Financial Surveillance: Why We Have To Prevent Liberal Organizations From Subverting The Second Amendment

There is no such thing as a free nation where the police and military are allowed to keep and bear arms and citizens are not. Our Founding Fathers understood this and enshrined the basic right to self-defense in the U.S. Constitution. The Second Amendment guarantees the absolute ability to live in peace without fear.

The U.S. Supreme Court has, time and again, reaffirmed that right. Yet elected Democrats and other stakeholders continue their all-out assault on this freedom with the ultimate goal of denying law-abiding Americans the opportunity to purchase and carry guns.

That’s why, in 2022, I became concerned when Visa and Mastercard announced they would separately categorize and track purchases for guns and ammunition. This move followed the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an international standards organization based out of Europe, approving an application for a firearm-specific Merchant Category Code (MCC). This move would set a dangerous precedent targeting legal gun owners, the vast majority of whom are Republicans or independents who lean Right.

A specific MCC for gun purchases would subject Americans attempting to exercise their constitutional rights to unnecessary and unethical surveillance. If rolled out, a national gun registry would be closer than ever, even though it is prohibited by federal law. The Left, however, does not care about the rule of law and they certainly aren’t hiding their desire to take away your freedoms. An elected Democrat recently called a federal gun registry a “wonderful idea.”

A gun-specific MCC is a clear threat to the privacy and Second Amendment rights of all Americans. Not only does it present an easy opportunity for liberal institutions to de-bank firearms sellers, which is abruptly closing financial accounts for religious and political reasons, but it could also discourage Americans from exercising their Constitutionally-protected rights. Importantly, the MCC would do absolutely nothing to improve public safety.

The application for a gun- and ammo-specific MCC came from Amalgamated Bank in 2022, a blatantly Left-wing company that dubs itself America’s “socially responsible bank” and proudly says deposited money supports “sustainable organizations, progressive causes, and social justice.” Upon further examination, it’s clear the organization is closely connected to the Democrat Party. The New York Times in 2015 even called it “the left’s private banker.”

Clients of the union-owned bank include President Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Nancy Pelosi. Additional past and present clients include the Democratic Governors Association, the Biden Foundation, the Democratic National Committee, and Ready for Hillary 2016. Not exactly ardent defenders of the Second Amendment.

Amalgamated has also explicitly called for unconstitutional red-flag laws and says it discriminates against gun, nuclear weapon and ammunition manufacturers and distributors. Radical private organizations like this and the ISO should be nowhere near our Second Amendment.

At the time of the approval, Amalgamated Chief Executive Priscilla Sims Brown said the move “answers the call of millions of Americans who want safety from gun violence.” Does this call supersede the constitutional right to keep and bear arms? As a state representative serving the people of Northwest Tennessee, I can tell you my constituents would say that coastal elites and liberal corporations better stay far away from their guns and finances.

That’s why I set out to ensure this gun tracking scheme would never happen in the Volunteer State. This year, I sponsored the Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act, which was passed by the General Assembly and went into effect July 1. This new law will prohibit financial institutions from requiring retailers to use a specific MCC for firearms sellers in Tennessee.

Law-abiding Americans deserve to make these purchases without fear of liberal corporations and an overbearing federal government coordinating to spy on them. I was proud to provide that peace of mind to Tennesseans with the passage of this new law.

Just before the new law took effect, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti warned that Visa, Mastercard and American Express were potentially gearing up to ignore it.

“Specifically, I am concerned that your compliance efforts are not sufficient and will allow you and other financial institutions to continue to utilize impermissible codes in violation of Tennessee law,” he said in a June letter to the chief executives of each company.

No credit card company should be able to cancel the votes of millions of Tennesseans by disobeying our policies.

We’ve already seen the Orwellian-like behavior from the Biden Administration and the private companies all too willing to hand over sensitive information. Earlier this year, the House Judiciary Committee revealed federal investigators had asked financial institutions to search customer transactions for various MCCs, stores and phrases, including Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Dicks Sporting Goods, and MAGA.

The goal? Rooting out alleged “extremism” following the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

If the federal government and private companies are already using banking information to target conservatives, ask yourself why they might want a separate MCC for firearms and ammunition sellers. It’s clear that in attempting to force these codes on Americans, they are also attempting to reshape what the Second Amendment means in our country.

Americans are tired of these people and groups pushing an agenda contrary to our founding ideals. I’m proud Tennessee has taken a stand against the ever-increasing leftist corporate-government alliance meant to intimidate and silence Christians and conservatives. It’s time every state stands with us.

Russell ‘Rusty’ Grills represents District 77 in the Tennessee House of Representatives

Court Holds Federal Ban on Home-Distilling Exceeds Congress’ Enumerated Powers.

Yesterday, in Hobby Distillers Association v. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a federal district court in Texas held that federal laws banning distilled spirits plants (aka “stills”) in homes or dwellings exceed the scope of Congress’ enumerated powers. Specifically, the court concluded that the prohibitions exceed the scope of the federal taxing power and the Interstate Commerce Clause, even as supplemented by the Necessary and Proper Clause. The court further entered a permanent injunction barring enforcement of these provisions against those plaintiffs found to have standing (one individual and members of the Hobby Distillers Association.) The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and background on the case (and the various filings) can be found on CEI’s website here.

Hobby Distillers Association has the potential to be a significant post-NFIB challenge to the expansive of use of federal power. A few excerpts from the decision are below the jump.

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In short, the death of Chevron may be good for the state of the law as a whole, but it’s not the magic bullet some gun rights commentators seem to think it is.

Analysis: The Death of Chevron and the Future of Gun Litigation

Friday brought a rare instance of a no-nonsense Supreme Court decision unambiguously reversing prior precedent in a way that has far-reaching consequences–but maybe not for gun policy.

Loper v. Raimondo saw the Court stating, in no uncertain terms, that Chevron, “a decaying husk with bold pretensions,” is overruled. Twitter–and my email inbox–were ablaze with theories about what this might mean for gun litigation. In all likelihood, though, the impact on Second Amendment cases will be more muted than many expect.

It’s easy to understand why people might think Chevron would have had an outsized impact on the firearm space. After all, it seems as though the ATF–an administrative agency–has been the primary source of tumult for gun owners over the last three administrations. Where an admin agency is the source of pain, it seems natural to presume a legal concept that advantages administrative agencies would be a huge lever in that conflict. But practitioners and astute spectators alike would observe that Chevron hasn’t been invoked in the gun space very often at all.

Simply stated, Chevron’s death won’t be as dramatic as some commentators expect in the gun law arena largely because the ATF has been expressly disclaiming and attempting to avoid its application for years. Likely knowing Chevron was on shaky ground, and because its application to laws with criminal penalties is inappropriate, the government has fairly consistently simply asserted in gun cases that its legal arguments are ordinary legal arguments rather than agency arguments entitled to deference under Chevron.

To understand the tension here, it’s important to understand what Chevron actually did. Even when it was at its strongest, the application of Chevron was limited to situations where the statutory provision being litigated over was ambiguous, and there was a “permissible” agency interpretation. In those instances, the court would defer to the agency’s interpretation of the law, even if the court disagreed with the interpretation.

Chevron was always controversial, as it was in tension with the core legal principle that courts are the only ones who can say what the law is. That’s why the Supreme Court began walking Chevron back almost as soon as it was decided.

In fact, the Supreme Court hasn’t deferred to an agency interpretation under Chevron since 2016.

More pointedly, though, there is a critical reason you won’t see the government arguing that gun laws are ambiguous, which had always been a threshold question in Chevron cases. Why? Because gun laws almost always involve criminal penalties, and the longstanding rule of lenity states that in cases involving criminal consequences, any ambiguities in the law must be resolved in the least restrictive manner. This would make the road to proper reliance on Chevron, on the part of the government, a minefield of instant losses.

That is not to say that the death of Chevron won’t have any impact on gun litigation. But it will most likely be more nuanced than revolutionary.

For example, as explained, the ATF has been making its legal arguments for years now by basically saying, “this is how you ought to read the law, even if you weren’t deferring to us.” Even where Chevron wasn’t supposed to be applied, including in criminal cases, it’s quite likely the overarching idea of Chevron–that administrative agencies are experts and thus know more about the laws they are tasked with–has poisoned the minds of judges all the way down, manifesting as subconscious deference to the agency’s interpretation of the law.

This vestige of Chevron is probably the most lasting, and unfortunately–as the dissent in Loper makes clear–that idea will be very hard to shake. The simple fact is, though, that no matter how technical a statute is, they are meant to have come through the legislature, which is–for better or for worse–a bunch of lawyers. While nerdy, lobster-clawed science-types at the EPA might have nuanced understandings when it comes to sniffing nitrogen, that doesn’t change the fact that laws have to be consistently interpreted.

In short, the death of Chevron may be good for the state of the law as a whole, but it’s not the magic bullet some gun rights commentators seem to think it is.

So there you are.  A return to the rule of law, being treated as just the opposite.  Par for the course in today’s political discourse, alas.

The Supreme Court, Chevron, and the Political Class’s Worst Nightmare: Accountability.

Goodbye, Chevron deference.  Larry Tribe is already mourning the Supreme Court’s overturning of NRDC v. Chevron, in the Loper Bright and Relentless cases, as a national catastrophe:

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Oh, the humanity!

Well, speaking as a professor of Administrative Law, I think I’ll bear up just fine.  I’ve spent the last several years telling my students that Chevron was likely to be reversed soon, and I’m capable of revising my syllabus without too much trauma.  It’s on a word processor, you know.  As for those academics who have built their careers around the intricacies of Chevron deference, well, now they’ll be able to write about what comes next. And if they’re not up to that task, then it was a bad idea to build a career around a single Supreme Court doctrine.

And that wasn’t the only important Supreme Court decision targeting the administrative state, a situation that has pundit Norm Ornstein, predictable voice of the ruling class’s least thoughtful and most reflexive cohort, making Larry Tribe sound calm.

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Sure, Norm, whatever you say.

But how about let’s look at what the Court actually did in Chevron, and in the Loper Bright and Relentlesscases that overturned it, and in SEC v Jarkesy, where the Court held that agencies can’t replace trial by jury with their own administrative procedures, and in Garland. v. Cargill, where the Court held that agencies can’t rewrite statutes via their own regulations.  I don’t think you’ll find the sort of Russian style power grab that Ornstein describes, but rather a return to constitutional government of the sort that he ought to favor.

At root, Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council is about deference.  Deference is a partial abdication of decisionmaking in favor of someone else.  So, for example, when we go out to dinner, I often order what my son-in-law orders, even if something else on the menu sounds appealing.  I’ve learned that somehow he always seems to pick the best thing.

Deference doesn’t mean “I’ve heard your argument and I’m persuaded by it,” (though something like that is misleadingly called “Skidmore deference, “ but isn’t actually deference at all).  Deference means “even if I would have decided this question differently, I’m going to go with your judgment instead.”

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Justices rule for Jan. 6 defendant

The Supreme Court on Friday threw out the charges against a former Pennsylvania police officer who entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks. By a vote of 6-3, the justices ruled that the law that Joseph Fischer was charged with violating, which bars obstruction of an official proceeding, applies only to evidence tampering, such as destruction of records or documents, in official proceedings.

Friday’s ruling could affect charges against more than 300 other Jan. 6 defendants. The same law is also at the center of two of the four charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith against former President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on April 25 on Trump’s claims of immunity and has not yet issued its decision in that case. But Smith has argued that even if the court were to rule for Fischer, the charges against Trump could still go forward because they rested, in part, on efforts to use false electoral certificates at the joint session of Congress.

The law at the center of Fischer’s case is 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), which makes it a crime to “otherwise obstruct[], influence[], or impede[] any official proceeding.” U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols concluded that because the previous subsection, Section 1512(c)(1), bars tampering with evidence “with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding,” Section 1512(c)(2) only applies to cases involving evidence tampering that obstructs an official proceeding, and he dismissed the obstruction charge against Fischer.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed Nichols’ ruling, concluding that the “meaning of the statute is unambiguous,” so that it “applies to all forms of corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding, other than the conduct that is already covered by” the prior subsection.

On Friday, the Supreme Court vacated the D.C. Circuit’s decision, interpreting the law more narrowly to apply only to evidence tampering.

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Overturning the Chevron Deference Could Mean a Regulatory Revolution

Business groups have long argued that federal agencies have too much power in their rulemaking. The Supreme Court agrees.

The Supreme Court on Friday overturned the legal precedent known as the Chevron deference in a 6-3 decision, which will reshape the way that federal agencies interpret laws and craft rules that regulate a wide range of businesses.

For decades, courts have turned to regulatory agencies to fill in the legal gaps when areas of the law are ambiguous–this is the so-called Chevron deference, which emerged from case law.

The Chevron deference resulted from a 1984 case filed by Chevron, a big oil company, which argued that the Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act was overly broad. Chevron lost the case after a judge found that federal agencies are considered to be the authority on a statute if it’s ambiguous. That decision brought forth the Chevron doctrine, or the Chevron deference.

The high court revisited Chevron through a pair of companion cases: Relentless v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.

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SEC v. Jarkesy: A Win for the Separation of Powers and the Right to Civil Jury Trial

The Supreme Court held today that the Seventh Amendment right to a civil jury trial in fraud cases was violated when an administrative law judge of the S.E.C. decided the case.
Chief Justice Robert wrote an excellent, thorough, and overwhelmingly persuasive majority opinion in S.E.C. v. Jarkesy, 603 U.S. __ (2024), holding that the Securities and Exchange Commission could not try civil fraud suits before its own Administrative Law Judges. It must instead try them in federal District Court where the Seventh Amendment right to a civil jury trial must be available in all cases which were “[suits] at common law,” as opposed to suits in equity and in admiralty.

The Supreme Court did today for the Seventh Amendment roughly what it did for the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008). It held, in a narrow opinion, that Congress and the President cannot completely ignore the Seventh Amendment, just as they used to completely ignore the Second Amendment before Heller was decided. This is the case at least in civil fraud cases brought by the S.E.C.

The Chief Justice’s opinion was joined by five other justices: Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion examined originalist, textualist, and doctrinal sources of law. In much of the opinion, Chief Justice Roberts makes an overwhelmingly powerful argument that S.E.C. fraud cases are in the words of the Seventh Amendment “[s]uits at common law” which can only be tried by a jury and not suits in equity or admiralty where the right to jury trial has not historically been available.

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SCOTUS Upholds Rahimi Conviction, But Leaves Major Questions Unaddressed

In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court upheld Zachey Rahimi’s conviction for possessing a firearm while subject to a domestic violence restraining order, holding that “when an individual has been found by a court to pose a credible threat to the physical safety of another, that individual may be temporarily disarmed consistent with the Second Amendment.”

The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, appears to open the door not only to bans on gun ownership for those subject to domestic violence restraining orders, but Extreme Risk Protection Orders as well. The Court held that while there was no “historical twin” to the statute in question at the time the Second Amendment was ratified, there are still enough appropriate “analogues” to uphold the statute.

Together, the surety and going armed laws confirm what common sense suggests: When an individual poses a clear threat of physical violence to another, the threatening individual may be disarmed. Section 922(g)(8) is not identical to these founding-era regimes, but it does not need to be.

Like the surety and going armed laws, Section922(g)(8)(C)(i) applies to individuals found by a court to threaten the physical safety of another. This prohibition is “relevantly similar” to those founding era regimes in both why and how it burdens the Second Amendment right.

Roberts added that “while we do not suggest that the Second Amendment prohibits the enactment of laws banning the possession of guns by categories of persons thought by a legislature to present a special danger of misuse, we note that Section 922(g)(8) applies only once a court has found that the defendant ‘represents a credible threat to the physical safety’ of another.” That at least leaves the door open for those convicted of non-violent felonies or non-violent misdemeanors punishable by more than a year in prison to regain their Second Amendment rights going forward, especially since the Court took note of the “temporary” nature of a restraining order, as opposed to the lifetime ban on possessing firearms that comes post-conviction.

Importantly, the majority opinion did shoot down one argument presented by the DOJ; the Second Amendment only applies to “responsible” citizens.

“Responsible” is a vague term. It is unclear what such a rule would entail. Nor does such a line derive from our case law. In Heller and Bruen, we used the term “responsible” to describe the class of ordinary citizens who undoubtedly enjoy the Second Amendment right. But those decisions did not define the term and said nothing about the status of citizens who were not “responsible.” The question was simply not presented.

In addition to the majority opinion and Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent, there were five concurring opinions released today; one from Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and separate concurrence from Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch.

Gorsuch’s concurrence notes that today’s decision “necessarily leaves open the question whether the statute might be unconstitutional as applied in “particular circumstances.”

So, for example, we do not decide today whether the government may disarm a person without a judicial finding that he poses a “credible threat” to another’s physical safety. We do not resolve whether the government may disarm an individual permanently. We do not determine whether§922(g)(8) may be constitutionally enforced against a person who uses a firearm in self-defense.

Notably, the surety laws that inform today’s decision allowed even an individual found to pose a threat to another to “obtain an exception if he needed his arms for self-defense.” Nor do we purport to approve in advance other laws denying firearms on a categorical basis to any group of persons a legislature happens to deem, as the government puts it, “not ‘responsible.’”

We’ll be delving more into the concurring opinions and Justice Thomas’s dissent in subsequent posts, but given all of the media speculation that Justice Barrett was about to break with the conservative wing of the Court over the use of “history and tradition” to determine the constitutionality of gun laws, it’s worth pointing out this key bit from her concurrence today.

In Bruen, the Court took history beyond the founding era, considering gun regulations that spanned the 19th century. I expressed reservations about the scope of that inquiry but concluded that the timing question did not matter to Bruen’s holding.

It bears emphasis, however, that my questions were about the time period relevant to discerning the Second Amendment’s original meaning—for instance, what is the post-1791 cutoff for discerning how the Second Amendment was originally understood? My doubts were not about whether “tradition,” standing alone, is dispositive.

While that sounds like a positive stance for Second Amendment advocates, Barrett went on to make it clear that “imposing a test that demands overly specific analogues has serious problems,” which could open the door to modern gun control laws being upheld based on the flimsiest of ties to 18th-century statutes.

As Gorsuch says, many questions regarding who can be stripped of their right to keep and bear arms, for how long, and for what reason remain unresolved by Rahimi. I’m concerned, however, that a majority of justices are ready to give pretty wide latitude to the states and Congress when it comes to answering those questions.

To interpret erroneously…

In a way that is wrong or false…

Nothing out of the ordinary for demoncraps

Critics Fundamentally Misconstrue the Supreme Court’s Bump Stock Ruling

After the Supreme Court overturned the Trump administration’s bump stock ban last week, critics complained that the justices had interpreted the Second Amendment in a way that rules out perfectly reasonable gun regulations.

That was an odd complaint, because the case did not involve the Second Amendment.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) saw last week’s decision as a sign that the Supreme Court plans to “fundamentally rewrite the Second Amendment,” which will “make it very hard for Congress or state legislatures to be able to regulate guns.” MSNBC commentator Joyce Vance had a similar objection: “Does the history & tradition of our country really suggest the Founding Fathers meant for the 2nd Amendment to arm Americans with guns that fire 400 to 800 rounds per minute?”

Although Murphy is a lawyer and Vance is a law professor, they completely misconstrued what this case was about. The Supreme Court ruled that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives exceeded its statutory authority when it tried to ban bump stocks.

The products the ATF targeted are designed to assist bump firing, which involves pushing a rifle forward to activate the trigger by bumping it against a stationary finger, then allowing recoil energy to push the rifle backward, resetting the trigger. As long as the shooter maintains the requisite amount of forward pressure and keeps their finger in place, the rifle will fire repeatedly.

The “interpretive rule” at issue in this case, which was published in Dec. 2018 and took effect three months later, banned stock replacements that facilitate this rapid-firing technique by allowing the rifle’s receiver to slide back and forth. The ATF did that by classifying rifles equipped with bump stocks as machine guns, which contradicted the statutory definition and the agency’s long-standing interpretation of it.

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The new Minutemen buy guns

As we approach 60 consecutive months of more than a million gun sales, it’s time to review the state of gun ownership in America, and enjoy the tears of anti-liberty/gun cracktivists.

According to a report by the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF), the number of people who became first-time gun owners since 2020 has reportedly grown to over 22.3 million people, or the population of Florida.

Keep in mind every federal background check prior to purchase, can account for more than one gun. Why would so many Americans become new gun owners? In a word: Democrat/socialist/communist (D/s/c) policies:

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Why It’s Never Just About the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. They were ratified when the ink was only just dried, in part because the Founding Fathers recognized that absent certain protections, some rights would be tempting to infringe upon.

The First Amendment protects pretty much every form of speech and keeps the government from having a state religion, which would arguably be another way to control speech.

The Second Amendment is the insurance policy that makes sure we can protect all the other rights from a tyrannical government. After all, a document isn’t going to be sufficient to deter a tyrant, as we well know.

And that brings me to the recent win before the Supreme Court by the NRA. While the matter is far from settled, it’s clear that the justices were less than pleased by the attack on free speech by a New York state official.

In the process, we can see how rights complement one another, which is why they all need protection.

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Jury is chosen in Hunter Biden’s federal firearms case and opening statements are set for Tuesday

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A jury was seated Monday in the federal gun case against President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, after prospective panelists were questioned about their thoughts on gun rights and drug addiction while the first lady watched from the front row of the courtroom.

Opening statements were set to begin Tuesday after the jurors — six men and six women plus four women serving as alternates — were instructed by Judge Maryellen Noreika not to talk or read about the case.

Hunter Biden has been charged in Delaware with three felonies stemming from a 2018 firearm purchase when he was, according to his memoir, in the throes of a crack addiction. He has been accused of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the application by saying he was not a drug user and illegally having the gun for 11 days.

The case is going to trial following the collapse of a plea deal that would have avoided the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election. Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty and has argued he’s being unfairly targeted by the Justice Department, after Republicans decried the now-defunct plea deal as special treatment for the Democratic president’s son.

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Justice Sotomayor is the absolute most left/anti-gun one on the court. For her to write this decision must have chapped her hide.

Supreme Court unanimously rules for NRA in free speech fight

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the National Rifle Association (NRA) can move forward in its free speech fight against a former New York regulator.

Authored by liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the ruling revives the gun-rights group’s First Amendment claim against Maria Vullo, who formerly ran the New York Department of Financial Services.

Vullo began investigating the NRA in 2017, and the probe led her to encourage insurers and banks she regulated to sever ties with the gun-rights group after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting that killed 17 students and staff and reignited a national debate surrounding gun control measures.

The NRA contended Vullo’s steps went beyond permissible advocacy and crossed into unconstitutional government coercion.

Thursday’s decision enables the NRA’s case to proceed, but the gun-rights group won’t necessarily pull out a victory in the end, as its legal burden will rise in later stages. The justices also made clear that a lower court could still find Vullo is entitled to qualified immunity, even if her actions were unconstitutional.

“Vullo was free to criticize the NRA and pursue the conceded violations of New York insurance law,” Sotomayor wrote.

“She could not wield her power, however, to threaten enforcement actions against DFS-regulated entities in order to punish or suppress the NRA’s gun-promotion advocacy,” the opinion continued. “Because the complaint plausibly alleges that Vullo did just that, the Court holds that the NRA stated a First Amendment violation.”

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Louisiana Passes Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act

BATON ROUGE, LA. (May 28, 2024) – Today, the Louisiana Senate gave final approval to the “Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act,” a bill to prohibit financial institutions from using a credit card merchant code that would enable the tracking of firearm and ammunition purchases.

Sen. Blake Miguez filed Senate Bill 301 (SB301) on March 1. The bill would prohibit any financial institution operating in the state from requiring or permitting “the assignment of a firearms code in a way that distinguishes a firearms retailer from other retailers.”

SB301 also prohibits all state and local government entities from keeping any list, record, or registry of privately owned firearms or the owners of such firearms. Financial institutions would be prohibited from denying a transaction based on the code. Those found guilty in a court of violating the law would be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 per violation, with the court determining the amount by factors “including the financial resources of the violator and the harm or risk of harm to the rights under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Louisiana, resulting from the violation.”

On April 16, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 28-11. Last week, the House approved the measure with some technical amendments by a vote of 74-26. Today, the Senate concurred with a vote of 27-9.

Over the 2023-2024 legislative sessions, at least 13 states have passed similar legislation.

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Louisiana: Governor Signs Bill Strengthening Firearm Preemption Law

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry has signed a measure that will strengthen the state’s firearm preemption law. Landry signed Senate Bill 194, sponsored by state Sen. Blake Miquez, on Wednesday.

“This bill strengthens 2A rights to ensure a consistent set of gun laws across Louisiana,” Sen. Miguez tweeted when the measure was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. “A patchwork of gun laws ultimately leads to law-abiding citizens becoming criminals for merely exercising their constitutional rights.”

Firearms preemption laws basically keep municipalities and parishes from passing more restrictive gun laws than those in state law. This measure will expand the types of behavior political subdivisions are generally prohibited from regulating, provide standing for both individuals and organizations to seek declaratory and injunctive relief when political subdivisions are in violation and require political subdivisions to repeal any offending ordinances or regulations within six months of the bill’s enactment.

“A person or an organization whose membership is adversely affected by any ordinance, order, regulation, policy, procedure, rule or any other form of executive or legislative action promulgated or caused to be enforced in  violation of this Section may file suit against an offending political subdivision in any court of this state having jurisdiction for declaratory and injunctive relief,” the measure states. “A court shall award a prevailing plaintiff in any such suit reasonable attorney fees and costs including expert witness fees and expenses.”

This measure would further restrict the authority of local governments to regulate firearms to include their “manufacture, …carrying, …storage, …[and] taxation;” and add “firearm accessories, knives, edged weapons, or any combination thereof” to the preemption statute.

The National Rifle Association had been lobbying for the passage of the bill since its introduction and was pleased that Gov. Landry signed the measure.

“The NRA would like to thank Governor Landry for signing this critical piece of legislation and his continued commitment to protecting Second Amendment rights in Louisiana,” NRA-ILA said in an update to members. “NRA also thanks Senator Blake Miguez for introducing the bill, and all members of the Louisiana legislature who supported SB 194 throughout this year’s legislative session.”

Two other measures have also been sent to the governor and await his consideration. Senate Bill 214 would create a uniform set of laws for carrying concealed firearms in dining establishments, ensuring lawful citizens have the right to defend themselves and their families in places that serve alcoholic beverages. Additionally, Senate Bill 152, makes some technical clarifications to some of the state’s carry statutes.

Tennessee Appeals Court Rules Against Wildlife Agents Who Planted Cameras on Private Land
The three-judge panel concluded unanimously that while the state law at issue is constitutional, the wildlife agents’ application of it was not.

In December 2022, Reason reported that both state and federal wildlife agents routinely trespass onto private land and plant cameras. Two Tennessee homeowners successfully sued the state over the practice, and a three-judge panel ruled in their favor. The state appealed the decision, and this week the court of appeals ruled in the homeowners’ favor.

At issue is a state law allowing officers of the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) to “go upon any property, outside of buildings, posted or otherwise,” in order to “enforce all laws relating to wildlife.” In the case of Terry Rainwaters and Hunter Hollingsworth, TWRA officers not only entered their respective properties but also installed trail cameras to look for hunting violations, all without a warrant and ignoring “No Trespassing” signs. A lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice (I.J.) on behalf of Rainwaters and Hollingsworth asked the court to declare the law unconstitutional and issue an injunction against the TWRA, barring it from carrying out any further unwarranted intrusions.

Under the “open-fields doctrine,” Supreme Court precedent dating back to Prohibition holds that undeveloped land on someone’s property lacks the same rigorous Fourth Amendment protections as their home and the “curtilage,” the area immediately surrounding the home.

In March 2022, a three-judge panel from the Benton County Circuit Court ruled in the homeowners’ favor, finding that the state constitution provided more protections than the Fourth Amendment. It determined that the state law allowing the TWRA practice created an “intolerable risk” of abuse and was “facially unconstitutional,” but it stopped short of issuing an injunction. The state appealed the decision the following month.

In a hearing before the Tennessee Court of Appeals Western Section on June 20, 2023, I.J. attorney Josh Windham argued that the state law is unconstitutionally broad. “It allows TWRA officers to enter and roam around private land, fishing for evidence of crime,” Windham said. “It doesn’t require consent. It doesn’t require warrants. It doesn’t require probable cause….It’s a blank check for officers to invade private land whenever and however they please.”

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Representative Massie finally posts his correcting the domestic enemy Nadler, who should one day be prosecuted under 18 US Code § 241.

Breyer’s ‘Pragmatic’ Approach to Destroying the Second Amendment

Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer may no longer be in a position to decide cases that come before the Court, but he’s still trying to shape the judiciary in a way that would allow for judges to uphold virtually every gun control law the anti’s could dream up.

Breyer’s new book Reading the Constitution; Why I Chose Pragmatism, Not Textualism outlines his approach to interpreting the Constitution. I’m actually surprised he managed to fill several hundred pages with material, given that his view is basically that judges should have the power to ignore what the text of the Constitution has to say if they don’t like it.

Breyer highlights the need for considering the broader context in which laws are passed and the “practical consequences” of different interpretations. He refers to the majority judgment in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen (2022), in which he dissented. The Court held, 6–3, that New York’s law requiring a citizen to have a license to carry a gun outside his home violated the right to carry arms under the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Breyer expresses his disagreement with the ruling by emphasizing his preference to prioritize the practical implications. Considering the alarming patterns of gun violence in the US, Breyer believes the Court should have limited the access to firearms.

Does Breyer not know his history, or is he just choosing to ignore it? The Second Amendment was ratified shortly after a civil war that not only brought the United States its independence but led to small-scale reprisals between patriots and loyalists throughout the course of the war. As the Bill of Rights was being drafted and debated, the memory of Shay’s Rebellion was fresh in the mind of the Framers, while the Whiskey Rebellion broke out along the western frontier the same year the Second Amendment was ratified. The Founders knew all about “gun violence”. They just didn’t believe that disarming the American people was the answer.

Breyer’s criticism of textualism is based on his adherence to pragmatism. He contends that judges should endeavour to interpret the Constitution in a manner that is pragmatic and adaptable to the requirements of modern society. According to him, this approach is better aligned with the intentions of the Constitution’s framers, who intended for the constitution to be “workable” and responsive to evolving circumstances.

The Constitution is responsive to “evolving circumstances”, but the proper way to do that is through an amendment, not a panel of nine justices deciding that is language can be discarded because they think it’s right thing to do in our modern age.

Breyer’s not the first to adopt a “pragmatic” approach to the Constitution, of course. I’d argue that Roger Taney’s decision in Dred Scott is actually a pretty good example of the pragmatic philosophy that Breyer espouses. Taney twisted the Constitution’s text beyond recognition in order to reach his conclusion that black Americans could never be entitled to citizenship and that Congress had no power to regulate slavery in the territories. He did so in the belief that the practical implications of his ruling would make the country a more peaceful place by removing the issue of slavery and abolition (which Taney considered an act of “Northern aggression” from the national debate.

Pragmatism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. In Bruen, Breyer (joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan) argued that the majority opinion “refuses to consider the government interests that justify a challenged gun regulation, regardless of how compelling those interests may be,” adding “the Constitution contains no such limitation, and neither do our precedents.”

The text of the Second Amendment doesn’t include a clause after “shall not be infringed” that says “unless the government thinks there’s a good reason to do so”. The entire purpose of the Bill of Rights is to restrain the government from violating our individual rights, and the Fourteenth Amendment applies those protections to abuses from state and local governments as well. The only pragmatic way to change that while remaining faithful to the Constitution is to pass another amendment negating the right to keep and bear arms. That option has been available to the gun control lobby for decades, but as we’ve seen with Gavin Newsom’s proposed constitutional amendment, it’s not feasible because the support simply isn’t there.

Since repealing the right to keep and bear arms is off the table, Breyer (and others) are left to insist that the Constitution is essentially whatever they want it to be. That judicial arrogance is at the heart of some of the worst legal decisions in this country, including Dred Scott, but thankfully was consigned to the minority in Bruen. If Democrats are able to reshape the court in their image after the November elections, however, that “pragmatic” approach could very well become the majority view on the Court. Our right to keep and bear arms could disappear as quickly as Dred Scott’s right to live free did in 1857; not because the Constitution demands that result, but because the “pragmatic” enemies of individual liberty do.