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Charlie T Waite

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Everything posted by Charlie T Waite

  1. Yesterday, the Biden Administration announced the nomination of Steven Dettelbach as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), subject to Senate confirmation. With Dettelbach’s nomination, President Biden has chosen to double-down on his attempt to put a gun control advocate in charge of the agency responsible for regulating America’s firearms industry. Please contact your U.S. Senators today to urge them to oppose Dettelbach. Take Action David Chipman, Biden’s first nominee to head the ATF, failed to achieve enough support in the Senate to be confirmed. After a long campaign by the NRA, the Biden Administration withdrew Chipman’s nomination. Like Chipman, Dettelbach is a dedicated gun controller with a background that proves he would be neither fair nor objective as head of ATF. When running for Ohio Attorney General in 2018, Dettelbach endorsed gun bans, restrictions on lawful firearm transfers, and further expansion of prohibitions on who can lawfully possess a firearm. This led NRA-PVF to award Dettelbach an “F” for his positions on the right to keep and bear arms. Ohio voters wisely rejected Dettelbach and his gun control promises in 2018. It will once again be up to gun owners to make clear that a failed anti-gun politician has no more place at the head of the ATF than a failed anti-gun lobbyist. Please contact your U.S. Senators using the link above, and respectfully encourage them to oppose Dettelbach’s nomination.
  2. Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and FPC Action Foundation (FPCAF) announced the filing of an important brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in Duncan v. Bonta (formerly Duncan v. Becerra), a case challenging California’s ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The brief is available at FPCLaw.org. In 2020, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban, holding that it violates the Second Amendment. The decision was based in part on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller that held that arms “in common use” and “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes” cannot be banned. The court then decided to rehear the case before an 11-judge en banc panel. The en-banc Ninth Circuit overturned the panel’s ruling and upheld California’s prohibition despite the fact that magazines with greater than 10 round capacities are some of the most common arms in the nation—over 100 million are owned nationwide. Beyond seeking review of California’s unconstitutional ban on protected arms in Duncan, FPC’s brief argues for the nation’s highest court to address the incorrigibility of the lower lower courts. FPC’s brief spotlights how courts across the country continue to rule with utter disregard for the Supreme Court’s prior Second Amendment decisions, including Heller, McDonald, and others. Specifically, FPC’s brief cites critical analysis from Ninth Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke’s dissenting opinion in Duncan: When a significant number of lower courts determine that their own views trump Supreme Court precedent, they threaten the ideal that courts are engaged in the law rather than politics. Indeed, a dissenting judge in this case alleged that “[t]he majority of our court distrusts gun owners” and argued that it “is simply not plausible” to suggest that “our judges’ personal views about the Second Amendment and guns have not affected our jurisprudence.” Duncan, 19 F.4th at 1159, 1166 (VanDyke, J., dissenting). As Judge VanDyke observed, “[u]ntil the Supreme Court forces our court to do something different . . . the Second Amendment will remain essentially an ink blot in this circuit.” Duncan, 19 F.4th at 1167 (VanDyke, J., dissenting). “The Supreme Court has previously addressed arms prohibitions on four occasions, yet the lower courts continue to ignore its precedents and apply their own tests,” said FPCAF’s Director of Constitutional Studies, Joseph Greenlee, who authored the brief. “We urge the Court to use this opportunity to send a message to the lower courts while also holding California’s magazine confiscation unconstitutional.” FPC and FPCAF were joined on the brief by the John Locke Foundation, Independence Institute, and William Wiese, the lead plaintiff in the first legal challenge to California’s magazine ban, the FPC-led Wiese v. Bonta. Several attorneys worked on the brief, including David Kopel of the Independence Institute, Jon Guze of the John Locke Foundation, George Lee of Seiler Epstein LLP, and George Mocsary, who is a professor at the University of Wyoming Law School and an FPC Adjunct Scholar. Individuals who would like to join the FPC Grassroots Army or donate to support pro-Second Amendment programs to protect and restore the right to keep and bear arms should visit JoinFPC.org. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLaw.org and follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.
  3. Firearms Policy Coalition today issued the following statement in response to summary judgment orders granted in Delbert Sgaggio v. De Young, et al., a case in which FPC filed an important brief to support a challenge to the City of Woodland Park, Colorado police department’s removal of criticisms posted by an individual to its Facebook page and banning the individual from further posting: FPC is pleased with U.S. District Court Chief Judge Philip A. Brimmer’s ruling to protect the speech rights of a frustrated Coloradan who sharply criticized the Woodland Park Police Department on its Facebook page. The plaintiff, Delbert Sgaggio, referred to law enforcement on the public forum as “punk ass pigs,” “bitches” and “dirty ass cops.” In denying summary judgement for the defendant, Judge Brimmer rebuked claims made by the police department that the words Sgaggio used were ‘obscene’ and ‘offensive,’ stating “None of the words that plaintiff used in his posts were depictions of sexual conduct. Moreover, ‘the First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers.’” FPC’s brief successfully argued that Sgaggio’s First Amendment rights were indeed violated by the police department’s censorship. Specifically, Judge Brimmer cites FPC’s brief to spotlight the erroneous claim by both the defendant and a now-retired Magistrate Judge–who had initially ruled in defendant’s favor–that the plaintiff had no right to free speech on its public forum because he is not a member of the media: As FPC notes, the Tenth Circuit has explained that “First [A]mendment protection should not depend on whether the criticism is in the form of speech by a private individual or publication by the institutional press,” and “[t]o withhold the protections of the First Amendment from nonmedia participants in the political process would be to stand the amendment on its head without the slightest justification.” FPC looks forward to Judge Brimmer’s eventual ruling in the case and will continue to defend individual liberties including the right to keep and bear arms and adjacent, interconnected rights such as free speech, due process, and privacy.
  4. On April 5th, the Senate General Laws Committee voted 4-1 to pass House Bill 1462, to reduce areas where law-abiding citizens are left defenseless. It will now advance to the full Senate for further consideration. Please contact Senate President Dave Schatz and the Senate Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, and ask them to schedule HB 1462 to be heard on the floor. House Bill 1462 repeals arbitrary “gun-free zones” that do nothing to hinder criminals, while leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless. It removes the prohibition on law-abiding citizens carrying firearms for self-defense on public transit property and in vehicles. This ensures that citizens with varying commutes throughout their day, and of various economic means, are able to exercise their Second Amendment rights and defend themselves. The bill also repeals the prohibition in state law against carrying firearms for self-defense in places of worship. This empowers private property owners to make such decisions regarding security on their own, rather than the government mandating a one-size-fits-all solution. Again, please contact Senate President Dave Schatz and the Senate Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, and ask them to schedule HB 1462 to be heard on the floor.
  5. This week, the Maine Senate voted “ought not to pass” on Legislative Document 1068, a gun confiscation measure that carried over from last year. Thankfully, this measure is now dead and will not move forward this session. Legislative Document 1068 sought to create two new sections of Maine law, which outline the power of the court in issuing orders or consent agreements for protection from harassment, and authorizes the surrender of firearms. This bill is redundant and unnecessary, burdens Second Amendment rights, and mandated the surrender and confiscation of constitutionally protected property without a hearing and without notice. Due process limits restrictions on constitutional rights to only serious convictions and adjudications that provide procedural protections to the accused, which results in more reliable proceedings. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms should not be treated as a second-class right and should only be restricted when sufficient protections are in place. Thank you to NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters who contacted their lawmakers in opposition to this extreme measure. Also, thank you to those legislators who voted against the passage of LD 1068.
  6. Next Wednesday at 10:30am, the Denver City Council Safety, Housing, Education & Homelessness Committee has scheduled a vote on a measure to prohibit concealed carry in certain locations. The hearing will be held virtually with Zoom. NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters are strongly encouraged to attend the virtual meeting and make their opposition known! Bill 22-0401 will amend Chapters 38 & 39 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, to prohibit concealed carry within city parks and buildings owned by, leased by, or leased to the city. You are allowed to watch and offer public comment during the virtual meeting and you can sign up to speak by visiting www.denvergov.org/councilpublicinput and clicking on “Public Input in Committee.” Those wishing to sign up will need to click on the above link 90 minutes prior to the hearing in order to do so. So please sign up between 9:00am and 10:00am. Again, it is extremely important that NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters attend this hearing and sign up to voice their strong opposition to Bill 22-0401.
  7. Monday, the Nebraska Senate is poised to vote on important Constitutional Carry legislation, Legislative Bill 773! The measure is still progressing through a series of votes before it officially passes out of the Senate to the Governor’s desk. That is why it is more important than ever that you immediately contact your State Senator and ask them to SUPPORT Legislative Bill 773 without further amendments! Half of the Nation has now enacted some form of Constitutional Carry. Nebraska can lead the charge for the second half to do so as well. However, an attempt is being made to add Amendment 2106 to this important self-defense measure, which codifies Omaha’s firearm registration, stigmatizes firearms by increasing penalties for non-violent offenses, and makes “failure to inform” a felony. The point of Constitutional carry is to make it easy and affordable for everyone to exercise their right to self-defense. Amendment 2106 is a discriminatory attempt to place Omaha’s extreme firearm registration requirement into state law, only affecting Nebraskan’s in Omaha. Your NRA-ILA stands staunchly in opposition to these additions to LB 773. Legislative Bill 773 recognizes that a law-abiding adult who is legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm, can do so without first having to obtain government permission. This ensures that citizens have the right to self-defense without government red tape or delays. Additionally, this legislation maintains the existing concealed handgun license system, so citizens who still wish to obtain a permit may do so. Again, it is extremely important that you please contact your State Senator and ask them to vote to make Nebraska the 26th State with Constitutional Carry, by SUPPORTING Legislative Bill 773.
  8. Today, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers disagreed with the state legislature and the law-abiding gun owners that they represent, by vetoing Assembly Bill 495 and Assembly Bill 518. While expected, we are still disappointed in Governor Evers’ continued disregard for law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Assembly Bill 495, sponsored by Representative Robert Brooks (R-60), allows adults who are licensed to carry firearms, to drive onto school grounds to pick-up or drop-off their students without first having to unload and store away their firearms in their vehicles. So-called “gun-free zones” simply disarm law-abiding citizens and leave them defenseless against the criminals who ignore such arbitrary boundaries. Assembly Bill 518, sponsored by Representative Rick Gundrum (R-58), grants universal recognition to concealed carry permits held by non-Wisconsin residents, issued by any other state. It repeals the requirement that such recognition be only for permits from states on an arbitrary list maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. This reform recognizes that visitors traveling to Wisconsin should not be left defenseless simply by crossing a state line.
  9. Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that he would not sign so-called “ghost gun” measure, Senate Bill 387. Unfortunately, Governor Hogan is allowing the bill to go into law without his signature. The law will go into effect on June 1st, 2022. Hobbyists will have until March 1st, 2023 to address absent serial numbers on their firearms. Senate Bill 387 is overly broad, and will end the centuries-old practice of individuals building lawful firearms for personal use. It prohibits transfer or possession of certain unfinished firearm parts that are not regulated under federal law, as well as firearms without serial numbers, with an exemption for pre-1968 firearms and antiques. It requires anyone who wishes to keep their previously legal items, to have a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) apply a serial number to them, and then the owner must register them with the state police. Violations of selling or transferring, while misdemeanors, are punishable by up to five years of imprisonment, which results in the permanent loss of Second Amendment rights.
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