Guns

Supreme Court invalidates part of law aimed at preventing gun violence

The Supreme Court on Monday invalidated a key part of a law designed to prevent gun violence, saying it left too much leeway for judges to decide what constituted a violent crime. In a 5-4 ruling the justices said Congress was too vague when it tried to slap extra penalties on people who used guns while committing a “crime of violence.” “In our constitutional order, a vague law is no law at all. Only the people’s elected representatives in Congress have the power to write new federal criminal laws,” Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote in the court’s opinion. The ruling could lead to thousands of new appeals from people convicted under the vague law, prosecutors warned. The case involved two men who were convicted of a string of robberies. They carried firearms during the crimes, which earned them heightened sentences under the Gun Control Act, which kicks in for cases of a “crime of violence or drug trafficking crime.” The statute said crimes of violence are those where physical force is used or threatened against a person or property. But the justices have long grappled with what, exactly, meets that definition. In a series of cases Justice Gorsuch, joined by the court’s four Democratic-appointed justices, has ruled it’s too tough to say what falls under the law. “Vague statutes threaten to hand responsibility for defining crimes to relatively unaccountable police, prosecutors, and judges, eroding the people’s ability to oversee the creation of the laws they are expected to abide,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, writing the dissent joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said the law was successful, and should have remained in place. “Many factors have contributed to the decline of violent crime in America. But one cannot dismiss the effects of state and federal laws that impose steep punishments on those who commit violent crimes with firearms,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. John Marti, a former federal prosecutor now practicing at the Dorsey & Whitney law firm, said the decision will lead to a “title wave” of appeals from defendants convicted under the statute now struck down. “Today the Supreme Court eliminated this powerful tool for federal prosecutors in combating violent crime, by finding that the statute is unconstitutionally vague by using the phrase ‘crime of violence,’” Mr. Marti said.

Colorado enacts ‘red flag’ law to seize guns from those deemed dangerous, prompting backlash

Colorado became the 15th state on Friday to adopt a “red flag” gun law, allowing firearms to be seized from people determined to pose a danger — just weeks after dozens of county sheriffs had vowed not to enforce the law, with some local leaders establishing what they called Second Amendment “sanctuary counties.” The law didn’t receive a single Republican vote in the state legislature, and has led to renewed efforts from gun-rights activists to recall Democrats who supported the measure. In a fiery and lengthy statement on Facebook on Friday, Eagle County, Colo., Sheriff James van Beek slammed the law as a well-intentioned but “ludicrous” throwback to the 2002 film “Minority Report,” and outlined a slew of objections from law enforcement. Van Beek charged that the law treats accused gun owners like “criminals,” discourages individuals from seeking mental health treatment, and ignores the reality that “a disturbed mind will not be deterred by the removal of their guns.” Noting that cities with strict gun laws still experience high murder rates, van Beek asserted: “By removing guns from someone intent on committing suicide or murder, we still have the danger of someone who may be unbalanced, now, angrier than before, and looking for another means … explosives, poisons, knives, car incidents of mowing down groups of unsuspecting innocent.” Colorado’s law, approved by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, allows family, household members or law enforcement to petition a court to have guns seized or surrendered based on a showing that someone poses a danger under the “preponderance of the evidence,” a civil standard which means that the defendant is more likely than not to be a threat. “In other words, there is just over a 50/50 chance of accuracy,” van Beek wrote, noting that someone’s guns could be seized even without a mental health professional making a determination of any kind. “Like the flip of a coin. Couldn’t that apply to just about anything a person does?” A subsequent court hearing could extend a gun seizure up to 364 days, and gun owners can only retain their guns if they meet a burden of demonstrating by “clear and convincing evidence” — a much higher standard — that they are not in fact a threat. Gun owners, van Beek said, are “guilty until proven innocent” under this framework. Minority Republicans in the legislature had unsuccessfully tried to shift the burden of proof to the petitioner.

…which, of course, is how it oughtta be.  This new law is brazenly unconstitutional.  Anyone charged under this is guilty until proven innocent, which is totally contrary to how our criminal justice system operates.  It is pure fascism.  When Hitler rose to power in the late ’30s in Germany, one of the first things he did was enact gun confiscation of citizens.  This “red flag” law is simply another form of anti-2nd Amendment, unconstitutional, gun confiscation that has NOTHING to do with metal health issues.  That’s all a phony front and a false pretense, and the Dems in Denver know this.  Some enterprising journalist oughtta ask Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) how it feels being a Nazi.  Yeah.. that term is perfectly, an historically, accurate used in this sense.  Jared Polis is acting like Colorado’s Hitler.  I double-dog dare ANY member of the dominantly liberal mainstream media to actually do their job, and ask that fascist tool that question on camera.  Wouldn’t it be rich to see his pompous ass try to tap dance around that?  If you’re here in Colorado and want to buy gun, ya better get out there and do so now, while ya still can..and buy things like ammo in cash ONLY.  Kudos to Sheriff James van Beek, and other sheriffs in Colorado, who refuse to enforce this fascist nonsense.  For more, click on the text above.

Many guns used by criminals bought on black market, study shows

As the gun-control debate continues to rage, a survey released this month by the Department of Justice (DOJ) showed that many armed criminals have relied on the black market for guns. Based on the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates (SPI), about 1 in 5 – 21 percent – of all state and federal prisoners reported they had “possessed or carried a firearm when they committed the offense for which they were serving time in prison.” According to the study, an estimated 287,400 prisoners possessed a firearm during their offense. The findings concluded 6 percent had stolen the weapon, 7 percent found it at a crime scene and 43 percent obtained it off the street or on the black market. More than 25 percent had received it from a family member or friend, or as a gift. About 1.3 percent of all prisoners obtained a gun from a retail source and used it during their offense, the study stated. Moreover, among the prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense, “0.8 percent obtained it at a gun show.” Overall, handguns were the most common type of firearm possessed by prisoners, and about 1 in 5 state and federal prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense obtained it with the intent to use it during the crime.

Some interesting figures..  Bottom line..  VERY few guns used in crime are obtained at gun shows…  And many criminals get their weapons illegally.  Imagine that!  Keep that in mind the next time you hear some Dem politician or political hack say, “we need to close the gun show loophole.”  It’s a talking point that means nothing.  There is no “loophole.”  If you buy a firearm at a gun show (something I’ve personally done on more than occasion), you undergo a background check there and cannot leave with your purchase until that background check comes back clean.  Period.

Supreme Court Takes Major NRA Second Amendment Case from New York

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted review in the first Second Amendment case in almost a decade, a case supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and perhaps signaling what to expect from the new membership of the Supreme Court. New York law forbids residents from owning any handguns without a permit, and that permit allows the holder to possess guns only in their home or en route to or from one of seven shooting ranges in the city. A gun owner cannot transport a firearm outside the home for any other purpose, even if it is unloaded and locked in a case in the trunk of a car. The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and several of its members sued in federal court, arguing that this statute is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court held in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, but that 2008 case involved only a law-abiding citizen seeking to have a handgun in his privately owned home for self-defense. The Court further held in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is a fundamental right, and thus extends to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment, but again that 2010 involved a law-abiding citizen seeking to keep a handgun in the home. That is essentially all the Supreme Court has done with the Second Amendment thus far. The Court has repeatedly turned down petitions for review (called a petition for a writ of certiorari) in several major cases over the subsequent nine years. Some experts speculated that Justice Anthony Kennedy – who was the fifth and thus decisive vote in Heller and McDonald – was reluctant to take any additional steps on gun rights. Without his vote, neither side of the gun debate could move the needle in either direction. Some legal strategists wondered if Justice Brett Kavanaugh – who has a judicial recording supporting gun rights – now sitting in Kennedy’s seat would break the paralysis over Second Amendment jurisprudence. It appears the answer might be “yes.” Lead counsel in the case is former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who also was one of the lawyers who argued in both Heller and McDonald. Clement is one of the most accomplished Supreme Court advocates in American history, having argued over 90 cases before the justices. Clement argues that New York’s statute violates the Second Amendment, the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to interstate travel. The NRA is centrally involved in the case. The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association is the NRA’s official state affiliate in the Empire State. This instantly becomes one of the most significant cases of the year at the Supreme Court. Oral arguments should be held in late April, with a decision by the end of June. The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Associaiton v. New York, No. 18-280 in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Incoming House Democrats Ready Bill to Criminalize Private Gun Sales

The incoming Democrat House majority is readying legislation to criminalize private gun sales. Ironically, the push comes nearly 227 years to the day after private gun ownership was hedged in by the Founding Fathers via the Second Amendment, which was ratified on December 15, 1791. Politico reports that Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) is spearheading the current gun control push through “universal background” legislation. Such checks criminalize private gun sales, making it illegal for a neighbor to sell a firearm to his neighbor, a friend to his lifelong friend, and even a father to his son. Under the Democrats’ plan, a background system like that in California would require a gun seller to seek government permission for any sale or transfer of a firearm. Such a system was put in place in California in the early 1990s and has failed to prevent some of our nation’s most heinous mass public attacks. Nevertheless, Thompson expects to push his gun control bill within “the first 100 days” of the new Congress. Incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has already assured his colleagues that he will move the bill “very quickly” once it is introduced. The criminalization of private gun sales would not have stopped a single 21st century mass shooting, as nearly every mass shooter bought his firearms at retail via a background check. The exceptions to this norm are the two or three mass shooters who stole their guns.

The good news is that such a bill wouldn’t pass through the (still) GOP-controlled Senate.  And, even if it did, President Trump would likely NOT sign it into law.  THIS is the kind of fascist, extreme-liberal nonsense we can look forward to in the coming two years.  Buckle up kids!  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride..

Dick’s Sporting Goods Says Gun-Control Stance Hurt Business, May Close Field & Stream

Dick’s Sporting Goods told investors during the Goldman Sachs Retailing Conference that its gun-control stance hurt sales of its hunting business, outdoors business, and that it may close its outdoor-focused Field & Stream stores. Edward Stack, chairman and CEO of Dick’s, said during the event that the sporting goods chain’s recent 3.9 percent drop in same-store sales was the result of a mix of factors beyond their control as well as some he called “self-imposed.” Specifically, he said, “the decisions we made on firearms” negatively affected their bottom line but the drop in sales was something they expected. They did not, however, regret their decision to change a number of their gun-sales policies and back new gun-control legislation. “Well I think it’s definitely a factor, and it’s nothing that we didn’t anticipate,” Stack said during the call. “As we put out kind of our guidance for the year and our earnings guidance for the year, we knew this would happen when—we’ve made some decisions on firearms in the past and we’ve had a pretty good idea of what these consequences were going to be. We felt that was absolutely the right thing to do. We would do the same thing again if we had a mulligan, so to speak, to do it again.” Dick’s first modified its gun-sales policy in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting when it said it would no longer sell AR-15s and certain other semiautomatic rifles. The retailer quickly circumvented that pledge when it opened its outdoor-focused Field & Stream chain. But in the wake of the Parkland shooting earlier this year, the chain once again pledged to stop selling AR-15s and certain other semiautomatic rifles. In addition, Dick’s decided to hire their own gun-control lobbyists in order to push for stricter gun laws nationwide. That action led the National Shooting Sports Foundation—the firearms industry’s trade group—to expel the retailer. The retailer also said in February it would no longer sell firearms to legal adults under the age of 21. On Tuesday, the company settled an age discrimination suit stemming from that decision, according to a report from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Dick’s has every right to shoot itself in the foot (pun intended) with such fascist, anti-gun, policies.  But, we-the-consumer have the right to take our business elsewhere…and we should.  For more, click on the text above.

PA Teachers Union Sues to Ensure Educators Cannot Be Armed for Self-Defense

Pennsylvania’s Tamaqua Area Education Association is suing to prevent teachers from being armed to defend themselves and their students. The Morning Call reports that the suit comes after Tamaqua Area School District became “the first district in the state to allow armed school staff as a way to defend schools against shooters.” Tamaqua Area Education Association president President Frank Wenzel issued statement in which he defended the union’s fight to keep teachers unarmed: “As teachers, counselors and other education professionals, we are trained to provide a high-quality education to our students, not to carry or use firearms in dangerous situations. This is a bad policy for a lot of reasons, but we are challenging it in court because we believe it is illegal.” But Tamaqua Area School District board member Nicholas Boyle disagrees with Wenzel. Boyle pushed the measure to allow teachers to be armed and The Inquirer quotes him saying, “There’s no law that says you can do it, and there’s no law that says you can’t do it, so I think we’re good.” A group of Tamaqua residents launched the “Tamaqua Citizens for Safe Schools” in response to the board’s decision to arm teachers. And on November 23 Tamaqua Citizens for Safe Schools urged people to sign a Sandy Hook Promise petition to prevent teachers from being armed nationwide: Teachers were not armed when Sandy Hook Elementary School was attacked December 14, 2012, and attacker spent over nine minutes harming defenseless people without any armed response.