Arizona Bill Would Keep State Money From Businesses Refusing to Work With Firearms Companies

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

Last week, the Arizona House voted on a bill that would penalize businesses in the state that refuse to do business with firearms companies.

The bill (HB 2473), proposed by state Representative Frank Carroll, R-Sun City, would require companies that sign contracts worth more than $100,000 with the state or local governments to agree that they won’t refuse to do business with firearms-related companies.

The bill passed along a party-line vote of 31-28. Every Republican voted in favor of it and no Democrat supported it.

Republicans and the firearms industry support the bill. They say it’s necessary because some banks refuse to do business with firearms companies.

That’s the argument that National Shooting Sports Foundation director of government relations Michael Findlay made during the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

“This bill is a Second Amendment bill,” he said. “We have members in the state of Arizona as well as all over the country that have been discriminated on access to capital, payment processors.”

However, banks and Democrats oppose the legislation, arguing that they should have the right to do business with who they want.

“This seeks to have the government interfere with those private businesses and come put their finger on the scale in support of a single industry,” Arizona Bankers Association lobbyist Jay Kaprosy said during the hearing on the bill last week that “…what this bill is asking you all to do is to pick winners and losers about what businesses in Arizona we’re going to favor and that’s where we have a problem with it.”

The bill now heads to the Arizona Senate for consideration.

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This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Leftists Want To Control Your Money So They Can Control You

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: We ourselves have suggested that governments would not permit the full operation of cryptocurrencies because it challenges their entrenched power to manipulate money. This manipulation in the past was limited to inflation of the currency, redistribution of wealth, and supposed countercyclical measures to modulate the business cycle. Then that power morphed in several directions.  The widespread use of sanctions began with South Africa and has been extended in the foreign policy realm to many other nations with which we may disagree. Then it spread into the “war on terror” and the funding of terrorist groups. The final stage is to label political opponents as “domestic terrorists” and expand surveillance, harassment, and prosecution of political opponents. We are now seeing that operate in Canada. This use of monetary power has now gone so far as to restrict credit and clearing operations to disapproved industries such as firearms and petroleum. Only those industries favored by the state have full and unfettered use of the capital markets and the government-regulated banking system. To some extent, this use of capital manipulation is now advocated even in the private sector by the ESG movement and large money managers like Black Rock, largely to force policies along the lines of their environmental agenda. Adding to the problem is that large tech companies that operate various transfer platforms, align themselves with the state or a particular political party. Private market actors should know better because these tools could well be turned against them. These developments pose a grave threat to liberty. It is a violation of privacy, a violation of property rights, and the use of monetary pressure is a violation of the rules of political conduct. Once these precedents are accepted, economic warfare against political opponents will become common and will lead to only one political view triumphal and unassailable because one faction restricts the resources of their opponents while directing the wealth of the state to their own ends. We can’t think of a more sinister way for political power to be abused. It completely short circuits the ability of one faction to balance another, an integral part of the American system of governance. We have not thought that Bitcoin was the answer, but we certainly can appreciate the need for some solution.

 

All of the convenience of moving money around effortlessly comes at the cost of losing control over it.

Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the suspension of Canadians’ rights last week in his invocation of the Emergencies Act to stop the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa and elsewhere. Among the restrictions announced are greater controls over the online crowdfunding sites that help to fund the protesters and attempts to control the flow of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

According to news reports, “credit card processors and fund-raising services will be required to report any blockade-related campaigns to Canada’s anti-money laundering agency.” Canadian banks quickly fell in line with the decrees, with Toronto-Dominion Bank freezing two personal bank accounts containing C$1.4 million ($1.1 million) they said were intended to support the truckers.

You Don’t Control Your Money Like You Used To

We’ve grown used to the idea that the government has a monopoly on money. Coining money is one of those powers of the state that most people never consider, like building roads or controlling national borders. Our money has dead presidents on it — it’s plainly a government operation. Where else would money come from, right?

But before the rise of electronic money transfers — the electronic bill-pay, direct deposit, and credit and debit card purchases we make every day now — whether the dollar bill in your wallet was issued by a bank (as in the early days of the republic) or by the Federal Reserve (as they are now) did not much matter. It was yours. No one knew what you spent it on unless you chose to tell them.

That meant greater privacy, both from your neighbors and from your government. But it also entailed risk. Cash could be stolen, lost, or destroyed, and there was no way to get it back. And it was cumbersome, especially as inflation ate away at the value of a dollar. Could you bring cash for a downpayment on a house? Sure. It still happens. But hauling a suitcase full of cash invites the scrutiny of thieves and the state — even when it’s completely legal.

How Goverment Uses Control of Your Money to Control You

These digital transfers feel, to most of us, like magic. A volley of ones and zeros flies through the cybernetic ether and — poof! — your electric bill is paid. But in truth, the data is routed through banks, and there are fewer of them all the time. Those remaining, many-times-merged financial giants that handle our affairs are, for all their clout and power, susceptible to government pressure. We have seen it already when the Obama administration leaned on banks to refuse to deal with people involved in marijuana or the sex trade, even where those businesses were legal at the local level. No federal law gave them this power: the threat was enough. And where people keep money in cash, the government often finds a way to take it without even bothering to charge the owners with a crime.

Trudeau’s emergency measures take advantage of these pressure points and lean on banks to choke off the complete flow of money to and from those he deems enemies of the state. No charges, no trial, just shutting it down. Now Trudeau’s government wants to make these “temporary” measures permanent. The slippery slope is usually not so steep, but these are strange times.

How Crypto Challenges the Government Monopoly on Money

Governments understand that alternatives to state-issued money, like cryptocurrency, are a threat to that hegemony. Trudeau and Biden demonstrate that in their recent efforts to control Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But the beauty of these new systems is that they are made, purposely, to be beyond the control of any person or government.

When Bitcoin launched more than a decade ago, most of us (myself included) barely understood what it was or how it worked. Fake money for dark web mischief, I figured, an eventual failure at best, a scam at worst. Yet here we are in 2022, where government-issued money is eroded by inflation and controlled by statist decrees. They leave peaceful opponents with a choice between the old (gold) or the new (crypto). And crypto is a heck of a lot easier to carry around.

In deciding an earlier banking law question in McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall said that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.” Two centuries on, we could apply a modern twist: the power to regulate involves the power to control.

Cryptocurrency was just a passing fad until government overreach made it a necessity. Decades of deficit spending have inflated the currency and decades of creeping statism have given the government massive power over how money is used. The government’s monopoly on money has failed and, like it or not, cryptocurrency is at least part of the answer.

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This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

How Biden Could Save His Presidency, But Won’t

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

When columnists choose to advise elected officials and others from the opposing party how they might improve their political status, I have no objection. Typically, this is done by someone who is an “enlightened” columnist for a Left-wing publication disguising themselves as an independent voice providing observation from 10,000 feet looking down on the plebeians.  This column is about as close as I have ever gotten to writing a column of this type.  It is not to suggest a course of action for President Biden, but in my opinion what he needs to do. No expectations here.

President Biden marched into New York City, a hotbed America’s current crime explosion. The city elected a new mayor with a cop background to clean up the mess created by his predecessor, the worst mayor in America. Unfortunately, they simultaneously elected a new DA in their largest and most famous borough, Manhattan, who is against prosecuting criminals for nearly all crimes. That includes criminals resisting arrest by the cops for whom he is supposed to be working. After the murder of two cops – neither of whom were white oppressors against whom the DA is fighting — DA Bragg reversed course a smidgeon. It is not ok to kill cops, just the rest of the residents.

President Biden laid out his plan to attack the core of the crime problem – guns. He particularly came down against ghost guns, but he apparently has endorsed ghost criminals because the guns shoot themselves. Across the country, San Francisco’s police chief stated the cops will no longer work with the DA regarding prosecutions of cops. This is based on the prejudice by the DA’s underlings by withholding evidence in cases that would aid the cop being prosecuted.

President Biden misses what is going on in America. The cops want to do their jobs – the jobs that their residents want and are overwhelmingly demanding them to do. Simultaneously, enlightened members of Biden’s party masquerading as DAs are either stopping the cops from doing their jobs or they are failing to prosecute the criminals that are arrested, letting them out on no bail even for violent crimes.

Jen Psaki, Biden’s paid mouthpiece, is routinely confronted with questions. Instead of the made-up issues she likes to discuss in the White House Press room, occasionally reporters ask questions about real concerns. Night after night, she states Biden has never been in favor of defunding the police. She virtually never says what he is for, evidenced by his recent visit to New York. Stopping gun crimes.

His “solution” comes out of the standard Democrat playbook: Make it more difficult for millions of Americans who legally own guns and legally maintain guns to get those guns, keep those guns and get ammunition for those guns even for the purpose of properly practicing how to properly shoot those guns. At the same time, do not discuss the folks illegally obtaining guns and using those guns to commit crimes.

Democrats accuse Republicans of ignoring the means by which these criminals obtain the guns they use. Yet, Democrats have no explanation except for the fact that many are stolen from people’s homes during robberies. You know – the robberies the Democrat DAs refuse to prosecute.

Biden has yet to pick up the phone and call one of these marauding DAs and tell them that their policies are not working or to stop what they are doing because it is harming the party of which Biden claims he is the leader. During the campaign in 2020, after he self-designated his position as leader of the Democrats, I suggested he pick up the phone and call the mayors of Portland and/or Seattle. He should have told them to stop the behavior in their cities; it was embarrassing their party. Biden never did. He skated through the election due to an international pandemic he said he would solve for Americans.

President Biden is currently nosediving in the polls for a multitude of reasons. The most significant of which is crime exploding across the American landscape. This is largely due to left-wing Democrats who have produced the ridiculous idea that not prosecuting criminals and letting them out of jail works as public policy and is beneficial for their constituents.

Here is my suggestion.  Mr. Biden picks up the phone and calls one of these woke DAs and tells them unless these failed policies are stopped, the President will publicly call them out and come out against them. He can start in Los Angeles with George Gascon.  Gascon is facing a recall where the signatures are being collected. He is certain to face a very tough recall election to save his job.

Mr. Biden needs only to say Gascon must enforce the laws that he was elected to uphold. None of these lawless DAs (who are self-proclaimed defenders of righteousness) are doing their jobs. Biden must state as much.  He can come to Los Angeles and take a picture of the Union Pacific rail lines littered with the trash from criminals stealing merchandise on the train. At the very least, members of his party would be offended by the scene as they would be afraid the trash would hurt the local seagulls.

Mr. Biden can inform Gascon that he will personally campaign for his replacement unless his policies that have harmed both of their constituents are reversed. Any replacement will likely also be a Democrat, but one can hope for a sane one. Do you think that would be a big national story? And for months? If Mr. Biden did this with just one DA, the others might just get the hint.

Ok, the chances of Biden doing this are slim to none. Not only are his policies failing, but he and his crew have made so many politically tone-deaf decisions that it seems unlikely they would now change their stripes. This would go a long way to mitigate the Armageddon they are facing in November.

Political analysts always lead by stating that crime is a local issue. Not anymore. This issue is nationwide, and it is being exacerbated by policies of one party. President Biden is the head of that party. As Eldridge Cleaver said, “If you are not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem.”

California Senate Bill 906: Making Schools a Logic Free Zone

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Liberals and Progressives continue in their belief that the presence of guns causes crime rather than the presence of criminals causes crime. It appears no amount of evidence or logic can dissuade them. It is a purely emotional position devoid of logic and experience.

This is the assumption behind almost all “gun control” legislation. Guns cause crime and thus fewer guns cause less crime. Guns you see, can leap about by themselves, leave premises, invade school zones, and discharge themselves in an erratic and deadly fashion at almost any time. These pieces of metal are very badly behaved and are a threat to all of us.

Gun control laws almost always translate to fewer guns in the hands of the law-abiding, and more guns in the hands of criminals. Criminals about to murder, hijack a car, or invade a home, could care less about breaking some peripheral firearms laws. There are too busy breaking all kinds of other laws to be convinced only the gun law is the one they will obey.

Therefore, the law-abiding, are left helpless in the face of criminals and must depend on public authorities, that may, or may not, respond in a timely manner.

The statistical evidence concerning guns and crimes is just the reverse of what liberals allege: more guns cause less crime, but that doesn’t stop these people from attacking your rights both to privacy and the right to own firearms.

And like so much in our current debate, Leftists want to direct the school system to undertake the social reforms they so desperately want to force upon the rest of us.

A rather frightening manifestation of this delusion is found in a new bill introduced in the California Senate.  A pertinent section of Senate Bill 906 is shown below:

“This bill would require, on or before January 1, 2023, the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to develop model content for use by local educational agencies related to a threat or perceived threat of an incident of mass casualties at a school. Using the model content, the bill would require local educational agencies to require the parents or guardians of a pupil to disclose whether any firearms are located at the home of the pupil and to answer questions about the ownership, storage, and accessibility by the pupil of the firearms. The bill would require local educational agencies to include information related to the safe storage of firearms in the annual notification provided to the parents or guardians of a pupil. If a school official is alerted to or observes any threat or perceived threat of an incident of mass casualties at a school, the bill would require a report of the threat or perceived threat to be immediately made to law enforcement and the Department of Justice. The bill would require a school or local educational agency, in consultation with law enforcement, to conduct immediately an investigation and threat assessment, as specified. The bill would require the investigation and threat assessment to include a review of the parent or guardian’s firearm disclosure information and a search of the pupil and pupil’s property located at the schoolsite if there is reasonable suspicion that a search will result in discovery of a firearm or other evidence that the pupil has or is violating the law or the school’s safety rules or policies. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”

So, it would appear the school must be notified that you own firearms and how you chose to store them must meet some undisclosed standard and impose some undisclosed liability. In addition, investigations of you and your children can proceed if a school official “observes” a “perceived threat”. Then, they can come search your property, and that of your child, based on their assessment.

Privacy, property rights?

We all know about the latitude permissible in the “perceived threats” teachers have observed.  The classic case, of course, was the child reprimanded for chewing his pastry shaped in an L that “looked” like a gun, at least to the unstable and hysterical liberal teacher.

This bill is written so broadly, that it could mean just about anything.  What it clearly seems to do is create firearms registration with the school being the collection point and make the schools the arbiter of whatever storage arrangements you might have for said firearms.

In addition, school officials (namely the teacher’s unions) can launch “investigations” based on “perceived threats”, at any time for any reason they wish, including if your child eats their Pop-Tart into a shape they might find alarming.

School shootings are a real problem and we do not mean to make light of the problem.

But this is a completely wrong approach.  Schools are already gun-free zones, and those rules are always violated by school shooters. Murder likewise, is both a moral and legal violation, and school shooters ignore those laws. And with an obvious lack of self-awareness, have not these same people advocated police be defunded and removed from schools?

Lost on these imbecilic legislators is that school shootings have more to do with moral decline, cultural and family decay, mental health issues, and the lack of fathers in the home, rather than guns.

It would be far better to arm and train select teachers and keep police on campus than to give such arbitrary power over to school district bureaucrats and the Department of Justice.

California is often the Petrie dish for breeding crazy social experiments. Unfortunately, what goes on in California, does not stay in California.  Besides, Californians are entitled to their Constitutional rights as are the rest of us.

The message is clear: Don’t let your local school become a logic-free zone.

 

Survey: 5.4 Million Americans Legally Purchased a Firearm for the First Time in 2021

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

At least 5.4 million Americans legally purchased a firearm for the first time last year, according to the findings of an annual National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) survey. The trade association conducted the survey among firearm and ammunition retailers about their business sales in 2021 based on background checks and other information.

Among those surveyed, 29.6% said their customers were first-time gun buyers, down from 40% in 2020’s annual survey. In 2020, more than 21 million background checks were conducted for firearm sales, with over 8.4 million of them estimated to be for first-time firearm buyers.

First time sales among women in 2021 also was down compared to 2020, when 40% of first-time firearm purchases were women, compared to 33% last year.

“We welcome these new gun owners to the greater community of law-abiding Americans who choose to own a firearm for lawful purposes, including self-defense, recreational target shooting, and hunting,” Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO, said in a statement accompanying the survey findings.

“The surveys revealed that new gun owners are continuing to embrace their Second Amendment rights and nearly half of them are seeking out professional training,” he added. “These trends show that not only is there still a strong interest in gun ownership but also that these new gun owners are interested in learning more about the safe and responsible handling, use and storage of firearms.”

A little over one-fifth, 22.8%, of first-time buyers last year came back for a second purchase, survey respondents found. Nearly 47% inquired about training and 43% signed up for training.

About 44% of retailers surveyed saw an increase in Black Americans purchasing firearms for the first time; nearly 40% saw an increase of first-time Hispanic purchasers; more than 27% saw an increase of first-time Asian purchasers.

In its 2020 survey, 58% of retailers surveyed saw an increase in first-time Black Americans purchasing firearms in 2020 compared to 2019; 49% saw an increase in first-time Hispanic purchasers; 43% saw an increase among first-time Asian purchasers.

Over 18% of retailers saw an increase of Native-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021; nearly 14% saw an increase of Native-Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders first-time purchasers.

The survey is released annually by the NSFF, a national organization dedicated to promoting the safe, responsible use of firearms. As a leading authority on gun safety, the organization provides a range of information, including safety kits, videos, literature and suicide prevention resources. It also created Project ChildSafe in 1999 to promote secure and responsible storage of firearms when they’re not in use to help prevent accidents, theft and suicides.

The findings were announced after NSFF presented its first “Woman of the Gun Award” this month. The recognition went to champion shooter and safety advocate Julie Golob for her shooting accomplishments and commitment to Project ChildSafe.

Golob began working with the project in 2013, lending her name and expertise to a host of firearm safety education efforts, ranging from social media campaigns to public appearances and videos, including a feature video on “how to talk to kids about gun safety.”

“I’m a huge advocate of passing on the tradition of safe and fun enjoyment of the shooting sports – they’re an indelible part of our heritage as a nation,” Golob said. “My whole family shares that heritage and all of us can take pride in the results of our collective work to promote gun safety and responsibility.”

In the past 30 years, she’s won more than 150 major championship titles, including more than 50 world and national titles. She’s also the first woman in history to win U.S. Practical Shooting Association Championships in all seven handgun divisions.

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This article was published by The Center Square and is reprinted with permission.

8 Problems With San Jose’s Gun Insurance Mandate and Gun Ownership Tax

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Lawful gun ownership in San Jose, California, is about to become more expensive and onerous after the City Council passed a measure imposing two unprecedented burdens on the possession of firearms inside city limits.

Beginning later this year, San Jose’s lawful gun owners will be required to maintain “a homeowner’s, renter’s, or gun liability insurance policy … specifically covering losses or damages resulting from any negligent or accidental use” of their firearms.

Gun owners also must pay an annual “Gun Harm Reduction Fee”—an as-yet-undetermined amount that officials suggest will be roughly $25 a year.

City officials claim these are necessary steps that will save lives by incentivizing responsible gun ownership practices while making gun owners foot the bill for the financial costs of gun violence.

In reality, the new law imposes unnecessary burdens on lawful gun owners and are unlikely to save taxpayers a single dollar, much less save a single life.

Here are eight major problems with San Jose’s latest gun control push:

1. Enforcement Nearly Impossible
The new ordinance doesn’t require gun owners to certify that they’ve obtained coverage or paid the annual fee.

Unless the city plans on conducting door-to-door compliance checks, it will face a nearly impossible task of ensuring widespread compliance with what is essentially an honor system.

2. Insurance Policies Don’t Exist
Currently, the only independent liability insurance for gun owners is self-defense insurance, which covers the costs for any criminal or civil proceedings resulting from a gun owner’s intentional defensive use of a firearm.

These plans don’t cover civil liability for cases of negligence or accidental shootings, as required by the San Jose ordinance.

This means gun owners will have to rely exclusively on personal liability provisions in their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance plans, or pay hundreds of dollars for a personal liability umbrella plan. Even then, such plans rarely include specific provisions covering liability for gun-related injuries.

3. Insignificant Coverage
Even in a best-case scenario where gun liability insurance is widely available and the requirement is widely enforced, these insurance plans will cover only a minuscule fraction of gun deaths and injuries occurring inside San Jose.

Most acts of gun violence involve criminal or intentionally wrongful acts, which California law prohibits insurance companies from covering. Importantly, this would exclude coverage not just for homicide and assault, but also for gun suicides, which comprise 60% of all gun deaths.

Additionally, while the new law purports to make gun owners responsible for any harm inflicted by lost or stolen firearms unless the guns were first reported as lost or stolen, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies cover acts committed only by the insured person while on the insured property.

So regardless of who San Jose deems responsible, if the gun owner has a typical homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, that policy simply wouldn’t cover, for example, harm inflicted by a thief who stole the gun or by the gun owner during an off-property hunting accident.

Nor do these policies cover harm inflicted on an insured party, as when a gun owner accidentally shoots himself or a household member while cleaning his gun.

This leaves coverage limited to the narrow circumstances in which an insured gun owner, while on his or her own property, accidentally or negligently harms a third party with a firearm.

This type of gun violence is relatively rare.

According to a report that the city itself relied on to support the mandate, San Jose averages only two “unintentional/undetermined” gun deaths a year, amounting to only 3.4% of all annual gun deaths.

At the same time, the city with a population over 1 million averages 25 annual nonfatal hospital inpatient admissions and 59 annual emergency room visits without hospitalization due to “unintentional/undetermined” gun injuries.

Even if most of these deaths and injuries are truly “unintentional,” as opposed to merely “undetermined,” it’s impossible to know how many were committed with lawfully possessed guns in circumstances that would be covered with traditional homeowners’ or renter’s liability policies.

And, of course, no insurance policy would cover situations involving unlawfully possessed guns.

The law’s burdens on San Jose gun owners aren’t justified by the rare times when insurance might cover an incident of gun violence.

4. Payouts Don’t Reduce Taxpayer Burden
San Jose officials repeatedly defended their gun insurance mandate by lamenting the financial cost of gun violence on the city’s emergency response services and insisting that gun owners should pick up the tab for gun violence.

And yet, mandating gun liability insurance does nothing to alleviate the cost to taxpayers. In the rare instances where insurance policies might cover gun injuries, the payouts wouldn’t go to the city or to its emergency responders.

Instead, the payments would be directed toward the victim’s medical bills (a cost only sometimes and indirectly borne by taxpayers if the victim is uninsured or on state-subsidized insurance) and any potential civil damages for lost wages or pain and suffering (a cost never borne by taxpayers).

5. Mandate Won’t Save Lives
Just as the insurance mandate is unlikely to save taxpayer money, it’s equally unlikely to save lives by deterring future acts of gun violence.

California has the most stringent gun laws in the nation. If gun owners aren’t deterred from negligent, reckless, or unsafe conduct by the state’s existing criminal sanctions or impositions of civil liability, why would they be deterred by the risk of increased insurance premiums?

Perhaps worse, gun liability insurance for negligence may create perverse disincentives for gun owners, who no longer risk financial ruin for careless conduct that harms others.

6. Unconstitutional Tax
San Jose refers to the new fee imposed on gun owners as a “Gun Harm Reduction Fee,” but it’s nothing less than an unconstitutional tax on the exercise of an enumerated right.

The Supreme Court has struck down similar laws, reasoning that “a state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal Constitution.”

This is precisely what San Jose’s fee does—require gun owners to pay an annual sum of money to exercise their Second Amendment rights inside the city.

7. Misplaced Blame
Lawful gun owners aren’t the driving force behind gun violence, and yet San Jose has singled them out to pay for gun violence.

Law-abiding citizens shouldn’t be saddled with the blame (or the bill) for criminal actions they didn’t commit, encourage, or facilitate.

8. Legitimate Solutions Ignored
If San Jose officials are serious about reducing gun violence and lowering associated financial costs, there are plenty of better solutions.

The city could focus its energy on enforcing existing gun laws—perhaps, for example, by disarming its share of the 23,000 Californians who state authorities know possess guns despite being prohibited persons.

It could make these unlawful gun owners and others who commit gun crimes pay by imposing fees and restitution to the state as part of criminal sentencing.

The city also could increase the size of its police force to deal with chronic understaffing and workload problems that inhibit officers’ ability to enforce the law.

Instead of opting for these rational and straightforward steps, however, the city apparently has defaulted to what’s become an all-too-common tactic in gun control politics—passing unserious laws that burden lawful gun ownership without addressing any of the real problems.

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This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

25 States Urge Supreme Court to Hear Case Challenging Maryland’s Strict Firearm Laws

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Arizona, West Virginia, Kansas among states wanting law struck down

Twenty-five states, led by Arizona and West Virginia, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Bianchi v. Frosh, which challenges Maryland’s restrictive Firearms Safety Act of 2013.

They’re asking the court to ultimately strike down the law, which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld last September, in a brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of the petitioners.

On Jan. 14, the Supreme Court ordered Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, to file a response to a petition filed by the plaintiffs last December. At issue is, “Whether the Constitution allows the government to prohibit law-abiding, responsible citizens from protecting themselves, their families, and their homes with a type of ‘Arms’ that are in common use for lawful purposes?”

Maryland’s 2013 law, one of the strictest in the country, requires residents to undergo safety training and fingerprinting in order to get a license to legally purchase a pistol. It also attempts to define assault weapons, generally prohibits the sale, transfer or receipt of semi-automatic weapons, including the AR-15 and similar rifles, and restricts magazine capacity to 10 rounds of ammunition.

The law also bans firearms that have features like folding stocks and flash hiders, which the 25 states argue provide additional structural support for safer use.

The Center for American Progress says the law has made Maryland safer. Still, Maryland gun control advocates are pushing for even more gun restrictions to be passed.

The 2013 law “goes against Supreme Court precedent and steps on the Second Amendment,” West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey argues. “Law-abiding gun owners routinely use these firearms for self-defense or sporting. Such an unconstitutional act cannot stand.”

If the Fourth Circuit’s decision isn’t overruled by the Supreme Court, it would set case law governing any similar law passed in West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, the attorneys general argue.

The lower court “inappropriately limited the scope of the Second Amendment by taking an earlier Supreme Court ruling out of context,” the AGs argue. They’re referring to the 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court ruled that Americans who aren’t in the military or in a militia have the right to possess firearms for lawful purposes. The AGs argue the ruling should be clarified to extend to sporting rifles, including AR-15s, in “common use.”

“Americans bearing these firearms benefit public safety, counterbalance the threat of illegal gun violence, and help make our streets safer,” Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said. “Arizona and forty-two other states allow the commonly-used firearms that Maryland has banned outright.”

Joining Arizona and West Virginia are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Kansas AG Derek Schmidt, a strong Second Amendment defender, told The Center Square that he was pleased that the high court recognized the Second Amendment was a fundamental right in Heller and extended that in McDonald v. Chicago (2010). But after these court cases, “the high court largely went silent on the Second Amendment,” he said, “for the better part of a decade.”

“We tried repeatedly to persuade them to hear other challenges,” and the latest in that effort is requesting the court to hear the Maryland case, he said.

The state of Maryland “has essentially enumerated large specific lists of firearms that are not to be permitted as lawful to possess. We don’t think that approach is permissible under the Second Amendment,” Schmidt said. “We don’t think that political actors, legislatures get to pick and choose which weapons in common use are available to Americans and we’ve asked the Supreme Court to take the case and give us greater definition. I’m hopeful that they will.”

The Supreme Court’s recent order indicates that at least one justice on the bench wants a response and “likely means that the court will hold this petition pending a decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen,” Maryland Shall Issue, an all-volunteer, non-partisan organization committed to defending the Second Amendment, argues. The Supreme Court is currently considering the constitutionality of New York’s “good cause” requirement for carry permits in a case it agreed to hear last year.

“Holding Bianchi would be consistent with the hold that the Court has apparently placed on the petition filed in the New Jersey ‘large-capacity magazine’ case, ANJRPC v. Bruck,” the group adds. That cases’ petition has been pending in the Supreme Court since April 2021.

“All of this is good news,” Maryland Shall Issue says. “A decision in Bruen this spring may mean that the court will thereafter vacate the lower court decisions in both Bianchi and ANJRPC and remand for further consideration in light of Bruen. At least, we hope that is the outcome.”

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This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

 

Let’s Do Our Part

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

After the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, Gun Tests magazine tried to steer the after-action conversation toward a concept everyone can agree on. People who love guns and who love to shoot must be the first line of defense when it comes to denying firearms access to the wrong kinds of people. The latest school-shooting incident in Oxford, Michigan, on November 30, 2020, is an example of that concept failing.

Three students were killed at Oxford High School, and eight other people were injured. On December 1, a fourth student died in the hospital as a result of injuries sustained during the shooting. Within two to three minutes of the arrival of first responders, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley was arrested unharmed by a deputy assigned as a school resource officer and a second deputy who had responded to the scene. A 9mm SIG Sauer SP 2022 semi-automatic handgun and at least two 15-round magazines were recovered from Crumbley, while a third magazine was found at the school.

The 15-year-old sophomore has been charged as an adult, with one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm while committing a felony in connection with the school shooting.

On December 3, 2020, the shooter’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were charged with involuntary manslaughter for failing to secure the handgun used in the shooting.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the father James Crumbley had purchased the gun under his name from a local shop on Black Friday, four days prior to the shooting. Prosecuting attorney for Oakland County, Karen McDonald, later said that Ethan Crumbley was with his father at the time of the purchase, and that he posted about it on social media later that day. Prosecutor McDonald also said that Jennifer Crumbley referred to the gun as Ethan’s “new Christmas present” in a social media post.

At present, all of these efforts are simply charges, and the boy and his parents have the right of being innocent until proven guilty.

For our part as gun owners, we must stick to a scrupulous dedication to keep firearms out of the hands of the criminal, and the crazy, and the careless. We must understand that people we know, including our relatives of all ages, might not be right in the head, and responsible gun owners must deny them access to firearms.

We the people who own and enjoy firearms need to pay serious attention to security — and our focus must never waver. We can’t forget that the Sandy Hook shooter shot his own mother with her own semi-automatic rifle. It’s too easy and flip to say “ban this” and “ban that” without getting to this crucial element of firearms security.

We also posited that it’s up to us to be sufficiently aware of our environment and the people around us — to be on the alert for people who might commit these horrible acts of violence against innocents. Following the Parkland massacre, there have been many discussions about how, and even if, we can spot those sufficiently deranged who might be capable of committing mass murder. But we have to try. The first step is gun safes, action locks, trigger locks—and simple awareness.

In the Oxford incident, the “see something, say something” concept went wrong. Law-enforcement officials have said they haven’t ruled out charges against school officials who might not have acted to stop the shooting in advance.

Gun Tests readers are just as horrified as anyone else by what happened in Michigan. Our condolences go out to the families and to the larger Oxford community who have to bear the consequences of this horrible act. Further, Gun Tests readers, like other responsible gun owners, want something done to stop school shootings.

As knowledgeable gun owners, Gun Tests readers know that paying lip service to restrictions and limitations isn’t the answer. Guns aren’t going to magically disappear. But gun owners, in particular, do have a responsibility to report erratic and potentially dangerous behavior in their communities. Likewise, we need to make absolutely certain we don’t lose custody of our firearms.

Because we have access to guns, it’s up to gun owners to be the front line of responsible gun ownership and report when we see dangerous behavior. We can’t stand on the sidelines and say “It’s not my business” and move on. The trouble is, will we get law enforcement and schools to follow up effectively? That clearly did not happen in the Oxford event.

Legitimate gun owners want law enforcement to have the tools to stop such people before they commit mass murder. We believe gun owners are willing to police our own ranks and report dangerous gun use and threats to people or places. But we have to have some confidence that if we “say something,” then law enforcement will “do something” to stop the violence before it occurs.

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This article was published in Gun Tests and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Gun Control Comes from a Place of Privilege

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors’ Note: We think the observations made by the author are very perceptive and largely overlooked. However, we would also add that even those in nice neighborhoods depend on police who are often suffering from funding deficiencies and local prosecutors who ignore the law. But even aside from these issues, the average response time for a 911 call in urban America averages around eleven minutes. In rural areas, it can even be longer. In a life-threatening situation, this is far too long to be helpful. The police response is largely to fill out reports, not stop the carnage. They simply can’t get there fast enough in many circumstances. Therefore, when silly, well-meaning people want to take your guns away, they are really taking your protection away and leaving your fate in the hands of your attacker. In reality, you must be the “first responder”, and if you think otherwise, you are hopelessly naive.

 

Assuming we know what’s best for others is rarely a good idea.

The concept of privilege gets a bad rap in many circles, and understandably so. Many have taken it way too far, using it as a means of bullying their political opponents into submission. But while the excesses of this rhetoric are certainly problematic, I don’t think we should do away with the concept entirely. Behind all the moral grandstanding lies a kernel of truth, one that can provide some valuable insights if applied correctly.

The principle, essentially, is that certain people have unearned advantages, and those advantages can shape how they see the world. Affluence, for instance, can make someone blind to the needs of the poor. Likewise, those with an above-average aptitude, intelligence, or physical appearance might find it difficult to relate to those who were not equally endowed with those gifts.

The problem with this blindness is that it can easily lead to hubris, that is, unwarranted self-confidence. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of privilege is thinking we know the best course of action for a given situation when we really don’t.

The classic example of this is the story of a famous French princess who, upon hearing that the peasants had no bread, simply replied, “then let them eat cake.” She was so unfamiliar with their circumstances that the solution she dismissively prescribed was positively laughable. Another example of privilege was when the lockdown elite told us to “just stay home,” seemingly oblivious to the fact that staying home is simply unfeasible for many working-class people.

Now, progressives are typically pretty good at pointing out places where privilege is leading to blindness and hubris (indeed, they often see privilege even where it doesn’t exist). But there’s one occurrence of privilege that always seems to get a pass, and that is the privilege associated with gun control.

Out of Touch

Consider, for example, someone who’s from a wealthy, safe neighborhood. They know very little about what it’s like to live in a high-crime area. They have probably never been robbed or threatened with violence from a total stranger. And if they do face threats, they have no qualms with calling the (armed) police who are usually responsive and happy to help.

Now compare that to the experience of someone from a rougher part of town. First, the cops there are probably not as responsive. What’s more, the cops can often become antagonistic, poking their nose where it doesn’t belong (see below) and sometimes arresting the very people they arrived to help.

Unsurprisingly, confidence in the police is noticeably lower in these communities.

So what do you do if you live in a high-crime area where you can’t trust the police to help you? For many, the answer is to buy a gun. Indeed, 88 percent of gun owners cite crime protection as one of the main reasons they own a gun, and people who have been recent crime victims report higher rates of gun ownership than those who have not been recent victims.

This brings us to the point about privilege. To many people who grew up in these rough neighborhoods, saying “just call the cops” is like saying “let them eat cake.” It isn’t actually helpful advice. It just demonstrates how little we know about their circumstances and how unqualified we are to speak to their issues.

To be sure, the people in these communities are often divided over the issue of gun control themselves. Even so, if someone is buying a gun, there’s a good chance it’s because they don’t feel safe without it. So before we tell them they are better off disarmed, perhaps we should take stock of how privileged we are to not need guns ourselves.

A Decades-Old Problem

The connection between gun control and privilege may sound new to many, but it’s actually an issue that goes back decades. In 1978, for instance, the economist and libertarian philosopher Murray Rothbard drew attention to this problem in his book For a New Liberty. To make his point, he quotes an article written by Don Kates for the Cato Institute’s Inquiry Magazine. Kates, for his part, pulls no punches.

“Gun prohibition is the brainchild of white middle-class liberals who are oblivious to the situation of poor and minority people living in areas where the police have given up on crime control,” Kates writes. “Such liberals weren’t upset about marijuana laws, either, in the fifties when the busts were confined to the ghettos. Secure in well-policed suburbs or high-security apartments guarded by Pinkertons (whom no one proposes to disarm), the oblivious liberal derides gun ownership as ‘an anachronism from the Old West.’”

Kates goes on to highlight exactly what kind of people are being impacted by gun control policies. Citing a 1975 national survey, he notes that the leading subgroups who owned a gun only for self-defense were blacks, the lowest income groups, and senior citizens. “These are the people,” Kates eloquently warns, “it is proposed we jail because they insist on keeping the only protection available for their families in areas in which the police have given up.”

Four decades later, FBI data showed African Americans were still disproportionately impacted by anti-carry laws, accounting for 42 percent of all possession charges even though they accounted for just 13 percent of the overall population.

Of course, none of this will make gun control any less contentious. There is no silver bullet here. But perhaps this paradigm can at least give us a lesson in humility. Namely, don’t assume you know what’s best for someone if you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

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This article was first published by FEE, Foundation for Economic Education, and is reproduced with permission.

Newsom, Democrats Go for Californians’ Guns

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Even as crime is surging in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and his allies in the legislature are seeking to make it more difficult for citizens to defend themselves.

This week, Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 1594, which reads, “This bill would specify that a gun industry member has created or maintained a public nuisance, as defined, if their failure to follow federal, state, or local law caused injury or death or if the gun industry member engaged in unfair business practices.”

It’s a blatant attempt to bankrupt the gun companies, a clear violation of the Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” The 2008 Heller decision by the U.S. Supreme Court clearly affirmed that meant an individual right, not just that of a state militia. And a right obviously can only be exercised if one has the physical means to do so.

For example, the First Amendment right to freedom “of the press” can only be exercised if paper companies are not impeded in their business of selling paper to publishers and the public. If the “paper industry” could be sued because, say, terrorists used paper to publish plans for attacks, then the paper would go up in cost so high the exercise of freedom “of the press” would be impinged.

AB 1594 was introduced after Newsom reacted against a U.S. Supreme Court action that let stands, for now, a Texas law allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers. It’s by no means clear the court will let that law stand permanently. But Newsom said in a Dec. 11 statement, “If states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”

Newsom’s spokesperson, Daniel Lopez, reiterated that sentiment in a statement Tuesday, “So long as the United States Supreme Court has set a precedent which allows private citizens to sue to stop abortions in Texas, California will use that same ability to save lives.”

Actually, pro-lifers say abortion takes a life, and with modern medicine childbirth rarely leads to the death of the mother. All medical procedures involve some risk, including abortions, not only to the baby, but for the mother.

Guns also are specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights, while abortion only has become a right since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision—still controversial—which the court might reverse or modify.

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Continue reading this article at The Epoch Times.