California Freedom Week V2 – NOT!

For a very brief period, law-abiding California residents were free from the draconian ammunition purchase restrictions imposed by Proposition 63. A federal judge ruled the ammunition restrictions were unconstitutional and issued an injunction.  But alas, that freedom was quickly taken away. After being denied a stay from said federal judge, the State appealed to the Ninth Circuit who issued a stay the very next night. Of course, if this was about keeping ammunition from prohibited persons as the State argues, it would be one thing. But California’s motives and design behind their so-called “ammunition background check system” are more far reaching than they admit. And it is all designed to strip more of your rights away from you. 

By the by, for those of you who don’t think this will impact you since you don’t live in California, think again. Ammunition restrictions are the future of gun control and every gun control extremist in every state wants it. 

On Thursday, April 23rd around 3:00 pm, United States District Judge Roger T. Benitez issued a preliminary injunction against the State of California in Rhode v. Becerra prohibiting the enforcement of the ammunition restrictions imposed by Proposition 63. This included the requirement for a background check for the purchase and transfer of ammunition as well as the restriction on the purchase of ammunition from out-of-state vendors delivered to the purchaser’s home. 

It is worth noting this is the same federal judge who ruled against California’s so-called “large capacity” magazine ban in March 2019. For one week before Judge Benitez issued a stay on his own ruling, Californians were free to possess, sell, purchase, trade, give and most importantly, use standard capacity magazines. Conservative estimates place the number of magazines acquired by Californians at between one and two MILLION. While selling and purchasing standard capacity magazines is once again banned while the stay is in place, the possession and use of them is still allowed in the state. 

In this case, Judge Benitez issued another masterfully worded 120 page ruling against the state, essentially picking apart the State’s argument piece-by-piece, calling out “onerous and convoluted” regulations that violate the constitutional right to bear arms. It’s lengthy, but it’s worth reading to understand the reasoning behind the injunction. A link to the document is at the end of this article. 

But the State was ready this time. The following morning, the State filed a motion to stay the preliminary injunction with Judge Benitez. It also set a time limit of 3:00 pm that day, for Judge Benitez to issue a ruling or the State would consider an appeal to the Ninth Circuit. Judge Benitez denied this motion, again with a well-crafted rejection of the State’s argument. Not to be outdone, the State did appeal to the Ninth Circuit and a stay was issued at 9:54 pm on April 24th.  Thus the duration of the stay, and California ammunition buyers freedom, lasted only about 30 hours. 

So why is this NOT about keeping ammunition out of the hands of prohibited persons? If that was the objective as the State insists, they would have adopted a simple check of prohibited persons similar to what most states use with NCIS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). Instead, California chose to piggyback the existing DROS (Dealer Registration of Sale) system which is tied into a number of sub-systems including the error prone APPS (Armed and Prohibited Persons System).  Other than creating a system with an error rate of 16.4 % and blocking over 101,047 law-abiding citizen purchases over 10 months, it allows the state to register each and every ammunition purchase to the buyer.  Now why in the world would they want to do that? 

To answer that, look no further than previously proposed legislation in California that was unable to be implemented as the system to support it was not in place, until now. 

Limits on the amount of ammunition you can purchase in a given time period

California has long wanted to limit how many rounds you can buy in a day/week/month, etc. Cries of ‘You shouldn’t be able to walk in and buy an arsenal’ have been around for years. The state has successfully implemented limits on how many handguns and semiautomatic centerfire rifles you can purchase thanks to the DROS entries. Ammunition registration enables this. 

Limits on the type of ammunition

California has outlawed the use of lead ammunition for hunting and has proposed that ban be extended for all shooting ranges. They’ve even proposed that only lead-free ammunition, as certified by the State DOJ (Department of Justice) be available for sale. In other words, think handgun roster for ammunition. Without a registration system for all approved ammunition, this would not be possible. 

This also allows bans of other non-desirable ammunition such as so-called “assault bullets”, otherwise known as common defensive hollow point rounds, or ammunition in certain calibers such as 5.56, .223, 7.62×39 or 5.45×39, ammunition commonly used in AR or AK pattern rifles. 

Limit ammunition purchases to calibers matching your registered firearms

Let’s say of all your firearms registered with the state, none shoot 5.56 / .223. So why then would you need to purchase ammunition in that caliber? The logical conclusion from the state is you have an unregistered firearm. Never mind that it’s possible and completely legal to have firearms that were never registered or even required to be registered now, but that means the state doesn’t know about it. By limiting your purchases to firearms registered in DROS, you can either not shoot that firearm, or you have to register it to get ammo for it.  

Ammunition bans and restrictions are the new promised land in the world of gun control since firearms without ammunition are just expensive clubs. They also know this area is currently very lightly regulated and small, incremental steps to restrict and eliminate it, such as licensing ammunition vendors, restricting internet purchases with consumer direct shipments, background checks and registration will dramatically increase the costs and give them more control over how much ammunition you can have and use.  

Of course, you can’t help but appreciate this short-lived ammunition law injunction being a cruel joke on so many levels. Not only did it only last for about 30 hours, but it occurred at a time when a lot of Californians were out of work and didn’t have any money, many of state’s guns stores were closed as non-essential, ammunition was scarce because of the panic buying over the last month and what was available was priced so high it wasn’t affordable.

As with all legal cases, this one will not play out for years to come. During this time, California resident’s Second Amendment rights will continue to erode and the only ones enjoying the ride will be the lawyers. The ONLY way to keep this from happening again in other states is to STOP electing people who will not protect our natural, Constitutionally protected rights. 

Bob

https://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-04-23-Order-Granting-MPI.pdf

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United Socialist States of America

In a little over a month into our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen our entire economy shut down resulting in 26.5 million Americans, representing 20.6% of our workforce, losing their jobs.  It is currently the highest level of unemployment in our country since 1934 following the Great Depression. With each passing week of our workers being locked in their homes and out of their jobs, it becomes worse. You would think at a time like this our government would be doing everything they can to get us back to the robust economy we had before. Instead, what we have seen is a systematic loss of our rights, our jobs, our freedom and our way of life as opportunistic, power hungry politicians have seized the chance to implement extreme progressive changes they could never have done before without this crisis. The mantra of “never let a crisis go to waste” is quickly turning our nation into the United Socialist States of America. 

At first, the media stoked fear of COVID-19 convinced us that the only way to effectively react to this unknown was to shut down the country except for so-called “essential services”. The first hints of socialist favoritism came when the definitions of essential services varied across the nation. Large and small communities alike granted themselves extraordinary powers to shut down commerce, restrict purchases of goods and services and even permanently seize private property. Statewide restrictions followed and the essentials list grew more restrictive, even to the point of what products could be purchased. Shortages of basic food and other staples spread across the nation. While big box, large chain stores were allowed to remain open, smaller family owned businesses were forced to close. Permitted commerce now only benefits these large stores. 

Health care was limited to essential, COVID-19 relates services. Any other health services are prohibited. Hospitals were cleared out and huge field hospitals were constructed in preparation for the huge influx of patients that never arrived. 

At the same time, shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders were introduced and it became a crime to leave your house except for a strictly defined list of essential needs. Travel outside your immediate neighborhood was outlawed. Travel between some states was restricted. Roadblocks on the highways questioned everyone with out-of-state plates. National Guard troops in one state went door-to-door looking for out-of-state residents who had left their home state.  Those breaking the rules have been fined, arrested or put into mandatory quarantine. 

Traffic and cell phone data have been collected so authorities can determine if people are staying in their homes. Law enforcement agencies have been using drones to monitor the public. Newer drones can now determine if someone has a fever, is coughing and their heart rate from hundreds of feet away. Heavy handed police tactics have been used to deal with mothers, fathers, families and others who dare to break the most minor of state or local rules.  

In the interest of public health, prisoners have been released on mass. Over 17,000 in 21 states, many times as the result of secret, non-public hearings or rulings, with some prisoners even provided with free cell phones and hotel rooms. Keep in mind, this isn’t a temporary furlough where they’ll be coming back when the crisis ends, this is a permanent, get out of jail free card. 

This comes as law enforcement agencies are reducing the type of calls they respond to. The results are what you would expect. Burglary and violent crimes including rape, robbery and murder have increased, many committed by these released convicts. Under the new rules, most who are now arrested must be immediately released. 

“Snitch lines” have been established so you can report non-essential businesses who are open and your neighbors who are defying social distancing rules. One mayor has even proudly proclaimed that ‘snitches get rewards’. 

In different parts of the country, law changes have been administratively altered including such things as extending the time frame for an initial hearing following a red-flag firearms seizure from 10 days to 100 days (California) and eliminating the right to open carry a firearm (Mississippi). 

Perhaps the most egregious rules are those that directly infringe on First and Second Amendment rights. Prohibiting the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances and the right to keep and bear arms. 

Still waiting in the wings is a proposed follow-up to the one-time stimulus payment, is monthly payments to all residents, legal and illegal, for at least a year – in other words, a universal basic income. 

If you’re wondering how this all equates to socialism, it’s really rather simple. The government is determining who is allowed to work and who is not. The government is determining what goods and services can be offered and by whom. The government is determining who can make a profit and who will be required to live on government payments. The longer the economy is shut down, the more small businesses will close forever and the more people will be forced into poverty and will need to rely on government assistance. 

As with all socialist economies, there is an elite class that thrives. As we’ve already seen, the wealthy and the high-level politicians are not only exempt from the daily restrictions placed on the rest of the population, they are able to profit from it too. The politicians pick and choose what industries and what businesses are allowed to operate and which are not. The restrictions on the population keep them at arm’s length and the elimination of their rights keep the elites safe. 

Is this the future you want for yourself and your country? Are you willing to give up not only your natural, constitutionally protected rights as well as your ability to provide for yourself and your family as you see fit?

Yes, COVID-19 is a serious health issue, but it can be mitigated without the draconian control measures being used in some areas of the country. The most basic level of personal responsibility, social distancing and sanitation, is enough to stop this, without giving up our rights.

Bob

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Liberty Is Essential

While breaking my self-imposed isolation yesterday for a supply run, I saw an older gentleman beside the road in a lawn chair with two flags, an Old Glory and a Gadsden. He was holding a sign that read, “Liberty is Essential”. I couldn’t help but think to myself how appropriate this was right now. Around the country from Maine to California, everyday people are coming together to protest the draconian restrictions, loss of business and the loss of their civil liberties that have become so synonymous with COVID-19.  They are demanding that their states begin to reopen their economies and let people get back to work and take care of their families.  Seeing these loud but peaceful protests springing up, and this one man sitting alone beside the road, makes me proud of what our country can be. 

No doubt you have seen how quickly our rights have been stripped away in the interest of “public health”. Businesses not defined as “essential” by their state or local government have been ordered closed. Of course, there is no standard definition of what essential is. In some areas even those allowed to stay open cannot sell so-called non-essential items such as vegetable seeds or plants. Large retailers are allowed to remain open while small mom & pop shops are ordered closed. Health care has been limited to emergency care only. “Outside is for a brief respite” only. Otherwise, you are expected to remain in your home. 

Yet the worst infringements have attacked our natural, constitutionally protected rights. Religious services banned. The ability of the people to assemble banned. The right to petition our government banned. The right to bear arms banned. 

All of this has been done in the name of public health. Yes, I know. With no effective means to treat or vaccinate against COVID-19, the current best way to prevent the spread of the disease is isolation, social distancing along with protective masks, gloves and good old-fashioned hand washing. Yet all of that can be accomplished without taking away our rights. 

It’s important to keep in mind our constitutionally protected rights don’t have an asterisk next to them. There is no condition, natural or manmade that suspends our rights. In fact, in times of a local, regional or national crisis, I would argue our constitutionally protected rights are even more important. 

Yet our history tells us our governments have done just that. Notably during Hurricane Katrina when personally owned firearms were confiscated from everyone, even those trying to protect their lives and property or attempting to flee the city. Residents were not allowed to congregate and were forcibly removed from their own homes and property seized.  By all accounts, Katrina was a human rights disaster. As a result, laws were passed to prevent abuses like this in the future. Somehow, all this seems to have been forgotten today. 

This crisis has seen the same overzealous enforcement of emergency executive orders as we saw during Katrina. Leaving your home for anything not expressly listed as an essential activity subjects you to arrest. Examples from around the country have shown clearly inappropriate uses of force to enforce social distancing and stay-at-home orders.  

In a protest rally at the capitol in South Carolina, a protestor was arrested, and others dispersed by the State Capitol Police. The Raleigh Police defended the action by putting out a statement “Protesting is a non-essential activity.” 

In Mississippi and Kentucky, among other places, people attending religious services in parking lots, while sitting in their cars, windows rolled up and listening to the services on low-power radio stations, were cited or reported to health departments for mandatory 14-day quarantines. 

Firearms and ammunition retailers have been forced to closed in numerous states and localities as they are not considered “essential”. At the same time, liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries in the same areas have been allowed to operate. 

Probably the most telling comment comes from the Governor of New Jersey when questioned about why he allowed arrests at religious services to be part of coronavirus quarantine enforcement. Asked; “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order? How do you have the power to do that?” The governor responded, “That’s above my pay grade, Tucker, I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”

So there you have it. Enacting laws and executive orders without considering the Constitutional implications OR, not giving a damn about the Bill of Rights or just plain figuring they can do anything they want. Either way, our rights are being stripped away. 

If you’re thinking, well… this is just a temporary measure for everyone’s safety and protection, isn’t it better to give up our rights for a while? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Rights taken away are seldom fully returned. There are always asterisks, conditions and exceptions that come along with it that allow rights to be taken away again and taken further away. This year it’s COVID-19. Next year it could be an earthquake or flood, or a bad year for the seasonal flu, or a small group of protesters marching to the capitol. Are you willing to give up your rights during any time of crisis? 

Our natural rights were so important that our Founding Fathers listed them in the Bill of Rights, a document that doesn’t grant those rights, but rather limits our government’s ability to restrict them. This nation was founded during a time of crisis, when we were fighting for our independence from an oppressive government. Men and women were putting their lives on the line and dying so that we could live free.  Knowing our history, how can anyone believe our Constitution and Bill of Rights do not apply in a time of national emergency?  

I’d like to thank that gentleman sitting beside the road yesterday for reminding me and everyone who went by of what is really important. Unfortunately, I’ll likely never know his name and I was only able to give him a couple of beeps of my horn as I passed, but if he provides a little inspiration for just a few us of, then his time very well spent.  

Liberty is Essential 

Bob

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COVID Part 3: Send Lawyers, Guns and Money

Send Lawyers, Guns and Money

Following the liberal / progressive strategy of “Never let a crisis go to waste”, gun control politicians around the country have been using COVID-19 to make further infringements on your Second Amendment protected natural rights. Calling firearms retailers non-essential, they are ordering these businesses closed.  This comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans are choosing to purchase firearms for the first time to protect themselves and their families. Their justifiable fear comes from their local and state governments’ own actions of limiting the types of calls law enforcement will respond to while simultaneously releasing prisoners from state and local lockups “to protect them from COVID-19”.  Just as they have always done, the gun control politicians are creating public safety problems and not allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. 

There are many facets to this problem. With non-essential businesses closed down, retail property is left unprotected. Downtown shopping districts in cities around the country look like they are preparing for a hurricane with windows and doors boarded up to help protect the property from break-ins. Of course, burglaries have been on the increase despite the pleas from local politicians for criminals to stop their law-breaking activity. Go figure. 

At the same time, many law enforcement agencies are no longer responding to non-priority calls, instead taking reports over the phone. Physical arrests are being replaced by citations in most non-violent misdemeanor and felony cases. These actions are meant to minimize the potential exposure of officers, protect the offenders from COVID-19 and not over burden the emergency systems. 

To make things even worse, state, county and local officials are releasing thousands of convicted prisoners from jails and prisons ‘to protect them from COVID-19’. In some areas like California, they claim they are only releasing “non-violent” offenders. Of course, keep in mind that California considers assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer; battery with serious bodily injury; solicitation to commit murder and rape/sodomy/oral copulation of an unconscious person or by use of a date rape drug all non-violent. New York has even gone to the trouble of providing transportation, hotel rooms and pre-paid cell phones at no cost to the prisoners being released for COVID-19 protection. In some states, the ACLU is petitioning for large scale release of prisoners to “protect them from COVID-19”. The results of this are what you would expect. Violent crimes, including rape, robbery and murder have been committed by these released convicts. 

So now an environment has been created where property is unprotected, officers are not responding to calls and so-called “non-violent” criminals are being released back into the community. This on top of a nationwide shortages of essential consumer goods and millions of people out of work with no source of income. 


Guns

A natural response to this would be the desire to protect yourself and your family. Firearm retailers around the country have been mobbed with people looking to purchase firearms and ammunition. So much so that many stores are selling out on a daily basis and desperately seeking new inventory from distributors. NCIS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) reported running 3,740,688 background checks in March, a number 33 % higher than the previous record of more than 2.8 million set in February. 

But of course, the reaction from the gun control groups has been predictable stating: “As a result of fears stoked by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun-industry groups, we saw more federal background checks initiated in March 2020 than any other on record.” 

While the desire to purchase firearms has been an entirely organic response to the decrease in public safety, the most radical anti-gun control states and communities have decided that firearms and ammunition, a natural right protected by the Second Amendment, are not essential and closed firearm and ammunition retailers. 

A few examples from around the country: 

  • The governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey (see below) and New Mexico decided firearms retailers were not essential and ordered them closed. Some exemptions were given to those retailers and ranges that service law enforcement or security companies.   
  • New Jersey shut down all firearms sales by simply shutting down the state system used to do background checks. One of 12 “point of contact” states that perform their own background checks, it gives the state instant ability to stop sales statewide with the click of a mouse. (Side note: California’s DROS (Dealer Record of Sales) system has the ability to shut off single retailers, groups, geographic regions or the entire state but surprisingly has not been used in this situation, or at least not yet.) 
  • In North Carolina and Ohio, Sheriffs who were overwhelmed by the influx of pistol and concealed carry permit requests decided to stop processing them until after the COVID-19 crisis, effectively shutting down handgun purchases and new concealed carry permits. 
  • The Los Angeles County Sheriff, and other local authorities, determined firearms retailers were not essential and ordered them to be closed. 

Lawyers

If you’ve read any of my articles before, you already know I’m not a fan of lawyers and filing lawsuits to overturn gun control laws. Even in the absolute best of circumstances, it’s a crapshoot. The chances of getting gun control laws reversed is slim at best and even when they are reversed, new ones are crafted to take their place. 

But I’ll be the first to admit that in this particular crisis, we have seen some success in getting the executive orders closing firearms and ammunition retailers and ranges reversed. It hasn’t been across the board and in places like Los Angeles County, they have flip-flopped back and forth so often it’s difficult to keep track of the current status. 

Highlighting the issue these lawsuits have is that courts are still using “intermediate scrutiny” to determine the merits of the case. Some courts, especially in most liberal circuits are also relying on faulty evidence and ignoring the Constitution and Supreme Court precedence to reach their decisions. The hope is that someday the United States Supreme Court will rule in favor of “strict scrutiny” for all Second Amendment cases. It won’t solve activist judges ignoring the law, but it will be a start. 

One positive thing that has occurred at the federal level is the March 28 guidance from the Department of Homeland Security. In it, the updated list of “essential critical infrastructure workforce” now includes “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.”

Money

Protecting our rights isn’t free. It should be, since supporting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights should be what every United States citizen does every day. But we’ve come to realize that there are those who wish to subvert our rights for the enrichment of their own needs. 

Sadly, lawsuits must be filed which means lawyers are involved. So giving to the Second Amendment / firearm rights protection organization of your choice is essential. If you can’t afford to right now, then volunteer a little time to send letters or emails and help get others to contribute. 

But always remember, the ONLY way to keep these kinds of unconstitutional laws from being enacted in the first place is to STOP electing anti-gun politicians. Regardless of how attractive their other platform items are, if they can’t support and defend the most basic elements of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, how are you going to trust them to do anything else? Find and support politicians at the local, county, state and federal levels who will support and defend the Constitution. 

Warren Zevon got it right, the sh*t has really hit the fan during this health crisis. But rather than sitting back and watching our rights erased before your eyes, it’s time to get up off your ass and do something about it. While mass marches and protests at the capitol aren’t the wisest move during a pandemic, if you have a phone or an internet connection, you can make a HUGE difference. Let your elected representatives know how you aren’t willing to give up your rights for COVID-19. And when you get that “Dear Constituent” letter blowing you off back in the (e)mail, you’ll know who you won’t be supporting in the next elections. 

Time to get on the list! 

Bob

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COVID Part 2: I’m From The Government And I’m Here To Help

“The nine most terrifying words in the English Language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Ronald Regan’s quote has come to symbolize everything that can and usually does go wrong when the government becomes involved. Our nation was founded on the basis of limited government as witnessed by the Bill of Rights which limits the powers of the government instead of granting rights to the individuals as is the current fad of understanding. Whenever the government tries to help, there is inevitably more red tape, cost, abuse and waste. And is often the case, those who need the help the most are the least likely to get it. Look at the ‘help’ the government, mostly at the local and state level, are providing during the current pandemic for examples.

State and local governments around the country have implemented “Shelter-In-Place” or “Stay-At-Home” guidelines. Which of course, given the contagious nature of COVID-19, is sensible. In many cases however, this hasn’t been the end of it. Government imposed closing of all but essential services have put millions out of work around the country. What is and isn’t considered an “essential service” is similar to the definition of a so-called “assault rifle”, it’s purely up to the government official making up the list and subject to change at any time. 

Typical essential services have included health care, emergency services, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and the transportation industry. But not without exceptions. Non-emergency surgery is typically not considered essential resulting in the indefinite cancellation of thousands of needed procedures. Liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries may or may not be considered essential, depending on where you are. Likewise, firearms retailers may or may not considered essential, depending on location and if they have law enforcement customers. 

Social distancing and wearing masks in public is another highly specific, and contentious set of regulations. Strictly enforced in some situations, they are ignored in others. 

While the stated intent of all these regulations are to protect public health and not over burden the health care system, what is occurring goes well beyond that. A few examples: 

  • Stopping vehicles with out of state license plates entering the state to mandate 14-day quarantines for the occupants (Rhode Island/Florida). 
  • National Guard members going door to door looking for out of state residents (Rhode Island).
  • Putting GPS ankle monitors on those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their uninfected families to ensure they remain quarantined (Kentucky).
  • Banning religious gatherings even if social distancing guidelines are adhered to (Kentucky, New Mexico)
  • Closing pubic parks, beaches and other public facilities (California, Vermont, etc.)
  • Restricting the goods that can be purchased at essential stores to only government designated essential products, which does not include items such as vegetable seeds and plants (Michigan, Indiana, Vermont)
  • Using the State Police to go conduct surveillance of essential and non-essential businesses and order them closed (New Mexico).

But perhaps the most concerning are the ways the social distancing regulations are being enforced. 

  • A father was arrested and handcuffed in front of his six-year-old daughter for throwing a ball in a park even though the park was not closed, and they were following social distancing guidelines (Colorado).
  • 10 officers drag a man off a public transit bus for not wearing a face mask. A second person was removed from the bus for wearing a scarf – in compliance with local health guidelines – instead of a facemask. The transit employee ordering the people off was himself not wearing a facemask (Pennsylvania).
  • Ticketing and reporting the occupants of vehicles at ‘religious drive-in services’ to the health department for mandatory quarantines (Kentucky).

Despite the heavy-handed approach from some cities, counties and states, there are of course, exceptions to government mandated regulations.

  • The Mayor of Chicago went out for a haircut despite hair salons not being essential services. Her justification? “I’m on national media and I’m out in the public eye.” “I take my personal hygiene very seriously. As I said, I felt like I needed to have a haircut. I’m not able to do that myself, so I got a haircut. You want to talk more about that?”
    • This despite her order for all other Chicagoans who must remain indoors except to go out for the essentials. ““You cannot go on long bike rides. Playgrounds are shut down,” the mayor said. “You must abide by the order. Outside is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks.”
  • The Mayor of New York’s daily 11-mile drive from Manhattan to walk in a park in Brooklyn is considered essential, despite living next to another park in the city. His justification? It is something he needs to do “to be most effective.” Also falling into this essential need is working out at a local (closed to everyone else) YMCA. 
  • An Associate Supreme Court Justice working out with her trainer at a (closed) gym twice a week. 
  • The Sonoma County Director of Emergency Management took his family to a closed (by him) beach “to enjoy an otherwise abandoned, unnamed beach,” Photos of his trip were labeled: “Road tripping up the coast. Beautiful drive and nice views. Family beach time together. Grateful for fresh air and the ocean.” 
    • A County Supervisor backed his actions by saying: “I want my top people who are responding to this crisis to be of sound mind, body and health. And if that means going to the coast to feel better, I’m all for it.”

One of the foundations of our American way of life is that everyone is treated equally and fairly under the law. Sadly, we have been thrust into a situation where some in our government have decided to take advantage of the situation and exercise almost unlimited power regardless of preexisting laws and Constitutional limitations. And, as with many government regulations, they themselves are exempt. 

It shouldn’t take increasingly draconian control measures from oppressively inclined government officials to keep you from passing on or catching COVID-19. The most basic level of personal responsibility, social distancing and sanitation, is enough to stop this, without giving up our rights. 

Public health emergency or not, restrictions on religion, assembly, speech and firearms become unconstitutional very quickly. If left unchecked, this is the end of our natural rights and freedom in our country. 

Bob

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COVID Part 1: The Needs Of The Many..

To say that we are living in unprecedented times is as much of an understatement as Noah saying, “It looks like rain”. To have our country and the entire planet shut down but for essential services is unheard in the history of man. Not even the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 caused such a widespread shutdown of global commerce and everyday life. The lessons learned from this and other past pandemics has shown the most effective means of preventing the spread in our communities is isolation.  Yet somehow, we have a minority of people who believe this does not apply to them. Why? Quite simply we have been raising generations of self-entitled ME FIRST! brats that have no sense of community or responsibility. If you want to know where this came from, look no further than the indoctrination centers we used to call schools and the lack of parenting.

While the ultra-trendy “woke” members of our society look at traditional primary education as being too focused on the nationalism vs. the individual, that patriotic view of our society is what brought us together as a nation. Nowhere in the world is there a nation built from so many different cultures or with such strong individual rights. 

But patriots are difficult to control, which is why the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights has never been duplicated around the world. It is also why the focus of our education system became less and less about our rights and duties in a sovereign nation and more about human interaction within a society. In other words, this is why Civics was replaced with Social Studies. If the people don’t know what their rights are, they won’t demand to exercise them. 

Along with this, we began losing our sense of community and belonging. Our communities and our nation became a distant second to the wants and desires of individuals. As long as the individual gets what they want, the impact to others or the community doesn’t matter. With less and less individual’s contribution to the community, more and more tasks and responsibilities were given over to the government, where they were gleefully taken up. 

With the rise of technology, we’ve also seen the decline of the family. Parents used to spend a lot more time with their children, teaching and mentoring them in everything from basic life skills to the norms and mores of the community. Then came television, the first substitute parent and babysitter, followed by computers, video games and the Internet. Family interaction and communication was replaced by artificially scripted worlds of fantasy where there is no responsibility for your actions. 

As a result, we now have a couple of generations of self-entitled individuals who care nothing about anything that doesn’t enrich their own lives. These aptly named COVIdiots can’t be bothered with self-isolating to avoid catching COVID-19 or self-quarantining to keep others from catching it from them. COVIdiots come from every walk of life, every socioeconomic status           in every part of the country. What they all have in common is the disregard for anyone other than themselves. 

The current worldwide COVID-19 crisis will pass in time. As testing becomes more available outside the circles of the rich, famous and powerful, more can be done to treat and isolate those who are infected. Effective treatment and vaccinations will become commonly available. Until then, it is up to us to act responsibly for ourselves, our families and our communities.  

It shouldn’t take increasingly draconian control measures from oppressively inclined government officials to keep you from passing on or catching COVID-19. The most basic level of personal responsibility, social distancing and sanitation, is enough to stop this, if we can be bothered to think about the needs of the many before the needs of the one. 

Oh yea, and we can do this without giving up a single one of our natural rights.  

Bob

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Tyranny – Closer Than You Think

Here in the United States, we often think of ourselves as being immune from tyranny. We sit comfortably knowing our nation freed itself from a tyrannical government and our Constitution and Bill of Rights will protect us. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. A Ronald Regan quote helps to put it in perspective. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Those who would oppress us are actively working to take our rights and freedoms away. And, like before, during the time of our revolution, they are the very same ones in charge of protecting our rights. 

Tyranny doesn’t generally occur overnight. Unless you’ve been conquered by force, it’s going to be a slow yet deliberate process. After all, it’s much easier to subjugate a population a little at a time. And it’s so much easier if you can convince the masses that the slight infringements in their rights are in the best interest of all. Wouldn’t you want to give up a little bit of your own individual rights if it meant society would be safer? Wouldn’t your life be better if you let the government take care of more things? Wouldn’t you want to contribute more so that your community would provide for everyone? 

Take a look at the modernized Communist Rules for Revolution for an example of how this is done. 

1) Healthcare: Control healthcare and you control the people.

2) Poverty: Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.

3) Debt:  Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.

4) Gun Control: Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.

5) Welfare:  Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).

6) Education: Take control of what people read and listen to — take control of what children learn in school.

7) Religion: Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.

8) Class Warfare:  Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

While these steps are pretty clear, I’m going to contend there is a prerequisite in order to accomplish this list, the full control of the government. And control doesn’t just mean having one party in complete control, it means the government has set itself up as a privileged entity with rights, benefits and protections not available to the regular public. 

Take a look at our current federal government. Members of congress enjoy salary, vacation and retirement, weakened insider trading restrictions and many other perks not commonly available to the general public. And, they themselves are in complete control over raises and increase in perks. With no term limits for members of congress, they are free to build their government service into virtual lifetime positions. 

But it’s not just our congress that protects its own interests above that of the people it represents. As examples: California’s primary and general elections have been tweaked to the point where the party in charge is ensured of remaining in charge. Virginia’s legislature responded to the Second Amendment protests and calls to replace their representatives by proposing changing the law governing recalls. Instead of requiring 10% of number who voted in the last election, it would require 25% and must be completed within 60 days. 

Control of the courts is also vital. With our three separate branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial – the courts are supposed to be the independent arbitrator of facts and interpreters of the Constitution. Sadly, this is no longer true. Judicial appointments are made to those who will carry out the will of the politicians who appoint them. These activist politicians-in-robes are in place to approve to any law created by politicians who appointed them, regardless of legal precedent or even Supreme Court rulings. Look no further than the history of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, representing the western United States for vivid examples of judicial activism run amuck. 

This year’s all-out assault on the Second Amendment in places like Virginia, Vermont, New Mexico, California, Hawaii and all points in between have clearly demonstrated our elected officials have no interest in representing our needs, only the agendas set by deep pocketed special interests. We’ve witnessed the hubris of representatives who have used their positions to retaliate against communities and law enforcement officials who have taken a stand against them.  

At the same time, we’ve also seen the results of the pressure brought by masses with representatives voting against draconian gun control laws they once supported. Those results, even if few and far between, are the encouraging news.  We The People still have a measure of control over our own government, if we choose to use it. 

We The People get to decide what kind of government we have and who represents us, IF we stand together and participate.  Tyranny isn’t that far behind us and right now, our best means of defense is our vote.  Make your vote count this year. 

Bob

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Power To The People

This past year has seen an unprecedented number of gun control bills submitted around the country. While another year of gun control laws that do nothing but punish the law-abiding is nothing new in the nanny states, even traditionally firearm friendly states have seen an influx. Why is quite simple. Politicians put in place by big money special interests are ignoring their constituents and their oaths of office and peddling unconstitutional laws. But guess what? The people are standing up and standing together to say no. And it is working. Draconian gun control bills are being altered, tabled, shelved and defeated. What could be more patriotic than the people taking control of their representatives and their government? But there is still a long way to go. 

If you live in states like California, New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts, you’ve probably grown used to seeing a new crop of gun control laws come out every year. Sold to the public as laws that are “common sense”, will “save lives” or to close “dangerous loopholes” in existing laws, they build on the already oppressive laws that do absolutely nothing to promote public safety. In reality, they make the public more vulnerable to crime and violence. Yet with each additional law, more restrictions and more costs are put on law-abiding citizens. 

But even outside the most restrictive states, extremist politicians swept into office in 2018 by those big money special interests have been busy paying off their debt by introducing anti-Second Amendment bills. Some highlights: 

Arizona: Assault weapon and “high-capacity” magazine ban, firearm registration and transport restrictions 
Nebraska: Proposed waiting period for firearm sales and universal background checks
Maryland: Proposed home firearm storage (unloaded AND locked) and new firearm dealer monitoring requirements
Hawaii: Ammunition purchases limited to calibers of registered firearms
Washington: Ban on “high-capacity” magazines and concealed carry training requirements
New Mexico: A so-called “red flag” law
Connecticut: A 35% tax on ammunition 
Vermont: A 30-day proceed on firearms purchases (vs. the federal three-day default), a ban on carrying semi-automatic firearms in most public places, expanding the “red flag” law
Rhode Island: Assault weapon, “high-capacity” magazine and 3D gun ban 
Virginia: Assault weapon, “high-capacity” magazine, suppressor and 3D gun ban, universal background checks, limit of one handgun per month, “red flag” law, removing state preeminence for firearm laws

Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list. It is simply a sampling from around the country. When you start looking at what is being proposed in the various communities and state legislatures around the country, you start to get a sense of how expansive the assault on our Second Amendment rights really is. And like most things, if you follow the money it leads back to the usual suspects, the fringe left wing extremists funded by billionaire money. 

So how about some good news?  Law-abiding citizens from all walks of life and every demographic imaginable are standing together to fight back against these Second Amendment infringing laws. They are gathering at state houses around the country by the thousands to peacefully protest and let their representatives know they do NOT support these proposed laws. 

Whole communities in states all over the country are banding together to declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. County sheriffs and law enforcement officers are standing up WITH and leading their communities in opposition, even as they themselves are targeted by the rouge anti-gun legislators.  

And it is working.  Not everywhere and not on all bills, but cracks in the gun control foundation are forming and these new gun control laws are being defeated. 

Despite what the media is telling you, Second Amendment protected firearm rights is not a red vs. blue thing. It’s not a rural vs. urban thing. It’s not how much someone makes or the color of their skin. It’s about natural rights for all United States citizens. And that is why protest rallies don’t just represent one part of the population, they represent everyone. 

THIS is why the cracks in the gun control foundation have formed. Representatives are starting to realize they need to be accountable to their constituents in order to keep their jobs. And the people are pissed! Those special interest dollars aren’t going to do a damn thing for them when voters band together to replace them. 

If nothing else, this year’s assault on our Second Amendment rights has gotten people off the sidelines. They are realizing the power of the people who stand together and fight for a common goal. 

Every elected seat at every level in every community in every state makes a difference. Only by standing together to protect our rights will we be able to counter the fringe special interest dollars trying to alter our communities to put their needs above ours. 

Bob

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New Mexico’s Red Flag Disgrace

New Mexico’s version of the so-called “Red Flag” law (SB5) passed the House last Thursday and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature to become law.  And what a sad, sad spectacle it was.  This law breaks new ground in the nation including never before seen provisions designed to punish law enforcement for noncompliance, expanding the definition of who can petition for an Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order as well as completely giving up any resemblance of being concerned with public safety.  Still, if any version was going to pass and become law in New Mexico, I’m glad it was this one.  Why? That’s simple. This law removes any shadow of a doubt that the purpose behind it is purely about government gun control and nothing else.  Hopefully this will be what unites the New Mexico’s citizens to take back control of their government from the special interest groups. 

The scene that played out in the Roundhouse on Thursday shows how little our current government cares about public safety.  Aside from the live feed inexplicably going out during the final hearings, the Sheriff’s in attendance needed to be “escorted” outside the chamber on bathroom breaks. If that wasn’t enough, they were subsequently ejected from the chamber altogether. What does it say that the government of the people chose to remove the elected sheriffs from the room while this law was being considered? 

Through the multiple revisions that lead to this point, the law strips away law enforcement immunity for failure to enforce these “red flag” orders. This of course is in direct response to 30 of the 33 elected sheriffs signing on to oppose the “red flag” laws and vowing not to enforce them. Also dragged into the loss of immunity are the district attorney’s offices and the office of the attorney general. Potential damages to be awarded were also raised into the millions of dollars. 

Attempts to amend the law to remove the loss of legal immunity for law enforcement and the district attorneys failed. And – bear with me for a minute on this – I’m glad these amendments failed. Keep in mind I’m saying this as a former law enforcement officer who believes this is a slap in the face of everyone who wears a badge. 

Too often in the world of gun control laws, state legislators buy the cooperation and loyalty of the law enforcement community by granting them generous exemptions to the laws impacting the regular citizens of the state. What we’ve seen here is a deliberate legislative smack down of any law enforcement discretion or compliance with Constitutional standards. It clearly states they will blindly obey or pay the price.  The fact that is was purposely introduced and left in a so-called “public safety” law should remove any doubt about the true intent, gun control and gun confiscation.  

Other fascinating additions to this law include the expanded list of who can be the reporting party. It includes the usual relatives plus now “… child, person with whom a respondent has or had a continuing personal relationship, employer or public or private school principal.”  There is no definition of  a child here, so supposedly any child able to speak is old enough, nor is there a definition of continuing personal relationship. Exactly how many dates does it take to equal a “continuing personal relationship”. Your anti-gun employer or principal? No problem!  Keep in mind the reporting party incurs no costs to initiate a complaint – actually a reasonable thing since the ability to pay should not be a limiting factor – but there is also no penalty for false or misleading claims.  

Of course, this courtesy doesn’t extend to the respondent, the person being accused of being a danger to themselves or others. Since this is a civil matter, albeit law enforcement, a city, county or state prosecutor and a criminal court judge are involved in getting the order, the respondent has no right for a public defender in these proceedings. And since this process assumes the respondent is guilty until proven innocent, fees are currently running upwards of $15,000 for legal representation.  In other words, justice and restoration of your Constitutional rights is denied for anyone who can’t afford it. 

Then there is the fact that the respondent, accused of being an imminent threat to themselves or someone else, to the point where their Constitutionally protected rights can be stripped away from them without due process, has 48 hours to surrender their firearms to law enforcement or a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). 

Set aside the absolute insanity of thinking that a person who is an immediate threat to themselves or others could not utilize some other form of violence (knives, club, car, chemical, hands & feet, etc. etc. etc.) to carry out their plans, giving them 48 hours to voluntarily comply shows this law has nothing at all to do with public or personal safety. 

Every state in this nation has legal mechanisms to deal with individuals who are a threat to themselves or others. The horrific violent incidents that gave rise to these “red flag” laws all have the same thing in common; a complete and utter failure of federal, state, county and local government officials in multiple agencies to act on clear indications of impending violence. Simply put, the government already has all the tools to save lives but has been criminally negligent in enforcing them. 

New Mexico’s Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order law will soon be signed by the Governor in what is expected to be a made for media event designed to demonstrate how this law, and this law alone, could have saved the lives of those lost to previous violence. 

The signing of the law will also be our wake-up call to the fact that our representatives no longer represent our interests. By enacting a law that has ZERO to do with public safety and is only a back-door method of confiscating firearms and stripping away Constitutionally protected rights without due process or evidence of a crime committed, the New Mexico legislature has shown they are only interested in compiling with the national political party platform and gun control special interests. 

Is this the kind of government you want?  Maybe it’s time to vote for someone else. 

Bob

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New Mexico Is Second Amendment Proud

I’m a little behind due to a bad case of the SHOT Show crud, so let’s catch up quickly. 

On Friday, January 31, 2020, Second Amendment supporters from around New Mexico gathered at the Roundhouse to protest House Bill 7 / Senate Bill 5 (SB5). These are the so-called “red flag” laws that allow your firearms and Second Amendment rights to be taken away without due process and without a crime ever being committed. A peaceful crowd estimated between 300 and 1000 were in attendance to let those in the Roundhouse know they were opposed to this latest infringement on our rights. Following the speeches outside, the attendees went inside to speak to their representatives. It was an amazing day. 

Since then, there have been numerous rallies and Second Amendment supporters attending committee hearings on SB5. Sadly, through numerous revisions, SB5, now SB5.5, has passed committees and the Senate. It is now destined for the House.

Here’s what I saw at the rally. A peaceful gathering of strong and independent people who are concerned about their rights being taken away. I saw a diverse crowd, some openly carried handguns or long guns, others concealed. There were men and women, old and young, just about every race you could imagine including members of Native American tribes, professionals, tradesmen, business owners and employees, local and state level politicians, democrats and republicans – isn’t that a shocker. 

Of the most encouraging groups was the elected sheriffs from around the state. 30 of the 33 county sheriffs have signed on to oppose this “red flag” legislation and by my count, the majority of them, along with a number of their deputies, were in attendance. Notably, these men and women were standing side-by-side with those protesting SB5, not standing in-between the protestors and the legislators as we’ve seen in other states. 

All in all, it was a polite crowd, as most groups of Second Amendment supporters are. Nobody was pushing, yelling or threatening anyone, no property was damaged, no laws were broken, no arrests were made, and the capitol property was picked up and left the way it was found. All of which is typical of Second Amendment protest rallies. It was a pleasure to be there, meet and speak to some of those involved in the New Mexico Second Amendment community. 

But… what did the gun control community see? Oh, something radically different.  Among my favorite articles from the day was one entitled: “The Face of Trump: Scary NRA Roundhouse Rally”.  It started out with the paragraph: “It was actually pretty frightening, the guns, the faces, the signs, the words, the anger. This is the Trump army and it is scary to think of what happens when he loses.”

Some highlights: 

“The Scary Underside of the US”

“Yesterday was NRA day at the Roundhouse, drawing a large crowd of people seething with anger and armed. First, they rallied outside with speeches filled with fury, misinformation, and threats.”

“I had to pass through the throng to fetch some lunch. Going out and returning, passing through these people, was a very uncomfortable experience. When their eyes caught my Retake Our Democracy button, I was met with scowls, with one guy smirking and pushing forward his assault weapon. He was wearing a flak jacket and MAGA cap.”

Others called this a rally of “Nazis”, “white supremacists”, “Trump supporters” and “Second Amendment extremists”.  Some called for law enforcement to sweep the attendees at the rally as it was “obvious they couldn’t pass a background check”. 

Of course, none of this was true, starting with the fact it wasn’t an NRA rally, it was organized and sponsored locally by Pro-Gun Women. Were there supporters of President Trump there? Yes. But there were also those who are not his supporters. Where there NRA members there? Yes. But there were also those who are not NRA supporters. It’s almost as Second Amendment supporters cross all political lines and all those people showed up to peacefully protest together. 

Although there is one characterization I will agree with, but not in the context it was stated. Yes, the people at the rally were “angry”, but it wasn’t the mad, pre-violent, scowling, hostile type of angry the gun control lobby implies, but more the determined, motivated and empowered type of anger. Think about it, how would you feel if your natural, God-given rights were being threatened? You’d probably want to do something about it, and that’s what’s happening here. 

They claimed it was all sneers, sinister and threatening faces, not a smile in the group. I want to know where the hell these people were!!  I saw nothing BUT smiles and good natured, positive attitude people. But then, that doesn’t go along with the narrative of hostile, unstable and violent hordes the gun control lobby wants everyone to see.  

SB5 has mutated a few times since this rally and includes more people who can petition to have your rights and firearms stripped from you as well as provisions to make the sheriffs liable for NOT enforcing these unconstitutional orders. It also gives the person who is being stripped of their rights 48 hours to surrender their firearms – so much for the immediate threat argument. The next stop is at the House Consumer and Public Affairs committee on Tuesday, February 11th

It is abundantly clear SB5 has nothing to do with public safety and has everything to do with finding a back door means of stripping away your rights without due process and grabbing as many firearms from law-abiding citizens as possible. It is also quite clear the illogic of all this is completely lost on those who are promoting it. 

The ONLY hope I see at this point is to convince the political hacks in the Roundhouse that the ONE thing they cherish above all else will be lost to them if they vote for SB5. That one thing is their jobs. We the people hold the power to evict them as our representatives and replace them with someone who will serve our interests, not those of the national political party and special interest fringe activists.  

The time to contact your representatives and let them know where you stand is now! 

Bob

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