Restoring the Founders’ right to bear arms

Joseph Greenlee is the director of constitutional studies at FPC Law.

It may have been Justice Clarence Thomas’s 74th birthday, but he was the one delivering gifts on June 23, 2022. Namely, the restoration of millions of Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Thomas’s majority opinion in Bruen held that ordinary Americans have a right to carry arms in public, and that the proper test for adjudicating Second Amendment challenges is an analysis of “the Second Amendment’s text, as informed by history.” This holding restored the right to bear arms across the country and gives hope that many other firearm restrictions — including several that have previously been upheld by courts — will be repealed or held unconstitutional.

Bruen is a happy ending to a cautionary tale about what happens when constitutional rights are left to government discretion. The Bill of Rights — including the Second Amendment — was designed to ensure that certain rights were placed beyond the reach of the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment created the same distance between Second Amendment rights and state governments. Nevertheless, six states granted themselves the power to decide on a case-by-case basis through “may-issue” licensing regimes whether residents really needed the right to bear arms. This resulted in government depriving millions of Americans of a fundamental right it had no authority to deny.

To exercise their right to bear arms, the Bruen petitioners had to convince a licensing officer that they had “a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.” When the licensing officer determined that their need for self-protection was not special enough, they challenged the constitutionality of the licensing law. But the Second Amendment test applied by the lower courts reviewing their license denials was simply another inquiry into whether the petitioners’ self-protection interests were special enough to outweigh the government’s interest in prohibiting them from carrying. Again, according to the government, they were not.

Until Bruen, this judicial interest-balancing test — the “two-part test” — was the prevailing test throughout the lower courts. In part one, the court determined whether the challenged law burdened the Second Amendment’s original scope. If so, in part two, the court balanced the challenger’s interest in exercising that aspect of the right against the government’s interest in regulating it.

This test resulted in nearly every challenged firearm restriction across the country being upheld during its 12-year reign. By the time Bruen was decided, with few exceptions, the lower courts had essentially limited the Second Amendment to protecting the possession of handguns in the home — the narrowest possible reading of District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down prohibitions on handguns and functional firearms in the home. This incremental nullification of the Second Amendment led some judges to call it “the Rodney Dangerfield of the Bill of Rights.”

Despite several justices’ repeated objections, lower courts continued “resisting th[e] Court’s decisions” and treating “the Second Amendment as a disfavored right.” As Justice Samuel Alito noted in his Bruen concurrence, the Supreme Court saw how manipulatable the two-part test was the last time it agreed to review a Second Amendment case. In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld under the two-part test New York City’s law preventing residents from taking their handguns outside city limits. But once the Supreme Court granted cert, the city conceded that the law did not benefit public safety and repealed it to moot the case.

Bruen rightly invalidated the two-part test and returned the Second Amendment to its original form by reaffirming a test based on text and history. In applying that test to strike down New York’s discretionary licensing regime, the court provided the following guidance to lower courts, which offers insight into what other laws may be unconstitutional.

  • Courts must first analyze the Second Amendment’s text, and then consult history to determine whether the regulation is consistent with America’s tradition of firearm regulation.
  • While historical material from before, during, and after the Founding may be considered, the Second Amendment’s “meaning is fixed according to the understandings of those who ratified it.” Moreover, “not all history is created equal.” Founding-era history is paramount; 20th century history is irrelevant.
  • Applying the original understanding of the right to modern regulations will often involve reasoning by analogy. The challenged law cannot be more burdensome than the analogous law, which must be well-established in American history.
  • The government carries the burden of proving that the regulation is constitutional. This burden is significant. It requires more than what the government produced in Bruen, including three colonial restrictions, several 18th and 19th century laws that are related but not directly analogous, a statute and a pair of state-court decisions from the late-19th century that are directly analogous, and a handful of pre-statehood restrictions from western territories.
  • “Shall-issue” licensing regimes, as they currently exist in 43 states, likely comply with the Second Amendment by allowing all ordinary Americans to publicly carry firearms. But overly burdensome regimes, including any that involve lengthy processing times or exorbitant fees, are unconstitutional.

In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer criticized the court for applying a test that “refuses to consider the government interests that justify a challenged gun regulation.” “The Constitution contains no such limitation,” he claimed. But the Constitution is the limitation. As the majority explained, “the Second Amendment is the product of an interest balancing by the people, not the evolving product of federal judges,” and it “elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms for self-defense.”

Because firearms are far more regulated today than at any other point in American history, a fair application of Bruen should result in the invalidation of many burdensome and ahistorical laws. Included in these invalidated restrictions should be most of those that lower courts scrutinized under part two of the two-part test after determining that they burden the right’s original scope in part one.

In addition to restoring the Founders’ Second Amendment and reinstating the inalienable right to bear arms for millions of Americans, Bruen has effectively reset Second Amendment law after a decade of dismissive treatment by lower courts.

‘unauthorized’… My foot.


Massive Trove of Gun Owners’ Private Information Leaked by California Attorney General

California gun owners have been put at risk by the Attorney General’s office after a new dashboard leaked their personal information.

The California Department of Justice’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal went live on Monday with publicly-accessible files that include identifying information for those who have concealed carry permits. The leaked information includes the person’s full name, race, home address, date of birth, and date their permit was issued. The data also shows the type of permit issued, indicating if the permit holder is a member of law enforcement or a judge.

The Reload reviewed a copy of the Lost Angeles County database and found 244 judge permits listed in the database. The files included the home addresses, full names, and dates of birth for all of them. The same was true for seven custodial officers, 63 people with a place of employment permit, and 420 reserve officers.

2,891 people in Los Angeles County with standard licenses also had their information compromised by the leak, though the database appears to include some duplicate entries as well.

A video reviewed by The Reload shows the databases with detailed information were initially available for download via a button on the website’s mapping feature. They appeared to have been removed from public access by Tuesday afternoon and replaced with spreadsheets without the individualized identifying information.

The office of Attorney General Rob Bonta (D.) confirmed private information had been exposed and said they are examining the situation.

“We are investigating an exposure of individuals’ personal information connected to the DOJ Firearms Dashboard,” a spokesperson for the office told The Reload. “Any unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable. We are working swiftly to address this situation and will provide additional information as soon as possible.”

The California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) slammed the leak and said it was looking into potential legal action against the state.

“Vindictive sore loser bureaucrats have endangered people’s lives and invited conflict by illegally releasing confidential private information,” Chuck Michel, CRPA President, told The Reload. “CRPA is working with several legislators and sheriffs to determine the extent of the damage caused by DOJ’s doxing of law abiding gun owners. Litigation is likely.”

The Reload is not publishing the leaked data in order to protect the privacy of those affected by the leaks. However, posts across social media indicate many others were able to obtain the documents during the time they were live on the state’s website. There are also several social media posts that indicate similar identifying information from the state’s dealer record of sales database and its “assault weapons” registry were part of the leak, though The Reload was unable to review copies of those databases.

The leak comes just over a year after California moved to provide detailed personal information of all gun owners in the state to educational institutions across the country despite objections over concerns about data security and individual privacy. It also comes as a similar policy to California’s restrictive gun carry law was invalidated by the Supreme Court, which will likely result in many more Californians being added to the same database the state just leaked.

In a press release announcing the leaky dashboard, Bonta said the goal was “increasing public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve.” He said the dashboard was about ensuring transparency to “better understand the role and potential dangers of firearms.”

Instead, the leaked private information of gun owners is likely to increase the risk criminals will target their homes for burglaries–something the state’s dashboard reports happened 145,377 times in 2020 alone.

Former Idaho AG doesn’t know how rights work

When something is your right, it means it cannot just be taken away. Not unless you break the law and your rights are removed as punishment. If something can be taken, it is a privilege, and privileges can be removed anytime if whoever grants them decides to stop granting them.

This isn’t exactly high-level constitutional law stuff, either. This is a basic understanding the Founding Fathers had from the get-go. It’s why they fought a war against the most powerful nation on Earth. Having their rights respected was worth the risk.

Yet, for former Idaho Attorney General Jim Jones, rights don’t really work like that, apparently. That’s based on his writing over at The Hill.

Two groups of conservatives made contradictory decisions last week on whether there should be a balance between the safety of the American public and the rights of a small, but very vocal, minority. A group of 15 Senate Republicans broke with their party and voted for a modest gun safety bill. At the same time, the GOP-appointed majority on the U.S. Supreme Court made sure that there will be more guns in public places. The Senate’s action will save lives; the court’s action will likely add to the tally of gun deaths.

The six Republican-appointed members of the Supreme Court struck down a century-old New York law requiring a showing of “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun. Although the ruling was an immediate blow to public safety, the longer-term effect of the decision will pose an even greater safety threat.

The court departed from a consensus view developed by lower courts over the last decade that allowed gun rights to be limited by concerns over public safety. Instead, it focused the inquiry solely on whether a restriction is based on “history or tradition.” If a similar historical analogue for a gun limitation cannot be found, it may well be unconstitutional, without regard to the effect on public safety.

More than anything else, our governmental entities and public servants must understand that private rights ought to give way to the public good. We don’t believe a person’s First Amendment rights extend to falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Second Amendment rights must also yield when they infringe upon the paramount right of the people to be safe in public places.

Uh…no.

Not only no, but hell no.

Of course, Jones invokes the old canard of yelling fire in a crowded theater, as most who try to justify an infringement on our gun rights tend to do, but you’d think a former attorney general would understand that this was a hypothetical presented by a justice during a case and that decision was ultimately overturned in part by Brandenberg v. Ohio. That case found that speech could only be regulated if it were likely to cause imminent lawless action.

Plus, let’s understand that if we take Jones’s word that private rights ought to give way to the public good, then the question becomes, where do we draw the line? It’s clear that Jones favors restricting our right to keep and bear arms as a means of trying to ensure public safety, but what else is on the table?

Can we seize his home so we can house the homeless? Can we seize his car so it can be used for public transportation? Can we lock Jones in chains and make him do road work for no reason other than we simply need the road to be built?

Where would such a line be?

The problem here is that the line would be subjective. What’s “far enough” for Jones wouldn’t be far enough for someone else. There are those who actually do support things not unlike the examples mentioned above, after all.

The way you deal with this is to draw a line with objective criteria. These are your personal rights, and they shouldn’t be infringed upon simply because someone thinks it’s good for the public. The truth is, the smallest minority is the individual. Empower them, and everyone is equally empowered.

Our gun rights aren’t up for debate. First of all, we don’t buy the idea that gun control yields any of the benefits Jones seems to believe. Yet even if we did, rights don’t work that way.

 And thank God for that.

The Supremes are Back – Making the Constitution Great Again

Diana Ross and the Supremes were one of the biggest Motown musical groups in the 1960s. By 1970 they went their separate ways, but this past week, their informal namesakes scored a mega-hit. Not singing catchy pop tunes, but by dancing in their black robes, singing glory and praise to the United States Constitution, making it great again.

I speak of the US Supreme Court, finding their constitutional voices on two major issues that have polarized and divided Americans for decades. SCOTUS was not created to make law or decide controversial social or policy issues. In a constitutional republic, those issues are decided by the people, or their elected representatives, not by unelected, lifetime appointed judges.

Instead, SCOTUS’s role is to determine whether laws passed by the legislative branch or administrative decisions emanating from the executive branch are constitutional. From the SCOTUS website,

The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.

While Diana Ross and her Supremes sang, “Stop in the name of love”, Clarence Thomas and his Supremes did a remake, “Stop in the name of law”, specifically the US Constitution. Two big decisions in two days. Was this “The Storm” that President Trump once predicted? Or just a “boom-boom” end to a week where we saw another two booms — the President falling off his bicycle then showing off his cue card telling him, as one would a young distractible child, where to sit, as in “YOU take YOUR seat” and when to get up and leave as in “YOU depart”.

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New York’s Unconstitutional Gun Law Was Written By A Notorious, Corrupt Thug

Larry Mulligan-Hicks and Tim Sullivan

The Sullivan Act was named after Timothy D. Sullivan, one of the most corrupt politicians of his age.

On the morning of January 23, 1911, an unstable Harvard graduate with the theatrical name of Fitzhugh Coyle Goldsborough walked up to the novelist David Graham Phillips on a Manhattan street and unloaded six shots from his .32-caliber pistol into him. Goldsborough, who believed the novelist had defamed his sister, reloaded his gun, placed it against his temple, and pulled the trigger. Goldsborough died instantly.

The murder-suicide shocked the city. Although the crime destroyed many lives, none of them would change history quite like George Petit le Brun, the man who performed the autopsies on the bodies at the city coroner’s office.

“I reasoned that the time had come to have legislation passed that would prevent the sale of pistols to irresponsible persons,” he later wrote. After two years of imploring local politicians to institute gun control laws, le Brun finally found an ally in Timothy D. Sullivan, one of the most corrupt politicians of his age, a Tammany Hall operator known to New Yorkers as “Big Tim.”

One of the big talking points in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decision last week—it is mentioned in nearly every news piece—is that New York’s “may issue” permit law had been on the books for more than 100 years. And that’s a long time. But time does not make a law constitutional or efficacious.

The Sullivan Act, passed in 1911, was the nation’s first statewide gun control law. It required New Yorkers who possessed firearms small enough to be concealed to ask local cops—who could deny the request not just to “irresponsible persons” but to anyone, and for any reason, they liked—for a license.

People caught owning guns without one would face a misdemeanor charge, and those carrying guns without one a felony. In addition to handguns, the law prohibited the possession or carrying of weapons such as brass knuckles, sandbags, blackjacks, bludgeons, and bombs, as well as possessing or carrying a dagger, “dangerous knife,” or razor “with intent to use the same unlawfully.”

Such discretionary and capricious gun laws would allow corrupt cops to disarm rival gangs that threatened Tammany Hall’s authority or undermined its political interests. Big Tim’s cronies could use the law to punish business owners who didn’t pay protection money or deny entire neighborhoods the ability of self-defense.

Although Big Tim was corrupt in every way imaginable—he was involved in bribery, gambling, prostitution, and rigging elections, for starters—historians like Terry Golway assure us Sullivan really wanted to clean up neighborhoods “awash in cheap pistols.” “His law is now off the books,” writes Golway, “His wisdom remains.” One would have to suspend disbelief to accept that some of the most corrupt bureaucrats of the age, people who weren’t beneath exploiting women and children or shaking down businesses, wouldn’t abuse a malleable law that empowered them to deny their political opponents the right to defend themselves. Moreover, whatever Sullivan’s intentions were, there was no decline in gang violence or murder in New York in the ensuing years.

In 1911, there were 366 homicide arrests in New York. By 1920, there were 743. Then, like now, criminals remained unconcerned with attaining proper licensing before engaging in criminality. Only law-abiding citizens cared. We will never know how many shopkeepers and immigrants were left defenseless to thugs in those years. Even after the fall of Tammany, getting a gun for self-defense was prohibitively difficult. Essentially, the Second Amendment didn’t exist. The wealthy—Trumps, Sulzbergers, and Rockefellers, among many other notables—had no problem obtaining licenses over the years. This leaves poor and minorities, who often lack the resources or time to figure out the process, without their rights.

It’s always been a mystery to me why those critical of law enforcement are fine with allowing them to make key decisions. Then, as now, it was up to citizens to beg officials to allow them to defend themselves against subjective reasons that allow politicians, bureaucrats, and law enforcement to pick and choose who gets to practice their rights.

The Five Reasons SCOTUS Overturned Roe and Casey

It’s long but read the whole thing

The Supreme Court’s opinion released Friday is the culmination of decades of work by pro-life activists and comes amid an unprecedented level of hostility toward members of the high court who believed that the “right” to abortion created in Roe and revised in Casey was based on flawed legal reasoning. While the left is already planning for a “night of rage” in response to the decision overruling Roe that merely returns abortion policy-making power to the people and their elected representatives, here’s what Justice Alito said were the five factors that weighed strongly in favor of overturning Roe and Casey.

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Sununu Signs Controversial Firearms Bill Into Law

In the press release Gov. Chris Sununu sent out Friday about 36 bills he signed, he added a statement explaining why he signed HB 1178 prohibiting the state from enforcing any federal statute, regulation, or Presidential Executive Order that restricts or regulates the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

 “New Hampshire has a proud tradition of responsible firearms stewardship, and I’ve long said that I’m not looking to make any changes to our laws,” Sununu said. “This bill will ensure that New Hampshire’s law enforcement efforts will be on our own State firearms laws – and that’s where I believe their focus should be.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Andy Biggs — Expect House Gun Controllers to ‘Go After Ammo and Ammo Manufacturers’

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) spoke with Breitbart News about the current push for gun control in the House and warned us to be ready to see gun controllers “go after ammunition and ammunition manufacturers.”

Biggs noted a number of gun controls have been passed by the Democrat-controlled House, and even though those controls have not passed the Senate he believes the House will pass even more.

He explained, “I expect some additional gun control legislation to come out of the House. I expect there will be an attempt to do an ‘assault weapons’ ban, I think they’re going to continue to try to eliminate liability protections on gun manufacturers, and I think they’re also going to go after ammunition and ammunition manufacturers.”

Biggs then talked about gun control in the Senate, where he said, “When gun control reared its head again, after Uvalde, I expected 20 members of Senate Republicans to cave and give things like red flag laws and whatever else that the House pushing. But I’m sure what, if anything, is going to get out now, because it has taken so long and they have no language.”

He added, “When you have no language to look at, they start working off what is called a framework, and that leads to infighting where some Senators want certain things but not other things, and that indicates a lack a consensus.”

And Biggs stressed the more time passes the less chance there is consensus will occur.

He also noted the way Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was booed on Friday at the Texas GOP Convention, and said, “That response indicates that gun owners are not real pleased with the Republicans that are undermining the Second Amendment.”

Biggs emphasized the launch of a watchdog group, the Arizona Second Amendment Coalition, a coalition of people he has pulled together to stay on top of the fight for Second Amendment rights.

Members of the coalition include elected officials, student advocates, individuals who work in the firearm industry, and members of pro-2A groups like the DC Project, among others.

Biggs said, “We’re trying to make it a broad-based coalition where we talk about challenges to the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Whether that is an ATF challenge, something the Biden administration is doing, or what policies–local, state, and federal–that may either positively or negatively impact the Second Amendment.”

On January 3, 2022, Breitbart News reported Biggs stressing that carrying a gun for self-defense is part of being a “free American.”

Biggs said, “When you start talking about my wife or me or someone else, we’re talking about self-defense, and the first liberty is the right to life. So, if you can’t defense yourself against the bad guys you start looking like the 12 cities in America that have the highest homicide rate in their history.”

He then added, “You don’t want to look like that. You don’t want to look like Venezuela. You want to be a free American and the way to be free and reduce crime is to allow people to carry guns.”

Will Your “Smart” Devices and AI Apps Have a Legal Duty to Report on You?

I just ran across an interesting article, “Should AI Psychotherapy App Marketers Have a Tarasoff Duty?,” which answers the question in its title “yes”: Just as human psychotherapists in most states have a legal obligation to warn potential victims of a patient if the patient says something that suggests a plan to harm the victim (that’s the Tarasoff duty, so named after a 1976 California Supreme Court case), so AI programs being used by the patient must do the same.

It’s a legally plausible argument—given that the duty has been recognized as a matter of state common law, a court could plausibly interpret it as applying to AI psychotherapists as well as to other psychotherapists—but it seems to me to highlight a broader question:

To what extent will various “smart” products, whether apps or cars or Alexas or various Internet-of-Things devices, be mandated to monitor and report potentially dangerous behavior by their users (or even by their ostensible “owners”)?

To be sure, the Tarasoff duty is somewhat unusual in being a duty that is triggered even in the absence of the defendant’s affirmative contribution to the harm. Normally, a psychotherapist wouldn’t have a duty to prevent harm caused by his patient, just as you don’t have a duty to prevent harm caused by your friends or adult family members; Tarasoff was a considerable step beyond the traditional tort law rules, though one that many states have indeed taken. Indeed, I’m skeptical about Tarasoff, though most judges that have considered the matter don’t share my skepticism.

But it is well-established in tort law that people have a legal duty to take reasonable care when they do something that might affirmatively help someone do something harmful (that’s the basis for legal claims, for instance, for negligent entrustment, negligent hiring, and the like). Thus, for instance, a car manufacturer’s provision of a car to a driver does affirmatively contribute to the harm caused when the driver drives recklessly.

Does that mean that modern (non-self-driving) cars must—just as a matter of the common law of torts—report to the police, for instance, when the driver appears to be driving erratically in ways that are indicative of likely drunkenness? Should Alexa or Google report on information requests that seem like they might be aimed at figuring out ways to harm someone?

To be sure, perhaps there shouldn’t be such a duty, for reasons of privacy or, more specifically, the right not to have products that one has bought or is using surveil and report on you. But if so, then there might need to be work done, by legislatures or by courts, to prevent existing tort law principles from pressuring manufacturers to engage in such surveillance and reporting.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since my Tort Law vs. Privacy article, but it seems to me that the recent surge of smart devices will make these issues come up even more.

2 Countries In America: Those Who Cherish the RKBA & Those Who Don’t

It is time for us to think outside the box and form two countries. Instead of civil war I propose civil separation. We are two countries, so ideologically opposed that each feels victimized and dominated by the other. Political leaders need to step up and brainstorm next steps. Clearly lay out the two ideologies and give each state a vote as to where they belong.” ~“Opinion Letter” from reader of The New York Times posted on June 5, 2022, responding to May 27, 2022 “America May Be Broken Beyond Repair,” by the Political Progressive Columnist for the Times, Michelle Goldberg. The letter writer, Dawn Menken, a Psychologist, from Portland, Oregon, is the author of “Facilitating a More Perfect Union: A Guide for Politicians and Leaders,” published in 2021*

If the American public didn’t know the truth before, it knows it now: the battle for the very Soul of the Country is on the line, and Ground Zero of that battle isn’t Uvalde, Texas. It’s New York City, New York, with the Bruen case shortly coming down the pike.

The Nation is indeed “two Countries,”—no less so now than at the time of the American Civil War: friend against friend, brother against brother, uncle against cousin, father against son. But what is different today is that ideologies cut across and into the very notion of what it means to be an American. There are those who hold to the meaning and purport of our Nation as set forth in our Constitution and especially in the Nation’s Bill of Rights. And there are those who wish to jettison all of it in the erroneous belief that our Nation is at its core, immoral, even evil. They wish to destroy the very fabric of a free Constitutional Republic.

But the salient difference between these two Countries rests on this:

Those Americans who embrace and cherish their fundamental right to keep and bear arms, and others who do not.

Those who embrace and cherish their fundamental right to keep and bear arms also recognize and embrace their sovereignty over Government. They understand that government exists to serve the interests of the people. They recognize that Government is the servant and the American people are the sole master.

Unfortunately, many Americans are of a different mindset. Such Americans have bought into the psychological conditioning programmed into them that guns are awful and gun owners are to be despised. Such Americans care not that Government is their servant, not their master. They recognize not and care not that by ceding their God-Given right to keep and bear arms, they have laid the foundation for their own demise: loss of Selfhood, loss of Dignity, loss of Self-Reliance, loss of mastery over their own destiny.

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You’re being lied to about “mass shootings”. Here’s the truth. – and it’s loaded with USDOJ-funded research.

The latest data on mass shootings from the National Institute of Justice of the US Department of Justice and the Rand Corporation.

There are no standard definitions of mass shootings. There are no easy answers.

Source

National Institute Of Justice-Rand

Article

I was interviewed on a national television show about research-based answers to mass shootings. Beyond condemning those involved, I stumbled. I knew that there were few (if any) firm answers or guidance.

That’s not the case for some doing similar interviews. Many are quick to promote firearm controls or red flag laws or suggest that there are effective answers. That’s simply not the case. The complexities and price tags for the proposals are immense.

For example, we within the justice system acknowledge our inability to keep track of convicted-fingerprinted felons and maintain accurate records. There are vast inaccuracies. Now, we want to do national or state databases for those with ever-changing mental health conditions?

It will be a logistical and financial nightmare with probable ACLU challenges. It’s not going to work beyond those committed to institutions and even then, conditions change.

As of this writing, the latest Congressional proposals are available via CNN.

It’s time to examine the best available data on the subject. Note that varied definitions of mass shootings and whether they were public (inferring unknown victims) or private (inferring known victims) will be difficult to follow. Previous research suggests that most victims of mass shootings were known to the shooter.

There are few firm conclusions based on research. Policy issues are elusive. The emphasis is on assault weapons when the overwhelming majority of mass shootings involve handguns (while noting that many mass shooters carry a variety of weapons).

You’re going to get different policy perspectives from different groups, see Politico.

Policy Solutions to Address Mass Shootings was offered by the National Institute of Justice and Rockefeller Institute of Government in August of 2021.

The Best Available Data

What “is” useful is a 2021 document from the National Institute of Justice of the US Department of Justice and the Rand Corporation (one of the best crime-related research organizations in the nation) summarizing what we know and don’t know about mass shootings. What’s below is from that document. It’s a tool kit for understanding “and” responding to mass shootings.

Most will be a bit frustrated by the lack of clarity as to what constitutes a mass shooting, who commits them, their mental health issues, and what can be done.

Those in law enforcement are exasperated by the national call for cops to be guardians, not warriors which seem wildly misplaced because law enforcement is expected to enter a mass shooting and stop the shooter, which requires endless tactical training and equipment.

In an earlier article, I point out that the great majority of what we call gun violence is street-level violent crime, not mass shooters. I suggest that the explosion of media coverage of mass shootings is somewhat misplaced; the vast majority of victims of gun violence are people of color and society has become immune to that violence.

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Where Second Amendment Supporters Must Take The Offensive

While the best strategy in the short and medium-term for Second Amendment supporters may be fighting “not to lose,” that does not mean that Second Amendment supporters should not take the offensive when it is the right time to do so.

The question is what should the offensive focus on? There are two fronts Second Amendment supporters should think about: Legislative and Legal, the former with two fronts of its own – federal and state. Each will require different strategies.

The Legislative Front At The Federal Level

At the federal level, many of the same things that protect the Second Amendment will make passing legislation harder. This includes the filibuster in the Senate. So, what can be done?

First of all, if Chuck Schumer is no longer Senate Majority Leader, one of the best options will be riders on appropriations bills. This must-pass legislation can be used to prohibit funding some of the worst excesses. That could work for the short term.

Should Second Amendment supporters succeed in retaking the White House, they can them move to address financial deplatforming, take steps to deal with Silicon Valley censorship, and to tighten up the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. For the short and medium-term, these will be necessary.

The Legislative Front At The State Level

In one sense, all pro-Second Amendment groups have blundered by NOT making financial deplatforming a major issue. State laws prohibiting banks and credit cards from blacklisting gun companies that make legal products should be passed as soon as possible. The best way to prevent corporate gun control is to make such efforts very painful to corporations’ bottom lines.

A similar step could also be to pass their own versions of legislation to harden schools. Not just the buildings themselves, although that is important, but also a program to allow for teachers (or other volunteers) to serve as armed security the same way the armed pilots program worked.

The Legal Front

This is the front where Second Amendment supporters should take the offensive more. After gun bans, the best target would be the licensing schemes like the FOID in Illinois or the system in New Jersey. After NYSRPA v. Bruen, those systems are ripe for going after with litigation.

The courts will also be useful in curbing the excesses of “reg flag” laws, especially at the federal level. Heller, McDonald, and Bruen will help, and even the threat of litigation may deter some anti-Second Amendment legislation or force settlements.

Knowing when to take the offensive will be crucial for Second Amendment supporters in the wake of the likely ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen. But the real importance is being able to act after defeating anti-Second Amendment extremists via the ballot box at the federal, state, and local levels.

Looks like standard operational unspecific jabberjawing to me


Here’s What Senators Came Up With for a Deal on New Gun Laws

After days of negotiations that worried Second Amendment advocates and law-abiding firearm owners due to talk of sweeping new restrictions, it seems like — for now at least — the Republican members of the bipartisan working group held the line on the strictest proposals, though they didn’t stop Democrats on all fronts in the talks that made many conservatives scratch their heads.

The bipartisan group of Senators — led by Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) — announced their proposal for legislation they seem to think has a chance of making it through their evenly-divided chamber.

In a joint statement, the senators said their plan will “protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country” while citing a duty they feel to “come together and get something done.” Never mind, apparently, that all the restrictive gun laws in Chicago and elsewhere haven’t protected residents.

The statement continued saying the agreement “increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons,” again, as if previous laws to keep guns out of criminals’ hands had worked. “We look forward to earning broad, bipartisan support and passing our commonsense proposal into law,” the statement concludes. We’ll see.

The proposal includes providing “resources” — likely grant incentives — to states if they implement so-called “red flag laws.” It also includes investing taxpayer dollars in mental health services for families and in schools along with school safety resources to “to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.” The proposal announcement also says legislators will seek to include an “enhanced review period” for firearm purchasers under 21 years old.

Perhaps notably — and showing Democrats did not get all the things they’ve called for in the wake of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas — is a lack of their buzzword assault weapons ban, high capacity magazine restrictions, a federal red flag system, or an increase in the minimum age to purchase certain rifles.

To be clear, the lack of those items in the framework proposal does not mean Democrats won’t try to sneak in some version of them as an eventual piece of legislation is developed.

As WaPo previewed before the official announcement of the proposal, the inclusion of billions of federal dollars for school security programs and mental health care is probably the only thing the proposal has going for it with most Republicans.

Townhall reported last week that an armed school resource officer and secured doors kept an aggressive man from entering an elementary school filled with children. The SRO took the individual down with assistance from local law enforcement while most children inside the building were unaware that anything had happened outside. The training and protocol that worked there should be used for a framework, not gun-grabbing Democrats’ CNN talking points.

Throughout the negotiations, Republicans involved had tried to assuage concerns from firearm owners and gun safety advocates. Sen. Cornyn said that the forthcoming deal was “not about creating new restrictions on law-abiding citizens” but “about ensuring that the system we already have in place works as intended.” Yet several of the pieces of the framework seem to include new restrictions, albeit lesser than a blanket ban on “assault weapons” or magazines.

And while the group may have reached a tentative agreement, they’re only a small group of the U.S. Senate — and several Republicans in the crew such as Susan Collins (ME) and Mitt Romney (UT) are not exactly known as standard bearers for the GOP. At least 60 senators in all would be needed to support any resulting legislation in order to overcome a potential legislative filibuster.

As we’ve learned before, a statement of agreement between a small group of senators is anything but a done deal. We’ve also learned that what might seem to be a workable legislative framework can turn into a Frankenstein’s monster of horrible policies as Democrats scheme to use the bipartisan cover of squishy Republicans to ultimately get their way.

The best thing for any Senate Republican to do at this point is walk away from the table and declare opposition over anything even remotely concerning in the tentative agreement — the incentive for red flag laws or the enhanced review for under-21 purchasers, for example — or legislation as it ends up being written.

There’s less than five months until the midterms, Democrats need at least ten Republicans to even move a bill to a vote, and there’s no reason for Republicans to cave on an issue as critical as Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms just to look like they’re playing nice. Democrats would never do the same if they were in the minority, and there are better, more effective, less freedom-depriving options available to respond to tragedies like the one in Uvalde. Harden schools, fund resource officers, train willing staff, and work to remedy the myriad failures of government that are discovered in the wake of such tragedies.

McConaughey Just Picked His Political Party. Huge Mistake.

Matthew McConaughey is a cut above most political celebrities.

He doesn’t spit fire and brimstone like director Rob Reiner or Alyssa Milano. Nor does he bend the truth until it snaps like a branch, as the “View” hosts do on a regular basis.

The Oscar winner is calm, measured and unwilling to demonize the mainstream Left or Right.

In a way, he’s everything we want in a celebrity sticking his neck out on the issues of the day. Except he just made the biggest mistake of his quasi-political life.

He chose a side. And he chose badly for more than a few reasons.

McConaughey’s recent gun control plea, made via the current White House’s invitation, won’t be easily forgotten. His policy suggestions proved generic and unlikely to move the needle on gun violence.

Then again, why would anyone expect the “Dallas Buyers Club” star to set forth any bold new agendas? He’s an actor, not a gun control expert. He brings a layman’s touch to the subject, meaning there’s little reason for him to even be on such an important political stage.

It’s one thing for a celebrity to share a hot take on Twitter. It’s another to travel to Washington, D.C. and demand said take be given the gravitas of a State of the Union address.

Figures like John Lott and Dana Loesch have been enmeshed in guns for years, if not decades. Agree or disagree with their opinions, they’ve studied the topic aggressively and offer sober insights.

What has McConaughey done to measure up?

More importantly, the star has been carefully straddling the line between Democrats and Republicans in recent years. He’s teased running for Texas governor, inserting himself into various narratives along the way.

And he’s done so without choosing a party. That’s no accident.

Embracing generic gun control platitudes, from the Biden White House pulpit of all places, changed that. And he did it at a moment when Team Biden is on its heels, pounded by terrible polling numbers and facing a Red Wave come November.

It’s not politically smart to back the wrong horse.

Not only did McConaughey pick a political side, but he also did so at the worst possible time. Today’s Democratic party doesn’t resemble the one President Barack Obama commandeered just a few short years ago.

It’s angry, uncompromising and beholden to its far-Left base. And that seems to clash with everything the actor represents.

The modern Left looks the other way when its side commits political violence, or it implicitly eggs it on. It gently nods as protesters descend on the homes of Supreme Court Justices, assuming the legal eagles lean to the Right.

McConaughey’s “new” side often demands abortion up until birth, cheers on Big Tech censorship and champions Cancel Culture.

The actor may not embrace those extreme measures, but his new party does. And how will Democrats take to McConaughey’s kinder, gentler approach? They’ll rage against his willingness to defend Trump voters, as he’s done in the past. They’ll steam over his inability to demonize the other side.

Conservatives offer a bigger tent today, witness Dr. Oz’s primary victory in Pennsylvania. Or, closer to Hollywood, look at how the Right rallies behind left-leaning comics like Ricky Gervais, Joe Rogan and Dave Chappelle.

No one fought harder for Rogan than the Right, and even he admitted as much.

Republicans might have made room for a center-leaning soul who just so happened to be a movie star. Democrats may cheer McConaughey on as he pushes more gun control measures, but every other time he opens his mouth they’ll demand he shut it, and fast.

The political neophyte will learn that lesson soon enough.

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.


Let’s read that first paragraph a little closer

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

Those ‘conventions’ were the state delegations who’s members were concerned that the Constitution’s forming of a government, supposedly of limited powers, still might give enough power so that a corrupt government could mis-construct them and in abusing them become, in effect, ‘legally’ tyrannical.

These men were prescient.

The demand was a listing of certain rights that the people possessed and that the government power was restricted from interfering with.

This is the mass deception we see today; ‘The Second amendment didn’t allow the people to have X-Y-Z.’

That is a lie.

Neither the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights – as Madison called them – gave or allowed the people anything. The people already had these rights. The amendments restricted government, not the people.

Constitutional Rights vs. Ideological Rights

On 31 July 1982 I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign, and domestic. Today I am the Executive Director of the American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU).

As a career military serviceman and combat veteran, I believe the oath that I took then has no statute of limitations.  As a Member of Congress, that oath was my guiding principle and light, as the Constitution is our rule of law.

The U.S. Constitution was established to restrain the powers of the federal government.  As a matter of fact, when you read Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution you will find the (18) enumerated duties of the legislative branch, the most powerful of our three branches of government.  Article II and Article III lay out the duties, qualifications, duties, responsibilities and scope of the executive and judicial branches.  Our founders intentionally described and limited the federal government.

Unfortunately, the left does not subscribe to these limitations.  Today there exists competing philosophies of governance — constitutional conservatism and progressive socialism. Leftists do not believe in the absolutism of the Constitution, our rule of law, and certainly not the ideal of constitutional rights. Leftists believe in the dangerous concept of ideological rights.

The left in America embraces an ideal that is the antithesis of our constitutional rights. They believe their ideology defines our rights.  They believe they can grant and take our rights away.

I find very disconcerting the repeated assertion by the current occupant of the oval office, Joe Biden, that no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.  His current focus is the Second Amendment, whose language is quite simple and forthright.  His line has been parroted by many progressive socialists, elected officials and media pundits.

The Second Amendment is part of our individual Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. It is established in our founding documents, along the principle of natural rights theory, that our unalienable rights and all individual rights come to us from our Creator God, the Judeo-Christian God. They do not emanate from the government, and that is codified in our Declaration of Independence which Thomas Jefferson referred to as the “laws of nature and nature’s God”.

Here we have the President of these United States of America who took an oath to uphold the Constitution declaring our constitutional rights are not absolute.

The left tells us that we have a right to healthcare. We have a right to free college education. We have a right to change our gender.  None of these are enumerated rights, but they are ideological rights of the Left.

Once upon a time, during the Carter administration, the Left told us that every American had a right to own a home. They passed legislation called the Community Reinvestment Act which led to the subprime mortgage crisis and financial meltdown some 30 years later.  Just last week a Democrat Congressman from Rhode Island publicly stated that he deemed constitutional rights as bovine excrement. Yes, a US Congressman who is supposed to have taken an oath to the Constitution says constitutional rights are BS!

Now you can see why we need an organization called the American Constitutional Rights Union?

If no amendment to the Constitution is absolute, then I guess the left wants to make me a slave again? Recall, Democrats did not support the 13th and 14th Amendments. Today, this same group, who now embraces socialism and Marxism, is promoting economic enslavement.

If the left in America is able to define our rights based upon their ideological agenda and have it enforced by the rule of the mob…America faces dark days ahead. And if the Left is successful in disarming the American populace, their sponsored mob, Antifa, will leverage coercion, threats, intimidation, fear, and violence against anyone not in compliance.

If the progressive socialist left does not like our Constitution, they can go through the amendment process. Passing ideologically based laws, or issuing edicts, orders, mandates, and decrees, does not override our constitutional rights.

Recall, our respective States would not ratify our constitution until it had an individual Bill of Rights. The 10th Amendment clearly states, “All the powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the States and to the People.” If the 10th Amendment is not absolute, then the leftists in America become the repository of all power in America.

America is the longest running Constitutional Republic because of individual constitutional rights…not rights based upon progressive, socialist, statist, Marxist ideology.

Steadfast and Loyal.