Second Amendment: 2021 – A New Hope

At the risk of a violent response from the Dark Side (Disney), I’m starting off the new year with an optimistic view of the Second Amendment by referring to 2021 as “A New Hope”. In troubling times when their government turned their back on law-abiding citizens, millions of Americans have recognized the need to purchase, own and use firearms to defend their lives and the lives of their families. This is the absolute opposite to the gun control zealots claim that firearms are being shunned in this country. As we look forward to the challenges emerging on the horizon, I for one am comforted knowing there are millions more exercising their Second Amendment protected rights.  

For those who contend more guns equals more violence and death, recall those long-buried CDC (Centers for Disease Control) studies that found civilian defensive use of firearms outnumbered felonious use by a rate of 3 to 1, to the tune of 2.5 to 3 million uses per year. It is critical to note that not all of the events involved the discharge of a firearm by the civilian. Often times, the mere presenting or challenge to the criminal with a firearm was enough to stop the intended crime. It’s also important to realize this number ONLY includes persons who were not performing defensive duties as part of their employment such as law enforcement or security services. 

Let’s not kid ourselves about the challenges 2021 will bring. The incoming Harris/Biden [sic] administration has a significant gun control agenda including a ban and removal of so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines”, along with a host of other California inspired draconian and ineffective gun control laws. We’ve already seen the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) coordinating with the yet-to-be administration and making aggressive moves against the 80% market and pistol braces, priorities imported from the west coast. 

The control of the Senate, and quite honestly of all three branches of government, is to be decided tomorrow in Georgia. Winning both seats would place the deciding vote for the Senate in the hands of the Vice President and allow a full, nationwide California style gun control agenda to pass. It would also allow the Senate to reshape the United States Supreme Court by either impeaching a conservative associate justice or packing the Court with liberal appointed justices to “reduce the influence of politics” on the Court. Thus, the final constitutional obstacle for eliminating our Second Amendment protected natural rights would be removed. 

As unchecked violence rages in the extremist left controlled cities and states, mass releases of criminals, including those serving life sentences for murder and rape (to protect them from COVID-19), combined with prosecutors instituting their own versions of social justice reform by not charging those caught breaking the law or essentially eliminating any penalties, life for law-abiding citizens in these areas has become decidedly more dangerous.

So why do I have hope? In response to the violence and destruction caused by the “mostly peaceful” riots around the country, an interesting thing happened. Americans across the country decided to not become victims. As extremist left governors, mayors and city councils turned their cities over to violent mobs, holding back, hindering and defunding the police to give rioters free rein to loot, destroy property and attack innocent bystanders, more people began to realize the importance of the Second Amendment and personally owned firearms in modern society.

Conservative estimates place the number of firearms purchased in 2020 at upwards of 20 million, along with more than a billion rounds of ammunition. At least 40% of these purchases were made by people who have never owned a firearm before, including approximately 40% being purchased by women. The purchases were made by individuals from every walk of life, every level of society, every race, religion and political party. 

The diversity of those purchasing firearms for personal protection in 2020 points out the best part of the Second Amendment. Despite what the gun control fanatics tell you, firearms are not the exclusive tool of a single, stereotypical geographic. The Second Amendment deliberately says, “the right of the people”. Not the government, not any race, gender, political party or location, the people, ALL the people.  

Does millions of new firearm owners automatically equal millions more anti-gun control votes? No, of course not. What it does mean is the party that has for so long stood up and said its supporters are strongly opposed to gun ownership is going to have to come to terms with a lot more of its base recognizing the importance of firearms and the Second Amendment.  

As Second Amendment supporters in 2021, we need to expand our focus from preaching to the choir to welcoming new firearm owners into the community. We need to help them with training, places to shoot, competition, hunting, sports and self-defense information. We need to invite them into our clubs and associations so they can be the best and safest firearm owners they can be. We need to demonstrate to all the new firearm owners that Second Amendment protected rights are as important today as they were when our nation was founded. There are a lot of supporters out there that only need a little encouragement to join in defending our rights. 

This year is going to be a bitch. It’s time for all of us to stand together. 

Bob

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UPDATE: BATFE is the new CA DOJ BOF

On December 23, 2020, the ATF withdrew the “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces”. The document and call for comments originally published on December 18th gathered more that 60K comments, and according to antidotal evidence, the VAST majority of the responses opposed the proposed regulation. The link to the notice is below. 

While many in the firearms / Second Amendment community are considering this a victory, we all know this will return. Instead of a victory triggered by our comments, it is very likely the posting, comments and withdrawal were part of the original plan to get input on where the proposed regulation would be attacked to help make it stronger. 

Think of it as beta software released into the user community to assess and locate its vulnerabilities. Improvements can then be made based on the feedback to make it better, stronger and more bulletproof. 

If we have learned anything about the gun control zealots prior work at the CA DOJ BOF, it’s that they are persistent. Rejection, be it by governmental regulators, the courts, the firearm industry or the public mean nothing to them. They will be back with a bigger, badder version of the exact same thing, and with a plan to push it through no matter what. 

The fight is not over yet. 

Bob

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/general-notice/sb-criteria-withdrawal-notice-12-23-20pdf/download

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BATFE is the new CA DOJ BOF

Let’s face it, there aren’t a whole lot of people who love the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or simply ATF). In the world of federal enforcement agencies, they’ve never been high on the ‘warm and fuzzy’ scale. Then along comes their recent moves against companies who make 80% firearms and suppressor kits, and now pistol braces. Let’s not forget their previous administrative actions to ban bump stocks and you have an agency most would now put into the ‘hated’ category. For those of you who think it can’t get any worse, just ask any firearm owner in California how their own DOJ BOF (Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms) evolved. The same thing, using the same tactics, is now occurring at the ATF. A coincidence? Hardly… 

We all know the incident that caused bump stocks to become illegal in this country. A horrible tragedy with no known motive or individual to take responsibility, so bump stocks were blamed and banned. Not an unprecedented move in the gun control world, but it highlighted the ability of the ATF to reverse previous determinations based on political pressure. What we are seeing now is the same thing. 

The ATF recently served warrants, or raided, depending on how you look at it, an 80% firearms manufacturer. The target was a packaged kit of supplies to manufacture your own firearm, as well as the people who had purchased them. Note that all these individual parts are available from this and numerous other manufacturers and can be purchased separately or even purchased at the same time, but it was the “kit” that caused the ATF to act. The logic is the “kit” can be used to put together a firearm in minutes (which is absolutely not true unless you count your hours in minutes) and as such, should be considered a firearm. Somewhere in the noise it appears a “kit” had been purchased by a prohibited person to build a firearm, which would be illegal for them to possess. 

Among the no surprise things going on here are that a prohibited person is going to acquire a firearm, something ILLEGAL for them to do, or that the ATF might consider a “kit” a firearm. As little as two years ago another manufacturer received a ruling from the ATF that while the 80% frame was not a firearm, “This classification does not apply if the polymer frame-blank is marketed, sold, or distributed as part of a kit.” We can debate the lack of logic behind this, but it is there in black and white. It seems the 80% industry isn’t very good about sharing knowledge.  

Not only was the 80% firearm manufacturer subject to an ATF search and seizure, but also an 80% suppressor manufacturer, and apparently for similar reasons. It also appears the ATF is now visiting customers of these products demanding “voluntary” forfeiture to avoid them securing a search warrant to seize the property. That last part is a whole different argument for another time. 

And now, we have the ATF putting out a notice and request for comment entitled “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces””. The link to the notice and where you can make a comment is listed below. It’s only five pages long and I highly recommend you read it for yourself. 

In short, the document fails at the first word, objective. Instead, it is highly subjective and lacks the critical details that would allow a manufacturer or consumer to make an informed decision about the legality of a product they produce or possess. Instead, a firearm is “subject to the NFA (National Firearms Act), on a case-by-case basis.”

It highlights considerations like type and caliber, weight and length, length of pull, aim point and sights and scopes as items to be evaluated, but provides absolutely no details on what is and isn’t acceptable under the proposed rules. The very subjectivity of it could lead the same firearm owned by one person to be considered legal but subject to NFA rules if owned by another person. 

If you’re wondering where this is heading, the document outlines the options you’ll have for a stabilizing brace firearm. They are “registering the firearm in compliance with the NFA” “permanently removing the stabilizing brace from the firearm and disposing of it, replacing the barrel of the firearm (16’’ or greater for a rifle, or 18’’ or greater for a shotgun), surrendering the firearm to ATF, or destroying the firearm.” Note the carrot for registering your firearm under the NFA is a waiver of the $200 / firearm fee. 

So why are Californians having a case of déjà vu? Because the CA DOJ BOF has used very similar tactics in their war on so-called “assault weapons”. This includes the use of “emergency” regulations that dramatically reduce the amount of time comments are taken. In this case, instead of the usual, regulatory mandated 30 days, the ATF has limited the amount of time to just 17 days, over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, another one of CA DOJ BOF’s tactics. 

Some are saying this is a blessing since it will allow people to register their firearms as a SBR (short barreled rifle) without having to pay the $200 tax stamp. This of course ignores the obvious issue of having to register in the first place, as well as having to register a pistol as a SBR. There are also a host of other restrictions that come with NFA firearms. And if you’re going to have to register your stabilizing brace firearm as an SBR, why not put on an actual firearm stock instead of something that doesn’t work well as a stock?

The CA DOJ BOF may provide us with some insight here. During the last round of “assault weapon” laws, Californians could register their so-called “bullet button assault weapons” but were not allowed to remove the bullet buttons to be like the other “registered assault weapons”. Registration also meant they could not sell or pass on their firearm to heirs. 

Looking into the Odd Stuffing crystal ball, I’m seeing many changes coming to the NFA, including a separate category for stabilizing brace firearms that will preclude their ability to be altered, transferred or inherited in the future. I’m also seeing a lot of so-called “semi-automatic assault weapons” being added to the NFA as well. Although that’s not really a crystal ball thing since the probable incoming administration has vowed to place “assault weapons” under the jurisdiction of the NFA. 

What we are seeing is the first steps towards making the ATF like the CA DOJ BOF. This strategy to get more and more firearms registered though through the NFA will only make their eventual outlaw, confiscation and destruction on a nationwide basis easier in the future. Can you guess where this idea came from?

This is just another step to administratively diminish the protections of the Second Amendment into nonexistence, just like they’ve already done in California. 

Bob

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/12/18/2020-27857/objective-factors-for-classifying-weapons-with-stabilizing-braces

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Semi-Automatic Mechanisms – The New Assault Weapons, Updated

With the possibility of a new administration that has promised to ban the manufacture and sale of so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines”, let’s take another look at what a new ban will likely include. While the most commonly mentioned target is the AR-15 & AK-47 pattern rifles – using the completely inaccurate and scary terminology of “weapons of war”, gun control legislation from around the country provides ample evidence that the scope will be much wider. Firearms with so-called “evil features” are commonly included. Now add the latest trend to include the “semi-automatic mechanism” and you can ban many more commonly owned firearms.  And you thought they just wanted your scary black rifles.

Politically defined terms like so-called “assault weapons” have many problems. Among them is the definition tends to evolve over time. It can mean one thing today and grow to include much more tomorrow. These terms also tend to be geographically specific. An “assault weapon” in one state – or even city – isn’t an “assault weapon” in another. Each jurisdiction gets to pick and choose what they think an “assault weapon” is. The new thing is to call for a complete civilian ban on all semi-automatics. 

One of the latest attempts to massively expand the type of firearms law-abiding citizens are restricted from started in Massachusetts. In the wake of the shooting in a gun free zone in Virginia Beach, VA, an unknown group of naysayers came out with the revelation that the .45 caliber handguns used in that shooting shares the same deadly feature as the dreaded AR-15 – the semi-automatic mechanism. Now, “the most severe gun-related problem facing our society is the proliferation of guns containing a semiautomatic mechanism.” 

Their organization “is working to achieve legislation that will ban the semiautomatic mechanism in any gun sold or owned in Massachusetts. These are weapons that were designed for military and law enforcement purposes only and not for the general public. Revolvers, lever-action, pump-action, and bolt-action guns cover the full spectrum of civilian needs, whether they are hunting, personal protection, or home protection. The semiautomatic mechanism for guns has no place in civilian hands.”

Sadly, this absolutely absurd idea was quickly adopted by gun control extremist legislators in numerous states and is now either proposed legislation or has been added onto their list of “assault weapons”. 

Of course, the first successful semi-automatic firearm was designed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher in 1885.  The iconic Model 1911 pistol has been in service from – you guessed it – 1911, that’s 109 years old!  There’s nothing horribly sinister or deadly about the mechanism, it simply ejects the fired cartridge and loads the next one to be fired the NEXT time the trigger is pulled. The capacity of the magazine determines how many times you can pull the trigger before the firearm is empty. Massachusetts, being one of the nanny gun control states, says that number is 10. Of course, a standard 1911 magazine is only eight. 

If it’s not a magazine capacity thing, is it the shooting speed the antis don’t like? Of course not.  Semi-automatics don’t fire any faster than revolvers. In fact, the world’s fastest shooter used a revolver to put eight rounds on target in one second.  And no, there is no such thing as “fully semi-automatic”, the ludicrous phrase coined by an anti-gun former Army officer in the employ of CNN. 

Why the new fixation on all things semi-automatic?  It’s merely an attempt to put more firearms on the banned list and get them taken out of the hands of law-abiding civilian owners. The tactic has been used for years in the states that have some sort of “assault weapon” definition. What started as a specific list of firearms “too deadly for civilian use” has been systematically expanded to include firearms with purely cosmetic “evil features” such as pistol grips, adjustable stocks, threaded barrels and flash hiders or the ability to utilize a “high-capacity” magazine. The State of Washington now defines ALL semi-automatic rifles as semi-automatic assault rifles. Massachusetts went so far as to outlaw the mechanism used in AR-15’s and AK-47’s and bans any firearm that has interchangeable parts, such as the extractor or extractor assembly, with the AR-15 or AK-47. 

How many firearms in the United States are semi-automatic?  Depending on how you slice the data, you’d be looking at roughly 150 million of the estimated 400 million civilian owned firearms in this country.

Would an all-out ban on semi-automatic firearms survive a Constitutional challenge, especially in light of the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision and the “in common use at the time” test?  No, of course not. But that’s ONLY with the current makeup of the United States Supreme Court. An expanded Supreme Court packed with far-left activist justices (you know, to “reduce the influence of politics”), would undoubtedly interpret this differently or reverse Heller all together. 

Will a new ban make all these “semi-automatic assault weapons” just go away? Of course not, that will take time. Using a combination of registration through the NFA (National Firearms Act) and mandatory buybacks for those who can’t afford the $200 per firearm and $200 per magazine NFA fee. Of course, NFA firearms are currently fully transferable, so this will need to be changed to the same design as California’s registered “assault weapons”, which cannot be transferred or inherited. 

“Assault weapons” are not just about AR-15 or AK-47’s, or “high-capacity” magazines. It’s about all the commonly owned, and in the vast, Vast, VAST majority of situations in our country, lawfully used firearms. “Assault weapons” is a bottomless pit that will be used to dump an ever-increasing number of banned firearms until the number you can legally own is zero. 

Do you want to keep the lawfully owned and legally used firearms you have today? Do you want your children and grandchildren to have access to the same modern and effective firearms you have today?  

This is why the Georgia Senate runoffs and the independence of the United States Supreme Court are so important. 

Bob

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The REAL Strength of the NRA

The NRA’s 2020 Annual Meeting begins today in Tucson, Arizona. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, attendance has been strictly limited. That is unfortunate as this is the time members should be present to make sure their voices are heard. There is good, bad & ugly going on with the NRA right now and the timing is far from coincidental. Not only are our Second Amendment rights being threatened in every corner of the country, but our ability to organize and fight for our natural rights is as well. But guess what, the real power isn’t the NRA, it’s us. 

To the gun control extremist, the National Rifle Association is the 800-pound gorilla everyone wants to take down. In order to be taken seriously within the anti-gun rights community, you have to say you’ve taken on the NRA and won, true or not. To them the NRA is the gun industry spokesman, stands for violence and against “gun safety”, each point of which is untrue. 

The gun control zealots see the NRA as something that once eliminated, “common sense gun safety laws” will prevail. It’s a similar logic to always being one more gun control law away from everyone being safe from “gun violence” in our communities. Of course, that one more gun control law never works, so they have to make just one more gun control law. 

Sadly, the NRA has been battling its own internal demons lately as well as trying to defend itself from well-timed and coordinated attacks from left wing prosecutors. Allegations of out of control spending, self-enrichment and cronyism have been plaguing the leadership and Board of Directors. Add to this the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Attorney General for Washington, DC have both filed suits to dissolve the NRA completely over its mismanagement of funds.  

The Attorneys General from New York and Washington DC are of course politically motivated and have timed their legal actions to coincide with the run up to the Presidential elections. The NRA is a major contributor to Second Amendment supporting candidates around the country. By embroiling the NRA in lawsuits they need to defend themselves from, the NRA will have less funds to spend around the country. 

Above and beyond the internal issues that have come to light recently, many complain the NRA has lost its way. Some say the NRA has been too rigid and aggressive when it comes to gun control issues. Others claim the exact opposite, that the NRA has been too lax and not done more to fight gun control measures at the local, state and national level. I’m more on the later side, but then I just recently moved from California where the Second Amendment is fast becoming nothing more than a memory. 

The NRA continues to be the largest provider of firearms safety and firearms training in the world. It provides specific training programs for new and experienced shooters, women, law enforcement as well as safety programs for children. It even provides non-firearm safety training. The NRA provides expertise, grants and education for clubs and ranges helping them be safer, better parts of their communities. 

For me, I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken classes to further my instructor skills in non-firearms safety, range safety, civilian and law enforcement firearms use. I’ve taken club leadership and range development programs to make the club I helped run, run better. The range services program helped us identify potential issues with our range and, through NRA grant programs, helped us update our range to keep our members and community safe well into the future. I later joined this program and with NRA supplied training, have helped other ranges improve their own facilities and operations. 

My Mrs. started a program for new women shooters in our area, something I and many other volunteers in the community were very happy to assist with. The NRA program itself was extremely generous, but my Mrs. was able to get a grant from the local chapter for firearms and supplies after the State of California made it illegal for us to borrow firearms for use in our program. 

Through all of this, I’ve found the real strength of the NRA isn’t the lobbying, the legal efforts or the money, it’s the members. It is members coming together for a purpose, coming together for their community and coming together for each other. 

The NRA has some of the finest, most dedicated and conscientious people I’ve ever met, both paid and volunteers. There are also a few jerks who are there for themselves. But guess what? That’s the same in every organization everywhere, government, private sector or charity. We need to not judge the entire organization by the actions of a few, a lesson important to remind ourselves of lately. 

I know many have had enough and are leaving the NRA. That’s okay, there are many other solid, reputable organizations to join such as the Gun Owners of America, the National Association for Gun Rights, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition and more along with special interest groups such as Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International and the Pink Pistols. 

Note: Beware the imposters such as Gun Owners for Safety, a group initiated the biggest anti-gun rights organization to recruit firearm owners to push their gun control agenda. 

For me, a NRA Life Member, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to advocate for change internally and getting the Board and leadership to resolve the issues, make the necessary changes, and get back to work. 

Our Second Amendment protected natural rights are in serious jeopardy this election year. We, the law-abiding firearm owners of the United States, are the real strength behind the NRA and every other Second Amendment rights organization. It’s time to stand together for our rights. 

Vote wisely.

Bob

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Can’t Win? NO PROBLEM! Change The Rules!

In any contest there is a set of rules to ensure fair play and equal competition. The rules are long established and understood by both sides. But what if one side is having a problem winning under the rules? That’s when you start hearing complaints that the rules are wrong and give the other side an unfair advantage, even if they’ve won under the same rules in the past. Am I speaking of games? Of course not. I’m talking about the uncivilized blood sport of United States politics where truth is relative and the only thing that matters is winning. This is what is behind the push to pack the United States Supreme Court and eliminate the Electoral College are all about.

The latest and greatest version of Change The Rules is playing out right now with the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court. Should she be confirmed, and the Democrats win the White House and Senate in November, they have promised to pack the court with additional liberal appointed justices to “reduce the influence of politics” in the court.  

If that rational makes any sense at all to you, you’re one of the first. Appointing left wing advocate justices to “reduce the influence of politics” is like serving donuts to your family to make their breakfast healthier. This is all because with Judge Barrett’s appointment, there will be a 5-4 majority of “conservatives” to “liberals” on the Supreme Court. 

Some argue it will actually be 6-3, but they forget Chief Justice John Roberts was already flipped during the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York case when Senate Democrats issued their “Heal Thyself” letter threatening to pack the Supreme Court if it didn’t moot the case. Chief Justice Roberts must have believed that was a one-time threat and giving in to it would protect the future of the Court. It was not. 

The whole idea of political leanings for any judge is an abomination to the bench, but that has become the norm in many areas. Extremist politicians appoint activist judges to rubber stamp their social justice agenda laws and expect them to legislate for them from the bench. The Constitution, Bill of Rights, rule of law and precedent are not considered obstacles in reshaping society to someone’s utopian vision. 

So why is changing the rules for the Supreme Court so important to them? Because all those draconian gun control laws they’ve crafted are in jeopardy.  Even with the claims that “lifesaving policies has repeatedly withstood legal challenges in the lower courts” (see previous paragraph), a hearing before Supreme Court that would actually take the Constitution into account would undeniably invalidate them. Instead of passing laws that pass Constitutional muster, you change the rules and make it so nobody can invalidate your unconstitutional laws. 

The Electoral College is facing the same threat in an attempt to change the rules to make it easier to win the White House. In short, the Electoral College was put in place to elect the President by our founders who were afraid of democracy, hence why our country is a Republic not a pure Democracy. They were concerned about “the tyranny of the majority” and created the Electoral College to preserve “the sense of the people”. 

What we see today is a balance between urban and rural areas. Urban areas are predominately liberal / Democrat and rural areas tend to be conservative / Republican. With a direct, popular vote, a handful of urban areas in our country would determine the President in every single election. 538 electors chosen by their states award all their votes according to the winner of the popular vote in their own state, except Maine and Nebraska who have a slightly different system.  

As with every election loss, we saw a renewed call to abolish the Electoral College following the Democrat candidate’s loss in the 2016 elections. The election was “stolen” and the “will of the people” was ignored because the candidate with the most votes didn’t win the most votes from the Electoral College. 

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an attempt to nullify the Electoral College without actually abolishing it. Participating states would award their Electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of who won the popular vote in that individual state. 

Following the 2016 elections, there were increased drives across the country that were being courted to join the Compact. Popular themes included “one person one vote” and “make your vote count”.  People were promised that politicians would be forced to campaign for votes in every state not just the most populous areas. Of course, that’s not true. 

A true popular vote election would see the candidates trying to appeal to the handful of urban population centers that currently make up the majority of the popular vote. A few swing states might be in play as a counter to an unwinnable urban center for a candidate, but the rest of the country would have no say or influence on the presidential election. Their votes, their opinions, their needs, would be too small to matter. 

So why is eliminating or nullifying the Electoral College so important to them? Because playing by the rules would require coming up with a candidate, platform and strategy that appeals to the entire country instead of one that is supported by just the handful of urban population centers where furthest-from-center message is better received.  

Rules matter, especially when it comes to our Constitution and Bill of Rights. When you look at the checks and balances our Founding Fathers built into the establishment of our country, understand they did this for a reason. They looked at world history and knew what had worked and what had failed. Our country is what it is today because we have held true to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, not in spite of it. 

When someone is advocating changing the rules of the game to benefit a political purpose, you can bet your life you will not be the one that wins. 

Vote wisely, 

Bob

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Expand vs. Defend the Second Amendment?

Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court begin this week and it is sure to be a spectacle of epic proportions. As a preview of the line of questioning we’ll see regarding the Second Amendment, the billionaire bankrolled “grass roots” “community organization” gun control group released a statement opposing Judge Barrett’s nomination on the grounds she “would dramatically expand the Second Amendment”

Dramatically expand…  A better and more accurate description would be Judge Barrett would actually defend the Second Amendment. But their description should give you some idea of how the gun control extremists view the Second Amendment as a second-class right. 

Let’s be clear about what the Second Amendment is. The twenty-seven words read: 

“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.”

The reason for the gun control extremists’ concern is quite simple and outlined in their statement. They are afraid Judge Barrett will vote to overturn their so called “gun safety” laws by “invalidating gun control measures around the country”.  

Gun control measures around the country are an utter failure and continue to target only law-abiding citizens. The cities and states with the strictest, most draconian gun control laws in this country are also the most violent, least safest places. They constantly blame other non-gun controlled areas for their own crime rates while refusing to hold the actual perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions. As always, they claim they are just one gun control law or one closed loophole away from their citizens being safe. 

The article claims that these “lifesaving policies has repeatedly withstood legal challenges in the lower courts”. 

These lower courts where they have withstood legal challenges are the ones where left extremist politicians have appointed like-minded political activist judges who will ignore the rule of law, legal precedent and rules of evidence to rubber stamp blatantly unconstitutional gun control laws. 

They also point to Judge Barrett’s “dangerous views” through her dissent on a case involving a man convicted of a “serious felony” appealing for restoration of his firearms rights. 

Of course, this “serious felony” was a single count of mail fraud and Judge Barrett’s dissent was that nonviolent felons should not be subject to the same gun restrictions that apply to violent criminals. 

Keep in mind these are the same zealots who believe the District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago decisions granted an individual right to own a firearm for the very first time in United States history.  In reality, it simply took until 2008 for a government entity to create an unconstitutional law, have that law successfully challenged AND have that case appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The individual right to keep and bear arms always existed. 

Just as the Second Amendment does not grant the right to keep and bear arms – it restricts the government from infringing upon what is considered a Natural Right – the Supreme Court DOES NOT have the ability to expand, dramatically or otherwise, Second Amendment rights. The court may ONLY rule on the constitutionality of existing laws that have been appealed to them. 

So, while the gun control extremists and their hand selected politicians claim the appointment of an originalist, constitutionalist jurist to the Supreme Court will somehow dramatically expand Second Amendment rights, what they are really concerned with is that their ineffective, unconstitutional laws may be overturned and simple, basic natural, constitutionally protected rights will again be available to their citizens. The People with their Second Amendment protected rights means government control over whom they chose to provide basic safety and security to will be lost forever. 

If we’ve learned anything from Justice Kavanagh’s hearings, these confirmation hearings will feature the worst behavior, accusations and insinuations politicians can muster. We’ve already seen lies, smears and exaggerations along with gloom-and-doom predictions about how our very democracy is at stake if Judge Barrett is confirmed. 

What can we do as ordinary, everyday citizens? We can let our Senators, the people WE elected to represent US, know we want them to support the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court. 

If you live in a blue state like me and think your opinion won’t matter in what will undoubtedly be a party line vote, I say BUNK! If we don’t let our representatives know what we want them to do and remind them that they are accountable to us, NOT their political party, then the ONLY voice in their ear will be from the political party. It’s time to be clear and loud about what WE THE PEOPLE demand from them. 

A list of United States Senators and their contact information may be found here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact

Bob

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Riots & Broken Windows Theory

In a time when rioting, vandalism, theft, looting, arson, assault and murder have become synonymous with the term “peaceful protest”, perhaps we should look at how we got here and who is responsible. Oh, I know, these so-called “peaceful protestors” are simply exercising their First Amendment rights against a systemically racist system. It doesn’t matter that whatever they thought they were fighting against didn’t actually exist in the first place, what is important now is the violence and destruction. As for how it got to this level, we have their supporters, enablers and sponsors in mayor’s offices, city councils and prosecutor’s offices across the country to blame. It could have been stopped a long, long time ago, but they choose to let it go on and grow for political purposes. The destruction, pain and death we are seeing now is on them. It never had to be this way.  

A little primer on Broken Windows Theory. I’m going to steal Wikipedia’s definition since they have such a nice one: 

A criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. The theory suggests that policing methods that target minor crimes, such as vandalism, loitering, public drinking, jaywalking and fare evasion, help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes.

You can probably relate to this with other common phrases such as ‘Give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile’ or for parents the ever popular ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’. The concept is pretty simple, the more you let someone get away with things, the more they are going to try to get away with. In the world of criminal justice, if you interrupt criminal behavior early you will better prevent further criminal behavior. Yes, I’m a believer and properly applied, it does work.

So what does this have to do with riots?? What started out as genuinely peaceful protests, something laudable and in the best traditions of our national spirit, quickly devolved into nothing more than looting, destruction, violence and death. Yet those who support and encourage these now clearly unlawful actions maintain it is still a “peaceful protest” and all about Constitutionally protected First Amendment expression. What a bunch of garbage!

What should have happened?  The MOMENT the actual peaceful protests began to break the law, trespass, curfew violations, vandalism, theft and looting, they should have been decisively shut down. The perpetrators should have been arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

Instead the lawlessness was allowed to grow. What used to be actual protest turned into destruction. First a few businesses were damaged, then looted, then burned. From trying to get bystanders to see their point of view and support their cause to anyone who didn’t bow to the mob’s demands was berated, harassed and beaten. From looking at our nation’s history for lessons to destroying anything that might offend someone. From speeches and signs of unity to rocks, bricks, clubs, lasers, explosives, Molotov cocktails and bullets. From trying to improve the system to “burn it all down”.

It’s not like any of this wasn’t predictable. History tends to repeat itself when ignored, and this one has been a doozy. In the name of political correctness and not wanting to provoke, we’ve allowed people who have zero interest in anything social justice to run rampant in our cities as long as they are holding the ‘correct’ demonstration sign or flag. And it’s not just the so-called “peaceful protests” that have escalated. Crime of all kinds has skyrocketed in these protest friendly cities. Burglaries, robberies, assaults, shootings and murder have been setting new records. It’s apparently okay now to assault someone, anyone, just because. And while you’re at it, how about shooting and killing someone holding their daughter’s hand while walking across the street or a child playing in a driveway. Read a little of the non-filtered news and you’ll see just how bad things have really gotten.

As for who is to blame, look no further than the politicians; the mayors, city councils and prosecutors who have ordered the police out of protest areas, disarmed them of the tools they need to protect themselves and the public and steadfastly refused to pursue charges when law enforcement makes an arrest. Rioters are given a free pass, released without charges in mere hours after being arrested, allowed to go out and continue and escalate their criminal activity. Those who are actually held on charges are immediately bailed out thanks to the funding of celebrities, politicians and rich political influencers who want them back out on the street committing more violence. 

Who hasn’t been spared from charges? The people who have been standing up and protecting their lives and properties from the violent mobs. Activist prosecutors around the country have been quick to charge those defending themselves, especially if they should dare to use a firearm. Even when all of the evidence clearly shows they were lawfully defending themselves or others, prosecutors have made sure they are charged as an example to others. The message is unmistakably clear. If you are committing a crime for the right social cause, you are merely exercising your Constitutionally protected rights. If you are defending yourself against “peaceful protestors”, you are taking the law into your own hands and violating THEIR rights. 

Like many Americans, I am sick and tired of the wanton violence and destruction in the supposed name of justice. What we are seeing now has absolutely nothing to do with any of the names or causes being screamed as justification. It is only for the sake of destruction in order to place political blame and for someone to say, ‘I support you and I can make everything better if you vote for me.’

The unchecked escalation of violence, the destruction of property and lives, the blood and death in the streets, all could have been mitigated a long time ago. Instead politicians chose to surrender to mob mentality and virtue signal their way out of addressing the real problems facing our communities. THAT takes hard work and confronting hard, unpopular realities. It’s much easier to blame everything on someone else and get reelected for another term. 

Vote wisely. 

Bob

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A Warning For Semi-Free Americans

California defending its unconstitutional gun control laws is nothing new. They write laws intended to strip law-abiding citizens of their Second Amendment rights while simultaneously writing laws to keep criminals from being punished and releasing those who are already in jail. When these laws are challenged, activist judges put in place by extremist politicians rubber stamp them with some of the most outrageous legal rational to ever come out of a court. 

After having their laws against so-called large capacity magazines (LCMs) ruled unconstitutional at the District Court and with a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Duncan v. Becerra, California has requested a hearing by an en banc panel. Nothing new here, it’s the state just prolonging the fight and running up the bills for the opponents. But what might have gone unnoticed is the 18 Attorneys General who sent a friend-of-the-court in support of California’s law. While some of these states already have a form of magazine restrictions in place, others do not. If you live in one of these states, what do you think this means for the future of your standard capacity magazines?

Attorneys General from Washington D.C, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington all signed onto the brief. 

Of the states with magazine restrictions, most limit them to 10 rounds, a couple are 15 or mixed 10 & 15 for rifle & handgun. Others, like New Jersey, were at 15 and recently cut that to 10. A couple of these states have “grandfathered” clauses which allow those who possessed them to keep them after the law change. Of course, we all know that “grandfathered” just means deferred confiscation as California residents found out when the state changed its mind on legally possessed “grandfathered” magazines and decided they were now illegal. 

The other states, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington do NOT have laws against so-called large capacity magazines. BUT… their Attorney General supports them. What do you think this means for the future of magazine capacity laws? It means sooner or later, like it or not, these states WILL restrict magazines to 10 rounds. 

Why 10 rounds? There really isn’t any rhyme or reason to it. 15 was apparently too many and seven as implemented and ruled unconstitutional in New York was too few. There certainly isn’t any science or research to support it. If you read the rational from extremist gun control think tank & quasi law center, you see how careful wording is used to justify it. It explained how few self-defense shootings “needed” more than 10 rounds and how many firearms from unlawful shootings were found with “large capacity magazines”. No mention of the fact that more rounds HAVE in fact saved the lives of law-abiding citizens or the ACTUAL number of shots fired by criminals, just the capacity of their magazines. Facts matter, unless you’re trying to infringe on constitutionally protected natural rights. 

California argues to the Court that the majority of citizens voted for Proposition 63 which, among other gun control measures, outlawed magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds, and as such should be considered valid. Of course, this has ZERO bearing on the legality of this case, and that’s a very good thing. 

Despite the popular misconception, the United States is not a democracy, it is a republic, or better known as a democratic republic. The distinction is critical.  In a democracy, the majority rules on every issue and there are no protections for the minority opinion. If 51% of the population decides there is no right to free speech, then there is no right to free speech, period. 

In a republic, there is a constitution which protects certain inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government, even if a majority of the population votes for it. So even if 99% of the population votes there is no right to free speech, then the law is unconstitutional and invalid. 

The Attorneys General friend-of-the-court brief is much the same argument. 18 party loyal extremist prosecutors who don’t believe the Second Amendment right to a standard capacity magazine exists for the average citizen believe their opinion should sway the court.  Guess what, it means DIDDLY SQUAT!! But then again, this is the 9th Circuit, so any extremist view will likely be taken into consideration. 

Where do these Attorneys General opinions matter? In your home state. These are the people who will help draft the anti-standard capacity magazine legislation and give it their stamp of approval. These are people who will lobby the legislature from within to get this law on the books. These are the people who will ensure law-abiding citizens who defy them are prosecuted to the full extent of the law as an example to others. This is YOUR Attorney General. 

Why am I directing this as a warning to semi-free Americans? Because if your state has already started down the gun control path, this is in your future. Gun control starts slowly with the least objectionable, easiest to pass infringements like universal background checks. After all, who could object to something that will keep firearms out of the hands of criminals? It doesn’t matter that the universal background checks have been shown to be completely ineffective means of curbing crime or violence, it’s a toe in the door to more infringements.

While the Duncan v. Becerra directly relates only to California’s magazine ban, it would provide precedent for other western states to appeal their magazine bans, and indirectly those in the rest of the country. While this is important, I’m going to repeat what I’ve said time and time again.

It’s a fool’s errand to believe that once a law has been enacted, it can successfully be drawn back. Of the thousands of gun control laws passed around the country, precious few are successfully appealed and reversed. The best way – the ONLY way to stop them is to prevent them from being enacted in the first place.  And the only one who can do that is you.

If you live in Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Washington, your Attorney General has already cast his vote on your Second Amendment rights. It’s time for YOU to cast your vote to stop them. 

Vote wisely.

Bob

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Not Well-Suited for Self-Defense?

As expected, the State of California filed an appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit three-judge panel that upheld the ruling that the State’s ban on Large Capacity Magazines (LCM) was unconstitutional in the case of Duncan v. Becerra. Nothing about the request for a rehearing by an en banc panel was a surprise, from the arguments being made to the appeal being filed on the final day. California will do anything and everything to protect one of its signature gun control measures and bleed the opposition dry while doing it. And just because you’re not from People’s Republik of Kalifornistan doesn’t mean this case shouldn’t be important to you. 

All of the materials, filings and rulings on this case are available at the link below. It’s worth your time to read and understand what is going on since California likes to export its bad, expensive and unconstitutional policies to the rest of the country. 

There are a few things I found particularly interesting in the State’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc.

First, the State sees no reason or need for any civilian to have so-called large capacity magazines. In fact, the filing indicates “The record here demonstrates that LCMs are not well-suited for self-defense.” It rationalizes that Californian’s can have as many 10 round magazines as they want, and (currently) as much ammunition as they want. 

The photo that accompanies this article is from a home security system in a Fremont, CA home invasion burglary on August 28, 2016. It shows five armed men coming into the house, at least one carrying a handgun with a magazine extending below the pistol grip, a LCM. Fortunately, the residents were not home at the time. Even if the resident was armed with a California 10 round magazine, he would most certainly have been killed in this encounter. In this burglary the homeowner was able to call the police while watching the burglary on his home cameras remotely. Unfortunately, the armed home invaders left before the police arrived and were not caught.

The State has never explained why a so-called LCM is not-well suited for self-defense, but it’s the exact opposite of the training and advise of every reputable self-defense instructor I’ve ever known, including my own. It has also never offered any explanation why 10 rounds is the magic, safe enough for civilians number, but 11 is way too dangerous. 

Let’s also keep in mind that in some places like New York City, firearms that simply have the capability to accept a so-called LCM are banned. So, if even one magazine is made for it with a capacity over 10 rounds, the firearm itself is banned.

The State also references the Fyock v. Sunnyvale, a local California ordinance banning magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds, which was upheld by a three-judge panel, as a binding precedent. 

There are several issues that come from Fyock, not the least of which is that California does not have a preemption law banning local jurisdictions from passing their own more restrictive firearm regulations. As we’ve seen in states without preemption, this results in a patchwork of laws throughout the state that are impossible for any law-abiding citizen to understand or comply with. Virginia recently removed its preemption for firearm regulations and now anti-gun cities are drafting unique and highly confusing laws regulating use and possession within its borders. 

Fyock was also decided under what is known as Intermediate Scrutiny, which is what the State believes is the correct level for Second Amendment cases. Duncan’s ruling utilized Strict Scrutiny. 

A quick note on Rational-Basis, Intermediate Scrutiny, and Strict Scrutiny

Under Rational Basis the government must have a legitimate interest and the law must be “rationally related” to the interest. 

Under Intermediate Scrutiny, the government must have an important interest and the law must be substantially related to the interest. 

Under Strict Scrutiny, the government must have a compelling interest and the law must be narrowly tailored to the interest.

Note that the likelihood of a law being overturned increases as the level of scrutiny increases. Few government laws survive a Strict Scrutiny test since they are generally far broader than need be. 

The argument for the use of Strict Scrutiny review of Second Amendment cases has been going on for years. Government agencies don’t like that because it severely restricts their regulatory powers, something most of us would argue is appropriate in a case involving the Bill of Rights. 

For the next step, the 11-member en banc panel to hear this will be randomly drawn from the Nineth Circuit Court of Appeals. While there has been significant progress in helping to balance the court with justices appointed by the current Presidential administration, it still has a 16 to 13 liberal slant. Of course, that ANY judge should be considered liberal vs. conservative is absolutely asinine. The law, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights should be interpreted by every judge each and every time WITHOUT regard for political party platforms, but that’s a topic for another time. For this case, the outcome will likely be decided by the draw instead of the legal arguments in the case. 

Why is this case important? A successful appeal by the State reverses the initial District Court ruling and magazines with a capacity higher than 10 rounds are once again illegal in California. The only hope for a reversal comes from the United States Supreme Court which has not been willing to hear Second Amendment cases. 

In the unlikely event of Duncan being upheld, the State will have to decide if it wants to risk an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court where it has the potential to impact magazine bans around the country or find another way to restrict them in California. 

However, in my opinion the most important thing this case points out is the importance of our local and state elections. Laws like this are enacted by the people we elect to office. When we elect gun control politicians, we enable them to restrict our Second Amendment protected rights and the only recourse we have is to have them overturned in the courts. 

And guess what, you and I are paying for both sides of this fight. Our taxes pay for the lawyers to defend the laws that take away our rights and our dues and donations pay for the lawyers to try to get them back. The only ones who win regardless of the outcome are the lawyers. 

It’s a fool’s errand to believe that once a law has been enacted, it can successfully be drawn back. Of the thousands of gun control laws passed around the country, precious few are successfully appealed and reversed. The best way – the ONLY way to stop them is to prevent them from being enacted in the first place.  And the only one who can do that is you.

Vote wisely this year. 

Bob

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