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: Second Amendment

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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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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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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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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House Passes bill to Increase Funding for Background Checks

Seal of the National Crime Information Center ...

Seal of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), USA. — “Servicing Our Citizens” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Late last Thursday the House voted, 260-145, to increase federal grant money to states to improve their reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. It was a textbook case of revolutionary parliamentarianism at work.

Less than one week after the Isla Vista, California, shootings which left seven people dead and 13 wounded, the House voted to increase funding by $19.5 million to assist the states in their data collection and entry into the federal gun registry system. It was all for good reasons, according to Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who helped sponsor the amendment:

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Obama Administration Choking off Bank Lending to Gun Dealers

Cover of "The Second Amendment"

Cover of The Second Amendment

For seven years Theodore Roosevelt Liberti – known to his friends as “T.R.” – ran a retail gun shop in New Jersey and then moved it to Florida. T.R.’s bank had always been BankUnited (BU) which handled his accounts and cleared his customer’s credit card purchases. But when he decided to open an online store called Discount Ammo-N-Guns, BankUnited closed his accounts on March 12 “pursuant to the terms and conditions listed in our Depositor’s Agreement.”

When T.R. demanded a further explanation, the bank remained silent. T.R.’s wife and business partner, Elizabeth said:

I was very angry. They were very inconsiderate. We had all our credit cards going through that bank.

All of a sudden we had to run and find another bank to keep our business going. We [had to] shut down for two weeks.

[BUT] wouldn’t even tell us why.

When the bank finally responded, its explanation was unsatisfactory:

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Playground Photo Reignites gun Control Debate

Official logo of Oconomowoc Lake, Wisconsin

Official logo of Oconomowoc Lake, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Heather Karenz of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, posted a photo of her son on a playground slide on Facebook and complained that the father in the background was carrying a sidearm, Police Chief David Beguhn responded by saying that a local ordinance prohibited openly carrying firearms at the Imagination Station children’s playground.

That sparked a call to the chief from Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry, a gun rights group, who informed the chief that a state law prohibited any local township from enacting gun laws more strict than the state’s.

Beguhn consulted with the city’s attorney, read the state law, realized his error and retracted his warning that the local ordinance would be enforced. In fact, he now wants the city’s Common Council to

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Could Drake v. Jerejian be the next big gun case?

YOUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS WILL BE GONE IF U...

(Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)

On Friday the Supreme Court will consider, for the third time, whether or not to review a case concerning the right to carry outside the home. The Court first met on April 18 and then again on April 25 to review the 3rd Circuit Court’s decision from New Jersey. If it agrees to look at it, Drake v. Jerejian could be the most important Second Amendment case since the Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald.

The lawsuit was originally brought by Jeffrey Muller, a New Jersey resident and business owner who

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Requiem for a Courageous Everyman

20120429 - yardsale booty - Second Amendment s...

20120429 – yardsale booty – Second Amendment sign – IMG_4099 (Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))

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

Few knew Otis McDonald. Fewer still knew how he became the lead plaintiff in the historical Second Amendment lawsuit McDonald v. Chicago, decided by the Supreme Court in 2010. With his passing from this life last Friday, one thing is certain:

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Otis McDonald, lead Plaintiff in McDonald v Chicago, passes at age 79

English: From top left: Downtown Chicago, the ...

English: From top left: Downtown Chicago, the Willis Tower, the Chicago Theater, the Chicago “L”, Navy Pier, the Field Museum, and Millenium Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Otis McDonald, a long-time Chicago resident and the lead plaintiff in McDonald v. Chicago, passed away on Friday, April 4. He was 79. It’s likely that he didn’t fully appreciate the impact the decision made by the Supreme Court in 2010 would have in the freedom fight in America. What is clear is that impact will continue to be felt for years to come.

Within two years of that decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled

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Using “Mental Health” to take away guns

No Guns

No Guns (Photo credit: krazydad / jbum)

Following the second Fort Hood massacre in five years, the post’s commanding general, Lt. General Mark Milley, told reporters on Thursday that the root cause of the attack was attacker Ivan Lopez’s mental illness:

We have very strong evidence that [Lopez] had a medical history that indicates an unstable psychiatric or psychological condition. We’re going through all records to ensure that is, in fact, correct. But we believe that to be the fundamental underlying causal factor [in the massacre].

Lopez was undergoing a number of treatments for depression, anxiety and sleeplessness, including being prescribed

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Self-Defense Shootings up, Crime down in Detroit

English: Montage of Detroit images on Commons....

English: Montage of Detroit images on Commons. Français : Montage d’images sur le Détroit communes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday morning, March 25, two young men trying to break into a home on Detroit’s west side aroused the homeowner who went outside to see what was going on. The confrontation led to a fight which led to the homeowner drawing his sidearm in self-defense and shooting them. Both attackers died at the scene. This brings to 10 the number of fatal self-defense shootings so far this year. This is ahead of the 25 justifiable homicides recorded in Detroit in all of 2012, the latest year for which data are available.

At the same time violent crime in Detroit continues to decline, just as the new police chief, James Craig said it already had back in January. Following the shooting, Craig said at a press conference:

 It does appear that more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered. More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence. I know of no other place where I’ve see this number of justifiable homicides.

People who are faced with a dangerous situation are taking matters into their own hands. We’re not advocating violence; we’re advocates of not being victims. We’re advocates of self-protection. We want people to be safe.

This should be a message to those who continue to perpetuate violence on Detroiters that enough is enough … Detroiters are fed up and they are taking action.

A 35-year veteran law enforcement officer, Craig started his career in Detroit as a beat cop, moved to Los Angeles, then to Portland, Maine, on to Cincinnati, and then back to Detroit as chief of police. Upon taking office last June he announced his intention to do something about Detroit’s spiraling crime rate: 

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Anti-Gun California State Senator Charged with Gun Trafficking

English: Leland Yee, Member of the California ...

Leland Yee, Member of the California State Senate from the 8th district (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a move that surprised nearly everyone who knew him, California State Senator Leland Yee was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday on felony charges ranging from gun trafficking to soliciting illegal campaign contributions in exchange for political favors. At about the time he was released on a $500,000 bond the State Senate’s President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg called for Yee to resign or else be suspended. Steinberg also

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Senate Rejects two Radical Obama Appointees

In the space of 10 days the president has seen his Democrat-controlled Senate either reject outright or put “on hold” two of his most vicious anti-American appointments, despite all the pressure the president could bring to bear on those recalcitrant Senators who voted against them. In short, these are back-to-back victories for the American people and for the Constitution of the United States.

The first was the rejection, 47-52, by the Senate of

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Why is Wyoming Suing New Jersey?

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 12, 2014:

Why would Wyoming’s attorney general join with 18 other states’ attorneys general in asking the Supreme Court to review an obscure lawsuit in New Jersey? Part of the answer is the stark difference between the states in how they treat their citizens when it comes to rights

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Bill to Register all Firearms in Illinois Introduced by Far-Left Democrat

Another anti-gun bill mandating (this time) the registration of every firearm in the state of Illinois (plus permission slips to purchase ammunition) was introduced last month by self-proclaimed LGBT activist and progressive Democrat Kelly Cassidy. Representing state district 14, Cassidy’s bill is called simply: “Firearms Registration Act.” Cassidy’s goal is simple:

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Rule of Law in Connecticut is Being Threatened

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 10, 2014: 

Connecticut is called the Constitution state for a very good reason. On January 14, 1639 it was the first state to adopt its Fundamental Orders, which explained the necessity for government and the rule of law:

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The NRA, 19 States, 34 Congressmen sue New Jersey over its gun laws

On February 12, 2014, the National Rifle Association (NRA), 19 states and 34 members of the House of Representatives asked the Supreme Court to review a New Jersey court’s decision restricting Second Amendment rights of its citizens. Leading the requests is Attorney General of Wyoming, Peter Michael, who sees the danger in letting the decision by the 3rd District Court in New Jersey stand: it could require that every other state

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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.