A candidate for sheriff in North Carolina has said he would confiscate guns in his county by taking them from the “cold, dead hands” of the people he is supposed to protect. Now, he says he was only joking.
Joking or not, the attitude of gun confiscation is raising concern about the power of law enforcement in this country. And are newly enacted gun confiscation laws violating due process and civil liberties?
This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
R. Daryl Fisher’s recent comments about gun confiscation are disturbing. In a video captured March 7, Fisher was speaking to the members of the local Moms Demand Action meeting when he said this:
“What about people that already have weapons? Well, I will tell you now, don’t buy into the scare tactics. Don’t believe the scare tactics. Because you’ve heard people say, ‘You’ll have to pry my gun from my cold, dead hands.’ Okay.”
Now, since that video was released, Fisher has come forward saying he shouldn’t have joked.
Fisher supports tougher gun control. As we reported at TruthInMedia.com, Fisher, like many politicians, wants to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm, ban “high capacity” magazines and anything that increases a firearms rate of fire.
He also wants to outlaw military style weapons and require firearm qualifications before people can carry guns.
Fisher said it would be unconstitutional to take guns from people before a ban was in place, and that “Responsible gun owners have nothing to worry about.” And yet, the “joke” of killing gun owners for refusing to allow their guns to be confiscated, resonated with the audience. You hear it in their cheers.
That alone raises questions about the mentality about gun confiscation in this country.
Today, lawmakers across the U.S. are looking to implement so-called “red flag” gun laws in order to confiscate guns from owners who are deemed an “extreme risk.” Immediate family or law enforcement file a ERPO, or extreme risk petition order, on a gun owner to confiscate their weapons. A judge can swiftly approve the ERPO as an immediate temporary order or full order, according to TruthInMedia.com
And while the intent is to protect gun owners from harming themselves or others, civil liberties groups and Second Amendment advocates claim otherwise.
Let’s look at the State of Washington, which has a “red flag” law in place in its capital of Seattle. There, the law allows for gun confiscation before an arrest or charge of crime.
According to TruthInMedia.com, “While this has been championed as a valuable tool for law enforcement, due process procedures come into question; under the provisions of an ex parte ERPO, the accused respondent will not have the opportunity to face their accuser or challenge the claim until after a temporary order is already issued. This effectively allows law enforcement take a person’s firearms first, with due process occurring after firearms are removed.”
Yes, law enforcement can take guns away from people they deem “extreme risk” and hold those weapons until a judge decides the owner is not a threat to the public or themselves.
Five states including Washington allow guns to be confiscated before a crime has been committed. Similar measures have been proposed in 18 other states, including Florida, plus the District of Columbia, according to the Washington Post.
What you need to know is that while we can agree that we want to reduce threats of violence in this country, we must consider the rights of individuals and the authority we give those in power.
In the wake of mass shootings, lawmakers rush to push gun control legislation that often duplicates existing laws on the books or tramples our civil liberties.
Let’s take the politics out of it so that we can have a real discussion about whether these “red flag” gun confiscation laws are actually accomplishing what they are meant to do.
A new gun law taking effect on Jan. 1, 2016 in California will allow for the seizure of an individual’s guns for a 21-day “holding period” if a complaint is submitted, and if a judge determines that the individual is in need of a mental health evaluation.
Assembly Bill No. 1014 authorizes “gun violence restraining orders” which lets law enforcement seize the firearms of an individual if a judge “finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that the subject of the petition poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.”
The law states that the petition to have an individual’s guns seized can be filed by “an immediate family member of a person or a law enforcement officer,” and that once granted by a judge, the petition can restrict an individual from “having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition.”
As previously reported, the bill was originally introduced in 2013 and it gained favor in May 2014 when 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a shooting rampage, killing six people and injuring 14 others in Isla Vista, California. Rodger’s mother claimed she had raised concerns about her son’s mental state, but no action had been taken by law enforcement.
While California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country and it already lets licensed therapists recommend seizing a patient’s guns if they believe that patient is dangerous, it is now the first state to allow family members to petition for a seizure of firearms.
Other gun laws going into effect in California in 2016 will make it illegal for an individual with a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed weapon on the campus of a K-12 school or a college, and will require that all pellet, BB and airsoft guns can only be displayed in public if they contain special bright colored markers to differentiate them from real guns.
Ohio is one of the 30 states that allows open carry without a permit throughout the state. When a state has an open carry policy, it allows its citizens to carry guns in public without fear of being arrested, let alone killed.
So why did the open carry rule not apply to Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was in possession of a toy gun at a park? Within two seconds at the scene, Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann shot and killed Rice. Many through social media have argued that because Rice was a minor, the open carry rule does not apply to children because they shouldn’t be in possession of guns. However, Loehmann told the dispatcher that Rice looked “maybe 20.” With that presumption, why didn’t Loehmann respect the open carry law in Ohio? Was it because Rice was a black male? Rice was never even given an opportunity to show the officers that it was a toy gun. He was executed before given a chance to explain.
Whereas earlier this week, a 66-year-old white woman in Connecticut stood outside a police station pointing a BB gun at officers shouting “Boom boom boom” and “Shoot me!” is alive and unharmed.
The woman, Elaine Rothenberg, pointed the gun at civilians asking if they were police. She also blocked an employee-only doorway where police enter and exit to get to their police cruisers and stood with the gun raised in a shooting stance attempting instigate the officers. Rothenberg eventually threw the gun and was arrested. Why was she given due process and Rice was not? Connecticut is also an open carry state, but has even stricter gun laws than Ohio. Why was Loehmann able to shoot and kill a 12 year old right on the spot while Rothenberg was given her due process?
Never mind that Loehmann resigned from a previous police department just as he was about to be fired for incompetence with firearms and repeatedly displaying emotional disturbances.
A memorandum, written by Independence Deputy Chief Jim Polak, expressed concern over Loehmann’s emotional issues during his poor performance at a state range qualification course for handgun training. Polak wrote that he was notified of Loehmann’s emotional issues by Independence Police Sgt. Greg Tinnirello:
“I was notified by FTO Sgt. Tinnirello of the following circumstances related to our recruit, Ptl. Loehmann. A written statement was included. On this date, during a state range qualification course Ptl. Loehmann was distracted and weepy. He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal. Sgt. Tinnirello tried to work through this with Ptl. Loehmann by giving him some time. But, after some talking it was clear to Sgt. Tinnirello that the recruit was just not mentally prepared to be doing firearm training.”
Polak concluded that “due to this dangerous loss of composure during live range training and his inability to manage this personal stress, I do not believe Ptl. Loehmann shows the maturity needed to work in our employment. Unfortunately in law enforcement there are times when instructions need be followed to the letter, and I am under the impression Ptl. Loehmann, under certain circumstances, will not react in the way instructed. Ptl. Loehmann’s lack of commitment for his future here at Independence is disconcerting.” Polak recommended that Loehmann be released from the department and wrote that neither “time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”
In that case, why on Earth did the Cleveland Police Department hire him? Lt. Gail Bindel and Sgt. Edwin Santiago, the two officers in charge of hiring Loehmann, failed to perform a thorough background check on him. They were later suspended and reprimanded for it. Not only are the militarization tactics of police a major issue, but now we also have to worry about improperly evaluated cops and the open carry laws that are supposed to protect us. So who does open carry really serve to protect?
Following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton indicated that if elected in 2016, she would use executive action to enforce stricter gun control laws, which marked a notable difference from her stance in her 2008 campaign in which she cautioned against federal “blanket rules.”
At town hall meetings in New Hampshire on Monday, Clinton vowed to enact a new set of rules to increase background checks, to hold gun sellers “fully accountable if they endanger Americans,” and to tighten a “loophole” found in selling guns online and at gun shows, noting that executive action may be necessary.
Clinton’s website states that if Congress refused to act, she would “take administrative action to require that any person attempting to sell a significant number of guns be deemed ‘in the business’ of selling firearms.”
During a debate in April 2008 between Clinton and Barack Obama, Clinton spoke out against the federal government imposing “blanket rules” on gun rights when the debate focused on discussion of a possible handgun ban in Washington D.C.
“You know, we have a set of rules in New York City and we have a totally different set of rules in the rest of the state. What might work in New York City is certainly not going to work in Montana,” Clinton said. “So, for the federal government to be having any kind of, you know, blanket rules that they’re going to try to impose, I think doesn’t make sense.”
The Washington Times reported that also in April 2008, Clinton tried to set herself apart from Obama by criticizing comments he made about people in small towns clinging to religion and guns “as a way to explain their frustrations.”
“I grew up in a church-going family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith,” Clinton said during a 2008 campaign rally in Indianapolis. “The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling to’ religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.”
Clinton reminisced about her father teaching her how to shoot when she was young, and said that she believes parents teaching their children how to shoot is “part of culture.”
“You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s part of culture. It’s part of a way of life,” Clinton said. “People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter.”
Clinton also said she believes that Americans “who believe in the Second Amendment believe it’s a constitutional right,” and that Americans “who believe in God believe it’s a matter of personal faith.”
For more election coverage, click here.
On Friday, Second Amendment supporters in Texas celebrated as a bill to allow licensed open carry of handguns moved closer to becoming law.
The Texas State House approved of the so-called “Open Carry” bill by a preliminary vote of 96 to 35. The final vote is expected next week. The bill would allow concealed handgun license holders to display their guns in shoulder or belt holsters. The state Senate has already approved a similar version but some details still need to be worked out. If the bill passes Texas Governor Greg Abbott has promised to sign it into law.
Critics of the bill have included Texas Democrats and law enforcement who have said the bill will endanger public safety. Texas stands alongside California, Florida, Illinois, New York and South Carolina, as being the only remaining states that prohibit open carry.
“We are excited and appreciative that both chambers of the legislature have now voted to return at least a fraction of Texans’ right to keep and bear arms as they see fit,” says CJ Grisham, President of Open Carry Texas, an activist group dedicated to spreading awareness on open carry. However, Grisham says the state lawmakers did not go far enough. “We are disappointed that the speaker and bill author refused to go on record with a vote on constitutional carry.” Constitutional Carry advocates like Grisham believe that anyone who can legally own a firearm should be able to carry the weapon “without government permission slips.”
Texas lawmakers are also working on the equally controversial “Campus Carry” bill. The measure would make it legal for students at least 21-year-old to carry handguns on most campus buildings. The students would be required to take classroom and range training, and pass a background check. Protests, rallies, and discussion groups have been held by both sides of the debate at universities and campuses across the state.
What are your thoughts? Is Open Carry a right? Is Constitutional Carry what lawmakers should be supporting?
Webby award winning marketing consultant and father Brian Aitken’s life was turned upside down in January of 2009 when New Jersey police arrested him on felony gun charges as he was attempting to move his possessions, including lawfully-owned firearms, across the US from Colorado to New Jersey in an effort to live nearer to his son. Aitken was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison, only to later be released after four months behind bars when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie commuted his sentence in response to an overwhelming volume of calls by gun rights activists. Though an appeals court later threw out two of the three charges, a family court ruling still prevents Aitken from being involved in his son Logan’s life. He has not seen his son in almost seven years and has launched a crowd-funding campaign, described in the above-embedded video, to raise funds for a legal challenge in an effort to regain his parental rights. The family court ruling that prevents Aiken from seeing his son sets a dangerous precedent allowing courts to take away citizens’ children on the basis of their gun ownership.
BenSwann.com writer Barry Donegan obtained an exclusive interview with Brian Aitken, transcribed below, in which he opened up about his struggles as a victim of overzealous gun laws.
Barry Donegan: “Explain how it came to pass that you were arrested while attempting to move your possessions cross-country, including legally-acquired firearms, from Colorado to New Jersey.”
Brian Aitken: “My son was born in Colorado in early 2008 but, for reasons I talk about in my memoir, things weren’t working out with the marriage. Within months my former wife moved to New Jersey with my son to be closer to our families. I gave up my job and put the house up for sale shortly thereafter so I could be closer to my son and play an active role in his life. Once I got there, though, my former wife began withholding custody of my son. She was using him as a poker chip as if to say ‘I’ll trade you your son, if you give me X, Y, and Z.’ On the day I was arrested, I was moving from my parents house into an apartment in Hoboken with my legally owned guns locked and unloaded in the trunk of my car. She had canceled my visitation for the fourth week in a row when I told my mom I ‘didn’t see the point in being here’ if I couldn’t see my son. Eventually, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes after I left my parents home, my mother called 9-1-1, immediately thought better of it, and hung up the phone. By then it was too late, the call had already been placed, and the police responded to an abandoned 9-1-1 call. From that point forward I was the subject of a gun-hunt. I was never the suspect of any sort of crime and, as the trial testimony shows, not even the police officers thought I was a threat to myself or anyone else. They just wanted my guns and were willing to do just about anything to get them.”
Barry Donegan: “What steps did you take in an effort to learn how to transport the guns legally given the different state laws on guns?”
Brian Aitken: “I flew with them from Colorado to New Jersey with TSA clearance and called the New Jersey State Police three days before I moved to make sure I understood how to transport firearms. I did exactly what the State Police told me to do.”
Barry Donegan: “What is your background as a gun owner in terms of training and experience with handling firearms? Did you pass a federal background check for your guns? What types of guns were they?”
Brian Aitken: “I was only a gun owner for about a year before I was arrested but my family has a history of expert firearms use. My grandfather was a designated marksman in World War II and when I was ten he promised me he’d teach me how to shoot as soon as I turned thirteen. I remember counting down the days to my thirteenth birthday months in advance. My uncle was also a handgun instructor at the Philadelphia Police Academy and my father and I went to the shooting range on occasion, but I never owned a firearm until I became a father and felt compelled to be able to protect my family. I passed all the appropriate background checks and went through the ATF, FBI and CBI in order to purchase my firearms.”
Barry Donegan: “Is it correct that you were charged with possessing high-capacity magazines despite only having the magazines that came with the guns at the point of purchase? How did it feel when you read that The Trentonian characterized your bullets as ‘cop-killer bullets’ despite the fact that you and your family have always respected police officers?”
Brian Aitken: “That’s correct. The State of New Jersey charged me with possessing ‘high capacity magazines’ which, in reality, were the standard-capacity magazines issued by Smith & Wesson. New Jersey gives very standard things scary names in an effort to vilify gun owners, exactly the same way The Trentonian said I had ‘cop-killer bullets.’ By the time that article came out I had become so used to being treated like scum for owning guns that it didn’t even phase me.”
Barry Donegan: “What penalties did you face upon conviction? How did your firearms conviction impact your custodial rights to visitation with your son?”
Brian Aitken: “I was sentenced to seven years in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years before I’d be eligible for parole. The conviction didn’t really impact my custody of my son, but the charges did. Nine months before I even went to trial a family court judge decided that I should only be allowed to see my son in a room reserved in a courthouse under the direct supervision of a police officer because I could own firearms. I didn’t even own guns at the time, the Mount Laurel Police Department had them as evidence, but because I could technically still own them I was practically banned from seeing my son. All of this for the violentless and victimless ‘crime’ of possessing guns I owned legally.”
Barry Donegan: “What solutions did the judge assigned to your case offer in terms of allowing you visitation with your son? Have you been able to see your son, and, if not, why?”
Brian Aitken: “I am only allowed to see my son for one hour a week inside the Ocean County Family Court, in a room reserved in advance, with a police officer scheduled to supervise the visitation. As you can imagine, it’s incredibly difficult for all of those things to line up at the same time and in six years they never have. If I spend several thousand dollars more they’ll consider changing this, but at the time I didn’t have ten dollars let alone the thousands they were extorting me for.
The way the court turns this from a temporary to a permanent injunction is by ordering someone to pay for transcripts and additional paperwork for additional hearings, that can climb beyond $5,000 pretty quickly. Transcripts alone can easily run over a thousand dollars. All the while, my child support obligations doubled based upon what the judge felt I could earn–he imputed my income at being three times greater than I had actually earned in any year of my entire life–and I quickly found myself unable to pay the ransom they were demanding. They used financial sanctions to drown me in debt and keep me from seeing my son.”
Barry Donegan: “How long did you spend in prison before Chris Christie commuted your sentence? Did you believe while you were there that you might have to serve the full seven-year sentence?”
Brian Aitken: “I spent four months behind bars before Governor Christie commuted my sentence. I had turned down almost a dozen plea deals before trial and had tried to prepare myself mentally to spend at least three years in prison before either getting out on parole or appeal. My entire family prepared for the worst.”
Barry Donegan: “How did it feel when you found out that gun rights activists from across the country rallied to your support? How did you feel when you heard the news that Governor Christie commuted your sentence?”
Brian Aitken: “There aren’t any words to describe what it felt like to find out people from all across the country were out there rallying for my freedom. For so long I had faced the courts alone and then, out of nowhere, all of these amazing people were calling and writing the governor’s office demanding that I be released from prison. So many people called Governor Christie’s office that the lines crashed. I didn’t know any of these people, but I owe them so much. They kept me company with their letters and gave me hope. I was in solitary for protective custody when I found out Governor Christie had commuted my sentence. It was surreal. It didn’t hit me for a few days.”
Barry Donegan: “Considering the fact that Chris Christie only commuted your sentence to time served rather than pardoning you and given the fact that an appeals court cleared you of the charges related to the possession of the guns and alleged high-capacity magazines, but let stand the conviction pertaining to the hollow point bullets, what ongoing hurdles do you face as a result of your convictions? What is the current legal status of your case?”
Brian Aitken: “Well, because it’s legal to own hollow point ammunition in New Jersey but it’s illegal to transport it from one house to another while you’re moving, I’m still a convicted felon. I can’t vote. I can’t pass a background check and I’m almost universally denied all rental applications. I’m working on changing all of that, but it’s a long process especially when you realize I’ve been fighting this for over six years now.”
Barry Donegan: “Tell us about your book, The Blue Tent Sky. How has it been received? Where can readers obtain a copy?”
Brian Aitken: “I realized that my son is out there somewhere and, where ever he is, there are people telling him something about his father. He’s probably been told that I’m either a deadbeat dad or dead when, in reality, I’ve been asking the courts and his mother to let me see him for years. I wrote the book so my son could, one day, know the truth about major events that impacted his relationship with his father for the years to come. It became Amazon’s #1 bestselling eBook for Constitutional Law and Penology and received some pretty high praise from people like Clark Neily at the Institute for Justice, Dick Heller of DC v Heller, and Wayne Olson of the Cato Institute. It’s available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at some of the great indie bookstores across the country.”
Barry Donegan: “Tell us about your current crowd-funding campaign to help you reunite with your son.”
Brian Aitken: “I’m hosting a thirty-day crowd-funding campaign to help raise funds to reunite me with my son. I’ve already used the proceeds from the sale of the book to retain one of the best family law firms in New Jersey, but I’ve been here before and I know the fight that’s to come. I need to be prepared for the long game and, unfortunately, that involves paying a lawyer a lot of money. The campaign has a bunch of amazing perks including a Springfield 1911 from Omaha Outdoors, a custom Glock 17 from Glockstore.com, and a competition grade AR-15 from Spikes Tactical. Plus, every person who donates $100 or more gets a $1,000 2 Day Defensive Handgun Course from the legendary Front Sight Training Institute in Nevada.
For the record, I’d much rather this money pay for my son to go to college than pay for my lawyers kids to go to college. I’d like to publicly offer to take the balance of my lawyers retainer and put it in a trust account for my son if my ex-wife agrees to lay down arms and work out a reasonable parenting time plan with me. I want to work this out like mature adults who want the best for their child. I don’t think that’s a crazy thing to ask for.”
Barry Donegan: “How does it feel to not be able to see your son as a result of the fallout from this case?”
Brian Aitken: “It feels horrible. He just turned seven years old a couple weeks ago and I’ve never even heard his voice before. I was so excited to be a father and then, one day, the State of New Jersey just took that away from me. My son deserves to have a father. No one in my family is allowed to see him. His own grandmother hasn’t been able to see him in years. It’s broken her heart. My mother can’t even bear to say his name without breaking down in tears. He was just stolen from us, and for what? Because I owned guns? It’s insane. It’s just not right.”
Aitken’s crowd-funding campaign, entitled Logan’s Heroes in honor of his son, is ongoing until March 19, 2015.
The debate over carrying concealed guns on college campuses is being looked at from a new angle, with advocates arguing that if students are allowed to carry a firearm, it could deter sexual assault.
The New York Times reported that although carrying concealed firearms on college campuses is illegal in 41 states, lawmakers in 10 states are pushing bills that would end the ban, and they are “hoping that the national spotlight on sexual assault will help them win passage of their measures.”
The 10 states include Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who is sponsoring a bill for concealed carry on college campuses in Nevada, told the New York Times that she predicts her bill will pass, due to the fact that Nevada has both a Republican-controlled Legislature and a Republican Governor, and that if passed, it will make a major difference on college campuses.
“If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them,” Fiore said. “The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”
As previously reported, Taylor Woolrich, a senior at Dartmouth University, advocated for concealed carry on her college campus after she was stalked by 67-year-old Richard Bennett, even with the presence of a restraining order.
“Dartmouth thinks banning weapons will keep students safe, but a gun ban isn’t going to stop him from attacking me,” said Woolrich. “If Dartmouth, a restraining order, and law enforcement can’t guarantee my safety, then I’m asking for the right to do so.”
John Foubert, an Oklahoma State University professor and the president of One in Four, a program that seeks to educate students about sexual assault on college campuses, told the New York Times that he thinks using sexual assaults to push for concealed carry “reflects a misunderstanding of sexual assaults in general.”
“If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun,” Joubert said. “Maybe if it’s someone who raped you before and is coming back, it theoretically could help them feel more secure.”
On Monday, a bill to allow concealed carry on college campuses was passed by Florida’s Senate Criminal Justice Committee, with a 3-2 vote.
The bill’s sponsor, Committee Chairman Greg Evers told the Tallahassee Democrat that due to the number of registered sexual offenders living near Florida State University, he believes the bill will fix a safety issue on the campus.
“The problem is that in gun-free zones, that we have on college campuses right now, those gun-free zones are just an incubator for folks that won’t follow the law,” Evers said.
Crayle Vanest, a senior at Indiana University and the first woman on the national board of Students for Concealed Carry, told the New York Times that the group’s female membership has seen a dramatic increase.
“Universities are under a ton of investigation for how they handle sexual assaults,” said Vanest. “Our female membership has increased massively. People who weren’t listening before are listening now.”
Gun control advocate and short filmmaker Rejina Sincic has given the worst possible advice in her latest film.
In the film, that you can view above, a teenage boy sneaks into his mother’s bedroom and steals her gun. It is unknown if the gun is loaded or not. The teenager then takes the gun to school where he waits the whole day before pulling it out of his backpack and handing it to his teacher:
“Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house.”
How many laws did Sincic suggest the boy break? According to Bearing Arms:
- Weapons theft
- Unlawful possession of a fire arm by a minor
- Illegal concealed carry of a weapon
- Carrying a weapon on to school property
- Brandishing a weapon
If the point of the video was to get the boy expelled, arrested or worse, killed, she gives great advice.
The parents of 9 children and one teacher, who survived the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, are suing the businesses behind the rifle used in the tragedy.
Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, the law firm that is representing the families announced Monday that is has filed a lawsuit against Camfour, a gun distributor, Riverview Gun Sales and the Freedom Group, the company that owns Bushmaster.
The lawsuit was filed a day after the second anniversary of the event, where Adam Lanza, used the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to kill 20 first-graders and six adults. The suit claims that the weapon used should not have been entrusted to the general public, because it is a military assault weapon not suitable for civilian use.
“The AR-15 rifle, designed as a lightweight but fearsome combat weapon for troops in Vietnam, can expel 30 bullets in a matter of seconds, each of which is capable of piercing body armor and causing catastrophic injury,” the suit claims.
So far no comments have been made by the defendants named in the lawsuit.
WASHINGTON, October 6, 2014–Decorated Air Force veteran and firearms expert Timothy Arnold was convicted in the United States District Court of Southern Georgia on January 21 of manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license, transporting illegally-acquired firearms to a state in which he did not reside, dealing firearms across state lines without a license, and theft of government property by conversion. The prosecution, led by Assistant United States Attorney Fred Kramer, claimed Arnold was running a “black market operation” while he was a well-known firearms instructor with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. FLETC is part of the Department of Homeland Security and trains law enforcement officers for 91 federal agencies, including the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Marshals Service.
Arnold was employed as Chief of Firearms and Tactics for AFOSI while serving the last few years of his twenty-year career in the Air Force. Upon his retirement in 2009, the Air Force requested that he remain in his position in a civilian capacity and continue to perform all of his duties—tactical instruction, course development, equipment purchasing, and an extensive travel schedule. His activities and purchases were overseen and approved by his direct superiors on a monthly basis, as they had been for years. One thing that did change frequently, however, was the identity of his bosses. Turnover was routine and each department head arrived with very different ideas regarding the nature of their position. Arnold was known for having high expectations for his FLETC students and high standards for his training curriculum. Many witnesses in his trial testified that his training certainly saved lives during operations overseas. They said he was one of the best firearms instructors in the Air Force. Arnold prided himself on creating realistic scenes using costumes and props to simulate real-life scenarios that protective services agents might face in the field. His job required him to buy civilian equipment for those classes—and his superiors pressured him at the end of every fiscal year to spend all remaining funds of his operating budget, that sometimes totaled $120,000. This is common practice in federal agencies whose directors fear a surplus will cut their Congressional funding for future years.
Firearms were not just Arnold’s profession, they were also his lifelong hobby. His expertise garnered countless unsolicited requests from co-workers, members of law enforcement, friends, and family to assemble guns for them. Most of the time, he would advise them as to what parts they should order and then Arnold would assemble them into a working firearm—as a favor or for a trade. “The investigators were not able to find a trail of money from me profiting from my supposed firearms business,” Tim Arnold says, “Because I never made any money off of it. I never claimed to be a business or advertise. I did it for fun and as a favor to people in my life.” However, a jury in a civilian court found Arnold guilty of illegally manufacturing and dealing firearms. Of note, the legal definition of manufacturing implies objects are created from raw material. What Arnold did, and what many other gun enthusiasts in this country do, is actually firearms assembly, a legal endeavor. A few months before the AFOSI investigation into Arnold’s activities began, he was busy working on customizing an AR-15 platform rifle to replace the outdated MP-5 sub-machine guns that protective service officers currently use in the field. “Obtaining new parts to service those military weapons is nearly impossible,” Arnold says, “And a weapon with more maneuverability in tight quarters would reduce training time, as well as cost of replacement parts, saving the Air Force money.” Arnold’s prototype made its way to a training in New Jersey where it was mistaken for an illegal weapon. A review of the investigation itself reads like a comedy of errors, which makes Arnold’s conviction all the more surprising. Lead investigator Special Agent Wendell Palmer directly violated countless Air Force Policy Directives, including the interrogation of a subordinate as part of a criminal investigation, which is a conflict of interests; failing to read Arnold his rights during any of the interrogation sessions; ghostwriting statements from Arnold and all other witnesses; and failure to provide receipts for property, firearms, and records seized from Arnold, other witnesses, and even the Sig Sauer Academy in New Hampshire where Arnold worked as an adjunct instructor while on administrative leave.
Sig Sauer Academy Executive Director Adam Painchaud, also an AFOSI Special Agent, initiated a complaint against Palmer to the Air Force Office of Inspector General. Six witnesses signed separate affidavits detailing accounts of Palmer’s unethical conduct, including the Witness Statements riddled with errors, omissions, and misrepresentations that Palmer wrote himself. Several active OSI Agents offered to provide verbal testimony, afraid of the retaliation that a paper trail might bring. During the trial, Painchaud was slated to be the star witness for the defense. “I had the ability based on my firsthand, expert knowledge of the matters involved to dispute the charges against Arnold,” says Painchaud. Instead, he was prevented from testifying and Judge Lisa Godbey Wood threatened to charge him with contempt of court due to allegations from the prosecution that he inappropriately questioned another witness in the hallway outside the courtroom. “My testimony would have been instrumental,” Painchaud says, “The jury never got to hear it because I never got to testify. This is not how our system is supposed to work.” Painchaud was later cleared of the contempt allegations, as well as conduct unbecoming of an agent, after a separate investigation by AFOSI revealed his innocence.
Despite a Congressional inquiry into the handling of the investigation that resulted in Arnold’s conviction, his sentencing is set for this Thursday, October 9. Arnold faces up to 25 years in prison and a $300,000 fine. UPDATE: http://truthinmedia.com/exclusive-air-force-vetfirearms-expert-sentenced-to-prison/
On Monday, Federal Judge Anthony W. Ishii, from the Eastern District of California, ruled that a law requiring a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases by users who have already passed background checks, and have permits of eligibility, was unconstitutional.
According to Fox News, Ishii said that the waiting period provision “violates the Second Amendment rights of those who have already been approved to own a gun.”
Regarding first-time gun buyers, the Fresno Bee reported that Ishii’s 56-page ruling states it is “expressing no opinion on the constitutionality of the 10-day waiting period in general or as applied to first-time California firearms purchasers.”
“Given the nature of the challenges made, the Court emphasizes that it is expressing no opinion on the constitutionality of the 10-day waiting period in general or as applied to first time California firearms purchasers,” Ishii said.
General counsel for the Second Amendment Foundation, Mike Tempski, released a statement saying, “Basically, the waiting period doesn’t make any sense when someone has already been cleared, has a concealed carry permit and already owns a gun.”
One gun owner who was a plaintiff in the case, Jeff Silvester, said that he couldn’t be happier with the way the case turned out. “This is a great win for Second Amendment civil rights and common sense,” said Silvester.
“As an individual plaintiff I was ecstatic,” said Brandon Combs, the executive director of the Calguns Foundation.
“California gun owners are not second-class citizens and the Second Amendment doesn’t protect second class rights,” said Combs, who went on to say that, “This decision is an important step towards restoring fundamental individual liberties in the Golden State.”
According to the Sacramento Bee, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Donald Kilmer, said he was happy that Second Amendment rights were being “acknowledged and protected” by the courts.
“This case is one more example of how our judicial branch brings balance to government in order to insure our liberty,” said Kilmer.
BOISE, March 21, 2014 – On Thursday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter (R) signed a bill, which would effectively nullify future federal gun laws, by prohibiting state enforcement of any future federal act relating to personal firearms, a firearm accessories or ammunition.
S1332 passed the house by a vote of 68-0 and the senate by a vote of 34-0. Alaska and Kansas have also passed similar laws.
Erich Pratt, Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, cheered the governor’s action. “By signing this nullification bill into law, Idaho has joined an elite class of states that are telling the feds to ‘get lost’ — especially when it comes to unconstitutional gun control infringements”
Introduced by the State Affairs Committee, the Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, will:
“protect Idaho law enforcement officers from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated on or after the effective date of this act, to violate their oath of office and Idaho citizens’ rights under Section 11, Article I, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho.”
The legislation continued:
any official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision thereof who knowingly and willfully orders an official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision of the state to enforce any executive order, agency order, law, rule or regulation of the United States government as provided in subsection (2) of this section upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition shall, on a first violation, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) which shall be paid into the general fund of the state…
S1332 also includes an emergency provision meaning it takes effect immediately upon signature.
Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey considered the legislation a good start. “This is an important first step for Idaho,” he said. “Getting this law passed will ensure that any new plans or executive orders that might be coming our way will not be enforced in Idaho. Then, once this method is established and shown to be effective, legislators can circle back and start doing the same for federal gun control already on the books. SB1332 is an important building block for protecting the 2nd Amendment in Idaho.”
Passage into law represents a giant step forward in protecting the right to keep and bear arms in Idaho. As the law now stands, state and local law enforcement will not cooperate with all future federal firearm laws.
The bill rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce and federal act or program The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. United States serves as the cornerstone.
Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said that the new Idaho law has opened Pandora’s box even wider.
“People are beginning to realize that this practice is completely constitutional and legal. In the near future, you will see a wave of states passing even broader legislation to fight the federal government on everything ranging from more traditionally liberal issues like hemp and marijuana, to more conservative issues like Obamacare.” Boldin continued, “Nullification isn’t a left vs. right issue. It destroys the fallacy of the left right paradigm and is the remedy for all unconstitutional laws.”
NASHVILLE, March 18, 2014- Senate Republicans in Tennessee voted to kill a pro-Second Amendment bill that would have protected Tennessee citizens from unconstitutional federal gun laws on Tuesday.
SB1607, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R), would have made it illegal for state employees and agencies to “cooperate to impose, collect, enforce, or effectuate any fine, penalty, or other federal enactment or federal enforcement action in this state (Tennessee).”
The legislation continued:
(a) Any federal enactment or federal enforcement action relating to firearms,
firearm accessories or ammunition, is void in this state.
(b) Any federal enactment or federal enforcement action impacting or infringing
upon the rights of individuals or entities relative to firearms, firearm accessories or
ammunition, is void in this state.
Those found in violation of the law would have been subject to possible charges of a Class A misdemeanor leading up to possible Class C felony for subsequent offenses.
The final vote was 3-4 (one abstention). Republican senators Campfield, Green and Bell voted in favor of the bill. Joining Senator Finney (D), Republican senators Kelsey, Overby, and Stevens voted to kill the bill. Senator Ford (D) abstained.
Those Republicans voting against the bill attempted to cite that federal law was supreme over state law, which would make Beavers’ bill in violation of Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. This clause is often cited as the “Supremacy Clause”.
However, these Republicans are misinterpreting the clause. The clause reads: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land… [emphasis added].” This means that only laws, which are passed in pursuance to the federal Constitution, can be considered supreme over state laws.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government delegated the power to pass any sort of restriction, mandate or law with regards to arms. In fact, one only need to read the Second Amendment to note that the federal Constitution itself explicitly prohibits it.
Therefore, no federal law with regards to arms can be considered supreme. These laws have not been made in pursuance to the federal Constitution due to the fact that the Constitution explicitly prohibits such laws.
Recently a proposed Missouri law that would have nullified federal gun bans failed by a single vote. Missouri pro-gun rights advocates are not going to stop fighting for their 2nd Amendment rights; however I suggest that activists demand Missouri lawmakers to follow a South Carolina bill that seeks to amend the state’s definition of an “unorganized militia” in order to exempt gun owners from any attempt of federal gun bans.
In Missouri, a Republican House and Senate passed House Bill 436 – or the Second Amendment Preservation Act – which would have nullified federal gun legislation. The bill was vetoed by Democrat Governor Jay Nixon, and failed to override the veto by a single vote.
Opponents of the bill also include the Missouri Attorney General, who argued that it could be seen as unconstitutional, and St. Louis County and Metropolitan police chiefs, who said that the bill would make their job harder, and would open the door for violent offenders to return to the streets by preventing them from being tried in federal courts. The bill would make it illegal for federal agencies, like the FBI and ATF, to enforce federal laws on Missouri soil.
Though the bill ultimately failed on Wednesday, there are similar bills in other state legislatures, ones which Missouri could adopt. In South Carolina, for instance, Senate Bill 247 seeks to amend the state’s definition of an “unorganized militia” and the rights of such individuals and groups. This amendment would help to preserve Second Amendment rights for every South Carolinian over the age of 17.
By the definition of Section 25-1-80 of the South Carolina Code, any able-bodied citizen over 17 years old who is not a member of the military is a member of the state’s unorganized militia. The bill would essentially nullify all federal restrictions passed after January 1, 2013 by exempting members of the unorganized militia from outside laws passed after that date.
“A militia member,” it reads, “at his own expense, shall have the right to possess and keep all arms that could be legally acquired or possessed by a South Carolina citizen as of December 31, 2012. This includes shouldered rifles and shotguns, handguns, clips, magazines, and all components.” This would essentially accomplish most of the goals as the Missouri bill, but while getting to the heart of the issue of gun ownership for many people.
The bill would also exempt members of the unorganized militia from “any law or regulation or jurisdiction of any person or entity outside of South Carolina.” This means that no federal legislation, executive orders, or international treaties – such as the UN small arms treaty – would affect people over the age of 17 in South Carolina. This is very similar to the end effect of the Missouri bill, though that bill would have legalized weapons which had been restricted on a federal level before December 2012.
Missouri’s fight against federal gun control needn’t be killed by a single vote. There are many possible paths to take toward the same goal, including a bill similar to South Carolina’s. One thing is for sure, none of us should be begging for our God-Given Constitutional rights.
This video was sent to me to demonstrate what happens when a Sheriff’s deputy who respects the Constitution is sent out to an open carry demonstration.
According to Truth Seeker Daily, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on the scene after his department received calls from the public about a small group of men demonstrating along side a busy street. The men were open carrying firearms and holding home made signs.
“We saw the Oakland County Sheriff car pull up so we all took out our camera-phones right away, anticipating trouble. This officer gets out of his car, waves to us, and walks right over. He shakes all of our hands, introduces himself, and states his purpose for walking over to us.”
Too often we show videos of police and sheriff’s deputies who are failing to recognize the Constitutional rights of protestors. When a law enforcement officer demonstrates his commitment to the rule of law, it should be pointed out. If for no other reason than to remind other law enforcement of how to treat those whom they are sworn to serve.
At this time last year, Colorado was known as a purple state. John Hickenlooper was known as a moderate, and he had specifically avoided engaging in discussion of gun control in the months leading up to the election. Though the Aurora theater shooting occurred in Colorado, no new gun legislation was proposed or promoted in the state.
On November 6th, however, all of that seemed to change. Due to a corrupt 2011 redistricting scheme which favored Democrats, Democrats took both the State House and Senate, and many people thought Colorado had gone blue permanently. After the Sandy Hook shooting later that month, Hickenlooper immediately took the opportunity to push a gun control agenda.
Indeed, the Democrat legislature and governor worked together to create the most radically progressive legislation in the state’s 137 year history. As part of that agenda, state Democrats worked to pass radical gun control legislation which made Colorado the battleground for gun control on a national scale. Republicans fought hard against this, with a filibuster and convincing some Democrats to switch sides, which did prevent a few of the bills from passing even the legislature, but they were not able to stop the majority of the laws.
Among the laws which passed were background check legislation which prevented people from lending or bequeathing firearms to family members, taking away guns without due process, and magazine capacity limits which pushed companies employing over a thousand people out of the state and set the stage for nearly every firearm manufactured to be illegal.
To make matters worse the “moderate” and “most popular governor in the country” signed the bills knowing how unpopular they were – especially among the state’s rural population – and knowing that they were ambiguous enough to allow for severe problems with enforcement.
This prompted a statewide outcry. All Colorado sheriffs vocally opposed the legislation, and nearly all of them joined John Caldara and the Independence Institute in a lawsuit attempting to overturn it. Numerous counties have put the issue of secession from the state on next year’s ballot. The most watched reaction, though, was the attempted recall of two State Senators, Angela Giron and John Morse.
John Morse was President of the Senate, and both he and Giron hailed from traditionally Democratic districts. No politician has successfully been recalled in Colorado’s history. Democrats had, perhaps predictably, also passed laws which would allow for easier voter fraud in the 2012 session. Those supporting the recall were outspent 8 to 1. Yet, on Tuesday, the recall succeeded, not just against one, but both.
Morse lost by a smaller margin, 51% to 49%, but Giron, whose district lies in the rural Democratic stronghold of Pueblo, lost by a margin of 56% to 44%. Even Democrats supported the ouster, especially Giron’s where they made up 20% of recall votes. In their analysis of the recall, Democrat leaders noted that Pueblo, though more Democratic, was less “liberal” than Morse’s more affluent district, because it was motivated primarily by blue collar and union interests.
This explanation highlights exactly what makes the recall petition so noteworthy. Many people who vote for the Democrats do not embrace the vast majority of the progressive agenda. As soon as Democrats pushed an extreme progressive agenda, including gun control, those people saw a separation between their own interests and Bloomberg-style liberals, and they joined libertarians and conservatives in pushing back.
This victory showed that grassroots efforts can make a difference, and it showed that Colorado is not the pure blue state that so many believed it was this spring. It also showed that gun control is not as popular as liberals claim. Equally importantly, though, it showed that if Democrats push too hard, they will alienate vital parts of their own base.
Nationwide, they can’t continue to use rhetoric to get votes from blue collar and rural voters while exclusively serving the interests of New York and California liberals. It’s hardly a surprise that Hickenlooper is only polling even with Tancredo in Giron’s district today, though he won by a 14 point margin in 2010.
Democrats accuse Republicans of growing more extreme, and point to that trend as the reason the GOP has been losing votes recently. Democrats would do well to heed their own advice, because the more they repeat the mistake they did in Colorado 2013, the greater risk they face of permanently alienating key voting blocs.