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Category Archives: Second Amendment

Breyer: Second Amendment Not About ‘the Right of an Individual to Keep a Gun Next to His Bed’ – PJ Media

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:46 am

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said in an interview aired Tuesday that judges make poor politicians, that he misses late Justice Antonin Scalia, and that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to a citizen keeping a gun next to their bed.

In a wide-ranging interview with PBS’ Charlie Rose, Breyer said he thought Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the 1857Dred Scott v. Sandford decision that found blacks could not be American citizens, “tried to be a politician.”

“And he thought that — perhaps he thought, that by reaching a decision saying a black person was not a person, that’s roughly what he held, unbelievable. But, he thought he would help prevent the Civil War…if anything, he helped bring about the Civil War because Benjamin Curtis wrote a great dissent showing, I think, at the time, his decision was wrong. It’s not using hindsight, but really wrong. Abraham Lincoln picked it up, read Taney’s decision and said this is a shocker, then used the dissent in his speech at Cooper Union,” Breyer noted.

“Which was the speech that propelled him to the head of the Republican Party, and helped get him the nomination and then all followed. He was really an abolitionist at heart. They knew that in the South and then, the Civil War followed,” he added. “So, if that was Taney’s idea, he was wrong. Judges are not good politicians. They may have some exposure to politics, but that’s what I mean when I say junior league.”

Breyer recalled Scalia being a masterful writer. “The job of a judge in an appellate court is, in an opinion, to explain the reasons why he or she reached this opinion,” he said. “Now, I don’t think that that calls for or requires what you might be able to do in terms of great phrasing but if you can do that, it can be an advantage. But what I meant because people — when Nino and I use — I miss him, I do.”

Breyer stressed that “it’s a big country” with 320 million people who “think a lot of different things,” thus “it is not such a terrible thing, if on the Supreme Court, there are people who have different, somewhat different jurisprudential outlooks.”

“You know, Scalia probably likes rules more than I do. He tends to find clarity in trying to get a clear rule. I have probably more of a view that life is a mess,” the justice said, adding that it comes down to “basic outlook about the Constitution, how it applies today to people who must live under it.”

“Those are where the differences come up. It’s not politics.”

Breyer said people shouldn’t look at the High Court as a political arbiter. “It is not the Supreme Court that tells people what to do. [The Constitution] sets boundaries. We are, in a sense, the boundary commission,” he said. “…But don’t make the mistake of confusing a tough question at the boundary with the fact about what the document is like, because the document leaves vast space in between the boundaries for people themselves through the ballot box to decide what cities, towns, states, what kind of a nation they want. That’s what this foresees, and if you do not participate, it won’t work.”

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D.C. attorney general wants federal judges to look at city’s strict gun … – Washington Post

Posted: at 3:46 am

The Districts top lawyer on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to rehear a challenge to the citys strict limits on carrying concealed firearms.

Attorney General Karl A. Racines decision follows a ruling last month from a three-judge panel that blocks the Districts requirement of a good reason to obtain a permit because the requirement prevents most residents from carrying guns in public places.

City officials say the restrictions are common sense gun rules needed to promote public safety in the nations capital. Racine wants a full complement of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review the panels ruling against the city.

Review by the full court is necessary due to the importance of this question, which affects the safety of every person who lives in, works in, or visits the District, according to the new court filing. Through their elected representatives, District residents have decided that public carrying without good reason is inconsistent with public safety.

The citys permitting system remains in effect while the appeal is under review. If the court declines to revisit the panels decision, the order to permanently block enforcement of the good reason requirement would take effect seven days later.

In its 2-to-1 ruling last month, the panel found the D.C. law in violation of the Second Amendment.

Bans on the ability of most citizens to exercise an enumerated right would have to flunk any judicial test, wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith, who was joined by Judge Stephen F. Williams.

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson dissented, siding with the city and finding that the regulation passes muster because of the Districts unique security challenges and because the measure does not affect the right to keep a firearm at home.

[Appeals court blocks enforcement of D.C.s strict concealed-carry law]

The Supreme Court in 2008 used a D.C. case to declare for the first time an individual right to gun ownership apart from military service. But the high court has shown little interest in going further to decide whether the Second Amendment applies outside the home.

In June, for instance, the Supreme Court declined to take up a California case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the Second Amendment does not protect the right to carry a concealed weapon in public.

[Gun ruling raises an issue the Supreme Court has been reluctant to review]

Under the Districts law, residents who want a permit to carry a concealed firearm must show that they have good reason to fear injury or a proper reason, such as transporting valuables. The regulations specify that living or working in a high crime area shall not by itself qualify as a good reason to carry.

As of July 15, D.C. police had approved 126 concealed-carry licenses and denied 417 applicants, according to the police department.

The Districts requirement is similar to rules in other states, including Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

Petitions for rehearing by a full complement of judges on the D.C. Circuit are filed frequently, but the court rarely grants such requests, taking up less than a handful each term.

A single judge may call for a vote on such a petition, but a rehearing requires sign-off from a majority of the 11 active judges on the court.

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‘The Gun Guy’: Radio host Guy Relford defends 2nd amendment from Carmel office – Current in Carmel

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:37 pm

Guy Relford practices gun law in Carmel and is the host of The Gun Guy radio show on WIBC. (Submitted photo)

Carmel attorney Guy Relford has truly earned his nickname, The Gun Guy.

Relforc teaches firearms safety classes and hosts a radio show on WIBC called The Gun Guy. His law firm focuses on gun law cases. He literally wrote the book on gun safety. Hes the author of Gun Safety and Cleaning for Dummies.

Relford, a longtime Carmel resident and Carmel High School graduate, started his law firm in the Carmel Arts & Design District six years ago. He had worked for two decades doing global litigation for Dow Chemical but discovered changes at his job would require moving to Michigan. He loved Carmel and didnt want to move, so he took an early retirement and thought about his next move.

Relford has always been interested in guns. Hes been a certified firearms instructor for 25 years, so he decided to dedicate his career to helping others understand gun rights.

I was already self-educated on Second Amendment law, and so I thought Id dedicate my practice to that, he said.

Relford handles criminal and civil cases. In criminal cases, he often defenses clients accused of a gun crime but whom he believes was legally exercising Second Amendment rights. Cases range from firearm possession to self defense.

Guy Relford takes aim. He is a firearms instructor, attorney and radio show host. (Submitted photo)

If I think all they were doing is exercising their Constitutional right, then I defend them, he said.

Relford also handles civil cases, such as incidents where clients sue an employer or a municipal government. For example, an employer might place a ban on firearms legally locked out of sight in a vehicle, and Relford might defend a gun owner who works at that business. He said hes sued several city governments that have tried to pass laws that unconstitutionally restrict the Second Amendment.

But Relford said hes no extremist. Hes a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and said additional gun laws are largely unnecessary, but he doesnt defend all gun owners at all times. Gun safety is important to him, which is why he started his second business, Tactical Firearms Training.

I dont think people realize how serious most gun owners take safety, he said. Are there irresponsible gun owners? Sure, but there are irresponsible drivers on the road. In fact, I get as angry as anyone about irresponsible gun owners, especially since I wrote a book about gun safety.

Relford said some dangerous people simply shouldnt have guns, but he said there are already enough laws. Inevitably, he said some gun laws could make people less safe because only criminals would have guns.

I always say there are no gun-free zones, he said. There are areas where you can have a gun and there are areas where only criminals have guns because they arent following the gun-free zones law. Even in an airport or a courthouse where they have metal detectors, the air marshals and police officers still have guns. So there are no gun-free zones.

Relford said people often ask him about gun issues, such as if its OK to shoot a coyote if its in your yard. He said in most cases its not worth the risk of a charge of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, which could be a felony. People ask him about stories in the news, such as the Fishers convenience store clerk who pointed a gun at a shoplifter in July. In that case, Relford said its not smart to commit a felony in order to prevent someone from committing a misdemeanor crime.

Relford is a frequent guest on local talk shows, such as Chicks on the Right and Tony Katz on WIBC radio. After some successful appearances, he was given his own show that airs from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturdays on WIBC.

I cant give legal advice on the radio, but I can tell you what the law is, he said.

State Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, has been a guest on his radio show and said he really respects Relford.

The great thing Ive noticed is that he wont guess when it comes to the law, he said. He wont make something up on the fly. Hell look into it and report back later. But hes really knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Tony Katz, a radio host on WIBC, said that Relford is a great resource for information.

Great gun knowledge, great legal knowledge, and a demeanor that begs good conversation and avoids the kind of vitriol that ends a conversation before it starts, Katz said. Its good have people like him around. Its also way safer.

Relford said hes never had to fire a gun in self defense, but hes been in scary situations where hes been glad to have a gun.

I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, he said. I dont think my kitchen is going to catch on fire, but I still feel safer having it there.

The four rules

According to Guy Relford, there are Four Rules of safe gun handling.

1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded.

2. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

3. Always keep your finger (and anything else) away from the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.

4. Always be sure of your target and anything aligned with your target (in front or in back) before you pull the trigger.

Gun storage

Always store every gun so that it is inaccessible to anyone who is not trained or authorized to handle your firearm. This doesnt mean hidden, or on a high shelf or the top of the armoire. It means locked up. There are quick-open gun safes that allow gun owners to access a firearm in a second or two but still keep the gun inaccessible to others, particularly young children.

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After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm

A very strange thing has happened since last weekends dreadful violence in Charlottesville. White supremacists used virtually every form of weapon except guns, yet somehow the Second Amendment is now under fire. Even worse, those who lawfully exercise the right to keep and bear arms now have fewer defenders when they also choose to speak.

It started with Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. In remarks that were oddly enough edited out of a New York Times article, McAuliffe claimed that 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons. He further asserted that militia members had better equipment than our state police. He also said that white supremacists had weapons stashed around the city.

The Virginia state police disputed the governors claims, stating that theyd specifically looked for weapons stashes and no weapons were located. Further, they assured the public that they were not outgunned by militias. A spokesperson said the police were equipped with more-than-adequate specialized tactical and protective gear for the purpose of fulfilling their duties to protect the people present at the protests.

No matter. Claims that gun-toting militia members had somehow chilled free speech rocketed around the Web. Yet who, exactly, was deterred from speaking last weekend? Not only were people speaking, they were shrieking, chanting, yelling, and arguing. Few were deterred even from brawling.

Then, yesterday, a more significant shoe dropped. The Wall Street Journal reported that the American Civil Liberties Union will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms. In other words, the groups anti-gun stance is now directly influencing its First Amendment advocacy. Its executive director, Anthony Romero, told the Journal that the decision was in keeping with a 2015 policy adopted by the ACLUs national board in support of reasonable firearm regulation.

For all its flaws and inconsistencies in other areas, the ACLU had been one of the last well-resourced national legal organizations that were truly non-partisan in defending First Amendment freedoms such as the right to march and speak in Charlottesville. Indeed, a local ACLU chapter had defended the alt-rights liberties at that very protest. But now the ACLUs message was clear: lawfully exercise Second Amendment rights, and well turn our backs on your First Amendment freedoms.

The law already prohibits true threats, and there are an array of legal restrictions on the place and manner of bearing arms depending on the jurisdiction and location. Under existing precedent, groups that engage in threats or violate local firearms laws face severe legal consequences. The ACLUs position, however, is that it will not represent a category of organizations that are completely compliant with the applicable laws.

The ACLU is a private organization, and it has complete discretion to choose its clients, but its action reveals the extent to which arguments about civil liberties are becoming dangerously partisan and short-sighted. The ACLU has enjoyed an enormous surge in membership and donations since itpositioned itself as the law firm of the #Resistance, but a number of these new members are completely ignorant of the organizations traditional First Amendment work and were furious when they found out the ACLUs role in protecting the alt-rights constitutional rights.

Thus, yet another negative result of last weekends deadly violence is that both the First and Second Amendments are under increasing cultural pressure. Rather than focus on the actual violence that caused so much pain and harm last weekend, activists are renewing calls for so-called hate-speech restrictions, and theyre increasing demands for restrictions on the right to bear arms. The ACLU is a key pressure point. Rights that dont enjoy a robust defense are not rights at all. The Constitution is not a self-executing document.

At this point, the gun-rights debate is almost beyond the reach of facts. A weekend that was notable mainly for an act of vehicular terror has become a pretext for discouraging the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Sadly, our First Amendment debates are racing in the same direction. All too many Americans seek the power to suppress and shame more than they cultivate the ability to rebut and persuade. Alt-right drivel isnt a threat to the constitutional experiment. A culture that values censorship over debate, however, is.

And lest we think these categories are easy, and that its possible to suppress the rights of the worst people without touching the civil liberties of the mainstream, consider this. I used to work at an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom. Its deemed a hate group in large part because it holds to an orthodox Christian view of sexual morality and gender identity. I hold those same views. Im also a concealed-carry permit holder. My wife and I carry a weapon virtually all the time because of threats, ironically enough, from the alt-right. Should the ACLU defend my right to speak?

Sadly, there are many Americans who would say no. They hate my viewpoint too much. They hate guns too much. The allure of power and control is too strong. They see little value in dissent, especially on the most sensitive cultural issues, and they utterly reject the concept of an armed citizenry. Yet even terrible crimes shouldnt cause us to retreat from our commitments to liberty.

Our constitutional republic and our culture of free speech have endured and prospered in the worst of attacks, events far worse than even the dreadful crimes in Charlottesville. It suffers, however, in the face of cultural retreat and surrender. The alt-right is too pathetic to warrant the slightest compromise. Yet thats exactly what the ACLU did, and short-sighted Americans applauded.

The alt-right hates American traditions and American liberties. Why grant it the slightest influence over American life?

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

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After Charlottesville, the First and Second Amendments Are Under Fire – National Review

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ACLU Refuses to Defend Protesters Exercising First and Second Amendments Together – Breitbart News

Posted: at 5:55 pm

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said, If a protest group insists, No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms, well, we dont have to represent them. They can find someone else.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the policy shift that Romero highlighted is focused on hate groups, which are listed as white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Romero did not say whether ACLU protection would also be denied to Black Panther protesters who are armed or to communist party members who could rally for the left while armed.

The policy shift comes after the ACLUs Virginia branch helped organizers of the Unite the Rightprotest secure a permit to assemble in a Charlottesville park [on August 12]. When the city of Charlottesville pushed to move the protest away from the park, the ACLU stood by protest organizer Jason Kessler and won the day.

On August 15,Breitbart News pointed to Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC) reports that Kessler is rumored to be aformer Occupy Wall Street activist and supporter of former President Barack Obama.

According to SPLC:

Rumors abound on white nationalist forums that Kesslers ideological pedigree before 2016 was less than pure and seem to point to involvement in the Occupy movement and past support for President Obama.

At one recent speech in favor of Charlottesvilles status as a sanctuary city, Kessler live-streamed himself as an attendee questioned him and apologized for an undisclosed spat during Kesslers apparent involvement with Occupy. Kessler appeared visibly perturbed by the womans presence and reminders of their past association.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host ofBullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter:@AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.

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Second Amendment | Wyoming County Free Press – Wyoming County Free Press

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 4:55 am

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins response to the Union-Sun & Journal’s recent editorial (Aug. 11):

My bill would restore New Yorkers Second Amendment rights and doesnt supersede states rights.

I do believe in States’ rights, the need for local control and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing state rights. However, I want your readers to know my steadfast belief that states like New York should not have the ability to take away the Constitutional rights of their citizens. Under no circumstances should these basic rights be denied, and federal action is warranted in a situation where a state is infringing on the rights of any American.

The Constitution is the law of the land, and the Founding Fathers produced a document with a clear vision regarding Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment can only be interpreted one way, and that is it guarantees that Americans have the right to own a firearm.

My proposed legislation, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), has sparked a needed conversation about the Second Amendment rights granted to Americans in the Constitution. In 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomos Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act infringed upon the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers by instituting strict rifle and shotgun regulations. As you pointed out, these regulations were put in place purely for political purposes.

SAGA focuses specifically on protecting Second Amendment rights, and in no way is taking away the rights of states. When a state crosses the line and starts to implement regulations that are in stark contrast to the basic rights given to Americans, action needs to be taken. That is exactly why I am proposing my law to rein in the unconstitutional policies that Cuomo forced into law.

Cuomo overstepped with the SAFE Act, and my proposal to repeal much of the law has had a great deal of support. SAGA isnt hypocritical; it is a sincere effort to bring back the freedoms given to New Yorkers by our Constitution when it comes to owning a firearm. Law abiding citizens should not be punished because of onerous and unconstitutional state regulations.

It is my duty as an elected representative to make sure my constituents are protected, and that includes protecting the basic rights granted to them in the Constitution. The SAFE Act only curbed the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers, instead of providing them with a safer place to live as promised by the governor.

The SAFE Act has done nothing to help our communities and has only taken away our freedoms. It is time we end this disastrous law for all New Yorkers and revert back to what the Founding Fathers intended for our nation.

See related: Collins proposes new measures for protecting Second Amendment rights

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Ban the Open Carry of Firearms – New York Times

Posted: at 4:55 am

Photo Members of a white supremacists militia stand in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. Credit Joshua Roberts/Reuters

When militia members and white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday with Nazi flags and racist placards, many of them also carried firearms openly, including semiautomatic weapons. They came to intimidate and terrify protesters and the police. If you read reports of the physical attacks they abetted, apparently their plan worked.

They might try to rationalize their conduct as protected by the First and Second Amendments, but lets not be fooled. Those who came to Charlottesville openly carrying firearms were neither conveying a nonviolent political message, nor engaged in self-defense nor protecting hearth and home.

Plain and simple, public terror is not protected under the Constitution. That has been the case throughout history. And now is the time to look to that history and prohibit open carry, before the next Charlottesville.

Historically, lawmakers have deemed open carry a threat to public safety. Under English common law, a group of armed protesters constituted a riot, and some American colonies prohibited public carry specifically because it caused public terror. During Reconstruction, the military governments overseeing much of the South responded to racially motivated terror (including the murder of dozens of freedmen and Republicans at the 1866 Louisiana Constitutional Convention) by prohibiting public carry either generally or at political gatherings and polling places. Later, in 1886, a Supreme Court decision, Presser v. Illinois, upheld a law forbidding groups of men to parade with arms in cities and towns unless authorized. For states, such a law was necessary to the public peace, safety and good order.

In other words, our political forebears would not have tolerated open carry as racially motivated terrorists practiced it in Charlottesville. They did not view open carry as protected speech. According to the framers, the First Amendment protected the right to peaceably not violently or threateningly assemble. The Second Amendment did not protect private paramilitary organizations or an individual menacingly carrying a loaded weapon. Open carry was antithetical to the public peace. Lawmakers were not about to let people take the law into their own hands, so they proactively and explicitly prohibited it.

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Armed private militias like Charlottesville’s offend the Founding Fathers’ intent: This is not what the Second … – New York Daily News

Posted: August 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 12:27 PM

The armed encampment formerly known as the idyllic college town of Charlottesville showed the world what a gun-happy nation looks like: a toxic mix of armed white supremacist alt-right Neo-Nazis and KKK members protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, counter-demonstrators, some of whom were armed, Charlottesville police, Virginia state National Guard and other so-called militias private citizens armed and outfitted in military garb who claimed to be there to keep the peace.

This confrontation revealed two epic American blunders: the idea that arming hostile groups somehow improves public safety, and the parallel notion that so-called private militias are a legitimate expression of Second Amendment rights.

To its detriment, Virginias lax gun laws allow for open civilian gun carrying and easy gun access to virtually any kind of hand-held firearm, including assault weapons. While Virginias law enforcement has been criticized for not intervening more effectively between the opposing groups, the situation was only complicated by the presence of self-styled militias, including representatives from the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, who claimed to be there not to take sides-although they were initially invited by the white supremacists but to help keep the peace (although theres no evidence they did anything of the kind).

According to a typical news account, these unofficial paramilitary groups . . . have long thrived across America due to the second amendments directive: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Make America Gray again: Trump’s betrayal of American values

America and the rest of the world need to know that this is false: the Second Amendments right to bear arms does not protect, much less encourage, private citizens to form their own armed para-military groups.

From the colonial era on, Americans organized as militias did so and sought to do so-under the recognition and control of the state or national governments. The Bill of Rights had just been ratified when Congress enacted the Uniform Militia Act of 1792, a law designed to bring greater uniformity and control to the nations militias, which at the time were central to national defense.

In a little-known Supreme Court case from 1886, Presser vs. Illinois, the court made clear why private militias are not, and cannot be, militias under law. In ruling against the right of an armed paramilitary group to march in Chicago, the court explained that Military organization and military drill and parade under arms are subjects especially under the control of the government. . . . They cannot be claimed as a right independent of law.

To deny the government the right to restrict or outlaw such private groups would be tantamount to denying the government the right to disperse assemblages organized for sedition and treason, and the right to suppress armed mobs bent on riot and rapine (looting).

Trumps America is an alien nation

As the court said then, the only legal militia is the National Guard. That is no less true today.

Every state in the union, including Virginia, has laws against private armies, but law enforcement is often reluctant to press the matter with armed private militias for fear of provoking an armed response. And when anyone can carry guns openly, law enforcement finds itself boxed in.

Too bad that Virginia has missed the lesson of Americas actual gun law past: by the end of the 19th century, every state but four had enacted laws to restrict civilian gun carrying, especially in the cities and towns of the old West. The best way to keep trouble from escalating, they knew, was to require everyone entering town to surrender their firearms, to be retrieved only when they left.

In the upside down world of todays gun laws, at a time of record low crime, places like Virginia seem to say the opposite: bring your guns! Carry them openly!

Our countrys forebears knew that hostilities could only be made worse when antagonists were armed, and that law enforcement was best left to the professionals. And as for private militias, if they really want to serve their country, the National Guard is still taking applications.

Spitzer is distinguished service professor and chair of political science at SUNY Cortland, and the author of five books on gun policy, including Guns Across America.

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Collins says his bill would restore New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights – Wyoming County Free Press

Posted: at 5:54 pm

Press release

Congressman Chris Collins response to the Union-Sun & Journal’s recent editorial (Aug. 11):

My bill would restore New Yorkers Second Amendment rights and doesnt supersede states rights.

I do believe in States rights, the need for local control and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing state rights. However, I want your readers to know my steadfast belief that states like New York should not have the ability to take away the Constitutional rights of their citizens. Under no circumstances should these basic rights be denied, and federal action is warranted in a situation where a state is infringing on the rights of any American.

The Constitution is the law of the land, and the Founding Fathers produced a document with a clear vision regarding Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment can only be interpreted one way, and that is it guarantees that Americans have the right to own a firearm.

My proposed legislation, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), has sparked a needed conversation about the Second Amendment rights granted to Americans in the Constitution. In 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomos Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act infringed upon the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers by instituting strict rifle and shotgun regulations. As you pointed out, these regulations were put in place purely for political purposes.

SAGA focuses specifically on protecting Second Amendment rights, and in no way is taking away the rights of states. When a state crosses the line and starts to implement regulations that are in stark contrast to the basic rights given to Americans, action needs to be taken. That is exactly why I am proposing my law to rein in the unconstitutional policies that Cuomo forced into law.

Cuomo overstepped with the SAFE Act, and my proposal to repeal much of the law has had a great deal of support. SAGA isnt hypocritical; it is a sincere effort to bring back the freedoms given to New Yorkers by our Constitution when it comes to owning a firearm. Law abiding citizens should not be punished because of onerous and unconstitutional state regulations.

It is my duty as an elected representative to make sure my constituents are protected, and that includes protecting the basic rights granted to them in the Constitution. The SAFE Act only curbed the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers, instead of providing them with a safer place to live as promised by the governor.

The SAFE Act has done nothing to help our communities and has only taken away our freedoms. It is time we end this disastrous law for all New Yorkers and revert back to what the Founding Fathers intended for our nation.

See related: Collins proposes new measures for protecting Second Amendment rights

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The Guns Won – Slate Magazine

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:53 am

White nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the alt-right with body armor and combat weapons on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad rejected Charlottesville, Virginias attempt to relocate Saturdays white nationalist rally, he wrote that merely moving [the] demonstration to another park will not avoid a clash of ideologies between demonstrators and counter-protesters. He also acknowledged that a change in the location of the demonstration would not eliminate the need for members of the Citys law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services personnel to appear at Emancipation Park. Instead, it would necessitate having personnel present at two locations in the City.

As it turned out, the nightmare that unfolded on Saturday in this small college town involved a great deal more than an ideological clash and demanded far more police protection than was available. Dozens of white nationalists showed up toting semi-automatic weapons, as did some counter-protesters, making it all but impossible for police to intervene when violence erupted. In short order, peaceful protesters were forced to hide as armed rioters attacked one another with clubs, smoke bombs, and pepper spray.

Complaints abound that law enforcement officers looked on from the sidelines as the brutality quickly escalated into a crisis. The tragedy culminated in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer when a white supremacist rammed his car into a group of peaceful protesters.

Seen in isolation, Conrads order was grounded in solid First Amendment doctrine: Charlottesville could not, he ruled, relocate the racist demonstrators based on the content of [their] speech. This is textbook law, but one is left to wonder whether it takes into account armed white supremacists invading a city with promises of confrontation. Conrads decision seems to have been issued in a vacuum, one in which Second Amendment open-carry rights either swallowed First Amendment doctrine altogether or were simply wished away, for after-the-fact analysis. The judge failed to answer the central question: When demonstrators plan to carry guns and cause fights, does the government have a compelling interest in regulating their expressive conduct more carefully than itd be able to otherwise? This is not any one judges fault. It is a failure of our First Amendment jurisprudence to reckon with our Second Amendment reality.

Charlottesville proves that this issue is hardly theoretical anymore. In his order, Conrad chose to exclude from his First Amendment analysis the very strong possibility that demonstrators would carry weapons. (The city police warned the court that hundreds of protesters would bring firearms and that militia members would be in attendance.) But, ironically, by protecting the free speech rights of the white supremacists, Conrad may have ultimately suppressed speech by ensuring an armed confrontation between the neo-Nazis and the counter-protesters would break out and that police would be powerless to stop it until blood was spilled. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe later claimed that the militia members had better equipment than our State Policeand that their weapons prevented law enforcement from imposing order and protecting peaceful protesters. While we dont yet know the full details of what happened or how, the governors statement suggested that the presence of large quantities of lethal guns had in fact effectively silenced the many people whod assembled to peacefully express their opposition to racism.

This conflict between the right to bear arms and the right to free speech is nothing new, but the sudden surge in white nationalist activism has made it painfully obvious that, in the public square, the right to bear arms tends to trump the right to free speech. Confederate sympathizers are bringing weapons of war to their demonstrationsjust last month, in fact, Ku Klux Klansmen carried guns to a protest in an adjacent Charlottesville park. Forty-five states, including Virginia, allow some form of open carry. So long as armed demonstrators comply with their permits and do not openly threaten anyone, their protests are perfectly legal.

Rallies with guns cannot be treated, for First Amendment purposes, in the same fashion as rallies with no guns.

But of course, the presence of a gun itself dramatically heightens the odds that somebody is going to get shot. And, as Saturday proved, the presence of many guns, particularly the sort that can kill many people in very little time, may dissuade law enforcement from stepping in when a protest gets out of hand. The result is an alarming form of censorship: Nonviolent demonstrators lose their right to assemble and express their ideas because the police are too apprehensive to shield them from violence. The right to bear arms overrides the right to free speech. And when protesters dress like militia members and the police are confused about who is with whom, chaos is inevitable.

This problem is especially acute in public areas like Charlottesvilles Emancipation Park and the surrounding streets and walkways. The Supreme Court recently reminded us that parks and sidewalks occupy a special position in terms of First Amendment protection because of their historic role as sites for discussion and debate. These traditional public fora have, according to the court, immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions.

So the government doesnt get to bar neo-Nazis from marching in a park just because theyre neo-Nazis. But what about neo-Nazis who are toting around assault weapons? As the world saw on Saturday, armed agitators can quickly turn a public forum into a public brawl and hijack peaceful assembly. Current First Amendment doctrine praises the open debate that is supposed to occur in our streets and parks. But it is poorly equipped to help courts apply the law when bullets may accompany the free exchange of ideas.

The seminal case protecting the rights of white nationalists to march in the streets is National Socialist Party of America v. Skokie, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not bar neo-Nazis from marching through a Jewish neighborhood in Illinois.* Most civil libertarians (us included) believe the court got the Skokie case right. But its increasingly clear that Skokie cant always help courts figure out how to deal with a post-Heller, poststand your ground white nationalist protest. Whatever the courts were attempting to protect in the Skokie case wasnt protected in Charlottesville. The marchers in Skokie didnt promise to bring guns and armed militias to protect themselves.

Moreover, the threat posed by Nazis marching in Illinois, while symbolic and terrifying, especially in a town of Holocaust survivors, was not the threat that we are coming to your town with the power to kill you. Second Amendment enthusiasts will tell you that they dont intend to deliver any message of this sort when they parade with semi-automatic weapons. Their message is merely that guns are outstanding. But one of the lessons of Charlottesville 2017 is that sometimes, when 500 people promise to come to a protest with guns to hurt people they want to see extinguished, they plan to do just that.

Join Dahlia Lithwick and her stable of standout guests for a discussion about the high court and the countrys most important cases.

Its become amply clear that open carry in Charlottesville led to little discussion and lots of fighting. Indeed, open carry seemed to guarantee that fewer people could speak and that the police had no choice but to wait until there was actual bleeding to call off the rally. If bringing guns to a speech event pushes the line for incitement past the point where people have gone mad, its time to have another look at the intersection of speech and open carry.

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Arrests -Brooklyn Bridge Occupy Wall Street 700+ people-Ferguson 321 (144 on 1st day)- CharlottesvilleWhite Supremacists demonstration: 4I read this online earlier today, though I did a little research and the number arrested in VA seems to be 23. More…

Rallies with guns cannot be treated, for First Amendment purposes, in the same fashion as rallies with no guns. When the police are literally too afraid of armed protesters to stop a melee, First Amendment values are diminished; discussion is supplanted by disorder and even death, and conversations about time, place, and manner seem antiquated and trite. In his analysis, Conrad treated todays white nationalists like the neo-Nazis who planned to march through Skokie.* That was a mistake. Ideas may not be able to hurt us, but assault weapons surely can. Thats why the white supremacists who marched through Charlottesville this weekend carried guns instead of Pokmon cards.Its perfectly reasonable for courts to consider the speech-suppressing potential of guns when evaluating a citys efforts to keep the peace. And it will be perfectly lethal if they fail to take the Second Amendment reality into account, as they reflect upon the values we seek to protect with the First.

*Correction, Aug. 14, 2017: This post originally misstated that Klansmen marched in Skokie, Illinois. The marchers were neo-Nazis. (Return.)

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