Industry reported that 9mm caliber pistols are the most commonly produced pistol and have been for many years. In 2017 alone, there were more than 1.7 million 9mm pistols produced in the U.S. Cumulatively there are tens of millions of 9mm pistols in the hands of law-abiding Americans. The 9mm pistol is the choice of the nation’s leading civilian law enforcement agency, the FBI. Moreover, 9mm pistols are used by countless other federal, state, and local civilian law enforcement agencies. Biden alluded to the 9mm handgun’s military applications, but these agencies are not tasked with waging war on the public, but rather defending the public. This defensive application is the same reason that millions of Americans have chosen a 9mm pistol as their self-defense firearm. The landmark Second Amendment U.S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller concerned a complete prohibition on the ownership of handguns in Washington, D.C. The opinion made clear that the Second Amendment at a minimum protects the right to acquire and possess firearms “in common use at the time” for lawful purposes such as self-defense. It is impossible to square Biden’s statement with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. Many types of firearms, such as the AR-15, are “in common use” for lawful purposes like self-defense and therefore protected under the Second Amendment. The 9mm pistol is not just “in common use” for self-defense. As the production statistics indicate, it may be the most common firearm in use for self-defense. Therefore, it is not permissible under the Second Amendment for a jurisdiction to prohibit 9mm pistols. The law-abiding 9mm pistol-owning residents of the D.C., Chicago, and a handful of Chicago suburbs are a testament to this fact. Biden’s political career is an ongoing spectacle of anti-gun incompetence. However, his high-profile gaffes can serve an instructive purpose. Biden is emblematic of a political class that cannot be bothered to learn the most rudimentary information concerning firearms and the right to keep and bear arms. Despite nearly four decades in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president, he is still a complete ignoramus on the subject. Biden and his cohort don’t want to know anything about guns, gun rights, or gun owners. Rather, they prefer to mindlessly indulge their anti-gun prejudice at every opportunity.
  12. The Democrats seeking their party’s nomination to take on President Donald Trump in 2020 have created somewhat of a clown-car atmosphere, with the field eclipsing two-dozen declared candidates at times. Currently, the number stands at a “manageable” 19 individuals to be vetted by Democrat voters. As befits the clown-car analogy, though, that number could go up or down at any given moment. It dropped to 17 when Beto O’Rourke pulled the plug on his lackluster campaign, but quickly popped back up to 18 when former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick launched his candidacy. Patrick apparently felt Democrat voters lacked sufficient choice with “only” 17 candidates. Anti-gun New York City billionaire Michael Bloomberg became number 19 yesterday by filing an FEC form showing his intent to run, and perennial presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton is still being discussed as a potential late arrival on the scene. It has been difficult to predict which candidates are poised to throw in the towel, even when it seems patently obvious to even casual observers that certain campaigns are simply destined to fail. Usually, if someone consistently polls in the single digits, or has trouble raising funds, it might be a sign that candidate will drop out. But it is important to remember that many of the Democrats are currently running a vanity project as much as a legitimate campaign. They simply crave attention. The old joke that the most dangerous place in the world is the space between a politician and a microphone comes to mind. All that said, we have noticed one possible trend when it comes to candidates about to drop from the race. Some form of push for confiscating firearms from American citizens. It all started with California Representative Eric Swalwell, who was one of the first declared candidates, and one of the first to quit. To be fair, his support for confiscating firearms came even before he launched his futile campaign for the Democrat nomination, and that position seemed to be the only thing we ever heard from him regarding what he hoped to do as POTUS. O’Rourke, on the other hand, had a number of policies he promoted, both during his failed effort to unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his failed campaign to be the Democrat nominee. His campaign for President never gained traction, and he should have known he was destined for another failure long before he dropped out on November 1. Abandoning his campaign came after O’Rourke apparently decided the primary theme of his drive for the White House, like Swalwell’s, would be firearm confiscation. He pushed the scheme again and again, and was even criticized by some of his fellow candidates and gun-ban proponents for articulating such an extreme position. And then he dropped out. So, with two advocates of confiscation now out of the race, are there signs others that share their zeal for disarming Americans will follow? Perhaps. This week, California Senator Kamala Harris reiterated to NBC News’ Harry Smith her support for the “mandatory buyback” of AR-15s and similar semi-automatics. “Mandatory buyback,” of course, is the euphemism adopted by the pro-confiscation crowd because they know how much the majority of Americans loathe the idea of the government seizing private property from its citizens. Smith pushed, although rather gently, for Harris to consider what would be done if only some of the millions of Americans who own AR-15s and other so-called “assault weapons” agreed to turn in their property. The candidate mentioned that she would “have an incentive for people to turn them in.” An “incentive”? Is this a new euphemism for the threat of door-to-door seizures? After all, the first “incentive,” presumably, is the promise of money for those that turn in their guns. Smith was basically asking what would happen if that “incentive” did not work. Swalwell famously “joked” about using the threat of nuclear warfare on American gun owners as his “incentive.” O’Rourke said during one debate that those that did not abide by the “mandatory buyback” would have their affected firearms taken. He added, during a later interview, that “there have to be consequences” regarding compliance with his gun ban, and those that did not comply would have a “visit by law enforcement.” Is this the direction Harris is heading when she talks about “an incentive”? Is the “incentive” that Americans should turn in their guns to avoid a visit from the police? Unfortunately, Smith did not press further, as his interview seemed more a very friendly discussion, rather than a reporter properly vetting a candidate. We also saw no clarification in the fifth Democrat debate that took place in Atlanta on November 20. In fact, firearms weren’t really brought up by any of the candidates or moderators. Perhaps all parties involved feel the candidates have shown to be sufficiently anti-gun, and it could be seen as damaging to the party to have a fight over who wants to say they support confiscating private property, who wants to simply imply it, and who wants to put it off for another time. Nonetheless, the moribund Harris campaign seems ready to collapse, as she is stuck in the bottom tier of candidates, consistently registering in the low-to-mid-single digits in poll after poll. Perhaps she has finally realized her future is not as the Democrat nominee for President in 2020, and she is slowly rolling out the Swalwell/O’Rourke exit strategy of openly pushing gun confiscation.
  13. Gun control advocates understand the power of language, if not the effective use of it. Over the years the anti-gun establishment has attempted to move away from the term “gun control” to more benign-sounding alternatives such as “commonsense gun safety” or “gun reform.” Their goal of civilian disarmament has remained constant, but the language has changed. Gun control advocates calculate that such shifts in language will further their political aims by obscuring their policy goals. On November 17, waning 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted the following, Traffic violence kills thousands and injures even more Americans every year. On World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Crash Victims, I'm sending my love to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones. It's time to #EndTrafficViolence. Warren was not referencing the intentional misuse of motor vehicles to attack drivers or pedestrians. Warren used the term “traffic violence” to refer to the common car accident. According to the Department of Transportation, there were 6,452,000 police reported car accidents in the U.S. in 2017. An insurance industry estimate contended that the average driver files a collision claim about once every 18 years, and therefore will experience about 3-4 accidents over the course of their lifetime. Little did you know that the time you were involved in a fender bender in the mall parking lot you were a perpetrator of “traffic violence.” Motor vehicle accidents are tragic and adversely impact millions of people per year. However, terming such events as violence is purposely misleading and done for political effect. Given Warren’s statist proclivities, she may have some new intrusive government regulation or program in mind. Colloquially understood, the term violence is reserved for the intentional use of physical force against another person. Think about it in the context of other circumstances. If a roofer falls off a ladder, is that ladder or workplace violence? If a doctor makes a medical error, is that medical violence? If a child drowns in a swimming pool, is that water or swimming pool violence? The answers are obvious. Warren’s mischaracterization of car accidents as “traffic violence” has a parallel in the gun debate. Gun control supporters lump many instances where a firearm is involved as “gun violence,” regardless of the facts, such as a criminal homicide with a firearm or purely an accident. This linguistic trick has severe consequences for the public’s understanding of the firearms issue Like Warren, gun controllers understand that words matter. Gun rights supporters must remain skeptical of the language used by anti-gun advocates and equip themselves with the knowledge to effectively confront their deceptive messaging.
  14. STATE FIGHTS CITIES, COUNTIES ON GUN LAW November 25, 2019 Jim Saunders TALLAHASSEE --- Pointing to a “hierarchical relationship” with local governments, the state late Friday asked an appeals court to uphold a 2011 law that has threatened tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun regulations. Lawyers in the offices of Attorney General Ashley Moody and Gov. Ron DeSantis filed a 42-page brief arguing that the 1st District Court of Appeal should overturn a circuit judge’s ruling that said parts of the law were unconstitutional. Florida since 1987 has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws, and the penalties in the 2011 law were designed to strengthen that “preemption.” The law, for example, could lead to local officials facing $5,000 fines and potential removal from office for passing gun regulations. The brief filed Friday cited a “hierarchical relationship” between the state and local governments and said the Florida Constitution “subjugates local governments’ authority to that of the Florida Legislature.” “The trial court’s decision is premised on unsupported theories of immunity inconsistent with the constitutional supremacy of the state’s authority over its counties and municipalities,” the brief said.“ If allowed to stand, the decision will not only invite the development of a patchwork regulatory regime in the area of firearms but also render the Legislature impotent to deter power grabs by local officials in other areas.” But as an indication of the potential legal stakes of the case, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties on Monday filed a document requesting approval to submit a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the dozens of local governments and officials challenging the law. “The resolution of the question on appeal is of great importance to the League and FAC (Florida Association of Counties) and their memberships of diverse local governmental entities across the state of Florida,” the request said. “A determination that the penalty provisions are constitutional increases the threat of liability at significant cost to local government officials and will also have a chilling effect on individuals desiring to serve in local government.” Local governments and officials filed three lawsuits challenging the 2011 law after last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people. The lawsuits were ultimately consolidated in Leon County circuit court. Attorneys for the local governments wrote in a February court document that city and county officials had been urged to take actions after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. Those requests involved such things as requiring procedures or documentation to ensure compliance with background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases and requiring reporting of failed background checks. But the attorneys said local governments refrained from going ahead with the proposals because of the potential penalties in state law. Along with officials facing the possibility of fines and removal from office, the law would allow members of the public and organizations to receive damages up to $100,000 and attorney fees if they successfully sue local governments for improper gun regulations. Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson in July found parts of the law unconstitutional, citing issues related to “legislative immunity,” which protects local government officials in their decision-making processes. He also pointed to the constitutional separation of powers, as judges could be asked to rule on penalizing local officials. “Because local governments must have what amount to small legislatures, and because courts cannot interfere in legislative processes, neither this court, nor any other court in Florida, can enforce the civil penalty provisions (of the law) against local legislators,” Dodson wrote. But the attorneys for Moody and DeSantis rejected such arguments in Friday’s brief, repeatedly citing the state’s authority over local governments. “The state’s position is that the Legislature may penalize local officials for acting outside the scope of their authority because there is no ‘separation of powers’ doctrine that bars the Legislature from holding them accountable for their official actions,” the brief said. Attorneys for the cities and counties will file a brief at the appeals court within the next month. But when the state began moving forward with the appeal in July, Jamie Cole, the lead attorney for the local governments, said he expected Dodson’s ruling to stand. “Judge Dodson’s decision was well-reasoned, well-written and supported by decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, Florida Supreme Court and Florida’s district courts of appeal,” Cole said at the time.
  15. Concealed-carry permits issued in Colorado, and nationwide, continued to rise over the past few years, according to a recent report from the Crime Prevention Research Center, based in Alexandria, Va. The report, published in September, stated that Colorado has issued more than half a million permits issued, which places the state in the top third of all states ranked by percentage of people with concealed carry-permits. Currently, more than one in 10 people in Colorado have a permit. Findings indicate that violent crime has declined since 1999 as the number of concealed-carry permits rose exponentially. Colorado’s violent-crime rate of 361 per 100,000 people is below the national average of over 393 per 100,000 people in 2017. Concealed-carry permit numbers have been on the rise across the nation, with a reported increase of over 300% since 2007, the report concluded. Notably, one in four people in Alabama are licensed to carry concealed firearms.
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