Image Credit: Women You Should Know
Image Credit: Women You Should Know
In all of the distracting, hysterical, evidence-free and unfair allegations of misogyny and bigotry hurled at supporters of GamerGate, the consumer revolt that continues to surface outrageous misconduct in the video games press, something is being forgotten.
GamerGate is remarkable—and attracts the interest of people like me—because it represents perhaps the first time in the last decade or more that a significant incursion has been made in the culture wars against guilt-mongerers, nannies, authoritarians and far-Left agitators.
Industry after industry has toppled over, putting up no more of a fight than, say, France in 1940. Publishing, journalism, TV… all lie supine beneath the crowing, cackling, censorious battle-axes, male and female, of the third-wave feminist and social justice causes.
But not gamers. Lovers of video games, on seeing their colleagues unfairly hounded as misogynists, on watching journalists credulously reporting scandalous sexual assault claims just because a person was perceived to be “right-wing” and on seeing the games they love attacked and their very identities denied and ridiculed, have said: no. This will not stand.
The reaction in the press has been bewilderment and, then, apoplectic rage, driven at least in part by a media establishment that sees video gamers—the supposed dorks and basement-dwellers of popular imagination—mounting a credible and effective defence against the liars, frauds, neurotics and attention-seekers who have already destroyed morale and wrecked culture in the comic, sci fi and fantasy worlds.
In other words, some of the bitterness comes from people who are shocked that it took video gamers to say, “No more of this, thank you.”
Earlier this month we posted news that Frank Taafe, a self-proclaimed “friend” of George Zimmerman, was going to testify before a Grand Jury that he now believed Zimmerman had a racist motivation for the shooting of Trayvon Martin. This news came just days before the hotly contested November 4 election in which the Democrats took the same kind of beating that Trayvon delivered to Zimmerman, but without the benefit of being armed. (See: Key Witness for Zimmerman Grand Jury Changes Story.)
Taaffe’s Grand Jury appearance, scheduled for last Wednesday, was delayed for unexplained reasons. (See: We interrupt post-election gloating for news about the DOJ Zimmerman Grand Jury.) According to reporting by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, however, Taaffe was to appear before the Grand Jury today to testify about Zimmerman’s purported racial animus.
Such testimony would be a game changer in lingering efforts to seek Federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman. Despite dozens of FBI interviews of people associated with Zimmerman, there was never so much as a smidgen of evidence that Zimmerman shot Martin for reasons of racism. Indeed, what evidence was developed ran counter to that narrative.
Among those at the time who told FBI agents that they had no reason to believe Zimmerman had a racial motive for shooting Martin? Frank Taaffe.
Dozens of House Republicans have signed onto a new letter that insists the party include language in the upcoming spending bill to prevent President Obama from taking unilateral action on immigration, escalating a simmering fight between Congress and the White House.
Rep. Matt Salmon, an Arizona Republican who organized the letter, said Congress needs to use its power of the purse to defend its own powers to write immigration policy — and he said he believes there could be enough support even in the Democratic-controlled Senate to win.
“I’m not going down without a fight,” he said in an interview with The Washington Times.
Michael Bloomberg’s $40 million spending splurge on politics for this year’s election taught him a lesson for 2016: You get a much better bang for your buck by trying to tip state and local elections than high-profile federal ones.
So as the former New York mayor turned activist for gun control, healthier food choices, education reform, and other issues makes his spending plans for the next two years, he plans to weight his contributions more toward ballot measures, governor and school-board candidates, and away from House and Senate races, which have become glutted with outside money.
“You can keep hitting your head against a wall, or you can go elsewhere,” Bloomberg said in a statement to POLITICO. “Change is really possible at the state and local level.”
His political advisers are already scouting states where his big checks could help promote soda taxes and background checks for handgun purchasers. He’s also looking for states to promote nonpartisan primaries and redistricting, similar to a measure that failed in Oregon this month despite his $2.1 million contribution.
Law-abiding Californians may not need to justify their need to carry concealed weapons, after the same three-judge panel that struck down restrictions on the permits earlier this year ruled Wednesday that it is too late for new opponents to join the fight against the ruling.
The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would bar other law enforcement officials, including state Attorney General Kamala Harris, from gaining “intervener status” to join in further challenges of its ruling in a case originally brought by an independent journalist who sued the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department over its policy of requiring a specific reason for being allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has said he will not fight the ruling, meaning there is no one with standing left to challenge the decision made in February.
“Since becoming Sheriff, I have always maintained that it is the legislature’s responsibility to make the laws, and the judiciary’s responsibility to interpret them and their constitutionality,” Gore wrote in a letter to the county board of supervisors earlier this year, in which he said the court’s decision gave him clarity on the issuance of licenses. “Law enforcement’s role is to uphold and enforce the law.”
Edward Peruta sued Gore’s department over its policy of requiring a specific reason for being allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public, restrictions other counties around the state also had in place.
In its bombshell ruling earlier this year, the 9th Circuit found those policies to be unconstitutional and held that law-abiding citizens have a right to bear arms under the Constitution’s Second Amendment and could not be required to justify their reasons for carrying concealed weapons. The panel simultaneously ruled on a similar case brought in Yolo County, and that county’s sheriff, Edward Prieto, has not indicated he will drop further appeals, which could be heard en banc by all of the 9th Circuit judges or by the U.S. Supreme Court. Harris could try to join Prieto’s case, although Wednesday’s ruling appears to make it unlikely she would be allowed.
Long-suffering California gun owners received some rare good news in February when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recognized a right to bear arms outside the home. In its decision in the NRA-backed case of Peruta v. County of San Diego, the panel struck down San Diego County’s “good cause” requirement for a concealed carry license, as county policy failed to recognize general self-defense as sufficient good cause. The ruling, however, has been stayed as parties seek to intervene and petition for a rehearing of the case by a larger contingent of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime, droves of Californians intent on exercising their right to self-defense have already made their opinions known by applying for concealed carry licenses.
Like some other jurisdictions in California, San Diego County had operated under a strict may-issue carry policy that left the decision of who may or may not receive a license up to the discretion of the issuing law enforcement official. In San Diego, this discretion led to a policy by the Sheriff’s Office that an applicant had to show “good cause” for obtaining a license. As outlined in the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, this required all applicants to provide “supporting documentation” of their need. The court went on to explain, “If the applicant [could not] demonstrate ‘circumstances that distinguish [him] from the mainstream,’ then he [would] not qualify for a concealed-carry permit.”
The case originated in 2009, when resident Edward Peruta filed a complaint against San Diego County and Sheriff William D. Gore in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California after being denied a concealed carry license. Peruta argued that San Diego’s “good cause” policy violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. According to Peruta’s attorney, “It was deemed the Plaintiff did not have good cause, because Plaintiff could not document any specific threat of harm, and primary reasons for desiring a license to carry a concealed weapon were due to the fact that he often carried large amounts of cash, valuables and equipment in his motor home, and also because his duties as a news investigator placed him in high crime areas.” Later on, several other plaintiffs joined the case, along with NRA’s California state affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
In December 2010, the district court ruled in favor of San Diego. At the time, persons in California could lawfully carry an unloaded handgun with ammunition at the ready. The trial court opined, “to the extent … Defendant’s policy burden[s] conduct falling within the scope of the Second Amendment, if at all, the burden is mitigated by the provisions of [the law] that expressly permit unloaded open carry for immediate self-defense.” The opinion went on to reject the plaintiffs’ call for the use of strict scrutiny in determining whether San Diego was violating the Second Amendment right, opting instead to examine the policy under “intermediate scrutiny.” The court determined that “under intermediate scrutiny, Defendant’s policy need not be perfect, only reasonably related to a ‘significant,’ ‘substantial,’ or ‘important’ governmental interest,” and that the “Defendant’s policy satisfies that standard.”
On October 9, 2011, however, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 144, which outlawed the open carry of unloaded handguns (the open carry of loaded handguns had been banned years earlier). The legislation left those lacking a concealed carry license without even the prior, largely symbolic option of carrying an unloaded handgun outside the home for self-defense. Thus, enactment of this legislation ironically diminished one of the arguments used by the district court in rejecting the challenge to San Diego’s licensing policy.
The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where it was assigned to a three-judge panel consisting of Judges Diarmuid O’Scannlain, Sidney Thomas, and Consuelo Callahan. Oral arguments were heard on December 6, 2012.
NRA filed a friend of the court brief outlining its position. The brief argued that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that is substantially burdened by San Diego’s “good cause” policy, and therefore the policy must be examined under a “strict scrutiny” test. In making this argument, the brief relied heavily on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Nordyke v. King, and the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller, and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The brief concluded its argument by stating: “The County interprets ‘good cause’ as meaning a particularly good cause that distinguishes an applicant from the average citizen. The fundamental problem with that interpretation is that every individual has a Second Amendment right and corresponding right to self-defense. There is no need for an individual to demonstrate an especially good reason that he should enjoy a constitutional right guaranteed by our founding document.”
On February 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in a 77-page opinion written by Judge O’Scannlain. First, O’Scannlain examined the question of whether the behavior restricted by San Diego’s policy falls within the scope of the right protected by the Second Amendment. The Judge pointed out that the Second Amendment protects a “right not only to ‘keep’ arms but also to ‘bear’ them.” After examining several sources, along with the Heller and McDonald decisions, O’Scannlain concluded that the evidence “suggest[s] that the Second Amendment secures a right to carry a firearm in some fashion outside the home.”
Next the opinion delved into the matter of what the term “bear arms” encompassed in the founding era. On this point, O’Scannlain cited founding-era scholar St. George Tucker: “The right to armed self-defense, Tucker insisted, is the ‘first law of nature,’ and any law ‘prohibiting any person from bearing arms’ crossed the constitutional line.”
The opinion then went on to explore legal precedent for the correct interpretation of the right to “bear arms.” O’Scannlain cited the 1822 Kentucky case Bliss v. Commonwealth, in which the Kentucky Supreme Court held that the state’s right to bear arms amendment invalidated a ban on “wearing concealed arms.” The opinion then cited similar cases, including the 1833 Tennessee case of Simpson v. State, the 1840 Alabama case of State v. Reid, and the 1846 Georgia case of Nunn v. State, all of which offer evidence that the right to “bear arms” was understood to extend beyond the home.
O’Scannlain’s analysis then moved to the post-civil war period. Here the judge examined Stephen P. Halbrook’s scholarship on the Fourteenth Amendment and the post-slavery experience as it pertains to the right to keep and bear arms. Using a passage from the Heller decision, O’Scannlain determined that “[j]ust as it was ‘plainly the understanding in the post-Civil War Congress that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to use arms for self-defense,’… it appears that the right was also understood to encompass carrying weapons in public in case of confrontation.” After marshalling all of his historic evidence, O’Scannlain concluded that “the carrying of an operable handgun outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense, though subject to traditional restrictions, constitutes ‘bear[ing] Arms’ within the meaning of the Second Amendment.”
The opinion then analyzed whether San Diego’s policy is an infringement of the right to bear arms. O’Scannlain notably rejected the method of applying a certain level of scrutiny to an infringement on the Second Amendment right that other courts have used in similar circumstances. Instead, he noted that since there is no option in California for unlicensed open carry, the right to carry outside the home is effectively eliminated by San Diego’s policy, under which licenses are routinely denied. Thus, O’Scannlain found that a scrutiny test would be inappropriate, in that “the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.” In summary, “San Diego’s ‘good cause’ permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms for lawful self-defense.”
Despite O’Scannlain’s strong articulation of the right to carry outside the home, California gun owners and others under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction are not out of the woods yet. Following the ruling, gun control proponents petitioned to have the case reheard by a “limited en banc” panel of 11 judges. The Ninth Circuit has yet to determine whether or not it will grant this request. In the meantime, the panel’s February 13 ruling has been stayed until a final disposition of the case has been made. This means jurisdictions that were operating under a “may issue” license framework may continue to do so in the interim. Nevertheless, a number of counties – including Orange, Ventura, and San Joaquin – have already changed their polices to recognize a desire for self-defense as a sufficient cause for the issuance of a concealed carry license to an otherwise qualified applicant.
In addition to being an important milestone for Golden State residents, the ruling could affect policy in other states. Another Ninth Circuit ruling in the case of Baker v. Kealoha held that a district court in Hawaii erred when it held that the state’s restrictions on carrying firearms outside the home did not implicate protected Second Amendment activity. Further proceedings on that case, however, have been deferred pending resolution of the post-opinion matters in Peruta. Meanwhile, the U.S. territory of Guam passed legislation in response to Peruta that changed its concealed carry licensing regime from “may-issue” to “shall-issue.”
For the second time in as many years, Chicago taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for their politicians’ insistence on pursuing unconstitutional gun control. In early July, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ordered Chicago to pay $940,000 to the NRA.
The order stems from an NRA victory in the lawsuit Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers v. Chicago. Back in January, Judge Edmond E. Chang of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois invalidated Chicago’s complete ban on firearm sales in the city. Chang wrote that “Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms.” Under federal law, in certain circumstances, the prevailing party in civil rights cases is to be reimbursed for the costs of the litigation, a provision which in this case applied to NRA.
Unfortunately, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Chicago City Council have flouted Judge Chang’s ruling, circumventing it with an ordinance enacting onerous rules on potential firearms dealers operating within the city. The ordinance imposes numerous burdens on would-be store owners, including severe zoning restrictions, extensive paperwork requirements, handgun rationing, waiting periods, and a mandate to video-record every sale.
These new restrictions will no doubt lead to further legal wrangling. In a city that experiences a notorious amount of crime, providing additional funds to law enforcement, rather than to quixotic legal battles to curb the rights of residents, would surely be a better investment.
On March 18, the Delaware Supreme Court struck a blow for gun rights, and against economic discrimination, when it struck down a Wilmington Housing Authority policy that restricted the rights of public housing tenants to bear arms where they live. The court ruled in the case of Jane Doe v. Wilmington Housing Authority that under the state’s constitutional right to arms provision, policies restricting residents from carrying firearms in common areas and requiring tenants to produce paperwork attesting to their lawful ownership of firearms were not permissible.
The case originated in 2010 when two public housing residents, identified in the litigation as Jane Doe and Charles Boone, filed suit against the WHA, contending that the agency’s rules violated both the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and the Delaware Constitution. The NRA provided direct assistance in the filing of the suit.
Article I, § 20 of the Delaware Constitution states, “A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.” Both Doe and Boone’s lease agreements had onerous rules regarding firearms in housing under WHA jurisdiction. In particular, Boone took issue with a rule stating that tenants could not, “display, use or possess… any firearms, (operable or inoperable) or dangerous instruments or deadly weapons as defined by the laws of the State of Delaware anywhere on the property of the Authority.”
The case was making its way through the U.S. District Court in Delaware when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment binds not just federal actions but those of states and their localities as well. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the WHA revised the worst aspects of its firearm policy and allowed for possession of firearms within a tenant’s unit.
The WHA nevertheless continued its approach of not allowing firearms in common areas. The new policy stated that a resident “[s]hall not display or carry a firearm or other weapon in any common area,” and included a provision requiring that residents “[s]hall have available for inspection a copy of any permit, license, or other documentation required by state, local, or federal law for the ownership, possession, or transportation of any firearm or other weapon, including a license to carry a concealed weapon… upon request, when there is reasonable cause to believe that the law or this Policy has been violated.”
The District Court ruled in favor of the WHA, with Judge Leonard P. Stark writing in the court’s opinion that the “Common Area Provision regulates conduct that is not within the ‘core’ of what is protected by the Second Amendment.” This action prompted the tenants to appeal their case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
In July 2013, the Third Circuit certified the case to the Delaware Supreme Court. The Third Circuit requested the Delaware court to rule on whether, under Article I, § 20 of the Delaware Constitution, the WHA’s firearm policies regarding carry in common areas and production of documents were permissible. Under the principles of federalism, state courts are considered to be ultimate arbiters of state laws that do not implicate the U.S. Constitution or federal law.
In analyzing whether the Delaware State Constitution bars the WHA’s policies, state Justice Henry Ridgley, writing for the en banc court, provided background on the right to bear arms in the First State. His opinion noted that “Delaware is an ‘open carry’ state,” and that “[l]ike the citizens of our sister states at the founding, Delaware citizens understood that the ‘right of self-preservation’ permitted a citizen to ‘repe[l] force by force’.” Ridgley went on to explain that although Delaware did not include a provision protecting the right to keep and bear arms at the state constitutional convention of 1791, “there was an apparent consensus among the delegates on an individual’s right to bear arms for self-defense.” With regard to the adoption of the right to keep and bear arms provision in 1987, Ridgley noted that the General Assembly intended to “explicitly protect the traditional right to keep and bear arms.”
The Delaware court also found that “the Delaware provision is intentionally broader than the [district court’s reading of the] Second Amendment and protects the right to bear arms outside the home, including for hunting and recreation.” Thus, according to Ridgley, “Section 20 is not constrained by the federal precedent relied upon by WHA.”
The Delaware court went on to apply an intermediate scrutiny test to the WHA policy barring firearm possession in common areas, under which “[t]he governmental action cannot burden the right more than is reasonably necessary to ensure that the asserted governmental objective is met.” Ridgley’s opinion explained that “WHA must show more than a general safety concern and it has not done so.” It then found that the burden the WHA policy places on tenants is substantial: “With the Common Area Provision in force under penalty of eviction, reasonable, law-abiding adults become disarmed and unable to repel an intruder by force in any common living areas.” Moreover, the opinion states, “the restrictions of the Common Area Provision are overbroad and burden the right to keep and bear arms more than is reasonably necessary.”
In striking down the policy requiring that residents produce evidence of their lawful ownership of a firearm, the court reasoned that since this policy was enacted to enforce the common area ban, which is unconstitutional, the paperwork requirement is illegal as well.
NRA had been involved with this battle to protect the rights of Delaware’s disadvantaged through its various stages, and filed a friend of the court brief with the Delaware Supreme Court in September 2013. The ruling is an important victory for the residents of Delaware and represents a triumph over gun control policies that all-too-often disproportionately affect the poor.
While the state of Connecticut ponders how to handle the owners of thousands of unregistered semi-automatic firearms and magazines in the state, an important NRA-backed case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s firearm and magazine bans is making its way through the federal courts.
The case, Shew v. Malloy, was initiated on May 22, 2013, when lawyers on behalf of June Shew and several other plaintiffs filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The complaint alleged several violations of the plaintiffs’ rights.
The complaint first claimed that the state’s bans on magazines and certain semi-automatic firearms are in violation of the right to “keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, and as made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.” Next, the complaint argued that the firearm and magazine prohibitions violate the plaintiffs’ right to equal protection under the law, as several classes of government employees are exempt from the ban. Last, the complaint asserted that portions of the Act violate due process, as the ban is vague.
In addition to other extensive support to the case, NRA offered a friend of the court brief on July 15, 2013. The brief explained why Connecticut’s bans should be invalidated.
The brief argued that the Act should not be subject to an interest balancing test. It stated, “[T]he line between permissible and impermissible arms regulations is not to be established by balancing the individual right protected by the Second Amendment against purportedly competing government interests.” To bolster this argument, the brief cited the Supreme Court’s Heller decision extensively.
In a similar vein, the brief cited the Heller decision’s contention that the Second Amendment protects firearms “of the kind in common use.” It went on to cite a variety of evidence in explaining how the semi-automatic firearms and magazines prohibited by Connecticut’s ban are in “common use.” Indeed, as the brief pointed out, the AR-15 is “America’s ‘most popular semi-automatic rifle.’” Were the court nevertheless to apply a balancing test, the brief argued that the act is unconstitutional under any level of scrutiny.
Unfortunately, on January 30, 2014, the district court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, upholding Connecticut’s bans. The case was subsequently appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
On May 23, NRA filed a friend of the court brief with the Second Circuit. The brief began by advocating that the court employ strict scrutiny if it chooses to use an interest balancing test to determine the legality of the bans. In doing so, the brief cited precedent from other circuits, along with the Supreme Court’s Heller decision. “What is often glossed over,” it stated, “is the fact that the Supreme Court also held a ban on commonly owned long guns, such as those prohibited by the Act, was unconstitutional ….” Accordingly, the brief argued, the Act’s “provisions fall within the ambit of Heller’s mandate, and must be subjected to at least strict scrutiny.”
The brief also called upon the court to limit the evidence that the state of Connecticut can use to justify the Act. It stated that only the evidence which was considered by the Connecticut legislature at the time of enactment should be used to determine whether the legislature acted reasonably. Further, the brief went on to attack the credibility of evidence used by Connecticut and the District Court, by refuting the so-called “expert” opinions of Dr. Christopher Koper as unreliable.
Other friend of the court briefs were filed in support of the plaintiffs by a variety of organizations, including the Pink Pistols, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, and a coalition of states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The case is now on appeal before the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit has announced that argument in the case will be heard on December 9, the same day and before the same panel as the pending appeal in the case challenging New York’s “SAFE” Act. We will report on further developments as they become available.
Lawyers are generally required to be admitted to the bar association of a given jurisdiction (and to pay bar dues) before being allowed to practice in that locale. The overarching purpose of bar associations is to maintain the integrity, trust, and quality of the legal profession, and more broadly, to promote justice and the rule of law. Bar associations pursue these goals by, for example, establishing minimum standards of knowledge or competence for entering the profession, rules of professional ethics and conduct, continuing education requirements and opportunities, and free or affordable legal aid programs. Experienced, knowledgeable attorneys are rarely in complete agreement about the meaning or application of the law itself, much less politics or social policy, so when a bar deviates from its inward focus on the legal profession to an outward focus on social engineering, controversy is certain to result. The reputation of the legal profession itself is also bound to suffer.
Such was the case when the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) entered the fray over gun control. The Hartford Courant reports that following the horrific murders at Sandy Hook in December 2012, the CBA’s elected House of Delegates voted to write a letter to state officials advocating for legal restrictions on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines. Some members of the association (membership in which is not mandatory to practice law in Connecticut) were understandably upset that an organization that is supposed to stand for the rule of law was actively campaigning against the fundamental civil right of keeping and bearing arms. Even some who agreed with the underlying policy goals of the legislation nevertheless felt it was inappropriate for the bar to be inserting itself into a debate that did not concern the standards of the legal profession itself. Still others opined that the effort did not reflect the view of the CBA as a whole but was primarily motivated by certain well-placed individuals within the CBA who had a strong personal connection to the events of Sandy Hook and were pursuing what was essentially a personal agenda.
Concern increased when the CBA’s House of Delegates upped the anti-gun ante by voting in July to join with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in filing a friend of the court brief in support of Connecticut’s expansive 2013 gun control law. As reported elsewhere in this alert, the law had been challenged in court and upheld by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, a decision that was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After the delegate vote, according to the Hartford Courant, “A debate that simmered … became a revolt …. On Aug. 5, lawyers opposed to joining the Brady defense had collected sufficient petition signatures to force a referendum.” CBA President Mark Dubois admitted that he could not recall that happening at any other time during his 40 years as a member of the bar.
On August 20, Dubois announced the results of that vote, characterizing it as a tie (734 in favor versus 729 opposed). In light of this statistical dead heat, Dubois announced: “I do not feel that the best interests of the CBA would be served going forward without a clear and empirically defensible result. Accordingly, I have decided not to sign the brief prepared by the Brady Center in support of the Appellee in the matter of Shew v. Malloy.” He also acknowledged, “This process has shown that … there is some disagreement on whether or when the CBA should become involved in matters beyond those directly dealing with the operation of the courts or a narrowly defined practice of law ….”
A commentary on the controversy posted on a law-related blog aptly observed:
The issue here isn’t pro-gun or anti-gun — it’s when an association should get involved in matters that go beyond the practice of law. Bar associations should strive to represent the interests of all of their members, or at least the vast majority of them, and here, there clearly wasn’t widespread support for contributing to the defense of the law.
We made a similar point a couple of years ago when the American Bar Association came out in favor of “reasonable” restrictions on guns, including an assault weapons ban. There was an immediate backlash on the ABA Journal‘s website, but interestingly enough, the support for gun control wasn’t new — the ABA has taken that stance for decades.
The point of these bar associations is to promote the advancement and ethics of the legal profession, not to take stances on divisive issues.
As we have often observed, support for Second Amendment rights is an authentic grassroots phenomenon, while support for gun control disproportionately resides within the elite (most of whom have no problem paying for body guards or security to assume physical risks on their behalf). The CBA’s misadventure is just another recent example of an influential minority’s attempt to hijack a prominent platform to portray as “resolved” a gun control orthodoxy that most still recognize as fiercely contested. To the credit of the CBA’s membership at large, that attempt was unsuccessful.
…But when asked whether people should be allowed to own “semi-automatic weapons,” the doctor replied: “It depends on where you live.”
“I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it,” Carson elaborated.
However, if you live “out in the country somewhere by yourself” and want to own a semi-automatic weapon, he added, “I’ve no problem with that.”
Glenn Says: …and he’s out!
Back in July the Washington D.C. ban on concealed and open carry of handguns was struck down by U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin as unconstitutional. As a result, the DC City Council reluctantly voted to approve concealed carry, giving the power of writing the rules and regulations to the Washington D.C. police. Now, those rules have been written and they’re impossible to follow.
Investigative reporter Emily Miller and author of Emily Gets Her Gun has started the process of applying for a concealed carry permit in the District.
I am a registered gun owner, but I feel that I’m in more danger on the streets of Washington, D.C. than inside my home. So when D.C. recently passed a new law allowing for some rights to carry a gun outside the home, I decided to apply for a permit. I quickly found that it is still impossible to exercise my Second Amendment right to bear arms.
What she has found so far about the process is enraging. Currently, D.C. police are failing to comply with the court order and the required training that is only available through the D.C. police hasn’t been set up yet. Further, the chief-of-police will determine who has enough evidence and justification for “needing” a concealed carry permit. Living in a high crime area with regular occurrences of rape and murder doesn’t count.
John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, as well Valerie Jarrett and Barack Obama, should take heed. By a commanding 17 point margin, Americans want Congress to take the lead, according to a new Gallup Poll (hat tip: Bloomberg and Instapundit):
Following the midterm election that some have termed a Republican wave, the majority of Americans want the Republicans in Congress — rather than President Barack Obama — to have more influence over the direction the country takes in the coming year. This is a switch from early 2012 when a slim plurality, 46%, wanted Obama to prevail in steering the nation.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan defeated Sen. Mark Begich, the Democratic incumbent, in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race Wednesday – a win that gives the GOP eight Senate pickups in the midterm elections.
The Republican Party also is seeking a ninth seat in Louisiana’s runoff in December.
Sullivan ran a confident campaign, ignoring the debate schedule Begich established and setting his own terms.
He pledged to fight federal overreach, talked about energy independence and, at seemingly every opportunity, sought to tie Begich to President Barack Obama and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who are unpopular in Alaska.
Begich complained that Sullivan offered little in the way of proposals for what he would do as senator.