Marianne Preger-Simon: Why is half of the Second Amendment ignored? – GazetteNET

Published: 10/11/2019 2:12:49 PM

Modified: 10/11/2019 2:12:37 PM

I am not a constitutional scholar, by any means, but there is something about the way that everyone speaks about the Second Amendment to the Constitution that is very puzzling to me.

The Second Amendment is simply one sentence, containing two ideas. The first idea is almost never mentioned in discussion of the amendment. The only thing ever mentioned is the second idea: the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Why does the first idea never get mentioned? A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,

That part of the sentence gives me the impression that people who keep and bear arms are meant to be part of a well-regulated militia, like, for example, the state National Guard. That would be quite a change. It would mean that people who use guns would need to be registered as part of a militia. That is, they would undergo some sort of group basic training, and regular periodic reviews to maintain their skills.

Why is this half of the Second Amendment never discussed and certainly never implemented?

Marianne Preger-Simon


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Marianne Preger-Simon: Why is half of the Second Amendment ignored? - GazetteNET

New trend of passing "Second Amendment Sanctuary County" resolutions in TX – KFI AM 640

After the mass shootings in El Paso and Midland and Odessa, several state and federal leaders called for tougher gun laws, which led to some county leaders to seek the new trend of a "Second Amendment Sanctuary County" resolution.

The resolution states county deputies will not enforce any restriction that infringes on the on the Second Amendment.

The resolution appeared first in states like Oregon and Illinois that have very restrictive gun laws.

Now several Texas counties are looking to pass similar resolutions.

Guns right attorney Emily Taylor said the Texas Legislature is very respectful of Second Amendment rights with few restrictions. Even though Texas gun rights laws are favorable now, that could change.

"With Texas's changing demographics, with the predictions that we are going to become more and more blue over the next decade or so, it certainly could be that these sheriffs are putting their foot down now," said Taylor.

She said should the state go blue, this could serve as a preemptive strike. It could be a way for sheriffs to try and protect the Second Amendment locally.

"And, saying, 'even though Texas's laws are very favorable, at this point the Second Amendment right , if you think you're going to change that, not in my county'," said Taylor.

She said the discretion of county and city police is very important when it comes to enforcing the law. A county sheriff can change what's happening in terms of criminal enforcement in that county, baring state officials coming in.

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New trend of passing "Second Amendment Sanctuary County" resolutions in TX - KFI AM 640

CEO talks second amendment freedom – The Branding Iron

Mickelle Bisbee Staff Writer

Since the United States of America has a militia that is necessary for the security of keeping this nation free, the people have the right to keep and bear arms, and according to the second amendment of the constitution, that right shall not be infringed.

This amendment has become a heated conversation between political parties, asking whether laws concerning guns shall be stricter or not. To come and talk about this issue is Lucas Botkin, CEO of T-REX ARMS.

[Turning Point USA] likes Lucas because he is bold and passionate, two things which certainly make him stand out, said Lily Guthrie, president of the Recognized Student Organization, Turning Point USA. This event is one everyone can enjoy and find informational because the topic of guns and the 2nd amendment is not an everyday event here on campus.

Today from 6 to 8 p.m. in the College of Agriculture Auditorium, Botkin will be breaking down the firearm culture and how that culture affects peoples views on guns, according to his Instagram post on the event.

Students should be interested in this event because issues such as guns and the 2nd amendment impact their daily lives, no matter what views they hold on the subject they owe it to themselves to hear all sides of the argument and be as informed as possible, Guthrie said.

Guthrie said that they chose Botkin to come to the university and talk to students because of his passion and expertise on firearms and the 2nd amendment.

The 26-year-old took a leap into starting his company in 2013. With little money, he began playing around with Kydex, a type of thermoplastic, and was making holsters with the material for himself and a few others.

After a while, he decided that it would be a good idea for him to build a company to make high-end products that dont exist in the market right now, according to an interview he had with ARBuildJunkie.

When it began, all I had was a very small toaster oven that cost about five dollars at Goodwill. In total, I started the company for about 1,000 dollars, Botkin said in the ARBuildJunkie interview. At first, the products were not that great. But as time went on, I started experimenting with new designsthe first of which was the Sidecar [a T-REX ARMS holster].

As someone who is an expert in his field, Guthrie said she is excited to see students get exposure on the different views of firearms and to learn something from Botkin.

People interested in Botkin can follow him on his social media platforms for updates and videos on his products, as well as education insights on the 2nd amendment: Facebook at T.REX ARMS and Instagram at lucastrexarms.

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CEO talks second amendment freedom - The Branding Iron

Sheriff Leads Charge for Hood County to Become Fifth ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ in Texas – The Texan

In light of Beto ORourkes viral comment, Hell, yes, were going to take your AR-15, many residents in Hood County became concerned about where local law enforcement stood on the issue.

I have people ask me all the time, What are you going to do to protect my gun? Are you gonna work with the feds to take my AR-15? said Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds a few weeks ago. Were not. Were not going to do that. Im going to work with the court. Were going to try to pass a sanctuary county bill.

On October 8, the Hood County Commissioners Court passed a resolution declaring a Second Amendment sanctuary county for gun-owners by vowing not to enforce any unconstitutional firearm laws that could be enacted by the state or federal government.

I overwhelmingly support this initiative, said state Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury), chair of the House Freedom Caucus, and it would not have been possible without the courageous support of Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds who has championed the issue and who would ultimately, along with the people, be the one to ensure the measure is enforced.

Deeds push for Hood County to become a sanctuary county for the Second Amendment follows in the footsteps of four other Texas counties to pass such resolutions.

Get started today for free and become the most informed Texan you know after your first month, it's just $9.00.

Edwards County passed the first resolution in Texas in June 2018. The official Facebook account for the county published a photo of the document along with a post arguing that the number of gun-related deaths is small compared to other fatalities.

If the anti-gun movement focused their attention on heart disease, the post reads, even a 10 percent decrease in cardiac deaths would save twice the number of lives annually of all gun-related deaths (including suicide, law enforcement, etc.).

The resolution, signed by the county judge and three of the four commissioners, stated that any gun law violating the federal or state constitutions would be viewed as unconstitutional by the commissioners court and that it would not authorize any enforcement of those laws.

Several potential laws were specifically mentioned, including registration requirements for existing lawfully owned firearms, prohibitions, regulations, and/or use restrictions related to ownership of non-fully automatic firearms, and expanded background checks.

Not quite a year after Edwards County passed their resolution, other counties in Texas began to follow suit.

In March 2019, Hudspeth County became a sanctuary county at the request of Sheriff Arvin West; the Democratic Commissioners Court in Presidio County made that county one in July; and Mitchell County joined the growing number in September.

Proponents of the measure point out that in some placesespecially in rural areas police officers can take up to an hour to respond to 911 calls. In such places, owning a gun is the most reliable means of self-defense.

Supporters want assurance that local law enforcement will not encroach on their constitutionally protected rights if ORourkes gun confiscation policies or, more likely, red flag laws or Lt. Gov. Dan Patricks suggestion of expanded background checks are enacted.

Not all counties are embracing the idea, though. Three court commissioners in Brewster County, which neighbors Presidio County along the Texas-Mexico border, blocked the proposal in September to become a sanctuary for gun owners.

According to Marfa Public Radio, Brewster County Commissioner Sara Colando said that she was afraid the resolution would put the county in dicey legal territory.

The first Texas counties passing the resolution are certainly not among the first counties in the nation, though. Over half of the counties in Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, and Washington have passed resolutions to become Second Amendment sanctuaries.

Those states have seen stricter gun regulations in recent years.

The New Mexico legislature, for instance, passed a bill to expand background checks and looked into implementing some form of a red flag law.

According to Reuters, Sheriff Tony Mace of Cibola County said that he did not want to waste resources enforcing the new background check regulations.

There are whole sanctuary county, city, and state movements, and those are essentially saying Hey, we can shield immigrants from the federal law, Mace told Pacific Standard. Theyre picking and choosing which laws they want to follow as a state, so were thinking as a county, why cant we take this back to our commissioners and say were going to draft a resolution that says our counties are Second Amendment sanctuary counties.

With the support of the New Mexico Sheriffs Association, chaired by Mace, 25 out of the states 33 counties have passed some sort of resolution.

Gun restriction laws in other states may have prompted the majority of counties there to pass the Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions, but the four Texas counties becoming sanctuaries this year could be a sign that Texans are concerned that their right to bear arms is also threatened by politicians here.

A free bi-weekly commentary on current events by Konni Burton.

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Sheriff Leads Charge for Hood County to Become Fifth 'Second Amendment Sanctuary' in Texas - The Texan

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections – NRA ILA

The Nov. 5th election may bethe most consequential ever for our Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth. Thats because every seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate is up for grabs and gun control advocates, bankrolled by an out of state New York billionaire, are trying to buy the election. In contrast, the NRA is focused on our tried and true grassroots model of educating our supporters on candidates positions on the Second Amendment, and working to ensure they turn out to vote on Election Day.

For a behind-the-scenes look at how the NRA is fighting for you in Virginia, we sat down with Glen Caroline, head of NRAs Grassroots Programs and Campaign Field Operations Division.

Q. How does our Virginia grassroots operation compare with what weve seen in the past from the NRA?

A. Without a doubt, this has been among our most robust campaign efforts ever. We have made tens of thousands of targeted contacts to our supporters using phones, texting, at events, and showing up on their doorsteps. Our Campaign Field Representatives (CFRs) have been working tirelessly to ramp up their efforts as we prepare for a massive Get Out The Vote operation in the closing weeks of the election cycle.

Q. What are we up against from our opponents this year?

A. We are facing the most well-organized and well-funded gun control lobby in our countrys history. It really is unprecedented. The various Bloomberg-backed gun control groups have committed to spending $5 million dollars to win this election, apparently focusing primarily on expensive and misleading television ads and digital efforts.

Q. What do you take from that?

A. We fully expect to be outspent by the control groups, but they will never outwork us. No organization in the country has members as informed and as passionate as the NRA. They are the reason we win elections. Ive been at this for nearly 30 years, and throughout my entire career beginning in the early 90's, Ive seen time and again our voters can swing key elections. I am aware of all the money our opponents are spending, but Im not intimidated. As we often say in Grassroots, dollar bills dont vote, but NRA members do!

Q. Whats themessage to voters?

A. If Bloombergs gun control politicians win in November, its goodbye to our gun rights in Virginia! Its really that simple. These anti-gun politicians want to ban our rifles, criminalize virtually all private firearm transfers, reinstate the failed one-gun-a-month law, and expand gun-free zones. We dont have to guess what will happen, as they tipped their hand earlier this year by pushing this aggressive gun control agenda in a special legislative session.

Q. How can our members get involved?

A. First, you must vote on Election Day. Your vote is your voice, and if you dont exercise your right to vote, you will lose your right to keep and bear arms. Second, get actively involved with our on-the-ground CFR efforts or contact the NRA-PVF endorsed campaign in your area to volunteer to help. You can amplify your voice by educating other pro-Second Amendment voters in Virginia as to whats at stake, and making sure they turn out to vote. If a few hours of your time between now and Election Day arent worth preserving your freedom, what is?

For more information on NRAs grassroots efforts in Virginia and how you can help, call (800) 392-VOTE (8683). If you are unable to personally volunteer with our grassroots efforts, but wish to help support them, please click here.

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Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections - NRA ILA

Heres A Super Cut Of Second Amendment Enthusiasts Exercising Their Right To Self Defense – The Daily Caller

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Heres A Super Cut Of Second Amendment Enthusiasts Exercising Their Right To Self Defense - The Daily Caller

Letter to the Editor: Hong Kong events fortify the value of the Second Amendment – Taunton Daily Gazette

We are all aware of the unrest in Hong Kong. The world is watching wildly popular demonstrations being used to express the public's hostility toward their government, and we are seeing the government's reaction with police force. The escalating violence of the confrontation is quite disturbing, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army is lurking in the background awaiting the order of the government in Beijing to suppress demonstrators.

We all fear a repeat of the massacre in Tiananmen Square where tanks enforced dictators' wishes in 1989.

We respect the demonstrators' earnest expression of their desire for liberty. What could excite the passion of Americans more than that? It's a reflection of the same human desires that led to our forefathers revolution in 1776.

Would the government in Beijing or their lackeys in Hong Kong dare threaten the demonstrators if Hong Kong citizens were covered by the equivalent of our Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms?

The Second Amendment is widely questioned now due to the frightening frequency of mass shootings, most often carried out with particularly deadly guns. With good reason citizens ask, "Why do people need military style arms? They are only used to kill people, not game animals, so why should civilians have them?

The answer is that the Bill of Rights to our Constitution was drafted for a specific reason. Its purpose was to make explicit that the government's power did not extend to the abuses that King George had used to hold the colonies subjugated. The founding fathers knew exactly what outrages they had suffered and wanted it made unmistakably clear that those powers were outside the government's authority. Specific rights were called out, including the right to free speech, the right to assembly, the right to have grievances heard, the right to trial by jury and so on.

And the right of free citizens to bear arms.

The Second Amendment was not intended to preserve the right to harvest venison for dinner, though it does happen to do that. The intent was strictly political. It was intended to give the government the knowledge that in the extreme event, citizens would be able to resist government tyranny with violence, and the government's power could be met with equal force.

It's a blessing of our country's history that such a confrontation has never had to take place. Though it may be that the knowledge that it could take place may have served to restrain events in certain places.

So, while responsible citizens are wild with grief at mass shootings and other acts of extreme violence, demanding that political leaders do something, there is another side to the coin.

We weep and grieve for the victims of the mass shootings that happen in America, but we are fortified by knowing that a Tiananmen Square-style massacre will not.

John Stewart


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Letter to the Editor: Hong Kong events fortify the value of the Second Amendment - Taunton Daily Gazette

Democratic Louisiana governor distances himself from national party in reelection bid – Washington Examiner

John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, is seeking a second term in Louisiana by running as much against his own party as his Republican opponent.

Edwards on Saturday fell short 3 percentage points of the 50% threshold in the states all-parties gubernatorial primary. Winning an outright majority would have meant an outright victory for Edwards, who instead on Nov. 16 will face the second-place finisher, Republican businessman Edward Rispone.

Edwards, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, is a conservative Democrat who signed one of the most stringent laws against abortion this year and opposes restrictions on the Second Amendment.

Additionally, he distanced himself from the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, saying it is a disruption from governing in Washington.

According to a new Gray Television poll, of their six local affiliates around the state, 57% of Louisiana voters oppose impeachment of the president, while 35% support it.

Democrats bet on Edwards conservative policy background as reason for why he would likely forgo the November runoff and go directly back to the governors mansion.

However, Trumps last minute rally in the state on Friday to get out to vote to keep Edwards from breaking 50% may have made the difference. Focusing on Democrats who want to impeach him, Trump railed against his own opponents in Washington.

The governor attempted to distance himself from his own party, wrote Independent Baton Rouge pollster John Couvillon, but to no avail.

Not only was Governor Edwards forced into a runoff that many pundits thought wasnt going to happen, but even with an incumbent Democrat who downplayed his Democratic Party affiliation (while publicly noting the nine times he visited the Trump White House), voters by a 52-47% margin chose a Republican candidate, Couvillon said.

Rispone, a construction magnate, is one of Louisiana's wealthiest business owners, who has already put in $10 million of his own money.

Sabatos Crystal Ball, a political campaign ratings and review website based out of the University of Virginia, now rates the Nov. 16 runoff as a tossup.

The Democrat governor also has political history working against him as only five governors in state history have won a second term. He must now compete against Rispone, who has the support of a president, who in 2016 won Louisiana by 20 points. And according to the latest Morning Consult tracking poll, Trump's approval rating in Louisiana is 56%.

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Democratic Louisiana governor distances himself from national party in reelection bid - Washington Examiner

Lessons of Beto O’Rourke and "Joker": Mental illness is not the cause of gun violence – Salon

The hit movie Joker, released in theaters last week, unintentionally offers an object lesson in why society should stop vilifying mental illness and why we need far more vigorous gun control.

Both points became evident in a single scene that perfectly captures both the movies ambiguous views on mental illness and those of American society overall. Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a party clown who has just been assaulted by a gang and is commiserating with one of his co-workers, who offers him a gun. Fleck is initially horrified by the idea: He is mentally ill and legally isnt permitted to own a firearm. Eventually he agrees to accept the weapon, an act that single-handedly turns him toward the path of violence and thereby sets the plot in motion.

One could write an entire article deconstructing Jokers sometimes sympathetic and insightful, sometimes derogatory depiction of mental illness. (My full review can be read here.) Yet the more troubling subtext of this scene is that it never questions the idea that people who are mentally ill should be treated differently when it comes to guns. It is the weapon that allows Arthurs innate capacity for violence to be realized a capacity one the movie explicitly links to his mental illness, as well as societys mistreatment of him.

In other words, a viewer could easily watch Joker and walk away with the same conclusion proclaimed by President Trump in August after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left 31 people dead: Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.

There are two problems with that assumption, one that long precedes either Joker or the recent wave of mass shootings. It perpetuates the sinister myth that people with mental illness are more likely to be violent than others, which scientific research has shown to be demonstrably false: A 2008 study by Marie E. Rueve and Randon S. Weltonfound that most patients with stable mental illness do not present an increased risk of violence. It later added that mental illness may increase the likelihood of committing violence in some individuals, but only a small part of the violence in society can be ascribed to mental health patients.

Indeed, mental illness not only doesnt render you more prone to violence, it makes you more likely to be a victim of it. Patients with severe mental illness constitute a high-risk group vulnerable to fall victims to violence in the community, wrote Mohit Varshney and a group of scholarly co-authors in a study for the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health in 2016. Symptoms associated with severe mental illness, such as impaired reality testing, disorganised thought processes, impulsivity and poor planning and problem solving, can compromise one's ability to perceive risks and protect oneself and make them vulnerable to physical assault.

More recently I reached out to the presidential campaign of Beto ORourke, the former Texas congressman who responded to the August mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso in unusually forceful fashion: Instead of finding a socially acceptable scapegoat, ORourke began calling for mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons. Rather than offer lame half-measures to curb the problem of gun violence in America, he has bluntly told voters, Were going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. Were not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.

All countries have citizens with mental illness, but only America has more guns than human beings 390 million firearms in a country of 329 million people which takes the lives of 40,000 people annually, the ORourke campaign told Salon by email. Access to guns not mental health is the cause of this epidemic.

According to the campaign, ORourke supports an ambitious program to get the most dangerous weapons off our streets, including universal background checks, red flag laws, an assault weapons ban, and a mandatory buyback of the assault weapons already in our communities. Measures like these have worked in other countries, and are only verboten in the United States because the NRA began spreading misinformation about the purpose and meaning of the Second Amendment in the 1970s. (I explore the true history of the Second Amendment in greater detail here.)

When it comes to background checks, the campaign emphasized that Beto believes that all people should be required to go through a background check before acquiring a firearm. People with a history of mental health issues should not be singled out or discriminated against during this process.

The problem, of course, is that we live in a culture where it is fashionable to stigmatize the mentally ill and fetishize guns. Even a film like Joker that ostensibly aligns itself with the mentally ill it contains one quote, The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don't, that Ive seen spread like wildfire online, and rightly so lacks the courage to resist the notion that mental illness makes you more prone to criminal violence, or to call out easy access to guns as the No. 1 factor. Pointing the finger of blame at a vulnerable group in the name of stopping violence still falls within the boundaries of acceptable discourse, while banning products that have no other purpose besides killing other human beings does not.

I do not come to these observations as a neutral party. As a person on the autism spectrum (more on that here), I have experienced considerable rejection and abuse both as a child and adult. Like Arthur Fleck, I cant help but wonder whether the depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions I have experienced are organic to my being or the result of the widespread mistreatment I endured because I was psychologically different. Like Arthur, I understand having to pretend that Im not mentally ill so that the "normies" many of whom are directly responsible for my past, present and future plight wont feel uncomfortable.

Yet I have never been violent. I have no tendencies toward violence. The conversation about how society should treat mental illness has virtually nothing to do with the conversation about how to stop gun violence. If you want to help the mentally ill, support government programs that assist them (one of the laudable details in Joker is the way it addresses the effects of institutional indifference and budget cuts on mental health) and show some personal empathy, rather than hostility, toward those who are atypical. If you want to stop gun violence, support policies like those advocated by Beto ORourke, which would save countless lives.

Talk of mental illness has no place in our national conversation about gun violence. Until and unless we admit that, were no better than the gang that bullies Arthur Fleck in that pivotal opening scene from Joker.

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Lessons of Beto O'Rourke and "Joker": Mental illness is not the cause of gun violence - Salon

Letters to the Editor, October 14, 2019: Socialism has many positive attributes – Richmond.com

Socialism has many positive attributes

Many people view socialism with skepticism, even hostility. President Donald Trump is repeatedly attempting to frighten the population by warning that if he is not re-elected, the country will become a socialistic nation. This is utter nonsense. Capitalism and socialism are not mutually exclusive. In a modern, democratic nation, responsible capitalism goes hand in hand with responsible socialism for the betterment of the population at large.

A good example of responsible socialism was the GI Bill, which aided returning World War II veterans adjust to civilian life by helping them primarily with education, housing and other benefits.

Later, however, during the Great Recession a few years ago, because of irresponsible capitalism, outright mismanagement and greed, Wall Street played a major role in bringing the U.S. economy to the brink of collapse.

The Obama administration stepped in and provided the automotive industry with massive loans, which were paid back in timely fashion with interest. That, too, was an example of responsible socialism.

Social Security and Medicare both help seniors to maintain a reasonable living standard. Both are also evidence of a form of responsible socialism. So are certain laws, rules and regulations that exist to ensure an orderly governance of the nation.

By the way, as the national debt is sky-rocketing due to the major loss of tax revenues, the Trump administration is reviewing various ways, including large cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, to get the massive debt under control. Many seniors who voted for Trump ought to be aware of this possibility if he is re-elected president.

Racist imputations should be applied equally

In regard to Michael Paul Williams column on Kehinde Wiley: I am a professional portrait artist. Many times I have stood before Wileys painting A New Republic and marveled at his insight and virtuosity. I am a Yankee. My ancestors fought with the Union Army and I have black (although black is a misnomer their skin has many colors) friends.

Wiley portends to have political insight revealed in his paintings. He admires Caravaggio and has two paintings inspired by Judith and the Head of Holofernes. His portrayals depict a black woman holding the severed head of a white woman. If the subjects were reversed (a white woman holding the severed head of a black woman), you would call it racist. The same racist imputation should also be attributed to Wiley.

RPS should offer kids vocational training

Regarding Norton Rubensteins letter RPS is failing students potential: Not every child is a potential rocket scientist who needs to excel at algebra and science. Many children need vocational training. Give those children the basics in math, English and other core subjects while teaching them a skill and see how many more graduate.

Politics were out of place at citizenship ceremony

Recently my wife went through the naturalization process and became a citizen of the United States. This was a beautiful ceremony with people from all over the world coming together for their love of the U.S. and the hope of a better future. I thank the Library of Virginia for hosting the ceremony. I also offer thanks to Huguenot High School for its color guard and the choir.

There was one person who soured the ceremony and it is interesting because the judge should have predicted this. Upon introducing Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William, the judge asked her to keep her remarks brief. Instead of encouraging and congratulating the new citizens, Guzman made her closing remarks all about herself. I sensed no humility. She also made her remarks political and without saying his name, criticized President Donald Trump.

Without even going into the ethics of someone running for re-election being able to speak to this crowd, I was very disappointed in how Guzman acted, and I am not even a Trump supporter. Instead of making it about the 64 wonderful new citizens, she made it about herself. It was very disappointing to see this behavior. Sadly, thats where were at with politics.

Second Amendment ensures our liberty

Some people argue that the Second Amendment does not make firearm ownership a right. But its not about that. At the heart of the Second Amendment is protection of the natural rights of the people. It ensures the right of self-preservation and acts as a means to secure that right. This right of self-preservation was described by John Locke in his 1690 Second Treatise on Government, from which the framers drew heavily. Locke argues that this fundamental right of self-preservation allows the people to live freely without interference from any person or anything, including government.

Its important to understand this point. Many of the framers were students of Lockes philosophical thinking and other philosophers of the time. It is ingrained into the very fabric of the Bill of Rights.

This thinking even influenced Alexander Hamilton when he wrote in Federalist No. 28 that, If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that natural right of self-defense which is paramount to all forms of government.

The Second Amendment is not a right bestowed by the government to the people. Quite the opposite. It secures the peoples natural right of self-preservation from any person and anything that may wish to rob them of their liberty or other natural rights.

To think that free men and women must ask the permission of government for the right of self-preservation is simply ludicrous.

Originally posted here:

Letters to the Editor, October 14, 2019: Socialism has many positive attributes - Richmond.com

Civil Rights Are on the Chopping Block in New Supreme Court Term – Truthout

This term, the Supreme Court will decide whether people can be fired for being transgender or LGBQ, if people brought to the U.S. as children can be deported, whether states can impose restrictions on abortion that disproportionately harm poor women, how firm the separation between church and state is, the scope of the Second Amendment and whether criminal defendants can be convicted by less-than-unanimous juries.

Millions of people will be impacted by the results of these cases. The courts decisions will affect 800,000 dreamers, in the DACA casemillions of LGBTQ workers in deciding whether federal discrimination laws protect on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, and half the country in the abortion case, The Washington Posts Robert Barnes wrote, summarizing an interview with ACLU legal director David Cole.

These are some of the cases the Court will decide by the end of June 2020:

Never miss the news and analysis you care about.

Barack Obama instituted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012 to protect from deportation people who arrived in the United States as children. They are known as Dreamers, a reference to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which Congress has failed to pass for nearly 2 decades. Donald Trump rescinded DACA in 2017, in furtherance of his anti-immigrant, anti-Obama agenda. The Trump administration claims that Obamas establishment of DACA was an unconstitutional exercise of authority.

In Department of Homeland Security v. University of California, the plaintiffs the University of California and a number of states and DACA recipients argue that Trumps rescission of DACA was illegal. Trump argues that his decision to rescind DACA is not reviewable by the courts. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with Trump, saying his rescission of DACA was based solely on a misconceived view of the law. The appellate court found meritorious plaintiffs claims that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious and violated equal protection, due process and the Administrative Procedures Act.

The high court has recently come to different conclusions in two immigration-related cases. In a 5-4 decision, the Court affirmed Trumps Muslim Ban, holding that the president has broad authority over national security. But Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices on the Court to prevent Trump from adding a citizenship question to the census, calling the administrations stated reasons contrived.

Oral arguments in the case are set for November 12.

On October 8, the Court heard oral arguments in three cases that test whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination because of sex, protects transgender and LGBQ employees from being fired. Bostock v. Clayton County and Altitude Express v. Zarda were brought by men fired for being gay. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC was filed by a woman fired for being transgender.

These are the first cases involving LGBTQ rights to reach the Court since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired. Kennedy wrote the opinions in four cases protecting gay rights and provided the fifth vote to uphold the right to same-sex marriage.

Three U.S. appeals courts and 22 states prohibit the firing of gay and transgender employees. It seems like a no-brainer. Firing someone because they identify with a sex different from their assigned sex at birth is obviously firing them because of their sex, ACLU lawyer Gabriel Arkles wrote for Truthout. And firing someone because they are attracted to people of the same sex is also obviously because of sex.

Ironically, Justice Neil Gorsuch may cast the deciding vote. During argument, he conceded that the text of Title VII was close. But Gorsuch wondered whether the justices should consider the massive social upheaval if the Court ruled for the plaintiffs.

Gorsuch will hopefully channel his mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, who authored the 1998 opinion for a unanimous court which held that Title VII covers harassment between members of the same sex. Scalia wrote that although Congress may not have anticipated such harassment when it wrote the law in 1964, statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.

The Court will decide a case challenging a Louisiana law which, if upheld, would permit only one doctor in one clinic in the state to perform abortions. This law requires that in order to perform abortions, doctors must have admitting privileges at a local hospital. That restriction, plaintiffs in June Medical Services v. Gee argue, imposes an undue burden on the right to abortion forbidden by the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey because it restricts access to abortion without protecting the health of women.

In June Medical Services, the district court made extensive factual findings that closing the other Louisiana clinics would impose a heavy burden on low-income women. It found that those who pursue abortions are disproportionately poor and closure of the clinics would force them to travel long distances.

Roberts joined the four liberal justices to halt Louisianas law from going into effect during the pendency of the appeal. That was a curious move, since, in 2016, Roberts had dissented from the majority decision in Whole Womens Health v. Hellerstedt that held unconstitutional a Texas law nearly identical to the one in Louisiana.

June Medical Services will test Robertss claimed devotion to upholding precedent, as the Court could use it to overrule Whole Womens Health. In the three years since Whole Womens Health was decided, Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Kennedy. It will reveal probably more than any case this term this emerging role of Roberts as the swing vote, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told The Washington Post.

In 2016, Evangelisto Ramos was found guilty in Louisiana of second-degree murder after 10 of the 12 jurors voted to convict him. He was sentenced to life in prison at hard labor with no possibility of parole. Ramos contends in Ramos v. Louisiana that he had the constitutional right to a unanimous jury verdict.

All states except Louisiana and Oregon require that jury verdicts in criminal cases be unanimous. Although Louisiana changed its law to require unanimity in felony trials, it only applies to crimes committed on or after January 1, 2019.

In 1972, the Court held in Apodaca v. Oregon that the Sixth Amendment right to trial by an impartial jury requires that juries in federal criminal cases be unanimous. But the Court did not find that defendants in state cases are entitled to a unanimous jury.

The Court has used the incorporation doctrine to hold that most of the protections of the Bill of Rights the first 10 amendments to the Constitution apply to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Indeed, last term, a unanimous Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibition on excessive fines applies in state courts via the 14th Amendments Due Process Clause, which forbids the states from depriving a person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.

During the October 7 oral argument in Ramos, Kavanaugh asked, Do the racial origins of this rule have an impact on how we think about stare decisis [following precedent] in this case?

Louisiana adopted its non-unanimity rule to make it easier for white jurors to convict Black defendants after it was forced to allow Black Americans to serve on juries. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund noted in its amicus brief in support of Ramos, Up until 2018, when Louisianans voted to remove the non-unanimous jury provision from their constitution, black defendants were more likely to be convicted by non-unanimous juries, and black jurors were more likely than white jurors to be in the dissent.

For the first time in over a decade, the Court will hear a case involving the scope of the Second Amendments right to bear arms. The Court will decide in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. v. City of New York whether New York Citys prohibition against transporting a licensed, unloaded and locked handgun to a home or shooting range outside the city limits violates the Second Amendment, the commerce clause and the constitutional right to travel.

Since the five right-wing justices favor an expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment, it would seem the result in this case is preordained. But after the Court agreed to hear the case, New York City amended the regulation to allow licensed gun owners to transport handguns to their second homes or shooting ranges outside of city limits.

New York Citys changed regulation should have made the case moot. The justices, however, could use it as a vehicle to establish a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment.

The court is going to have to decide this question of mootness against the backdrop of several recent highly-publicized episodes of gun violence and heated debate between the two parties about solutions to gun violence, Irv Gornstein, executive director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown, told The New York Times. For some, this is a reason to dig in and plunge ahead to decide the case. For others, sitting this one out may be an inviting prospect.

On December 2, the high court will hear arguments in this case.

The First Amendment says, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Court will decide in Espinoza v. Montana whether a state that gives grants and scholarships to students in private schools must also provide them to students in church schools.

Montanas constitution, like that of many states, forbids giving tax money to churches. The Montana Department of Revenue prevented a state scholarship fund from providing money to students who attended church-affiliated schools.

This case will test the limits of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the 2017 decision in which the Court held that Missouri could not prevent religious schools from receiving funds to replace pea gravel under playground equipment with a rubber surface. The Court found that refusing to provide the church with an otherwise available public benefit on account of its religious status violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

The Court will continue to accept cases as the term proceeds. Here are some issues the Court may agree to consider.

As Trump obstructs the impeachment inquiry, we will see cases that measure the constitutional impeachment process against unfettered assertions of executive power.

Trump has made unilateral changes to asylum and immigration law, which is within the purview of Congress. Many of those changes have been challenged and will probably be reviewed by the high court. And a federal district judge granted an injunction to halt Trumps diversion of military funds to the construction of his border wall.

Whether Trump must turn over his tax returns and whether his familys financial transactions with foreign governments violate the Emoluments Clause will also likely be decided by the Court. A federal district judge ordered Trump to provide his tax returns to New York state prosecutors, and a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Congress has the right to see Trumps financial records.

The Court may also determine whether cities can prevent homeless people from camping in public places or sleeping on sidewalks. The Ninth Circuit ruled that if no alternative indoor sleeping areas are available, such restrictions would constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Two cases that pit religious rights against civil rights might be reviewed by the Court. One involves a Christian florist charged with violation of Washingtons civil rights law after refusing to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding. The other is an appeal by Catholic Social Services, which was excluded from the foster care system for refusing to place foster children with same-sex couples.

And the high court may have the opportunity to gut the Voting Rights Act once and for all if the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals weakens the standard for finding discrimination in a case pending before it.

As the Court moves increasingly to the right with the recent additions of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, we can expect the continued evisceration of civil rights and civil liberties. The Court has failed to protect the right to vote by declining to strike down partisan gerrymandering; refused to find that Trumps Muslim Ban violated the First Amendments Establishment Clause; and held that, notwithstanding the Due Process Clause, immigrants who have been released from criminal custody can be detained without a hearing, even when arrested by immigration agents years after their release. The importance of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburgs continued vitality cannot be underestimated.

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Civil Rights Are on the Chopping Block in New Supreme Court Term - Truthout

Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies. – TechCrunch

Permitting falsehood in political advertising would work if we had a model democracy, but we dont. Not only are candidates dishonest, but voters arent educated, and the media isnt objective. And now, hyperlinks turn lies into donations and donations into louder lies. The checks dont balance. What we face is a self-reinforcing disinformation dystopia.

Thats why if Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube dont want to be the arbiters of truth in campaign ads, they should stop selling them. If they cant be distributed safely, they shouldnt be distributed at all.

No one wants historically untrustworthy social networks becoming the honesty police, deciding whats factual enough to fly. But the alternative of allowing deception to run rampant is unacceptable. Until voter-elected officials can implement reasonable policies to preserve truth in campaign ads, the tech giants should go a step further and refuse to run them.

This problem came to a head recently when Facebook formalized its policy of allowing politicians to lie in ads and refusing to send their claims to third-party fact-checkers. We dont believe, however, that its an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politicians speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny, Facebooks VP of Policy Nick Clegg wrote.

The Trump campaign was already running ads with false claims about Democrats trying to repeal the Second Amendment and weeks-long scams about a midnight deadline for a contest to win the one-millionth MAGA hat.

After the announcement, Trumps campaign began running ads smearing potential opponent Joe Biden with widely debunked claims about his relationship with Ukraine. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter refused to remove the ad when asked by Biden.

In response to the policy, Elizabeth Warren is running ads claiming Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg endorses Trump because its allowing his campaign lies. Shes continued to press Facebook on the issue, stating you can be in the disinformation-for-profit business, or you can hold yourself to some standards.

Its easy to imagine campaign ads escalating into an arms race of dishonesty.

Campaigns could advertise increasingly untrue and defamatory claims about each other tied to urgent calls for donations. Once all sides are complicit in the misinformation, lying loses its stigma, becomes the status quo and ceases to have consequences. Otherwise, whichever campaign misleads more aggressively will have an edge.

In open democracies, voters rightly believe that, as a general rule, they should be able to judge what politicians say themselves, Facebooks Clegg writes.

But as is emblematic of Facebooks past mistakes, its putting too much idealistic faith in society. If all voters were well-educated and we werent surrounded by hyperpartisan media, from Fox News to far-left Facebook Pages, maybe this hands-off approach might work. But in reality, juicy lies spread further than boring truths, and plenty of news outlets are financially incentivized to share sensationalism and whatever keeps their team in power.

Protecting the electorate should fall to legislators. But incumbents have few reasons to change the rules that got them their jobs. The FCC already has truth in advertising policies, but exempts campaign ads, and a judge struck down a law mandating accuracy.

Granted, there have always been dishonest candidates, uninformed voters and one-sided news outlets. But its all gotten worse. Were in a post-truth era now where the spoils won through deceptive demagoguery are clear. Cable news and digitally native publications have turned distortion of facts into a huge business.

Most critically, targeted social network advertising combined with donation links create a perpetual misinformation machine. Politicians can target vulnerable demographics with frightening lies, then say only their financial contribution will let the candidate save them. A few clicks later and the candidate has the cash to buy more ads, amplifying more untruths and raising even more money. Without the friction of having to pick up the phone, mail a letter or even type in a URL like TV ads request, the feedback loop is shorter and things spiral out of control.

Many countries, including the U.K., Ireland and the EU, ban or heavily restrict TV campaign ads. Theres plenty of precedent for policies keeping candidates money out of the most powerful communication mediums.

Campaign commercials on U.S. television might need additional regulation, as well. However, the lack of direct connections to Donate buttons, microtargeting and rapid variable testing weaken their potential for abuse. Individual networks can refuse ads for containing falsehoods, as CNN recently did, without the same backlash over bias that an entity as powerful as Facebook receives.

This is why the social networks should halt sales of political campaign ads now. Theyre the one set of stakeholders with flexibility that could make a united decision. Youll never get all the politicians and media to be honest, or the public to understand, but just a few companies could set a policy that would protect democracy. And they could do it without having to pick sides or make questionable decisions on a case-by-case basis. Just block them all from all candidates.

Facebook wrote in response to Bidens request to block the Trump ads that Our approach is grounded in Facebooks fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is.

But banning campaign ads would still leave room for open political expression thats subject to public scrutiny. Social networks should continue to let politicians say what they want to their own followers, barring calls for violence. Tech giants can offer a degree of freedom of speech, just not freedom of reach. Whoever wants to listen can, but they shouldnt be able to jam misinformation into the feeds of the unsuspecting.

If the tech giants want to stop short of completely banning campaign ads, they could introduce a format designed to minimize misinformation. Politicians could be allowed to simply promote themselves with a set of stock messages, but without the option to make claims about themselves or their opponents.

Campaign ads arent a huge revenue driver for social apps, nor are they a high-margin business nowadays. The Trump and Clinton campaigns spent only a combined $81 million on 2016 election ads, a fraction of Facebooks $27 billion in revenue that year. And $284 million was spent in total on 2018 midterm election ads versus Facebooks $55 billion in revenue last year, says Tech For Campaigns. Zuckerberg even said that Facebook will lose money selling political ads because of all the moderators it hires to weed out election interference by foreign parties.

Surely, there would be some unfortunate repercussions from blocking campaign ads. New candidates in local to national elections would lose a tool for reducing the lead of incumbents, some of which have already benefited from years of advertising. Some campaign ads might be pushed underground, where theyre not properly labeled, though the major spenders could be kept under watch.

If the social apps can still offer free expression through candidates own accounts, arent reliant on politicians cash to survive, wont police specific lies in their promos and would rather let the government regulate the situation, then they should respectfully decline to sell campaign advertising. Following the law isnt enough until the laws adapt. This will be an ongoing issue through the 2020 election, and leaving the floodgates open is irresponsible.

If a game is dangerous, you dont eliminate the referee. You stop playing until you can play safe.

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Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies. - TechCrunch

Supreme Court to hear big 2nd Amendment case despite threats from Sheldon Whitehouse and other Dem Senators – legal Insurrection

Dem Senators: The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it.Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.'

On August 13, 2019, we wrote about an extraordinary Amicus Brief filed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on behalf of himself and several other Democrat Senators.

The Brief was extraordinary because it threatened the Justices with a potential restructuring of the Court if the Justices didnt dismiss as moot the first big 2nd Amendment case the Court has taken in a decade. The Brief was panned by right, left, and center as a thinly-veiled and inappropriate threat.

We described the background of the case in Dem Senators to Supreme Court: Rule our way on 2nd Amendment case, or face possible restructuring:

It had been almost a decade since the U.S. Supreme Court took a major 2nd Amendment case, something Justice Clarence Thomas lamentedin a dissent from the Courts refusal to hear an appeal from a 9th Circuit decision upholding Californias 10-day waiting period even for those who already owned guns legally and had gone through the permitting and background check.

So when the Court, in January 2019, agreed to take a major 2nd Amendment case, it was a big deal, We wrote,Supreme Court agrees to hear 2d Amendment case involving NYC firearm transport restrictions:

The Supreme Court finally has agreed to hear a 2d Amendment case, the first time since theHeller v D.C. (2008)andMcDonald v. Chicago (2010)decisions.

The Supreme Court just agreed to hear a challenge to a New York City law barring transport of lawfully owned firearms except to one of six licensed firing ranges. The case isNew York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York.

After the case was accepted andextensively briefedby the parties and dozens of groups filing Amicus (friend of the court) briefs, N.Y. City tried to avoid a decision on the merits by changing the law, which it claimed in a July 22, 2019Suggestion of Mootness, required that the Court dismiss the case.

The New York State Rifle & Pistol Associationargued that under long-standing principles, a party cannot moot a case and thereby manipulate the judicial system.

Whitehouse filed a Brief in support of dismissal of the case, including this outrageous thinly-veiled threat. From our prior post:

A group of Democratic Senators (Whitehouse, Gillibrand, Hirono, Blumenthal, Durbin) just filed an extraordinarily vitriolicAmicus Briefin support of the Respondent, N.Y. City. The Brief was signed by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for the group, listing himself as Counsel of Record.

I would not be surprised if Whitehouse substantially drafted the Brief himself. As we have documented here for a decade, Whitehouse is extremely pejorative towards his political opponents, who invariably are portrayed as bad people with bad motives.

So its no surprise that theBriefsigned by Whitehouse attacked Kavanaugh, the conservatives on the Court, and the very existence of the Court itself by suggesting the Court would be restructured if it ruled the wrong way.

It was a double-barrel attack impugning the motives of those holding different views of the 2nd Amendment and threatening to damage the Courts legitimacy:

Yet this is preciselyand explicitlywhat petitioners ask the Court to do in this case, in the wake of a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to shape this Courts composition, no less, and an industrial-strength influence campaign aimed at this Court. Indeed, petitioners and their allies have made perfectly clear that they seek a partner in a project to expand the Second Amendment and thwart gunsafety regulations. Particularly in an environment where a growing majority of Americans believes this Court is motivated mainly by politics, rather than by adherence to the law,2 the Court should resist petitioners invitation.

To stem the growing public belief that its decisions are motivated mainly by politics, the Court should decline invitations like this to engage in projects. See Quinnipiac Poll, supra note 2 (showing fifty-five percent of Americans believe the Court is motivated mainly by politics).

The influence effort directed at this Court has been industrialized. In this particular project to rewrite and expand the Second Amendment, petitioners are flanked by an army of nearly sixty amici. As usual, the true identities and funding sources of most of these amici are impossible to ascertain. Amicus groups claim status as socialwelfare organizations to keep their donor lists private,7 and this Courts Rule 37.6 is ineffective at adding any meaningful transparency.8 Were there such transparency, this amicus army would likely be revealed as more akin to marionettes controlled by a puppetmaster than to a groundswell of supportrallying to a cause.

The closing paragraph was at best a thinly-veiled threat (emphasis added):

The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it.Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.

This was not so much a legal argument, but a shot across the bow of the Court and Chief Justice Roberts in particular.

Nice Court you have there, Chief, shame if something happened to it.

On October 7, 2019, the Supreme Court refused to dismiss the case in a short-form Order, ruling that the issue of mootness should be discussed at oral argument (on December 2):

The Respondents Suggestion of Mootness is denied. The question of mootness will be subject to further consideration at oral argument, and the parties should be prepared to discuss it.

Whitehouses threat didnt work procedurally, but it still may have an impact. You cant unring that bell, and the purpose was to intimidate Chief Justice Roberts much as Obama and Democrats tried to (and arguably did) intimidate Roberts on the first Obamacare case.

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Supreme Court to hear big 2nd Amendment case despite threats from Sheldon Whitehouse and other Dem Senators - legal Insurrection

Three Acadiana legislative seats headed to runoffs – The Advocate

Jonathan Goudeau made Sunday his day of rest from his House District 31 race, but he said he expects to return to his ground game in the Nov. 16 runoff to capture the seat.

Goudeau led Saturdays voting with 33% of ballots cast. Gus Rantz took 28% of the ballots in the four-candidate race to join Goudeau. The winner will capture the empty seat vacated by Nancy Landry.

He said he connected with voters by listening to their concerns and promising to be their voice in Baton Rouge. We were blessed and pleased to get the support we did, he said.

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Among voter concerns, he said, were drainage, job opportunity and the need for an improved business climate in Louisiana. His ground game, he said, consisted of knocking on doors and getting campaign signs distributed to the district.

Goudeau said he decided to seek the seat two years ago. He increased his name recognition and worked hard to meet his constituents.

Rantz said his goal is to reach out and touch more people.

You cant ever do that enough, he said.

Youve got to differentiate yourself, too."

He said his background of turning around failing hospitals and demanding accountability meets the states needs.

Earlier in the day, Rantz posted on Facebook, A giant thank you to all those that voted, helped, knocked, called and texted. Were moving on to the runoff because of your efforts.

Rantz, president of a health care company, ran on a conservative platform in securing the runner-up runoff position.

Both Goudeau and Rantz are Republicans.

Beau Beaullieu said hell return to his political base, the business community, on Monday to ensure good turnout in the Nov. 16 runoff. Beaullieu, who led the voting Saturday, and Ricky Gonsoulin, a farmer, are competing to replace term-limited Taylor Barras. Both men are Republicans.

Beaullieu took 43% of the vote; Gonsoulin, 34%. Both tout their conservative principles as connecting with the voters.

Beaullieu said voters wanted a business leader to bring jobs back to the district and state.

Gonsoulin did not return phone calls to his campaign number Sunday. His published material suggests the Iberia Parish council member will wage a conservative campaign, opposing taxes and supporting the Second Amendment.

Both candidates say they take anti-abortion positions.

(Edit: An earlier version of this story said Marcus Bryant andRobert "Bob" Titus II advanced to a runoff in House District 98. Bryant won that seat outright with 58% of the vote.)

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Three Acadiana legislative seats headed to runoffs - The Advocate

Letter to the editor: Enemies of Second Amendment – TribLIVE

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Letter to the editor: Enemies of Second Amendment - TribLIVE

Supreme Court gun case: the biggest Second Amendment case in years – Vox.com

Last January, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, the first major Second Amendment case to be heard by the Supreme Court in nearly a decade and also the first since Justice Anthony Kennedys retirement shifted the Court dramatically to the right.

The case centers on an unusual and recently changed New York City rule that limited where gun owners with a certain kind of permit were allowed to bring their guns.

Gun control advocates, including policymakers in both New York City and the New York state legislature, fear a big loss in the Supreme Court and are desperate to make the case go away. Indeed, New York City changed their gun rules after the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case, and state legislators enacted a new law forbidding the city from bringing back the old rules all in the hopes of obviating the need for the Court to weigh in. Because the legal controversy between the city and the plaintiffs is now over, the city asked the Court to dismiss this case as moot.

The justices are scheduled to discuss whether to dismiss the case at their October 1 conference.

New York State Rifle, in other words, is of two-fold importance. It is important because the Supreme Courts current majority is likely to expand the scope of the Second Amendment significantly if they decide the merits of this case. But it is also important because the debate over whether to dismiss this case will offer a window into the psychology of the Courts Republican majority.

The argument that New York State Rifle must be dismissed as moot is very strong. Should the Supreme Court move forward with the case, it will only add to fears including fears that were recently raised by Justice Sonia Sotomayor that the Court is bending the rules in order to achieve conservative outcomes.

A few months before his death this summer, retired Justice John Paul Stevens offered a surprisingly candid window into the Courts internal deliberations.

In its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms. The Court split along familiar ideological lines, with Kennedy joining his fellow conservatives in the 5-4 majority.

Heller, however, was hardly a total victory for advocates of gun rights. Indeed, Justice Antonin Scalias majority opinion is riddled with caveats. Heller suggests that longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms all remain valid, as are bans on dangerous and unusual weapons.

In a November interview with the New York Times Adam Liptak, Stevens revealed that Kennedy asked for some important changes to Scalias original draft of the Heller opinion. At Stevenss urging, Kennedy requested language stating that Heller should not be taken to cast doubt on many existing gun laws. Without Kennedys intervention, in other words, Heller may not have included the important language limiting the scope of the Second Amendment.

But Kennedy is gone. And his replacement, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, appears very eager to expand gun rights.

Shorter after Heller was decided, the District of Columbias government passed legislation banning semi-automatic assault weapons and requiring gun owners to register their firearms. Dick Heller, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Courts Heller decision, also led the challenge to this new gun law, and the case Heller v. District of Columbia was eventually heard by a panel of three Republican-appointed judges.

Two of those judges largely upheld the law in 2011 (although they called for further proceedings on the registration requirement). The third judge was Brett Kavanaugh, who claimed that both D.C.s ban on semi-automatic rifles and its gun registration requirement are unconstitutional under Heller. (This second iteration of the Heller litigation was never heard by the Supreme Court.)

And Kavanaughs dissent also went even further than that. The future justice did not simply argue that this specific DC law should be struck down. He also suggested that nearly a decade of Second Amendment jurisprudence should be tossed out.

Heller, as mentioned above, was the first Supreme Court case in American history to hold that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms. Since Heller, moreover, the Courts only handed down one significant Second Amendment opinion. And that 2010 opinion, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, merely held that states must comply with the same Second Amendment regime as the federal government.

The Supreme Courts Second Amendment jurisprudence, in other words, is underdeveloped. In Heller, the majority basically hit a reset button that wiped out the Courts prior Second Amendment decisions, which held that the obvious purpose of this amendment was the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, not an individual right to bear arms.

Heller replaced this older framework with an uncertain new framework that emphasized an individual right to self-defense. But the Supreme Court has done little to develop that framework since Heller.

Yet, while the justices have largely avoided big guns cases, the lower courts cannot. And a consensus view emerged among the federal appeals courts regarding how the Second Amendment should be read.

At least 10 such courts apply what United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson describes as a two-step analytic framework. Under this framework, severe burdens on core Second Amendment rights are subject to strict scrutiny, the most skeptical level of review that courts typically apply in constitutional cases. Less onerous laws, or laws that govern conduct outside of the Second Amendments core, are subject to a more permissive test known as intermediate scrutiny.

Thus, major burdens on gun owners are especially likely to be struck down, while less consequential burdens are more likely to be upheld.

Kavanaugh, for his part, rejects this consensus framework altogether. In his 2011 dissent, he argued that the consensus view should be abandoned for a different test courts are to assess gun bans and regulations based on text, history, and tradition, not by a balancing test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny. While its unclear how Kavanaughs test would apply in every individual case, the fact that Kavanaugh took a position well to the right of his two Republican colleagues strongly suggests that his test would invalidate more gun laws than would the consensus framework.

New York State Rifle, moreover, offers someone like Kavanaugh the perfect vehicle to upend the consensus framework because the (now repealed) rule at the heart of this case imposes only a minimal burden on gun owners.

New York offers two kinds of handgun licenses. A carry license permits gun owners to carry a handgun for target practice, hunting, or self-defense. Meanwhile, a less permissive premises license permits a gun owner to have and possess in his dwelling a handgun. Premises license holders, however, may only bring the gun outside of their home for limited reasons, which include bringing the gun to seven specific gun ranges to practice shooting.

The plaintiffs in New York State Rifle, each of whom has a premises license, raise a very narrow challenge to this framework. As a federal appeals court explained, some of them seek to transport their handguns to shooting ranges and competitions outside New York City. One of them also owns two homes, and he wishes to be able to transport one gun between those two homes.

New York State Rifle, in other words, involves what Judge Higginson described as a less onerous law that governs conduct outside of the Second Amendments core. This isnt a grand showdown over when and where people can carry guns or whether they bring a gun into their own home. Its a small legal dispute about little more than whether lawmakers can require certain gun owners to practice shooting at certain specified gun ranges.

And yet, this very smallness is what makes New York State Rifle so dangerous to the consensus framework. The rule at the heart of this case is the very sort of gun restriction that the consensus framework is likely to treat as insignificant. And that gives the Supreme Court an ideal vehicle to hold that judges should treat all gun laws with skepticism even very minor ones.

All of this said, there is a strong argument that New York State Rifle must be dismissed as moot. Article III of the Constitution provides that the judicial power only applies to cases and controversies, meaning that federal courts may only hear live legal disputes between parties.

But New York City changed its rules to let people with premises licenses do what the plaintiffs in this case want to do. And the New York state legislature also passed a law providing that gun owners with premises licenses may bring their gun to another dwelling or place of business of the licensee where the licensee is authorized to have and possess such pistol or revolver, to an indoor or outdoor shooting range that is authorized by law to operate as such, or to a shooting competition at which the licensee may possess such pistol or revolver consistent with the law.

So the plaintiffs won! They asked for specific, narrow relief, and the state legislature gave it to them. Theres no longer a legal dispute between the plaintiffs and the defendants in this case, and that makes the case moot.

But a few amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court suggest that the case should not be dismissed under a doctrine known as voluntary cessation. Broadly speaking, this doctrine allows a court to continue to hear a case after a defendant voluntarily quits the behavior that led to them being sued. The point of this doctrine is to prevent a defendant from dodging lawsuits by doing something illegal, ceasing their illegal activity for long enough to dismiss any lawsuits challenging that activity, and then resuming their illegal actions as soon as the lawsuits are dismissed.

Yet, as a group of legal scholars explain in their own amicus brief, that doctrine does not apply here. The defendant in this case is New York City. But a law preventing the city from reinstating the challenged rules was enacted by New York state. It would be impossible, in other words, for the city to resume its allegedly illegal conduct because a higher power stripped the city of its ability to do so.

We could know as soon as next week whether the Supreme Court will dismiss the case or whether it will add to Justice Sotomayors fears that the Court is ignoring its own ordinary procedures, in this case by finding away around the mootness doctrine.

Yet even if the case is dismissed, such a decision will only delay a reckoning on the Second Amendment. Eventually, the justices will hear a gun rights case that is not moot. And when that happens, Justice Kennedy wont be around to inject a note of caution into the Courts opinion.

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Supreme Court gun case: the biggest Second Amendment case in years - Vox.com

On guns and the Second Amendment | Opinion – The Reflector

Letters have appeared in The Reflector recently that feed two myths on gun control and the Second Amendment one myth stated clearly and the other hinted at. The first is that Democratic Socialists are bent on banning and confiscating all firearms. There may be some extreme Socialists that are advocating for this, but most do not. I have not heard a Democratic candidate advocate for such extreme measures. They are in favor of improved background check methods, red flag laws, and limiting access to rapid-fire assault weapons and magazines that allow multiple bullets to be fired in quick succession. To accuse them of being against all weapons and working to confiscate them is a lie.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution states, 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. The language has created considerable debate regarding its intended scope. What is meant by well regulated militia and the right . . . to keep and bear arms have been hotly debated. One myth that has circulated is that since the amendment does not stipulate which arms, any effort by the government, state or federal, to limit access to any guns violates this right. Following this line of thinking, we should consider what the framers of this amendment meant by arms. The arms at that time were flintlock muskets and pistols with a one-round magazine each. The most stilled marksman could only fire three shots per minute. Imagine if we applied their understanding of arms today how many mass shootings would be prevented. Also, the amendment was motivated by the fear that a national standing army would be a threat to the states. That fear, I believe, is largely a relic of the 18th dentury even though there are some that still believe the U.S. military might be used to take away a state and individuals right to defend.

If you have read this far, you might conclude that I am a Socialist Democrat. I am not, but in contrast to the current political and cultural trends, I do not like myths and lies being inflicted against anyone even those I do not agree with. The truth can stand on its own feet without the support of myths and lies.

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On guns and the Second Amendment | Opinion - The Reflector

‘2nd Amendment Rally’ Planned Nov. 2 in Washington, DC – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- Grassroots Second Amendment activists from across the country are being urged to attend a 2nd Amendment Rally on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., where they hope to deliver a message that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Now is the time for activists to make plans, as the rally is a mere six weeks away. It is being dubbed as a rally for the Second on the 2nd.

As explained by activist Rob Pincus, director of media relations for Save the Second, during an interview with the Right of the People podcast from the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix, Weve got a big election coming up next year. We need to remind the nation, we need to remind ourselves that we are the Second Amendment lobby and thats why the 2nd Amendment rally is important.

Pincus pointed to the rallys website for details. There is also a Facebook page where people can learn details as they emerge. He said there is no sponsorship for this event and no single organization. Funding is provided by people who care about the Second Amendment.

What has sunk in over the past few months is that far too many people are willing to write a checkand say okay, Ive done my part, and then move on, Pincus lamented.

According to the rally website, The Second Amendment Rally is a grassroots event, organized and funded by grassroots activists, open to all supporters of the Constitution and lovers of liberty.

If you own a gun, Pincus said during the podcast interview, you are the gun lobby.

The rally is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and run for three hours.

Just how many will appear would be speculation at this point, but Pincus suggested that organizers are hoping for several thousand rights activists to attend.

Maybe having 10,000 people, 15,000 people standing on the capitol steps, on the capitol grounds, listening to some of the most active leaders the most active advocates inside the Second Amendment community for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, he observed, I think that will be an opportunity for everybody to remember that we are the gun lobby. We are the ones who exercise these rights. We are the ones who benefit from these rights.

Pincus was one of 91 speakers who appeared at the 34th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference over the past weekend. As Ammoland News reported earlier, this years event was the biggest in the conferences history. More than 1,100 people pre-registered and it appears many if not most of them showed up for at least part of the event. In addition, according to Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, the two-day event was viewed by more than 100,000 people as it was live-streamed on the SAF Facebook page.

In the past, gun rights activists have been a lethargic bunch, but this time around things are different. The Second Amendment has been under attack as never before, in part by anti-gunners exploiting mass shooting incidents to push bans on so-called semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with registration and one-gun-a-month schemes. Also on the gun control agenda are safe storage mandates, mandatory training requirements, expansion of so-called red flag laws and other restrictions suggesting that proponents are trying to turn Second Amendment-protected rights into government regulated privileges.

What also makes this year different for grassroots activism was the heat-of-the-moment candor by Democrat presidential candidate Robert Francis Beto ORourke during the recent debate. His declaration, Hell, yes were going to take your AR15, your AK47 finally erased any doubt that anti-gunners intend to disarm law-abiding American citizens.

Most noteworthy about the remark was the silence from all the other candidates on the stage, suggesting they all quietly concur with ORourkes threat. His comment was mentioned or alluded to repeatedly during the recent rights conference.

The Second Amendment expressly protects the rights of the individual, Pincus stated. The individual needs to get involved and the Second Amendment rally is an opportunity to do that.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor atTheGunMag.comand Liberty Park Press,author of multiple bookson the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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'2nd Amendment Rally' Planned Nov. 2 in Washington, DC - AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

The second amendment was about national security – Herald Review

This is in response to the recent letter by Jeff Bishop. There are three points I want to make.

First, it is not the case that those who question the wisdom of allowing military style weapons to be largely available are confused by terminology. Few people think of the AR-15 as an assault rifle just because of the letters AR. This is irrelevant. Whether it is an AR or an AK, the point is the same.

Bishop goes on to assert that the only difference between the AR and other weapons is looks. Not true, and Im sure he knows it. A bolt action rifle that holds three rounds cannot take out fifty people in a matter of seconds. But an AR or AK or similar weapon with a thirty round detachable magazine that can quickly be changed is capable of doing just that. This is an important distinction

Guns were invented to kill people or animals. Automobiles , etc. were not invented or intended for the express purpose of killing.

Bishop says that many people use ARs for varmint hunting. So what? What is that compared to the lives of children? Is his desire to shoot rats or prairie dogs for pleasure more important than the lives of kids in school?

And I wonder if Bishop has kids or grand kids in school, would he rather have an attacker show up with a blunt object or an AR?

As for the second amendment, Bishop exhibits a complete lack of understanding. The second amendment was about national security. The founders were worried that a professional standing army would be a threat to liberty. Thus, a well-regulated militia was seen as necessary to the security of a free people. The British were still a threat, as were other potential adversaries. Further, Shays Rebellion was fresh in mind, and a militia was needed to put down possible future insurrections, including possible slave revolts. The second amendment was never about citizens fighting against the government. That is a myth.

Also, the Supreme Court never recognized an individual right to own firearms until the 2006 D.C. v. Heller decision. But even in the majority opinion, Justice Scalia, hardly an opponent of gun ownership, stated that certain regulations on firearms were legitimate.

Lastly, Bishop asserts that if assault weapons are banned, it is just an incremental move toward banning all guns. This has no basis in fact. We had an assault weapon ban for 10 years, after all. And there is no political will in either major political party to do anything remotely close to banning all guns.

Jacqueline Dowell

Grand Rapids

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The second amendment was about national security - Herald Review

Opinion/Letter: ‘Militia’ key to 2nd Amendment – The Daily Progress

Militia key to 2nd Amendment

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, 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.

My dictionary defines militia as A citizen army as distinct from a body of professional soldiers. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency. The whole body of physically fit male civilians eligible by law for military service.

It seems logical that anyone has the right to bear arms; however, it should be to be part of a well-regulated militia. Gun owners, especially male civilians, should be required to register their arms so the government would know who it can call upon for service in an emergency. The government could then reimburse those called up for service for their expenses, such as ammunition expended.

Reference: American Heritage Dictionary

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Opinion/Letter: 'Militia' key to 2nd Amendment - The Daily Progress