Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ted Cruz Responds To The 4th Circuit Ruling


CPAC or the Conservative Political Action Conference is going on now in Washington, DC. It is where the leading lights of the conservative movement show up to see and be seen. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is one of those people.

In an interview with radio talk show host and author Mark Levin, Cruz discussed the fallacies of the majority opinion in Kolbe v. Hogan. He eviscerated the logic (or illogic) shown by Judge Robert King in the majority opinion.

Watch and listen:


Comment Of The Day


The comment of the day comes from Jim Shepherd of the Outdoor Wires. He concludes his discussion of the 4th Circuit's majority opinion in Kolbe v. Hogan with this:

But don't forget, that if this silly ruling were to survive, it wouldn't be much of a reach- at least for lawyers and legislators- to extend the withdrawal of protections to everything from bolt action rifles and pump shotguns (trench guns in World Wars I & II and Vietnam) to the venerable cowboy action lever guns carried by the U.S. Army in the 1800s.

Will this one head to the Supreme Court?
Probably.

But with the District of Columbia and Chicago still thumbing their noses at the high court after rulings that should have repealed their oppressive anti-gun regulations, what real difference would it make?

When it comes to protecting the enumerated right defined in the Second Amendment, the United States Supreme Court isn't just divided.

It's toothless.

Why should any state or local official be concerned with the "supreme court" and its rulings if the court itself lacks the conviction to compel compliance?

Unenforced rules aren't rules, they're suggestions.

Jim is absolutely correct. The Supreme Court has had multiple opportunities to reinforce and correct misinterpretations of their rulings in Heller and McDonald. Every time they have blinked and let them go unchallenged.

Erin Palette was correct to call Supreme Court nominations "the Kardashians of politics". By extension and given their reluctance to take another Second Amendment case, I'd call the justices themselves "the Kardashians of politics".

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Hampshire Becomes 12th State With Constitutional Carry


Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) signed a bill today making New Hampshire the 12th state to have permitless concealed carry. The bill he signed had been vetoed in each of the preceding two years by then-Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

There are a number of other states where constitutional concealed carry bills have been introduced this year including both North Carolina and Texas. My fellow co-host on the Polite Society Podcast, Rachel Malone, is leading the charge in Texas.

From the NRA-ILA on the New Hampshire signing ceremony:
Today, in a private signing ceremony, Governor Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law. Similar legislation had been vetoed by former Governor Maggie Hassan for two years in a row, but thanks to your active involvement, law-abiding gun owners will now be able to carry their firearms without a required permit in the state of New Hampshire! This law goes into effect immediately. Please take the time to thank your state legislators for passing this important legislation and Governor Sununu for signing it into law.

Sponsored by Senator Jeb Bradley (R-3), SB 12 will repeal the license requirement to carry a concealed pistol or revolver, unless a person is otherwise prohibited. For those who choose to obtain licenses, SB 12 will also increase the length of time in which a license is valid from four years to five years.

In New Hampshire, existing state law recognizes the right of any citizen who can legally own and possess a firearm to carry it openly, either loaded or unloaded, anywhere in the state not prohibited by law. However, if a firearm becomes covered by a coat or if a woman prefers to carry a firearm for protection in her purse, he or she would need a concealed carry handgun license. The new law will extend permitless open carry to permitless concealed carry, allowing law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves and their loved ones in the manner that best suits their needs.
Keep your fingers crossed and your calls to legislators coming in that more states will adopt this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The 4th Circuit Has Gone To Hell In A Handbasket!


The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in its infinite wisdom has decided that the most common rifle in America in not entitled to the protection of the Second Amendment. Thank you President Obama for stacking this Court of Appeals with nitwits and halfwits given that seven of the 15 active judges (non-senior status) were his appointments.

The 4th Circuit issued an en banc decision in Kolbe et al v. Hogan et al which upheld the Maryland law that banned so-called assault weapons (sic) and standard capacity magazines. The case was decided in a 9-4 split with the majority opinion written by Judge Robert B. King, a Clinton appointee, and a native of West Virginia.

Using intermediate scrutiny, Judge King wrote:
Because the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are clearly most useful in military service, we are compelled by Heller to recognize that those weapons and magazines are not constitutionally protected. On that basis, we affirm the district court’s award of summary judgment in favor of the State with respect to the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims.
Earlier he wrote:
Thankfully, however, we need not answer all those difficult questions today, because Heller also presents us with a dispositive and relatively easy inquiry: Are the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines “like” “M-16 rifles,” i.e., “weapons that are most useful in military service,” and thus outside the ambit of the Second Amendment? See 554 U.S. at 627. The answer to that dispositive and relatively easy inquiry is plainly in the affirmative.

Simply put, AR-15-type rifles are “like” M16 rifles under any standard definition of that term. See, e.g., Webster’s New International Dictionary 1431 (2d ed. 1948) (defining “like” as “[h]aving the same, or nearly the same, appearance, qualities, or characteristics; similar”); The New Oxford American Dictionary 982 (2d ed. 2005) (defining “like” as “having the same characteristics or qualities as; similar to”). Although an M16 rifle is capable of fully automatic fire and the AR-15 is limited to semiautomatic fire, their rates of fire (two seconds and as little as five seconds, respectively, to empty a thirtyround magazine) are nearly identical. Moreover, in many situations, the semiautomatic fire of an AR-15 is more accurate and lethal than the automatic fire of an M16. Otherwise, the AR-15 shares the military features — the very qualities and characteristics — that make the M16 a devastating and lethal weapon of war.
To quote the philosopher Forrest Gump, "I may not be a smart man" but that is utter bullshit! The opinion, concurrences, and dissents go on for 116 pages. I just can't bring myself to read the whole thing tonight I'm so pissed off.

 The Wall Street Journal opines that this case will go to the Supreme Court. If so, it is time to get Judge Gorsuch on the court as Associate Justice Gorsuch. Moreover, it is time to start using the nomination process to appoint judges who are originalists and not some flim-flam men and women who misinterpret the plain words of Justice Scalia in the Heller decision.

Monday, February 20, 2017

GRNC: HB 69 - Constitutional Carry - Needs Your Help


HB 69 was introduced in the North Carolina House of Representatives earlier this month. It provides for permitless concealed carry just as we have permitless or constitutional open carry in the state. It was introduced by Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus) and has been referred to the Judiciary I Committee. That last part is not good for the bill's chances of success and Grass Roots North Carolina has issued an alert requesting it be moved to the Judiciary II Committee where it will receive a fair hearing.

11 states now have constitutional carry and it looks like New Hampshire will be joining the list if Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) keeps his promise to sign the bill which has passed both houses of the legislature. That would make the three northern New England states bastions of freedom unlike the southern three.

GIVE HB 69 A FAIR HEARING!


As you know, Representative LARRY PITTMAN (R-Cabarrus)  introduced House Bill 69 (with GRNC's feedback and support) to restore our rights to constitutional (permitless) carry. The primary sponsors of the bill include Reps. MICHAEL SPECIALE (R-Beaufort, Craven, Pamlico), BEVERLY BOSWELL (R-Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Washington),  and JAY ADAMS (R-Catawba).

Since its introduction, HP 69 currently resides in House Judiciary I which is chaired by Representative TED DAVIS, JR.  We have reported his actions in previous GRNC Alerts and feel strongly that HB 69, if it stays in House Judiciary I under Rep. Davis, will be in danger of being stopped.

GRNC feels strongly that the seriousness of this bill deserves a fair hearing and is asking everyone to contact your representatives to urge them to move HB 69 to House Judiciary II, chaired by Representative JOHN M. BLUST.

To recap the details of HB 69 (“Constitutional Carry Act”) and the reasons for GRNC's support:
  • Establishes a new Article 54C, under which handguns may be carried concealed without permits;
  • Removes the need to have a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun in restaurants, public assemblies, parades and funerals, and (with the same limitations as currently in law) onto educational properties;
  • and Retains the current CHP system for purposes of reciprocity with other states.
HB 69 is designed to be a “clean” reciprocity bill (i.e. without other measures) in order to draw fewer objections from potential supporters. GRNC will shepherd the introduction of additional legislative initiatives in other bills.


IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!


  • CONTACT SPEAKER TIM MOORE and CHAIRMAN DAVID LEWIS at:
    919-733-3451, Tim.Moore@ncleg.net
    919-715-3015, David.Lewis@ncleg.net
    Tell them to move HB 69 from House Judiciary I to House Judiciary II in order for it to receive the fair hearing it deserves. You can use the copy/paste text below, under 'Deliver This Message,' to send an email message to Speaker Moore and Chairman Lewis.

  • CONTACT CHAIRMAN JOHN M. BLUST at:
    919-733-5781, John.Blust@ncleg.net
    Urge him to work with Speaker Moore to take the HB 69 into his committee and give it the fair hearing it deserves. 
    You can use the copy/paste text below, under 'Deliver This Message,' to send an email message to Representative Blust. 

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE


Here are two suggested messages to deliver:

Suggested Subject: "Give HB 69 a fair hearing and move to House Judiciary II"  

Dear [Speaker Moore or Chairman Lewis]:

House Bill 69, sponsored by Reps. Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, Beverly Boswell, and Jay Adams, has been introduced and currently resides in House Judiciary I, chaired by Rep. Ted David, Jr. I feel that Rep. Davis will not give the bill the fair hearing it deserves and urge you to please move it to House Judiciary II chaired by Rep. John M. Blust.

A powerful trend is sweeping across the United States in which eleven states have now adopted (or previously had) statutes under which lawful citizens could carry firearms for self-protection without obtaining burdensome permits.

The states with permitless concealed carry now include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Indeed, Missouri’s law went into effect on January 1, and West Virginia’s went into effect in May. Additionally, more limited versions of permitless carry exist in Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

It is high time North Carolina joined those enlightened states by relieving lawful North Carolinians from expensive and burdensome permit requirements which discriminate against people with lesser means. Accordingly, I ask you to give a prompt hearing to HB 69 (“Constitutional Carry Act”).

Each time we have expanded concealed carry – whether into parks, restaurants, educational property or elsewhere – naysayers have predicted gloom and doom. Each time, they have been wrong. In fact, I am aware of no instance in any of the states which have adopted constitutional carry in which it has caused problems.

Again, I urge you to give HB 69 a fair hearing and move it from Rep. Davis and House Judiciary I to House Judiciary II and Rep. Blust. I will be monitoring this issue through Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.

Respectfully,

Suggested Subject: "Please work with Speaker Moore and give HB 69 a fair hearing in House House Judiciary II"

Dear House Chairman Blust:

House Bill 69, sponsored by Reps. Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, Beverly Boswell, and Jay Adams, has been introduced and currently resides in House Judiciary I, chaired by Rep. Ted David, Jr. I feel that Rep. Davis will not give the bill the fair hearing it deserves and urge you to please work with Speaker Moore to move it to House Judiciary II under your leadership.

As you know, Rep. Blust, a powerful trend is sweeping across the United States in which eleven states have now adopted (or previously had) statutes under which lawful citizens could carry firearms for self-protection without obtaining burdensome permits.

The states with permitless concealed carry now include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Indeed, Missouri’s law went into effect on January 1, and West Virginia’s went into effect in May. Additionally, more limited versions of permitless carry exist in Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

It is high time North Carolina joined those enlightened states by relieving lawful North Carolinians from expensive and burdensome permit requirements which discriminate against people with lesser means.

Each time we have expanded concealed carry – whether into parks, restaurants, educational property or elsewhere – naysayers have predicted gloom and doom. Each time, they have been wrong. In fact, I am aware of no instance in any of the states which have adopted constitutional carry in which it has caused problems.

Again, I urge you to work with Speaker Moore to move HB 69 to your House Judiciary Committee, House Judiciary II, to give it the fair hearing it deserves. I will be monitoring this issue through Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.

Respectfully,


Sincerely,

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"The Kardashians Of Politics"


The headline comes from an analogy made by Erin Palette on Episode 130 of the GunBlog Varietycast regarding nominations to the Supreme Court. Sean Sorrentino and Erin were discussing the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. They also noted that there are currently 117 district and appeals court judgeships waiting to be filled.

Erin said, "Supreme Court nomination are the Kardashians of politics." As with the Kardashian of the day, they get virtually all the attention unlike your neighbor down the street. However, that neighbor down the street will have a far stronger impact on your life than the Kardashians. Likewise, the judges that will fill those empty District Court and Appeals Court slots will probably have a stronger impact on your constitutional rights - and especially your Second Amendment rights - than the justices on the Supreme Court. The reason, of course, is that very few cases ever are accepted for certiorari by the Supreme Court.

You can listen to the discussion between Sean and Erin here starting at the 22:20 mark.

I was struck by Erin's analogy and how apt it was with regard to not only judicial nominations but also politics at the local, state, and national levels. With even local newscasts discussing Trump said this and the Democrats said that, it is hard sometimes to remember that County Commissioner Billy Bob Jones will have a bigger impact on your day to day exercise of your Second Amendment rights. How Commissioner Jones and his colleagues grant variances or pass zoning ordinances will determine where you can buy a firearm and if there is a range where you can practice with it. Moreover, unless you live in a state with statewide firearms law pre-emption, Commissioner Billy Bob and his good friend Councilwoman Maura McGillicuddy will determine where you can carry, the penalties for a firearms discharge in the city even if it is in self-defense, and even what firearms and accessories you are allowed to possess.

I'm not saying either national politics or Supreme Court nominations are irrelevant like the Kardashians. Rather that for every 10 minutes we spend on those, we need to be spending the other 50 minutes of the hour on stuff closer to home.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Jesus Needs A Rear Sight


The Houston Chronicle has published a series of photos of members of the Sinaloa Cartel. They come from the blog El Blog Del Narco. It shows these Mexican drug cartel soldiers getting ready for what is presumably a leadership war now that "El Chapo" is in a US prison.

The one that caught my eye was of a cartel member named Jesus Mendoza. He has a cigarette dangling from his sneering lips, a black chest rig, and an AR15. He's a bad-ass and he wants you to know it.

Photo courtesy of El Blog Del Narco

Jesus would be a more effective bad-ass if he had a rear sight on that AR15 carbine.

Just sayin'.

Comment Of The Day


President Trump held a news conference yesterday and, from what I'm reading, it was pure Trump.
The heads of the media personalities are still exploding and they don't know why.

The best comment came in response to a post by Professor William Jacobson regarding the news conference. VaGentleman had this to say:

I’m reminded of the scene in ‘Patton’ where he is standing on the hill overlooking the battlefield and shouts, “Rommel, you bloody bastard, I read your book!”. Alinskyites, take note.

Charles Heller of Liberty Watch Radio, JPFO, and AzCDL made the nearly the same point when we recorded him for an interview with The Polite Society Podcast. He urged gun rights activists to read the Rules for Radicals and use them.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

11th Circuit Rules Against Florida In "Docs V. Glocks" Case


The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling en banc found that parts of  the State of Florida's Firearms Owners Privacy Act were unconstitutional restrictions on the freedom of speech. This 10-1 overturned an earlier ruling by a 3-judge panel of the 11th Circuit that had ruled in favor of the act. The case, Wollschlager v. Florida, had been euphemistically called  the "Docs v. Glocks case". The State of Florida had brought this case to the 11th Circuit on appeal from the US District Court for the District of South Florida.

In reaction to anecdotal evidence that some doctors, particularly pediatricians, were refusing treatment to children whose parents refused to answer questions regarding firearms as well as "interrogating" children regarding firearms outside the presence of their parents, the Florida Legislature passed the act in 2011. The Firearms Owners Privacy Act added provisions to medical privacy concerning firearms ownership and included disciplinary measures for violating this privacy. The provisions at issue were the ones dealing with record keeping, inquiry, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment.

There were two majority opinions on this case from the court. The first by Judge Adalberto Jose Jordan, an Obama appointee, found that:
Exercising plenary review, see ACLU of Fla., Inc. v. Miami-Dade County Sch. Bd., 557 F.3d 1177, 1206 (11th Cir. 2009), and applying heightened scrutiny as articulated in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., 564 U.S. 552, 563–67, 571–72 (2011), we agree with the district court that FOPA’s content-based restrictions—the record-keeping, inquiry, and anti-harassment provisions—violate the First Amendment as it applies to the states. See U.S. Const. amend. I (“Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech[.]”); Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359, 368 (1931) (“[T]he conception of liberty under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment embraces the right of free speech.”). And because these three provisions do not survive heightened scrutiny under Sorrell, we need not address whether strict scrutiny should apply to them. We also conclude, this time contrary to the district court, that FOPA’s anti-discrimination provision—as construed to apply to certain conduct by doctors and medical professionals—is not unconstitutional. Finally, we concur with the district court’s assessment that the unconstitutional provisions of FOPA can be severed from the rest of the Act.
He concluded by remanding the case back to District Court so that their permanent injunction could be amended to reflect the findings of the Court of Appeals.

Judge Stanley Marcus, a Clinton appointee, agreed with the other majority opinion but was rather skeptical that the anti-discrimination section of the law wouldn't be used to also regulate speech.
I also worry that the discrimination provision appears to be a variant of the harassment provision. Because the majority opinion strikes down the harassment provision, my concern is that the state will now use the discrimination provision to punish harassing conduct. The Act defines neither harassment nor discrimination. It seems to me that the same speech that constituted harassment could now constitute “discriminatory harassment”3 and thus be prohibited.

However, I also recognize that the Supreme Court has stated that anti-discrimination provisions prohibiting discriminatory conduct “do not, as a general matter, violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments.” See Hurley v. IrishAm. Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Grp. of Boston, 515 U.S. 557, 571–72, 115 S. Ct. 2338, 2346 (1995). Based on this guiding principle, and on a narrow reading of the provision, I would not strike down the discrimination provision. But I remain skeptical of the government’s motivation behind this Act. And I urge that in all future cases reviewing content- and viewpoint-based speech regulations we remain steadfast in our resolve to protect speech and be wary of any law that muzzles entire categories of speech.
Judge William Pryor, a Bush appointee and presumed finalist for the recent Supreme Court vacancy, also wrote a concurring opinion. He argued that both the First and Second Amendments were important. However, in the course of protecting one right, another right should not be slighted.
We should not be swayed by the argument that the First Amendment may be curtailed when other constitutional rights need “protection.” In this context, “protection” is a misnomer. The Constitution protects individual rights from government infringement, but freedom thrives on private persuasion. That the government may not establish a religion, U.S. Const. Amend. I., or ban handguns, U.S. Const. Amend. II, does not suggest that private individuals may not start a church or give away their guns. The Second Amendment is not infringed when private actors argue that guns are dangerous any more than when private actors support the positions of the National Rifle Association. The “theory of our Constitution” is that “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616, 630 (1919) (Holmes, J., dissenting). The Florida Legislature overstepped the boundaries of the First Amendment when it determined that the proper remedy for speech it considered “evil” was “enforced silence,” as opposed to “more speech.” Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 377 (1927) (Brandeis, J., concurring).
Finally, Judge  Gerald Tjoflat, a Ford appointee, wrote a blistering dissent which called into question the appropriate level of scrutiny applied by the majority opinions. Unlike the rest of his colleagues, he found that FOPA was narrowly tailored and would have passed even strict scrutiny. He concluded:
The majority and I agree that Florida possesses a substantial interest in protecting both Floridians’ reasonable expectation of privacy during medical treatment and the full exercise of their Second Amendment rights. If that is so, then it is hard to imagine a law more precisely tailored to advance those substantial state interests than the one presently before us. The Act does not categorically restrict the speech of medical professionals on the subject of firearms. Instead, it simply requires an individualized, good faith judgment of the necessity of speech related to firearm ownership to provide competent medical care to a patient. The individualized assessment of medical appropriateness required under the Act does not foreclose the ability of a physician to question a patient, but instead carefully weighs that right against Florida’s undoubtedly substantial interest in regulating the medical profession to protect the constitutional rights of all Floridians. In my judgment, the Act “narrowly protects patients in a focused manner in order to advance the State’s compelling interest in protecting the Second Amendment’s guarantee to keep and bear arms and patients’ privacy rights in their medical records, exactly the sort of tailoring [even] strict scrutiny requires.” Id. at 1201.

Therefore, I respectfully dissent from my colleagues’ judgment that the First Amendment requires us to declare Florida’s well-considered legislative judgment unconstitutional.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

House And Senate Have Both Approved Overturning Social Security Rule


The House approved House Joint Resolution 40 on February 2nd and the Senate approved it today by a vote of 57 yea to 43 nay. This overturns the Social Security Administration rulemaking approved on December 19, 2017 which would have made certain recipients who require help with their finances as prohibited persons. The rule would have deemed them mentally deficient and reported up to four million recipients to the FBI for inclusion in the NICS database. The Joint Resolution now goes to the desk of President Donald Trump for his signature.

It should be noted that it wasn't just the gun community that opposed this rule. Many in the civil rights and mental health community opposed it as well including the ACLU.

The 57 Senators in favor of overturning the rule included every Republican, Democrats Donnelly (IN), Heitkamp (ND), Manchin (WV), and Tester (MT), and Independent Angus King of Maine. In a sign that elections have consequences and that the gun prohibitionists' money applied in tight races can have an impact, both Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Mastro (D-NV) voted to deny the rights of senior citizens. It also goes to show that some of the Democrats in states which President Trump carried are starting to feel the heat.

Just so there is no confusion as to who voted for the rights of senior citizens and who did not, the yeas and nays are below:
Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs ---57
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Capito (R-WV)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Daines (R-MT)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Gardner (R-CO)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kennedy (R-LA)
King (I-ME)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Perdue (R-GA)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Shelby (R-AL)
Strange (R-AL)
Sullivan (R-AK)
Tester (D-MT)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Toomey (R-PA)
Wicker (R-MS)
Young (R-IN)
NAYs ---43
Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Coons (D-DE)
Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Duckworth (D-IL)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harris (D-CA)
Hassan (D-NH)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Hirono (D-HI)
Kaine (D-VA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Markey (D-MA)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Peters (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Udall (D-NM)
Van Hollen (D-MD)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)


The NRA issued a statement this morning soon after the vote was taken applauding the move by the Senate.
NRA Applauds Senate's Bipartisan Vote to Respect Due Process for Gun Owners

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded the U.S. Senate's passage of H.J. Res. 40, a joint resolution to revoke a final rule made by the Obama administration that would strip law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights. The resolution passed by a bipartisan vote of 57-43.

“Today’s Senate vote was the next step in rolling back some of the egregious government overreach that characterized the Obama era,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “Congress is reversing a last-minute, back-door gun grab that stripped law-abiding Americans of their rights without due process.”

Late last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) finalized a proposed rule to ban certain recipients who use a representative payee from owning firearms. This ill-conceived action stripped some of the most vulnerable Americans of their right to keep and bear arms without due process.

The NRA immediately opposed the Obama administration's efforts when the proposal was first announced in summer of 2015. The NRA has fought every step of the way to ensure that social security recipients are not stripped of their rights without due process of law.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress is allowed to dispose of any actions an outgoing administration initiates in its final six months. This rule was implemented during that time frame. The bill received bipartisan support, passing the House last week House by a 235-180 vote. Today's bipartisan Senate vote of 57-43 is the next step in reversing Obama’s unconstitutional gun grab. The bill now moves to President Donald Trump’s desk.

“We look forward to President Trump signing this important legislation into law,” concluded Cox.

The NRA thanks Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for their work on this important legislation.

UPDATE: I received a press release from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-WY) which applauded the overturning of the SSA rule. I think his comments hit to the heart of the matter.
“Today’s resolution of disapproval will stop the Social Security Administration from stigmatizing people with disabilities and stripping beneficiaries of their Second Amendment rights,” said Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The Social Security Administration is not a court of law and it is unacceptable that it take any action against a beneficiary without due process. Congress has done the right thing to stop this overreach and repeal this rule.”
The gun prohibitionists at the Brady Campaign are gnashing their teeth over this vote and are, of course, pleading for money.
Dear (my deceased mom),

The gun lobby lap dogs in Congress have done it again. This week, thousands of Americans jammed Senate phone lines with calls. America’s mayors, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials spoke out. And Brady supporters like you flooded their Senators’ inboxes with emails.

But the gun lobby lap dogs in the Senate ignored these warnings. They listened to the corporate gun lobby instead, and voted to roll back critical protections that kept guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses that make them a danger to themselves or others.

Still, our collective voices made a huge difference in this fight. Your calls and emails swayed several Senators who might have otherwise voted the wrong way, and came within just a few votes of victory.

You got us close, but today made it clear that the fight isn’t over. Gun lobby lap dogs in Congress may be listening to the corporate gun lobby instead of the voices that matter most - yours - but we’re going to hold them accountable.

We won’t back down, we won’t be silenced, and we will continue to fight.

You can join the effort to keep pressure on these lap dogs. Your contribution now will keep us one step ahead of the gun lobby’s plan to make America less safe.

Thank you for all you do,

Kristin Brown
Chief Strategy Officer
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
You will never sway politicians by calling them "gun lobby lap dogs". Remember what Jeff Knox always reminds us, we are the gun lobby. It isn't just Chris and Wayne in Fairfax. It is you and me and everyone else who believes in freedom. As to those senators whose votes were swayed, I wish the Brady Campaign would name names. I'd like to know who is against due process and civil rights for senior citizens.

Hickok45 On The GP-100 In .44 Special


Ruger recently released the GP-100 in a five-shot, .44 Special version. It was one of the firearms I had wanted to shoot at the SHOT Show before life intruded. The cartridge itself seems interesting and I had hoped to try out the world's greatest dentist's Ruger Redhawk with that cartridge today but it is raining.

Hickok45 just released a video today reviewing this fine revolver. Given the way it shoots, I'd love to have one and have been seriously considering buying one. It won't be this month as my everyday driver needed new brakes plus new tie rod joints which just shot my gun buying budget. The kid in me objects but the adult in me realizes that being able to stop and steer the car is more important than a new shiny GP-100 in .44 Special.


John Farnam's Observations On Coatings And Acidic Sweat


If you don't subscribe to Farnam's Quips then you are missing out on a lot of good information and astute observations.

Today's edition is no exception. In it John talks about the second day of the gun writer's conference being held at Gunsite. The day, from what I can tell, was devoted to coatings and metal treatments for firearms among other things.

I'll let John tell what he learned about coatings and metal treatments:
Observations:

All metal treatments, even high-tech ones, have “side-effects.” Nothing is perfect!

For external guns surfaces, polymer is a good choice. Robar’s version is Roguard or Poly-T-Two. Both are very acceptable, and can be an any color.

Also suitable for external surfaces is QPQ, otherwise known as Tennifer or Melonite. Very hard. Also very suitable for rifle bores. However, it is so hard that subsequent machining is nearly impossible!

For internal parts, NP3 is the way to go. NP3 has integral teflon, which gives it natural lubricity. However, it is slick and thus not the best choice for slides. And, it has a silver/grey color. Other colors are not possible.

“Hard chrome” plating is obsolete. There are superior choices for surface treatment today. Hard-chrome barrels are notoriously inaccurate, because of inherent unevenness of the plating.

Nickel plating is also mostly obsolete. It is of interest only by those who want “shiny” guns.

Ceramic coating (Cerakoat) has excellent high-heat tolerance and are thus suitable for some parts of full-auto guns. However, ceramic has no inherent lubricity.

Smoking and coffee-drinking lowers blood PH, making bodily fluids, particularly sweat, acidic and thus corrosive to pistols worn close to the skin. Smokers and coffee-drinkers typically have to deal with rusty guns, even in dry climates! They will particularly benefit from modern, high-tech metal treatments.
While I don't smoke and never have I do drink coffee. I didn't realize that coffee drinking would make sweat acidic. Actually, I never thought about it one way or another but it make sense that acidic sweat is more corrosive to handguns.

If you want to subscribe to Farnam's Quips, shoot John an email at dtiquips@clouds.com .

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Using Brady Campaign's Tool To Urge Passage Of S.J.Res. 14


The Brady Campaign is going all out to make sure senior citizens who have trouble managing their finances remain as prohibited persons. It is not merely that they will be prevented from purchasing a firearm but that they will be considered a prohibited person under the Gun Control Act of 1968. While those affected have not been adjudicated as mentally defective as provided by GCA '68, the Social Security Administration still would report them as such to the FBI for inclusion in the NICS Database.

The Brady Campaign is saying that there are 11 undecided senators. They don't name them. If your home state senator is one of these undecideds, the Brady telephone tool connects you to their office. If not, then you are connected at random to one of the other senators. I just tried it and I wasn't connected to either of the senators from North Carolina who, by the way, I had already called urging passage of S.J.Res. 14.

I love using the resources of the anti-rights gun prohibitionists to advance a pro-rights agenda!

Breaking news: We're within just a few votes of victory and we need you!Dear ,
The time to act is now!
Yesterday, we asked you to email your Senator and demand that they vote no on a bill to roll back protections that keep guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.
TODAY the Senate is expected to vote on whether to erase a critical part of the Brady background check law that prevents people most at risk from accessing guns.
Please take one more action now to let key, undecided senators know we need them to vote against rolling back the protections of the Brady background checks.
Call one of the key senators today and tell them to vote NO on Senate Joint Resolution 14! Thank you.
Kristin Brown
Chief Strategy Officer
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Monday, February 13, 2017

CalGuns, SAF Seek En Banc Hearing In Waiting Period Case


The CalGuns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the other individual plaintiffs in Silvester v. Harris - now Silvester v. Becerra - have filed for an en banc hearing in the 9th Circuit. The original suit sought to overturn the 10-day waiting period California imposes on firearms purchasers who hold either a California carry license or a Certificate of Eligibility.

Judge Anthony Ishii of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California had found that the waiting period violated the Second Amendment. His ruling was reversed by a 3 judge panel of the 9th Circuit in mid December 2016. That opinion in that ruling caused me and others to just shake our heads at some of its assertions.

More on the decision to seek an en banc hearing in this release from CalGuns:
CGF, Others Seek Review by Full 9th Circuit Court in Major Second Amendment Lawsuit Challenging California Gun Waiting Period Laws

SAN FRANCISCO (February 13, 2017)¬¬¬¬¬¬ – Today, attorneys for The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation, and two individual plaintiffs filed a petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking en banc (full-court) review of a wrongly-decided opinion that overturned the trial court’s judgment that California’s Waiting Period Laws violate the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

CGF Executive Director Brandon Combs, who is also an individual plaintiff in the case, issued the following statement:

In December, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals bizarrely ruled that even a person legally carrying a concealed handgun as he buys another gun at retail needs to be 'cooled off' for another 10 days before exercising his Second Amendment rights and taking possession of a constitutionally-protected firearm.

We believe that the Ninth Circuit’s panel opinion was wrong as a matter of law. Not only did the panel incorrectly decide the Second Amendment issues in favor of the State of California, but in doing so it ignored important legal rules that govern the review of a lower court’s judgment after a trial.

After undertaking significant discovery, depositions, and a three-day bench trial, Federal District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii issued his Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, which held the State of California’s 10-day waiting period laws to be irrational and unconstitutional as applied to three categories of gun purchasers.

As our attorneys noted in the petition they filed for us today, “maintaining the proper standard of review for fact-finding in constitutional litigation is a matter of exceptional importance that is worthy of en banc review.”

We hope that the full Ninth Circuit will correct the panel opinion’s numerous injustices and affirm the judgment of the trial court. However, we are prepared to take this case to the Supreme Court should that extraordinary action be necessary to restore the fundamental, individual Second Amendment rights of law-abiding people.

The petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc can be viewed or downloaded at www.calgunsfoundation.org/silvester.

Jeff Silvester, et al. v. Attorney General Xavier Becerra (formerly titled Silvester v. Kamala Harris) is supported by civil rights organizations The Calguns Foundation (Sacramento, CA) and Second Amendment Foundation (Bellevue, WA).

The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to advance Second Amendment and related civil rights.

Senate Will Vote On Overturning Social Security Administration's NICS Ban Tuesday


Last year, in response to a Executive Memorandum signed by then President Obama, the Social Security Administration engaged in a rule-making that would impact those retirement and disability recipients who needed help with the management of the finances. A final rule was released late in 2016 that would add these people to the NICS prohibited list. The number of people impacted is estimated at about four million recipients.

It should be noted that these individuals need help managing their finances. They have never been adjudicated mentally deficient. I come across people on a daily basis who could use a trustee to manage their finances even though they are otherwise smart, capable individuals.

The House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 40 on February 2nd that disapproved this rule issued by the Social Security Administration.

The resolution reads:
Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (published at 81 Fed. Reg. 91702 (December 19, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.
The Brady Campaign sent out a text alert this morning saying that the Senate will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 14 on Tuesday. This is the Senate's portion of the disapproval of the SSA rulemaking. They were urging their supporters to contact their Senators to "protect Brady background checks."

S.J.Res. 14 is sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley and has 29 co-sponsors. I was disappointed to see that neither of North Carolina's senators was on the list. Nonetheless, we have the votes to overturn this rule if all the Republicans stick together.

I would urge you to call or email your senator to express your approval for this measure. The Capitol Switchboard is at 202-224-3121. You can also go to this page to get the direct number and/or email for your Senator.

There is a lot of "fake news" and misinformation being put out in opposition to this resolution so it is vital that you call.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

I Thought We Were Partners In The Fight For The Second Amendment (Updated)


The Second Amendment does not say "the right of the people to keep and bear firearms shall not be infringed". Rather, it says "the right of the people to keep and bear ARMS shall not be infringed." Various courts have found that the term "arms" includes not only firearms but also knives and non-lethal weapons such as stun guns.

Doug Ritter, founder and chairman of Knife Rights, calls their fight "the second front in the defense of the Second Amendment." Todd Rathner, Director of Legislative Affairs for Knife Rights, is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NRA and has fought for the liberalization of laws against suppressors and those against switchblades and other knives. I would wager that over 99% of gun owners support their efforts to change laws against switchblades, dirks, daggers, and other knives.

It is against this background that I was incredibly saddened to see a sign in the window of Microtech Knives posting the premises against concealed carry of firearms. You can see the sign circled to the left of the front door in the picture below.



The Complementary Spouse and I were driving to dinner when we came across the industrial park where Microtech South is located. We took a short detour through the park because I had always wondered about their location. That was when I saw the sign.

Microtech has a well deserved reputation for producing high end knives and especially automatic knives aka switchblades. Their knives sell in the hundreds of dollars. They even had a firearms division called MSAR at one time. Their founder, Anthony Marfione, has even been on the Board of Regents of the American Knife and Tool Institute which fights for knife owner's rights.

I should point out that I explicitly recognize the right of the owners of private property to either post or not post their premises at their own discretion.

However, is it too much to expect a knife company to recognize gun rights in the same manner we in the gun culture recognize knife rights? I thought we were all in this fight together.

UPDATE: One of the comments below is from Dan Lawson who is general counsel to Microtech. In the interest of fairness, I am reprinting it here so that his comments will not be overlooked.
Microtech is very supportive of the individual right to keep and bear arms. To us, this means that individuals have the right to possess and carry weapons in case of a confrontation.

We view this as a fundamental and inalienable right with which all are created. We also recognize that “arms” within the scope and meaning of the right encompasses anything an individual wears for his or her “ defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another” ; within the words of Heller.

Essentially everyone at Microtech is armed all the time. Everybody has a knife. We make the best edged arms in the class. We also have a “Proprietary Armed Security Force” on premises. Our employees and friends know us as avid owners and users of firearms.

The Microtech facility is not a place open to the public. We do, as a part of our security program, reserve the right to ask that visitors with whom we have no experience or familiarity not bring firearms into the secured spaces. We do not “post against carry” and certainly do not discourage people from exercising their rights.

Dan Lawson, General Counsel, Microtech Knives, Inc.
I'm happy to see a response from Microtech and glad to see their reaffirmation of a commitment to the Second Amendment. I do take issue with Mr. Lawson's assertion that they don't post against carry. The sign by the door indicates, in my opinion, that they do post against carry and it would carry the force of law in the state of North Carolina. 

§ 14-415.11(c)(8) of the NC General Statutes states you cannot carry even with a permit on "On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the posting of a conspicuous notice or statement by the person in legal possession or control of the premises."

UPDATE II: Microtech Knives posted on their Facebook page that they've taken down the no CCW post sign. I can confirm this is correct as I drove by their facility within the last hour and checked.

One of the comments earlier asked if all the others in their industrial park were posted against carry. The answer is no. While I didn't go door to door to look for little, tiny posted post against carry decals, I didn't see any other facility in the area including their next door neighbor, a pottery store, that were posted as I drove slowly by each building.

I would like to point people to Oleg Volk's share of my original post as it has a lot of interesting comments including ones from Dan Lawson and Anthony Marfione. Jonathan Sullivan aka Linoge also has generated some good comments in response to his share of my post.

I was amused by a post by Todd Underwood of United Gun Group who characterized my post as "a poorly written article". That is his opinion with which I, unsurprisingly, disagree. He bases much of his response on a comment by Microtech's general counsel Dan Lawson. You can see my response to that above.

Private property is private property and the owners or those in control of the premises are free to do what they will including posting it against carry. Signs, however, do not and will not stop a person or persons intent on causing those in the building harm. Concealed carry permit holders are the good guys and have had their bonafides attested to by a criminal background check. A more reasonable sign and one I've seen on the doors of a number of gun shops might say, "We respect the right to carry concealed. We ask that you keep your firearm holstered while on our premises." If I had seen such a sign, I would have publicized it just as quickly as the sign that has caused this controversy.



Friday, February 10, 2017

Comment Of The Day


My friend Bob Mayne of the Handgun World podcast posted this comment  on Facebook from his son regarding Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and it has me ROFLMAO!

"I support Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 2nd Amendment right to carry a Tomahawk."

I think Bob's son wins the Internet today!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Second Amendment Rally, No. 2


My friend and co-host of The Polite Society Podcast Rachel Malone founded and heads Texas Firearms Freedom. Rachel is a professional musician, a music teacher, and a certified firearms instructor. She has been a stalwart in the battle for both open carry and constitutional carry in Texas. Rachel has lobbied both the Texas Legislature and the Texas Republican Party on behalf of gun rights. She has had to battle not only the traditional enemies of freedom like Moms Demand Action but some of the older, hide-bound, gun groups in Texas in her quest for carry rights. Lest I forget to mention it, Rachel is only 30 years old.

To advance the cause of gun rights in Texas and especially constitutional carry, Texas Firearms Freedom is holding Texas G.O.L.D. on March 2nd in Austin. It will be held in conjunction with the Republican Party of Texas Legislative Day which has constitutional carry as one of its legislative priorities.

Texas G.O.L.D.
Our schedule is designed to complement the RPT lobby day and give you maximum flexibility in planning your schedule. Feel free to join us for a half-day or full day. You can also stop in at any time just to collect handouts & get a t-shirt. We also encourage you to participate in at least some of the RPT lobby day for constitutional carry. Please be sure to register with them AND with us if you plan to participate in some of each.
8am-4pm – room open for activists to network, get information & t-shirts, collect literature to hand out, etc.
10am – refresher training & gun bill update
10:30am – divide into groups and visit legislators’ offices in the Capitol
12pm – PRESS EVENT & group photo
1pm – refresher training & gun bill update
1:30pm – divide into groups and visit legislators’ offices in the Capitol
The Texas G.O.L.D. training and HQ will be at Rm. 130 in the John H. Reagan Building on the Capital Complex. Registration is free but you will need to do so if you want the T-shirt.

Go here to register for Texas G.O.L.D. If you want to participate in the RPT event, links are on the Texas G.O.L.D. page. More info on Texas G.O.L.D. can be found on their Facebook page.

As an aside, this was the first time that I've visited the Texas Firearms Freedom webpage even though I've known Rachel for a couple of years now. The layout and graphics would put many commercial websites to shame.

Second Amendment Rally, No. 1


Riders USA will sponsor a Second Amendment ride and rally in Phoenix on February 18th. The ride  called Celebrate and Protect the 2nd will begin at Encanto Park and conclude at the Arizona State Capitol. The rally itself will be from 12 noon until 2pm.

Dave Kopp of the AZ Citizens Defense League is one of the featured speakers and AZCDL will have a booth at the event.



If you plan to ride in the procession to the State Capitol, you will need to register. Staging for the ride begins at 11am and the ride itself will begin at 11:45am.

More info can be found on the Riders USA webpage and their Facebook page.

Stuff You Just Can't Make Up


I get all sorts of press releases in my email. Lately, in addition to what I get from the gun industry and publishers, I have been getting releases from all sorts of progressive groups. I'm guessing that their thought process is to shoot them out and some might hit the target audience.

Well, the following one is going to be published but not for the reasons that the sender intended. It is from the Satanic Temple and it is announcing a Valentine's Day fundraiser (Hugs and Kisses from Satan) to fund its pro-abortion lawsuits in Missouri.

Literally. Really.

Even with the most fertile imagination, the communications director for National Right To Life could not make this up. Think about it: Devil worshipers holding a fundraiser on a day named for a Christian saint to promote the killing of an unborn child. It just boggles the mind. I don't care where you stand on the position of abortion it doesn't get more ludicrous than this.

The release in its entirety so I can't be accused of selective editing:
The Satanic Temple Celebrates Valentine’s Day with Fundraising Drive to Support Reproductive Rights Lawsuits Against State of Missouri
“Hugs and Kisses for Satan” fundraiser drive seeking sponsors across the United States to engage in constructive and pro-social activities that benefit and build communities.
(National) February 9, 2017 - The Satanic Temple is seeking sponsors for its Valentine’s Day fundraising drive, "Hugs and Kisses for Satan," which is aimed to support the Temple’s reproductive rights lawsuits against the state of Missouri’s mandatory abortion waiting periods and reading materials that claim life begins at conception. The Temple objects to these State requirements on religious grounds.
The Satanic Temple has filed both State and Federal lawsuits against the State of Missouri on behalf of Mary Doe, a pregnant woman seeking an abortion. Missouri law requires that all women seeking to lawfully terminate their pregnancy must be given reading material claiming that life begins at conception, and they must endure a 72-hour waiting period between their initial appointment and their actual abortion procedure. The Temple objects to these restrictions on religious grounds because they violate the Temple’s belief in the inviolability of one’s body.
How to participate:
  • Download Pledge Sheet here;
  • Download Contact Sheet here;
  • Download XO Card here;
  • Find sponsors who will contribute for every hug or kiss you receive on Valentine’s Day;
  • Fill-out each sponsor’s information on the Pledge Sheet;
  • On Valentine’s Day, solicit hugs and kisses using the XO Card and ask the people who hug or kiss you to write their initials on the Contact Sheet;
  • After Valentine’s Day, collect contributions from your sponsors based on the number of hugs and kisses you received. Contributions and Contact Sheet should be forwarded to The Satanic Temple by either PayPal or mail (as a check or money order) by Feb. 28.
Mailing address:
The Satanic Temple, 64 Bridge Street, Salem, MA 01970

PayPal address:
info@thesatanictemple.com
Prizes will be awarded to the individual who raises the most money, hugs, and kisses.
Questions regarding the event can be emailed to info@thesatanictemple.com.
"Hugs and Kisses for Satan" is the first in a series of campaigns the Temple is promoting as a means by which people can engage in constructive and pro-social activities that benefit and build communities. Next year, the Temple hopes to launch a "My Blood Valentine" blood drive.
About The Satanic Temple
The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Civic-minded, The Satanic Temple has been involved in a number of good works including taking a stand against the controversial and extremist Westboro Baptist Church. For more information about The Satanic Temple, please visit http://www.thesatanictemple.com.

PS: Their media relations are handled by this company.

NRA On Sessions Confirmation As Attorney General


The NRA-ILA went all in on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. It was made a graded vote and I think it will come back to haunt certain Democrats who are running for re-election in 2018. The only Democrat who voted for Sessions was Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who must have been reading the political tea leaves in his home state.

Last night, by a vote of 52 to 47, Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General.

The NRA-ILA released this statement:
NRA Statement on Confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association today issued the following statement from Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), applauding the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as the 84th attorney general of the United States:

“The NRA and our five million members would like to congratulate Jeff Sessions on his confirmation as attorney general. He will make America a safer place by prosecuting violent criminals while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners."

The U.S. Senate confirmed Attorney General Sessions by a bi-partisan 52 to 47 vote.
I, for one, am happy to have an Attorney General who respects the Second Amendment and who I know in my heart of hearts won't be authorizing another Operation Gun Walker aka Fast and Furious.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Round-Up Of NRA Board Endorsements


I have compiled endorsements for the NRA Board of Directors for the past several years and I don't intend to break with tradition this year.

This year there are 26 director slots open as well as a significant change in the NRA's bylaws. If you are a Life Member or an annual member of five years with no breaks in membership you are eligible to vote in this election. You should have received your ballot bound in your magazine within the last two weeks. Ballots must be received by the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche by April 9th in order to be counted.

With a membership of around five million and an estimated 500,000 Life Members, the average number of votes cast annually is in the 75-80,000 range. This is disappointing. While I think the Board of Directors is about 50 members or more too large to be effective, not voting will only cede more power to the paid staff. If we want to have any impact on the direction of the NRA, we who are eligible MUST vote. Moreover, while you may vote for up to 26 candidates, this works to the advantage of the celebrities and the old guard hanger's on endorsed by the nominating committee. As Jeff Knox explains, if you want your vote to have some impact vote for one or two but no more than five candidates.

David Codrea has endorsed Stephen Stamboulieh and only him for the Board. David considers Stamboulieh to be a no-compromise candidate based upon his positions regarding the NFA, the Hughes Amendment, and other issues. Stamboulieh has also garnered the endorsement of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society for his legal work in 2A battles there even though he is based in Mississippi. In an earlier column, David has also come out against the bylaw changes as it makes it even harder for a petition candidate to get on the ballot.

Dave Hardy has this to say about these three candidates.
Curtis Jenkins. A very good fellow. He spent 16 years in the Georgia House of Reps, with a continuous A+ rating from NRA, and authored the nation's first bill protecting firearm manufacturers against harassing lawsuits. He is an incumbent, and serves on the Legislative Policy, Legal Affairs, and Finance Committees, plus the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. He's also an NRA Certified Rifle and Shotgun Instructor.

Charles Cotton. Incumbent, and serves on the Legal Affairs and Bylaws and Resolutions Committees, plus the Civil Rights Defense Fund. Operates several pro-gun websites, and active in the Texas State Rifle Association.

Patricia Clark. Incumbent, serves on the NRA Airgun, Youth Programs, Finance, Smallbore Rifle, Competitions Rules and Programs, and Silhouette Committees. Received the Sybil Ludington Freedom Award for promotion youth shooting. She's pretty much indispensable to the competitions and youth aspects of the organization.
He also mentioned Heidi Washington who is the daughter of the late NRA President Tom Washington and is head of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Dave does endorse the bylaw changes in a separate post but I would encourage you to read the comments on this post.

Lt. Col. Robert Brown and Soldier of Fortune have their annual endorsements up. Their number one endorsement is for Steve Schreiner of Englewood, Colorado. Soldier of Fortune also endorses the following:
1. Thomas P. Arvas   Albuquerque, New Mexico
2. John Cushman    Patchogue, New York
3. Curtis S. Jenkins   Forsyth, Georgia
4. Sean Maloney   Liberty Township, Ohio
5. Linda Walker   Newark, Ohio
6. Heidi Washington    East Lansing, Michigan
Knife Rights does not usually make endorsements for the NRA Board but they have made an exception this year due to three of the candidates either being on their own Board of Directors, Advisory Board, or a celebrity supporter.
Todd J. Rathner is Knife Rights’ Director of Legislative Affairs–our lobbyist. He has been instrumental in our outstanding legislative success to date, totaling 22 pro-knife laws enacted in 15 states and 6 anti-knife bills defeated.

Todd’s efforts in bringing Knife Rights’ issues to the attention of the NRA Board and staff has been invaluable and it is certainly in our best interests to see him continue in this role. Beyond that, he works tirelessly in support of the Second Amendment.

Graham Hill is the Chairman of the NRA Legislative Policy and Federal Affairs Committees and is an advisor to Knife Rights on legislative issues in Congress.

His comprehensive understanding of, and insights into, what makes Congress tick and how to get things done on The Hill are extremely helpful to the NRA and to Knife Rights, particularly as we work to pass the Knife Owners’ Protection Act including repeal of the Federal Switchblade Act (H.R. 84).

Graham’s dedication to the Second Amendment is second to none and he deserves your vote.

R. Lee (The Gunny) Ermey has been a very vocal supporter of Knife Rights and takes every opportunity to promote Knife Rights as he travels the country making celebrity appearances. We very much appreciate The Gunny’s active support for Knife Rights and a Sharper Future for all Americans as well as his unwavering commitment to defending the Second Amendment.

Knife Rights encourages our members who are also NRA voting members to vote for Todd, Graham and The Gunny and reminds you that NRA Board Election ballots must be received by the NRA no later than April 9, 2017.
SilencerCo on their blog endorsed Todd Rathner, Melanie Pepper, and Graham Hill. They recognized Rathner for the role he played in getting Arizona's constitutional carry law passed and the role he continues to play in getting suppressors legal for hunting in numerous state. Pepper was endorsed for the recognition she has received for her work in hunting, conservation, and on the NRA's Women's Leadership Forum. Finally, Hill was endorsed due to his work on both the Legislative Policy and Federal Affairs Committees which he chairs. Additionally, Hill is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Suppressor Association and is President and CEO of the Fifty Caliber Institute.

The Hawaii Rifle Association not surprisingly has endorsed Lt. Col. Willes Lee for the Board. He is a resident of Hawaii and is the former Chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party. Lee was recently appointed to the Board of Directors to fill a vacant spot.
The Hawaii Rifle Association is delighted to fully endorse Mr. Willes K. Lee for a position on the Board of Directors in the upcoming election cycle.

We have worked with Willes for many years now to protect our precious Second Amendment. He has assisted us with fighting anti-gun bills as well as helping to win pro-gun legislation and to elect pro-gun legislators to pursue those goals.

Mr. Lee has also worked with us to promote the shooting sports in Hawaii and to strengthen the youth shooting opportunities here, such as our high school shooting teams and the FNRA Banquets that support those teams each year. Willes has been fully responsible for bringing in NRA presidents David Keane, Jim Porter, and Allan Cors to our Hawaii events.
I consider the endorsements by Jeff Knox and the Firearms Coalition to be probably the most important here and the ones that I take most seriously. Jeff's father Neal was one of the architects of the Cincinnati Revolt and was the first head of the NRA-ILA. The Knox family involvement in NRA affairs dates back well over 40 years. Jeff's take on the bylaw changes is that it solidifies the status quo of staff dominance over the Board and makes it harder for changes to come from the grassroots.

On the changes and his endorsements of Sean Maloney, Graham Hill, and Adam Kraut, Jeff writes:
In 1977 a group of members and renegade Board members, upset by the NRA’s reluctance to fulfill its duties in the political arena, and the closed electoral system that made change all but impossible, staged a member revolt at the Annual Meeting of Members in Cincinnati. Operating under the bylaws and not-for-profit law, a dedicated group of members, including Neal Knox, moved a slate of bylaw changes that reorganized the organization’s structure and created a petition process to get access to the ballot. The members, angry over a proposal by NRA brass to move the headquarters out of Washington, were primed to join the rebellion. The meeting lasted from 10 in the morning Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday morning, and culminated with my father nominating and the members electing Harlon Carter as the new executive vice president.

In subsequent years, those member-empowering bylaw amendments have been chipped away. Each strike of the chisel was made with assurances that the latest change would “protect the Cincinnati reforms.” The current proposal pretty much completes the job of protecting the Cincinnati reforms right out of existence.

When Dad wrote the current standard, he set the petition threshold at 250 voting members. That number was deemed achievable for someone like a local club president who wanted to take a hand in NRA affairs as a Board member. In this Internet age, gathering 250 qualified signatures has become somewhat easier, but setting the bar at anything higher than about 500 would take the process out of reach of but the most prominent members.

The Board proposes setting a threshold at 0.5 percent of the voters in the past year’s election. The new threshold will be around that acceptable 500 number, but that’s only true as long as less than 6 percent of eligible members cast ballots. If turnout were to go up to just 8 percent, the number of signatures required to qualify for the ballot would go up to close to 900 – beyond the reach of an average member.

As an Endowment Life Member of the NRA who has been very active in NRA politics for almost four decades, I’m very troubled by the key provisions of this bylaw change proposal, and I am urging all voting members to vote “No” on this proposal. While some of the proposed changes are mostly cosmetic, and others seem logical, the overall effect of the proposed changes is to take power away from the members, and this is an all-or-nothing proposition. You can’t get the good without also accepting the bad – and that’s unacceptable.

If you are an NRA member, I urge you to take a look in your February 2017 issue of your NRA magazine to see if there is a voting package bound into the middle of it. If there is, go to the back of the package where you will find two ballots and an envelope. One ballot is for voting on the Board of Directors, the other is for voting on the proposed bylaw amendments.

For the Board of Directors election, I am recommending people vote only for the following three candidates, and no others: Sean Maloney, Adam Kraut and Graham Hill. There are others on the ballot who are good, but they don’t need our help.

Whether you vote in the Director election or not, be sure to completely fill in the circle next to the word “No” on the bylaw ballot, put it in the envelope, sign it, and drop it in the mail.

“As the NRA goes, so go our gun rights.” My dad first penned those words more than 30 years ago when the NRA was embroiled in another of its internal struggles. The NRA management likes to think that a placid, compliant NRA is good for gun rights. That is not true. The organization was born out of strife and is at its best when there is tension. For its leaders to relax into complacent incumbency will not yield an NRA that is willing to press the strategic advantage we have now, nor dig in and fight the hard battles that will come when the political pendulum moves the other way.
Finally, I am not going to tell you who to vote for in this Board election. However, I would say to vote for workhorses over celebrity show horses. There are two people for whom I won't be voting and here is my rationale. First, there is Howard J. "Walt" Walter of Flat Rock, North Carolina. Mr. Walter lives in an adjacent county to me and is a long-time member of the Board who is supported by the Nominating Committee for re-election. In years gone by, I would run into him at the Asheville Rifle and Pistol Club meetings when I still belonged. His blurb says in part:
Media spokesman/debater on Second Amendment issues. Supported lawsuit protection for gun manufacturers, opposed reauthorization of Clinton gun ban. Political strategist/consultant for pro-gun candidates. Worked with senatorial/congressional candidates. Experienced lobbyist, helped pass concealed carry and shooting range protection legislation.
If Mr. Walter has done all that he says he has done for the Second Amendment, he sure has been quiet about it. He certainly hasn't been in the fight to repeal the pistol purchase permit, he wasn't in the fight for passage of the Castle Doctrine, and about the only thing I've seen with his name on it in the last 15 or more years is one letter to the editor. Resting on your past laurels is not what we need on the Board of Directors.

The other person for whom I won't be voting is N. Stephanie Spika. We interviewed her last spring on the Polite Society Podcast and all of us came away singularly unimpressed. All we heard were platitudes of how she would work with staff to bring in younger activists. We had the feeling that her aim on being elected to the Board was more about padding her resume than anything else. Make of that what you will.

With that, I'm going to close. I'm sure that there are many more endorsements out there. I would urge you to study them as well as the ones above closely. If you are eligible to vote, then do so.

UPDATE: I filled out my ballot and bylaw vote today. It will go in the mail tomorrow with a Charlton Heston forever stamp on it.