Is this really necessary, or is it nothing more than another deterrent to citizens wishing to purchase a firearm? READ ABOUT IT
Earlier this year in March, we provided information regarding the use of Non-REAL-IDs for firearm purchases.
On Tuesday, November 20, Attorney General Becerra issued a consumer alert regarding the Use of “Federal Limits Apply” Driver Licenses and IDs to purchase firearms.
This consumer alert advises: Firearm Dealers may require additional documentation to prove lawful residency in the United State in the event that a “federal limits apply” identification card or drivers license is being utilized for the acquisition of a firearm. This is due to recent law revisions and the advice of the California Department of Justice to Firearms Dealers to consider requiring the additional documentation. Be sure to check with your firearms dealer ahead of time to avoid any unforeseen problems this holiday season. A firearms dealer may request one of the following documents to establish lawful residency:
Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
Certified copy of U.S. birth certificate
U.S. Certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen
Valid, unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. immigrant visa and approved Record of Arrival/Departure (I-94) form
Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. Territory
Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Citizenship
Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card
Please continue to check the California Stand and Fightweb page for updates on issues impacting your Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage in California.
“Concerned a Co-Worker Is Dangerous?”a KQED News headline asks. “Bill Would Let You Petition State to Take Their Guns.” Really…
To make the case for adding to the state’s citizen disarmament options, a couple examples are given of California “gun violence restraining orders” being used to take guns away under petitions filed by family members or law enforcement officers. This latest push expands the list of those eligible to initiate gun seizures to employers, co-workers, high school and college staff members and mental health workers.
The expansion is the “brainchild” of Assemblyman Phil Ting, unsurprisingly a San Francisco Democrat, and this is actually his second attempt to enact it. Also unsurprisingly, both times have been in response to murders that happened in so-called “gun-free zones,” where the killers evidently didn’t get the message (or more likely, got it loud and clear).
That this doesn’t sink in with Ting’s constituents is also no surprise. His violating Assembly rules by “ghost voting” didn’t bother them enough to give him his walking papers. And the unvarnished support he received from convicted “gun criminal” (and former rabidly “anti-gun” California politician) Leland Yee hasn’t raised any eyebrows in his district either.
On the surface — to those who don’t look too deeply below it — protection orders can sound reasonable and what the gun-grabbers call “common sense” (as long as you don’t question American citizens being stripped of a fundamental right without being convicted of anything). And that has put the ACLU, of all groups, on the right side of the issue and at odds with the NRA and no shortage of supposed “conservatives.” Per their Rhode Island chapter:
“The heart of the legislation’s [Extreme Risk Protection Order] ERPO process requires speculation — on the part of both the petitioner and judges — about an individual’s risk of possible violence. But, the ACLU analysis notes: ‘Psychiatry and the medical sciences have not succeeded in this realm, and there is no basis for believing courts will do any better. The result will likely be a significant impact on the rights of many innocent individuals in the hope of preventing a tragedy.’”
But that hasn’t stopped so-called “conservative” pundits from jumping on the protection order bandwagon. Ditto for President Donald Trump and for NRA “A”-rated Lindsey Graham, who couldn’t team up fast enough with “F”- rated Richard Blumenthal…
Unsurprisingly for those of us who follow such things, the same goes for the National Rifle Association. (Hear for yourself starting at 3:15 in their video. Saying “they should have strong due process protections” does not change the fact that such orders really don’t, and can’t by their very nature.)
“[A]s they are currently implemented, these laws come with major pitfalls and potential for serious abuse,” Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership warns. “They violate the principles of liberty and establish a dangerous ‘guilty until proven innocent’ standard. GVROs and ERPOs passed to date violate multiple Constitutional protections beyond the Second Amendment. These include the rights to equal treatment and against unreasonable search and seizure (4th amendment), the rights of the accused (6th), and the right to due process (5th and 14th).”
And, of course, there’s another indisputable reality that none of the proponents of restraining orders want to even acknowledge, let alone talk about:
“Anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian.”
If proven violent persons are still truly dangerous, Robert J. Kukla made a brilliant observation in his 1973 classic “Gun Control,” equating their release from prison with opening the cage of a man-eating tiger and expecting a different result.
If there is “clear, convincing, admissible evidence” that a supposedly “restrained” party is a danger, how is it responsible to allow such a menace access to the rest of us until such time as it can be established that he is no longer a threat? Does anyone think he couldn’t kill with something else? Or, noting routine headlines from places like Chicago and Baltimore, that he couldn’t get a gun? Why wouldn’t he be separated from society, after being afforded real “due process,” with all appropriate protections of course?
Concessions on these measures by the NRA, which in turn gives the green light to Republicans, is nothing short of preemptive surrender. It won’t stop the Democrats from coming back for even more, especially as they perceive they are better positioned to launch their next assault. Meanwhile, they’ll still continue screaming how the “uncompromising and extremist” NRA is “a terrorist organization” and that Republicans are “fascists.”
We know where the “slippery slope” leads, and that the violence monopolists want it all. Giving them anything makes as much sense as tossing a scrap of flesh to a circling pack of jackals and believing that will satisfy them and make them go away.
Well on its way down that slope, California is on a “gun control” binge reminiscent of an eye-rolling shark feeding frenzy. Thanks to practically unchallengeable Democrat dominance, it has the votes to do pretty much whatever it wants, so don’t be surprised if Ting’s bill passes this time, and that after it does, he and his fellow gun-grabbers, both in and outside of California, will be demanding more.
Wake up! Not everyone agrees with the anti-gun movement, and here’s an example of how forcing that view creates that much more division. MORE
SOURCE: Arkansas Online By CAROLYN THOMPSON and MICHAEL MELIA The Associated Press
As she addressed the crowd during the walkout at her Idaho high school, Kylee Denny faced heckles and name-calling from a group of students carrying American flags, she said. The counterprotesters included many familiar faces, including her boyfriend’s stepbrother.
To avoid making a difficult situation worse, Denny’s boyfriend stayed in class during the rally at Hillcrest High School in Idaho Falls, which was part of Wednesday’s national school walkout.
“I’m dating his stepbrother, which is really incredibly awkward and it’s very tense because he was being so hostile about losing respect for me because I was walking out,” said Denny, a 17-year-old junior who helped organize the protest.
The walkouts to protest gun violence that mobilized students across the country also created tensions in hallways and classrooms as a new generation was thrust into the debate over guns. While those calling for new restrictions stood in the spotlight, the surge of youth activism has exposed sharp differences of opinion.
Administrators and student leaders are also sorting through the fallout as some schools hand out discipline for those who defied school instructions and participated in the walkouts exactly one month after the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
In some cases, personal relationships have been strained.
Ryler Hanosky said he was disappointed that his stepbrother, Denny’s boyfriend, did not join the counterprotest.
“He’s a hunter just like me. He likes his guns,” Hanosky said. “I told him, ‘You need to come with us,’ and he’s like, ‘No I’m just going to stay out of it.’ It kind of makes me mad a little bit.”
The rally Denny helped organize was supposed to be for school safety, not gun restrictions, she said, but some misunderstood, becoming angry and calling names.
“You’re just like, ooh, wow, OK, I have second period with you and I don’t want you to think I’m trying to destroy your constitutional rights,” she said.
In Woodbury, Conn., about 75 students walked out of class Wednesday at the 750-student Nonnewaug High School, meeting in the auditorium before walking outside. They were followed by another group of about a dozen counterdemonstrators, including some who chanted, “NRA is the only way!”
One student, Jess Dooley, 16, said the school in rural western Connecticut is small enough for her to know nearly everyone, but that she did not feel comfortable joining the walkout because of comments by gun-rights supporters. Tensions already had been high since the Parkland shooting as debate grew vehement over arming teachers, school shootings and gun control.
“Everybody knows how everyone feels about it,” she said.
The day after the walkout, Dooley said, her civics teacher defused some tension by letting students take turns sharing their opinions on the walkout.
Organizers of the national walkouts called for such measures as tighter background checks on gun purchases and a ban on weapons like the one used in the Florida shooting. A protest against gun violence is also scheduled in Washington on Saturday , and another round of school walkouts is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High shooting in Colorado.
In last week’s walkouts, some students tried to steer clear of politics entirely, including Jacob Shoemaker, a senior at Hilliard High School in Ohio, who was suspended a day for not following instructions because he stayed in a classroom instead of joining protests or the alternative, a study hall. School, he said, isn’t the place for politics, and he wasn’t taking sides.
In Pennsylvania, a superintendent issued detentions to 225 Pennridge High School students who walked out Wednesday instead of attending an assembly honoring the Parkland victims.
Elsewhere, scuffles broke out between walkout participants and students who had other ideas for how to spend the time. At Blythewood High School in South Carolina, students were packed together in a school atrium when some began talking during the moment of silence for the Parkland victims. Shoving broke out as some called for quiet.
“These kids, who were probably younger, they weren’t against the protests,” said Andrew Kilgore, an 18-year-old senior who said students would be better organized for the next demonstration. “They were just being disruptive. They wanted a reason to get out of class.”
NRA calls for BAFTE review on rapid-fire devices. Here’s the story…
The National Rifle Association issued the following statement on October 5, 2017:
“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.
Read this release from TSRA to learn about ALL of the changes in Texas gun law on September 1. See below:
LTC Fee Reduction Legislation
(SB16 by Senator Robert Nichols/Representative Phil King)
In 1995 the Texas Legislature passed the concealed handgun license. At that time the fee to the state for the CHL was put into statute at $140 for the initial license and $70 to renew. The only discounts in 1995 were for seniors over 60 at a 50% discount and to indigents for the same 50% discount.
Over the years the Legislature created discounts for various groups such as judges, district attorneys, military, law enforcement and others but nothing for the average hardworking Texan. In addition, the process of issuing the license became streamlined.
With SB 16:
Those who would have paid $140 will now pay $40, and their renewal will also be $40. The cost will be $40 for seniors for their first license instead of $70, and a senior renewal will remain $35.
$40 is the most any Texan will pay the state for the License to Carry.
While TSRA strongly supports unlicensed possession of a handgun, the Texas license has become acceptable even to those who opposed the issue for decades.
Special thanks to Senator Robert Nichols the author of SB 16, to Representative Phil King for HB300, Representative Dustin Burrows for HB339 and to Representative Kyle Kacal for HB1024; all filed to create support for SB 16.
SB 16 was Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s #1 priority for Texas gun owners.
Governor signed (5/26/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Caliber Requirement for LTC Qualification
(SB263 by Senator Perry/Representative Drew Springer)
Since 1995 there has been a minimum caliber requirement in the statute for the range proficiency portion of the Texas License to Carry class. Range Proficiency requires the applicant shoot a 50-round course of fire.
Currently, those seeking a license must test with a .32 caliber or higher handgun although there is no caliber requirement regarding the firearm carried by the licensee on a day to day basis.
This minimum caliber requirement negatively impacts those with hand injuries and the elderly who wish to obtain a license.
SB 263 by Senator Perry removes the caliber requirement for the range proficiency exam to obtain a Texas License to Carry. The bill takes effect September 1.
Governor signed (6/9/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Volunteer First Responders
(HB435 by Representative Ken King/Senator Perry.) Relating to handgun laws as they apply to licensees who are volunteer first responders.
Governor signed (June 15, 2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
TSRA Suppressor Bill plus a Friendly Amendment
On Friday, May 19th, at 8:55 p.m. the Texas House passed HB 1819, authored by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) with Senate sponsor, Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) plus an amendment by Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls).
HB1819 sets up Texas law in preparation for the Hearing Protection Act (HR 367) to pass in Congress. The Hearing Protection Act would remove suppressors, also known as silencers, from the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA). This means the purchaser of a suppressor would no longer be required to pay the suppressor dealer a deposit, fill out the form 4, transmit digital fingerprints, send BATFE $200, followed by waiting as long as a year for their application to be processed, the “tax stamp” issued and the purchase finalized. Again, we’re only talking about suppressors. A device which simply muffles sound.
The US Congress, under our current administration, is expected to act and when the change occurs Texas law will be ready to accommodate the change. This means law-abiding Texans wanting a suppressor for their firearm will show their LTC or submit to NICS as though they were purchasing a firearm. No forms and no $200 tax to BATFE when the Hearing Protection Act passes in Congress.
But wait, there’s more! Mossberg Shockwave!
It was brought to our attention by State Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) and by TSRA members that the Mossberg 590 Shockwave could not be purchased in two states: Texas and Ohio. There is a Mossberg manufacturing facility in Eagle Pass.
You see BATFE does not require this 14″ barrel, pistol grip “firearm” to be registered as an NFA device. The Shockwave is not a shoulder-mount shotgun.
The Mossberg amendment was added in the Senate by Senator Craig Estes. Thanks of course to Senator Charles Perry the Senate sponsor for HB 1819.
HB1819 has now been signed by Governor Abbott and takes effect September 1. We may have a wait to purchase a suppressor, but we will purchase the Mossberg 590 Shockwave and other similar firearms after September 1.
HB1819 Bill History with Co-Author’s List
Governor Signed (5/26/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017 for Texas law but we wait on Congress!
Online LTC Course Option
(HB3784 by Representative Justin Holland (R-Rockwall and Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano))
Creates an optional online course for the Texas LTC. The shooting portion must be done with a DPS certified instructor.
Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Church Volunteer Security
Relating to the exemption from the application of the Private Security Act of certain persons who provide security services on a volunteer basis at a place of religious worship.
The original bill didn’t pass but was successfully amended to SB2065 by Senator Kelly Hancock (R-N. Richland Hills)
Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Primary and Secondary Teachers and School Parking Lot
The language of HB1692 by Representative Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant) Relating to the transportation and storage of a handgun or other firearm and ammunition by a license holder in a motor vehicle in a parking area of a primary or secondary school.
This legislation protects the jobs of hard-working primary and secondary teachers with an LTC. This group was not previously covered by the employer parking lot bill from years ago.
Neither the House Bill nor the Senate bill passed, but the language was amended.
Representative Hefner successfully amended his language to SB1566 by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham).
Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
Legalize the Bowie Knife
HB1935 by Representative John Frullo/Senator John Whitmire eliminates daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, spears, and Bowie knives from Texas law, allowing them to be carried in Texas. Governor signed (6/15/2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017
LTC Range Qualifications and Veterans
SB138 by Senator Van Taylor/Representative Morgan Meyer to exempt certain military veterans and active duty service members with military range qualifications from the state required range portion of the LTC course. SB138 passed as an amendment to HB3784 Effective Date 9/1/2017
A viral social-media post is suggesting that it may be okay to shoot someone to defend a statue. Our Independent Program Attorneys beg to differ.
Here is U.S. & Texas LawShield® Independent Attorney Edwin Walker’s response:
Texas LawShield recently became aware of a viral Facebook post telling people they can shoot someone vandalizing a statute.
Based on recent events, we understand the importance of knowing whether or not this is valid legal information.
It appears this viral story started as a blog post that reported on one individual’s opinion on the use of force and/or deadly force to protect public property.
The position advocated by the Facebook post cited in the blog is not a very good idea.
The defense of property justifications (TPC 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43) are all based upon the finding that the person’s conduct was based upon a “reasonable belief” that the use of force is “immediately necessary” to prevent the harm to property.
With regard to deadly force, it can only be used if the person “reasonably believes that … the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by ANY other means.”
This presents a lot of room for a jury to find that someone was unreasonable in using force or deadly force to defend against an act of criminal mischief.
Further, deadly force can never be used in response to the crime of criminal mischief in the daytime.
Many people who have commented on this post have posed a “…but what if they come at me…” scenario.
It is true that the circumstances that allow for the use of force and/or deadly force can change instantly. If a person is simply trying to stop a vandal by shouting at him or calling the police, and as a result the vandal attempts to attack the person, then the person being attacked would be justified in using force and may even escalate to deadly force to defend themselves if they have a reasonable belief that they are going to be murdered.
However, if a person were to physically intervene to stop a vandal (any offensive, unwanted, or injurious touching is an assault) and then were to be physically assaulted themselves, the issue that a jury would have to decide is whether or not the person had disqualified themselves from claiming self-defense because of their initial “assault” on the vandal.
Needless to say, this is a very complex issue and should not have been addressed by anyone in a cavalier manner.
It is unfortunate that civilized behavior in our society has devolved to such a state that it is even necessary to consider these issues.
To learn more, we invite Members and guests to attend seminars and workshops presented by experienced attorneys as they discuss laws regarding the legal use of force and legal use of deadly force. To stay on the right side of the law, it is critical you stay current on any legal changes. Don’t miss this opportunity. Click Gun Law Seminar to find out more.
“In fact, the Amendment’s core at a minimum shields the typically situated citizen’s ability to carry common arms generally,” wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith in the ruling on the case Wrennv. District of Columbia.
Subsequently, the appeals court instructed lower courts to block the D.C. law with permanent injunctions. City officials indicated they’re exploring an appeal, while gun-control groups claim the ruling shrinks public safety in the nation’s capital.
D.C. gun laws are among the strictest in the U.S., but they’ve also faced several legal challenges in the last few years, said Kirk Evans, President of U.S. & Texas LawShield.
Gottlieb added, “We are particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.”
In the days after the ruling it was too early to tell how far the case would rise through the appeals process. The Supreme Court in June declined to consider another Second Amendment case, Peruta v. California, in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a San Diego County law requiring gun owners to prove they have “good cause” to apply for concealed carry permits.
But Gottlieb said the latest victory in D.C. spurs confidence among Second Amendment advocates.
“To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement,” Gottlieb said. “We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.” — Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog
The application of the state’s Campus Carry Law at community and junior colleges across Texas kicked off with a whimper—not a bang—on Tuesday (Aug. 1), to no surprise of TSRA Legislative Director Alice Tripp.
“This effort started in 2007 and we’ve gone through four sessions of the Legislature and 10 public hearings,” said Tripp, who works closely with legislators as a representative of the Texas State Rifle Association.
“It has required a lot of work and effort.
“Now we will focus on making sure the state colleges follow the letter of the law,” she added, noting that every regular session of the Legislature colleges must send a report about their specific rules and regulations pertaining to the law and why they created them.
She said dire predictions of problems by the anti-gun crowd have proven to be groundless, just as when the law took effect at four-year public colleges on Aug. 1, 2016.
“There have been firearms on campuses since 1996—in the parking lots, on the grounds, in the dorms—this just opens up carrying firearms into buildings and classrooms.
“I am sure that students have been sitting next to someone carrying a handgun into a classroom all along. They were just doing it without permission—now they have permission,” she said.
Tripp pointed out that the negative attention on the issue has been focused mainly on students carrying firearms, while the driving force behind the effort to allow licensed carry on campus has come from faculty and staff members at the institutions of higher learning.
“What the faculty and staff members have told us is that they wanted to feel safe walking to their car in the parking lot after dark or in other areas where they might face a threat,” she said.
With the backing and support of the TSRA, state Senator Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, filled SB 11, also known as the Campus Carry Law. It passed during the 2015 Legislative session.
Tripp noted that incidents related to the implementation of the law last year at four-year public colleges have been limited to one accidental discharge where no one was injured and a couple of cases where licensed concealed-carry holders inadvertently entered restricted areas.
Campus Carry Legal Issues
On the legal side of the issue, three University of Texas at Austin professors sued the state and the university after enactment of the Campus Carry Law, claiming that the potential presence of guns in classrooms has a chilling effect on class discussion.
A federal judge rejected their claims, ruling that the professors failed to present any “concrete evidence to substantiate their fears.”
Colleges may ban or restrict firearms from certain areas of the campuses. The Legislature must review these restrictions every other year.
There was at least one demonstration opposing the implementation of the state law at community and junior colleges on Tuesday. It was a one-man protest by a San Antonio College geography instructor.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, the 60-year-old instructor conducted classes on Tuesday while wearing a Kevlar helmet and a flak jacket in his protest of the law.
Reaction on the comments page of the paper was mostly negative. One reader wrote that the instructor’s action was a “melodramatic and buffoonish spectacle in protest of the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.” —by Ralph Winingham, Contributor, U.S. and Texas LawShield blog
In the wake of the 4th of July, this is a focus for many of us, and here’s the full story of how and why the Second Amendment came to be. Learn more…
by Chip Lohman, NRA Publications Staff
Our earliest colonial governments began with charters written for individuals and settlement companies. As colonists sought religious freedom, better land or escape from British rule, charters were authorized by the King as the legal means for the colonies to exist.
As the colonies became more independent, they established their own governments, even drafting state constitutions in some cases. During this same period in our history, complaints began to surface about the perception that traditional rights of English citizens were not being extended to the colonists. Similar unrest was vented in Jonathan Mayhew’s sermon where he coined the phrase “No taxation without representation.” These and other objections to British oversight led to the American Revolution, during which the colonies formed the Continental Congress, declared independence on July 4, 1776 and fought the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). Eleven years after publishing the Declaration of Independence with the legendary words “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” representatives from the 13 states were invited to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to revise the “Articles of Confederation.” These Articles still recognized states as independent governments. After the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, colonial activists began to compare the viability of independent state governments to a federal government better suited to national affairs. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would not last unless the Articles of Confederation were revised. Absent Rhode Island, the Philadelphia meetings began on Friday, May 25, 1787, with 55 prominent citizens attending. The deliberations included alternatives for wartime security, transitioning to a central government and how the states would be represented in that central government. The more populated states preferred proportional representation, while smaller states argued for equal representation. Thanks to the remarkable wisdom for our forefathers, the matter of state representation was resolved by proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation in the upper house (Senate).
As the summer debates of 1787 wore on, emphasis gradually shifted from state rule to a central, federal government. However, with little mention of individual rights guarantees written into the draft, several delegates, including anti-federalist George Mason of Virginia, proposed that a committee be appointed to prepare a bill of rights. Mason concluded in his objection: This government will commence in a moderate aristocracy. It is at present impossible to foresee whether it will, in its operation, produce a monarchy or a corrupt oppressive aristocracy. It will most probably vibrate some years between the two, and then terminate in the one or the other.
One hundred and sixteen days after convening, 39 delegates signed the carefully crafted system of checks and balances that would become the United States Constitution. As provided for in Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.
The following summer, New Hampshire became the requisite ninth state to ratify the document, thus establishing our new form of federal government. Today, our Constitution is the oldest written, operating constitution in the world.
Mason’s objection was delivered five days before the Constitution was signed. Perhaps due to the months already spent in argument and debate, and maybe to some degree because of the summer climate, worsened by the heavy wool coats and wigs of the day, the anti-federalist’s proposal was rejected.
Those who supported the Constitution were known as federalists. Delegates who feared that a centralized government would lead to a dictatorship were called anti-federalists. Recall that our fledgling country had just fought a war over matters such as “taxation without representation,” so there remained a healthy resistance to replacing one autocratic government with another. As a result of the impasse over the proposed amendments, several delegates refused to sign the final document.
Negotiating a common, legislative rule of law for 13 states, in four months (not years) and securing a majority vote was an extraordinary task in itself. Devising a system of checks and balances with separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches was brilliant. But in 1787, the completed document contained none of the civil liberties that distinguish our government today. Were it not for the inspired, flexible design of the newly drafted Constitution that allowed a minority group to voice a dissenting opinion, the cornerstone of individual rights on which our democracy is now based may never have been laid.
The early framers recognized the need for flexibility in constitutional law. Consequently, Article V of the Constitution outlines the method for change as a two-step procedure: Proposal of an amendment, followed by ratification. Using state models for individual rights and reaching as far back as the English Magna Carta for inspiration, Mason proposed a Bill containing 10 amendments to the Constitution what became known as the Bill of Rights. Through a lengthy process of House, Senate and State ratifications, the Bill was ultimately signed four years later on December 15, 1791. Over time, more than 5,000 amendments have been proposed in Congress, with far fewer actually ratified.
Established shortly after the American Civil War (1871) as a marksmanship and firearms safety organization that today includes a myriad of related education and support programs, the National Rifle Association’s mission was significantly expanded in the mid-1970s. With an increased concentration of resources devoted to preserving Second Amendment rights, NRA became a more active participant in the legislative and public policy arena in support of protecting and advancing the guarantees of our Constitution. As originally ratified by the founding fathers, the Second Amendment decrees that: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.This wasn’t a new concept, with origins dating back to Great Britain’s Bill of Rights written in 1689. The British version created a separation of powers, enhanced democratic elections, bolstered freedom of speech and argued that individuals had the natural right of self-defense.
The old style grammar used when drafting the Second Amendment has since led to multiple dissections and interpretations of the founders’ intent. Were the framers referring merely to the need for a standing militia, or is it clear that their focus was to preserve an individual right, as was the theme for all 10 amendments?
Over the years, the Supreme Court has rendered its own interpretations of the intent of the Second Amendment. In 1875 (United States v. Cruikshank), the Court ruled that “the right to bear arms is not granted [emphasis added] by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government.”
Fast forward to 2008 (District of Columbia v. Heller), where the Court again ruled that the Second Amendment “…codified a pre-existing right” and that it “…protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” Most recently in 2010, (McDonald v. Chicago), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.
While it’s interesting to review the twists and turns of history and the awe-inspiring wisdom of the founding fathers, what lies ahead rests squarely on our shoulders. Readers will argue their own reasons why the fervent debate continues over the Second Amendment and, by extension, gun control. I believe that the implementation of Social Security (1935), the shift from an agricultural to urban life, and a dependence on others for food, shelter and safety, and maybe even the advent of 911 calls (1968), have contributed to an attitude, for many, that “someone else” is responsible for our welfare. The opposing side will argue that we are “our own 911.”
With the recent Republican wins in the White House and Congress, and the Supreme Court nominations to follow, one could mistakenly believe we have put this debate to bed for 40-50 years. Whether or not the argument can be reconciled through education, arbitration or compromise, that’s another article — for all of us to write.
My recent op-ed in The Hill newspaper points out that while professors seem to be very concerned about allowing permitted concealed handguns on college campuses, their actions don’t match their rhetoric. While a professor’s resignation at the University of Kansas gets national news attention, for example, only one out of 2,600 faculty members has left his or her post at the school.
In my column, I point out that permit holders across the country have an astoundingly low rate of criminality — even lower than police officers. Permits have been revoked for firearms-related violations at rates of thousandths of one percentage point. Civilian permit holders are less likely than police officers to be convicted of a firearms violation. So, many academics’ worries about the potential for shoot-outs on campuses are overblown, if you just consider the data.
For instance, a Crime Prevention Research Center study shows that from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate of misdemeanors and felonies by full-time police officers was .102 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in the year 2015, the year campus carry was signed into law in that state, was .0102 percent, or one-tenth the rate of LE violations.
Also, from January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007, the yearly rate for firearms violations was .017 percent. The annual rate for Texas’ concealed-carry permit holders in 2015 was .0024 percent.
In the column, I argue the purported danger in campus carry has not materialized, even though campus carry has been in effect in some states for 14 years—it became law in Colorado in 2003 and in Utah in 2004, and has become law in numerous other states since then, including Arkansas and Georgia this year. That’s enough time and enough data to have at least noticed a spike in campus criminality by concealed-carry license holders if it had happened. —Texas & U.S. Law Shield Contributor Dr. John Lott, Jr.