Category Archives: Gun Rights

Swiss to Vote on Implementation of EU Gun Controls

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The Swiss have had a long-standing and proud tradition of gun ownership. It’s being infringed on. READ MORE

swiss gun rights

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On May 19, Swiss citizens will go to the polls to vote in a referendum that will determine whether the peaceful mountain nation will acquiesce to the mandates of the European Firearms Directive. The Swiss have a proud history of voting to protect their firearms heritage. In 2011, the Swiss electorate rejected a ballot measure that would have ended the tradition of militia members keeping their firearms at home and burdened law-abiding gun owners with federal gun registration and new acquisition requirements.

Less than a week after the November 13, 2015, terrorist attack at the Bataclan theater in Paris, the European Union expedited its pre-existing plans to amend the European Firearms Directive. The European Firearms Directive sets the minimum threshold of gun regulation that EU member states must enact.

Finalized in May 2017, the new European Firearms Directive included a significant expansion of firearms registration and licensing requirements. Moreover, the European Firearms Directive prohibited most gun owners from accessing the following categories of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms,

Any of the following centre-fire semi-automatic firearms:

(a) short firearms which allow the firing of more than 21 rounds without reloading, if:

(i) a loading device with a capacity exceeding 20 rounds is part of that firearm; or

(ii) a detachable loading device with a capacity exceeding 20 rounds is inserted into it;

(b) long firearms which allow the firing of more than 11 rounds without reloading, if:

(i) a loading device with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds is part of that firearm; or

(ii) a detachable loading device with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds is inserted into it.

EU member states were given 15 months to conform their national laws to most portions of the European Firearms Directive and 30 months to conform to the registration provisions.

Neutral Switzerland is not a member of the EU. However, the country is a member of the Schengen Area – a coalition of European countries that have abolished the border controls between their nations. As a member of the Schengen Area, the Swiss are obligated to comply with the EU’s firearms mandates. During the convoluted EU legislative process, the Swiss were able to secure a small concession from the EU to permit preservation of its longstanding tradition of allowing members of the militia to keep their service rifles after their term of service.

In December 2017, Swiss gun rights group ProTell made clear that the group would oppose the attempt to align Swiss gun laws to the European Firearms Directive by referendum if necessary. On September 28, 2018 both houses of the Swiss Federal Assembly (parliament) voted to revise the country’s firearms laws to comport with the EU’s mandate.

After the Federal Assembly capitulated to Brussels’s demands, Swiss gun rights activists made good on their promise. On January 17, the pro-gun referendum committee submitted the necessary signatures to put the changes to Swiss gun law to a popular vote on May 19. Voters will be asked if they “Ja” support the Federal Assembly’s surrender to the EU, or “Nein” do not want the country to adopt the EU gun control requirements.

The referendum committee has developed the “Nein” campaign to promote the pro-gun rights position on the ballot. The “Nein” campaign has attracted a wide variety of support, including backing from many of the various archery and shooting sports clubs and organizations, ProTell, the largest political party in the National Council the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), and militia organizations. The campaign materials highlight Swiss shooters from all walks of life and point out that the attempt to conform Swiss firearms law to the European Firearms Directive is wrong, hostile to freedom, useless, dangerous, and anti-Swiss.

The referendum campaign shows that there are many in Switzerland that possess a deep understanding of the vital role an armed populace plays in a system of ordered liberty. The referendum committee website published a piece from SVP National Councilor Werner Salzmann which explained,

There are three mechanisms of protection that have proven effective throughout history to prevent state arbitrariness and human rights abuses: the separation of powers, the right to freedom of expression and the right to private firearms ownership.

All three of these protections have always been exceptionally well developed in Switzerland. The power-limiting effect of the separation of powers is reinforced in Switzerland by the referendum and initiative right. So-called “hate speech” censorship, as in Germany, does not exist with us. And every law-abiding, mentally unremarkable citizen in Switzerland could always buy as many commercial weapons and ammunition as she wanted. [Translated from the original German using Google Translate]

The referendum committee’s fact sheets point out several of the specific problems with the European Firearms Directive. The EU laws would turn the right to own commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms into a privilege. The measure would curtail possession of the civilian versions of the military’s SIG SG 510 and SIG SG 550, which account for 80 percent of the rifles used in sports shooting. Casual shooters could face disarmament, as they would not be able to provide the proof of the need for a semi-automatic firearm required by EU law.

The campaign has also made clear that the 2017 additions to the European Firearms Directive are only the beginning of the EU’s gun control efforts. Article 17 of the Directive requires that every five years the European Commission must “submit to the European Parliament and to the Council a report on the application of [the European Firearms] Directive, including a fitness check of its provisions, accompanied, if appropriate, by legislative proposals…”

With the natural rights of the Swiss in the balance May 19, NRA will continue to monitor Switzerland’s European Firearms Directive Referendum and keep American gun owners apprised of the latest developments.

 

NRA Statement on New York City’s Desperate Attempt to Avoid Supreme Court Review

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New York City asks the U.S. Supreme Court to take a break in reviewing NYC’s anti-second-amendment policies… That’s NOT how the Supreme Court works! READ MORE

supreme court

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in regards to last Friday’s attempt by the City of New York to dismiss the NRA-supported Supreme Court case N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association, et al. v. City of N.Y., et al.:

“The City of New York clearly knows that its current restrictions on the carrying and transportation of lawfully owned firearms are unconstitutional and will fail under any standard of constitutional review, as the NRA has been saying for years. Today, it asked the U.S. Supreme Court to ignore the Constitution and allow the City to slow walk a narrow expansion of its current policy through a lengthy bureaucratic process — the result of which, even if adopted, would still unduly infringe upon the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. That is not how things work in the Supreme Court; the Court does not put its review on hold while the government embarks on a journey that at best might fix only a limited part of the constitutional defect. This is nothing more than a naked attempt by New York City to resist Supreme Court review of policies that even New York must recognize as inconsistent with the holdings in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The City of New York did not respect its citizens’ Second Amendment rights before the Supreme Court granted review in this case and it will not respect them going forward. We are confident that the Court will reject New York’s desperate attempt to avoid review of its blatantly unconstitutional laws.”

Get the Hect Outta Here: Police Chief Suspended After Students Complain About Pro-Gun “Likes”

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Seems that being a President Trump supporter and accepting a Christmas Card from NRA constitutes grounds for suspension. READ ALL ABOUT THIS.

tweets

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges are two liberal arts institutions for women in the western part of Massachusetts. Both share a campus police department that until recently was overseen by Chief Daniel Hect, who took command February 18 of this year. Less than two months later, however, Hect finds himself on administrative leave after a wave of discontent following students’ scrutiny of his social media accounts. The main complaints, at least according to the students themselves, center on Chief Hect having “liked” tweets that in some cases were issued by the National Rifle Association and in others were supportive of the president of the United States.

An April 9 article by The Sophian student newspaper at Smith described Hect as being “surrounded in controversy” after “students at Mount Holyoke found his Twitter page and pointed out several tweets he had liked.” The three tweets mentioned included one in which another Twitter user had written “Stay the course Pres. Trump.” A second was by another Twitter user who wrote, “BUILD THAT WALL.” The third supposedly offensive post was by the NRA and simply stated, “The National Rifle Association wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas!”

The article continued, “After spring break, the Mount Holyoke student body rose up on social media against this new hire and the sentiments that he brings to the campus by urging students to attend a community forum on March 21 with Hect himself.”

What, if any, other evidence of those “sentiments” the students uncovered is not explained in the article. The article does mention several attempts Chief Hect made to engage with students and allay their concerns.

A March 28 article from the Mount Holyoke News detailed one such event, describing it as featuring “tension and tears.” According to that article, “The concerns at the heart of the event primarily involved Hect’s social media presence, particularly on Twitter,” and specifically, “many of his liked tweets come from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and President Donald Trump.”

During the event, according to the article, Hect described his professional background and his philosophy on campus law enforcement. He told the students that the department under his leadership plans to “focus on community engagement [and students] getting to know the campus police as human beings.”

Yet the article noted:
Most of the night’s questions … circled back to what the new chief’s social media history revealed about his apparent political alignment. Conversation centered around Hect’s political ideology, with particular emphasis given to the topics of immigration reform, police brutality and his personal opinions on Trump and the NRA.

It also focused on a particular student who was drawn to the event by the “possibility of Trump-supporting chief of police” and who told the reporter she had trust issues with police, “especially someone I’d heard might be a Trump supporter.”

The article reported that Hect denied during the event that he supports Donald Trump and strongly condemned police brutality, adding that he had used his tenure at another department to weed out officers “we shouldn’t have in uniform.” He also apologized for expressing support for the border wall, calling it, “a huge mistake.”

Yet another Sophian article from yet another event where Hect tried to engage concerned students focused on his Twitter “likes.” An unidentified student mentioned in that article characterized “the tweets he liked” as “against her and her existence because, to him, she was an ‘illegal.’” Hect told students at that event he did not intend to resign.

This week, however, Hect was placed on administrative leave by both colleges.

A brief notice to the Smith campus community from college president Kathleen McCartney attributed the move to “members of our campus community hav[ing] voiced a lack of trust” in Chief Hect.” No further explanation was provided.

In an undated “update,” president Sonya Stephens of Mount Holyoke cited “concerns about the ability of Chief Daniel Hect to develop the level of trust required to engage in community policing” as the basis for his suspension from duty. The update flatly denied that Chief Hect was “put on leave for social media or political views” and insisted that neither is taken into account in the college’s hiring process.

What other concerns might exist about Chief Hect, however, remain unexplained.

Media coverage and the explanations of students themselves continue to focus on Hect’s social media likes and politics. Newsweek cited “[s]tudent’s frustration towards Hect’s political affiliation and personal beliefs,” as reflected in his “social media activity.” Masslive.com and the Daily Hampshire Gazette quoted the statements of the college presidents but gave no explanation for the students’ discontent other than Hect’s social media activity. Radio station WHMP reported on the story under the headline, “Joint Smith, Mt. Holyoke Police Chief Suspended for Social Media Activity.”

Meanwhile, a Dailywire article quoted a student who shared screenshots of the supposedly offensive tweets as stating that it was

unacceptable for someone in charge of keeping any community safe, let alone a campus as diverse as MHC’s, to be publicly displaying his support for hateful regimes and organizations, as well as for individuals who demonize migrants from Mexico or other latin american nations.

A glowing tribute to Chief Hect from the student newspaper at Denison University painted a very different portrait of the long-time law enforcement professional as he left for an appointment at Xavier University. “Denison wishes him nothing but the best,” it stated.

Unfortunately for Chief Hect, it was actually the worst that was yet to come.

Colorado Red Flag Bill Heads To Governor’s Desk, But Sheriff’s Concerns Linger Over Gun Confiscation

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Sheriff Steve Reams, who serves a Colorado county opposed to gun legislation, takes a firm stance against what he sees as an unconstitutional new law. READ MORE

Sheriff Steve Reams
Sheriff Steve Reams.

SOURCE: Fort Collins Coloradoan, by Nick Coltrain; CNN, by Bryan Howard, photo by Ken Tillis

Colorado houses controlled by Democrats, passed a new red flag bill HB19- 1177. This bill will allow the state government to take away guns from anyone they want for no legal reasons. However, one Colorado Sheriff is standing up to these tyrannical politicians claiming he will not enforce the new law and is willing to go to jail over it.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said, “It’s a matter of doing what’s right.” He has also said, “If you pass an unconstitutional law, our oaths as commissioners or myself as the sheriff — we’re going to follow our constitutional oath first. And we’ll do that balancing act on our own.”

Reams stated on Monday, “It’s unlike any other red flag bill that has been introduced anywhere in the United States. The issue is the person who is having their guns taken away isn’t aware of this hearing taking place. They find out about the hearing after the fact.”

Reams has said, “I’m not bluffing,” when he said he will not enforce the bill.

According to CNN, all 64 counties in Colorado oppose the anti second amendment law that will be enforced onto them, and about half of those have passed resolutions opposing the bill, symbolically declaring their counties “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” That list includes Weld County, Reams jurisdiction.

Reams could potentially face jail if a judge ordered his department to seize a person’s firearms; if Reams refused, he could face contempt of court charges.

Reams outlined concerns similar to those raised by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith and the Larimer County Commissioners in the lead up to the bill’s passage: It violates due process and other Constitutional rights, it takes away people’s home defense, it’s logistically difficult for sheriff’s offices that aren’t equipped to keep and return the guns, and it addresses a symptom of a mental health crises, instead of a person’s overall mental health.

“If they’re such a significant risk to themselves that they shouldn’t have a gun, my feeling is the better focus is dealing with the person,” Reams said. “So let’s look at a mental health hold or something along those lines.”

He called for instead reducing the requirements to place someone in a mental health hold, and increasing the requirements for freeing that person. State statute regarding mental health holds currently requires the person to represent an imminent danger to their self or others; Reams would like it to be closer to the lower threshold of a significant threat included in the red flag bill.

“The thought process of denying someone, or taking that object away and it being a way to make them safe, it misses the root problem,” Reams said. “Mental health is where we should be focused, and we just keep passing that buck along, keep kicking that can along, and that’s where I want to see that investment go.”

To be clear, Sheriff Reams doesn’t want to go to jail. He’d much rather the issues he sees with the bill be sussed out and the attention be shifted to helping those in mental health crises.

“(Going to jail is) the absolute last thing I’d like to do,” Reams said in an interview with the Coloradoan following a CNN story headlined “This Colorado sheriff is willing to go to jail rather than enforce a proposed gun law.” See it HERE 

“I’d much rather see this get worked out in the courts and dealt with in the courts before it ever comes to that point,” Reams told the Coloradoan. “But if and when the time comes, and this issue hasn’t been worked out in the courts, then, yeah, this is the last choice that I have.”

The bill allows family, members of the household or law enforcement to petition a court to have an individual’s guns seized or surrendered. A similar bill was stifled by the Republican-controlled Senate last year. The new Democratic legislature was able to move it through, and Gov. Polis, also a Democrat, has pledged to sign the measure into law.

“This bill will give law enforcement and families the tools that they need to stop tragedies from constantly happening and save lives,” said first-term Rep. Tom Sullivan, who sponsored the bill with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett.

Reams said he saw the conflict in enforcing state law versus respecting people’s Constitutional rights — and not just the headline-grabbing right to bear arms. He cited concerns with unlawful search and seizure, due process and equal protections clauses as well.

“It turns the Fourth, the Fifth, and the 14th amendment on their heads,” he said. “It does things so backwards from what we understand about due process. Anyone who looks at this with an honest eye has to have concerns. The Second Amendment is the easy thing to say is under attack, and that’s a portion of it, but that’s not the main portion. But it doesn’t resonate in headlines to say we’re defending the 14th Amendment.”

Several law enforcement officials testified for the bill, named after Zackari Parrish, a 29-year old sheriff’s deputy in Douglas County. The husband and father was shot and killed in a New Year’s Eve 2017 shooting by a man who had exhibited increasingly erratic behavior.

State Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, has said sheriffs who don’t want to enforce the measure should resign. Gov. Polis said on March 26 that he believes sheriffs are committed to enforcing laws approved at the Capitol. Polis also said sheriffs have discretion to decide which issues to focus on.

Reams said he wouldn’t resign in protest over the bill because he was elected to do the job of sheriff. Most of the constituent feedback he’s heard has been positive, he said.

“If I were to walk away in protest, or resign in protest, I’d be saying I’m not in it for the fight,” Reams said.

The red flag bill is the first major gun legislation to make its way through both Colorado legislative chambers since 2013, when lawmakers passed universal background checks and banned large-capacity ammunition magazines after the mass shootings in Aurora and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Thirteen other states have passed similar legislation. Florida passed its version after the 2018 Parkland school massacre.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

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Major 2nd Amendment boost! Judge overturns California’s ban on “high-capacity” magazines, the ban was “turning the Constitution upside down.” READ MORE

high capacity magazine

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined last Friday that California’s ban on commonly possessed firearm magazines violates the Second Amendment.

The case is Duncan v. Becerra.

The NRA-supported case had already been up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the question of whether the law’s enforcement should be suspended during proceedings on its constitutionality. Last July, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Benitez’s suspension of enforcement and sent the case back to him for further proceedings on the merits of the law itself.

Judge Benitez rendered his opinion late Friday afternoon and handed Second Amendment supporters a sweeping victory by completely invalidating California’s 10-round limit on magazine capacity. “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” he declared.

In a scholarly and comprehensive opinion, Judge Benitez subjected the ban both to the constitutional analysis he argued was required by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and a more complicated and flexible test the Ninth Circuit has applied in prior Second Amendment cases.

Either way, Judge Benitez ruled, the law would fail. Indeed, he characterized the California law as “turning the Constitution upside down.” He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox hailed the decision as a “huge win for gun owners” and a “landmark recognition of what courts have too often treated as a disfavored right.”

“Judge Benitez took the Second Amendment seriously and came to the conclusion required by the Constitution,” Cox said. “The same should be true of any court analyzing a ban on a class of arms law-abiding Americans commonly possess for self-defense or other lawful purposes.”

Unfortunately, Friday’s opinion is not likely to be the last word on the case. The state will likely appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which has proven notably hostile to the Second Amendment in past decisions.

Nevertheless, the thoroughness of Judge Benitez’s analysis should give Second Amendment supporters the best possible chance for success in appellate proceedings, particularly if the case ultimately lands before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Friday’s order prohibits California from enforcing its magazine restrictions, leaving its law-abiding residents safer and freer, at least for the time being.

To stay up-to-date on the Duncan case and other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, click HERE. And be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA email alerts HERE and HERE.

Missouri Bans All Federal Gun Control Laws in Proposed Bill

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Whoa! But, yes, the Missouri Senate is expected to pass a bill that totally and fully protects the Second Amendment, to the letter. READ MORE

missouri flag

SOURCE: TheSentinel.net

Missouri may have just made the most monumental step towards freedom and individual liberty since the signing of the Bill of Rights. In an upcoming vote by Missouri’s state senate, the state is expected to pass a bill that would nullify ALL Federal gun laws and regulations, and make enforcement of those laws by federal officers within the State of Missouri a criminal offense. Republicans control both U.S. Senate seats and more than two-thirds of the seats in both the Missouri House and Senate.

Like its predecessor, SB613, Bill SB367 and its companion, House Bill HB786, would prevent all state agencies and their employees from enforcing any federal law that infringes the Second Amendment in any way, including gun registrations, fees, fines, licenses, and bans. Originally authored in 2014, a former version of the bill was also passed, but vetoed by then Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

Pro-Gun Legislation with teeth
A stipulation of the newly passed bill states:
“All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States I and Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”

For added measure, SB367’s authors went into great detail on what federal laws will be “considered null and void and of no effect.”

(a) Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(b) Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(c) Any registering or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(d) Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and

(e) Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens

Such language is designed to guarantee that the measure can’t be worked around or misinterpreted by legislators or law enforcement agencies.

Just HiPoint It
The bill passed despite heavy opposition by Missouri’s law enforcement community, which should be no surprise, as Missouri law enforcement agencies raked in $34,462,153 in forfeitures from 2001 to 2008, according to a report by the Institute of Justice. That’s a lot of cash for doing Uncle Sam’s bidding, and now law enforcement officers will have to focus on collecting revenue from actual criminals, instead of stealing it from gun owners.

The bill’s other stiff opposition came from an unlikely source: the NRA. Anti-gun Senator Jamilah Nasheed tried to sneak language into SB367 that would require gun owners to report a stolen firearm to police no more than 72 hours after the discovery of the theft, or face a $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor charge. However, the actual text of the bill included no such language.

Bill author Senator Eric Burlison and bill saboteur Senator Nasheed agreed to reconsider and the stolen firearm reporting clause was removed earlier this week, thus satisfying the source of NRA opposition.

Here’s where things get interesting. The Missouri bill also includes criminal charges for any federal agent who violates SB367. As per the new law, state and local (municipal and county) law enforcement officers would be given “discretionary power” to determine if they will press criminal charges against federal agents who break the law by enforcing the now nullified federal gun control measures.

But will it hold up in a federal court?
Yes. The bill’s main provision calling on the entire state to cease enforcing federal gun control measures stands on solid legal ground under the anti-commandeering doctrine. Court precedent from 1842 to 2012 stipulates that the feds simply cannot require a state to help them violate your Constitutional rights, and allows states the power to refuse to enforce such federal laws it deems un-Constitutional. Besides, the feds simply don’t have the manpower to do it at the state level without the assistance and partnership of state and local agencies.

Just in case that isn’t enough, Missouri’s Senate also passed a measure supporters say will work hand-in-hand with SB367, solidifying it by codifying the Second Amendment into Missouri’s state constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 36 (SJR36) proposes an amendment to the Missouri state constitution with text obligating the state government to uphold the right to keep and bear arms. It passed the Senate by a vote of 29-4. If passed by the House, it will be entered on the ballot for Missouri voters’ approval this fall. The amendment would elevate the Right to Bear Arms to “unalienable status,” thereby obligating the state, its courts and agencies to defend it as a guaranteed right of Missouri citizens.

We’ll see if they can get it approved by Missouri’s Governor this time.

Yesterday’s Scandal, Today’s Mandate: Anti-gunner Embraces Operation Choke Point as Official Policy

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Maloney Baloney! Shades of OCP have reappeared in a re-emboldened anti-gun House majority, as well as in their media and plutocratic enablers. READ MORE

maloney

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) unabashedly embraced the tactics behind one of the most shameful policies of the Obama era, openly using the guise of her federal authority to berate and not so subtly threaten a bank for lawfully serving businesses that don’t reflect her political views.

While the media did their best to protect Barack Obama and his administration from any hint of scandal, two gun related issues managed to stain the White House with considerable and widespread disrepute.

One concerned a program to secretly “walk” guns from American firearm dealers directly into the clutches of ruthless Mexican drug cartels, while at the same using the resulting violence as a pretext to call for increased firearm regulation in the U.S. The officials involved dubbed this Operation Fast & Furious. It was only the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, killed in a shootout that involved one of the “walked” guns, that finally forced the issue into the national consciousness.

The other scandal involved federal regulators pressuring banks and payment processors to sever ties with businesses that were completely lawful but that offended anti-gun sensibilities. These included members of the gun industry. This program was known as Operation Choke Point (OCP), and while no fatalities have been attributed to it, the scheme struck at the heart of the rule of law.

In the case of OCP, Department of Justice and Federal Deposit Insurance Company officials provided sworn testimony to Congress denying that regulators were pressuring banks to drop business the regulators found morally objectionable. Apparently, they suggested, the banks just misunderstood the “risk management” guidance they were being provided. In time (after considerable damage had already been done, and the banks thoroughly understood their unwritten marching orders), guidance documents were revised to “clarify” the regulators’ “true intent.”

The NRA and others have already been reporting on how shades of OCP have reappeared in a re-emboldened anti-gun House majority, as well as in their media and plutocratic enablers.

But an oversight hearing by the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday provided one of the clearest and most shocking examples to date of how anti-gun Democrats are now willing to embrace as official policy what was still treated as scandal under the Obama administration.

The title of the hearing was “Holding Megabanks Accountable: An Examination of Wells Fargo’s Pattern of Consumer Abuses.” Wells Fargo, not coincidentally, provides banking services to the NRA.

The only witness at the four hour plus hearing was Wells Fargo President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy J. Sloan. Mr. Sloan had the unenviable task of serving as punching bag during an extended production of Political Outrage Theatre. The entire premise of the hearing was that Wells Fargo might very well have to endure yet more regulation and oversight — or perhaps be broken up altogether — unless Mr. Sloan provided satisfactory answers to committee members’ questions about the bank and its business practices.

Maloney, for her part, excoriated Mr. Sloan and Wells Fargo for refusing to follow the lead of other national banks that had refused or severed business with members of the gun industry that did not “voluntarily” adopt certain gun control “best practices” that exceed the requirements of federal law.

These practices include banning long gun purchases by young adults eligible for military service and refusing to recognize the 3-day default transfer option that gun dealers may exercise if the FBI does not complete a background check. They also just happened to mirror policy goals that anti-gun Democrats — a category that includes Maloney herself — have been pursuing through legislation they have not to date been successful in enacting.

Maloney, in other words, was not accusing Wells Fargo of having done anything illegal by transacting with members of the firearm industry. Rather, she was criticizing the bank for not imposing anti-gun rules that Congress itself has failed to adopt.

Maloney noted that Wells Fargo does have corporate “human rights” practices that in some cases exceed legal and industry standards. She then mentioned the Parkland massacre, as if Wells Fargo were somehow complicit in the acts of a deranged murderer who had nothing to do with the bank and who had been given authorization to buy the gun he used in his crime by the federal government itself via its background check system.

“Why,” Maloney demanded to know, “does Wells Fargo continue to put profits over people by financing companies that are making weapons that are literally killing our children and our neighbors? … How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other banks have done?”

Given the backdrop of Operation Choke Point, Maloney might as well have asked, “Federal regulators and big city newspapers have browbeaten your competition into submission on the issue of servicing firearm industry clients. How dare you defy their wishes and continue to do so?” She also invoked the shibboleth that school shootings are increasing, a premise that research refutes.

Mr. Sloan calmly answered, “We don’t put profits over people. We bank many industries across this country.” He continued, “We do our best to ensure that all of our customers who we bank follow the laws and regulations that are in place on a local and a state and a national level.”

Maloney then interrupted, insisting that the bank’s commitment to gun control should be as strong as its commitment to human rights.

Mr. Sloan, however, stood his ground. “We just don’t believe that it is a good idea to encourage banks to enforce legislation that doesn’t exist.”

He didn’t add, but he could have, that respect for human rights also necessitates respect for the fundamental rights of self-preservation and self-protection.

The entire exchange can be seen on this video, starting at 48:03.

Needless to say, no business in America could survive if it had to comply not just with all the binding laws that regulators foist upon the country’s companies and employers but with the personal sensibilities and politics of all 535 federal legislators, plus those of thousands of federal bureaucrats.

Nor could any business survive if it had to answer for every unaffiliated person who abused or misused one of its products or services.

That is why America is often said to be a country of laws, not men. That principle has provided the most stable and prosperous economy and business environment the world has ever known.

That stability is threatened, however, by those like Maloney and others who would rule by intimidation and humiliation rather than by duly enacted legislation.

 

Activist Court Turns the Law Designed to Protect the Firearm Industry from Frivolous Lawsuits on its Head

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“The theory would be similar to the victim of a drunk driver suing the manufacturer or dealer of the vehicle the driver happened to be operating at time…” READ MORE

PLCAA

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Last Thursday, the Connecticut Supreme Court created a dangerous new exception to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a strong safeguard for our right to keep and bear arms.

Repealing or judicially nullifying the PLCAA has been a priority for the gun ban lobby ever since the law was enacted in 2005. Thursday’s decision, while not binding beyond Connecticut, provides a possible roadmap for those hoping to circumvent the PLCAA’s protections against frivolous and untested legal claims against the firearm industry.

The case is Soto v. Bushmaster. Gun control activists, however, have long sought to hold firearm manufacturers and sellers accountable for the crimes of third-parties who obtain and illegally use the guns they sell.

The PLCAA was enacted to protect the firearms industry against a highly-orchestrated and coordinated series of lawsuits that sought to either bankrupt the industry or force it to “voluntarily” adopt the sorts of measures gun control activists had unsuccessfully sought to impose by legislation.

While anti-gunners like to portray the PLCAA as providing “extraordinary” or “unparalleled” legal protection to gun makers and sellers, in reality it simply ensures that activist courts cannot create a firearm-specific exemption to well established principles of law. The most important of these is, as the Connecticut Supreme Court put it, “the general rule that an individual cannot be held liable for the conduct of others.”

Gun control activists, however, have long sought to hold firearm manufacturers and sellers accountable for the crimes of third-parties who obtain and illegally use the guns they sell. The theory would be similar to the victim of a drunk driver suing the manufacturer or dealer of the vehicle the driver happened to be operating at time.

This theory is unsurprisingly almost always a legal loser, absent unusual circumstances demonstrating a link between the merchant and the criminal or specific warning signs the merchant was aware of but chose to ignore when selling the gun to the person who later misused it.

Nevertheless, winning the cases was never really the point. The point was instead to get enough litigants in different jurisdictions to gang up on the manufacturers so that they would go out of business or give up defending the lawsuits before the cases ever got before a jury. The PLCAA was enacted to protect the firearms industry against a highly-orchestrated and coordinated series of lawsuits that sought to either bankrupt the industry or force it to “voluntarily” adopt the sorts of measures gun control activists had unsuccessfully sought to impose by legislation.

The PLCAA put an end to this, while still allowing for liability for those who knowingly engage in bad conduct. For example, it contains exceptions for marketing a defective product, entrusting a firearm or ammunition to someone unfit to have it, or breaking a law “applicable to the sale or marketing of the [firearm or ammunition],” and thereby causing the plaintiff’s injuries.

The plaintiffs in Soto v. Bushmaster are survivors and representatives of those killed in the terrible murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. in 2012.

They advanced a variety of legal theories as to why the PLCAA did not apply to their claims.

A trial judge dismissed all of these claims in an October 2016 ruling, which we reported on at the time.

The plaintiffs then appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, which in a closely divided 4 to 3 ruling, found a pathway for the case to proceed.

The high court’s majority opinion focused on the exception for the violation of laws “applicable to the sale or marketing of the [firearm or ammunition]” that result in the plaintiff’s injuries.

In so doing, it had to resolve the question of whether that exception applies only to gun specific laws (like the ones used as examples in the act itself) or whether it could apply to any law that might conceivably be invoked against the manufacture or sale of a firearm or ammunition.

The court chose the broadest reading of that language, finding that it applied to any law used to bring a case against a firearm manufacturer or seller, whether or not that law was enacted with firearms in mind or even whether or not it had previously been used in the context of a firearm related claim.

The law the plaintiffs invoked was the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), which prohibits any person from “engag[ing] in unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.”

The plaintiffs advanced two theories as to how this applied to the defendants’ behavior.

First, they asserted that any sale of an AR-15 to the civilian population was necessarily a fraudulent commercial practice, because (so they claimed) such firearms have no legitimate civilian use. Never mind the fact that the AR-15 is, by all accounts, the most popular centerfire rifle in America, that it is owned by millions of law-abiding people who use it for every legitimate purpose for which a gun can be used.

It is also notable with respect to this claim that Congress enacted the PLCAA the year after it allowed the Clinton Gun Ban to expire in 2004. Congress was well aware that gun control advocates hate AR-15s and similar guns and want them permanently banned, but it did not exempt them from the PLCAA’s protection. Indeed, an important principle underlying the PLCAA is that the legislatures get to determine how to regulate firearms, not the courts.

The Connecticut Supreme Court, however, did not decide whether the sales and marketing of AR-15s to the general public is inherently fraudulent, finding only that the statute of limitations had expired on that particular claim. But the court at least left the door open for future such claims in other cases. While anti-gunners like to portray the PLCAA as providing “extraordinary” or “unparalleled” legal protection to gun makers and sellers, in reality it simply ensures that activist courts cannot create a firearm-specific exemption to well established principles of law. The most important of these is, as the Connecticut Supreme Court put it, “the general rule that an individual cannot be held liable for the conduct of others.”

The second CUTPA theory the plaintiffs advanced was the outrageous accusation that Bushmaster intentionally marketed its version of the AR-15 to school shooters and other violent criminals and that the perpetrator of the Newtown crimes choose to use that gun at least in part because of this.

The supposed evidence the plaintiffs used for this claim was Remington ad copy that used militaristic images and language, appeals to patriotism, references to the gun’s use and proofing in combat.

These are, of course, the same advertising techniques used to sell any number of other lawful products to law-abiding people, from pants, to sunglasses, to boots, to vehicles. The fact that a customer might appreciate knowing that an item – especially one for use in protecting his or her home and loved ones – performed well under demanding circumstances is hardly proof that it is purposely being marketed to deranged killers.

But that premise was enough for the Connecticut Supreme Court to require the defendants in the case to spend millions of dollars defending themselves from what is certain to be prolonged and costly litigation that publicly portrays the companies and their products in the most negative ways possible.

This was so, even though the majority acknowledged CUTPA had never been used to bring a firearm-related case in Connecticut and indeed had never even been applied to a personal injury case.

And if there was any remaining doubt about where the majority stood on the issue of AR-15s, they also included a totally unnecessary commentary suggesting the limits of the Second Amendment, which wasn’t even raised as an issue in the case. In particular, the court opined, “It is not at all clear … the second amendment’s protections even extend to the types of … rifles at issue in the present case.”

To their credit, three judges dissented from the majority opinion as it applied to the ability to use CUTPA to circumvent the PLCAA, even as they indicated their own disagreement with the choices Congress made with the Act. “It is not the province of this court, under the guise of statutory interpretation, to legislate a particular policy, even if it were to agree that it is a better policy than the one endorsed by the legislature as reflected in its statutory language,” the Chief Judge wrote in his dissent.

With the viability of the PLCAA now in jeopardy, it is likely the defendants will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether any intervention comes quickly enough to save the gun industry from a renewed campaign of frivolous litigation remains to be seen.

 

Kentucky lawmakers approve NRA-backed concealed carry bill

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Kentucky lawmakers have approved a bill to allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training. KEEP READING

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SOURCE: ABC News 12

The Kentucky bill, backed by the National Rifle Association, won final House passage Friday and now goes to Gov. Matt Bevin.

Under the measure, Kentuckians able to lawfully possess a firearm could conceal their weapons without a license. A gun-carrying permit now carries a fee and training requirement.

If the measure becomes law, The NRA says Kentucky would become the 16th state to allow adults statewide to carry concealed firearms without permits.

Supporters in Kentucky said the bill is a recognition of gun-ownership rights.

They said Kentuckians already can carry weapons openly without any training. But if they carry a gun under a coat, they currently need a permit.

Opponents objected to dropping the training requirement.

 

Oklahoma Enacts Constitutional Carry Law

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Oklahoma becomes the 15th state to recognize our constitutional right to freely own a firearm, and keep it handy… READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt for signing into law House Bill 2597, NRA-backed legislation that fully recognizes the constitutional right of law-abiding gun owners to carry a concealed firearm.

“On behalf of the NRA’s five-million members, we would like to thank Governor Stitt for signing this important legislation into law,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA-ILA. “This law is a common sense measure that allows law-abiding Oklahomans to exercise their fundamental right to self-protection in the manner that best suits their needs.”

H.B. 2597 passed both chambers with broad bi-partisan support (House vote 70-30 , Senate vote 40-6). With the enactment of H.B. 2597 into law, Oklahoma becomes the fifteenth state to allow constitutional carry and the second state to enact the law this year. The complete list of constitutional carry states includes Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming and New Hampshire.

This law does not change prohibited person laws or any law governing the misuse of a firearm, prohibited places where a firearm cannot be carried, or when force may be used in defense of self or others.

“NRA members and all of Oklahoma’s law abiding gun owners appreciate the efforts of the bill sponsors. Without the hard work and leadership of Senators Kim David and Nathan Dahm as well as Representatives Jon Echols, Kevin West and Sean Roberts this bill would not have become law,” concluded Cox.