- Category Archives Activism
Activism means fighting for our rights, as guaranteed by God and teh Constitution of the U.S.A.
Democrats must win back working-class voters from Donald Trump’s blue-and-white-collar coalition — and mere rhetorical support for national unity should do the trick, claims a new article in the Atlantic magazine about the impact of immigration on American politics.
“Democrats should put immigrants’ learning English at the center of their immigration agenda,” claims Peter Beinart, author of “How the Democrats Lost Their way on Immigration” in the July/August issue of The Atlantic.
NJ Court: State Can’t Criminalize Possession of “Pencils” and Other Lawful Objects for Home Self-defense
It is refreshing to finally see some common sense coming out of a court in NJ, as the state is notoriously known for its illogical and Draconian gun laws that do little more than make felons out of law-abiding gun owners.
Last week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey upheld the right to lawfully possess and hold a weapon for self-defense in the home, rejecting arguments advanced by the State that would treat a citizen like a criminal for simply answering an angry knock at his own door while holding an object that was legal to possess.
The case, Montalvo v. State, arose out of a commonplace neighborhood dispute. Daleckis, downstairs of Montalvo, banged on the ceiling to let Montalvo know he was upset about the noise from upstairs. Montalvo then knocked on the Daleckis front door, and, getting no response, threw a table off their shared porch, which he acknowledged was a “stupid” thing to do. Shortly after, Daleckis went to the Montalvo apartment to confront him over the broken table. Montalvo and his wife claimed Daleckis was not just knocking but angrily kicking and slamming on their door. Uncertain of what to expect, Montalvo took the precaution of picking up a machete – used in his work as a roofer and kept with other tools – before opening the door. In the exchange that followed, Daleckis said Montalvo pointed the machete at him, while Montalvo testified he held the machete down the entire time. Both agreed, though, that Montalvo never stepped outside of his own apartment.
By the time the police arrived, the quarrel had fizzled out (Daleckis ultimately refused to provide a statement to police). Montalvo was arrested on charges that included two weapon possession offenses. The first count, possession with a purpose to use the weapon unlawfully, requires an intent to use the weapon against another’s person or property. The second was a violation of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-5(d) (knowingly possessing the machete “under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have”), which prohibits possession of a weapon other than a firearm where the defendant has not yet formed an intent to use the object as a weapon, but possesses it under circumstances in which it is likely to be so used. This second count became the focus of the litigation.
Because New Jersey law defines a “weapon” as “anything readily capable of lethal use or inflicting serious bodily injury,” Section 2C:39-5(d) criminalizes possession of ordinarily lawful objects (scissors, razors, kitchen knives) in circumstances where the possession is not “manifestly appropriate” for lawful use, regardless of the actual intent of the possessor. This offense is a fourth degree crime, punishable by between three and five years’ incarceration on conviction.
At Montalvo’s trial, the model instructions to the jury directed that only three elements were necessary for a Section 2C:39-5(d) conviction: a weapon, possessed “knowingly,” in circumstances where a reasonable person would agree the object was likely to be used as a weapon. In response to the jury’s questions about self-defense, the judge advised that self-defense could not justify possession unless the defendant had armed himself as a “spontaneous” response to repel an immediate and compelling danger – anticipatory self-defense did not qualify. So instructed, the jury found Montalvo guilty of the Section 2C:39-5(d) offense but acquitted him on the first charge, and he was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
In his appeal, Montalvo argued the jury had been misdirected on self-defense, and that his conviction criminalized the possession of an otherwise legal weapon in his home in violation of the Second Amendment. After an appellate court affirmed his conviction and sentence, Montalvo launched a further appeal to the state’s highest court, the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
The Attorney General of New Jersey took the unusual step of filing a “friend of the court” brief in the appeal, arguing that, while citizens are entitled to possess lawful weapons in the home for self-defense, the State is concurrently authorized to regulate the manner in which these weapons are possessed. “Everyday objects, which are entirely lawful to possess in their own right, even a pencil, can be used as weapons. The Legislature did not issue a wholesale prohibition on such lawful objects, but rather sought to regulate only the circumstances under which such objects may be possessed.” (Emphasis added.) This brief, consistent with the submissions by the prosecution, claimed the Second Amendment could not apply because Montalvo’s “disproportionate” response, arming himself where there was no “actual threat,” exceeded the boundaries of the right of self-defense in the home. In furtherance of this extremely narrow interpretation, the Attorney General’s brief asked that the court modify the model jury instructions for use in future cases to clarify that weapons for active self-defense in the home could be used only if the person armed himself spontaneously to repel an immediate danger.
A unanimous Supreme Court of New Jersey rejected this outlandish approach as both unworkable and unsupported by U.S. Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago(extending to “all instruments that constitute bearable arms”).
Justice Fernandez-Vina, writing for the court, noted at the onset that the case did not demand “an extensive Second Amendment analysis. We need only observe that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to possess weapons, including machetes, in the home for self-defense purposes.” Montalvo’s possession of the machete was lawful and it made no difference “whether his possession was for roofing or for self-defense because either would qualify as a lawful purpose.”
The interpretation of the law promoted by the State and the Attorney General was inconsistent with the very core of this fundamental right. The right to possess a weapon in the home for self-defense would be almost useless “if one were required to keep the weapon out-of-hand, picking it up only ‘spontaneously’” when and if the circumstances made clear an immediate danger existed. Calibrating the right so exactly to the presence of an immediate danger made it impossible to hold a weapon in anticipation of such potential, but not yet imminent, threats. This did not mean Montalvo could threaten the use of a machete merely for the purpose of inciting fear in another, but it did mean he could answer his door simply holding a weapon.
The court reversed the judgment below confirming the conviction and remanded the case; at the same time, the court directed a review and revision of the jury charge for Section 2C:39-5(d) offenses. The revision language, as suggested by the court, would clarify that possession of a lawful weapon in one’s home could not form the basis of a conviction under Section 2C:39-5(d); that a person may possess, in the home, objects that serve multiple lawful purposes, including the purpose of anticipatory self-defense; and that a person who responds to the door of his home with a concealed weapon that threatens no one acts within the bounds of the law.
Although we welcome this common sense ruling by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, this case affords yet another illustration of the importance of the courts and how dependent, in practice, the exercise of Second Amendment rights is on what any particular court considers to be the boundaries of the law. Since the Supreme Court’s rulings in Heller and McDonald, there have been all too many judges that have concluded the right to keep and bear arms is some kind of second-class constitutional right.
Every once in a great while, an independent-minded United Kingdom official is overcome with a bout of common sense on firearms. However, such outbursts of reason are typically short-lived, as the gun control apostate becomes the immediate target of the country’s anti-gun establishment politicians and media. Such was the case in 2014, when former Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage had the temerity to point out that the UK’s handgun ban is “ludicrous” and call for its repeal.
Following the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez was taken by a similar case of logic. During a June 12 appearance on BBC Radio Cornwall, Hernandez suggested that armed citizens could provide an important response to a terrorist violence.
According to an account and audio of Hernandez’s BBC appearance made available by the Guardian, a caller – who is a firearms dealer — to the radio show asked the police commissioner, “If there should ever be a terrorist attack, what happens if I and other people try to defend themselves using those guns? What would be the repercussions?” After lauding the caller’s question, Hernandez responded that such an armed response “might be some of our solution to our issues.”
The audibly dumbfounded BBC host, called the caller’s proposal “vigilantism,” going on to question the caller’s ability to properly handle and use firearms. Even after the host’s initial derisive comments, Hernandez defended her position stating, “I’m just saying, let’s officially have a look at that and see what would be the implications of it…. We work with businesses to keep our communities safe. I’d really be interested in exploring that with the chief constable.”
Unfortunately, Hernandez’s rational position was lost on Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton. The same day as Hernandez’s interview, Netherton issued a response to the police commissioner’s comments that appears to foreclose even a discussion about the use of private firearms to stop a terrorist threat.
In the release, Netherton noted that during an attack, “highly trained police firearms officers and Special Forces will be deployed to protect our communities,” and that “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.”
Netherton also reiterated official UK response policy, stating, “Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.” This charge is a noticeably neutered version of the United States Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight.”
Just as disturbing as the UK’s disrespect of the fundamental right to self-defense is the ongoing effort by the UK’s political and media establishment to preclude any debate on the topic. Nigel Farage’s comments on the handgun ban were met with “fury,” with one opposing lawmaker dismissing Farage’s Ukip party as “extremely dangerous.” The BBC host dismissed Hernandez’s comments and the caller’s question out of hand. Likewise, Netherton released a statement refuting Hernandez’s position without exploration or discussion. Far from radical, Hernandez’s thoughts on fighting terrorism are shared by former Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
Such foreclosure of discourse is unbecoming a so-called liberal democracy. Today’s UK would do well to rediscover the great English classical liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, as his work on the merits of free thought and vigorous discourse appears to be foreign to most of its subjects.
In March, we reported on a series of restrictive policies governing firearms that had been approved by the governing body of the well-known networking and service club, Rotary International. This week came a welcome turn of events, as the club’s board of directors announced that the rules, which had been set to take effect July 1, have undergone substantial “clarification.”
The policies as originally announced in January had banned any Rotary entity – including clubs and districts – from selling, raffling, or transferring firearms. It also banned these entities from participating in activities where any sort of firearm raffle or other transfer occurs, whether or not Rotary is the owner of the items. Rotary entities were additionally prohibited from sponsoring or conducting gun shows or other exhibitions involving guns and even from “accept[ing] sponsorship from any entity whose primary business is the sale or manufacturer of guns, weapons or other armaments.
Rotary’s board of directors had cited “financial and reputational risk” as justification for the rules.
A number of Rotary’s American members, however, spoke out in opposition to the new rules. Fortunately, their voices were heard, and Rotary announced changes to the rules this week.
Under the revised guidelines, Rotary entities are expressly authorized to “participate in activities involving the sale, give-away or transfer, including raffles, of guns, weapons or other armaments ….” The entity, however, must not “take ownership of the item(s)” and any transfer of ownership of a firearm must be “handled by a licensed third party in compliance with all applicable laws.”
Entities engaging in activities that involve firearms, including sport shooting activities, are further required “to consult with legal and/or insurance professionals to ensure that they are adequately protected.”
The ban on sponsorship of Rotary activities by firearm-related companies was also lifted.
An email announcing the changes said they were made “in response to comments from our members ….”
The NRA is very pleased that Rotary has reconsidered its position and will continue to allow its entities to conduct these popular events. It speaks well of the club that it was willing to chart a more moderate path in response to member concerns.
In the United States there have been a handful of high-profile incidents in which an employer has terminated an employee following the employee’s use of a gun in self-defense while at the workplace. In recent years, NRA has worked with state lawmakers to pass worker protection – or parking lot – legislation that ensures employees are able to carry a firearm to and from the workplace and store a firearm in their vehicle while at work even if the vehicle is parked on company property.
Given the problems American employees have faced in exercising their right to self-defense, and the lengths NRA has gone in order to help protect workers’ Right-to-Carry, one can imagine the severe challenges that face gun-owning employees in a hysterical anti-gun society like Australia.
In October 2008, David Waters became the first Australian to earn the Distinguished Rifleman Badge for excellence in High Power Rifle shooting. The achievement was the culmination of a lifetime of dedication to the shooting sports. At the time, Waters told the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s online magazine that “it took over 170,000 kilometers (105,570 miles) in travel; $45,000, 6,000 rounds of ammunition and 50 actual shooting days to accomplish [the] feat.” A well-rounded competitor, Waters has also competed in shotgun and pistol disciplines.
Waters’ shooting sports prowess is without question. However, despite this lifelong display of responsible gun ownership, Waters’ pursuit of his passion would end up costing him his job.
In 2015, Waters worked for tiremaker Goodyear in Parramatta, New South Wales. In July of that year, Waters was contacted by another sports shooter who sought his advice concerning an accessory for a target rifle. Unable to meet the person that weekend due to an international trip, Waters agreed to meet him in the Goodyear parking lot during Waters’ lunch break.
Waters had anticipated that the individual would bring only the rifle accessory to the meeting. However, in a simple case of miscommunication, he brought both the accessory and the corresponding target rifle.
The parking lot was visible to the public, and somehow police were alerted to the presence of the rifle. Being Australia, sixteen police officers responded to the scene. In the course of a brief police investigation, officers accompanied Waters into his workplace in order to retrieve his identification. Waters was not charged with any wrongdoing.
Immediately following the incident, Goodyear suspended Waters without pay. Following a perfunctory hearing, Waters was fired for jeopardizing the safety and security of his fellow employees and Goodyear assets. The fact that Waters did not bring the firearm onto the company’s property, had no knowledge that his fellow shooter would bring the rifle, and that the rifle was never handled in a manner that would pose a danger to any person or property was of little concern to Goodyear.
After his termination, Waters filed a complaint with Australia’s Fair Work Commission. Following a hearing, Waters was awarded $8,600 due to Goodyear’s hasty conduct in the matter. However, the commission failed to reinstate Waters to his former position.
In an effort to help Waters and prevent such an injustice from happening to other members of the shooting community, Liberal Democrat Senator for New South Wales David Leyonhjelm has taken up Water’s cause. In a series of floor speeches in the Australian Parliament, Leyonhjelm criticized Goodyear and the Fair Work Commission and defended Waters and Australia’s shooters. In one of the speeches, Leyonhjelm remarked, “We Australians are rightly proud of our Olympic, Commonwealth Games, and world championship shooters and the medals they regularly bring home. Unfortunately, it seems the rest of the time they are treated as presumptive criminals. It has to stop.”
NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert readers and other astute gun rights supporters might recognize Leyonhjelm for his tireless work advocating on behalf of Australia’s gun owners. In 2016, Leyonhjelm used his unique position in Australia’s parliament to cut a deal to provide Australian shooters with better access to the Adler Arms A-110 lever-action shotgun (Australia has a ban on semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns). In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Western democracies, Leyonhjelm has advocated that Australians should be permitted access to non-lethal and lethal means of self-defense.
While Goodyear’s treatment of Waters was even more egregious than many of the cases that have led to gun owner firings here in the U.S., this incident is instructive. Given the fanaticism of many gun control supporters, as well as certain corporations’ aspirations to be perceived as politically correct, it is not difficult to imagine a similar scenario resulting in the termination of an American worker. That is why gun rights supporters must work together to bring attention to such injustices when they arise and support legislation that protects workers’ Second Amendment rights.
The Democratic National Committee raised nearly $4.3 million in May, making it the organization’s worst May on record for fundraising since 2003, according to newly released Federal Election Commission data.
Philando Castile did what you are supposed to do if you have a concealed-carry permit and get pulled over by police: He let the officer know he had a gun. Had Castile been less forthcoming, he would still be alive.
Last Friday a Minnesota jury acquitted the cop who killed Castile of second-degree manslaughter, demonstrating once again how hard it is to hold police accountable when they use unnecessary force. The verdict also sends a chilling message to gun owners, since Castile is dead because he exercised his constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Jeronimo Yanez, an officer employed by the St. Anthony, Minnesota, police department, stopped Castile around 9 p.m. on July 6 in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The official reason was a nonfunctioning brake light.
The actual reason, according to Yanez, was that Castile resembled a suspect in a convenience store robbery that had happened four days before in the same neighborhood. The full extent of the resemblance was that Castile, like the suspect, was black, wore glasses and dreadlocks, and had a “wide-set nose.”
Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria manager, had nothing to do with the robbery. But in Yanez’s mind, Castile posed a threat.
I went to further predict that they were going to lose this, even on a day that Politico was reporting Ossoff was up by seven points, there were a couple of other polls, and I stood — I didn’t stand — I sat right here behind the Golden EIB Microphone, and I told you he was not going to win. The Democrats were not gonna win this, and I kept getting email from people who live there, “Rush, the latest WSB poll, every Democrat is voting for Ossoff and 15% of Republicans are.”
I wrote back, “It’s not going to happen! Ossoff is not gonna win!” They would write back, “But all the money, my God, it’s Hollywood, it’s –” That’s the way to look at it. They cannot buy an election. They had all this outside money. Folks, they don’t know how to connect with people. They nominated a guy who doesn’t even live in the district, who they think is the quintessential Millennial Pajama Boy. They think this is the way to go after Trump. They have no idea what they’re doing! They are not this great, vaunted machine that you have always thought of them to be.
- A police officer was attacked with a knife at Bishop Airport in Flint, Michigan Wednesday morning
- The officer involved has been identified as Lt. Jeff Neville, 55
- Neville was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but is now stable
- Police say they have a suspect in custody, but they have not released his name
- Sources told NBC News that the suspect is Canadian and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before stabbing Neville
- FBI is investigating the incident as a ‘possible act of terrorism,’ sources added
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats put a brave face on Wednesday morning after a disappointing loss in the Georgia special election, yet there is no disguising the unhappiness in the party ranks.
There is no challenge to Pelosi’s leadership, and none is going to happen at this point, said numerous Democrats. But it’s clear frustration is growing with the longtime Democratic leader following the extensive losses Democrats have suffered over the last half-decade.
And the fact that Republicans spent millions of dollars on TV ads tying Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff to Pelosi — and the brand of progressive policies she represents — shows that she will once against be an issue for Democratic challengers in the very seats that the party needs to win to make her speaker again.
Some Democrats want to replace Pelosi atop their caucus, as they have since last November’s poor showing at the polls; they say there is no way to get back in the majority with her as their leader. And others who backed her in last year’s leadership challenge have now flipped their stance.
“I think you’d have to be an idiot to think we could win the House with Pelosi at the top,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), who supported Pelosi in her last leadership race. “Nancy Pelosi is not the only reason that Ossoff lost. But she certainly is one of the reasons.”
Still not tired of winning.
NBC is holding “crisis meetings” as the network has come under intense pressure to pull anchor Megyn Kelly’s upcoming interview with controversial InfoWars founder and radio host Alex Jones, according to a report.
The planned interview — in which Kelly questions Jones about his previous assertion that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre was a hoax — is scheduled to air on Sunday June 18 as part of the anchor’s new show, Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly.
However, NBC has faced pressure from social media users — including some relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook attack — to cancel the interview. In the wake of the controversy, J.P Morgan Chase reportedly decided to temporarily pull its advertising from the network.
In the aftermath of the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise during a practice for the annual congressional baseball game, some leftists took to social media to deflect any blame for the hateful rhetoric preached against President Donald Trump and Republicans since the November election.
New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush shifted the blame from the shooter to the precedents that President Trump has set for discourse in the United States.