Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Constitution

Latest Bloomberg Anti-gun Ad Backfires

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 31, 2014:

English: New York Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg

In order to ramp up support for Senator Amy Klobucher’s (D-Minn.) gun-control bill, Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and now the founder and prime funder of his latest anti-gun group, Everytown for Gun Safety, paid for a video that has gone viral. Unfortunately for the former mayor, for all the wrong reasons.

When Laura Bassett at Huffington Post viewed it, she didn’t see the irony in it, and played it straight:

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Detroit is Proving John Lott Correct After all

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, August 1, 2014:

Cover of "More Guns, Less Crime: Understa...

John Lott’s updated version of More Guns, Less Crime confirms what his previous editions already showed: an increasing number of people familiar with, skilled at arms with, and willing to defend themselves with, sidearms, results in a safer, more secure and lower crime environment. Without saying as much, Detroit’s Police Chief James Craig’s announcement on Wednesday proves the point: more guns, less crime.

Craig’s only been there a year but his three decades of law enforcement experience in places as diverse as Maine and California are already beginning to be felt. Since he came on board last July, Detroit has seen a

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Leahy Offers Weak Bill to Curb NSA Eavesdropping on Americans

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

English: Official photo of Senator Patrick Lea...

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

On Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (shown, D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced his version of the USA Freedom Act intended to strengthen a similar bill passed by the House last May. It’s scarcely an improvement and likely won’t be taken up before November, if at all in this congress.

But Leahy was optimistic nonetheless, saying that his bill, if enacted, “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since … the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.” That was easy for this hard-left Democrat to say, as there has been no reform of the unconstitutional Patriot Act since it was passed. In fact, without revelations provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, even these modest “reforms” would never have been presented. Without Snowden, the NSA would have continued collecting every last piece of communications data it could and storing it for future reference at one or more of its vast collection facilities around the country. Since the bill was presented so late in this Congress, it is virtually certain no action will be taken on it.

The House bill that was passed back in May was so full of loopholes and modifications by last minute amendments as to make the effort essentially ludicrous. Although offered jointly in October 2013 by Leahy and his House counterpart, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin (the author of the Patriot Act), only the House bill ever saw the light of day. At the time, Sensenbrenner expressed great hopes for his bill:

Following 9/11, the USA Patriot Act … has helped keep Americans safe by ensuring information is shared among those responsible for defending our country and by enhancing the tools the intelligence community needs to identify and track terrorists.

But somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost…. Washington must regain Americans’ trust in their government. The USA Freedom Act [I am offering] is an essential first step.

That first step was more like a stumble. Under the bill, according to The Guardian, “the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ — the standard preferred by the NSA (National Security Agency) — of wrongdoing.” This is a far cry from the “probable cause” requirement demanded in the Fourth Amendment, but that’s only the beginning.

The bill purports to modify Section 715 of the Patriot Act while saying nothing about Section 702, which allows worldwide surveillance by the NSA. The bill allows for the continuous collection of Americans’ telephone records, according to the Open Technology Institute. Most grievously, the bill extended the Patriot Act until December of 2017.

Once the House passed its USA Freedom Act, 303 to 121, those opposed, including Republicans Darrell Issa, Ted Poe, and Raul Labrador and Democrat Zoe Lofgren expressed their disappointment with it. Said Lofgren, “[This] bill will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably.” It shifts collection responsibilities from the NSA to the telephone companies to which the NSA has virtually unlimited access, so it’s a cosmetic change only. The bill requires the NSA to get permission from the FISA Court, but FISA is not known for having a high regard for the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.

When Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) saw what the House had wrought, he said he was “gravely concerned that the changes that have been made to the House version of this bill have watered it down so far that it fails to protect Americans from suspicionless mass surveillance.”

Not surprisingly, the White House endorsed the watered-down version of the bill:

The Administration strongly supports … the USA Freedom Act…. The Administration applauds and appreciates the strong bipartisan effort that led to the formulation of this bill, which heeds the President’s call on this important issue.

The bill ensures our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have the authorities they need to protect the Nation, while further ensuring that individuals’ privacy is appropriately protected.

Especially grievous is the power that continues to be granted to the so-called FISA “court.” This is the secret court that first came to light when Edward Snowden in 2013 leaked a top-secret order issued by the court requiring a subsidiary of Verizon to provide a daily, on-going feed of all call detail records — including those for domestic calls — to the NSA. As Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School, explained,

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long as they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.

Leahy’s bill allegedly will tighten up the House bill somewhat, creating a “special advocate” for liberty at the FISA courts, and limiting the NSA from vacuuming up data from an entire zip code or all the records from a communications service provider. It also declassifies some of those FISA court orders which have remained sealed and protected from public view. In its tentative support for Leahy’s new offering, Nadia Kayyall of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said,

The legislation may not completely end suspicionless surveillance … it allows the NSA to get a second set of records (a second “hop”) with an undefined “direct connection” to the first specific selection term.

Because the “direct connection” standard is vague, the government may seek to construe that phrase to mean less than reasonable suspicion.

Translation: The NSA, under Leahy’s new stronger, tighter, more restrictive language, may continue to do whatever it pleases in collecting and storing for later use all private communications from Americans.

Leahy’s bill will probably never see the light of day in this congress and will have to be reintroduced in the next session if anything is to be done to rein in the NSA’s collection of data. In the meantime, the NSA’s vacuuming of innocent Americans’ private communication continues unabated.

 

 

BATFE: the Agency that Just Won’t Go Away

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 25, 2014:

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ...

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team

News that gun prosecutions under Obama have dropped an astonishing 25 percent raised hopes that this most feared agency (outside of the IRS) was going away. A closer look reveals exactly the opposite.

News about the drop came from Syracuse University, which, at the request of the Washington Times, looked at the data from the Justice Department over the past 10 years and concluded that

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Brooklyn Congresswoman “Threatened” by GOA’s Larry Pratt

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 25, 2014:

English: Larry Pratt at a political conference...

Larry Pratt at a political conference in Reno, Nevada.

Following publication of a blatant hit piece by Rolling Stone on Gun Owners of America (GOA) Executive Director Larry Pratt on July 14, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), representing New York City’s boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, felt personally threatened, and called the cops. Maloney’s staff called the Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, to say that Pratt’s comments published by Rolling Stone could be taken as a

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Tennessee Restaurant Welcomes Guns — Holstered “Unless Need Arises”

 This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 21, 2014:  
Colt clone in 45 cal. with Fastdraw Holster

Colt clone in 45 cal. with Fastdraw Holster

When Sharma Floyd, owner of Shiloh Brew and Chew in Maryville, Tennessee, read about a shooting at a convenience store in North Carolina that had posted a sign on its front door banning guns on the premises, she considered it both a warning and an opportunity:

They had put up a sign that said “No Weapons Allowed” and they were robbed at gunpoint two days later. The … store manager was shot.

And that got me thinking.

First, she determined that, while she herself doesn’t own a gun, her customers certainly had a right to do so if they wished. Second, she had lost some business to a large group of motorcyclists “because they thought I didn’t allow weapons. But I believe it’s ok to carry as long as you have a permit.”

Third, she decided how best to make her position clear. She posted the following sign:

 

 

Guns are welcome on premises.

Please keep ALL weapons holstered unless need arises.

In such case, judicious marksmanship is appreciated!

Thank you. Shiloh Management.

Almost immediately she began to get not only positive feedback but also a boost in business:

I can honestly say I have gotten way more support than the one person who really gave me a lot of grief over it.

I have had so many customers take pictures of the sign, ask to meet me in person, and thank me.

Perhaps without knowing it, Floyd borrowed the language for her sign from Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, owned by Lauren Boebert. Boebert posted her sign months earlier, and business grew so much that it caught the attention of the Daily News, USA Today, and Denver’s 9News. Boebert goes one step further: Her waitresses openly carry while on duty, and they’re trained to protect themselves if necessary. When asked if this was just for show, Boebert was firm in her denial: “[The guns are] real and they’re loaded and we know what we are doing. I fear for anyone who tries to rob us.”

She added:

We encourage [carrying] and customers love that they can come here and express their rights.

This country was founded on our freedom. People can come in carrying their gun, and they can pray over their food.

Her establishment even offers gun safety classes once a month for those customers who don’t carry, but want to.

Over the last year a few major chains have been targeted (pun intended!) by anti-gun groups for allowing their customers to carry while shopping, drinking coffee, or eating, with modest success. Target, Starbucks, and Chipotle have each announced that they “respectfully request” that those who carry guns leave their sidearms outside. In each case the language of the announcements was carefully crafted so as to offend as few people as possible. This example from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, will suffice:

In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outside seating areas.

In each case it was a “request” and not a “demand,” leaving the option to carry open to their customers, or to shop elsewhere. As noted elsewhere, this is perfectly consistent with all freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Some have started having regrets over making such requests. Just a month ago, Jack in the Box restaurants announced its “preference” that customers leave their firearms outside:

Creating a warm and inviting environment for all of our guests and employees is a top priority for Jack in the Box. The presence of guns inside a restaurant could create an uncomfortable situation for our guests and employees and lead to unintended consequences.

While we respect the rights of all our guests, we would prefer that guests not bring their guns inside our restaurants.

The irony of that request was made clear within days at one of their stores in Houston. Customers and employees were placed into “an uncomfortable situation” with “unintended consequences” when four thugs who didn’t get the memo entered the restaurant with guns drawn and forced the customers and employees to give up their wallets and purses. What’s more, this was the third armed robbery at a Jack in the Box restaurant since the company’s announcement. Perhaps thugs can read, after all?

The vast majority of restaurant chains, however, have decided not to touch the issue, granting local franchisees the power to make a decision in line with state laws. According to CNBC, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouses remain “gun friendly” in states that allow them to be so. In addition, TGI Friday’s, Subway, and Cheesecake Factory also allow customers to carry concealed if they so desire.

Pro-gun groups are springing up to help gun owners find restaurants that are friendly. There’s the Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA), whose members have canvassed most of western Tennessee and confirmed that Olive Garden, Lonestar, Picasso’s, Chili’s, O’Charley’s, Red Lobster, and Red Robin all are happy to seat gun owners and greet them with a smile.

There’s Brian Crosswhite, the owner of Cajun Experience in Leesburg, Virginia, who has just opened a website — 2Amendment.org — with the intention of having gun-friendly businesses sign up and receive a “2AO – 2014” sticker for their front door. In addition, gun owners are able to use an iPhone app to find local establishments friendly to their interests.

Crosswhite is also taking advantage of the current furor over guns in restaurants by offering his customers an “Open Carry Wednesday” where those with permits get 10-percent off regular menu prices.

Leave it to entrepreneurs to see an advantage and press forward with it. Whether with clever signage, stickers, apps, or just plain word-of-mouth, restaurateurs are taking advantage of the free market to continue to serve their customers. The current debate is only helping things along.

 

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Serious Crime in Detroit Continues to Drop

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 17, 2014: 

 

Crime Classification Manual

After barely more than a year on the job, Detroit’s new chief of police, James Craig, reported significant gains in his war against serious crime. According to Craig on Wednesday, his city has seen a 37-percent drop in robberies, a 22-percent drop in home- and business-invasions and a 30-percent decrease in carjackings. Perhaps the most telling statistic, however is this: There has not been a report of a major crime since May 4 — a period of more than two months. And this in a city that just two years ago had the highest rate of violent crime of any city over 200,000 population, according to the FBI.

Craig takes only partial credit for the remarkable rebound toward normalcy. He said, “Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon [if they are threatened]. I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, are because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.”

Al Woods, a Detroit resident and former criminal now reformed, agreed:

If I was out there now robbing people these days, knowing there are a lot more people with guns, I know I’d have to rethink my game plan.

Craig, a law-enforcement officer who began his career in Detroit three decades ago as a beat cop, returned as chief last July and announced his intent to reduce serious crime:

No longer will we stand idly by as criminals run rampant and the good citizens are held captive in their own homes.

Gone are the days that a citizen calls 911 and there is no response. Gone are the days that a citizen comes to a precinct only to find that the doors are locked.

We have taken an oath to protect our citizens and protect them is what we will do.

He started at the top, first by reducing the number of LEOs (law-enforcement officers) protecting the mayor, from 23 to 6, and putting them back onto the street or in vehicles responding to service calls. He discovered too many commanders or executives holding what Craig called “meaningless positions” and so he eliminated the positions. He gave them a choice: retire or hit the streets. Most of them hit the streets, avoiding the need to fire any of them.

Then he looked at those service calls. Prior to his arrival the average response time was 58 minutes. Today it’s down to between 10 and 12 minutes. His goal? Five minutes. He said, “That’s a stretch goal. I would admit that. I think the national average for response time to emergencies nationally is 11 minutes. That said, I’m still pushing.”

Next he looked at homicide “clearance” rates — the rate at which such crimes were solved — and discovered that due to low morale, poor leadership, lack of financing, cruiser and motorcycles way beyond their useful lives, Detroit was solving barely one out of 10 homicides. He said, “We’re now sitting on a homicide clearance rate that’s comparable to other large cities like LA. We’re now sitting [at] probably the high 80s, low 90s.” He explained:

There’s no magic to it. The community, coming in the door, when I got here, had no confidence in the Detroit Police Department.… The reason why is because, if they can’t call us for help they’re not going to [call].

That’s part of what is going on here. Confidence is returning, people are talking to us.

In an interview with Allan Lengel of Deadline Detroit, Craig went on to explain why things were so bad when he got there last summer:

It was the greedy, dirty, corrupt, status-quo politicians that destroyed this city….

They didn’t invest in this police agency, they didn’t invest in public safety, they didn’t care about it. It’s evident. I mean when you look at the dilapidated vehicles.

He currently has about 2,300 uniformed officers serving a city of 900,000 people, pared down nearly 1,000 from just five years ago. He has 1,200 vehicles including motorcycles, and needs at least 800 more. He has 20 new recruits just graduating into his force, and has plans to bring in another 600.

Craig is getting help from the citizenry as well. Almost 30,000 people in Detroit are now legally armed and carrying sidearms, with that number increasing daily. In 2012, 7,584 concealed-pistol permits were issued, while in 2013 another 6,974 were issued, more than double the number issued back in 2009. Best of all, he supports citizen carry, telling Lengel:

I think it’s good for people to protect themselves, their families and, when necessary, protect someone from an imminent threat to their lives or facing great bodily injury.

I’m not an advocate of violence. I do not promote vigilantism. I promote life, I promote non-violence.… I promote law-abiding citizens who are eligible to get a concealed weapons license, who are trained and responsible when face with an imminent threat to their life.

It’s the law that they can protect themselves.

He also had this to say about anti-gunners’ attempts to disarm law-abiding citizens:

How many law-abiding citizens wander out committing mass shootings? How many law-abiding citizens are out committing armed carjackings, robberies, shootings? How many are doing that?

I say none are.

All of which adds up to a war on crime that is succeeding. Detroit has a long way to go, but Craig, with his management skills, his bulldog tenacity, and his support of citizen-carry, is already making a difference.

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Operation Choke Point is Under Attack

This article was first published at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 16, 2014:

English: A Glock 17 handgun.

Glock 17

Something remarkable is taking place in Washington this week. While the headline news is all about the border crisis, a little-known program designed to do an end run around the Second Amendment is being exposed to daylight. The House had two hearings on Tuesday – one by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee entitled “The Department of Justice’s ‘Operation Choke Point’” and the other by the House Committee on Financial Services to consider a bill to shut the whole thing down – and another one is scheduled for Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent? A Study of the Propriety and Legal Authority for the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point.”

The pressure for such exposure has been building for months.

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Pushback Against Operation Choke Point Gains Momentum

 

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 15, 2014:

 

Choking - 365 Day 59

The secret initiative that began as Operation Choke Point (OCP) in March 2013 is now beginning to meet not only with massive unfavorable publicity but also congressional pushback. Three hearings by House committees this week are indicative of the mounting outrage OCP has generated.

Just months into his first term, President Obama launched “Operation Broken Trust” under an executive order, creating the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, seeking to “root out and expose” various investment scams that cropped up at the start of the Great Recession. It has now morphed into a gigantic interagency behemoth involving the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Secret Service.

“Mission creep” inevitably set in, and the scope of the investigative attention expanded greatly to include

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As Georgia’s Gun Freedoms Expand, So Do Others

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 7, 2014: 

Jack Hilliard, Deer Hunter, Wears His Handgun ...

When Georgia’s new “guns everywhere” law became effective on Tuesday, July 1, the governor was ecstatic:

[This is] a great day to reaffirm our liberties….

The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should be at the front of our minds.

The new law allows gun owners with carry licenses to do so in churches, schools, bars, and some government buildings that were previously off-limits. It also expands the state’s “stand your ground” laws to cover those previously convicted of felonies. And it prevents police from demanding without cause a person carrying to produce a license permitting him to do so.

Without saying so specifically, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal expressed a point often missed in the gun debate:

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Obama: A Law unto Himself

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Events of recent months have clearly revealed Barack Obama for what he is: a revolutionary progressive determined to change the United States into a fascist system of controls over every aspect of a citizen’s life. In spite of a recent series of events that would have humiliated and shamed a less committed totalitarian into silence and withdrawal, Obama instead has pressed on with his agenda.

On Saturday, in his weekly press conference, Obama announced that he was taking things into his own hands:

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Obama to “Go It Alone” on Immigration Reform

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 1, 2014:

 

English: The logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immi...

Speaking at the White House Rose Garden on Monday, President Obama said that because of the House’s refusal even to consider last year’s Senate bill on immigration reform (informally called “pathway to citizenship”), he is going to do it on his own:

I don’t prefer executive action. I prefer permanent fixes to the problems we face. I would love nothing more [than] for bipartisan legislation to be put on my desk so I can sign it. I take executive action only when we have a serious problem and when Congress chooses to do nothing.

In this situation, the failure to pass a darn bill is bad for security, the economy, and the future. So while I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act. Americans cannot wait forever.

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Flawed Logic in Court Ruling that Colorado’s Gun Laws are Constitutional

This article was first published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 30, 2014:

Cover of "The Second Amendment"

With her ruling that Colorado’s new gun laws are constitutional, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Kreiger didn’t let logic interfere with her thought process. She ruled that it was OK for the Colorado legislature to restrict magazine capacities to 15 rounds because the impact on precious rights was so small. In addition, she ruled that background checks on all private sales was constitutional because other states had passed similar laws and other courts had ruled them constitutional.

The Colorado Shooting Sports Federation, one of the several plaintiffs in the case which included many of Colorado’s county sheriffs who joined as individuals, smelled a rat without locating where it was in her 50-page ruling issued last week:

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Colorado Gun Laws Constitutional, Says U.S. District Judge

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 27, 2014:

In Search of the Second Amendment

On Thursday, a federal judge upheld Colorado’s new gun-control laws that mandate background checks for all gun sales and limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds. U.S. District Chief Judge Marcia Krieger issued her 50-page ruling on the 2013 laws after a two-week civil trial in late March and early April in Denver.

The lawsuit was originally filed by plaintiffs including sheriffs, gun shops, outfitters, and shooting ranges. Krieger ruled last year that the sheriffs could not sue the state in their official capacities but they could join the lawsuit as private citizens.

In her ruling, Judge Krieger (who was appointed to the position in 2001 by then-President George W. Bush) made clear from the beginning that she wasn’t going to rule on whether or not the new laws made sense:

A court does not act as a super-legislature to determine the wisdom or workability of legislation. Instead, it determines only whether legislation is constitutionally permissible….

The judge just only compares the public policy adopted by the legislature against the constitutional minimums that protect individual rights….

This Court will not express a qualitative opinion as to whether a law is “good” or “bad,” “wise” or “unwise,” “sound policy” or a “hastily-considered overreaction.”

After determining that most of the plaintiffs had standing to sue, she focused her attention on the impact that limiting magazine capacities would have on both criminal shooters and law-abiding citizens:

Plaintiffs argue that by limiting magazines to 15 rounds or less, this statute impairs an individual’s Second Amendment “right of self-defense.” Colorado reflexively responds that because people can still defend themselves, no Second Amendment right is impaired.

She then notes that the offending laws do not directly regulate firearms at all, but only the size of the magazines that feed them:

Because [the magazine limit law] regulates only the number of rounds in a magazine, it does not affect whether the semiautomatic firearm can be used, or even whether it can be used in a semiautomatic mode. It only affects how often it must be reloaded.

She said the scope of the law is universal but its impact is not severe enough to render it unconstitutional:

This ban applies to every person in Colorado, in every venue, and for every use, including self-defense inside and outside of the home.

It impacts a large number of semiautomatic firearms, both handguns and rifles. Viewed in this light, the scope of the statute is broad, and it touches the core of an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

But because its impact on that right is so minor, the judge said, she overlooked it as any kind of impediment to the government’s overriding interest in “public safety”:

Despite such broad scope, however, the statute’s impact on a person’s ability to keep and bear (use) firearms for the purpose of self-defense is not severe….

Thus, this statute does not prevent the people of Colorado from possessing semiautomatic weapons for self-defense, or from using those weapons as they are designed to function. The only limitation imposed is how frequently they must reload their weapons.

She decided that the “pause” (when a criminal shooter runs out of ammunition during an attack in order to reload gives his victims time to run away and hide while giving more time for armed officials to intervene) was a distinct advantage of the new law. She failed to mention that the alleged invented shooter in her scenario wasn’t likely to limit himself under the new law. Instead, she concentrated on how limiting magazines to 15 rounds would scarcely impact an honest citizen’s ability to defend himself: “No evidence presented here suggests that the general ability of a person to defend him or herself is seriously diminished if magazines are limited to 15 rounds.”

Besides, she wrote, most “incidents” involved criminals intending mayhem are resolved without any shots being fired:

First, the defensive purpose of firearms is often achieved without shots being fired whatsoever. Mr. [Massad] Ayoob [an expert witness called for the plaintiffs in the case] testified that, often, merely the defensive display of a firearm is sufficient to defuse the threat….

In these types of circumstances, a restriction on a magazine size in no way diminishes the ability of the firearm user to defend him or herself.

Therefore, wrote the judge, the modest infringement of a Second Amendment right is acceptable:

The Court finds that although [the law limiting magazines to 15 rounds] burdens the operation of semiautomatic weapons, the burden is not severe because it does not materially reduce the ability of a person to use a semiautomatic firearm for self-defense, not does it reduce the effectiveness of self-defensive efforts.

One wonders if our nation’s Founders would be impressed with the argument that infringements of the Second Amendment are allowed because they are modest.

Krieger made short work of another complaint, that background checks required in all private transactions are unconstitutional. She noted that the plaintiffs didn’t really make that argument at all, but instead focused on temporary transfers being hampered unnecessarily:

Plaintiffs do not argue that requiring background checks for the private sale of firearms is unconstitutional. Rather, they focus their challenge on the effect of the statute on temporary transfers [i.e., loans] when ownership of the firearm does not change.

But since the Second Amendment and other court rulings have failed to address the issue of such temporary transfers of a firearm from an owner to a borrower, therefore it doesn’t count:

It is not at all clear that the Second Amendment prevents the government from restricting the ability of persons to acquire firearms via temporary loans from others….

Logically, if the government can lawfully regulate the ability of persons to obtain firearms from commercial dealers, the same power to regulate should extend to non-commercial [private] transactions, lest the loophole swallow the regulatory purpose.

Upon learning of the decision, the plaintiffs had plenty to say about it. The Colorado State Shooting Association, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, called it “disappointing on many levels” and asserted that the ruling missed the whole point concerning the Second Amendment:

The significance of the Second Amendment as a core portion of the Bill of Rights and its importance has virtually no reference in the decision. Most noteworthy was the court’s focus on the important government interest at hand while ignoring the complete absence of support for [it] in the legislative record.

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, a leader among the plaintiffs, added:

While we respect the judge’s ruling today, we believe that it is plainly wrong on the law and on the facts….

[The laws] are still unenforceable. And that is borne out in that there has not been one arrest on these two laws to date.

The ruling was not without its supporters, however. State Senator Mary Hodge, a Democrat from Thornton and a sponsor of the bills, remarked:

This is public safety. Having people have to pause to reload [during a mass shooting] saves lives. These school shooters, for the most part, did not know how to reload their weapons, so this limit on large-capacity magazines is good.

Eileen McCarron, head of the anti-gun Colorado Ceasefire Capitol Fund, said the lawsuit was a waste of time and money:

This was a politically motivated lawsuit that has been grasping at straws from day one. These laws are reasonable protections against gun violence that many states have adopted and have repeatedly passed the test of constitutionality.

And Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, whose office defended the laws, said he was just doing his job:

Like Judge Krieger, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has never asserted that the laws in question are good, wise or sound policy. As it does in all cases, the AG’s Office has fulfilled its responsibility to defend the constitutionality of the Colorado law[s] in question. The Attorney General’s Office fully expects the case to be appealed and looks forward to final resolution of the issues as soon as possible.

If left to stand upon appeal, Judge Krieger’s ruling illustrates just how our fundamental rights given by God and guaranteed by the Constitution are lost: an inch at a time. Krieger, in her ruling, failed to address the word “infringe,” which could have shed more light on the rights she was allowing to be compromised. “Infringe” means to violate, transgress, encroach, or trespass. The Latin root infringere means “to break” or “weaken.” In that light, the laws just ruled constitutional by her court remain unconstitutional after all.

One awaits the appeal with eager anticipation.

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Lawsuit to be Filed Against Teacher Tenure rules in New York

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 26, 2014: 

 

Classroom in the Afternoon

Classroom in the Afternoon

Following the widely hailed victory over California’s egregious teacher tenure rules in court earlier this month, another group is bringing suit in New York to challenge similar rules. Called the Partnership for Educational Justice, it has enlisted pro bono efforts from Jay Lefkowitz, a skilled and capable litigator with previous victories against teacher unions under his belt.

The lawsuit will challenge laws that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled to be unconstitutional in California, namely,

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House Investigator Issa Subpoenas Lois Lerner’s hard drive

Rose Mary Woods (1917-2005), Richard Nixon's s...

Rose Mary Woods (1917-2005), Richard Nixon’s secretary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this week Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, subpoenaed the hard drive from Lois Lerner’s computer that allegedly crashed – along with those of six other IRS personnel – in August 2011. He wanted everything, including “all hard drives, external drives, thumb drives and computers” plus “all [other] electronic communications devices the IRS issued to Lois G. Lerner.”

When asked about the matter, an IRS “spokesman” told Politico:

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The Beginning of the end of Tenure for Teachers

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 13, 2014:

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make ...

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Photo credit: jgarber)

A subtitle might be “Olives, Dominoes, Tipping Points, and Judge Treu.” It’s common knowledge that the first olive out of the bottle is always the hardest, that after that the rest come out a little more easily. It’s common knowledge that once the first domino falls, the others topple immediately afterwards. As Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, put it:

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Teacher Tenure laws Struck down in California

Photo of the facade of the California Teachers...

Photo of the facade of the California Teachers Association’s main office in Sacramento, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one thing the California teachers’ unions wanted to avoid was a full-on public trial which would expose the dark underbelly of the system that for years has protected incompetent teachers with tenure. The ruling on Tuesday in Vergara v. State of California by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu is their worst nightmare come true: all of the egregious laws protecting incompetents were thrown out.

As the evidence in the four-week trial began to mount up, so did the judge’s indignation. At issue were

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A Hero Emerges from the Horror of the Las Vegas Shootings

Sheepdog

Sheepdog (Photo credit: timothy.potter)

In the media’s haste to cover a story that appeared initially to mesh with its anti-gun agenda, at least two covering the ghastly murderous attacks in Las Vegas on Sunday skipped over the real hero: Joseph Robert Wilcox.

USA Today’s initial reporting of the incident only made passing reference to the man who likely cut short what was planned to be a massive attack on innocents, referring to Wilcox as just “another man” who was shot in the Walmart melee. But the paper gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the senior Senator from Nevada, plenty of ink:

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Federal Reserve Notes Soon to Become Irrelevant in Oklahoma

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 9, 2014:

 

Republic of Hawaii Banknote for 20 gold dollar...

Republic of Hawaii Banknote for 20 gold dollars, 1895. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something that the lamestream media missed entirely happened on Wednesday, June 4, in Oklahoma: the governor signed into law a bill affirming what is already guaranteed to each state in the US Constitution: that gold and silver coin are legal tender. Historians looking back may recall that day as the day the Federal Reserve’s hegemony over money ended.

Article I, Section 10, the U.S. Constitution states simply that

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.