BLUF
Biden may have directly named Elon Musk at that press conference, but his threat was aimed at every household in America.

Biden’s not-so-subtle lurch toward dictatorship

In the wake of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden was asked during a rare press conference, in reference to Twitter’s new owner, whether he thought Elon Musk was a threat to national security. With a pause and a smirk, the president said that topic was “ worthy of being looked at. ”

With those words, Biden made it clear that if you even seem to oppose his politics, your private life will be under the direct scrutiny of the state. Despite his constant prattle about saving our democracy, Biden seems to think he’s running an authoritarian police state.

In truth, the federal government already maintains entities that review acquisitions such as Musk’s for anything from foreign influence to anti-competitive business practices. After many months in which Musk’s negotiations to purchase Twitter happened in full public view, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week that she sees no basis for the government to investigate that purchase.

Despite Musk’s having followed the law, Biden, on a whim, wants to change the game. Suddenly, and after years of Twitter and other social media having significant foreign investors, a normal and transparent voluntary transaction is a potential “threat to national security.”

Biden signaled his desire to strip off the veneer of the rule of law and use the power of the presidency as a dictator would—by his whim and without respect for the rules that everyone else must abide by.

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How Gun Control Creeps In
Olympian Gabby Franco reflects on Venezuela’s downfall and the need to protect American freedom.

Venezuela is surrounded by paradisiacal turquoise waters in the north and an enigmatic rainforest in the south. There are no seasonal natural disasters—no hurricanes, tornados, blizzards or wildfires—such as there are in various areas of the United States. But an idea that the government should be given so much power that it could take away every right of the individual citizen—even their right to self-defense—did lead to the country’s ruination.

As a former citizen of Venezuela who became a U.S. citizen, I am now hearing many of the same things I heard in Venezuela from certain anti-Second Amendment politicians. I was an Olympic shooting competitor representing Venezuela and am now a lawful gun owner here in America. I don’t want to see this right being threatened again.

It has been eye-opening to visit and meet people from all walks of life throughout the U.S. While many Americans constantly fight to preserve our freedoms, it is alarming how many take those freedoms for granted. That is why I always share my experiences in Venezuela before and after socialist Hugo Chávez took power. My dreams as a young woman, Olympic athlete and college student ended because of the socialist ideas that hypnotized not only the poor but also the educated and powerful. To revive my dreams, I had to leave my country.

Venezuela was once a place where people could find jobs, prosper, dream about their future and, with hard work, succeed, despite social and political issues. My parents were born in a rural town where there were not even flushing toilets until the late 1950s. My mom became a high-school teacher, and my dad was a machinist who dreamed of owning a machine shop. They married in the late 1970s and lived on my mom’s salary for several years as my dad built his business. They showed my siblings and me that dreams are possible with hard work and dedication.

During that time, law-abiding Venezuelans could own firearms and apply for a concealed-carry license. My father was an avid hunter who filled up the freezer with venison, duck, rabbit and any other animals he deemed tasty. Children could go to the gun range with their parents to practice the shooting sports. I was 10 years old the first time my dad took my two sisters and me to the gun range. I needed my dad’s help to load the old Feinwerkbau M65 air pistol we used. But that day changed my life, and I have loved the sport since.

Gabby Franco at 2-gun competition

Gabby Franco is shown here shooting in a 2-gun competition at Shadow Hawk Defense in Hedgesville, W.Va., in 2021.

The shooting sports drastically changed my perspective. At first, it seemed like it might be easy to hit the one-centimeter bullseye at 10 meters. My mind constantly raced, however, and I realized my mindset was the most-significant asset I had to learn to control. Maintaining a steady mind was as important as keeping a steady aim. Part of that mental training was understanding that dedication, sacrifices and rewards were part of my athletic life. I trained approximately four to five hours a day, six days a week, for about seven years until I retired in 2002. I missed school parties, school trips and even my graduation ceremony; however, I finally became a member of the Venezuelan National team, and, at 16 years old, I won my first international medal at the 1997 Bolivarian Games in Peru.

Everything seemed to go in a great direction until I learned that elections have serious consequences. I became aware of how avaricious leaders and elites can pulverize the dreams of hard-working citizens.

Hugo Chávez took power in 1999 and ruled the country via executive orders from the beginning. The terrible implications of his actions were palpable, as he aimed to take farmland away from its owners. Chávez did not waste time in pushing his socialist agenda, influenced by Fidel Castro, seeding hatred and envy amongst Venezuelans. I remember one time a person on a motorcycle stopped next to my dad’s SUV and spat on it. It was a symbolic gesture showing his hatred toward us for having a good vehicle. What this man did not know is that my parents were born poor but rose through their will and dedication.

Hugo Chávez’s actions did not go by unnoticed. A Cuban friend, whom I’ll call Jose, warned many of us at the gun range about Venezuela’s future under Hugo Chávez. These warnings were, as Gabriel Garciá Márquez wrote, a “chronicle of a death foretold.” It was indeed a hard pill to swallow for many, who often replied with something like: “That would never happen here. Venezuela is the richest country in the region. Venezuela is not an island like Cuba.”

Crime is uncontrollable, making Venezuela one of the most-dangerous countries in the world—in part because of its strict gun control … .

However, I listened to my Cuban friend and relied on lessons I learned in the shooting sports to make my decision. You see, shooters learn to control negative thoughts, fears and disappointments during setbacks in competitions. Such a constant exposure made me understand that moving forward amid doubts is possible. I learned that sacrifices and fear of the unknown are part of my journey toward success, even if that means leaving everything behind. I was on the peak of my shooting career. I had participated at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. I was a gold medalist at the subsequent Bolivarian and South American Games, and I was an Olympic hopeful for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens; however, there was no future in the “new socialist Venezuela,” and fear of the unknown would not stop me from seeking a better way of life.

Nonetheless, leaving Venezuela was a difficult decision. My parents and I argued and cried, and I became distant as they failed to change my mind. It was as if they thought Chávez was a temporary nightmare in Venezuela’s history and could not see the real threat. Breaking their hearts was never my intention, but my decision to move to the United States was made. Staying in a socialist state was against my beliefs.

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Township argues proposed gun range not covered by Second Amendment

HOWELL TWP. — Township officials and their attorneys are again trying to get a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit over a proposed shooting range.

Oakland Tactical Supply owner Mike Paige and five firearms owners recently made headway in federal appeals court in their 2018 suit against the township, which sent the case back to a lower court, but now the plaintiffs will have to convince the same district court judge who ruled against them in 2020 to change his mind.

In their suit, Oakland Tactical and gun owners  Scott Fresh, Jason Raines, Matthew Remenar, Edward Dimitroff and Ronald Penrod claim the township violated the Second Amendment by denying Paige’s request to amend the township’s zoning ordinance to allow shooting ranges on land zoned for agricultural residential development.

U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman ruled in 2020 the township did not violate the gun owners’ constitutional rights.

This August, U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judges sent the Howell Township case back to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gun rights in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which struck down a New York law requiring state residents to have a special need to carry weapons outside the home.

The Supreme Court ruling also changed the “test” lower courts should use when determining the constitutionality of firearm regulations.

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“You Won’t Answer the Question” — Senator Rand Paul Confronts FBI on Scooping Up Online User Data

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) confronted FBI Director Christopher Wray about the collusion with social media companies and whether the FBI scoops up private information to identify users.

“Is  or any other social media company supplying private messages or data on American users that is not compelled by the government or the FBI?” Paul asked Wray. “No warrant, no subpoena, they’re just supplying you information on their users?”

“I don’t believe so, but I can’t sit here and be sure of that as I sit here,” Wray replied.

“Can you give us a yes or no by going back to your team and asking? Because it’s a very specific question. Because if they are, it’s against the law,” Paul said, invoking the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. “This was done to protect the privacy of people so we could feel like we can send an email or direct message to people without having that information given over. It’s a very specific question: Will you get with your team of lawyers and give us a specific answer? Because this is the law. If you’re doing it, then we need to go to court to prevent you from receiving this information.”

“Well, I can tell you that I’m quite confident that we’re following the law —, ” Wray started.

“Well, that’s not the answer, ” Paul responded.

“ — but what I will also follow up with you to make sure we get you more information; more detailed information,” Wray added.

“Is the FBI obtaining anonymous social media data and then using technical methods to pierce the anonymous nature of the data?” Paul questioned.

Wray paused before asking, “Anonymous social media data?”

“So you purchase data,” Paul said. “People purchase data all the time and we sort of tolerate it for advertising and things because it’s anonymous data. Are you purchasing what is said to be anonymous data through the marketplace and then piercing the anonymous nature to attach individual names to that data? Are you purchasing data and then piercing the anonymous nature of that data?”

“So the manner in which we use — we usually use the term commercial data — is probably longer than I can explain here. But again, let me —, ” Wray said appearing to dodge the question.

“So you will not answer the question of whether or not you’re attaching names to anonymous data,” Paul stated.

“I think it’s a more complicated answer than I can give here,” Wray responded.

“So, so far we’re 0 for 2 at getting you to answer this, but you’re pledging you will actually answer the question because you have to realize the frustration; we’ll write you a letter and your team of lawyers will write back with a 15-page letter that says nothing and you won’t answer the question. These are very specific. This is whether you’re obeying the law, whether we can have confidence. I want to have confidence,” Paul said.

“We are obeying the law,” Wray responded.

“Well, you’re saying that, but you won’t tell us the answer,” Paul stated. “You aren’t telling me the answer. And the answer is: Are you collecting data not compelled by a warrant? That would not be in compliance with the law. But you won’t answer that you’re not collecting that data.”

Eventually, Paul asked, “Are you getting tips and leads from social media companies?”

“We get tips and leads from companies, absolutely,” Wray acknowledged.

“You may think this is jolly well to get all this stuff without a warrant that people volunteer to you, but many of us are alarmed that you’re getting this information that are private communications between people because it is against the law – it’s against the law for Facebook or social media companies to give it to you, but it’s also against the law for you to receive it,” Paul ended.

Why fear is a terrible justification for gun control

“I shouldn’t have to be afraid to go out of my house,” someone will say, usually while trying to voice their opposition to some aspect of gun rights. Gun control advocates often make similar claims, citing their own fear as a reason why they oppose or support some measure or another.

And their fear may certainly feel very real to them.

However, fear is a terrible justification for gun control.

Now, being scared is a powerful motivator. It’s why people do all kinds of things, even if they don’t want to do it otherwise. It’s why scary horror stories of what happens when you don’t do something are such great motivators.

But it’s still an emotion.

When fear is used as an argument to justify some bit of legislation, one should remember that it can also be used to oppose that same bill. After all, one person’s fear may be quite different from another. While some feared armed gunmen in the wake of a mass shooting, others fear being unarmed in the face of a violent criminal.

So now what you’re looking at are warring fears.

I fear being unable to defend my family from an attacker. Is my fear somehow less than the fear that drives many to call for gun control?

“But your fear is irrational. You’re not likely to be attacked,” some might argue, and they’re not wrong. Statistically, I’ll never have to draw my weapon in self-defense at any point in the future. But if that’s the deciding factor, then their fear of being attacked is equally irrational, isn’t it?

And that’s kind of my point.

You see, fear is usually used as a justification for gun control because it’s powerful. Advocates for Second Amendment restrictions want people to be terrified because it’s irrational.

They understand that if you simply use the probability of being the victim of a violent crime is actually pretty high. For example, the probability of being the victim of being robbed is one in 667. Your odds of being the victim of other crimes are also pretty low.

If we’re rational about it, then the debate becomes a different matter. People who are thinking rationally look at this low probability and the fact that criminals obtain firearms through non-lawful means and recognize that gun control isn’t a viable solution to the problem. Some have differing opinions, of course, but as we’ve seen, when there’s little reason for people to be afraid, they tend to support gun rights to a greater degree.

Which is why fear is so well-used.

That doesn’t make it a great idea. That fear pushing some for gun control can and should be used to push for gun rights. We need to propel stories of those who were disarmed when they needed their guns the most at the same time as holding up stories like the Greenwood Park Mall.

Again, it’s because fear is a two-way street.

Yes, it’s a terrible way to promote anything, but that’s because it can be used against that thing. It’s well past time we showed gun control advocates just why it’s a bad idea.

Ohio state senator’s new gun bill drops red flag provisions, adds new restraints

In a last-minute change, Ohio state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, has stepped back from his plan to establish a so-called red flag law in Ohio. In its place, Dolan proposed a restriction on future gun purchases after a person is deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Dolan described the changes as a way to better tailor the bill’s impact.

“Talking with the advocates, both on the mental health side law enforcement side, a couple of things became clear. One is that we’re stigmatizing mental illness,” Dolan explained. “Number two is we weren’t capturing the right people.”

Weapons under disability

The measure now hinges on “behavioral risk assessments.” Those reviews consider behaviors like suicidal tendencies, grievance collecting, or making threats. It also weighs contextual factors like whether a person has been through a “personal catalyst event.”

“The idea is we want to make sure that we create a system where they have an assessment done, so we get to the person help,” Dolan said. “And if that assessment reveals that there they are a violent threat, that they are prohibited from getting firearms.”

 State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls. Official photo.
[So nice when pictures are added for positive ID, isn’t it?]

Under Dolan’s bill, an assessment which determines a person is at risk of hurting themselves or others would be a disability for the purposes of acquiring, having, carrying or using a firearm.

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Analysis: The Supreme Court Probably Won’t Save Non-Violent Felons’ Gun Rights

A federal appeals court has upheld the ban on non-violent felons owning guns using some questionable reasoning, but don’t expect the Supreme Court to intervene.

The Third Circuit found the ban is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of gun regulation in the United States, as required by the Supreme Court’s standard in New York State Pistol and Rifle Association v. Bruen. The Third Circuit took something of a scattershot approach to justifying its decision, relying on evidence with varying degrees of

In 1995, Bryan Range was convicted of defrauding the government out of $2,458 in food stamps. He never served a day in prison. However, his non-violent crime was punishable by up to five years in jail. So, under the Gun Control Act of 1968, he has been barred from buying or even possessing guns for life.

The Third Circuit said this permanent prohibition has several historical analogues. It started by citing 17th and 18th-century English bans on gun ownership by disfavored religious groups, especially Catholics. While those bans did survive to the early American republic, the Court argued they demonstrated that the tradition of disarming people based on their inclusion in a group perceived as dangerous, even if they haven’t committed any violent crimes, is deeply rooted.

It went on to cite a handful of bans on disfavored racial groups owning guns during the founding era as evidence this idea was popular in America as well.

“The earliest firearm legislation in colonial America prohibited Native Americans, Black people, and indentured servants from owning firearms,” the court’s per curiam opinion reads. “Likewise, Catholics in the American colonies (as in Britain) were subject to disarmament without demonstrating a proclivity for violence.”

The Third Circuit did not invent this line of thinking. Justice Amy Coney Barrett cited the concept in her Kanter dissent, although she came to the opposite conclusion about the constitutionality of gun bans for non-violent felons. But it would be rather disturbing if the legal underpinning for some of the nation’s most significant gun laws, which continue to be disproportionately enforced against minorities, were justified by explicitly bigoted historical laws.

Frankly, I doubt the Supreme Court would actually buy this analysis, given how thoroughly it has rejected racist gun laws from America’s past in its Second Amendment rulings thus far. Instead of viewing them as viable historical analogues for understanding the limits of Second Amendment protections, it has used them as examples of infringements on Americans’ gun rights that help illuminate the expansive nature of those protections.

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Natural Law, Scripture and the Right of Self Defense

Now that Republican leaders have fended-off the widely anticipated Red Wave, Left-leaning politicians who are keen on relieving Americans of their constitutional rights can pursue their previously unspoken agenda.

Gun control wasn’t a big issue in the midterm elections, largely because most Americans don’t like it. But now that the dust has settled, the American Left is free to seek more gun control.

Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration are emboldened to renew their efforts to impose gun control. In Oregon, new gun restrictions are being celebrated by the Left because people must now receive permission from the government before being allowed to purchase a firearm for self defense or sporting. Regrettably, this law was widely promoted by a number of churches and synagogues in the state.

The authoritarian Left in America hates the Second Amendment. One of their arguments theorizes that our gun rights should be eliminated because AR-15s were not available to the Continental Army at the Battle of Yorktown, just muskets and bayonets.

Extending this logic to the First Amendment, perhaps we should ban cable news and Facebook because they too did not exist in the mid-18th century. I’m not convinced that would be proper but it might be kind of fun to do it for a couple of weeks just to see what happens.

We’re led to believe that our Second Amendments rights are a freakish aberration in our Constitution, that guns are the root of much evil. In truth, the principles behind the Second Amendment are really old. Ancient, in fact.

In his 1754 treatise on The Absolute Rights of Individuals, the distinguished English jurist William Blackstone wrote of “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation,” and the importance of “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence (sic).”

Blackstone’s writings were designed to improve upon the 1689 English Bill of Rights, which included the right for some people to bear arms, though it was not a universal right.

Before legal and political thinkers specified the right to bear arms, scholars and theologians were promoting the concept of the right of self defense and the right to resist tyrants. During the Great Reformation, Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon and others affirmed the right of self defense, which was a very scary idea for 16th century European theocrats.

In affirming self preservation, the Reformers did not contemplate the people defending themselves with strongly worded letters to Rome protesting public disembowelment. They presumed people would be armed with weapons of the day.

The Magna Carta did not guarantee the right to bear arms but it did provide the right of resistance should the king not abide by its terms. This also presumes the right to bear arms. It’s no coincidence that when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, the English nobles who attended the ceremony carried swords.

The Dooms of King Alfred required Anglo-Saxon landowners to provide men, ready to fight, in defense against the 9th century Viking raiders who frequented England’s shores. Like the Magna Carta, Alfred also presumed the men of his kingdom would be armed.

This acknowledgement of self defense as a God given right isn’t limited to the Anglo-Saxon or European traditions. Going back as far as 124 BC, Chinese Emperor Han affirmed the right of people to arm themselves, “to prevent tyranny and to punish evil.”

Ancient as these civic traditions of self defense are, most are predated in scripture. The Gospel of Luke records Jesus Christ telling his disciples before his betrayal, “Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” Whether Jesus meant this literally or figuratively is subject to debate but the underlying wisdom is unambiguous: be prepared because the future is dangerous.

Biblical Christianity doesn’t merely permit us to defend ourselves, it demands we defend our families. Paul’s first letter to Timothy reads, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

This involves more than providing food and shelter; it also means protecting our loved ones from assault, rape, and murder. Apparently, some of Oregon’s so-called faith leaders are not familiar with this New Testament passage. More’s the pity.

By comparison, men’s fellowship at the church I attend in Texas includes presentations from local theologians and Bible scholars, group discussions on church doctrine, study of scripture, prayer, and range time with pistols and rifles.

When modern politicians seek to relieve us of our Second Amendment rights, they are contradicting millennia of common law, natural law and scripture. They are embracing the policies of tyrants who know that unarmed people are docile subjects rather than free citizens.

If we are denied the right of self defense, it’s only a matter of time until we’re denied others.

The Government Can’t Fix Social Media Moderation & Should Not Try

Washington, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- Despite their increasingly bitter differences, Democrats and Republicans generally agree that content moderation by social media companies is haphazard at best. But while Democrats tend to think the main problem is too much speech of the wrong sort, Republicans complain that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are biased against them.

The government cannot resolve this dispute and should not try. Siding with the critics who complain about online “misinformation” poses an obvious threat to free inquiry and open debate. And while attempting to mandate evenhandedness might seem more consistent with those values, it undermines the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment in a more subtle but equally troubling way.

Under a Texas law that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit declined to block last week, the leading social media platforms are forbidden to discriminate against users or messages based on “viewpoint.” The “censorship” that Texas has banned includes not just outright removal of content and cancellation of accounts but also any steps that make posts less visible, accessible, or lucrative.

That means platforms are obliged to treat all posts equally, no matter how objectionable their content. With narrow exceptions for speech that is not constitutionally protected, Facebook et al. are not allowed to favor tolerance over bigotry, peace over violence, or verifiably true historical or scientific claims over demonstrably false ones.

While such neutrality is constitutionally mandatory for the government, imposing it on private actors violates the First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion.
The companies that challenged the law cited a line of Supreme Court decisions recognizing that right in a wide range of contexts, including a newspaper’s selection of articles, a utility’s control over the content of its newsletter, and a private organization’s vetting of participants in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Even assuming those cases established a general right to exercise editorial discretion, the 5th Circuit said that is not an accurate description of what social media platforms are doing when they decide that certain posts are beyond the pale. Because they rely heavily on algorithms, do not review content before publication, and take action against only a tiny percentage of messages, Judge Andrew Oldham declared in the majority opinion Facebook et al. “are nothing like” a newspaper.

Writing in dissent, Judge Leslie Southwick objected to that characterization. While “none of the precedents fit seamlessly,” Southwick said, a social media platform’s right to curate content is analogous to “the right of newspapers to control what they do and do not print.”

That right has never been contingent on whether editors do their jobs thoughtfully, consistently or fairly. As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit observed when it blocked enforcement of Florida’s social media law in May;

“private actors have a First Amendment right to be ‘unfair’ — which is to say, a right to have and express their own points of view.”

Oldham rejected the argument that social media companies are expressing a point of view when they make moderation decisions based on “amorphous goals” like maintaining “a welcoming community” (YouTube), fostering “authenticity, safety, privacy, and dignity” (Facebook), or ensuring that “all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely” (Twitter). Yet the conservatives who want the government to restrict moderation decisions take it for granted that social media companies have an ideological agenda — one that is hostile to people on the right.

If social media platforms pursued that agenda more explicitly and systematically, Oldham’s argument implies, the government might be obliged to respect their decisions. The more proactive and heavy-handed they were, the stronger their First Amendment claim would be.

Should the Supreme Court resolve the split between the 5th and 11th circuits by endorsing Oldham’s reasoning, platforms that want to escape Texas-style regulation might decide that broader and tighter content restrictions are the way to go. By trying to mandate a diversity of opinions, the government could achieve the opposite result.

 

Virginia: Fairfax Co. Schools Push Anti-Gun Propaganda on 5th Graders

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)-  A concerned parent, Darcey Geissler, has brought attention to an assignment that her son received in a Fairfax County school.

In a “lesson” on persuasive writing, students were given an anti-gun essay to evaluate, rather than something with more neutral content, so that the students could focus on the persuasive writing aspect. There was no sample essay with an opposing viewpoint presented.

Though this sample essay is ostensibly meant to be just a learning tool, it does parrot many worn-out talking points that disarmament radicals have used over the years. It claims that the Second Amendment is about hunting, that the existence of modern police forces makes the Second Amendment obsolete, and that citizens defending themselves from imminent danger while police are, at best, minutes away is somehow “tak[ing] the law into their own hands.”

It even mentions the Brady Campaign and simply describes it as “an organization to prevent violence,” without any mention of their radical policy proposals, such as gun bans and restricting the right to self-defense, or their junk lawsuits that attempt to bankrupt the firearms industry. Most recently, Brady partnered with the Mexican government against the rights of law-abiding Americans.

All this is not surprising, coming from a school system in a county that is hostile to the Second Amendment rights of its own citizens.

In 2020, the county banned firearms in many county-owned and operated locations, including its extensive public parks. While disarming law-abiding citizens, the ordinance they passed was not about safety or security. There were no measures ordered to prevent armed criminals from ignoring the arbitrary boundaries (as criminals do), such as metal detectors or increased police presence. This carry ban is currently the subject of an NRA-backed lawsuit.

This situation underscores the value of parents and guardians being involved in passing on American values, such as respect for the Second Amendment, to the next generation. Government schools in Fairfax County, despite being funded with taxpayer dollars, certainly will not.

The left’s newest stealth attack on free speech

America’s two most important rights are free speech and the right to bear arms. Without the first, no people are free; and without the second, there is no first. Totalitarians always go after both; that is, they silence and disarm them. For decades, the left has been open in its war on the Second Amendment. They’ve struggled more with the war on speech, but they may finally have come up with a new approach that will sneak around constitutional muster.

When it comes to speech that incites violence or is otherwise imminently threatening, the law has always been clear: The threat must be very explicit and imminent for the speech to lose its First Amendment protections. At the most simplistic level, saying, “I wish so-and-so were dead” is not an actionable opinion. However, saying, “I’m going to kill so-and-so this week” or “You all need to kill so-and-so; I’ve got a plan” is criminally actionable speech. (The standard is more sensitive when speech is directed at the president, of course.)

This constitutional limitation on making (conservatives’) political speech criminally actionable has long vexed the left. They’ve trained their young acolytes that speech is violence (so much so that almost half of college students say “hate speech” should get the death penalty) but, so far, courts haven’t fallen for that gambit. Unless speech creates an imminent threat, it gets a pass.

Lately, though, the left has come up with a new concept that seeks to say that any speech that opposes leftist policies is actual and imminent “terrorism.” Or as leftist academia calls it, “stochastic terrorism.”

Christopher Rufo discusses the concept in an important City Journal essay. He begins by revealing that he is being identified as someone who is directly responsible for the attack on Paul Pelosi:

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Gun laws, abortion, taxes: Why Eastern Oregon is voting to join Idaho

Republican voters in Eastern and Central Oregon are so fed up with liberal lawmakers that they want to break rank — and state lines — and become part of Idaho.

On Tuesday, two Oregon counties, Morrow and Wheeler, are set to vote on a ballot measure about whether to explore leaving the state. Since 2020, nine counties in Eastern Oregon have already voted to join the Greater Idaho movement.

“People in Eastern Oregon are just different and have different views on crime, the Second Amendment, abortion, taxes and minimum wage [from the western portion of the state],” Matt McCaw, spokesman for Greater Idaho, told The Post. “The polarization with the western part of the state is real. When I meet with people and host meetings, there are a lot of complaints about the lack of representation. Eastern Oregon is just very conservative and has its own culture.”

The Greater Idaho movement is made up of residents in Eastern and Central Oregon who are so fed up with liberal lawmakers that they are pushing for the region to break state lines and become part of Idaho.
The Greater Idaho movement is made up of residents in Eastern and Central Oregon who are so fed up with liberal lawmakers that they are pushing for the region to break state lines and become part of Idaho.
Matt McCaw, spokesman for the Greater Idaho movement, told The Post: “Eastern Oregon is just very conservative and has its own culture” compared to the state’s more liberal western region.

So he and a group of fellow disgruntled Oregonians in the small city of La Pine began to hash out a plan to secede because they no longer felt represented by the liberal lawmakers in the state capital, Salem. The solution: Join Idaho, where the Republican Party is firmly in control.

“Eastern Oregon, where we all live, could get state-level government from Idaho that matches their values,” McCaw said.

It’s a radical proposition that would see nearly two-thirds of Oregon’s 63 million acres (98,000 square miles), but less than 10% of its population, blend into neighboring Idaho.

For the first time in 40 years, Oregonians might vote in a Republican governor, as Christine Drazan (above) has a slight lead going into Tuesday’s race.

McCaw, 46, said the movement’s leaders are hoping to attract 15 of the state’s 36 counties and two partial ones to join Idaho.

“We asked the simple question, ‘Would you like your elected leaders to change the border?’ and we’ve won our last six elections with more than 60% of the vote,” McCaw told The Post.

For McCaw, who owns a small math-curriculum company with his wife, and his supporters, the largely rural and conservative residents of Eastern Oregon have very little in common with their progressive urban neighbors in western cities like Portland, Eugene and Bend.

The plan to move to Idaho came about because some Eastern Oregonians no longer felt represented by the liberal lawmakers in the state capital, Salem.

In the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump dominated Eastern Oregon, receiving nearly 80% of the vote in some counties, but President Biden ultimately won 56.5% of Oregon votes thanks to liberal cities.

Oregon’s current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, has a 56% disapproval rating, the worst in the US. Brown, whose term expires next year, has been criticized for doing little to stem rising crime and homelessness in the state’s urban centers since she became governor in 2015.

Some Oregonians are so fed up with spiraling crime, easy access to drugs and homelessness that — for the first time in 40 years — Oregon may see a Republican become governor.

Christine Drazan, 50, a former Oregon House minority leader, has a slight lead over her closest opponent, former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Democrat. Independent Betsy Johnson is also in the race, and some predict she might split the blue vote.

But even the prospect of a Republican governor would not help the situation for those in the eastern part of the state, said Sandie Gilson, who lives in Grant County, one of the first Oregon counties to vote in 2020 to explore joining Idaho.

“Even if we have a Republican governor, the Democrats still have a supermajority in the legislature,” said Gilson, 56, a fifth-generation Oregonian whose gold-miner great-great-grandfather arrived in the state in the 1800s. “It will change nothing.”

Mike McCarter, one of the group’s founders, described Greater Idaho as being about “people who value freedom, independence and self-sufficiency.”

Gilson and her husband are small-business owners who say they want to be self-sufficient in a rural region where making an emergency call to police could result in a two-hour wait for help. The couple, who own firearms, say they are not able to defend themselves if faced with an emergency, because of government mandates. Last year, the state enacted a safe storage law that requires the owners of firearms to keep them locked up.

“It would take us more than five minutes to unlock our guns, and in that time a lot could happen,” Gilson told The Post. “The legislature does things that just don’t make sense for us.”

Gilson also said she doesn’t feel safe after Oregon decriminalized personal portions of all drugs in 2020 and, earlier this year, instituted bail reform laws that allows defendants charged with misdemeanors and some felonies to be released without posting bail.

While Donald Trump won as much as 80% of votes in Eastern Oregon counties in the 2020 presidential race, more populous liberal cities like Portland helped Biden dominate the state.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“How does that make me safe in my home?” Gilson said, adding that residents in Eastern Oregon, which has a fraction of the population of the western part of the state, generally get outvoted.

Like Gilson, Mike McCarter, 75, said residents in Eastern Oregon are almost always getting outvoted by the much more populous western region. McCarter, who lives in La Pine and is one of the founders of Greater Idaho, told The Post that eastern residents voted two to one against recreational drug use, but “Western Oregon wanted it, and they carried the vote.”

Still, McCarter insists that the movement for a Greater Idaho is not a political one. “We try to keep the movement away from politics,” he said. “Our movement is a traditional-values type movement of faith — of people who value freedom, independence and self-sufficiency.”

Current Gov. Kate Brown has the country’s highest disapproval rate, at 56%, in part because of a perceived lack of control on crime.

In 2020, Gov. Brad Little of Idaho said he welcomed the move, adding, “They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our regulatory atmosphere, our values. What they’re interested [in] is they would like to have a little more autonomy, a little more control, a little more freedom and I can understand that.”

Although states have had their borders reconfigured in the past — Maine seceded from Massachusetts in 1820 — there is no historical precedent for large land masses to leave one state and join another.

Ryan Griffiths, a political science professor at Syracuse University who studies the secession of sovereign states, told The Post that “the bar is pretty high” for state secession in the US.

“This is not the kind of thing that is done unilaterally by people in counties,” Griffiths said. “They have to get the state of Oregon on board and the state of Idaho, and that’s a very high bar.”

CT’s semi-automatic weapons ban at ‘very real risk’ of being lifted by lawsuit, Attorney General Tong says

HARTFORD — Attorney General William Tong warned Friday that Connecticut’s nearly three-decade-old ban on semi-automatic weapons is “at very real risk” of being lifted, at least temporarily, after one of several groups suing to overturn the law requested that the state be prevented from enforcing its ban while the case proceeds.

The motion for a preliminary injunction was filed Thursday by attorneys for the National Foundation for Gun Rights in a federal court in New Haven. The Colorado-based group is one of several plaintiffs that filed lawsuits against Connecticut’s semi-automatic weapons ban following a Supreme Court decision striking down New York’s gun-permit law, sparking a wave of litigation against other state bans.

“I don’t have to tell you how extraordinarily dangerous this is in this moment to see an immediate repeal of the semi-automatic weapons ban,” Tong said during a hastily assembled press conference on Friday, where he was joined by Gov. Ned Lamont. “We are going to fight tooth and nail, we’re going to throw everything we have at them to keep Connecticut families safe and to preserve our very strong gun laws.”

Tong’s office has yet to file its formal response to the group’s motion. He told reporters Friday that filing would be made “soon.”

In a statement Friday, NFGR President Dudley Brown defended the group’s lawsuit, saying “The day of reckoning for the State of Connecticut has come, and it’s time for them to answer to the Second Amendment for trampling the gun rights of their law-abiding citizens.”

“Our motion for preliminary injunction is simply saying that when rights are at stake, we cannot waste another day in allowing unconstitutional gun control to stand,” Brown said.

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Actually, this is another reason for laws that ban such civil suits when either the prosecution declares it a case of self-defense, or the person is acquitted at trial, as is the case in several states already.

Another Reason Avoidance is Best — Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Civil Suit Against Acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse

You would be wrong if you figured Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal battle ended when a court acquitted him of murder and other charges for justifiably shooting 3 men in self defense. This is yet another example of why, if possible, avoiding conflict is always the wisest action.

Rittenhouse’s Defensive Gun Use in Kenosha—

So most everyone knows what happened on August 25, 2020 at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Any reasonably, non-biased view of the facts in the case clearly illustrates that Rittenhouse acted in self defense when he shot 3 men; one who chased after him and tried to disarm him of his rifle, another who chased after him, swinging a skateboard attempting to strike Rittenhouse in the head as Rittenhouse lay on the ground, and another man who ran toward Rittenhouse pointing an illegally possessed handgun at him.

The Criminal Charges Brough Against Rittenhouse—

In a clearly political move, prosecutors charged Rittenhouse. Knowing they had no way of winning, prosecutors used the public trial to gaslight the public into believing Rittenhouse was an alt-right neo-nazi. An assertion proved erroneous. The point was not to convict Rittenhouse, which they couldn’t, but to demonize him. And then anyone who would dare to believe that someone had the right to defend themselves. If you believed what Rittenhouse did was not wise, but clearly justified, you too were an alt-right nazi. Of course, the media and maniacs in the streets even threatened the jurors with doxing and rioting if they ‘decided wrong’.

Rittenhouse legally defended his life against three men in the streets of Kenosha. He defended his freedom against a politically motivated prosecutor in a court of law. Kyle defended and continues to defend his reputation against baseless accusations. And he is trying to protect whatever assets he has after paying for legal defense, to defend against a civil suit brought against him by the family of one of the men who tried to kill him.

The Civil Suit Against Rittenhouse—

The father of an adult who attacked Rittenhouse with a skateboard wants money. No doubt he grieves for his son. Any decent father would. But the arguments in this civil suit against Rittenhouse are nonsensical and proven false in the criminal trial.

The Deceased Attacker is actually a Hero

For example, in the suit, the father claims his son was a “hero” and was trying to disarm Rittenhouse. The claim in the criminal trial was that somehow the 3 men were ‘good samaritans’ who thought Rittenhouse was an active shooter, and they needed to stop him. A claim that prosecutors couldn’t substantiate with evidence, witness statements or ‘victim’ testimony. The complaint filed by the man’s father reads:

After Anthony was shot, Gage Grosskreutz approached Defendant Rittenhouse with his hands up, pleading with him to stop his shooting rampage. Without provocation or any legal justification, Defendant Rittenhouse shot at Grosskreutz from point-blank range, hitting him in the arm. Thankfully, Grosskreutz survived.

Yeah, this description of events is complete fantasy when compared to all the evidence presented at trial.

Rittenhouse is an alt-right Nazi

The complaint also attempts to use the same failed approach prosecutors used in the criminal trial—frame Rittenhouse as a racist. The ‘you’re a racist’ argument works on social media. But the same question that the prosecutors couldn’t provide an answer to in the criminal trial lingers. If Rittenhouse is so blinded by racial hatred, why did he only shoot people of his same race? The answer is clear, because he only shot people who he reasonably believed were going to cause him death or serious bodily harm, period.

Rittenhouse Violated Statutory Gun Law

In the complaint, the attacker’s father drummed up fake news spread by the media that Rittenhouse brought the AR15 he used to defend his life across state lines in violation of law. The morons in the media repeated this, although with basic journalistic investigation, they would find the claim completely untrue.

What’s the Point—

The point is that if you carry a firearm for self defense; you need to know that in some states, even if you’re acquitted, you can still face civil suits. While the saying may be true, that ‘dead men don’t sue,’ it fails to mention that their families do. And they do it all the time.

You also need to remember that whether it be a criminal or civil trial, you can assume that anything the opposing side can do to twist, invent, or bring into question your character or actions, they will. It doesn’t have to be true.

So my advice is:

  • Live your life in a way that always seeks avoidance, if possible. This post on the proper defensive mindset explains this concept more deeply. In essence, live out: Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
  • Be careful what you post on social media. This isn’t about censoring your right to speak. Say what you want to say, it’s your right. Stand up for what you believe in. But do so in a way that doesn’t bring your character into question.
  • Know the law. Not just gun law, but self defense law. The book from Andrew Branca is a must for every person who even thinks about carrying a gun for self defense.
  • Consider a self defense legal membership service like CCW Safe. The amount of money necessary to defend against a political prosecution, and or civil lawsuit is astronomical. Remember, the state has unlimited funds (part of which you pay for, if you pay taxes) available to use against you. How much money do you have to defend yourself?

Another Church in New York files suit

New York Church Challenges State Ban on Firearms in Houses of Worship

New York Church Challenges State Ban on Firearms in Houses of Worship
First Liberty Institute, Clement & Murphy, and Ganguly Brothers challenge law adopted by NY legislature just days after Supreme Court struck down numerous state restrictions on firearms

Rochester, NY—First Liberty Institute and the law firms Clement & Murphy PLLC and Ganguly Brothers PLLC filed a federal lawsuit against the state of New York challenging the state’s prohibition on firearms at houses of worship.  The suit was filed on behalf of His Tabernacle Family Church, a nondenominational Christian church in Horseheads, New York, founded by Pastor Micheal Spencer.

You can read the complaint here.

Erin Murphy, Partner at Clement & Murphy said, “No American should be forced to sacrifice one constitutionally protected freedom to enjoy another.  Houses of worship have a constitutionally protected freedom to decide for themselves whether to allow otherwise legally possessed firearms into their facilities.”

“Singling out houses of worship for total disarmament demonstrates hostility toward religion, leaves them defenseless to rebuff violent attacks, and defies at least two recent Supreme Court rulings against New York.  Religious leaders are no less qualified than secular business owners to determine whether to allow carrying a firearm for self-defense, and New York should end its defiant assault on First and Second Amendment freedoms,” added Jordan Pratt, Senior Counsel at First Liberty Institute.

In late 2020, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, chiding New York for singling out religious groups and restricting how they worship in violation of the First Amendment.  And in June 2022, the Court issued its opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, invalidating New York’s unprecedented effort to limit individuals’ ability to carry a firearm outside the home.  Just days later, New York enacted expansive new laws restricting the carrying of firearms outside the home, including a total ban on carrying in houses of worship.  New York now imposes criminal liability on any person who carries a firearm into a place of worship regardless of whether that person possesses a license to carry a firearm under New York law, and regardless of whether the religious community would prefer to authorize congregants to carry a firearm.  Secular business owners, by contrast, are allowed to choose for themselves whether to allow firearms on their premises.

“Those decisions,” the complaint states, “should have taught New York to proceed with extreme caution where First or Second Amendment rights are at stake going forward.  Instead, the state recently doubled down on its rights-denying tendencies—by infringing two fundamental liberties at the same time.  New York now puts houses of worship and religious adherents to an impossible choice:  forfeit your First Amendment right to religious worship or forfeit your Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense.”  The complaint adds, “New York’s attempt to force houses of worship and their parishioners to choose between their First Amendment rights and their Second—an outlier policy shared by no other state in the Nation—stands as an act of defiance to the Supreme Court’s recent and emphatic holdings protecting both.”

BLUF
Republicans need us more than we need them. That’s because, say the Democrats get their supermajorities and pass whatever citizen disarmament edicts they want, appoint judges to uphold them, and equip functionaries to enforce them. There’s one thing no one wants to talk about:

We will not disarm. Surrender our guns? No. Your move. Seriously.

If Republicans want to stay relevant, they’d best realize that, and strap ‘em on so it doesn’t come to that on a large scale. With a growing resigned TINVOWOOT sentiment among gun owners jaded by past betrayals, GOP leadership had best realize they need us fired up if they don’t want that to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Republican ‘Commitment to America’ Must Not Take Gun Voters for Granted

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The Commitment to America represents a new direction and better approach that will get our nation back on track,” House Republicans declare in a plan “Preamble” on Kevin McCarthy’s “Republican Leader” website. “Starting Day One, we will work to deliver an economy that’s strong, a nation that’s safe, a future that’s built on freedom, and a government that’s accountable.”

You can read it in English or watch it in Spanish. The “commitment” itself is divided into four parts:

  • An Economy That’s Strong: (Make America Energy Independent and Reduce Gas Prices; Strengthen the Supply Chain and End Dependence on China)
  • A Nation That’s Safe: (Secure the Border and Combat Illegal Immigration; Reduce Crime and Protect Public Safety; Defend America’s National Security)
  • A Future That’s Built On Freedom: (Make Sure Every Student Can Succeed and Give Parents a Voice; Achieve Longer, Healthier Lives for Americans; Confront Big Tech and Demand Fairness)
  • A Government That’s Accountable: (Preserve Our Constitutional Freedoms; Hold Washington Accountable; Restore the People’s Voice)

Do you know what you have to look hard to find any mention of? The main reason gun owners have for voting Republican is that they will defend the Second Amendment and pledge to repeal infringements. You have to go to the reverse side and the bottom half of their “Commitment to America” pocket card to find a statement that couldn’t be more tepid and equivocal:

Preserve our Constitutional Freedoms: Uphold free speech, protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers, guarantee religious freedom, and safeguard the Second Amendment.”

With even the most rabid gun-grabbers claiming “You can be in favor of the Second Amendment and also understand that there is no reason in a civil society that we have assault weapons around communities that can kill babies and police officers,” what does “safeguard the Second Amendment” —  with no specifics as to how — even mean?

With the GOP leadership unwilling to use its bully pulpit to defend and educate on the right to keep and bear arms (probably because most of them don’t know how, have a shallow surface understanding, and basically do what their staffers and focus groups tell them will play best to the masses and minimize attacks), it’s no wonder individual candidates are keeping their mouths shut and hoping nobody calls on them to take a position.

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With States Hands-Off, Homeschooling Takes Off.

South Dakota epitomizes the rapid growth of homeschooling in America.  Guided by the principle that parents, not the government, have the right to determine what and how their kids are taught, homeschooling families have overturned existing rules and batted down attempts over the last decade to impose new ones in many states, including South Dakota. 

What’s left in much of the United States today is essentially an honor system in which parents are expected to do a good job without much input or oversight. The rollback of regulations, coupled with the  ill effects of remote learning during the pandemic, have boosted the number of families opting out of public schools in favor of educating their kids at home.  

Reflecting a national trend, the number of children homeschooled in South Dakota rose more than 20% in both of the last two school years. 

“It was a big win for parental rights,” says Dan Beasley, then a staff attorney at the influential Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which helped craft and pass the legislation. “It cut out unnecessary regulation and streamlined the process so parents can invest their time in providing the best education they can for their children.” 

This freedom stands in contrast to outraged parents who feel powerless over how their  kids are taught in public schools. In high-pitched battles at school board meetings, some take aim at the easing of admissions standards, others at what they see as the promotion of critical race theory and transgender rights, and still others at segregated classrooms and the presence of police officers on campus. And almost everyone is concerned with the sharp decline in already low reading and math scores of students in nearly every state during the pandemic, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress released in late October.  

For a growing number of parents, homeschooling is the answer to the institutional barriers to the education they believe in. Beyond requirements that homeschooling parents teach a few core subjects like math and English, they are free to pick the content. 

American history, for example, can be all about the glory of the Founding Fathers and the prosperity of free markets, or the oppression of Native Americans and people of color and the struggle for equality. For many homeschoolers, history is taught through a Christian lens, while others follow a standard public school curriculum. 

Parents’ Rights vs. State Control

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BLUF
In my view, professors Miller and Tucker are incorrect in theory, because the TLI has no utility in assessing the relative dangers of modern firearms in a nonmilitary context. On the other hand, if Miller and Tucker are theoretically correct that TLI extrapolation is a useful guide to the dangers of modern firearms, the TLIs for AR rifles or for 9mm handguns are similar to or less than the TLI of the classic American early 20th century rifle. Thus, there is no need for gun controls beyond those that existed around the turn of the twentieth century. As for Professor Cornell’s assertions that AR semiautomatic rifles are “50 times” or “200 times” more lethal than flintlock rifles, there was never any basis in fact.

The Theoretical Lethality Index is useful for military history but not for gun control policy
Professors Miller and Tucker miss the mark, while Saul Cornell disdains accuracy

An article by Duke law professor Darrell A.H. Miller and Wesleyan history professor Jennifer Tucker argues that gun control laws should vary based on the dangerousness of the firearm. They claim that danger is easy to assess by using the Theoretical Lethality Index (TLI), a metric developed in the early 1960s by military history analyst Trevor Dupuy. In this post, I explain why the TLI is useless as a guideline for the risks posed by different types of firearms in a nonmilitary context.

On the other hand, if TLI is valid in the civilian context, then the TLIs of modern firearms are not much different from those of a good rifle from the early 20th century. Thus, the level of gun control necessary from modern arms would not appear to be greater than the level of gun control in the early 20th century.

This post proceeds as follows:

  • Part I of the post briefly summarizes the Miller and Tucker article for the U.C. Davis Law Review.
  • Part II describes how gun control enthusiast Saul Cornell misused a blog post by Miller to fabricate preposterous claims about the lethality of AR rifles.
  • Part III examines the Theoretical Lethality Index in depth and explains why its military-oriented metrics do not provide useful information in a nonmilitary context about the relative dangerousness of different types of firearms.
  • Part IV calculates TLIs for the common modern firearms mentioned by Miller and Tucker: the 9mm handgun, and the semiautomatic AR rifle. (“AR” means “ArmaLite Rifle.” The rifle was invented by ArmaLite in the 1950s.)
  • Part V addresses Miller and Tucker’s claim that the American Founders were unfamiliar with dramatic technological changes in firearms — a claim that is refuted by Dupuy’s data.

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The demoncrap goal is to criminalize all political opposition