Posts

Royal_Gun_Shop_1_NOLA

Gun Seller: Secretive Justice Department Program Forcing Banks to Gather Illegal Information About Firearms Sales

A firearms dealer in North Carolina said his bank asked him to reveal “ridiculous and somewhat illegal” information about his business and its customers after the June 12 terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, and he believes a secretive Justice Department program is to blame.

Luke Lichterman, owner of Hunting and Defense in Tryon, North Carolina, said his bank told him he couldn’t use its services without completing an “addendum” supplying details about his business.

“It all comes back to the Obama administration and Operation Choke Point, the ‘undesirable businesses’ thing,” Lichterman told The Daily Signal. “Something like that from the government has ripples that keep radiating. It’s not something that you can turn on and turn off.”

Lichterman believes that the timing of the request from his bank was no accident, given that gun control once again became a hot issue after the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The Justice Department launched Operation Choke Point in 2013 to fight fraud. The agency made it more difficult for “high risk” industries to gain access to the banking system, as a way to drive fraudulent industries out of business.

However, critics argue the Obama administration also used Operation Choke Point to intentionally make business more difficult for firearms sellers by categorizing them alongside illegal and fraudulent industries.

In February, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to end Operation Choke Point. In April, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced a similar measure in the Senate, where it has since stalled.

In the meantime, small business owners from across the country such as the 75-year-old Lichterman continue to complain about the lasting effects of Operation Choke Point.

The Bank’s Original Problem

As The Daily Signal previously reported, Lichterman and his wife had maintained personal accounts at HomeTrust Bank in Asheville, North Carolina, since 2012. But this spring, when Lichterman approached the bank for access to an automated clearinghouse payment service for Hunting and Defense, which operates under the legal name Muttburger Marketing LLC, the bank refused his request.

An automated clearinghouse payment service makes it easier—and cheaper—for business owners to transfer and send money online, allowing them to complete transactions electronically. Without it, Lichterman would be forced to front processing fees at 4.5 percent of every transaction that would eat away at his already slim profits.

In early June, after Lichterman fought back and went public with his story—accusing the bank of participating in Operation Choke Point tactics by discriminating against him because he sells guns—HomeTrust Bank reversed its policy and offered Lichterman an account.

But on June 14, two days after an Islamist-inspired terrorist shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in an attack at an Orlando nightclub, the bank again reversed its policy and told Lichterman he couldn’t use their services without completing an “addendum” demanding more information about his business.

The Daily Signal sought comment about this request from HomeTrust Bank via phone and email, but it did not respond.

The New Demands

Among other demands, the addendum, which Lichterman provided to The Daily Signal, asks Lichterman to “submit a complete list of all firearms and ammunitions vendors and customers” that he conducts business with. In part, it reads:

After the first/initial submission subsequent lists are to include all relevant parties since the date of last report. Each list is to specify personal and business names and associated FFL [federal firearms license] numbers and should indicate whether the individual/entity is new or repeat. The list must identify all firearms and ammunitions transaction entities regardless of whether HomeTrust Treasury Management ACH [automated clearinghouse] origination services are used for the transaction.

The list is due no later than the fifth day of the first month in each quarter.

The new agreement also requires:

A “complete list of all firearms and ammunitions vendors and customers” that Lichterman did business with.

A “detailed written document explaining how the business is operated, including procedures in place to screen customers” to ensure compliance with federal regulations, rules, and laws.

A current copy of the applicable federal firearms license(s).

The end of the agreement enables HomeTrust Bank to request more information:

“[HomeTrust Bank] may request additional information (such as, but not limited to, personal or business financial statements, tax returns, etc.) for the purpose of evaluating your request to obtain or maintain [accounts].”

The Daily Signal publishes the agreement in full at the end of this report.

Christopher Zealand, senior research lawyer for the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, described the agreement as highly unusual.

“It’s one thing for a bank to require evidence that a business is operating legally (for example, by requesting copies of relevant licenses, etc.),” Zealand said in an email to The Daily Signal. “It’s quite another for the bank to insist that a federally licensed firearms dealer divulge identifying information about every customer who purchases, or has purchased, a firearm or ammunition.”

The implications, he said, are even more concerning:

Not only is [the information request] logistically problematic, it is an egregious violation of privacy. And to the degree federal banking regulators would have access to these lists, it could also create a workaround to existing laws meant to prevent federal registries of firearm owners.

The Reason

It is unclear whether the demands originate from HomeTrust Bank employees, or the bank’s federal regulators.

HomeTrust Bank is regulated by the Federal Reserve, which would not comment on Lichterman’s specific case or answer broader questions about the requirements and guidelines the agency sets for gun sellers to ensure safe transactions.

Dillon McConnell, a public affairs specialist at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which regulates the firearms industry, wrote in an email to The Daily Signal that the bank’s addendum for Lichterman appears to originate from a “private institution.”

McConnell added that while the the Federal Privacy Act prohibits his agency from releasing information about federally licensed firearms dealers, gun sellers are not prohibited from disclosing such information. Aside from applicable state and local laws, private institutions are free to request the information.

If the demands originate with HomeTrust Bank, however, it isn’t clear why the bank requires such information from a customer.

Lichterman said he believes the answer is Operation Choke Point, and the program’s continued effects:

[Under] Operation Choke Point, Obama didn’t write a memo and send it to the bank and say ‘Hey, shut this guy off because he might sell a gun that someday might be used by somebody,’ completely ignoring the fact that it might be used to defend against one of these guys. The thing is, they keep going after the wrong target. In airports, they’re looking for the bomb, they’re not looking for the bombers. They go after the gun, they don’t go after the gunman. If they want to get guns off the street, first get the criminals off the street. They can attack the guys by attacking the people who do business in guns.

Zealand, the lawyer with the NRA, said he agrees.

“The fallout of Operation Choke Point continues,” he said. (For more from the author of “Gun Seller Says His Bank Demands ‘Ridiculous’ Information. He Blames Operation Choke Point.” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

March_on_Washington_for_Gun_Control_035

As Congress Returns, Democrats and Republicans Clash Over Gun Control

House Republican leaders are planning to hold a vote this week on legislation intended to bar some suspected terrorism suspects from buying guns.

The bill, whose language is backed by the National Rifle Association, is part of an “anti-terrorism” legislative package the House is considering in response to the terrorist attack June 12 at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

While Republicans have been reluctant to pursue any legislation that can be construed as gun control, backers of this proposal insist it achieves the delicate balance of preventing those suspected of having terrorist ties from buying weapons—while preserving their right to due process.

“I have not met a single member of Congress who is in favor of terrorists being able to buy guns or explosives,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., one of the sponsors of the gun measure.

“Unfortunately, Democrats have tried to make it out to be an issue where just one political party is in favor of terrorists not being able to purchase guns or explosives, and that’s absurd,” Zeldin told The Daily Signal in a phone interview on Friday.

“This isn’t a debate over whether terrorists should be able to purchase guns or explosives,” he added. “This a debate over whether there should be due process for Americans.”

After the Orlando massacre, House Democrats staged a sit-in of more than 24 hours demanding action on gun control.

Still, based on early reaction, it appears Democrats won’t support the Republican-backed proposal because of concerns that the “probable cause” standard required by the bill is too difficult to achieve.

Senate Democrats have already blocked the same legislation.

“Republicans are again putting the NRA ahead of their responsibility to keep the American people safe,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said of the Republican proposal in a statement.

One gun-rights group, Gun Owners of America, described the GOP’s move as a “cave-in.”

The Republican measure, which is based on the language of Zeldin’s Protect America Act, would permit the Department of Justice to deny a gun purchase to someone who is being investigated as a known or suspected terrorist, or has been investigated in the last five years.

Law enforcement, however, would have to obtain a court order to prevent a terrorist suspect from buying a gun, and the government would have three business days to prove it has enough evidence of terrorist activity to block the sale.

If the government does successfully prove the suspect “will commit an act of terrorism,” the sale is blocked. If it doesn’t, the government has to pay the legal costs of the suspect, and the sale can go through.

The suspect is also granted an automatic right to a hearing, and to an attorney.

Democrats believe the three-day window is too short to prove probable cause, arguing the legislation will have little functional impact.

Zeldin counters that the government should have to face a high standard of proof considering the government’s terrorist watch lists are controversial. Individuals do not have to be charged with a crime to be placed on the lists, and many don’t know they are on them.

“The Department of Justice already knows who these individuals are and already has evidence collected, so the burden should be on the government to demonstrate probable cause that an individual is a terrorist instead of making an American demonstrate that they’re not a terrorist,” Zeldin said. “That’s the way it has always been in our country and the way it should be.”

Democrats prefer a bill first introduced in the Senate that would bar guns from being sold to suspected terrorists who are on the FBI’s “no-fly” and “selectee” lists.

The House has its own companion version of that bipartisan bill. Under those bills, someone on the no-fly and selectee lists who is blocked from buying a gun can appeal that decision. A court has 14 days to decide on the appeal.

The NRA opposes those bills.

Democrats are framing Republican leadership’s decision to bypass a vote on that bill in favor of Zeldin’s legislation as the GOP bowing to the NRA. Zeldin tried to downplay the NRA’s support of his proposal.

“This isn’t the NRA bill,” Zeldin said. “Members of Congress wrote this bill, not the NRA. I don’t think members should make their determination as to whether or not to vote for or against the bill based on any outside groups support or opposition. It should simply be based on the merit of the proposal and the reality it keeps us safe.” (For more from the author of “As Congress Returns, Democrats and Republicans Clash Over Gun Control” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

IT AIN’T ABOUT GUNS: Democrats Super-Excited About Killing off Your Due Process Rights

The latest efforts to enact gun-control by Democrats in congress are either strictly symbolic, since they would not have stopped the San Bernadino or the Orlando Islamic extremists, or a Trojan horse to abolish the 2nd Amendment. Their proposal is to deny 2nd Amendment rights to anyone on the Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) “no-fly list.”

The murderers in San Bernadino and Orlando were not on the no-fly list, so even if such a law were in place, those acts of domestic terrorism would not have been prevented. So from that standpoint, such legislation would be mostly symbolic, and solve little to nothing.

It is much more likely, however, that the legislation is a Trojan horse to literally abolish 2nd Amendment rights of all, or more likely, select citizens.

The no-fly list is created by bureaucrats of the Executive Branch, and is so secretive that people don’t even know their names are on it until they attempt to board a flight. We have no idea exactly how many people are on the no-fly list, but an FBI factsheet uncovered by PolitiFact in 2013 indicated there were 47,000 names on the list at that time.

Not only do citizens not know if they’ve been added to the list, they have no way of preventing themselves from being added, since the government maintains it in secrecy, and has provided no clear criteria or rationale for names being added to it. As Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU Nation Security Project has said, “The government puts people on the no-fly list using vague and overbroad standards, and it is wrongly blacklisting innocents without giving them a fair process to correct government error.”

The ACLU has filed suit against the government over their seemingly arbitrary and spurious addition of names. As Shamsi explains, “Our no-fly list lawsuit seeks to establish a meaningful opportunity for our clients to challenge their placement on the list, which is error-prone and has had a devastating impact on their lives.”
And since the list is maintained by the Executive branch, and in secrecy, the potential for abuse is massive. Just look at how the IRS, which is also administered by the Executive branch, has politically targeted purported enemies of the Obama administration, and conservative political activist groups. Such abuse has tyranny and fascism written all over it!

Especially in light of what the Obama administration did just after it came to power in 2009. In an Agency Assessment from Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” the “enemies of the state” were clearly identified, and it was entirely based on ideology.

According to the, communiqué the issues qualifying citizens for “enemies of the state” status include opposition to gun control, government infringement on civil liberties, abortion, hate crime legislation, anti-illegal immigration, and opposition to same-sex marriage. In a footnote, the document states, “[Rightwing extremism] may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” In other words, everyone who is not a left-wing radical was identified officially an enemy to the Obama Administration and accused of being a potential domestic terrorist! By their own admission, however, they had no evidence of potential threats, so the assessment was nothing but a political hatchet-job against those who don’t agree with them.

After passage of the Democrat’s bill denying 2nd Amendment rights to those on the no-fly list, all that would need to be done by an unscrupulous and tyrannical president, is put all citizens with political leanings identified by the 2009 Agency Assessment on the no-fly list. From the Democrat’s perspective, problem solved. But for the nation, nothing solved, since leftists perpetrate most mass killings.

Once on the no-fly list, it’s nearly impossible to get off of it. The ACLU has declared, “The government denies watchlisted individuals any meaningful way to correct errors and clear their names.” Eleven term congressman John Lewis (D-GA), has been trying to get his name off of the list for five years.

There is no process by which a citizen can be prevented from being added to the no-fly list, or the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List. Which means, if a citizen were added to one of them, they would be deprived of their constitutional rights without due process, which is guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments. This would be just one step away from the government denying 1st Amendment (freedom of speech, etc.) rights by placement on a government watch list, or “no speak” list, again denying due process, and violating rights assured by our most foundational document. This would be tyrannical and fascistic, and as antithetical to American values as one could get!

This argument was brilliantly illustrated in a House Government Oversight Committee hearing exchange between chairman Trey Gowdy and DHS Deputy Director Kelli Burriesci in December. That two minute video should be watched by every American, and can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wrxmaMLXLE.

And while we’re on this subject, why is it that the ire of the anti-gun left is invariably targeted against the National Rifle Association? Founded in 1871, the NRA is the oldest continuously operating civil rights organization in the country. Their objectives are protecting our 2nd Amendment rights and teaching responsible and proper gun use. Blaming them for abuse of those rights is like blaming the ACLU for 1st Amendment abuses, like hate speech! Can’t get much more illogical and inane than that!

Gun control is a key issue for the left, since it can be so easily fomented emotionally. But it does nothing to address the underlying social and cultural issues which are the cause of violence and domestic terrorism. And using vague government controlled lists as the basis to deny fundamental rights is a violation of our constitutional rights, which define what it means to be an American citizen. (For more from the author of “IT AIN’T ABOUT GUNS: Democrats Super-Excited About Killing off Your Due Process Rights” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

maxresdefault

This State Becomes the First to Require All Gun Owners Be Entered Into Federal Database

Hawaii became the first state in the nation to enact legislation requiring gun owners to be entered into an FBI database.

The measure, signed into law on Friday by Democratic Gov. David Ige, will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere in the country through what is known as the “Rap Back” system.

Fox News reports that the database is already in place in the FBI and used to keep track of people in “positions of trust” such as schoolteachers or bus drivers. Hawaii becomes the first state to use the system to keep track of all gun owners.

Critics says that gun owners should not have to be entered into a database simply for exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.

The National Rifle Association and the Hawaii Rifle Association opposed the legislation.

“This is an extremely dangerous bill. Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious,” Amy Hunter of the National Rifle Association said in May. “Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring.”

“I don’t like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them” Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state, told the Associated Press last month. “We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us.”

The law was one of three gun control measures Ige signed on Friday. State law now also bars those convicted of stalking or sexual assault from gun ownership and gives the police the authority to seize firearms from any deemed disqualified due to mental illness.

State Sen. Will Espero, the Democrat who introduced the FBI database registration requirement for gun owners, hopes it will be a model for other states. (For more from the author of “This State Becomes the First to Require All Gun Owners Be Entered Into Federal Database” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

maxresdefault

Senate Takes Test Votes on Gun Bills; One Remains Alive

A bipartisan version of the “no fly, no buy” gun control legislation sought by congressional Democrats survived a procedural vote Thursday, but remains short of enough votes to be adopted.

The bill was proposed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Her plan would ban people on two federal terror lists from buying guns, but include an appeal process to address Republicans’ concerns that people will be unjustly stripped of their Second Amendment rights if they are wrongly included on a government list. She offered the proposal as an amendment to a spending bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed tabling the measure, which would have pushed it to the sidelines and all but killed it. By a 52-46 vote, the Senate kept the bill alive.

However, because the bill needs 60 votes to pass, its eventual fate remains uncertain.

Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, had called the voting a “test vote to see what it looks like.”

The Collins bill would ban sales to about 109,000 people, including 2,700 Americans, who are on two lists: The no-fly list and a so-called selectee list, which allows individuals to fly but requires extra scrutiny at airports. The bill gives individuals the right to take the federal government to court to appeal a denial. It also notifies authorities if a prospective gun buyer was on broader terrorism watch lists within the past five years.

The measure was one of two voted on by the Senate.

A proposal by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., received only 31 votes in support. Although his goal was similar to that of Collins, his bill put the burden of proof on the government, forcing it to go to court to show why an individual should be blocked from buying a gun.

“We were trying to get something merged between Sen. Collins’ approach and we were unsuccessful in doing that,” Cornyn said. Of the two bills, he said, one “provides for due process, and one … does not. “

Cornyn said he also thought it was time to debate other subjects.

“I think we need to be engaged in something more constructive that would’ve actually stopped the Orlando shooter,” he said. (For more from the author of “Senate Takes Test Votes on Gun Bills; One Remains Alive” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

MSC_2014_Murphy_Mueller_MSC2014

See How Your Senators Voted on 4 Gun Control Amendments

The Senate shot down a series of gun control measures Monday, all brought up for debate after the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.

The four gun control bills—two proposed by Republicans and two by Democrats—were torpedoed after the sides were unable to come to an agreement.

The votes came less than a week after Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., filibustered for more than 14 hours to support a universal background check system to stop terrorists from acquiring guns.

After learning the FBI had twice investigated Islamist-inspired mass murderer Omar Mateen on suspicion of terrorist sympathies, Democrats and Republicans largely agreed that those under investigation for terrorist activity should be barred from purchasing weapons. Mateen killed 49 persons and wounded 53 more in his June 12 shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

“No one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns or explosives. No one,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

But senators could not come together on specifics to address the problem, with each side accusing the other of using the votes for base political ends.

Senate Republicans rejected two Democratic proposals that would have barred firearm sales to people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list and required every gun purchaser to undergo a background check, arguing that the measures too dramatically expanded the federal government’s power.

“The Democratic alternative would not ensure due process, protect our constitutional rights, or require the government to periodically review its procedures to ensure it’s investigating the right people,” McConnell said.

Democrats, in turn, shot down Republican alternatives that would have required the government to prove probable cause within three days to block a gun sale to a suspected terrorist and increase funding for background checks. They argued the proposals were insufficient half measures only intended to help Republicans who receive donations from gun groups to save face.

“It doesn’t matter how sensible the legislation or how terrible the tragedy,” said Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., “Republicans are beholden to the National Rifle Association, the NRA, and not the people that elect them to come here and represent them.”

The votes of 60 senators were needed to end debate and proceed to a final vote on each measure.

The Republican proposals each received 53 votes. A total of 47 senators voted for the terrorist watch list amendment proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and 44 voted for the expanded background checks proposed by Murphy.

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., was the only Republican to vote for both Democratic proposals. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., voted against one or both.

Some hope for a compromise amendment remained.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, said they would present a measure that, while similar to Feinstein’s bill, would restrict gun purchases to a smaller group than the FBI’s far-reaching terrorist watch list.

“There is a solution here, and I’m committed to finding it. But to find that solution, we have to come together instead of having competing proposals that have already mostly failed in this chamber when we took these votes back in December,” Ayotte said. “Let’s put aside the gamesmanship and come together to get a proposal that will be effective and get a result for the American people.”

Here’s how the Senate voted on the first Republican-sponsored gun control measure:

Senate-Roll-Call-Vote-103-2

Here’s how the Senate voted on the second Republican-sponsored gun control amendment:

Senate-Roll-Call-Vote-104-1

Here’s how the Senate voted on the first Democrat-sponsored gun control measure:

Senate-Roll-Call-Vote-105-1

Here’s how the Senate voted on the second Democrat-sponsored gun control amendment:

Senate-Roll-Call-Vote-106-1

(For more from the author of “See How Your Senators Voted on 4 Gun Control Amendments” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

March_on_Washington_for_Gun_Control_051

SCOTUS Once Again Chips Away at Gun Rights

While everyone is waiting with bated breath for the super legislature — aka the Supreme Court — to issue its opinions on cases involving abortion, affirmative action, and immigration, the big news from today is what it declined to consider. Following a disturbing pattern of allowing lower court decisions chipping away at the landmark Heller decision to stand, the high court declined to grant cert to petitioners in the case involving the sweeping gun and magazine bans in New York and Connecticut (New York State Rifle and Pistol Association el al. v. Cuomo).

Following the Sandy Hook shooting, states like New York and Connecticut banned a bunch of semi-automatic rifles containing cosmetic features that make them look scary. They also require forced registration of those firearms already owned by private citizens. Additionally, they banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and in the case of New York, mandated that they not be loaded with more than seven rounds. Initially, New York banned all magazines that hold more than seven rounds, but had to modify the law because most manufacturers don’t even make such small magazines except for sub-compact carry pistols.

While almost every circuit court found a constitutional right to gay marriage, none of them thus far have found a constitutional right to own common guns and ubiquitous magazines, thereby upholding the laws in the blue states. The Second Circuit upheld all the provisions of the New York and Connecticut laws except for the seven round load rule. Despite the Heller decision’s clear constitutional finding that individuals have a right to own and bear common self-defense weapons, the Second Circuit felt that a scary looking pistol grip on a commonly used weapon deems it a substantial governmental interest — enough to limit the individual right to own such a weapon. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the Second Circuit’s decision.

Typically, one cannot read too much into the Supreme Court’s decision not to grant cert to those seeking to overturn a lower court’s decision. After all, justices have limited time and resources and cannot hear every appeal. Moreover, they often like to wait for a circuit split before rendering a final decision. But following the Heller decision affirming the plain meaning of the most sacred of inviolable rights, how can they continuously allow circuit after circuit to chip away at Heller — both by banning common guns and magazines and by categorically upholding plenary bans on right to carry? They have already refused to consider two other appeals on cases banning gun ownership and have not granted cert to any case where a circuit court has upheld bans on carrying outside one’s home. The Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts have all ruled there is no right to self-defense outside the home — in contravention of the plain language of the Heller decision.

Indeed, in the case of lower courts upholding sweeping gun bans, the silence of more than three justices willing to grant cert (it takes four) is deafening. As Justice Thomas has noted in his dissent on the denial of cert on the two previous assault weapons bans, the other justices (presumably Roberts and Kennedy included) are clearly allowing the Second Amendment to become a second-class right. [1] How can Kennedy and Roberts decline to join in the vote to hear the appeal when the lower courts are vitiating the plain implications of Heller? In Heller, the Supreme Court made it clear that governmental interest cannot be factored in to mitigate an individual right to own or bear firearms because the Second Amendment “is the very product of an interest-balancing by the people,” and “[t]he very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government… the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon.” [2] How then can they allow the lower courts to uphold sweeping gun bans on the basis of a government interest for public safety, especially in the case of the Seventh Circuit which upheld the Illinois assault weapons ban simply on the basis that it “may increase the public’s sense of safety.” [3] Those pistol grips and picatinny rails on the rifle are sure scary. If looks could kill! Maybe we should limit the First Amendment’s right to assemble in large numbers because large crowds scare people.

The ongoing debate over gun rights in the courts demonstrates once again that even as the courts create new super rights for favored classes or for foreign nationals, they can’t be relied upon to protect the most basic rights of Americans. It also demonstrates that even if we succeed in filling the current Supreme Court vacancy, given that the lower courts are unanimously against gun rights, we can’t even count on five justices willing to overturn them. The judiciary is a dead end for those seeking preservation of constitutional rights in the long run. (For more from the author of “SCOTUS Once Again Chips Away at Gun Rights” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

8567872816_972101b2b6_b (1)

Senate Republicans Cave to Democrats, Agree to Vote on Gun Control Bills

After waging a nearly 15-hour-long filibuster, Senate Democrats succeeding in persuading Republican lawmakers to vote on gun control proposals this coming Monday, The Hill reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled the four proposals to be heard, two from Republicans and two from Democrats, which could potentially amend the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill.

Democrats have rallied behind a bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would give the attorney general discretion to block the sale of firearms in cases where “reasonable suspicion” exists that an individual has or will commit a terrorist attack.

Critics of Feinstein’s proposal argue authority granted under the bill would be too broad and could impact innocent Americans.

Instead, Republicans have opted to support a proposal from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would allow the attorney general to temporarily suspend the purchase of a firearm, up to 72 hours, with a court order required for anything longer.

Furthermore, a suspension could be approved for individuals who have been the subject of a terror investigation within a five-year period.

Cornyn put forward a similar proposal last year, but it was shot down because of an attached amendment that would have placed penalties on sanctuary cities.

In addition, the Senate will hold votes for expanded background check proposals, including one by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would authorize and fund the National Instant Background Check System and provide incentives to share mental health records and federal record sharing.

Democrats have put forward their own proposal that would expand background checks across the board for the sale or transfer of any firearm, as well as impose penalties on states that do not cooperate. (For more from the author of “Senate Republicans Cave to Democrats, Agree to Vote on Gun Control Bills” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

M&R Photography

In the Wake of Orlando, New Gun Control Legislation May Be on the Horizon

CNN is reporting a possible new deal on gun control legislation may be in the works between members of GOP leadership and Democrats.

Specifically, Senators Dianne Feinstein and John Cornyn may be the driving force behind the legislation, which would seek to suspend Second Amendment rights for those on government watch lists.

“According to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the legislation would allow the attorney general to block individuals suspected of having terrorist ties from buying a gun. The legislation also includes an appeals process for those individuals who may argue they were wrongly targeted,” read a report from Talking Points Memo.

“Our priority this week should be this terrorist gap measure because it is linked so directly to the issue of terrorism and extremist violence in this nation and abroad,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

The renewed call to suspend the rights of those on government watch lists comes after it was revealed that Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who carried out the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11, was on such a list.

Ironically, Mateen was interviewed twice by the FBI and subsequently removed from the list after he was cleared of suspicion.

Opponents of this sort of legislation point out it would be a violation of the Constitution to suspend rights without due process and a fair trail, adding that the real issue is a politically correct culture, which prevents intelligence officers from doing their jobs properly.

Furthermore, there are concerns that such lists could be used to target and punish political rivals, specifically veterans and conservatives, as the administration has expressed contempt for these groups in the past.

According to a widely criticized security assessment by the Department of Homeland Security, conservatives, and even returning veterans, are susceptible to extremism and therefore should be watched.

“Let me be very clear — we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.” (For more from the author of “In the Wake of Orlando, New Gun Control Legislation May Be on the Horizon” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

GayFest_Bucharest_2006_activist

Here’s the Left’s ‘Official Lie’ About the Orlando Terrorist Attack

Reacting Monday to the ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in Orlando, Mark Steyn—filling in for Rush Limbaugh—said that the “official lie” of the Left is that gun-toting “right” wing extremists are responsible for the shooting and radical Islamic terrorism is not.

The fact, Steyn said, is a radical Muslim killed 49 in a terror attack and the Left doesn’t know how to cope with the “internal contradictions of the rainbow coalition.”

Listen:

Steyn read the American headlines reporting the event which showed a stark contrast with international headlines by reporting a deadly “mass shooting” instead of an ISIS-inspired “terror attack.”

While the Left is clamoring for more gun control and screaming at the NRA, it is ignoring that radical Islam is responsible for the attack and only wants to destroy what the Left believes in. “The arithmetic isn’t complicated,” Steyn explained, “the more Islam, the fewer gays.” (For more from the author of “Here’s the Left’s ‘Official Lie’ About the Orlando Terrorist Attack” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.