Skynet smiles

Dystopia Arrives in San Francisco: Authorities Introduce Policy Granting Robots a License to Kill.

In this episode of Dystopian Moments on the Left…

While I hesitate to make comparisons to George Orwell’s dystopian account of a future totalitarian state in the classic “1984” while writing about the crazy goings on in today’s America, what term is better suited when dystopia finally arrives? That is if you consider killer robots taking out human beings in the streets.

The San Francisco Police Department has submitted a proposal to city officials, which is likely to be approved on November 29, that would give robots the license to use deadly force against suspects who threaten the lives of citizens or police officers — with military-style weapons, no less.

Look, I’m all in on the notion that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, but — and maybe it’s just me — robots armed with military-style weapons killing human beings sounds a bit creepy and, well, Orwellian. Nonetheless, as reported by Mission Local, the draft policy reads:

Robots will only be used as a deadly force option when the risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD.

San Francisco’s rules committee unanimously approved a version of the draft last week, which will face the Board of Supervisors on November 29th, where it’s likely to sail through. The Board will also be required to sign off on the purchase of any new military-style equipment, but the police will be able to replace existing equipment up to a value of $10 million without approval.

Tifanei Moyer, senior staff attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, wrote in an email, as noted by Mission Local, that the policy isn’t standard and that legal professionals and citizens should reject the idea.

We are living in a dystopian future, where we debate whether the police may use robots to execute citizens without a trial, jury, or judge. This is not normal. No legal professional or ordinary resident should carry on as if it is normal.

That’s a bit nonsensical in my book, given that an officer in the same situation, as outlined earlier, would make the same deadly force decision — or would he or she? Jennifer Tu, a fellow with the American Friends Service Committee, appears to disagree:

There is a really big difference between hurting someone right in front of you, and hurting someone via a video screen.

The SFPD has 17 robots in its arsenal, 12 of which are fully functional. According to police spokesperson Officer Robert Rueca, they have never been used to attack anyone. That appears about to change. If the policy is approved as expected, it will just be a matter of time before a robot takes out a suspect.

Hell, let’s extrapolate. How long will it be before deadly robots patrol the crime-infested streets of cities across America? If it someday happens, would that be a good thing or bad? Questions abound.

On November 29, San Francisco and its citizenry will likely take a giant step forward — or would that be backward?  All the way to George Orwell’s 1984.

California Mulls Ban On All Gas And Diesel Truck Fleets

California’s Air Resources Board has laid out a plan to ban all diesel-powered trucks that would cause inflationary ripples throughout the entire economy.

The plan would mandate that all new trucks operating around busy railways and ports be zero emission vehicles by 2024 – while all diesel trucks would be phased out by 2035, and eventually, banishing every truck and bus fleet from California roads by 2045, where feasible, according to SFGATE.

The proposed Advance Clean Fleets regulation first targets the busiest trucking areas in the state — around warehouses, sea ports and railways. The board says the pollution in these areas affects communities disproportionately.

“Many California neighborhoods, especially Black and Brown, low-income and vulnerable communities, live, work, play and attend schools adjacent to the ports, railyards, distribution centers, and freight corridors and experience the heaviest truck traffic,” wrote the board, which asserts that this type of pollution creates health risks for those communities.

Representatives from the trucking and construction industries were livid at a recent hearing on the issue – where over 150 public commenters voiced their opinions ranging from the state’s woefully inadequate grid, to a general lack of charging capacity to handle a massive shift to zero-emission vehicles so quickly (whose electricity would in part be generated by coal).

“The infrastructure cannot be established in the timeframe given,” said American Trucking Association representative Mike Tunnell. “Fleets will have to deploy trucks that cannot do the same job as their current trucks.”

Another speaker, construction company CEO Jamie Angus, pointed to logistical issues involved with charging electric vehicles.

“This will do damage to us. We don’t really understand how to charge these vehicles,” he said, adding “Those pieces of equipment go home with those men every day, so they’ll need to be charged from home? How do you compensate that person for that?

On the other side of the fence, environmentalists – including the Sierra Club, argued in favor of an expedited timeline to rid California roads of internal combustion engines as quickly as possible.

Maybe they can also figure out how to solve the massive logistical and economic issues that would surely ensue, as well as what to do with all that lithium when the batteries eventually go bad?

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

Biden’s not-so-subtle lurch toward dictatorship

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

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

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

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

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

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With bureaucraps as the apparatchiks

Far From a Democracy, the U.S. Is a Functional Oligarchy.

Americans are led to feel free through the exercise of meaningless choices. There are only two political parties. There is a reduction of the number of media companies. Banking has been reduced to only a handful of banks. Oil companies. These are important, and you’re given very little choice. … You know what your freedom of choice in America is? Paper or plastic. — George Carlin

“Democracy™ is on the ballot,” went the incessant, mindless talking point, over and over, pushed by glassy-eyed Democrat Party surrogates this election cycle. And they’re going to recycle that talking point for as long as possible, because that’s all they’ve got.

The benefit of promoting Democracy™ as the central selling point to elect Democrats is that the term is amorphous. The vast majority of targeted voters who hear about the importance of Democracy™ won’t ever really think critically about what it entails or, more importantly, whether it actually exists.

Sad to say, it doesn’t. Democracy™ in America in 2022 is a childish fantasy. A pipe dream. A mirage.

That the United States is a thriving democracy, through persistent propaganda in public schools and corporate media, has become an unquestionable article of faith. But back in 2014, before Orange Hitler rained on the Democracy™ parade, when the neoliberal star-child Obama reigned supreme at the pinnacle of Democracy™, two political science researchers quietly destroyed the narrative.

Instead of mindlessly adhering to the Democracy™ mythology, the researchers quantitatively analyzed how the gears of government actually turn. They isolated thousands of policy decisions and stacked them up against public opinion divided by economic status and interest groups.

Here’s what they found, as published in “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” (emphasis added):

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. 

The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism… When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.

Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it… average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence [over US policy].

What that means, in a nutshell, is that, unless you are a privileged member of the D.C.-centric governing class, your preferences about what should happen in your own country matter not at all, full stop. Elite interests are not your interests.

When exactly America lost its true democracy or whether it ever truly manifested in the first place is obviously up for debate. What is not debatable is that Americans’ birthright of self-governance as enumerated in the founding documents of this Great Experiment has been stolen — specifically, and ironically, by the same band of ravenous vultures who preach nonstop about the Democracy™ they stifle.

Trump was 100% over the target when he promised to #draintheswamp. Unfortunately, the swamp is murkier than it’s ever been, with no real hope of remedy in the immediate future.

Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster … for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.  — Friedrich Nietzsche

Township argues proposed gun range not covered by Second Amendment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We are obeying the law,” Wray responded.

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

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

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

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

New Jersey: Bruen-Buster Bill Is Back

U.S.A. -( On Monday, November 21, the full Assembly is expected to vote on A.4769.  This legislation started out as a “copy-cat” strategy, mimicking what New York did to lash out at the Supreme Court post-Bruen.  The bill arbitrarily and drastically expands the number of places labeled as “sensitive places” where concealed carry is prohibited.

Over the last month, the bill has been assigned to multiple committees and has been amended several times to clean up drafting errors, among other things.  Incredibly, this bill is so deeply flawed that all of this time and effort has been spent in vain.  Anti-gun Majority Democrats deny that the United States Supreme Court affirmed the right to carry.  The court spoke resolutely and was unambiguous.

Your immediate assistance is needed to help block A.4769, which is unconstitutional and will:

  • Drastically increase the cost of obtaining permits and credentials.
  • Expand the already-rigorous New Jersey training requirements.
  • Use social media and online posts as grounds to deny permits.
  • Require gun owners to acquire insurance, even though it is not known whether or not this type of insurance is even available or legal.
  • Ban carry on all private property unless the owner posts signage permitting it.
  • Expand the number of “sensitive places” to include arenas, parks, beaches, restaurants, and theatres, among other public places.
  • Ban carry at public gatherings.
  • Perhaps most offensively, it would create a special class of public officials who do not need a permit to carry, and these privileged individuals will be exempt from the no-carry zones.

Ultimately, this legislation is destined to end up back where in began – in the courts.  New Jersey has enough serious problems where the Legislature does not need to be wasting taxpayer dollars debating and defending legislation that is already settled law!

Pain at the pump is back – AGAIN! Americans are warned to brace for highest Thanksgiving gas prices EVER, as millions take to the roads to visit loved ones while inflation remains stubbornly-high

Americans could be facing the highest gas prices ever for the Thanksgiving holiday travel season, as millions prepare to hit the road amid still sky high prices and inflation.

The national average price for a gallon of gas is projected to hit $3.68 next Thursday, November 24 as Americans prepare for the feast.

That number is 30 cents higher than the same time in 2021 and over 20 cents higher than the previous record of $3.44 per gallon in 2012.

However, it doesn’t appear to be stopping holiday travel, with some people making Thanksgiving 2022 the first time they’ve visited relatives since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

Approximately 20 percent more Americans have plans to travel for the holiday, according to industry analysts GasBuddy.

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While 62 percent of Americans have no plans to ride the roads for turkey day, only 21 percent say that the cause is high gas prices.

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Md. handgun licensing lacks historical roots, gun group tells 4th Circuit

Maryland’s licensing requirement for would-be handgun buyers infringes upon the constitutional right of people to keep arms for personal protection in their home and has no historical roots from either 18th- or 19th-century America, gun rights advocates told a federal appeals court Wednesday.

Maryland Shall Issue made its argument as the 4th Circuit considers whether the state’s handgun qualification license, or HQL, comports with the Second Amendment and its most recent interpretation by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In June, the high court ruled 6-3 that gun restrictions are valid only if in keeping with the constitutional text, history and tradition of state firearm regulations when the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791 or when the 14th Amendment extended the right to keep and bear arms to the states in 1868.

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh told the 4th Circuit last month that the history and tradition of ensuring gun owners are trained in firearm use dates to 1792 – the year after the Second Amendment’s ratification — when Congress enacted the Uniform Militia Act. Several states passed similar statutes shortly after, Frosh stated in papers filed with the appellate court.

In its response, MSI distinguished the militia laws from Maryland’s HQL.

“Whereas the HQL requirement requires nearly everyone to complete the firearm safety course before acquiring a handgun, militia laws required militia training only after the militia men had acquired a handgun or other firearm,” MSI wrote in its 4th Circuit filing. “No state required militia training before firearm acquisition or tied this training to firearm acquisition.”

In addition, the militia laws and Maryland’s licensing mandate were passed for wholly different reasons, stated MSI, which was joined in the HQL challenge by gun seller Atlantic Guns Inc. and two Marylanders.

“Maryland enacted the HQL requirement to encourage safer gun storage practices in the home and reduce handgun violence in urban areas,” MSI stated.

“Militia laws, by contrast, were enacted to train young men for military service so they would be prepared for armed defense against foreign or domestic threats,” MSI added. “Militia laws did not condition the exercise of anyone’s right to acquire a firearm on compliance with the militia requirements.”

Those challenging the licensing requirement are represented by MSI President Mark W. Pennak; Cary J. Hansel III, of Hansel Law PC in Baltimore; and John Parker Sweeney, of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Washington.

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Gun makers fire back, sue states over “public nuisance” laws

Over the past couple of years a handful of states, starting with New York, have put laws on the books that allow citizens to sue gun makers over the third-party actions of criminals; an attempt to do and end-run around the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was approved on a bipartisan basis in 2005 in an effort to curb these exact kinds of junk lawsuits meant to bankrupt the firearms industry. The most recent states to adopt these public nuisance statutes are New Jersey and Delaware, and they’re now the subject of brand new litigation aimed at overturning the regulations on the grounds that they violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution as well as many other portions of our founding document.

“These laws enacted by the Delaware and New Jersey flout the will of Congress and undermine the U.S. Constitution,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “These state laws are at odds with bedrock principles of American law, which does not hold manufacturers and sellers legally responsible for the actions of criminals and remote third parties over whom the manufacturer and seller have no control when they misuse lawfully sold products.”

Delaware and New Jersey’s laws also violate the First Amendment, Second Amendment, Due Process Clause and Commerce Clause. These laws would impose liability on industry members for firearms lawfully sold in other states that later find their way into Delaware or New Jersey through the independent actions of remote third parties and criminals.

Basically, any time a criminal uses a gun in the commission of a crime Delaware and New Jersey want a gunmaker to be sued for their supposed liability. Even if the gun was stolen, even if the buyer passed a background check, even if the gun had been purchased 20 years ago; if there was a gun involved, the gun maker should pay.

It’s an absurd legal standard, and one that anti-gun politicians only want to apply to the firearms industry. Brewers, distillers, and automotive makers aren’t subject to lawsuits every time a drunk driver criminally misuses their product and harms or kills someone as a result. Heck, both the New Jersey and Delaware laws specify that these public nuisance standards apply to gun makers only. If someone uses a knife in the commission of an armed robbery, the company that crafted the blade can’t be sued. But if the robber uses a pistol, then victims can fire off those lawsuits at will.

Joe Biden has made the repeal of the PLCAA a regular part of his gun control talking points, but now that Republicans have secured a majority in the House of Representatives that’s off the table. Instead, expect to see a flood of blue states create their own “public nuisance” laws in the coming months to get around the PLCAA’s prohibition on these junk lawsuits.

The NSSF has already filed suit against New York’s law, and the case is currently in the Second Circuit. Attorney Paul Clement, who successfully argued for the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association in the Bruen case, is representing the firearms industry trade group and individual gun manufacturers in both the New York case and the new lawsuit taking on the Delaware and New Jersey statutes. Clement is a brilliant legal mind, and his initial complaint in the latest lawsuits are fun reads with solid arguments in favor of overturning the laws and preventing them from being enforced while the issue is litigated.

Here’s a taste (emphasis is mine):

A1765 is breathtaking in its scope. Although criminal misuse of a firearm triggers the statute’s application, A1765 does not regulate the use of firearms. Nor does A1765 impose liability on individuals who misuse firearms to the detriment of themselves or others. Instead, the statute regulates selling, manufacturing, and advertising lawful (and constitutionally protected) firearms and related products. In other words, A1765 regulates commerce in and speech relating to arms—even when it takes place entirely outside of New Jersey, as will often be the case.

The statute also removes traditional elements of tort law that ensure that judges and juries do not impose liability on private parties for constitutionally protected conduct. For instance, speech-based torts traditionally required proof of reliance. A1765 not only does away with that bedrock requirement, but allows judges and juries to impose liability based on truthful, non-misleading speech about lawful products. Making matters worse, A1765 redefines proximate cause to include criminal misuse by third parties with whom a defendant never dealt—which is not proximate cause at all.

None of this is constitutional, argues Clement.

The Commerce Clause prohibits states from regulating commerce (selling, manufacturing, marketing, etc.) that takes place beyond their borders, even when that commerce has effects within the state. The First Amendment prohibits states from punishing wide swaths of truthful speech about lawful products, even if the products are dangerous or the speech is unpopular. The Second Amendment protects commerce in arms. And the Due Process Clause prohibits states from punishing one private party for the conduct of someone else.

All of that is reason enough to invalidate New Jersey’s new statute. But there is an even more obvious problem with A1765: It is squarely preempted by federal law. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, several state and local governments sought to use novel applications of common law theories like negligence and nuisance to impose civil liability on manufacturers and sellers of firearms and ammunition when third parties misused their products. Congress saw these lawsuits for what they were: unconstitutional efforts to stamp out lawful and constitutionally protected activity. To end such incursions, Congress enacted the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”) in 2005 by wide margins on a substantially bipartisan basis. The PLCAA expressly prohibits and preempts state-law civil actions “brought by any person against a manufacturer or seller of [firearms or ammunition] … for damages, punitive damages, injunctive or declaratory relief, abatement, restitution, fines, or penalties, or other relief, resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of [firearms or ammunition] by the person or a third party.”

These public nuisance statutes are intended to go around the PLCAA, and lawmakers have explicitly acknowledged that. As Clement pointedly notes, “while the state may get credit for its candor, that does not make its law any more consistent with the protections afforded by Congress and the Constitution.”

These public nuisance laws have been a giant middle finger to the gun industry, the Constitution, and Congress, and as long as the courts New York, New Jersey, and Delaware to get away it more Democrat-controlled states will decide to do the same. The end goal isn’t about accountability for those responsible for criminal acts. It’s an end to the firearms industry, one blue-state verdict and gun company bankruptcy at a time.

DeWine allies push for passage of STRONG Ohio gun bill in lame duck session

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine cruised to re-election last week, defeating Democrat Nan Whaley by an eye-popping 25 points. Now the governor, who signed Constitutional Carry into law back in March, is hoping to spend some of his newly-acquired political capital to put several new gun control measures on the books, and his allies in the state legislature are doing everything they can to help.

The bill in question is SB 357, and though it’s been bottled up in committee for most of the year, there’s now a push to move the bill forward during the legislature’s lame-duck session that started this week.

An attempt to revive some of the “Strong Ohio” proposals against gun violence, stalled in the General Assembly since 2019, faces a timeline that’s hard to meet.

State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, is trying to resurrect some of the “Strong Ohio” proposals against gun violence that stalled in the legislature in 2019. His Senate Bill 357 will get a first hearing, but also faces a tight timeline. The bill includes a “red flag” provision, better background checks, some limitation on private sales, and using $175 million in federal funds to improve mental healthcare.

Gov. Mike DeWine has signaled approval of the bill, which includes some of the ideas he unsuccessfully floated following the August 2019 mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing on SB 357, but didn’t hold a vote on the measure. Dolan, meanwhile, has made a few tweaks to the legislation, which would create a new category of prohibited persons, require adults under the age of 21 to have a co-signer for all gun purchases, and establish a “seller’s protection certificate” that is designed to encourage (but not require) background checks on private transfers of firearms.

“Everything in this sub bill is about before you buy a gun,” said Dolan, who chairs the finance committee.

During months of campaigning for the Nov. 8 election, legislators heard people statewide asking what they’d do to prevent gun violence, he said.

From speaking with healthcare personnel, law enforcement and others, it became clear the state’s current involuntary commitment program is not sufficient to identify all the at-risk people who shouldn’t be able to buy guns, Dolan said.

His substitute bill adds a sixth “disability” to state laws preventing people from buying guns. Existing ones prohibit fugitives from justice, felons, those who committed juvenile crimes that would be adult felonies, drug addicts and alcoholics, and those with established dangerous mental problems from buying guns, he said.

Dolan’s bill adds people who go before a behavioral risk assessment team and have been determined to be a “suicidal or homicidal risk.”

Ohio law already prohibits people under age 21 from buying handguns, he said. His bill would add that under-21 buyers of other guns would need a cosigner age 25 or older. There are exceptions for anyone under 21 in law enforcement or the military, Dolan said.

For some reason Dolan’s really focused on the fact that these provisions are all directed at individuals before they purchase a firearm, though that doesn’t mean that any or all of his proposals would be constitutional or effective.

Take his new category of prohibited persons, for example. The supposed reason to add those who’ve been determined by a behavioral risk assessment team to be a “suicidal or homicidal risk” is that the state’s current involuntary commitment law isn’t working as well as it should. Seems to me the proper legislative response would be to determine why that’s the case and work to fix the existing law, rather than avoiding improving the state’s mental health system by making it easier to deny some individuals the ability to purchase a firearm. If someone truly is a risk to themselves or others, simply denying them the ability to purchase a firearm at a gun store isn’t going to make them any less dangerous, but Dolan’s bill treats guns as the issue and not the supposedly dangerous individual.

There are also major issues with Dolan’s desire to force young adults to find someone who’ll sign off on their gun ownership. The co-signer assumes some legal liability if the under-21 gun buyer were to misuse the firearm; an extraordinary provision that is unlike any existing (or historical) gun regulation that I’m aware of. Not only would this have a chilling effect on the Second Amendment rights of young adults, it’s hard to see how this restriction even remotely fits with the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms.

SB 357 has been floating around the Ohio legislature in one form or another since 2019, and so far it’s received a very cool reception from the Republican majority. Clearly DeWine is hoping to capitalize on his overwhelming victory last week, but whether or not his Republican colleagues in the statehouse have had a change of heart about his gun proposals is still very much up in the air. The first test will be a vote in the Senate Finance Committee, and Ohio gun owners should be reaching out to those committee members to share their concerns before the bill has a chance to reach the Senate floor.

Not surprising in the least

Firearm Sales Increase Following Oregon’s ‘Extreme’ Gun Control Measure

Firearm sales in Oregon are reportedly increasing as a measure that will enact restrictions on the purchase of guns looks to pass.

Oregon Measure 114 would require a permit and hands-on safety training and fingerprinting provided by law enforcement to buy a gun, according to ABC-affiliated outlet KEZI. In addition, the measure would prohibit the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammo. It would not be illegal to own a gun without a permit, but a permit would be required by law to purchase one.

According to KEZI, over 51 percent of Oregon voters support the measure and gun sales are now going up. Proponents of it claim that it would curb gun violence. However, some feel the opposite. A county sheriff, Michelle Duncan of Linn County, reportedly said that their office would not enforce some parts of the measure if it were to pass.

“This is a terrible law for gunowners, crime victims, and public safety,” the sheriff wrote in a Facebook post Nov. 9. “I want to send a clear message to Linn County residents that the Linn County Sheriff’s Office is NOT going to be enforcing magazine capacity limits.”

“This measure is poorly written and there is still a lot that needs to be sorted out regarding the permitting process, who has to do the training and what exactly does the training have to cover.  In the coming days, I will work with other law enforcement partners, elected officials and community members on the best course of action to take on permitting.  I want to ensure anything we do or don’t do will not hinder gunowners’ rights to purchase firearms, intentionally or unintentionally,” Duncan continued.

Tom Eichhorn, a former law enforcement officer, told KEZI that gun sales will likely continue to increase before the bill is certified.

“I expect gun sales will continue to climb as people try to get it as they can because they’re afraid their rights are going to be violated, that they’re not going to be able to have the right to defend themselves anymore, and I think that’s a real worry for a lot of people,” Eichhorn said.

Oregon Live described Measure 114 as “one of the country’s strictest gun control measures.”

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action called the measure “extreme” and urged residents to vote against it.

KEZI noted that the measure is expected to take effect 30 days after the certification of the election results on Dec. 15.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Deadly Consequences of Believing Gun Control Will Work

A report by Oregon Public Broadcasting may have opened some eyes—albeit too late—to the futility of passing ever-more-restrictive gun control measures, as the story includes a quote from Paul Donheffner, legislative committee chair of the Oregon Hunters Association, which opposed recently-passed anti-gun Measure 114.

“It is going to put a lot of honest citizens through the wringer,” Donheffner said. “The people that are committing gun violence aren’t going to get a [permit to purchase], you’re not going to get a background check, you’re not going to go through all this rigmarole.”

Measure 114 will require training and a police-issued permit (neither of which will be available when the initiative takes effect, thus effectively cancelling out the Second Amendment and Article I, Section 27 of the Oregon State Constitution) in order to purchase a firearm. The Second Amendment Foundation is currently preparing a legal challenge.

Critics of the legislation concur with Donheffner’s observation. It will not prevent any crimes and it will only inconvenience law-abiding citizens.

There may be no better example of gun control failure than Chicago, where the weekend saw “dozens of people shot,” according to Fox News. Among the victims was a 12-year-old girl shot in the neck during a drive-by, and a 64-year-old man killed during an attempted supermarket holdup.

The Windy City has some of the most restrictive gun control laws, and it also has a body count of at least 580 people killed by gunfire out of the 640 homicides so far this year, according to the popular website,

All of this provides a contrast to a weekend Op-Ed piece posted by NBC News touting the promise of Oregon’s anti-gun-rights measure. Authors Ari Davis, policy advisor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, and Lisa Geller, state affairs advisor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, assert Measure 114’s licensing requirement for gun purchases will prevent “many dangerous people from purchasing guns and deters gun straw purchases carried out in order to traffic guns to criminal networks.”

That’s assuming criminals go through the process to get their hands on guns, which Donheffner said emphatically is not going to happen.

And the Oregon Firearms Federation weighed in Monday with an email message stating, “114 is clearly unconstitutional. Of that there is little doubt.  It’s just a matter of whether or not the courts can read the simple language of both the Oregon and United States Constitutions and the recent Supreme Court decision in New York.”

The Federation announced the “Oregon Firearms Educational Foundation will use every resource at our disposal to overturn this mean spirited, evil attack on our rights in court.”

At least three county sheriffs in Oregon have already announced they will not enforce a tenet of the new law which bans so-called “large capacity magazines” capable of holding more than ten cartridges.

This all translates to a legal donnybrook brewing south of the Columbia River, which will be played out in federal court.

In the meantime, however, true believers in gun control will continue pressing for increasing restrictions which only seem to affect law-abiding citizens, claiming that studies show more restrictive laws lower the violent crime rates.

Well, they are violating resident’s constitutional rights

Redwood City leaders discussing legal options as possible lawsuit against ban on gun retail looms
A gun rights advocacy group is accusing the city of violating its residents’ constitutional rights

A gun rights foundation has warned it may take legal action against Redwood City if city officials don’t reverse a recently approved moratorium on gun retail.

Just four days after the council unanimously voted to establish a moratorium on stores selling firearms or ammunition for an initial 45 days, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), a Washington-based firearm advocacy nonprofit, sent a letter to the city, advising the city to remove the temporary ban or face litigation.

“Should Redwood City continue to deprive its residents of the ability to acquire arms and ammunition through an indeterminate moratorium on firearms and ammunition retailers from opening a business, SAF will examine all legal remedies available to it, its members, and those who may be affected by the City’s flagrant disregard of its citizens’ constitutional rights,” Executive Director Adam Kraut wrote in the letter dated Oct. 28.

According to the city, the urgency ordinance came after two separate gun retailers inquired about business permits in the city, which currently has no such retailers nor any special regulations on firearms sales.

The ban went into effect immediately after the council vote and could be extended for a total of two years.

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