There is No Emergency Shutdown of the Second Amendment

Give someone power if you want to see their character. Unfortunately, the usual characters have revealed themselves during the Wuhan virus epidemic. Government officials asked citizens to limit their contact with others in order to slow the spread of the virus. Some government officials went well beyond that. They closed roads, released jail inmates, refused to arrest or prosecute suspects, closed gun stores, and refused to process firearms applications. It is precisely during such an emergency that we need government officials to stay within their authority.. and not one inch beyond.

Lots of us wanted a firearm after we saw criminals released from jail and law enforcement refuse to respond to calls. We increased the rate of firearms sales up to four fold, and up to eight fold for sales of ammunition. The instant background check system run by the FBI was overwhelmed. State agencies added weeks of delays to complete a firearms transfer..if the state bothered to process the applications at all.

The sheriff of Los Angeles County, CA told stores to close. The mayor of LA said they would shut off water and power to stores that stayed open. The county council, the lawyer who advises LA county officials, told the sheriff not to close gun stores or he would face lawsuits. The sheriff rescinded and then reinstated his order to close stores. As predicted, he was sued by four human rights organizations within hours. Sheriffs in Pennsylvania and New York said they would not process concealed carry firearm applications. Officials in New Jersey and Illinois simply stopped processing the permits required to purchase a firearm.. and they were sued.

The order to close gun shops and the refusal to process state required firearms paperwork is a significant confession on the part of these law enforcement officials. They are saying that they are more important than you are, that they should have guns and you shouldn’t. Many of these government officials were quickly sued for violation of civil rights under color of law. Government officials don’t have the power to suspend the constitution and violate civil rights. They exceeded their authority.

Idaho took the Wuhan crisis to heart and expanded the segment of people who have a right to carry concealed without a permit. Called “permitless carry”, that right only applied to state residents. Soon in Idaho, permitless carry applies to all legal US residents who may legally possess a firearm. Sensible government officials also extended the expiration dates for concealed carry permits just as they had for existing drivers licenses that could not be renewed during the quarantine. If only all government officials were that smart.

The lesson is clear. If it is too dangerous for a government official too to sit at their desk and process paperwork, then it is a state of emergency. The state has admitted that it can not fulfill its obligations to honest citizens. Under those emergency conditions, permits should not be required for citizens with a clean criminal record to own, transfer, or carry a firearm. We’ve used that same relief valve during hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes when civil government ceases to exist. Your rights and your safety take precedence over the convenience of a bureaucrat.

That lesson sounds obvious, but some politicians are blinded by their bigotry against honest citizens protecting themselves. Now we know the officials who don’t trust us, and in whom we should not place our trust. We gave them power, and they revealed the shortcomings in their character.

NRA and 3 other gun groups suing L.A. County Sheriff Villanueva over shutting down firearms dealers

Four gun-owners rights organizations on Friday sued Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva over his repeated attempts this week to shut down firearms dealers, contending that his actions violate citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms.

“Shuttering access to arms necessarily shutters the Constitutional right to those arms,” says the federal lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association of America, California Gun Rights Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition on behalf of individual gun buyers and a Los Angeles firearm and ammunition retailer.

Meanwhile, libertarian economist and actor Ben Stein sued Gov. Gavin Newsom, challenging whether California’s unprecedented restrictions on social movement can actually be enforced.

Gun-owner rights organizations have asked the federal government to end the debate nationwide over whether gun shops can remain open despite growing stay-at-home orders aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus. They want the U.S. government to specifically add them to official lists of essential services.

They say the Los Angeles lawsuit is the first in California to challenge forced closures. It could end a patchwork of such decisions that has Villanueva ordering them closed to the public in the nation’s most populous county, while other California sheriffs declare them to be vital.

Villanueva’s office did not respond to telephone and email requests for comment.

The sheriff first ordered a total shutdown on Tuesday, saying long lines from panic buyers risked spreading the coronavirus. The disease causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

He again on Thursday ordered the stores closed to the public, challenging the county legal counsel’s finding that the stores are essential businesses that should remain open. However, his second order said the stores may still supply security guard companies, and anyone who already has purchased a gun and possesses a valid safety certificate can pick up their firearms.

Those exceptions aren’t good enough, the lawsuit says, because gun stores provide “the only lawful means to buy, sell, and transfer firearms and ammunition available to typical, law-abiding Californians.”

It also argues the shutdown violates the constitutional right to due process, and says even those who can pick up their previously purchased firearms now can’t buy the ammunition they need to go with them.

Meanwhile, Stein’s lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court asks that a judge clarify the rights that citizens have under Newsom’s executive order, which it notes has not been enacted into law by state legislators nor by voters at the ballot box.

His requirement that residents stay home except for essential errands “approximates the house arrest of 39.5 million healthy and uninfected California citizens,” says the lawsuit filed by the actor perhaps best known for his dry, monotone delivery in the 1986 movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

“Ben respects the governor and he respects people doing social distancing and good health hygiene. But what he has an issue with is that the governor’s order appears to be dictatorial,” said prominent right-wing attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch who sued on Stein’s behalf.

He argued that Newsom’s order, while laudable as a recommendation, “cannot be enforced.”

Newsom administration officials did not respond to requests for comment. It’s unclear when or if the suit might be considered, because most court functions have been shut down due to the coronavirus.

So far, officials generally deny that they are conducting stops or making arrests if someone doesn’t comply.

But Stein, who lives in Beverly Hills, said in the lawsuit and on Klayman’s radio show Friday that a friend who is a pastor has been threatened with arrest if he holds religious services even for fewer than 10 people.

“This is outrageous, this is a police state, and it’s an interference with freedom of religion, it’s an interference with freedom of assembly,” Stein said on the show. “It’s what I call a soft police state.”

A stupid little political stunt to Get Trump goes awry in Nevada

Steve Sisolak, the leftist governor of Nevada, decided to play doctor by banning the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, two drugs that are being used elsewhere to treat COVID-19.

“While these drugs serve necessary medical purposes, this regulation protects the Nevadans who need them and prevents unnecessary hoarding,” Sisolak wrote on Twitter.

Unneccessary hoarding? The hoarding thing is a smokescreen, his real reason was to slap at President Trump who touted these medications as showing promise, and even mistakenly said they had been approved for use by the FDA. That’s his real reason for the limit on the unproven drug, which goes against the ‘right to try’ and the current national mobilization effort to get everyone well by suspending burdensome regulations in the medical community to encourage experimentation and swift solutions. What Nevada needs, see, is more administrative-state regulation, which is is showing all signs of going badly for him.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, here was Sisolak’s originally stated reason, which has a clear reference to President Trump:

Sisolak announced an emergency regulation prohibiting the drugs’ use in a statement that said there was “no consensus among COVID-19 experts or Nevada’s own medical health advisory team” that the medications  were an effective treatment for the virus.

Tellingly, this semi-prohibition comes right on the heels of the death of an Arizona man who tried to self-medicate, fatally taking a fish tank cleaning additive with a similar name, and killing himself as well as sickening his wife. She has since blamed President Trump.

Sen. Ted Cruz could tell what Sisolak’s ban was really about — Getting Trump — and he said something. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal:

On Wednesday, Cruz wrote on Twitter: “During this crisis, we should listen to the science & the medical professionals,” Cruz tweeted on Wednesday. “The opposite approach: the Governor of Nevada, practicing medicine w/o a license—trying to score political points against Trump—& prohibiting NV doctors from prescribing medicines to treat COVID19.”

Sisolak hollers about ‘no consensus’ as reason for his move, but now looks like Sisolak has decided the consensus, limiting the availability of the drug on the market as bad stuff, and never mind that portion of the medical community that thinks it does work.

Sisolak has since clarified that he hasn’t totally banned the use of the drug – he’s allowing it for hospital use, which is for COVID-19 patients at death’s door. It’s sad stuff because the drug reportedly shows the most promise in early-stage COVID-19 patients. But Sisolak’s the doctor now, so late-stage can have his exception.

Where he really gets into the playing-doctor thing, though, is by permitting it for prescription by doctors for outpatient use, but only with only a 30-day supply.

What happens to the guy who needs a 40-day supply to get well? People are different, and one-size-fits-all works very badly in medicine.

With the drug banned for the forty-day guy, he’s going to be looking into the black market, or in a worse-case scenario, under the kitchen sink, for what he needs. So is the uncertain guy who forgot to pay his big Obamacare insurance premium. So is the slightly sick guy who can’t get an appointment because the doctors are too busy with more urgent cases. The whole thing interferes with doctors’ ability to practice medicine, and patients’ “right to try.” Too bad if you’re sick, no hydroxychloroquine for you!

All of them — and anyone else who thinks he might get sick — have in fact just been incentivized by the Nevada governor’s stupid micromanaging move to … hoard up.

It’s ironic, because Sisolak couldn’t do anything better to incentivize hoarding than to initiate bans and conditions and prohibitions. In his current “hoarding” justification, he now admits it has some promising medical applications for COVID-19, just as Trump says, as well as for treatment of lupus and malaria so now he’s limiting availability to help non-COVID-19 patients, he says. A normal person in normal market would ramp up production to accommodate everyone who wants it. This guy likes the ‘divide it up and ration it out’ model instead, a feature, not a bug, of socialized medicine.

If you wanted to encourage hoarding, there probably isn’t a better way to do it than to cut off access. Just ask any surge of travellers after an entry ban is introduced, or pot stash house owner in the face of some new prohibition, gun and ammo buyer after gun- and ammo-buying limits are introduced, or stock market participant after the switch breakers are introduced. Prohibitions are precisely what encourage hoarding. Ramp up production to accompany higher demand is what ends the impulse for hoarding.

It’s nothing but Democrat administrative-state mentality at work here – first, the slap at Trump, and second, the move to crush the wreckers and hoarders – all coming at a time when the private sector is stepping up production of necessary things in a pandemic, the innovators are going gangbusters  with new solutions, doctors are experimenting in uncertainty as never before and the regulators in Washington are getting out of the way in a bid to hasten solutions.

What Nevada needs, he seems to be saying, is more bureaucrats, more enforcers, and more regulations, because there’s just too much freedom and in a pandemic, people are escaping “all proper control.”  He’s moving against the Zeitgeist, led by President Trump. Expect a lot more self-justification and backtracking from him, he’s not making himself popular.

 

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.  He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.


Does The Coronavirus ‘National Emergency’ Endanger The Constitution And The Bill Of Rights?

Original copies of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights remain on display at the National Archives in our nation’s capital. Many Americans consider that the system of government established by those documents is as strong as the pieces of parchment themselves. Quite the contrary. The system of government bequeathed to us more than 230 years ago – one of defined and limited powers designed above all else to protect individual liberty — is far more fragile than most citizens realize.

At no time is the fragility of guaranteed individual liberty more at risk than in times of “emergency;” including, as we face today, one posed not by outside human forces, but by nature. Many in our country clamor for the federal government to control virtually every aspect of dealing with the COVID-19 virus, including use of the military and virtual suspension of civil liberties (as some cities and states are already doing).

If the system of limiting government power and maximizing individual liberty as delineated in the Constitution is to continue in any meaningful degree, we need to remember that our Founders and their generation faced challenges far beyond those we face today. They knew the country they were establishing would face serious threats, including military threats from beyond our shores. They knew as well that Americans would be challenged by Mother Nature, whether by natural forces or by disease.

Yet knowing all that, the system of government they created was one of deliberately limited and defined powers and premised on fundamental pre-existing individual liberties. Our Founders clearly understood that individual liberty protected by the limitations on government power incorporated in the Constitution, could not survive if temporal challenges were permitted to justify circumventing those very restrictions.

In the intervening decades, of course, many U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and others, have ignored the profound and correct understanding of human nature reflected in the Constitution. Predictably, civil liberties suffered with little if any real or lasting “safety” gained in return.

Nineteen years ago, the United States faced a serious and very real challenge. Some of the measures undertaken by the federal government in response to the 9-11 attacks violated existing laws, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Other measures, imposed in accord with the hurriedly enacted USA PATRIOT Act, were clearly at odds with the Bill of Rights. But all such steps were justified by government officials at the time because they would “make us safe.”

Less than four years after the World Trade Centers were attacked, one of America’s oldest cities – New Orleans – was beset with a disaster not of terrorists’ making, but of nature’s wrath. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, officials in that city worked to disarm law-abiding citizens trying to protect their homes, families and businesses from looters and other criminals. In one of the most counter-productive government decisions in modern history, officials deliberately swept aside the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to arm one’s self in self-defense simply because the city faced an “emergency.”

The precedents set by those constitutionally ill-advised actions present troubling questions today for officials in our nation’s capital and in cities across the country. As I wrote in this publication just one week ago, troubling steps already have been taken that severely limit the civil liberties supposed to be protected by our Constitution as against infringement by federal, state and local governments.

Now, it appears the federal government is readying additional measures that would undercut one of our Founders’ deepest fears – use of the military for domestic law enforcement purposes.

Steps likely under consideration include further expanding exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act (the law designed to prohibit use of the Armed Forces in domestic matters), and broadening the president’s power to deploy the military to quell an “insurrection” in circumstances having nothing to do with such a domestic uprising. Additionally, federal officials may impose other clever sleight-of-hand measures to undercut the “great writ” of habeas corpus to facilitate arresting and detaining individuals for the duration of the declared “emergency.”

Whether it is these contingencies, or others creatively contrived by lawyers in Washington, none would be in accord with the principles and mechanisms mandated in the Constitution. “National Emergency” Phase Two would be even more constitutionally troubling than Phase One.

SAF SUES N.J. GOVERNOR FOR DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS

BELLEVUE, WA – In a move directly linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Philip D. Murphy and State Police Supt. Patrick J. Callahan, asserting violation of civil rights under color of law by shutting down firearms dealerships in the Garden State, thus preventing citizens from exercising their rights under the Second and Fourteenth amendments.

Murphy and Callahan are being sued in their official capacities. The case, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the State of New Jersey is known as Kashinsky v. Murphy.

Joining SAF in this action is the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, on behalf of Robert Kashinsky and Legend Firearms, a gun shop in the state. They are represented by noted civil rights attorney David Jensen.

Kashinsky sought to purchase a firearm for personal protection during the current crisis, but Murphy issued Executive Order 107 on March 21, which ordered all non-essential retail businesses closed to the public. The order does not include licensed firearms dealers on its list of “essential” businesses that may continue operating during the crisis.

“In order for New Jersey residents to purchase firearms,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “they must go through a licensed firearms retailer and pass a background check. However, Murphy’s order was subsequently followed by a notice posted on the State Police website that the agency is no longer conducting background checks.

“Gov. Murphy cannot simply suspend the Second Amendment, and neither can Supt. Callahan,” he continued. “Yet, under this emergency order, that’s exactly what they’re doing. The Constitution, and federal law, don’t allow that. New Jersey may have been the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but they’re the last state to recognize it.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction restraining the defendants and everyone acting on their behalf from enforcing Executive Order 107 “to the extent it operates to flatly prohibit the purchase and sale of firearms and ammunition.”

Being proactive for sure, not that I’ve heard that the Kansas Gubbernor has this on the stove, much less even a back burner.


KS Passes Resolution Limiting Governor’s Emergency Powers to Seize Ammo and Property

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- The NRA-ILA just announced that the previously worrisome Kansas bill HCR 5025, has been amended to include language that limits the emergency powers of the KS state government. Previously, the bill could have been interpreted to allow authorities to restrict the sale and transportation of firearms, as well as confiscate arms and ammunition during the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully this was remedied and the changes subsequently approved on Thursday. More information below from the NRA-ILA.

“Late Thursday night, the Kansas Legislature passed House Committee Resolution 5025. This measure prevents Governor Laura Kelly from using emergency powers to seize ammunition or limit the sale of firearms during the current Covid 19 outbreak. HCR 5025 was overwhelmingly supported in both the House and the Senate. Thank you to those legislators who voted in favor of this important legislation.

The Legislature has now officially adjourned and is planning to reconvene on April 27th. Your NRA-ILA will continue to monitor this and keep you updated on any changes.

Stay-tuned to NRA-ILA Alerts for more information on issues affecting your Second Amendment rights.​”

The change came in the form of the following clause being added to HCR 5025:

Be it further resolved: That, for the purposes of this ratification, the Governor shall not have the power or authority to temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure of, any ammunition or to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of firearms or ammunition pursuant to K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 48-925(c)(8) or any other
executive authority.

This is great news for supporters of the Second Amendment, as any legislation that clearly defines the limits of a government’s power as it applies to firearms is a good thing. Especially with all the abuse of power occurring across America in the wake of the CORVID-19 outbreak.

IRS extends tax filing deadline to July 15 as coronavirus spreads

The IRS is extending the federal income tax filing deadline to July 15 as part of a growing effort to stem the financial pain from the coronavirus pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday.

The move gives Americans three months more than they normally would have to file their income tax returns for the 2019 tax year, without incurring interest or penalties.

Gunfucius say;
He who already have gun and ammo can laugh in face of imperious dictator


Bay Area Closures Point to National Vulnerability on Guns and Ammo

“Bay Area orders ‘shelter in place,’ only essential businesses open in 6 counties,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday. “Businesses that do not provide ‘essential’ services must send workers home. Among those remaining open are grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants for delivery only and hardware stores.”

What about gun stores?  If we’re talking that which is essential, what is it the Founders deemed “necessary to the security of a free State”? How is that not relevant in this situation that has developed into what we are being told is a national and global state of emergency? We’ve already seen government has been utterly incapable of protecting the populace, and it appears things are only going to get worse and resources more strained. What do we do if civil order collapses, those resources are triaged and most areas are essentially left to fend for themselves?

I sent a copy of the City and County of San Francisco order to a prominent name in the “gun rights” movement with resources to file legal actions and was essentially dismissed when he replied, “since there are no gun stores left in San Francisco it is of no consequence.” I’m not going to name him here because we have enough to tackle without starting another internecine squabble and I suspect he’ll come around. Remember, we’re talking “6 counties” and the Chronicle report notes “the orders…are all similarly worded.”

There are plenty of gun shops in the Bay Area. And they are not specifically deemed “essential,” which means they interpretively fall under the closure order. The thing is, there’s not a lot out there right now to corroborate my opinion coming from either government or “news” sources, so I checked some of the websites and social media accounts for some of the stores listed at the above link.

From U.S. Firearms Company:

“Dear customers, we are CLOSED by order of Santa Clara County due to COVID-19.”

From Reed’s Indoor Range:

“Reed’s will be closed through April 7th. If you have a gun to pick-up, you will receive a call with further information.”

Reed’s also included a link to the Santa Clara County order in their post. See “Section 10.f.” for those businesses declared “essential”:

See anything missing? (Screenshot by D. Codrea)

What this means is, the Bay Area’s anti-gun (in private hands) rulers could be having an eye-rolling feeding frenzy come true and be exploiting the crisis to make sure that citizens who don’t have guns and/or ammunition stay disarmed as it worsens and turns into who knows what?

I put in inquiries to a couple of other places Tuesday night but they have not responded at this writing. I just got off the phone moments ago with one where the clerk confirmed they were affected and who referred me to his manager, who was understandably reluctant to speak to anyone from the media. You can’t blame him, the unfair way these guys are consistently treated. Another store manager, who was not willing to go on the record due to the same reluctance to talk to media, informed me not all stores are closing including his, and that they interpret the order to exclude essential businesses, of which they consider themselves.

That’s the proper and principled attitude to take, but it may not prove to be one that holds up in enforcement actions, especially in the Bay Area, so I called Santa Clara County for clarification. Their rep wouldn’t give me a direct answer and I am now waiting for him to email me a hotline number accessible from out of the area. If this article is posted before I get the information, I will update it when and if I do, but note when he found out what I wanted he couldn’t seem to hang up fast enough (and I subsequently sent them a Facebook message).

And this just in:

But after customers lined up around gun stores in several counties Tuesday — including outside the Bullseye Bishop in San Jose — San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo declared that “gun stores are non-essential.”

While some will no doubt conclude Bay Area constituents are getting just what they voted for, good and hard, we have no real assurances that the same ordered closures will not happen at the national level — especially if we start seeing increased urban violence and Astroturf disarmament zealots, control freak politicians, and the media start screaming.

Case in point, check out what the U.S. Department of Homeland Security considers to be “National Critical Functions”:

“The functions of government and the private sector so vital to the United States that their disruption, corruption, or dysfunction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”

Anybody see anything in there about the Constitutional Militia, or the right of the people to keep and bear arms?  Will there ever be a time to activate “the Militia of the several States”? Before it’s too late and some of us just say the hell with it and activate ourselves out of raw survival instinct…?

Of course not—the intent is for the populace to turn to a provide-all government interested primarily in maintaining and increasing its power, even when they clearly don’t know what the hell they’re doing and opposing factions are exploiting the crisis for political advantage. That’s especially troubling considering our supposedly “pro-gun” administration is still of the official opinion, even after being publicly petitioned, that “The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.”

The marketplace is essential to freedom. Constitutional scholar Edwin Viera Jr. has demonstrated, among other places, in his Motion for Leave to File Brief Amici Curiae to the Supreme Court of the United States in Kolbe v. Hogan:

“This reliance on a permanent private market for firearms guaranteed that most militiamen, through their own efforts, could always obtain firearms suitable for both collective and individual self-defense, and forestalled tyranny by precluding rogue public officials from monopolizing the production, distribution, and possession of firearms.”

The president doesn’t shy away from issuing executive actions on guns when they serve his purposes and he is depending on gun owners to be reelected in November. It would be more than appropriate if he ordered Homeland Security to recognize the need of the people to lawfully obtain guns during national emergencies to the point that a disruption in supply “would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”

Do it, Mr. President.

Unless it’s all been just words and the Second Amendment is now officially deemed “non-essential.”

All the yammering about calling this bug the Chinese Virus, Wuhan Flu & Kung Flu are nothing but ‘we’re against anything Trump’ yammering of those who still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Hillary lost.


This virus should be forever linked to the regime that facilitated its spread

Want to know why the U.S. economy is in free fall? Why restaurants and bars are closing, putting millions out of work, and why the airline industry is facing possible bankruptcy? Why schools across the nation are shutting down, leaving students to fall behind and parents without safe places to send their children everyday? Why the stock market is plummeting, wiping out the retirement and college savings of millions of Americans? Why the elderly are isolated in nursing homes and tens of millions who don’t have the option of teleworking have no idea how they will pay their bills?

Answer: Because China is a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.

More coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

We are in the midst of a pandemic lockdown today because the Chinese Communist regime cared more about suppressing information than suppressing a virus. Doctors in Wuhan knew in December that the coronavirus was capable of human-to-human transmission because medical workers were getting sick. But as late as Jan. 15, the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared on state television that “the risk of human-to-human transmission is low.” On Jan. 18, weeks after President Xi Jinping had taken charge of the response, authorities allowed a Lunar New Year banquet to go forward in Wuhan where tens of thousands of families shared food — and then let millions travel out of Wuhan, allowing the disease to spread across the world. It was not until Jan. 23 that the Chinese government enacted a quarantine in Wuhan.

If the regime had taken action as soon as human-to-human transmission was detected, it might have contained the virus and prevented a global pandemic. Instead, Chinese officials punished doctors for trying to warn the public and suppressed information that might have saved lives. According to the Times of London, Chinese doctors who had identified the pathogen in early December received a gag order from China’s National Health Commission with instructions to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news.

This is what totalitarian regimes do. First, they lie to themselves, and then, they lie to the world. The system creates such fear that people are terrified to report bad news up the chain, causing “authoritarian blindness.” Then, when those at the top finally discover the truth, they try to cover it up — because leaders who abuse their people are less concerned with saving lives than making sure the world does not discover the deadly inefficiency of their system.

The ongoing pandemic should serve as a reminder of the lesson that President George W. Bush tried to teach us after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: What happens thousands of miles away in a foreign land can affect us here at home. Both viruses and virulent ideologies fester in the fever swamps of totalitarianism and then emerge to kill us in our cities and our streets. Two decades ago, it was a terrorist attack; today, it is a once-in-a-generation pathogen. But in both cases, the lack of freedom in a distant land created conditions that allowed an unprecedented threat to grow, bringing death and destruction to our country.

What Bush called the “freedom agenda” is out of vogue today. But we can now see that caring about freedom is putting America first, because how China treats its people affects the health and security of the American people. The same totalitarian system that lied about putting 1 million Uighurs in concentration camps lied about the outbreak of this virus, creating a global pandemic. If China were an open and transparent society, with an accountable government, Americans might not be on lockdown today.

The Opinions section is looking for stories of how the coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life. Write to us.

What can we do about it? We obviously can’t turn China into a democracy. But we can hold China accountable for its behavior and put a price on its lies and oppression. We can reaffirm that the advance of freedom, transparency and rule of law are central objectives of U.S. foreign policy, because the lives and safety of our citizens depend on it. And we can lay the blame for this crisis where it belongs: at the feet of the Chinese Communist Party. Once the crisis has passed, President Trump should calculate the damage and demand that Beijing pay for the death and destruction it unleashed on the United States and the world.

Some have suggested that calling this pathogen the “Wuhan virus” — or as President Trump recently called it, the “Chinese virus” — is racist. That is absurd. MERS is called the “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome” because that is where it originated. Moreover, the Chinese regime continues to lie, spreading a conspiracy theory that the source of the virus is really the U.S. Army.

It is important this virus be forever linked to the brutal regime that facilitated its spread. The virus grew in the cesspool of Chinese Communist tyranny. It’s time to drain the swamp.

Constitutional powers and issues during a quarantine situation.

The growing concerns about the coronavirus in the United States could lead to government officials considering isolation and quarantine as possible measures to contain the virus. So what does that mean in constitutional terms?

So far, people exposed to the COVID-19 virus have agreed to “self-quarantine,” or voluntarily remain in isolation in consultation with medical authorities. In Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco, officials have banned large gatherings. In New Rochelle, N.Y., Gov. Andrew Cuomo has established a “containment area,” while Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday closed down public schools in Montgomery County, a Philadelphia suburb.

But what happens if the federal officials or a state government needs to get directly involved in a situation where large population groups need to be isolated? Or what rights do individuals retain in border-entry situations?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC), state governments, and not the federal government, have most of the power to place people in isolation or quarantine under certain circumstances. But in some cases, federal and state officials have overlapping roles.

LinkList of Federal quarantine laws

The difference between an isolation and quarantine situation is important. Isolation separates people known to be ill from those who people who are not sick, says the CDC. Quarantine separates and also restricts the movement of people exposed to a contagious disease, but not yet ill, to see if they become sick.

In 2014, the Congressional Research Service wrote about quarantines and the federal Constitution when there were concerns about the Ebola virus. In general, the Research Service said the power to take quarantine measures is reserved to the states under the 10th Amendment. In 1824, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion in Gibbons v. Ogden drew a clear line between the federal government and the state governments when it came to regulating activities within and between states.

Marshall’s reasoning set the precedent that police powers are reserved to states for activities within their borders (with some exceptions). Those police powers include the ability to impose isolation and quarantine conditions. Marshall wrote that quarantine laws “form a portion of that immense mass of legislation which embraces everything within the territory of a State not surrendered to the General Government.”

The Research Service also noted that one trend in common today among the states is the “antiquity” of their quarantine laws, with many statutes between 40 and 100 years old.

To be sure, the federal government has important quarantine powers. Under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services has the power to take measures to contain communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States and between states. The CDC acts on behalf of the Secretary in these matters.

Federal public health and welfare statutes also give the federal government authority to isolate and quarantine persons with certain diseases, based on an executive order issued by President George W. Bush in 2003. The federal government also has a seldom-used power to impose large-scale quarantines. For example, the federal government issued isolation and quarantine orders during the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1918 and 1919.

But under the Constitution, individuals have rights in quarantine and isolation conditions. Under the 5th and 14th Amendment’s rights of Due Process and Equal Protection, public health regulations used to impose such conditions can’t be “arbitrary, oppressive and unreasonable.”

There are precedents where courts have ruled that states or local governments didn’t meet a burden of proof to justify a quarantine. For example, in 1900 courts ruled against the city of San Francisco when it tried to inoculate and then quarantine Chinese residents against the bubonic plague when the courts had doubts that plague conditions existed.

And there also precedents that authorities should provide confined people with an explanation about why they are confined and notify them they have a right to counsel and other constitutional provisions.

A current example of a federal quarantine order related to the COVID-19 virus on the CDC website outlines many of these principles for people arriving in the United States and “reasonably” suspected by the CDC of exposure to or infection with the coronavirus. Those quarantined have the right to a medical review and “to ask a federal court to review your federal quarantine, including any rights to habeas review.”

Also, the federal government does have an updated plan to cope with a national influenza pandemic. First developed in 2005 and last updated in 2017, the National Pandemic Influenza Plans deal with isolation and quarantine options if needed.

Of course, one final question is how can the government enforce isolation and quarantine conditions?

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that people in Missouri and New Hampshire recently violated self-quarantine orders to attend events. Enforcing those orders is problematic, said one expert. “It really is pretty much the honor system,” said Polly Price, a professor of law and global health at Emory University, told the Journal. “Public-health people themselves can’t arrest someone or force them to stay somewhere, and they try to use that as an absolute last resort.”

Government agencies do have the power to take action if needed. For example, in Pennsylvania, violators of its Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases code (Chapter 27 of Health and Safety Act 28) may face fines and imprisonment in county jail.

The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a comprehensive list of state quarantine and isolation statutes, including penalties. Likewise, violation of federal quarantine orders can result in fines and imprisonment under Title 42 of the U.S. Code.

Did the Federal Reserve Just Purposely Try to Crash the Stock Market?

Unless the Federal Reserve is purposely attempting to spread panic on Wall Street, the decisions that the Fed just made don’t make any sense at all. Back on March 3rd, the Federal Reserve announced an unscheduled emergency interest rate cut for the very first time since 2008. Wall Street immediately interpreted that as a “panic move” and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session down 785 points. So Fed officials had to know what was going to happen once they announced an even bigger unscheduled emergency interest rate cut on Sunday. Predictably, stock futures hit “limit down” very rapidly, and now investors are bracing for a week of tremendous carnage.

But this didn’t have to happen. Yes, we witnessed three of the worst trading days in U.S. stock market history last week, but on Friday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1,985 points. It was an absolutely epic rally, and if the Fed had not caused so much panic there may have been a good chance that the rally could have continued into next week.

In other words, U.S. stocks just had one of their best days ever, and there didn’t appear to be a need for any “emergency intervention” by the Fed.

If the Federal Reserve had just waited a couple of days until their normally monthly meeting, and if the Fed had just cut rates a quarter point, that would have likely been greeted by the markets with warm enthusiasm.

But instead, Fed officials decided to load up their bazooka and go for broke on Sunday. In addition to using up all of their “interest rate ammunition” in one epic volley, the Fed also officially restarted quantitative easing…

The Federal Reserve, saying “the coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” cut interest rates to essentially zero on Sunday and launched a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the virus.

The new fed funds rate, used as a benchmark both for short-term lending for financial institutions and as a peg to many consume rates, will now be targeted at 0%-0.25% down from a target range of 1% to 1.25%.

These moves have “panic” written all over them, and investors immediately responded accordingly…

National Guard deployed to NY community with nation’s ‘largest cluster’ of coronavirus

Either it’s one of the more massive over-reactions in NooYawk history, or the gubbermint knows something we don’t.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is deploying the National Guard to enforce a mile-radius coronavirus “containment area” in a Westchester County community dubbed perhaps the “largest cluster” of cases in America.

“New Rochelle, at this point, is probably the largest cluster of these cases in the United States,” Cuomo said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “And it’s a significant issue for us.”

The midpoint of the circle will be the Young Israel of New Rochelle Synagogue, where a lawyer at the center of the area’s now-108-patient outbreak worships, officials said.

Cuomo announced he was dispatching the National Guard to enforce the closure of “large gathering areas” within the radius, including schools, houses of worship, and other large gathering facilities effective starting Thursday and running for two weeks. The two Metro-North stations serving the area will remain open, transit sources said.

Grocery stores will not be closed, and civilians will be free to come and go from the containment area.

“We’re also going to use the National Guard in the containment area to deliver food to homes, [and] to help with the cleaning of public spaces,” said Cuomo.

The state’s second coronavirus case was confirmed last week in New Rochelle, with the infection of a lawyer identified by sources as Lawrence Garbuz, 50.

His family and neighbors soon contracted the potentially deadly disease, and led to the requested isolation of some 1,000 people who came in contact with the lawyer.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the total number of cases in the state sat at 173, tops in the nation.

Cuomo announced 10 new cases in Westchester County, bringing that hotbed’s total to 108.

In the five boroughs, 17 new cases were revealed Tuesday, nearly doubling the city total to 36.

Long Island’s Nassau County and upstate Rockland County saw two more cases each, bringing their totals to 19 and six, respectively.

Italy: Total Lock Down Imposed to Contain Virus

Just Sunday, the Italian gubbermint quarantined the north of the country, now the whole shebang.

MILAN (AP) — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says travel restrictions are being imposed nationwide to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

Conte said Monday night that a new government decree will require all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live.

The restrictions will take effect on Tuesday and like those in northern Italy will last until April 3., he said.

“There won’t be just a red zone,″ Conte told reporters referring to the quarantine order he signed for a vast swath of northern Italy with a population of 16 million over the weekend.

“There will be Italy” as a protected area, he said.

The premier also took to task the young people in much of Italy who have been gathering at night to drink and have a good time during the public health emergency that started on Feb. 21.

“This night life…we can’t allow this anymore,” Conte said.

Pubs had been closed in northern Italy, with eateries and cafes also ordered to close at dusk. Now that crackdown is extended to the entire country.

How China’s coronavirus crisis exposes the Achilles’ heel of Communist Party power.

But the demoncraps here yammer for ‘Moar Gubbermint!’ Moar Socialism!’
Idjits.

It may seem preposterous to suggest that the outbreak of the new coronavirus, has imperiled the rule of the Communist Party of China, especially at a time when the government’s aggressive containment efforts seem to be working. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the political implications of China’s biggest public health crisis in recent history.

According to a New York Times analysis, at least 760 million Chinese, or more than half the country’s population, are under varying degrees of residential lockdown. This has had serious individual and aggregate consequences, from a young boy remaining home alone for days after witnessing his grandfather’s death to a significant economic slowdown.

But it seems to have contributed to a dramatic fall in new infections
outside Wuhan, where the outbreak began, to low single digits.

Even as China’s leaders tout their progress in containing the virus, they are showing signs of stress. Like elites in other autocracies, they feel the most politically vulnerable during crises.

They know that, when popular fear and frustration is elevated, even minor missteps could cost them dearly and lead to severe challenges to their power.

With China’s censorship apparatus temporarily weakened – probably because censors had not received clear instructions on how to handle such stories – even official newspapers printed the news of Li’s death on their front pages. And business leaders, a typically apolitical group, have denounced the conduct of the Wuhan authorities and demanded accountability……

In the post-Mao era, the Chinese people and the Communist Party have adhered to an implicit social contract: the people tolerate the party’s political monopoly, as long as the party delivers sufficient economic progress and adequate governance.

The party’s poor handling of the Covid-19 outbreak threatens this tacit pact. In this sense, China’s one-party regime may well be in a more precarious position than it realises.

3 test positive for coronavirus in Maryland, Gov. Hogan declares State of Emergency

Boy, he didn’t hesitate, did he?

Three Maryland residents have tested positive for coronavirus/COVID-19, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced Thursday evening.

All three people with the virus live in Montgomery County — a married man and woman in their 70s and a woman in her 50s. All three are quarantined in their homes right now, are in good condition, and their symptoms are abating.

All three cases are also travel-related. The patients returned home from a trip overseas on February 20. Health officials would not say Thursday evening where they traveled to.

The patients did travel to a hospital to be tested for the virus, but health officials would not say which facility that was. Their specimens came back positive Thursday.

Hogan has declared a state of emergency to fast-track the response efforts and mobilize resources faster, but he stressed that Marylanders should remain calm and go to work and school as they normally would, while also taking reasonable precautions.

Coronavirus: there are 2 types, Chinese researchers find, while authorities say faeces and urine can transmit the infection

Well, that mode of transmission means that San Francisco was probably on Gubbernor Newsom’s mind when he declared a state of emergency for California.

San Fransisco Crap Map.

  • Mainland China reports 38 new deaths by Wednesday morning, a rise from the previous day’s count, but new infections fall again to 119
  • Champions League and Europa League matches in Spain to be held behind closed doors

South Korea on Wednesday confirmed 142 new cases of the coronavirus, down from 851 a day earlier, taking the country’s total infections to 5,328 – the world’s largest after China. It reported four new deaths as the country’s toll reached 32.

Mainland China’s new daily cases continued to drop as it reported 119 infections, but the day’s new reported deaths jumped to 38, from 31 a day earlier, bringing its total fatalities to 2,981.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said 115 of the new cases on the mainland were reported in Hubei province, the outbreak’s epicentre. The total number of infections in mainland China stood at 80,270, with 49,856 patients having recovered.

‘Two types of coronavirus’

The coronavirus has evolved into two major types, with differing transmission rates and geographical distribution, according to a study published in the National Science Review on Tuesday.

A group of Chinese scientists analysed 103 coronavirus genomes and identified mutations in 149 sites across the strains.

They found that one type, which they called the L type, was more prevalent than the other, the S type, meaning it was more infectious. They also found that the L type had evolved from the S type, and that the L type was far more widespread before January 7 and in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Human actions soon after the outbreak was discovered in December may have changed the abundance of each type, the report said, citing the Chinese central and local governments’ drastic containment measures including lockdowns of cities, which it said may have curbed the spread of the L type.

The researchers said follow-up studies were needed to form a better understanding of the virus’ evolution and spread.

The spread of infection through faeces and urine has been recognised as an additional mode of transmission in China’s latest coronavirus diagnosis and treatment plan.

History of the ATF: How the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Became Corrupt & Abusive

It’s unlikely that there is a single federal alphabet organization less popular among the readership of this website than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. These are the people who gave us both the Siege at Ruby Ridge and the Siege of Waco. What’s more, they may well be engaged in an entirely unconstitutional exercise: monitoring and patrolling the gun ownership of law-abiding citizens.

There’s also a solid case to be made that the ATF is a rogue organization, the most corrupt of the federal alphabet agencies. This can be seen through a number of scandals beginning with Ruby Ridge, threading through the siege at Mount Carmel in Waco, and continuing to the notorious “Fast and Furious” scandal.

While firearms owners, weapons enthusiasts and Second Amendment advocates might have a special bone to pick with the ATF, we believe that all freedom-loving Americans should be concerned about the overreach, lawlessness and lack of accountability in this organization. Roman poet Juvenal once posed an important (and famous) question about powerful justice officers: Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?” – Who is to guard the guardians?

All told, there are over 20,000 firearms laws and regulations on the books at the state and federal level. Many of these contradict each other or are written with a lot of room for interpretation. Gun owners and gun dealers are easy prey for a corrupt and lawless federal agency that wants to twist its arms outside the bounds of the law.

It’s also worth considering what overreach and lack of accountability other federal organizations are responsible for that we don’t know about, simply because they do not have the same spotlight on them as the ATF – a reminder that the scandals mentioned above are just the ones that we know about.

We recommend reading this article in concert with our other articles on the ATF: WacoRuby Ridge and Fast and Furious. Each of these contains familiar tropes with regard to the ATF: Entrapment, “lost” evidence, a total lack of accountability, aggressive policing tactics where discretion would probably have saved lives, and a vengeful manner of doing business.