• Category Archives Legal
  • Firearm Registration + Bureaucratic Incompetence = Seizure of Innocent Veteran’s Guns in New York

    It had all the makings of a dystopian political thriller. Sheriff’s deputies unexpectedly descend onto the property of a law-abiding 70-year-old Vietnam veteran and insist they have a writ to seize his firearms. The document, however, is obviously flawed. Different Social Security numbers appear in different places. The man knows he’s never been in trouble with the law. And he had certainly never appeared before a judge on the issue of his firearm ownership. When he tries to point out the obvious mistake, he is ignored. All the police want to know is where his guns are. 

    Thankfully, Don Hall of Talberg, N.Y., was not subject zero in a long-feared government round-up of civilian firearms. But his story – detailed in a lengthy article on the Syracuse.com website – is still a chilling and cautionary tale that underscores the dangers of firearm registration, antigun fanaticism, and laws that dispense with constitutional due process on the pretense of protecting “public safety.”

    Fortunately, Mr. Hall kept his head that night last February and did not overreact to a confusing and provocative situation. Instead, he contacted a lawyer the next day and began the arduous process of clearing his name and securing the return of his lawfully-owned and constitutionally protected property.

    According to the paperwork the deputies had shown Mr. Hall, he had been labeled as a “mental defective” and was therefore prohibited from owning firearms. Hall wracked his brain trying to figure out any possible basis for this finding, but there was simply none. He had never been treated for any mental health condition. 

    On his attorney’s advice, Mr. Hall went from one local hospital to the next securing affidavits to prove he had never received mental health treatment. At one hospital where he had been treated for sleep apnea, he told the Syracuse.com, the records clerk “turned white as a ghost” when she realized they had incorrectly entered the Social Security number associated with his account.

    Finally, some two months later, Hall’s attorney was able to convince an Oneida County judge that his client was the victim of a bureaucratic misidentification. The judge ordered the guns returned, but even then, Hall was initially told he’d only get back his pistols, not his long guns. Fortunately, that further bureaucratic error was also corrected.

    The genesis of Don Hall’s trouble appears to be New York’s practice of cross-checking certain mental health records with firearms registrations. Hall had apparently been mistaken for another individual with a disqualifying metal health history. While the Syracuse.com article indicates the exact legal authority for the action taken against Hall remains unclear, at no time before his firearms were forcibly seized was he given a chance to answer the accusations against him.

    “I was guilty until I could prove myself innocent,” Hall told the reporter. “They don’t tell you why or what you supposedly did.” His attorney agreed, stating, “To me, presumption of innocence is the foundation of our system, and this provision [allowing for seizures based on cross-matched records] doesn’t allow for that.”

    Gun control advocates are increasingly pushing for laws that would allow authorities to suspend a person’s Second Amendment rights based on unproven accusations or the inclusion of a person on some secret government list. These types of regulations turn constitutional due process on its head by forcing Americans to prove their innocence after adverse action has already been taken against them based on evidence they were never given a chance to contest.

    While Don Hall eventually got back his firearms, he had to spend considerable time and money to establish his innocence, and none of the entities or officials involved are taking responsibility for the mistakes that led to the seizure, much less offering to compensate him for his efforts and trouble. And for every person like Don Hall with the means and determination to challenge arbitrary and unjustified government action, there are surely many more who will simply cut their losses without putting up a fight.

    Which all just goes to show that when it comes to antigun fanaticism, trampling the rights of the innocent has always been the cost of doing business.


  • The High-Level Hypocrisy of Mayors for Gun Control

    Leona Helmsley, the “Queen of Mean” convicted of income tax evasion and other crimes, is famously said to have said “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”

    The same sense of entitled grandeur – that rules apply to lesser beings – pervades the thinking of many high-profile gun-control notables. For example, ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is protected by gunscarried by his armed security detail, while he spends his billions to undermine the Second Amendment rights of average Americans.  

    In 2006, as part of his anti-gun agenda, Bloomberg founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), a coalition of current and former mayors advocating for regulating all guns, not simply “illegal guns,” and calling for “assault weapon” and magazine bans, expanded background checks, and other restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. 

    By 2013, roiled by constant reports of criminal behavior by members, MAIG was subsumed into Bloomberg’s new gun control entity, Everytown for Gun Safety. Nonetheless, arrests and convictions of MAIG members (including for gun-related crimes) continue to feature regularly in the news, so much so that it’s become something of a running joke (here and here). It’s likely no coincidence that MAIG’s website chooses not to name the elected officials that make up its membership; instead, it lists the municipalities these members represent.

    The roster of the recently disgraced include the ex-mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, who resigned from office in 2013 after multiple women made allegations of sexual harassment, and who subsequently plead guilty to charges of false imprisonment and battery. Another public official who had been associated with MAIG is Gordon Jenkins, formerly the mayor of Monticello, New York, who was removed from office by a state court in 2015 after it found he engaged in “‘unscrupulous conduct or gross dereliction of duty or conduct that connotes a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority.’” The misconduct referred to by the court included threats to withhold funding from his local police department in an effort to influence the disposition of criminal charges against him, and attempts to use his position to intimidate and coerce police officers into giving him special treatment after he was arrested for a DUI. Following his removal from office, Mr. Jenkins plead guilty to lesser criminal offenses after being charged with bribery-related felony crime. 

    Rounding out the MAIG dis-honor roll for 2017 (so far) are former Stockton, California mayor Anthony Silva; Allentown, Pennsylvania Mayor Edwin Pawlowski; and Vaughn Spencer, former mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania, all currently facing criminal charges. Of course, these individuals, like all persons simply accused of criminal offenses, are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

    In March, ex-mayor Silva was arrested on felony charges of money laundering, embezzlement, and grand theft, arising out of alleged personal misuse of grants and other funds of the Stockton Kids Club, formerly the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton. (“Sour grapes,” claims his defense counsel, although Silva has figured in other controversies.) As an elected official and part of a MAIG coalition of California mayors, Mr. Silva supported legislation creating so-called “Gun Violence Restraining Orders” that would require persons to surrender their firearms to police based solely on allegations by law enforcement or family members. 

    Allentown, Pennsylvania Mayor Edwin Pawlowski was indicted in July, accused of violating federal public corruption laws arising out of a misuse of public office (over 50 counts, including bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services mail and wire fraud, travel act bribery, making material false statements, and conspiracy). Prior to that, Mayor Pawlowski appeared in a “public service” ad released by MAIG “demanding action” on gun control measures, and supported Bloomberg in calling for “tougher gun laws” and restrictions on gun shows and private firearm sales. 

    Vaughn Spencer, the former mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania, was also charged in July and accused of violating federal public corruption laws (bribery, wire fraud, and conspiracy). Like Mayor Pawlowski, Spencer signed on to a MAIG letter to President Obama in 2012, calling for bans on “military style” weapons and “high capacity” magazines, expanded background check laws, repealing the Tiahrt Amendments, and more.

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) press releases regarding these two Pennsylvania officials note that the allegations concern the “mayors manipulating the levers of power for their own ways and means. As charged, Edwin Pawlowski and Vaughn Spencer brazenly and repeatedly sold off city contracts to bankroll their political futures.” The DOJ adds that in “an astounding act of irony,” former Mayor Spencer allegedly “bribed the President of City Council to introduce legislation repealing a Reading anti-corruption statute.” 

    These are serious offenses – the charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, and honest services wire fraud have an individual maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the remaining federal charges have maximum sentences of five or ten years and similarly onerous fines. 

    As part of furthering his notions of good governance, ex-Mayor Bloomberg has made a $32 million gift to Harvard University, funding a program to teach serving mayors how to be effective leaders, with the inaugural class of 40 elected officials beginning their studies this July. A cynic might suggest that the curriculum include, besides the usual Bloomberg hobbyhorses of sugary drinks and gun control, the fundamental concept that the rule of law applies to the high as well as the low. After all, when law-abiding Americans seek to protect themselves from criminals, it’s not usually the gun-grabbing crooks at city hall that come to mind.


  • Michigan Couples Sue Over State’s Attempt to Disarm Adoptive and Foster Parents

    Most media savvy gun control advocates try to insist that nobody wants to ban guns in America and that anybody who says otherwise is either paranoid or guilty of fear-mongering.

    According to a lawsuit filed in a Michigan federal court, however, anti-gun bureaucrats at the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are subjecting gun-owing adoptive and foster parents to a stark choice: their Second Amendment rights or their kids.

    The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include William Johnson, a disabled veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and his wife, Jill. The Johnsons were asked by the state to serve as foster parents for their grandson.

    According to the complaint, when the Johnsons arrived to pick up the child at a MDHHS facility, William (a Michigan concealed carry licensee) was searched and ordered to produce his concealed carry license, even though he wasn’t carrying a gun.  It also says he was told by caseworkers he would have to provide them with the serial numbers of all of his guns.

    The complaint alleges that both MDHHS caseworkers and a judge involved with the placement told the Johnsons that as a condition of fostering the child, they’d have to surrender certain constitutional rights, including the right to have an accessible, loaded firearm inside or outside of their home.

    The complaint quotes the judge as stating, “We know we are violating numerous constitutional rights here, but if you do not comply, we will remove the boy from your home.” Likewise, the Johnsons claim, MDHHS caseworkers told them “there would not be a power struggle, that they would just take his grandson and place him in a foster home.”

    Another complainant in the lawsuit is a pastor at a Baptist church, chair of a county DHHS board, a Michigan concealed carry pistol licensee, and an NRA certified range officer. His wife is a published author and librarian. They would like to foster children at their home but have refrained from doing so because of the requirement to surrender fundamental rights under the Second Amendment.

    The lawsuit claims violations of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to equal protection and to keep and bear arms. It asks the court to permanently bar enforcement of the MDHHS anti-gun policies and to award the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and costs for bringing the suit.

    This is hardly the first time state officials have threatened adoptive or foster parents over their possession of firearms. A similar lawsuit was filed last year in Oklahoma, and the NRA has championed legislation to prevent discrimination against lawful gun owners who wish to adopt or foster children, including in FloridaNevada, and Texas.

    It says something about gun control advocates that they will insist their agenda is necessary for the well-being of children, at the same time they will coldly rip kids from caring homes or banish students from school for purely symbolic anti-gun purposes. The sad case of the Johnsons and Masons also demonstrates how deeply entrenched anti-gun orthodoxy is in official bureaucracies, even in places – like Michigan – where lawful gun ownership is considered part of the social fabric.


  • Second Amendment Guarantee Act Would Protect Popular Rifles, Shotguns from Antigun Politicians

    This week, Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) introduced legislation that would shield popular rifles and shotguns, including the AR-15, from being banned under state laws. The bill, known as the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), would also protect parts for these firearms, including detachable magazines and ammunition feeding devices.

    The bill is a response to antigun laws in a small handful of states – including California, Connecticut, D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – that criminalize the mere possession of highly popular semiautomatic long guns widely available throughout the rest of the country. Although rifles or shotguns of any sort are used less often in murders than knives, blunt objects such as clubs or hammers, or even hands, fists, and feet, gun control advocates have sought to portray the banned guns as somehow uniquely dangerous to public safety.

    Anti-gunners’ focus on these so-called “assault weapons” was renewed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. That decision made clear that handguns – by far the type of firearm most commonly used in crime – were subject to Second Amendment protection and could not be banned.  This led gun control advocates to seek out other sorts of guns to demonize, and they’ve since been strenuously promoting the myth that semiautomatic rifles and shotguns with certain features such as detachable magazines, pistol grips or adjustable stocks are “weapons of war” with no legitimate civilian use.

    Yet Americans overwhelmingly choose these types of firearms for legitimate purposes, including protection of their homes and properties, “three-gun” and other practical shooting sports, and hunting and pest control. And, indeed, the states’ legislative attempts to ban these guns has spurred a market for innovative products that use the same basic calibers and firing mechanisms, but with stock, grip, and accessory configurations that comply with legislative guidelines.

    Although the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to review any of these state bans, lower courts have come up with increasingly strained readings of the Second Amendment and Supreme Court precedents to try to justify them. The Seventh Circuit, for example, held that even if a ban’s incursion on Second Amendment rights had no beneficial effect on safety whatsoever, it could still be justified on the basis of the false sense of security it might impart to local residents with exaggerated fears of the banned guns. “[I]f it has no other effect,” the majority opinion stated, the challenged “ordinance may increase the public’s sense of safety.” That’s hardly an acceptable offset for the infringement of a constitutional right.

    Members of the Supreme Court have criticized their colleagues for failing to review these cases and the lower courts for misapplying Supreme Court precedent. As noted in a dissent filed by Justice Clarence Thomas and joined by Heller’s author, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, “Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles.” Moreover, the “overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting.” “Under our precedents,” Thomas concluded, “that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.”

    With states’ violating Americans’ rights and federal courts allowing them to act with impunity, it is up to Congress to ensure that all Americans, wherever they may live, have access the best, most modern and innovative firearms for their lawful needs, including the protection of themselves and their families.

    The SAGA would ensure that state regulations could not effectively prevent the manufacture, sale, importation, or possession of any rifle or shotgun lawfully available under federal law or impose any prohibitive taxes, fees, or design limitations on such firearms.

    The NRA thanks Rep. Chris Collins for leading this important effort and urges his colleagues to cosponsor and support this staunchly pro-gun legislation.

    Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 3576, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act.  You can call your U.S. Representative at 202-225-3121.


  • Judicial Watch Warns California: 11 Counties Have More Voters than Voting-Age Citizens

    Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization, has sent a letter to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on behalf of the Election Integrity Project, noting that there are 11 counties in the state with more registered voters, and alleging that the state may be out of compliance with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

    The letter reads, in part:

    NVRA Section 8 requires states to conduct reasonable list maintenance so as to maintain an accurate record of eligible voters for use in conducting federal elections.1 As you may know, Congress enacted Section 8 of the NVRA to protect the integrity of the electoral process. Allowing the names of ineligible voters to remain on the voting rolls harms the integrity of the electoral process and undermines voter confidence in the legitimacy of elections.

    As the top election official in California, it is your responsibility under federal law to coordinate California’s statewide effort to conduct a program that reasonably ensures the lists of eligible voters are accurate.

    Judicial Watch lays out the specifics: “[T]here were more total registered voters than there were adults over the age of 18 living in each of the following eleven (11) counties: Imperial (102%), Lassen (102%), Los Angeles (112%), Monterey (104%), San Diego (138%), San Francisco (114%), San Mateo (111%), Santa Cruz (109%), Solano (111%), Stanislaus (102%), and Yolo (110%).” The letter notes that the percentage in L.A. Country may be as high as 144%.

    Read More…


  • Politico Worries that Russia Investigation Will Boomerang on Democrats

    Although the liberal media is purposely avoiding the fact that the Trump-Russia collusion investigation is, as CNN‘s Van Jones noted in a candid moment, a big “nothing burger” most of the public has already reached that conclusion. Thus far Bob Mueller and his team of Democrat-donating investigators have only come up with a quickie inconclusive 20 minute meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer. Hardly time for “collusion.” This might explain why they are now on a fishing expedition for matters completely unrelated to Russia.

    Meanwhile the public appears to be fed up with the Russia investigation to nowhere and the Mueller fishing expedition. As a result Politico is now worried that this will boomerang upon the Democrats in upcoming elections. Politico‘s David Siders worries about this today in Democrats fear Russia probe blowback

    Read More…


  • Mueller’s Investigators Are Worried They’re Going To Get Sued Photo of Jack Crowe

    Department of Justice investigators purchased liability insurance to guard themselves against potential retaliatory lawsuits brought by the subjects they’re investigating as part of the Russia probe.

    The Department would cover any legal fees incurred in the course of duty. However, a number of investigators opted to purchase extra protection as the probe moves further into examining President Donald Trump’s finances and those of his associates, a source familiar with the investigation told CNN.

    The investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly expanded into examining possible financial crimes unrelated to Russian election interference.

    Read More…


  • NYPD ‘Powerless’ to Stop Naked Illegal Alien Panhandlers (De Blasio’s Rules)

    Police in New York City expressed frustration about not being able to stop naked panhandlers from harassing the public because most of them are illegal aliens. Their status makes it difficult to enforce tickets because of Mayor de Blasio’s sanctuary city policies.

    The city established “Designated Activity Zones” (DAZ) in 2016 to provide a place for “costumed characters” a place to work for tips. Some of these panhandlers, called desnudas, are nude women wearing painted on costumes. Law enforcement officers frequently decline to ticket panhandling violations because most of them are illegal aliens, the Daily Mail reported.

    Read More…


  • A Demagogic Bully (The Southern Poverty Law Center demonizes respectable political opponents as “hate groups”—and keeps its coffers bulging)

    H.L. Mencken described the secret of successful demagoguery as “keep[ing] the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” Mencken was referring to “practical politics,” but his insight is equally applicable to public relations and fundraising campaigns trafficking in extravagant claims. For the past 40 years, a self-styled watchdog group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has excelled in promoting such unwarranted alarm, with a politicized series of hobgoblins, in the process amassing a fortune from its credulous donors.

    According to the SPLC, America is rife with dangerous “hate groups”: the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, anti-government militia groups, radical-right terrorists, and many more. “We’re currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country,” the SPLC’s website claims. Readers of SPLC’s press releases, reports, and—importantly—direct-mail solicitations would be justified in imagining an America teeming with smoldering churches and synagogues, cross burnings, storm troopers bearing swastikas, and even lynchings.

    Reality is different. In fact, racial tolerance is at an all-time high, diversity is universally promoted as a civic virtue, and “hate crimes,” as defined and reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have declined over the past decade to fewer than 6,000 incidents a year, a modest number in a country with 326 million people. The principal threats of radical extremism in the United States today are jihadist attacks (radical Islam), militant anti-police rioters (such as Black Lives Matter), and masked Antifa (so-called “anti-fascist”) mobs shutting down free speech on college campuses and violently protesting the election of President Donald J. Trump, while the greatest perpetrators of violence in America are criminal street gangs—including the deadly MS-13—that have turned some of our inner cities into war zones.

    Read More…


  • Let the Dems Be the Transgender Party (That will just make it easier for Trump to win re-election)

    The other day, Bill Kristol, sounding like a spokesman for the ACLU, decried the theism of Donald Trump. “In America the president doesn’t tell us who or what or whether to worship,” he harrumphed on Twitter after Trump merely said that Americans worship God above government.

    It is humorous to hear Edmund Burke-quoting “conservatives” peddling such pitiful liberal prattle, all while informing us that Trump isn’t a “real conservative.” Are they? As far as I can tell, most of them support the gay agenda, hold wishy-washy views on most contested cultural matters, support open borders, and second the propaganda about Islam as a religion of peace. And now they are even championing the bogus rights of cross-dressers in the military. These hawks are shocked that the commander-in-chief would command his generals to choose military strength over political correctness! How dare he.

    Unlike these phonies, Trump doesn’t clear his throat with classical tags. He doesn’t make nerdy, self-conscious references to the “conservative movement.” But who cares as long as he is restoring common sense to the government? Without common sense, without respect for the natural order of things, “conservatism” is useless. It is just destructive liberalism at a slightly slower speed.

    The classicists whom the Wills and the Kristols so pretentiously quote would have recognized the perennial conservatism in Trump’s common sense. They wouldn’t have recognized it in the me-too liberalism of the Never Trumpers.

    Read More…


  • MCMASTER OUSTS TRUMP ADVISER WHO TRIED TO FIRE OBAMA HOLDOVERS (The swamp is now in full control of the NSC)

    Derek Harvey was the key figure when it came to the Middle East. He was against the Iran Deal and the funding of Palestinian Authority terror. He called out Islamic Jihad. He tried to force out the Obama holdovers running our foreign policy.

    And now he’s gone.

    McMaster’s purge at the NSC continues. Flynn’s people get forced out and replaced with establishment zombies. The Obama holdovers continue to run foreign policy. The swamp is now in full control of the NSC.

    This one is a really big win for McMaster. And a great loss for America. It will set back our ability to fight Islamic terrorism. Iran, Al Qaeda and the Palestinian Authority are celebrating today.

    President Trump can reverse his decision. Just as he overruled McMaster’s bid to replace Ezra Watnick-Cohen, the guy who outed the Obama spying on Trump’s people, with the woman who drafted the Benghazi talking points. Not to mention Mattis’ plan to bring in Hillary’s Secretary of Defense and the Muslim Broptherhood’s favorite woman.

    But Mattis and McMaster have forced out Derek Harvey. And it’s up to President Trump to act. Or to let the McMaster-Mattis swamp control his foreign policy. And make sure it’s Jeb Bush’s foreign policy.

    Read More…


  • Becoming disabled by choice, not chance: ‘Transabled’ people feel like impostors in their fully working bodies

    When he cut off his right arm with a “very sharp power tool,” a man who now calls himself One Hand Jason let everyone believe it was an accident.

    But he had for months tried different means of cutting and crushing the limb that never quite felt like his own, training himself on first aid so he wouldn’t bleed to death, even practicing on animal parts sourced from a butcher.

    “My goal was to get the job done with no hope of reconstruction or re-attachment, and I wanted some method that I could actually bring myself to do,” he told the body modification website ModBlog.

    His goal was to become disabled.

    People like Jason have been classified as ‘‘transabled’’ — feeling like imposters in their bodies, their arms and legs in full working order.

    Read More of this Insanity….


  • McCain’s Revenge (He’s No Hero)

    Senator John McCain waited two years to get his revenge against Donald Trump for saying that McCain is not a war hero. But with a giant middle finger — or more precisely a thumb — McCain, perhaps assuming that he’ll never run for election again, showed Donald Trump that repealing and replacing Obamacare would not be the “so easy” venture that the great “deal-maker” promised.

    I understand that these two men don’t like each other. I understand that revenge is a dish best served cold. But by looking to hurt President Trump — which I have no doubt was one motivation of the “maverick” Senator — John McCain cemented his reputation as a politico who always talked a good game and who traded on his former heroism but who in the end was a harmful influence in American politics. (I say cemented because McCain’s reputation had already gone substantially in that direction with his involvement in the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act — which may not be its official name — his incessant efforts to get and keep America in wars, and his mindless desire to promote “bipartisanship” over principle, party, and, in this case, country.)

    In the closing moments of his “triumphant” return-to-the-Senate speech on Tuesday night, Senator McCain said that after the debates and votes on health care reform, he planned to stay in D.C. for a few days managing the Senate approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”), normally a fairly non-controversial process, before returning home for treating for his recently diagnosed brain cancer.

    From the turnabout-is-fair-play files, as long as John McCain was going to torpedo his own party and the nation to assuage his obsession with only supporting bills approved of by Democrats, Senator Rand Paul decided “Game on!” On Friday, Dr. Paul, long one of the Senate’s most aggressive opponents of Obamacare, blocked the Senate from moving directly to consideration of McCain’s cherished NDAA. Not knowing when his bill may move to the floor, I suspect McCain will simply return to Arizona, any future return date uncertain at best. For Dr. Paul, a hot-off-the-grill revenge is fine as well…

    Read More…


  • Apple Removes Apps From China Store That Help Internet Users Evade Censorship

    China appears to have received help on Saturday from an unlikely source in its fight against tools that help users evade its Great Firewall of internet censorship: Apple.

    Software made by foreign companies to help users skirt the country’s system of internet filters has vanished from Apple’s app store on the mainland.

    One company, ExpressVPN, posted a letter it had received from Apple saying that its app had been taken down “because it includes content that is illegal in China.”

    Another tweeted from its official account that its app had been removed.

    A search on Saturday showed that a number of the most popular foreign virtual-private networks, also known as VPNs, which give users access to the unfiltered internet in China, were no longer accessible on the company’s app store there.

    ExpressVPN wrote in its blog that the removal was “surprising and unfortunate.”

    Read More…


  • Appeals Court Schools D.C. on Heller’s Meaning, Invalidates “May-Issue” Concealed Carry Licensing

    In a major development in the ongoing effort to restore the Second Amendment in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion on Tuesday that would effectively require D.C. officials to make concealed carry licenses available on a “shall-issue” basis.

    The court’s decision comes in the combined cases of Wrenn v. D.C. and Grace v. D.C.

    Following the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized a Second Amendment right to have operable handguns in the home for self-defense, the District retaliated by banning carrying of firearms outside the home.

    A lower federal court found D.C.’s carry ban also violated the Second Amendment, but rather than comply with that ruling, D.C. created a sham system for concealed carry permits that requires applicants to show a “good” or “proper” reason for needing to carry a concealed handgun. This includes a “special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community,” job duties requiring the transport of large amounts of cash or valuables, or the need to protect a close relative who cannot provide for his or her own special self-defense needs. Practically speaking, this means the vast majority of law-abiding people who simply want to carry a handgun for self-dense in ordinary circumstances are automatically disqualified.

    Licensed concealed carry, moreover, is the only option for ordinary people to lawfully carry a loaded, accessible firearm for self-defense outside the person’s home or business in D.C., so in effect the ban on carry already found unconstitutional remains.

    Wrenn and Grace therefore presented the appellate court with the questions of whether the Second Amendment’s right to “bear” arms for self-defense extends beyond the home and, if so, whether District officials could nevertheless deny that right to all but a select, hand-picked few. The court’s answer to those questions was a resounding “yes” and “no,” respectively.

    The D.C. Circuit analogized the District’s current concealed carry licensing regime to the ban on keeping handguns at issue in Heller. The issue, the court stated, is not whether a few select people could exercise the right but whether it was available to responsible, law-abiding people in ordinary circumstances.Because the court found that D.C.’s “good” or “proper” reason requirement was effectively a ban on bearing arms by people entitled to Second Amendment protection, it declared the requirement invalid and barred its enforcement.

    The upshot of this decision is that D.C. must now issue concealed carry licenses to all otherwise eligible applicants, i.e., those who pass the District’s background check and training requirements and pay the applicable fees. Unfortunately, the court’s order is effectively on hold while District officials determine their next legal move. That could mean asking for a rehearing before the full D.C. Circuit or appealing directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    How the District will proceed remains to be seen, but in the meantime, your NRA’s efforts in the Grace case have for now contributed to winning a vital battle in the continuing conflict over the right to keep and bear arms in the seat of the nation’s government. As ever, we will keep our readers apprised of further developments in this ongoing effort.