Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Tag: 2nd Amendment

Power to the people

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

It was a blockbuster week of rulings from the Supreme Court of the Unites States. With a few more important rulings to be released this week, we see a positive trend emerging from the rulings. SCOTUS is stripping back the power of government and returning it to the people.

 

[…]

 

While the court did confirm that aborting a baby is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution, it did not say that the Constitution protects someone from being aborted. The Constitution does protect citizens from being deprived of life without due process, but to make such a ruling, the court would have had to define when life begins. That was not the question before the court and to rule on that issue would have been an act of judicial overreach. Perhaps a future court will have the opportunity to consider that question.

 

In both cases, we see the court reducing the power of government. In the case of Bruen, the court checked any government from restricting the 2nd Amendment without the same kind of extraordinary justifications we require of government to restrict other rights enumerated in the Constitution. This will have a cooling effect on zealous gun grabbers.

 

In the case of Dobbs, the court returned the power to regulate abortion to the people to exercise through their elected representatives. While the federal legislature could take up the issue, reaching a consensus across the broad ideological spectrum represented in the national legislature would be difficult. The state legislatures will more practically take up the arduous task of regulating such a politically contentious issue. Since the government closest to you generally governs the best (a reliable, if not unfailing, truism), the court’s ruling has empowered the people.

SCOTUS Rules In Favor of Civil Rights in Bruen

They ruled that New York’s gun laws violate the 14th Amendment.

Held: New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

 

[…]

 

A final word on historical method: Strictly speaking, New York is bound to respect the right to keep and bear arms because of the Fourteenth Amendment, not the Second. See, e.g., Barron ex rel. Tiernan v. Mayor of Baltimore, 7 Pet. 243, 250–251 (1833) (Bill of Rights applies only to the Federal Government). Nonetheless, we have made clear that individual rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and made applicable against the States through the Fourteenth Amendment have the same scope as against the Federal Government.

 

[…]

 

At the end of this long journey through the Anglo-American history of public carry, we conclude that respondents have not met their burden to identify an American tradition justifying the State’s proper-cause requirement. The Second Amendment guaranteed to “all Americans” the right to bear commonly used arms in public subject to certain reasonable, well-defined restrictions

 

[…]

 

The constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not “a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.” McDonald, 561 U. S., at 780 (plurality opinion). We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.

Republicans Back Restriction of Civil Rights on Eve of Election

This is politically stupid and an affront to our civil rights.

Lawmakers released the 80-page bill nine days after agreeing to a framework for the plan and 29 years after Congress last enacted major firearms curbs. It cleared an initial procedural hurdle by 64-34, with 14 Republicans joining all 48 Democrats and two allied independents in voting yes. That strongly supported a prediction by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of approval later this week. Passage by the Democratic-led House could follow quickly.

 

[…]

 

The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and beef up penalties on gun traffickers. It also would disburse money to states and communities to improve school safety and mental health initiatives.

 

Aides estimated the measure would cost around $15 billion, which Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the lead Democratic bargainer, said would be fully paid for.

 

Resolving one final hurdle that delayed the accord, the bill would prohibit romantic partners convicted of domestic violence and not married to their victims from getting firearms. Convicted abusers who are married to, live with or had children with their victims are already barred from having guns.

 

The compromise prohibits guns for a person who has “a current or recent former dating relationship with the victim.’’ That is defined in part as one between people ”who have or have recently had a continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” An offender’s ability to own a gun could be restored after five years if they’ve not committed another serious crime.

 

On another late dispute, the bill would provide $750 million to the 19 states and the District of Columbia that have “red flag” laws making it easier to temporarily take firearms from people adjudged dangerous, and to other states with violence prevention programs. States with “red flag” laws that receive the funds would have to have legal processes for the gun owner to fight the firearm’s removal.

Politically, the Republicans are looking at a wave election in their favor thanks to the disastrous rule of Democrats. So what do they do? They give Democrats a political win that will resonate with their base and piss off the Republican base. Every time the Republicans give Democrats a win, it is not reciprocated. The Democrats don’t even give Republicans rhetorical credit. The Democrats will announce this as “we would have done more if it weren’t for those evil Republicans, but at least we did something.” Meanwhile, there is zero momentum for this in the Republican base. All it will do is disillusion pro-2nd Amendment people. Maybe they actively fight against Republicans. Maybe they just sit home in swing districts. Either way, the Republicans have blunted their electoral prospects in November.

On our civil rights, there are pieces of this bill that are a clear retardation of those rights. There was a time when I naively supported red flag laws. There should be a way to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally or morally incapacitated. The same should be true for voting, holding elected office, and a number of other things. The problem is deciding who decides? Given the totalitarian inclinations we saw from our government leaders during COVID and recent presidential administrations, I do not want anyone in the government deciding that. Does it mean that some people will get their hands on a gun (or vote) who shouldn’t? Yes. But that is preferable to handing the government the tools to disarm (or disenfranchise) the citizenry.

Federal Appeals Court Overrules California Gun Law

Good!

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles to adults younger than 21 was unconstitutional.

 

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the 2nd Amendment “protects the right of young adults to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them.”

 

The ruling reverses a lower court’s decision not to issue an injunction to block a 2019 state law that banned the sale of semiautomatic centerfire rifles to young adults, which the appeals court called a “legal error.”

 

“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” Judge Ryan D. Nelson, an appointee of President Trump, wrote for the appeals court. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.”

 

 

“This is not a gun grab”

If you have to say it...

State Rep. Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) said 19 other states have extreme risk protection order laws, and passing similar legislation could save lives in Wisconsin.

 

“This is not a gun grab,” State Rep. Andraca said. “This is a bill that respects our Second Amendment rights with provisions, such as criminal penalties for those who bring false charges. Only a judge can issue an order based on clear and convincing evidence of a threat. The order is temporary, can be challenged or terminated with full due process.”

The Gun “Epidemic”

Words matter.

“This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” Biden said in a Rose Garden speech.

Sit back and think of all of the government overreach we have experienced in the last year under the auspices that we had to do it to fight an “epidemic.” The government shut down businesses; forced people to stay home; forced people to wear masks; suspended civil rights to assemble, petition government, due process, speedy trials, etc.; changed election laws; funneled trillions of dollars to special interests and corporations; restricted interstate travel; nd on and on and on. The government did all of that to fight an epidemic.

So by calling violence committed with guns an “epidemic,” does that give Biden, Evers, and others the same cover to do the same thing to fight it? Could the government suspend carry laws, force gun registrations, and more to fight it? If not, why not? Do you think they won’t try?

There is a reason that Biden’s handlers put that word in his mouth.

Biden to Bypass Congress to Further Restrict Civil Rights Today

Biden has learned his lessons well from Herr Evers and others. Why bother with the legislature if it might be icky?

Later on Thursday, Mr Biden will say that he has given the Justice Department 30 days to propose a rule that will help reduce the number of “ghost guns”. These guns are self-assembled, which means they do not contain a serial number and cannot be traced.

I’ve been around guns and gun people all my life. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the phrase “ghost gun.” This appears to be a bit of showmanship. On the issue itself, there are only three reasons that guns don’t have a serial number from a manufacturer. First, they were filed off. Second, someone built the gun from parts. There are a lot of hobbyists out there who like to build their own guns instead of just buying them. Third, the gun is old from a period when serial numbers were not required. Whatever the case, if a person sells it, whether or not a gun has a serial number doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not the seller is required to run a background check. That is regulated by whether or not the seller is a licensed dealer or not. But the background check is on the person buying the gun – not the gun.

Here is what I think this is intended to do. The background check form has a spot to enter the serial number of the firearm if it has one. But the government doesn’t need that information to process the check. I think this is designed to give the government an excuse to deny background checks based on the form being incomplete. This is designed to just make it more of a hassle by throwing up bureaucratic roadblocks.

Mr Biden will also give the Justice Department 60 days to come up with a rule on stabilising braces for pistols. Under the rule, the braces, which can be used to turn a pistol into a short-barrelled rifle, would be subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act.

So killers will use a short rifle. This is an overreaction that doesn’t actually do anything other than annoy people, but it does allow politicians to say that they are “doing something” when they are not.

The Justice Department will also be asked to draft a “red flag law” which states can then use to create their own legislation. These laws authorise the courts and law enforcement to remove guns from people thought to be a risk to the community.

This is still a state issue, so it really depends on your state. The Justice Department can wrote all the samples they want. All it does is waste taxpayer money.

SCOTUS Considers 2nd Amendment Case

The New York law is clearly unconstitutional.

The court has largely dodged the issue since issuing two landmark opinions in 2008 and 2010, when it held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms at home for self- defense.

 

Gun rights advocates and even some of the justices themselves have expressed frustration that the court has declined to further define the scope of the right as lower courts across the country have upheld restrictions.

 

Three years ago, for example, Justice Clarence Thomas charged that the “Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court.”

 

[…]

 

The new case concerns a New York law governing licenses to carry concealed handguns in public. It requires residents to show they have what the state calls an “actual and articulable” need to do so.

 

[…]

 

“The law is consistent with the historical scope of the Second Amendment and directly advances New York’s compelling interests in public safety and crime prevention,” New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in court papers.

No other Constitutional right requires the citizen to declare an affirmative need – subject to review by a government official – in order to exercise it. Imagine if you had to declare a “need” before being allowed to speak, or practice your religion, or assemble, or get a jury trial, or petition your government, or get a lawyer… and if some government official decided that your “need” did not meet his or her ambiguous threshold, you wouldn’t be allowed to do it.

Nuts, right?

Right.

So why would that standard apply to the rights protected in the 2nd Amendment if it wouldn’t to those protected by the 1st?

2nd Amendment Activists Proliferate

Good stuff.

On the one hand, the NRA certifies gun owners in many states. But that narrow utility makes it expendable, especially for Black gun owners, whom the NRA has historically struggled to engage as members.

“The NRA is just a political tool for us to be able to arm ourselves, but we don’t buy into the politics of any of it since it’s the right of every American to take advantage of [the Second Amendment],” says Mr. Omowale, who has joined armed rallies recently on behalf of Black rights. “I believe it’s time for [Black people] to start our own NRA.”

[…]

The NRA’s “insularity is intimately connected with the ideological alignment … with politically conservative culture warriors,” says Wake Forest University sociologist David Yamane, founder of the Gun Culture 2.0 blog, in an email. Now, “the proliferation of gun clubs, groups and organizations representing diverse gun owners – [National African American Gun Association], A Girl and a Gun, Liberal Gun Owners, to name a few – fills the vacuum left by the NRA.”

I’m for all of this. Personally, I never thought of the NRA as aligning with conservative ideology other than both political Conservatives and the NRA support our right to keep and bear arms. But if black folks or gay folks or female folks or whatever want to have their own group to support the 2nd Amendment, it’s all good.

2nd Amendment advances as 1st Amendment retreats

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week.

Our country is engaging in cultural and civic (not civil, yet) war that is challenging some of the national principles that used to be held inviolable. As we watch the 1st Amendment make a confused retreat, we are seeing the 2nd Amendment make a vigorous advance.

The 1st and 2nd Amendments refer, of course, to the Constitution’s prohibition of the federal government from infringing on our natural rights to speak (among other things) and to keep and bear arms, respectively. But they are also used as shorthand to express our collective support for the underlying natural rights.

While the practice of our 1st Amendment right to free speech has ebbed and flowed throughout our nation’s history, the general ethos has been robust support for people to say anything they want as long as it does not drift into defamation or incitement – and even then we have generally been very generous with where that boundary lies.

I am reminded of a comment by Jim Croce: “I don’t care, as long as they don’t be putting their hands on me. I don’t mind people talking and saying different things. Everybody gotta say something.” That pretty well sums up what our attitude used to be about people speaking their minds. Now we are seeing the onset of outrage mobs that seek out people who express opinions with which they disagree and try to destroy them personally and professionally. This is the so-called “cancel culture” where we no longer meet objectionable speech with more speech. Instead, these mobs consider contrary opinions to be so fundamentally immoral that they must not be spoken, and the people speaking them must be ruined to force adherence to the current, if fluid, orthodoxy. What is even more chilling is that the opinions being canceled are views that were mainstream as recently as a few months ago. Support for law enforcement, standing for the National Anthem, celebrating Independence Day, honoring George Washington, etc. are things that were commonplace and integral parts of the national psyche. Now such views are just as likely to attract an online or physical mob to your doorstep. There has been a very rapid and scary retreat of our collective support for free speech.

Meanwhile, support for the right to keep and bear arms is exploding. I recently witnessed a couple of protest marches in suburban communities. In both cases, firearms were plentiful and visible in the hands of both protesters and counter-protesters. Furthermore, as the mobs and the elected Democrats who support them defund the police and force law enforcement into a defensive crouch, The People are taking the hint and arming themselves for personal protection.

Across the nation, federal background checks, which serve as a proxy for measuring the sale of all guns, were up 69% in June versus last year. Background checks specifically for handgun purchases were up 80% over last year. In many cases, people are buying multiple guns at a time with Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting showing a 145% increase in guns sold in June compared to the same month last year. The June estimates are on top of similar trends for April and May. According to industry analysts, roughly 40% of gun purchases in the past few months are being made by first time buyers. A quick trip to any gun store will find empty shelves and depleted inventories.

At the heart of the surge in gun ownership are two trends. First, there is the general concern for personal safety. Democrats are echoing the mob’s demand to defund the police and several cities have already started the process. With fewer police with fewer resources, law-abiding people are empowering themselves to defend themselves and their families. The old saying that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away” has become a stark realization for many people.

Second, Americans are watching Marxists and anarchists violently take over parts of our country. Often, they are doing so with the permission or support of government officials. We are witnessing the violent overthrow of portions of our government with the intent to rebuild something that is no longer American. The right to keep and bear arms has always been the last resort for a free people to ensure their right to self-governance. An armed citizenry cannot be easily subjugated.

Our natural rights, as secured in our Constitution, are the bases and guardians of our government and way of life. While we continue to push our nation toward our founding ideals, we must never surrender the ground we have fought so hard to gain.

 

2nd Amendment advances as 1st Amendment retreats

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

I am reminded of a comment by Jim Croce: “I don’t care, as long as they don’t be putting their hands on me. I don’t mind people talking and saying different things. Everybody gotta say something.” That pretty well sums up what our attitude used to be about people speaking their minds. Now we are seeing the onset of outrage mobs that seek out people who express opinions with which they disagree and try to destroy them personally and professionally. This is the so-called “cancel culture” where we no longer meet objectionable speech with more speech. Instead, these mobs consider contrary opinions to be so fundamentally immoral that they must not be spoken, and the people speaking them must be ruined to force adherence to the current, if fluid, orthodoxy.

What is even more chilling is that the opinions being canceled are views that were mainstream as recently as a few months ago. Support for law enforcement, standing for the National Anthem, celebrating Independence Day, honoring George Washington, etc. are things that were commonplace and integral parts of the national psyche. Now such views are just as likely to attract an online or physical mob to your doorstep. There has been a very rapid and scary retreat of our collective support for free speech.

Meanwhile, support for the right to keep and bear arms is exploding. I recently witnessed a couple of protest marches in suburban communities. In both cases, firearms were plentiful and visible in the hands of both protesters and counter-protesters. Furthermore, as the mobs and the elected Democrats who support them defund the police and force law enforcement into a defensive crouch, The People are taking the hint and arming themselves for personal protection.

 

Bipartisan Rejection of Anti-Civil Rights Bill in Virginia

Good!

Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s push to ban the sale of assault weapons failed on Monday after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal.

Senators voted to shelve the bill for the year and ask the state crime commission to study the issue, an outcome that drew cheers from a committee room packed with gun rights advocates.

Four moderate Democrats joined Republicans in Monday’s committee vote, rejecting legislation that would have prohibited the sale of certain semiautomatic firearms, including popular AR-15 style rifles, and banned the possession of magazines that hold more than 12 rounds.

Hong Kong Protesters Fight with Arrows and Gas Bombs

This is why we have the 2nd Amendment… so we can use our guns – not arrows – to fight a totalitarian government.

Police have besieged a university campus in Hong Kong occupied by protesters who have been fighting back with arrows and petrol bombs.

Officers have warned that they could use live ammunition if protesters do not stop attacking them using such weapons.

A media liaison officer was earlier wounded in the leg with an arrow near the Polytechnic University (PolyU).

Months of anti-government protests have caused turmoil in the city.

The latest violence is however some of the worst the semi-autonomous Chinese territory has seen since the movement began. The police have become targets for radical demonstrators, who accuse them of excessive force.

Police have so far been responding to violence around the PolyU campus mostly with tear gas and water cannon.

Evers Calls Special Session to Restrict Civil Rights

This is the correct response:

[Madison, WI] — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released the following statement today regarding the special session announcement from Governor Evers:

“Liberals across the country are upping their rhetoric in support of taking guns from law-abiding citizens. After the governor opened the door to a long-term plan of gun confiscation at his press conference last month, it’s easy to see how today’s action could just be the first attack on the Second Amendment. The Senate will not be part of a drawn-out strategy to infringe on constitutional rights.”

Wisconsin’s Gun Laws Are Sufficient

So says Representative Janel Brandjten… and she’s right.

Wisconsin has clear and significant measures to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, abusers, and mentally unfit people. I have high confidence that if the laws we currently have are properly enforced, the safety, security, and freedom of all Wisconsinites will be protected. Attorney General Kaul and Governor Evers have a responsibility to explain the current laws and stop misleading their constituents; Wisconsin deserves better.

 

Special Session Coming

If I were Vos or Fitzgerald, I would use the special session to pass Constitutional Carry or criminal justice reform.

The governor of the state of Wisconsin says that we should soon expect the state legislature to address the issues of gun control.

Governor Tony Evers went 1-on-1 with WTMJ’s John Mercure during WTMJ 2020 (listen above at 23:38 in the podcast player above). In their discussion, Evers spoke of what he says is expected to come.

“We will have a special session,” said the Governor.

“I’m convinced we will be making that announcement within a week, maybe two weeks.”

Governor Evers is considering tyranny

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Pick up a copy!

“Mandatory” gun buybacks are exactly that. It is the government forcing citizens to surrender their firearms to the government, and if the citizens refuse, the government will use the full violent force of government to compel the citizens to comply. This force includes depriving citizens of property, liberty, and in the case of an armed confrontation, possibly life.

If you think that mandatory gun buybacks would stop at the “scary-looking gun du jour,” like the AR-15 or the AK-47, you have not paid attention to history or human nature. Once all of those are wrested from the hands of unwilling citizens, the despots will simply move onto the next target in the gun safe.

[…]

With the liberals’ resurgent interest in trammeling our civil rights, it is important that all of us make a firm statement in the voting booth that we will not tolerate such an assault on our rights. In April, Wisconsinites will have the chance to affirm that we insist that our government remain restrained by our state and federal constitutions by electing Justice Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Colt Decides to Only Arm Government

I won’t support a gun company that won’t support the 2nd Amendment. Samuel Colt is rolling in his grave.

Gunmaker Colt says it is suspending its production of rifles for the civilian market, including the popular AR-15.

The company, based in West Hartford, Connecticut, has received some criticism from gun rights advocates for moving away from the civilian market.

Governor Evers Open to Gun Confiscation

I wonder if Evers has one of those Banksy frames that shreds the Constitution.

During the governor’s news conference, a reporter asked Evers if he would support a mandatory buyback program.

Evers first said he’s focused on red-flag and universal background check legislation, but when pressed, said he’s open to the idea of mandatory buybacks.

“I’d consider it, but my focus is on these two bills,” Evers said.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, turned heads during the presidential debate last week when he proclaimed, “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” in arguing that guns meant for warfare should be banned. He called for a mandatory buyback of assault-style rifles to prevent gun violence after a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso in early August.

“Certain Guns”

Herein lies the root thought process behind benign tyranny.

(CNN)Let me start by saying this: I don’t want to take away all guns. In fact, I can’t think of a politician or gun violence prevention advocate who has suggested repealing the Second Amendment. However, I do believe it should be really, really, hard — if not impossible — for certain people to get their hands on certain guns.

Who are “certain people?” And what are “certain guns?” Today we already ban certain people from having guns – mainly felons and the insane – but we do so after rigorous due process is afforded. We do so because the right to keep and bear arms is a natural right that our founders knew deserved the utmost protection. That is why they protected it in the Bill of Rights.

When we loosen those definitions and suspend due process, we are on the path to tyranny. In Milano’s case, it is a benign tyranny rooted in the illogical assumption that access to firearms is a problem that needs to be solved. She’s a true believer who thinks that if only we could remove guns from our population, then we would be a safer society and that there wouldn’t be other negative consequences to such a situation. It’s a naive belief that is easy for someone to have who is protected by walls and armed security.

The problem is that once the wedge is created in our rights by those with benign interests, it can easily be wrested wider by those with more malignant intent. This is the same well worn path toward tyranny used in nations around the world for centuries. Disarm the population for their “own safety;” force them to rely upon the “authorities;” and then use those authorities to impose the will of tyrants. History is our guide and despite the fantasies of some, human nature has not changed enough that we would get a different outcome should we tread that path.

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