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Posts Tagged ‘Second Amendment’
December 11th, 2014 at 10:53 am
Pew: More Now Support Gun Rights than Gun Control
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Here’s some good news from Pew Research to interrupt the current sense that the world in which we live is collapsing into a smoldering heap:

For the first time in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, there is more support for gun rights than gun control.  Currently, 52% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46% say it is more important to control gun ownership.  Support for gun rights has edged up from earlier this year, and marks a substantial shift in attitudes since shortly after the Newtown school shootings, which occurred two years ago this Sunday.”

Additionally, a healthy majority believes that firearms protect law-abiding citizens more than they create a safety risk:

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 3-7 among 1,507 adults, also finds a shift in attitudes about whether gun ownership in this country does more to protect people or put people’s safety at risk.  Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) say gun ownership does more to protect people from becoming victims of crime, while 38% say it does more to endanger personal safety.  In the days after Newtown, 48% said guns do more to protect people and 37% said they placed people at risk.”

Just more confirmation that the American public demonstrates greater wisdom than our self-appointed shamans in the mainstream media and political classes.

February 13th, 2014 at 4:55 pm
A Second Amendment Victory in California
Posted by Troy Senik Print

And it comes from the most unlikely of places, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Just over the AP wires from San Francisco:

A divided federal appeals court on Thursday struck down California’s concealed weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

By a 2-1 vote, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said California was wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

“The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for the majority.

Judge Sidney Thomas dissented, writing that the good cause requirement limited the number of people carrying concealed handguns in public to those legitimately in need.

This represents a massive shift in California, long home to some of the nation’s most restrictive gun control laws.

The Ninth Circuit’s ruling conflicts with those from three other federal appellate courts, which means this issue could eventually make its way to the Supreme Court . For today, anyway, Second Amendment rights are stronger in the Golden State than they have been at any time in recent memory.

May 14th, 2013 at 10:13 am
VINDICATED: IRS Illustrates Danger of Sweeping Background Check Legislation
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Benghazi…  The IRS…  The DOJ snooping on the AP…

Boy, those Second Amendment advocates and skeptics of sweeping federal background check legislation are a real bunch of paranoid nuts, eh?

Let’s see.  The federal government gathering sensitive medical and personal data, maintaining it in some vast and surely non-secure database and able to modify the definition of who is and is not allowed to purchase a firearm pursuant to the Second Amendment’s individual right to keep and bear arms.  What could ~possibly~ go wrong here?  This is one of the heretofore underemphasized aspects of the onslaught of breaking Obama Administration scandals, but a valuable one going forward in the Second Amendment debate.

April 1st, 2013 at 4:07 pm
Podcast: Why Stricter Firearms Laws Miss the Mark
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Luca Gattoni-Celli, reporter at The American Spectator, discusses how the White House’s gun control agenda misses the mark.

Listen to the interview here.

March 16th, 2013 at 10:15 am
Feinstein to Cruz on Guns: “I’m Not a Sixth Grader”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) did the Constitution and the nation it protects a service earlier this week by asking Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior liberal Democratic senator and gun control advocate, two simple questions:

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX) The question that I would pose to the senior Senator from California is would she deem it consistent with the Bill of Rights for Congress to engage in the same endeavor that we are contemplating doing with the Second Amendment in the context of the First or Fourth Amendment, namely, would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?

Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against searches and seizures could properly apply only to the following specified individuals and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?

Feinstein’s responses were (1) “I’m not a sixth grader,” and (2) “You know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for your lecture.”

Note that Feinstein completely fails to articulate either a general principle of constitutional lawmaking, or a reason why regulations pertaining to the Second Amendment could be unique.

This, in a nutshell, is the core problem with modern liberalism. Although liberals pay lip service to the Constitution, they cannot defend their policy positions from the text, structure or purpose of the very document that gives them the power to govern.

A sixth grader knows that kind of logical breakdown creates a serious problem of credibility. A U.S. Senator serving for more than 20 years, not so much.

Click here for the video and transcript of the exchange.

H/T: RealClearPolitics

March 5th, 2013 at 12:43 pm
Grassroots Using Model Legislation to Reduce Government

The libertarian-leaning Tenth Amendment Center is doing a double service for people interested in how to fight federal government overreach at the state level.

(Note: Before explaining further, I want to say that I do not endorse all of the views at TAC. The point here is to highlight how one group within the larger conservative movement is finding a way to work within the system to enact constructive alternatives.)

The first service is providing an easy-to-access list of model legislation to use at the state level.  Any limited government activist with an internet connection and a printer can get readymade bill language that a sitting state representative or senator can introduce.  The topics range from preserving Second Amendment gun rights to refusing to cooperate with ObamaCare, with issues like the Constitutional Tender Act in between.

After a piece of model legislation is introduced, TAC then delivers its second service: Tracking the progress of its bills across the fifty states.  For example, since January 2013, nine states have introduced at least one element of TAC’s ObamaCare refusal law.  So far, twenty-three states have introduced TAC bills protecting gun rights, and another three have passed the measure out of at least one legislative chamber.

Some of the model legislation comes from experts in the field like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), while others look to be homegrown with TAC.  Whatever their provenance, limited government conservatives should get energized by the fact that concerned citizens are finding ways to stem the tide of federal overreach – even if you’d never hear about it from the mainstream media.

January 16th, 2013 at 12:38 pm
Erickson: Real Purpose of the Second Amendment

Now that President Barack Obama has announced the most sweeping gun control measures in generations, RedState’s Erick Erickson reminds us of what the Second Amendment is really about:

In all the talk that has happened and will happen, the press and the general public seem willing to ignore the actual purpose of the second amendment.

The amendment is not about sports. It is not about recreation. It is not about hunting. It is only partly about defending yourself from a criminal.

The second amendment is about ensuring a “free state.”

The 2nd Amendment, contrary to much of today’s conversation, has just as much to do with the people protecting themselves from tyranny as it does burglars. That is why there is so little common ground about assault rifles — even charitably ignoring the fact that there really is no such thing. If the 2nd Amendment is to protect the citizenry from even their own government, then the citizenry should be able to be armed.

There are plenty of arguments and bodies to suggest that we might, as a nation, need to rethink this. The Founders gave us that option. We can amend the Constitution.

In doing so, we should keep in mind that in the past 100 years Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, China, and other governments have turned on their people at various times and, in doing so, restricted freedoms starting often with gun ownership. You may think a 30 round magazine is too big. Under the real purpose of the second amendment, a 30 round magazine might be too small.

Erickson is right.  If it’s true that times have changed, and the Founders’ method of ensuring a free state is no longer dependent on individual access to weapons that would repel tyranny, then there is a mechanism to do that.  It’s not unilaterally mandating twenty-three executive actions.  It’s amending the U.S. Constitution.

January 16th, 2013 at 8:31 am
Coincidence? Obama Introduces New Gun Agenda on Anniversary of Prohibition
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

On this date in 1919, Prohibition became the law of the land via the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  We all know how wise and effective that proved.

Today, Barack Obama unveils his new gun control agenda to the nation, using an audience of children as props.  Even had they realized the coincidence, we suspect that the White House wouldn’t recognize the irony.

September 4th, 2012 at 7:24 pm
With ATT Dead, UN Starts New Round of Gun Control Negotiations

Even though the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty negotiations broke down in July, gun control advocates are already promoting a new vehicle to infringe on civilian ownership of firearms.

The new document being discussed at U.N. headquarters is called a “Programme of Action to Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects” (or PoA for short).

As Ted Bromund of the Heritage Foundation reports, so far the PoA isn’t doing much better than the ATT:

The normal approach is to try to walk before you run. At the U.N., though, the response to the PoA’s inability to walk is to recommend running. IANSA wants the PoA to expand to cover ammunition. Parker wants a PoA that would provide a broader framework for the ATT. And McLay believes it should consider further “normative development”—i.e., in future years it should discuss “the issues of civilian possession.” Indeed, on Tuesday at the review conference, IANSA acknowledged that the PoA has served as the basis for “gun control” in many nations and encouraged others to follow along.

IANSA stands for The International Action Network on Small Arms, and as Bromund notes, it is “the leading small-arms-control NGO…”

For some reason, the United States is still involved in negotiations with groups like IANSA.

It’s not often that regulators are so transparent about their ultimate goals.  With the IANSA on record as using the PoA as a basis for gun control, it’s past time for conservatives in Congress to demand that the U.S. pull out of negotiations immediately.  Safeguarding the Second Amendment requires nothing less.

July 27th, 2012 at 1:15 pm
UN Gun Treaty Treats Dictatorships and Democracies Equally

Last week my column discussed the disastrous legal consequences likely to emerge from the ongoing negotiations to create the Arms Transfer Treaty at the United Nations.

Fox News reports that with the conference coming to a close, a draft text has been released that has everyone not working for a dictatorial regime hopping mad:

While critics say U.S. gun owners and interests would be left exposed by the draft, it has drawn criticism on other fronts. Activists on the political left say it is a gift to illicit gunrunners around the world, and the only group that seems to like it is the rogue states leading talks, say critics.

“The talks … are now being dominated by skeptical governments including Iran, Syria and Cuba, intent on having a weak treaty, or no treaty at all,” Control Arms, a global movement that says illicit gunrunning is fueling conflict, poverty and serious human rights violations worldwide, said in a statement. Other activists named North Korea, Egypt and Algeria as additional spoilers of the UN’s stated aims for the treaty: to keep conventional weapons out of the hands of rogue regimes, terrorists and criminals.

Heritage expert Ted Bromund says it’s no surprise why the draft text of the ATT treaty is benefiting bad actors while stymieing liberals’ good intentions:

Any conceivable ATT, simply because it is being negotiated through the U.N., will be based on recognizing that all members of the U.N. are equal and sovereign states and thus have equal rights. The inevitable result of this, in the context of the ATT, will be a treaty stating that Iran and Venezuela have the same rights to buy, sell, and transfer weapons as do the U.S. and Japan. The U.N. already contains far too many dictatorships; negotiating a treaty that enshrines their equality of status in the realm of arms transfers is inherently a bad and dangerous idea.

As I noted in my column, the push for the ATT at the UN arose because gun control groups could not get legislation they favored passed in the United States Congress.  But instead of getting the hint that the political marketplace was unreceptive to their ideas, gun controllers threw in their lot with a body that treats every government the same, even those willing to turn a gun control treaty into a mechanism that oppresses citizens at home and abroad.

It will be a form of perverse justice that when the ATT becomes an international law protecting Iran and Venezuela’s ability to kill their own people and arm other dictatorships like Syria that the constituency most responsible for enshrining those rights will be gun control groups.

July 19th, 2012 at 5:55 pm
Obama Administration Aiding and Abetting Future UN Gun Grab

In my column this week I explain the threat the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty poses to every Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

So, what’s the Obama Administration’s official position?

On the surface, the State Department has issued a series of “redlines” that claim to protect American Second Amendment rights to individual gun ownership, including the claim that “There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

There are at least three reasons to suspect the Obama Administration’s motives.

First, the Obama Administration fought tooth-and-nail against interpreting the Second Amendment to guarantee the right of an individual to own a gun.  Only by a 5-4 decision from the United States Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago did the justices uphold the traditional understanding that the Second Amendment protects an individual right, and not a collective right to self-defense provided by the government.

The gun control groups pushing the ATT side with the Obama Administration in seeing the right to self-defense as a collective rather than as an individual right.  After fighting a losing battle for years in Congress, gun controllers opted in 2001 to make their cause global and found willing partners in dictatorial regimes like Syria, Iran and Russia looking for any way to disarm dissident groups while preserving their right to buy and sell guns for national security (i.e. repressing dissidents).

Second, the Fast and Furious scandal where federal agents allowed 2,000 guns to “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels – without the Mexican government’s knowledge – raises a serious question about the Obama Administration’s credibility on gun rights.  Already, one Department of Justice official has been caught in an email speculating how to use F&F as evidence to argue for stronger gun control laws.  Common sense says he wasn’t the only one.

Finally, there’s the Obama Administration’s presence at the ATT convention.

During the George W. Bush years the United States refused to participate in any discussions about an international arms treaty for fear it would lead to a step-by-step move to gut Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

In 2009, the Obama Administration reversed course and announced its support for the ATT.  That buy-in caused negotiations at the UN to accelerate, culminating in the month-long convention in New York this month.

Observers of the ATT convention expect the treaty’s final text to be filled with vague assertions and unattainable aspirations.  But as I point out in my column, the very existence of the ATT poses a serious long-term threat to Americans’ Second Amendment rights because future interpretations of its text can be molded to fit the gun controllers’ policy outcomes.

I suspect the Obama Administration knows this, and is aiding and abetting that very outcome by participating in the negotiations.

May 23rd, 2012 at 3:32 pm
Some Domestic Drones May Get Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas

Last week, I wrote in my column that “So far, consensus around the FAA’s thinking indicates that domestic drones would not be approved to fly with weapons.”

That was in reference to the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement that it will ease restrictions on civilian use of unmanned drones for use in surveillance and research.  The institutions most interested in using drones are law enforcement entities ranging from the FBI to local police departments.

Now, consider this:

Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone.

“Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” McDaniel told The Daily.

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer was criticized last week for saying, “I don’t want regulations, I don’t want restrictions, I want a ban on this.”  Call it a slippery slope or inevitable logic, but Krauthammer’s instinct was right.  Regulations and restrictions open the door for interpretations like the Texas sheriff’s office; i.e. that a drone – apparently unlike a police cruiser or helicopter – is a physical extension of a cop and should be equipped with rubber bullets and tear gas.  If this is allowed, there is no logical reason to prohibit other more lethal devices.

In his comments, Krauthammer said that “the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that’s been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country.”

Not if the drone shoots him first.

May 17th, 2012 at 10:41 am
Podcast: Stand Your Ground Laws Don’t Encourage Vigilantism
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, John R. Lott, Jr., economist and bestselling author of “More Guns, Less Crime” and “The Bias Against Guns,” discusses the statistical relationship between Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws and the reduction in violent crimes, whether Florida’s Stand Your Ground law applies in the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case, and his latest book, “Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do to Regain Our Future.”

Listen to the interview here.

March 30th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
Washington, D.C.: Following Supreme Court’s Gun Ban Ruling, Fewest Murders Since 1963
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

When the United States Supreme Court affirmed the Second Amendment’s individual right to keep and bear arms and overturned Washington, D.C.’s prohibition, Mayor Adrian Fenty predicted, “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence.”  But that’s not what happened, which comes as no surprise to anyone paying attention to decades of real-world data.  In the famous words of Dr. John Lott, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

Today, The Wall Street Journal noted that the D.C. saw its fewest number of murders since 1963.  What’s more, the decline occurred even as its police force has declined:  “Washington, D.C., last year recorded 108 murders, its fewest since 1963, despite 230 fewer uniformed officers than in 2009.”  More stubborn facts to debunk strangely persistent anti-gun hysteria.

January 24th, 2011 at 11:08 am
Remember This When Someone Calls For More Gun “Control”
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Are new “assault weapons” bans or pistol magazine limits appropriate responses to the Tucson murders?  Airheads from Senator Chuck Schumer (D – New York) to “conservative” commentator Peggy Noonan seem to think so.

If those were effective answers, then one could presumably find evidence that such laws reduce crime.  But that’s not the case, says Dr. John Lott, Jr.:

No research by criminologists or economists has found that the either the assault weapons ban or the magazine-size restrictions reduce crime.  This is not surprising, as magazines are simply small metal boxes with a spring and are thus very easy to make.  Besides, someone planning to harm a large number of people can easily bring two or more loaded guns.”

Indeed, the objective evidence shows that tougher gun restrictions increase crime and violence.  Fewer gun restrictions, on the other hand, reduce crime and violence.  Just look at Chicago, where everyone from Mayor Richard Daley to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens predicted “more gun death” and “anarchy” following last year’s McDonald Supreme Court decision overturning that city’s draconian gun laws.  Instead, Chicago homicides fell to their lowest level since 1965.

Polls show that the American public understands this.  When will people like Peggy Noonan?

July 9th, 2010 at 1:28 am
Thomas Concurs

Any reader familiar with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia knows his professional reputation is etched with the cuts of (seemingly) a thousand harshly worded dissents.  In fact, they are so clear and compelling there’s a book called Scalia Dissents that catalogues some of his most pointed opinions.

Justice Clarence Thomas takes a different approach.  His most intriguing opinions usually come in the form of concurrences, agreeing with the conservative majority’s result, but not its process.  The most recent example was his unchallenged concurrence to the Chicago gun rights case (McDonald v. City of Chicago).  In it, the Court’s clearest thinking – and best writing – justice observed that “due process” of the 14th Amendment guarantees nothing more than the process due a person before taking his life, liberty or property.

In other words, the government can deprive a person of any one or all three, it just needs to establish a scheme for doing so.

Thus, if it’s true that there are certain fundamental rights – like the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee to carry a weapon for self-defense – that cannot be infringed by states and localities, conservatives and liberals will have to look somewhere other than the due process clause to protect them. Justice Thomas found the mechanism in the 14 Amendment’s privileges or immunities clause.  Not only does it fit with the intent of the amendment’s framers, it boasts the honor of not confusing the process of depriving rights with the substance of those rights.

All lawyers should strive to be so helpful.

July 2nd, 2010 at 7:32 pm
Chicago: The City Council That Never Sleeps

Never underestimate the speed and focus possible when the politicos in charge of government set their minds to getting something done.  Less than four days after the United States Supreme Court said that the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment applied to states and municipalities like Chicago, the Second City’s aldermen rose to the challenge.

Unfortunately, they responded by deliberately passing a law to discriminate against gun owners to the maximum extent the Constitution might allow.  (Lost amid most of the coverage this week on the result in McDonald v. City of Chicago is that Justice Alito’s plurality opinion announces only that the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms applies to Chicago.  It leaves to lower courts the careful work of figuring out which gun control laws are in fact unconstitutional.)

Let’s try a mind experiment.  Suppose a controversial Supreme Court opinion came down applying a universal right guaranteed in the Constitution against states and municipalities that had to do with, oh, let’s say…racial discrimination.  If the losing city in the decision responded in less than four days with an ordinance that deliberately tried to see how far it could still discriminate and pass constitutional muster, would that city council be lauded for its activism?

Maybe there’s a North Coast bias.

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:47 am
Why Should the First Amendment Be Protected, But Not the Second Amendment?
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Today is an important day in United States Supreme Court history, and in the ongoing battle to protect the individual freedoms enshrined in the Second Amendment.

Two years ago, the Court finally and explicitly confirmed that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms in District of Columbia v. Heller. Today, it hears oral argument in McDonald v. Chicago to determine whether that right protects citizens against state infringement as well as in federal jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C.

Everyday citizens unfamiliar with Court precedent and the legal contortions distinguishing which provisions of the Bill of Rights will or will not be protected will scratch their heads and wonder, “if the First Amendment applies to protect citizens against state infringement, why not the Second Amendment?”  The Court has also recognized Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment protections against state violation.  The legal niceties, however, are less important than the overarching illogic that even attempts to render Second Amendment rights less important or worthy of protection.

The simple fact is that this case illustrates once again the way in which politicized judges decide which rights they consider important based upon their own personal political preferences.  Our Founding Fathers did not draft the Constitution as a byzantine code to be understood and applied only by conceited judges.  Rather, they intentionally began the Constitution with the words, “We the People” and created it to be understood, treasured and applied by everyday citizens.

Accordingly, the legal nuances are less important than the overall theme:  big government once again seeks to infringe upon citizens’ individual freedoms and Constitutional rights via court decree.  Fortunately, the Court appears likely to side with the Second Amendment over the city of Chicago.  But even if it abandons logic and principle by upholding Chicago’s prohibition, the battle will continue with citizens exercising their rights at the federal, state and local legislative and executive levels.  In which case gun “control” advocates may ultimately come to regret a fleeting Pyrrhic judicial triumph.

October 12th, 2009 at 11:41 am
Video: Gunning for the 2nd Amendment

CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses McDonald v. City of Chicago, a case currently before the Supreme Court that could determine once and for all whether the right to keep and bear arms is a “fundamental” right.


September 30th, 2009 at 3:23 pm
Supreme Court to Decide Whether 2nd Amendment Applies to States
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In the landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court at long last affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right of citizens to keep and bear arms.  Unfortunately, the decision technically only applied to federal jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C., and set aside the question of whether the 50 states were similarly prohibited from infringing on that critical right. 

Through an unjustified quirk of constitutional jurisprudence, courts over the past 150 years have picked and chosen which provisions of the Bill of Rights they consider “fundamental,” and therefore applied against state infringement.  Most provisions have received such recognition, and it obviously defies logic to contend that the Second Amendment, which was among the most important in the minds of the Founding Fathers, is somehow “not fundamental.”  Despite this, the left has creatively and dishonestly made that very assertion.

Today, however, the Court announced that it will hear the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago.   At issue in that case is a Chicago law broadly prohibiting handguns, taxing firearms generally, and various other infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.  Accordingly, the Supreme Court now has the opportunity to do the right thing and protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights against the ever-growing menace of government infringement.