Tag Archives: gun legislation

Co-worker Gun-Grab an Agenda-Advancing Expansion of Rights-Denying Orders

“Concerned a Co-Worker Is Dangerous?”a KQED News headline asks. “Bill Would Let You Petition State to Take Their Guns.” Really…

coworkers

David Codrea

To make the case for adding to the state’s citizen disarmament options, a couple examples are given of California “gun violence restraining orders” being used to take guns away under petitions filed by family members or law enforcement officers. This latest push expands the list of those eligible to initiate gun seizures to employers, co-workers, high school and college staff members and mental health workers.

The expansion is the “brainchild” of Assemblyman Phil Ting, unsurprisingly a San Francisco Democrat, and this is actually his second attempt to enact it. Also unsurprisingly, both times have been in response to murders that happened in so-called “gun-free zones,” where the killers evidently didn’t get the message (or more likely, got it loud and clear).

That this doesn’t sink in with Ting’s constituents is also no surprise. His violating Assembly rules by “ghost voting” didn’t bother them enough to give him his walking papers. And the unvarnished support he received from convicted “gun criminal” (and former rabidly “anti-gun” California politician) Leland Yee hasn’t raised any eyebrows in his district either.

On the surface — to those who don’t look too deeply below it — protection orders can sound reasonable and what the gun-grabbers call “common sense” (as long as you don’t question American citizens being stripped of a fundamental right without being convicted of anything). And that has put the ACLU, of all groups, on the right side of the issue and at odds with the NRA and no shortage of supposed “conservatives.” Per their Rhode Island chapter:

“The heart of the legislation’s [Extreme Risk Protection Order] ERPO process requires speculation — on the part of both the petitioner and judges — about an individual’s risk of possible violence. But, the ACLU analysis notes: ‘Psychiatry and the medical sciences have not succeeded in this realm, and there is no basis for believing courts will do any better. The result will likely be a significant impact on the rights of many innocent individuals in the hope of preventing a tragedy.’”

But that hasn’t stopped so-called “conservative” pundits from jumping on the protection order bandwagon. Ditto for President Donald Trump and for NRA “A”-rated Lindsey Graham, who couldn’t team up fast enough with “F”- rated Richard Blumenthal…

Unsurprisingly for those of us who follow such things, the same goes for the National Rifle Association. (Hear for yourself starting at 3:15 in their video. Saying “they should have strong due process protections” does not change the fact that such orders really don’t, and can’t by their very nature.)

“[A]s they are currently implemented, these laws come with major pitfalls and potential for serious abuse,” Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership warns. “They violate the principles of liberty and establish a dangerous ‘guilty until proven innocent’ standard. GVROs and ERPOs passed to date violate multiple Constitutional protections beyond the Second Amendment. These include the rights to equal treatment and against unreasonable search and seizure (4th amendment), the rights of the accused (6th), and the right to due process (5th and 14th).”

And, of course, there’s another indisputable reality that none of the proponents of restraining orders want to even acknowledge, let alone talk about:

“Anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian.”

If proven violent persons are still truly dangerous, Robert J. Kukla made a brilliant observation in his 1973 classic “Gun Control,” equating their release from prison with opening the cage of a man-eating tiger and expecting a different result.

If there is “clear, convincing, admissible evidence” that a supposedly “restrained” party is a danger, how is it responsible to allow such a menace access to the rest of us until such time as it can be established that he is no longer a threat? Does anyone think he couldn’t kill with something else? Or, noting routine headlines from places like Chicago and Baltimore, that he couldn’t get a gun? Why wouldn’t he be separated from society, after being afforded real “due process,” with all appropriate protections of course?

Concessions on these measures by the NRA, which in turn gives the green light to Republicans, is nothing short of preemptive surrender. It won’t stop the Democrats from coming back for even more, especially as they perceive they are better positioned to launch their next assault.  Meanwhile, they’ll still continue screaming how the “uncompromising and extremist” NRA is “a terrorist organization” and that Republicans are “fascists.”

We know where the “slippery slope” leads, and that the violence monopolists want it all. Giving them anything makes as much sense as tossing a scrap of flesh to a circling pack of jackals and believing that will satisfy them and make them go away.

Well on its way down that slope, California is on a “gun control” binge reminiscent of an eye-rolling shark feeding frenzy. Thanks to practically unchallengeable Democrat dominance, it has the votes to do pretty much whatever it wants, so don’t be surprised if Ting’s bill passes this time, and that after it does, he and his fellow gun-grabbers, both in and outside of California, will be demanding more.

“Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act” Bill Introduced

Utah Rep. Rob Bishop introduces bill to clarify and protect 2nd Amendment guarantees… Important!

Rob Bishop

Source: UtahPolicy.com and NRA-ILA

On May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act.” This bill would remove ATF’s authority to use the “sporting purposes” clauses in federal law in ways that could undermine the core purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Under Chairman Bishop’s legislation, all lawful purposes — including self-defense — would have to be given due consideration and respect in the administration of federal firearms law.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the core purpose of the 2nd Amendment is self-defense. Nevertheless, many federal laws that regulate the importation, possession and transfer of firearms measure the lawful utility of firearms based on their usefulness for so-called “sporting purposes.”

The term “sporting purposes” is undefined by federal statute and has been subject to several reinterpretations by the ATF and its predecessor agency. Anti-gun administrations have exploited the lack of a clear definition of “sporting purposes” to bypass Congress and impose gun control through executive fiat. The most recent (and perhaps most infamous) example of this was the Obama administration’s attempt to ban a highly popular form of ammunition for the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle. H.R. 2620 would put a stop to this for good.

Bishop offered the following statement:
“The Founding Fathers were clear when they drafted the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment is about security and self-defense. Vagaries in today’s legal code pose a real threat to the right to keep and bear arms. The Obama Administration exploited this ambiguity to forward its agenda of restriction. It’s time to ensure no future Administration tramples on these freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action said:
“On behalf of the NRA’s 5-million members, I would like to thank Chairman Rob Bishop for introducing this critical legislation. It sends a clear message that Congress will no longer allow federal bureaucrats to infringe on our 2nd Amendment right to self-protection.”

The Lawful Purpose and Self-Defense Act would:

Eliminate ATF’s authority to reclassify popular rifle ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The federal law governing armor piercing ammunition was passed by Congress to target handgun projectiles, but ATF has used the law to ban common rifle ammunition.

Provide for the lawful importation of any non-NFA firearm or ammunition that may otherwise be lawfully possessed and sold within the United States. ATF has used the current discretionary “sporting purposes” standard to deny the importation of firearms that would be perfectly legal to manufacture, sell, and possess in the United States.

Protect shotguns, shotgun shells, and larger caliber rifles from arbitrary classification as “destructive devices.” Classification as a destructive device subjects a firearm to the registration and taxation provision of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and creates a ban on possession of the firearm in some states.

Broaden the temporary interstate transfer provision to allow temporary transfers for all lawful purposes rather than just for “sporting purposes.”

TAKE ACTION!
Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 2620, the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act.” You can call your U.S. Representative at 202-225-3121, or click HERE

Rotary International Gives the Boot to Gun Owners, Cites “Reputation Risk” In New Firearms Ban

Anger is mounting over an anti-gun policy adopted in January by the international service and networking organization, Rotary International (RI).

Source: NRA-ILA

A letter announcing the rules, set to take effect in on July 1, claimed they were a response to “a lack of clarity around RI’s policy … when participating in activities involving guns, weapons, and other armaments, and when interacting with gun companies, including for sponsorship purposes.”

The new rules — codified in Chapter II, Article 2, Section 2.100 of Rotary Code of Policies — unfortunately feature their own ambiguities and contradictions.

But one thing is clear: Those who prize America’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, or who simply appreciate the many benefits of owning firearms, are no longer welcomed within the group’s ranks.

The new policy bans any Rotary entity — including clubs and districts — from selling, raffling, or transferring firearms. It also bans these entities from participating in activities where any sort of firearm raffle or other transfer occurs, whether or not Rotary is the owner of the items. Rotary entities are also prohibited from sponsoring or conducting gun shows or other exhibitions involving guns.

The new policy even bans Rotary entities from “accept[ing] sponsorship from any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacturer of guns, weapons or other armaments.” The policy manual goes on to classify such items as “addictive or harmful products and activities.”

While the policy does not go so far as to completely ban Rotary events involving sport shooting or other handling of firearms, it does state: “In no instance shall any of the Rotary Marks be used in any visual that includes guns, weapons or other armaments.” Further, “The Rotary Marks may not be used in combination with the name or logo of any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacture of guns, weapons or other armaments.”

Some have pointed out the hypocrisy of the “primary business” clause, which would allow high-volume manufacturers or retailers of firearms to associate with Rotary and participate in its functions, so long as the company made more money from other lines of business. Yet that same language serves to punish and exclude small “mom and pop” type firearms dealerships.

Also, sport shooting events or firearms education are good enough to occur under Rotary’s auspices but they may not be memorialized on film as such.

Rotary District 5320 has posted frequently asked question sheet (FAQ) about the new policies on its website.

The FAQ claims the policy arose from inquiries by clubs that wanted to hold a gun show and use a Rotary trademark on a firearm.

It denies any political or ideology basis for the policy but then goes on to state it was “done strictly to limit Rotary financial and reputational risk,” as if association with lawful firearm-related businesses or activities was somehow a per se harm to the group’s reputation or standing. It also suggests that sponsorship by firearm companies is inconsistent with Rotary’s mission.

The decision itself, according to the document, was made by RI’s 19-member Board of Directors, four of whom are U.S. citizens, and all of whom were elected by RI’s membership. It acknowledges that RI’s constituent clubs were not involved in the decision, but claims that the board has the “basic responsibilit[y]” for RI’s “name and reputation.”

Among Rotarians who have taken exception to the new policy is Wisconsin State Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend), who announced last month he was taking a leave of absence from RI and considering quitting the organization in response.  Gannon noted that in providing aid to other countries, RI does not dictate political terms to them. “Rotary International is now saying there are conditions on any money collected in the United States,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re being held to a different standard.”

Gannon’s comments were an apparent reference to the fact that some of RI’s international members do not appreciate the unique role that firearms play in America’s history, culture, and constitutional structure.

We certainly hope that RI will revisit this unnecessary and ill-conceived policy, which threatens to create a rift between members of an organization that claims to be devoted to the common good.  It’s hard to imagine the 1.2 million members and 35,000+ affiliated clubs of which RI boasts have a monolithic approach to firearms.

Of course, RI is within its rights to enact the new policy.

And its many members in the U.S. and elsewhere where firearm ownership is common and respected are just as clearly within their rights to channel their philanthropy and civic engagement into other groups. Some who oppose the RI board’s anti-gun stance may even wish to consider supporting groups that actively promote responsible firearm ownership, America’s constitutional values, and the basic human right of self-defense.

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

Seattle gun and ammo tax a huge failure! Read on…

Source NRA-ILA

tax burdenOn March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a week later, we now know the more likely reason that Seattle failed to disclose this tax revenue: because the money raised fell woefully short of the figure projected by supporters of the tax.

In July 2015, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess proposed legislation he dubbed a “Gun Violence Tax,” contending that “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray” the cost of criminal violence perpetrated with guns. Burgess’s proposal was unanimously passed by the city council on August 10, 2015. The legislation imposed a $25 tax on firearm sales, a $.02 per round tax on .22 and smaller-caliber ammunition, and a $.05 per round tax on ammunition greater than .22 caliber. The revenue was intended to be used to fund anti-gun research at the Harborview Medical Center.

On August 24, 2015, NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit in King County Superior Court to prevent the city from enforcing the new tax. NRA’s complaint pointed out that the tax violates the Second Amendment and is also impermissible under Washington state law.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments are not permitted to attack constitutionally-protected conduct through taxation. In the First Amendment context, the Court struck down a Minnesota use tax on ink and paper used in publishing. In that case — Minneapolis Star Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue — the Court warned that, “A power to tax differentially, as opposed to a power to tax generally, gives a government a powerful weapon against the taxpayer selected.”

Washington’s firearms preemption statute also bars Seattle’s tax. Section 9.41.290 of the Revised Code of Washington states,

The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloading components.

And, local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.

Washington law does provide a small number of specific exemptions to the state firearm preemption statute, but these concern local zoning in relating to firearms dealers, carry in certain municipal buildings, and the discharge of firearms.

Despite the plain language of Washington’s preemption statute, in December 2015 King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson upheld Seattle’s tax. NRA and our allies have appealed the court’s decision, and the case now sits with the Washington State Supreme Court.

In advocating for the tax, Burgess and other supporters of the legislation repeatedly cited figures from the City Budget Office that claimed the tax would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. In an email to the Times this week, Burgess confessed, “During its first year, the firearms and ammunition tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.” It is not clear how much less than $200,000 the city collected.

According to the Times, to come up with the outlandish $300,000-$500,000 figure, the City Budget Office “obtained the annual number of background checks for gun sales in Washington. Then they looked up what percentage of Washington’s licensed gun dealers were in Seattle and used that to guess the number of firearms sales in the city.” In addition to the fact that its analysis was too rudimentary to offer an accurate estimate of gun sales in Seattle, the budget office appears to have made no attempt to predict the impact the significant tax would have on the behavior of gun dealers and buyers.

Making this projection appear even more ridiculous is that the 2016 tax shortfall occurred in a year that witnessed record gun sales nationally and in the Evergreen State. In 2016, there were 713,996 NICS background checks conducted in Washington, whereas the 2015 total was 502,280. Washingtonians were buying plenty of guns in 2016, but as many predicted when the tax was proposed, not in Seattle.

The inaccuracy of City Budget Office’s projections was readily apparent to gun dealers at the time the tax was enacted. Shortly after Burgess proposed the tax, Seattle gun store owner Sergey Solyanik told the Times that he didn’t think the city’s projected revenue was realistic. Solyanik explained that should the tax pass, “I would have almost no margins, so I would pass the tax on to my customers and most people would simply not buy from me… They would go to any of the stores around Seattle — there are a large number — and I would have to close.” Another gun dealer told the Times, “The public won’t buy ammunition in Seattle anymore… When a $10 or $15 box of ammunition costs an extra five bucks, it won’t be worth it.”

In addition to speaking to the press, Solyanik took his concerns about the tax and the foolish revenue projection directly to the city council. On July 15, 2015, Solyanik told the council, “I was horrified when I see the numbers behind this proposal. Seattle is a city that has a vibrant engineering community. We would think that we would be making decisions such as this based on data. And the data that has been submitted by the proponents is completely fake.” Speaking to the council again on the day that it passed the tax, Solyanik warned, “The revenue numbers in this proposal are not real. The city is not going to get any money from this tax. The city instead will lose tax revenue on existing sales.” Solyanik went on to add, “The only real purpose of this legislation is to run gun stores out of the city. I know it, you know it, and the courts will know it.”

In that effort, the city succeeded. Solyanik moved his store outside the city to avoid the tax. According to the Times, the only other dedicated gun store in Seattle has also left. Any honest accounting of the revenue collected from the tax should account for the lost revenue from these stores, and the others whose business has been curtailed by Seattle’s restriction.

Seattle’s high-profile failure has put every other anti-gun locality on notice that this type of taxation scheme is ineffective for raising revenue. Seattle’s embarrassment should make it harder for other localities to hide behind the false claim that these sorts of tax regimes are intended to raise revenue, rather than burden Second Amendment rights.