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Amendment II – The United States Constitution

The Second Amendment

Modern debates about the Second Amendment have focused on whether it protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms, or a right that can be exercised only through militia organizations like the National Guard. This question, however, was not even raised until long after the Bill of Rights was adopted.

Many in the Founding generation believed that governments are prone to use soldiers to oppress the people. English history suggested that this risk could be controlled by permitting the government to raise armies (consisting of full-time paid troops) only when needed to fight foreign adversaries. For other purposes, such as responding to sudden invasions or other emergencies, the government could rely on a militia that consisted of ordinary civilians who supplied their own weapons and received some part-time, unpaid military training.

The onset of war does not always allow time to raise and train an army, and the Revolutionary War showed that militia forces could not be relied on for national defense. The Constitutional Convention therefore decided that the federal government should have almost unfettered authority to establish peacetime standing armies and to regulate the militia.

This massive shift of power from the states to the federal government generated one of the chief objections to the proposed Constitution. Anti-Federalists argued that the proposed Constitution would take from the states their principal means of defense against federal usurpation. The Federalists responded that fears of federal oppression were overblown, in part because the American people were armed and would be almost impossible to subdue through military force.

Implicit in the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists were two shared assumptions. First, that the proposed new Constitution gave the federal government almost total legal authority over the army and militia. Second, that the federal government should not have any authority at all to disarm the citizenry. They disagreed only about whether an armed populace could adequately deter federal oppression.

The Second Amendment conceded nothing to the Anti-Federalists desire to sharply curtail the military power of the federal government, which would have required substantial changes in the original Constitution. Yet the Amendment was easily accepted because of widespread agreement that the federal government should not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms, any more than it should have the power to abridge the freedom of speech or prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Much has changed since 1791. The traditional militia fell into desuetude, and state-based militia organizations were eventually incorporated into the federal military structure. The nations military establishment has become enormously more powerful than eighteenth century armies. We still hear political rhetoric about federal tyranny, but most Americans do not fear the nations armed forces and virtually no one thinks that an armed populace could defeat those forces in battle. Furthermore, eighteenth century civilians routinely kept at home the very same weapons they would need if called to serve in the militia, while modern soldiers are equipped with weapons that differ significantly from those generally thought appropriate for civilian uses. Civilians no longer expect to use their household weapons for militia duty, although they still keep and bear arms to defend against common criminals (as well as for hunting and other forms of recreation).

The law has also changed. While states in the Founding era regulated gunsblacks were often prohibited from possessing firearms and militia weapons were frequently registered on government rollsgun laws today are more extensive and controversial. Another important legal development was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Amendment originally applied only to the federal government, leaving the states to regulate weapons as they saw fit. Although there is substantial evidence that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms from infringement by the states, the Supreme Court rejected this interpretation in United States v. Cruikshank (1876).

Until recently, the judiciary treated the Second Amendment almost as a dead letter. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that forbade nearly all civilians from possessing handguns in the nations capital. A 54 majority ruled that the language and history of the Second Amendment showed that it protects a private right of individuals to have arms for their own defense, not a right of the states to maintain a militia.

The dissenters disagreed. They concluded that the Second Amendment protects a nominally individual right, though one that protects only the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. They also argued that even if the Second Amendment did protect an individual right to have arms for self-defense, it should be interpreted to allow the government to ban handguns in high-crime urban areas.

Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Court struck down a similar handgun ban at the state level, again by a 54 vote. Four Justices relied on judicial precedents under the Fourteenth Amendments Due Process Clause. Justice Thomas rejected those precedents in favor of reliance on the Privileges or Immunities Clause, but all five members of the majority concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment protects against state infringement of the same individual right that is protected from federal infringement by the Second Amendment.

Notwithstanding the lengthy opinions in Heller and McDonald, they technically ruled only that government may not ban the possession of handguns by civilians in their homes. Heller tentatively suggested a list of presumptively lawful regulations, including bans on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, laws restricting the commercial sale of arms, bans on the concealed carry of firearms, and bans on weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Many issues remain open, and the lower courts have disagreed with one another about some of them, including important questions involving restrictions on carrying weapons in public.

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process.

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much.

Not a Second Class Right: The Second Amendment Today by Nelson Lund

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process. Neither right, however, is absolute. The First Amendment, for example, has never protected perjury, fraud, or countless other crimes that are committed through the use of speech. Similarly, no reasonable person could believe that violent criminals should have unrestricted access to guns, or that any individual should possess a nuclear weapon.

Inevitably, courts must draw lines, allowing government to carry out its duty to preserve an orderly society, without unduly infringing the legitimate interests of individuals in expressing their thoughts and protecting themselves from criminal violence. This is not a precise science or one that will ever be free from controversy.

One judicial approach, however, should be unequivocally rejected. During the nineteenth century, courts routinely refused to invalidate restrictions on free speech that struck the judges as reasonable. This meant that speech got virtually no judicial protection. Government suppression of speech can usually be thought to serve some reasonable purpose, such as reducing social discord or promoting healthy morals. Similarly, most gun control laws can be viewed as efforts to save lives and prevent crime, which are perfectly reasonable goals. If thats enough to justify infringements on individual liberty, neither constitutional guarantee means much of anything.

During the twentieth century, the Supreme Court finally started taking the First Amendment seriously. Today, individual freedom is generally protected unless the government can make a strong case that it has a real need to suppress speech or expressive conduct, and that its regulations are tailored to that need. The legal doctrines have become quite complex, and there is room for disagreement about many of the Courts specific decisions. Taken as a whole, however, this body of case law shows what the Court can do when it appreciates the value of an individual right enshrined in the Constitution.

The Second Amendment also raises issues about which reasonable people can disagree. But if the Supreme Court takes this provision of the Constitution as seriously as it now takes the First Amendment, which it should do, there will be some easy issues as well.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) is one example. The right of the people protected by the Second Amendment is an individual right, just like the right[s] of the people protected by the First and Fourth Amendments. The Constitution does not say that the Second Amendment protects a right of the states or a right of the militia, and nobody offered such an interpretation during the Founding era. Abundant historical evidence indicates that the Second Amendment was meant to leave citizens with the ability to defend themselves against unlawful violence. Such threats might come from usurpers of governmental power, but they might also come from criminals whom the government is unwilling or unable to control.

McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) was also an easy case under the Courts precedents. Most other provisions of the Bill of Rights had already been applied to the states because they are deeply rooted in this Nations history and tradition. The right to keep and bear arms clearly meets this test.

The text of the Constitution expressly guarantees the right to bear arms, not just the right to keep them. The courts should invalidate regulations that prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons in public, where the vast majority of violent crimes occur. First Amendment rights are not confined to the home, and neither are those protected by the Second Amendment.

Nor should the government be allowed to create burdensome bureaucratic obstacles designed to frustrate the exercise of Second Amendment rights. The courts are vigilant in preventing government from evading the First Amendment through regulations that indirectly abridge free speech rights by making them difficult to exercise. Courts should exercise the same vigilance in protecting Second Amendment rights.

Some other regulations that may appear innocuous should be struck down because they are little more than political stunts. Popular bans on so-called assault rifles, for example, define this class of guns in terms of cosmetic features, leaving functionally identical semi-automatic rifles to circulate freely. This is unconstitutional for the same reason that it would violate the First Amendment to ban words that have a French etymology, or to require that French fries be called freedom fries.

In most American states, including many with large urban population centers, responsible adults have easy access to ordinary firearms, and they are permitted to carry them in public. Experience has shown that these policies do not lead to increased levels of violence. Criminals pay no more attention to gun control regulations than they do to laws against murder, rape, and robbery. Armed citizens, however, prevent countless crimes and have saved many lives. Whats more, the most vulnerable peopleincluding women, the elderly, and those who live in high crime neighborhoodsare among the greatest beneficiaries of the Second Amendment. If the courts require the remaining jurisdictions to stop infringing on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, their citizens will be more free and probably safer as well.

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms by Adam Winkler

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much. As the Supreme Court correctly noted in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the militia of the founding era was the body of ordinary citizens capable of taking up arms to defend the nation. While the Founders sought to protect the citizenry from being disarmed entirely, they did not wish to prevent government from adopting reasonable regulations of guns and gun owners.

Although Americans today often think that gun control is a modern invention, the Founding era had laws regulating the armed citizenry. There were laws designed to ensure an effective militia, such as laws requiring armed citizens to appear at mandatory musters where their guns would be inspected. Governments also compiled registries of civilian-owned guns appropriate for militia service, sometimes conducting door-to-door surveys. The Founders had broad bans on gun possession by people deemed untrustworthy, including slaves and loyalists. The Founders even had laws requiring people to have guns appropriate for militia service.

The wide range of Founding-era laws suggests that the Founders understood gun rights quite differently from many people today. The right to keep and bear arms was not a libertarian license for anyone to have any kind of ordinary firearm, anywhere they wanted. Nor did the Second Amendment protect a right to revolt against a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment was about ensuring public safety, and nothing in its language was thought to prevent what would be seen today as quite burdensome forms of regulation.

The Founding-era laws indicate why the First Amendment is not a good analogy to the Second. While there have always been laws restricting perjury and fraud by the spoken word, such speech was not thought to be part of the freedom of speech. The Second Amendment, by contrast, unambiguously recognizes that the armed citizenry must be regulatedand regulated well. This language most closely aligns with the Fourth Amendment, which protects a right to privacy but also recognizes the authority of the government to conduct reasonable searches and seizures.

The principle that reasonable regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment has been affirmed throughout American history. Ever since the first cases challenging gun controls for violating the Second Amendment or similar provisions in state constitutions, courts have repeatedly held that reasonable gun lawsthose that dont completely deny access to guns by law-abiding peopleare constitutionally permissible. For 150 years, this was the settled law of the landuntil Heller.

Heller, however, rejected the principle of reasonableness only in name, not in practice. The decision insisted that many types of gun control laws are presumptively lawful, including bans on possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on concealed carry, bans on dangerous and unusual weapons, restrictions on guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings, and commercial sale restrictions. Nearly all gun control laws today fit within these exceptions. Importantly, these exceptions for modern-day gun laws unheard of in the Founding era also show that lawmakers are not limited to the types of gun control in place at the time of the Second Amendments ratification.

In the years since Heller, the federal courts have upheld the overwhelming majority of gun control laws challenged under the Second Amendment. Bans on assault weapons have been consistently upheld, as have restrictions on gun magazines that hold more than a minimum number of rounds of ammunition. Bans on guns in national parks, post offices, bars, and college campuses also survived. These decisions make clear that lawmakers have wide leeway to restrict guns to promote public safety so long as the basic right of law-abiding people to have a gun for self-defense is preserved.

Perhaps the biggest open question after Heller is whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry guns in public. While every state allows public carry, some states restrict that right to people who can show a special reason to have a gun on the street. To the extent these laws give local law enforcement unfettered discretion over who can carry, they are problematic. At the same time, however, many constitutional rights are far more limited in public than in the home. Parades can be required to have a permit, the police have broader powers to search pedestrians and motorists than private homes, and sexual intimacy in public places can be completely prohibited.

The Supreme Court may yet decide that more stringent limits on gun control are required under the Second Amendment. Such a decision, however, would be contrary to the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms.

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Amendment II – The United States Constitution

Second Amendment rights – Progress Index

Rev. Tom Lovorn, Th.D.

Q. Does the Bible have anything to say about our Second Amendment rights, which were hearing so much about in the current political climate? Christine Stawarz, Prince George, Va.

A. The Second Amendment was drafted by James Madison in 1789. It and the other nine amendments, forming what we call the Bill of Rights, were ratified and added to our Constitution in 1791. They are understood to state the inherent rights of every citizen.

The Second Amendment reads, 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. One of our statesmen said its intended purpose was to support the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.

Although Isaiah 9:6 predicted the Messiah would be called the Prince of Peace, it is a reference to the heart-peace he gives to believers and to his future millennial reign when there will be peace in the valley (Isaiah 11:1-9). It is true that Jesus said in Matthew 5:39 his followers should turn the other cheek when we are smitten. But, we must not take that out of the context of love which Jesus was preaching. He was not talking about defending ourselves in a life-threatening situation; he was teaching that we should resist our natural reaction in order to help a fellowman learn the ideal response of love. Gods love in us should cause us to forgo our own concerns to seek the best for others.

True: Jesus taught that we should, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:44-45). However, Jesus never said we should not defend ourselves from danger. In fact, in Numbers 22:31 the Angel of the Lord, whom we suppose to be preincarnate Jesus, had his sword drawn against the false prophet Balaam.

In our present culture of lawlessness and greed, believers have permission from Jesus in Luke 22:36 to carry a sword. He also said in Luke 11:21 (CEV), When a strong man arms himself and guards his home, everything he owns is safe.

The Rev. Dr. Tom Lovorn is pastor of Gods Storehouse Baptist Church in Richmond and he writes a weekly question and answer column for The Progress-Index. Columns are real questions from readers around the world. Dr. Tom, a Petersburg resident, is a long-time columnist with The Progress-Index and a former pastor in the Petersburg community.Note: This column was originally published in The Progress-Index May 28, 2016. Dr. Lovorn requested a week off from his writing responsibilities, so we searched our archives for a column that was relevant and worthy of repeating.

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Second Amendment rights – Progress Index

More Americans Are Embracing Their Second Amendment Rights – The Daily Caller

We are over 100 days into the Trump administration, and there have been record numbers of gun sales as citizens are empowered by new leadership to embrace their Second Amendment rights. In April alone, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the system gun retailers use to verify if a potential buyer can legally buy a gun, ran a whopping 2,045,564 background checks, showing there is renewed support for a strong Second Amendment after 8 years of anti-gun policies. And at the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) our membership numbers continue to rise because the right to self-defense is one of our most fundamental beliefs as Americans.

In December 2015, a Gallup poll showed that 16% of Americans put terrorism as the number one issue facing our country. Sure enough, homeland security was also one of the biggest issues at the forefront of the 2016 election. Americans are worried about protecting themselves and their families, and have decided to take full advantage of their Second Amendment rights.

Under the past administration, President Obamas solution to violence and terrorism in this country was to legislate policies to keep people from legally obtaining guns. Now, under an administration thats pro-Second Amendment, gun owners can finally stop feeling criminalized for wanting to defend themselves.

An NBC/Washington Post poll also from December 2015 shows more people believe that the best way to stop terrorism is to allow citizens to arm themselves, instead of stricter gun control laws. A majority of people surveyed were also against an assault weapons ban, showing that the liberal claims of the majority of the country is against assault weapons, are false. In the same poll, only 22% of respondents were confident in the governments ability to prevent a terrorist attack an unsettlingly low number. All of these numbers from a year and a half ago, when our country was so close to an election, all explain the recent uptick in gun sales.

Americans watch the news, and are aware of what is going on around the world. We see it almost daily. Terrorist attacks in Europe, in places that seemed perfectly safe until recently, and even acts of domestic terrorism here in the United States have citizens concerned about their safety. Not to mention the instances of everyday crimes, which interestingly enough, is usually higher in places that have stricter gun laws. Legal access to firearms make citizens and their communities safer, and a country of armed, responsible citizens is a deterrent to criminals everywhere.

Lone-wolf terrorist attacks are on the rise, and the police cant always get there fast enough to stop the attacker before they hurt or kill people. Many attackers are known to the FBI and law enforcement, but there is little the government can do to intervene if the attacker keeps a low enough profile. It is up to responsibly armed citizens to be the first line of defense when these situations arise. Whether they are protecting just themselves, their family, or a classroom full of schoolchildren, people can see a clear need to arm themselves and know how to respond in a life threatening situation.

Back when the framers of the Constitution spelled out our freedoms in writing, the gun lobby did not exist. They were under no pressure from any interest groups regarding guns, and with pure intentions, wrote that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. With a leader in the White House that embraces and respects the Second Amendment, the tide is quickly turning toward a society that embraces responsible gun ownership, and does not condemn people for want to protect themselves.

Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and may be contacted at [emailprotected].

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More Americans Are Embracing Their Second Amendment Rights – The Daily Caller

Second Amendment rights – News – Jackson Newspapers – Ripley … – Jackson County Newspapers

Rev. Tom Lovorn, Th.D.

Q. Does the Bible have anything to say about our Second Amendment rights, which were hearing so much about in the current political climate? Christine Stawarz, Prince George, Va.

A. The Second Amendment was drafted by James Madison in 1789. It and the other nine amendments, forming what we call the Bill of Rights, were ratified and added to our Constitution in 1791. They are understood to state the inherent rights of every citizen.

The Second Amendment reads, 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. One of our statesmen said its intended purpose was to support the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.

Although Isaiah 9:6 predicted the Messiah would be called the Prince of Peace, it is a reference to the heart-peace he gives to believers and to his future millennial reign when there will be peace in the valley (Isaiah 11:1-9). It is true that Jesus said in Matthew 5:39 his followers should turn the other cheek when we are smitten. But, we must not take that out of the context of love which Jesus was preaching. He was not talking about defending ourselves in a life-threatening situation; he was teaching that we should resist our natural reaction in order to help a fellowman learn the ideal response of love. Gods love in us should cause us to forgo our own concerns to seek the best for others.

True: Jesus taught that we should, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:44-45). However, Jesus never said we should not defend ourselves from danger. In fact, in Numbers 22:31 the Angel of the Lord, whom we suppose to be preincarnate Jesus, had his sword drawn against the false prophet Balaam.

In our present culture of lawlessness and greed, believers have permission from Jesus in Luke 22:36 to carry a sword. He also said in Luke 11:21 (CEV), When a strong man arms himself and guards his home, everything he owns is safe.

The Rev. Dr. Tom Lovorn is pastor of Gods Storehouse Baptist Church in Richmond and he writes a weekly question and answer column for The Progress-Index. Columns are real questions from readers around the world. Dr. Tom, a Petersburg resident, is a long-time columnist with The Progress-Index and a former pastor in the Petersburg community.Note: This column was originally published in The Progress-Index May 28, 2016. Dr. Lovorn requested a week off from his writing responsibilities, so we searched our archives for a column that was relevant and worthy of repeating.

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Second Amendment rights – News – Jackson Newspapers – Ripley … – Jackson County Newspapers

Rex Alphin supports the Second Amendment – News – The Progress … – Progress Index

Rex Alphin is pro-life, pro Second Amendment, his NRA rating is better than his opponents, and he appreciates the agricultural lifestyle the 64th District is known for and thats why Im voting for him. Rex believes in his community so much that he has owned and operated three businesses in his district, his opponents business is not in the 64th.

His opponent said she has never raised taxes, how could she? Shes never held any elected position to be faced with that hard reality. Tax hikes have been a major thorn, have we forgotten why taxes had to be raised? The board of supervisors, of which Rex is serving, unanimously voted to raise taxes because of the irresponsible misuse of taxpayer funds that the previous board used to saddle Isle of Wight with huge amounts of unnecessary debt. His opponent signed a Taxpayer Protection Pledge stating she wont raise taxes – maybe thats unrealistic. I dont want another broken promise, I want pro-active leadership. When you make tall promises, you always fall short. Rex is realistic and words mean something to him, he knows you dont have to be the loudest voice in the room to be effective.

As for fundraising, I would rather have a candidate whos raised more money from his district than someone whos raised their majority outside the 64th, check out cfreports.sbe.virginia.gov. Candidates need to be accountable to their constituents, not outside political forces. And what a shame political forces within local GOP groups think you are so ignorant that they banded together to tell everyone to vote for Rexs opponent. Thats what the establishment and Democrats do.

Lastly, things have been said about all the nice letters for Rex. Honor, integrity, faith, commitment, and passion for family and community mean a great deal to Rex and it means something to me. Rex isnt perfect, but hes not a flash in the pan.

Jennifer Boykin, Carrsville, Virginia

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Rex Alphin supports the Second Amendment – News – The Progress … – Progress Index

A Sad Supreme Court Case Highlights the Need for Smarter Second Amendment Jurisprudence – National Review

One day in October 2010, a man by the name of Angel Mendez was at his home, asleep on a futon next to his pregnant girlfriend. Hed built the home himself, and it almost redefined the word modest. It was little more than a one-room shack in the back yard of another persons residence, with a blanket for a door. He awoke from his nap to see a person pulling back the blanket. He picked up his BB gun, and heard someone shout gun! before 15 rounds came flying at him. He was grievously injured, ultimately losing a leg. His unarmed girlfriend was also wounded.

It turns out the person who shot at Mendez was a police officer. Los Angeles County sheriffs deputies Christopher Conley and Jennifer Peterson were looking for a parolee who was believed to be armed and dangerous. They did not have a warrant to search Mendezs home, and they did not announce their presence or identity before accosting him. They entered, saw his BB gun, and started firing.

Lest you think this is a unique incident, in March I wrote about the terrible case of Andrew Scott. Like Mendez, Scott was an innocent man at home with his girlfriend when the police came. Like Mendez, he was mistaken by police for the armed and dangerous man they sought. They pounded on his door, but they didnt have a warrant, and they didnt announce themselves. Like any reasonable person, he was alarmed at the late-night disturbance and had no reason to expect the police were its source. So he grabbed his gun. When he opened his door, the police shot him dead in two seconds.

Neither Mendez nor Scott did anything wrong. They were both absolutely within their constitutional rights to pick up a weapon in response to the unidentified persons attempting to enter their homes. Yet Mendez, and Scotts heirs, have so far lost in court, unable to collect any meaningful compensation from the police officers who shot them precisely because they exercised those rights.

Scotts estate lost at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the doctrine of qualified immunity protected the officers from having to pay any compensation to the innocent victims of their mistaken and wrongful use of force. Mendez lost yesterday in the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously against a quirky Ninth Circuit use-of-force rule that allowed excessive-force claims where an officer intentionally or recklessly provokes a violent confrontation, if the provocation is an independent Fourth Amendment violation. In other words, if the officers violated Mendezs Fourth Amendment rights by unlawfully entering his home, they could be held liable for shooting Mendez even if the shooting itself might otherwise have been justified under existing law.

The Supreme Court found that the Ninth Circuits rule violated court precedent requiring lower courts to instead apply a totality of the circumstances approach to such cases, under which the reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. The Supreme Court then remanded the case back to the lower courts, where the deck is already stacked against Mendez. The court of appeals, after all, already ruled that the officers had qualified immunity from Mendezs claim, and the trial court determined that Mendezs decision to pick up the BB gun was a superseding cause that limited the damages he could collect.

Its time for a different approach. Its time for Fourth Amendment jurisprudence to explicitly recognize and accommodate the Second Amendment. If the Second Amendment means anything at all, it means that I have a right to defend myself in my own home, where as Justice Scalia noted in District of Columbia v. Heller the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute. Moreover, the Second Amendment exists in large part to protect the private citizen from state tyranny. It is odd indeed, then, that current law largely grants officers of the state the right to kill me in my own home even if I do nothing wrong. Indeed, the very act of exercising my Second Amendment rights picking up a gun makes it less likely that I will prevail in court.

Theres an old saying that a person would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. In times of peril, the thinking goes, its better to risk a jury than to risk your life. But under modern jurisprudence, when the police barge in youre likely to be carried by six and then judged wanting by one: Youll die in the face of overwhelming firepower, and your estates case will be tossed right out of court by a judge.

This presents the homeowner especially if he lives in a high-crime area where the need for a gun is most dire with an impossible situation. In the event of a home intrusion, he has to identify the intruder before he picks up his gun or risk being shot dead instantaneously. If the cops make a good-faith mistake, the burden is on the homeowner. If the cops act improperly, as they did in both Scott and Mendez, the burden is still on the homeowner. Heads, they win; tails you lose.

What is to be done about this? Civil-rights jurisprudence must recognize the central legal truths of Heller and empower the original meaning of the Constitution. Police use of force against an armed homeowner should be evaluated on Second Amendment grounds, not merely as an unreasonable search or seizure. Agents of the state should be held liable for violations of Second Amendment rights when they kill or injure someone solely because he or she exercised those rights. Shooting an innocent man in his own home because he grabs a gun when an unidentified person pounds on his door or barges through it isnt just an unreasonable search or seizure. Its a direct violation of his clearly established right to keep and bear arms.

Its not too much to ask police officers to obtain warrants and to knock and announce their presence in all but the most exigent circumstances. In both Scott and Mendez, there was no good reason for police not to identify themselves. Yet in both cases, a residents reasonable response to police failures undermined his efforts to hold them accountable for those failures in court. That is unacceptable. When a person enters my house unannounced, I should have the right to hold a gun in my hand. To argue otherwise is to eviscerate the Second Amendment.

READ MORE: A Federal Appeals Court Goes to War against the Second Amendment What Justice Gorsuch Might Mean for the Second Amendment Why Would Anyone Want a Firearm?

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

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A Sad Supreme Court Case Highlights the Need for Smarter Second Amendment Jurisprudence – National Review

Why Liberals Should Be Alarmed That Courts Are Eroding the Second Amendment – Slate Magazine

Chicago police officers in March. A recent Illinois court ruling has implications for the Second and Fourth amendments.

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The American judiciary is currently engaged in a vigorous debate that can be summed up in one question: Can you diminish your Fourth Amendment rights by exercising your Second Amendment rights? The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures; the Second Amendment safeguards the right to keep and bear arms. What happens, then, if police officers search or seize a person solely because he is carrying a firearm? Is that unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment and therefore illegal?

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.

Last week, an Illinois appeals court answered that question in the affirmative, ruling that mere possession of a handgun does not justify a search or seizure. Liberals and conservatives alike should cheer the courts decision. Empowering law enforcement to curtail the Fourth Amendment makes no one safer, even when its done in the name of controlling gun violence. And allowing officers to target gun owners without suspicion of wrongdoing puts us all at greater risk of harassment, discrimination, and brutality.

Unfortunately, not every court sees the issue that way. In January, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that when officers conduct a lawful traffic stop, they may frisk the driver if they reasonably believe him to be armedregardless of whether the person may legally be entitled to carry the firearm. Even if the individual holds a concealed-carry permit, the court clarified, an officer may still search him without having any suspicion that he committed a crime. In a trenchant critique of the ruling, National Reviews David French wrote that the majority was relegating lawful gun owners to second-class-citizen status. While that might sound dramatic, Judge James Wynn admitted as much in a concurrence, declaring that gun owners forego other constitutional rights, including freedom from unannounced police intrusion and freedom of speech.

We didnt have to wait long to see what Wynns theory looks like in practice. In March, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, refused to reconsider a decision previously issued by a panel of 11th Circuit judges. The panel had thrown out a lawsuit against a police officer who suspected, without any good reason, that a criminal might be lurking inside a particular apartment. In the dead of night, the officer banged on the apartment door. (He did identify himself as law enforcement.) The startled resident retrieved the firearm that he lawfully owned and slowly opened the front door. When he saw a shadowy figure holding a gun, he retreated inside. The officer shot him dead as he was attempting to close the door.

Endorsing the 11th Circuits decision not to re-evaluate the case, Judge Frank M. Hull likened the officers behavior to the knock and talk rule. This rule permits officers to knock on an individuals door for legitimate police purposes. Hull explained that here, the officer had simply engaged in a variation on a knock and talk. When he saw a firearm, he perceived a threat and opened fire. This shooting of an armed individual in his own home, Hull insisted, did not violate any clearly established constitutional rights.

But as Judge Beverly Martin pointed out in dissent, the officer violated at least two constitutional rights. First, he used objectively unreasonable excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Second, this force plainly infringes on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as established by the Supreme Court in 2008s District of Columbia v. Heller. Martin wrote:

The Second and Fourth Amendments, Martin concluded, are having a very bad day in this Circuit.

Martin should be pleased to learn that both amendments are faring much better in the Illinois First District Appellate Court. A panel of judges for the First District was confronted with what is, by now, a familiar fact pattern. Markell Horton, a black man, was standing on a porch when two police officers drove by. The officers saw a metallic object in his waistband that they believed to be a weapon. They stopped the car and got out, at which point Horton went inside the house. The officers walked up to the porch and, they claim, found a set of keys on the ground. They unlocked the front door and entered the house, finding Horton in a bedroom, crouching next to a bed. One officer, Roderick Hummons, detained Horton and searched the room, discovering a gun underneath the mattress. The state charged and convicted Horton, who had a criminal record, of knowingly possessing a firearm after being convicted of two qualifying felonies.

It might be tempting for liberals to view these cases through the lens of gun control. They should resist the temptation.

To summarize: Two officers stopped in front of a house, at which point its apparent residents went inside. Because one resident might have been armed, the officers barged into the house and detained its occupant while searching for the weapon. Yes, it turned out to be possessed unlawfully. But what if Horton had a concealed-carry permit? At the time of the search, the officers only knew that a man with a gun was inside of a house. Did that give them reasonable suspicion to enter the house and search it?

By a 21 vote, the court said no. Possession of a gun, the majority wrote, does not, on its own, give officers reasonable suspicion or probable cause to conduct a search or seizure. The dissent argued otherwise, noting that although a gun owner could have a permitcalled a Firearm Owners Identification, or FOID, card in Illinoishe might also possess his firearm illegally. This rationale, the majority responded, leads down a dangerous path:

The majority also noted that, given Chicagos ongoing history of police misconduct, Horton did not create reasonable suspicion by quickly entering the house upon sight of the police. In an environment where minorities have legitimate suspicion of how they might be treated by police, the court explained, they will be more likely to try to avoid police contacteven though doing so makes them appear culpable of something. Without reasonable suspicion, Hummons search and seizure was unlawful. Under the exclusionary rule, illegally obtained evidence cannot be used at trial. Thus, the court ordered the evidence against Horton should be suppressed.

It might be tempting for liberals to view these cases through the lens of gun control and favor the state or for conservatives to see them as a question of law and order and support the officers. Both sides should resist the temptation. A rule that allows cops to search or seize individuals for carrying a gun can only lead to more brutality against young black men like Philando Castile. It also permits officers to trample upon our rights to property and self-defense. These are constitutional values, not partisan ones. And advocates across the ideological spectrum should urge the courts to follow the First Districts lead and reject the disastrous illogic now developing in the federal circuits.

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Why Liberals Should Be Alarmed That Courts Are Eroding the Second Amendment – Slate Magazine

Second Amendment historian connects race and gun rights – Columbia Missourian

COLUMBIA AVirginia militiaman with a long gun. A 21st century white couple carrying assault weapons in a Starbucks. A black man opencarrying arifle in Dallas before being wrongly identified as the suspect whogunned down Dallas police officers last summer.

The images illustrate a topic Saul Cornell has dedicated his life to understanding: the legal carrying and display of guns in the U.S. under the Second Amendment.

He knows the topic is controversial.

“The interesting thing about the Second Amendment is everyones got an opinion on it,” Cornell told a packed house of nearly 100 people in Mumford Hall on Wednesday. “I came to the subject of the Second Amendment not because of any great involvement with gun issues. I came to it out of my interest in the way history gets used by legal scholars and courts.”

“Theres a complicated history and a very complicated contemporary reality between firearms and issues of race in America,” Cornell said.

He explained how black Americans are disproportionately affected by gun violence, saying that African American men are less likely to be shot if they joined the military rather than remaining civilians.

Many of our gun laws, Cornell said, originated in the Antebellum South, which permitted open carrying of guns in public.

Cornell spoke at the last spring public lecture sponsored by the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, an academic center at MU that emphasizes U.S. Constitutional study, early American history and its relevance today.

He said guns have evolved since adopting the Second Amendment, which means Americans need evolved gun laws.

A Virginia militiaman carrying a long gun couldn’t kill as many people as the white couple with assault weapons. Why, then, don’t lawmakers enact more regulatory gun legislation parallel to new technology, Cornell asked.

He discussed the differences between the way Americans perceive a white couple and a black man open carrying: the couple celebrated exercising their rights, while police wrongly identified the black man in Dallas as a shooting suspect.

Cornell ended Wednesdays talk by comparing the number of gun-related deaths to car accident deaths in the U.S. He said gun deaths are rising, and the numbers are nearly equal.

“There are more gun stores out there than supermarkets,” he said. “That’s pretty ridiculous to me.”

Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, the president of local activism group Race Matters, Friends, attended the lecture.

“It sounds like you’re sort of tip-toeing around this thing on race,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “If you can, be explicit about this connection between slavery and today and our issues with guns.”

Cornell said that the South is historically a more violent region, and expressly racial laws originated there.

“People are not aware of how these deep-seeded cultural forms influence their behavior,” he said.

He cited a study in which white people often falsely identified guns in pictures with black faces, and simply saw other objects in pictures with white faces.

“It’s a deeply, culturally-embedded kind of suspicion, and that makes it harder to extirpate,” Cornell said. “Until we recognize it, we can’t really move forward.”

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Second Amendment historian connects race and gun rights – Columbia Missourian

Iowa Poised to Restore Second Amendment Freedoms – NRA ILA

Fairfax, Va. Iowa is the latest state to pass significant legislation in recent months restoring Second Amendment freedoms. This week Iowa lawmakers sent House File 517, an omnibus bill containing many pro-gun reforms, to Governor Terry Branstad. HF 517 would restore the right of law-abiding gun owners to carry in the capitol and would restore the rights of parents to make decisions about their youth and handguns. The bill also strengthens self-defense rights for law-abiding Iowans.

In state legislatures across America, lawmakers are expanding law-abiding citizens constitutional right to self-protection, said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. The NRA and our five million members thank the Iowa legislature and Governor Branstad for working to strengthen Iowans Second Amendment rights so they have the freedom to protect themselves and their families.

Included in HF 517:

Second Amendment rights bills in the states this year:

Gun Control bills in the states this year:

State laws restoring/protecting Second Amendment rights in recent months:

Twelve states now have Constitutional Carry Laws: Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas, Maine, Idaho, West Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota

States rejecting gun control schemes in recent months:

Federal legislation protecting Second Amendment rights in recent months:

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

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Iowa Poised to Restore Second Amendment Freedoms – NRA ILA

Freedom Wins! Pro-Second Amendment Judge Will Join U.S. Supreme Court – NRA ILA

On Friday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuchs nomination was heavily backed by the NRA, both because of the pro-Second Amendment views expressed in his judicial writings and his originalist approach to jurisprudence. Justice Antonin Scalia exemplified originalism in his landmark Heller opinion in 2008 that recognized the Second Amendment protects an individual right grounded in the principle of self-defense.

Judge Gorsuchs confirmation capped a dramatic series of events that began with Scalias sudden, unexpected death on Feb. 13, 2016. Not only was Scalia the Supreme Courts leading Second Amendment champion, his was one of only five votes cast in the five- to-four Heller decision, and its five-to-four follow-up, McDonald v. Chicago. Although two justices voting against the Second Amendment in Heller had since left the court, they were replaced in the interim by two equally anti-gun Obama picks, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Thus, with Scalias untimely passing, the court was at best split four to four on its continued support for the Second Amendments individual right.

History will record that the balance of power on the Supreme Court was in fact a key issue in the 2016 presidential election and that Obamas hand-picked successor, Hillary Clinton, suffered a crushing defeat after emphasizing her own view that the Heller Court had been wrong on the Second Amendment.

Candidate Donald Trump, meanwhile, made no secret of his determination to nominate a pro-Second Amendment judge to the fill Scalias vacant seat. After his victory in November, President Trump kept his promise by nominating Judge Gorsuch.

In the intense media and political scrutiny that followed Trumps selection, there was never any serious argument against Judge Gorsuchs credentials, integrity, impartiality, and ability. He has been praised by legal professionals across the political spectrum.

Yet anti-gun loyalists in the Democratic Party, blinded by ideology and unable to recover from their stinging rebuke in the election, launched the first partisan filibuster in U.S. history to block Neil Gorsuchs nomination.

In practical terms, their strategy gained them nothing.

Senate Republicans on Thursday responded by applying the Senate rules instituted by Harry Reid (NV-D) in 2013. At that time, Reid pushed through the elimination of the Senate filibuster on executive appointments and lower-court nominees. The Reid Rule now applies to Supreme Court nominations as well.

Judge Gorsuch was then confirmed on Friday by a bipartisan 54-45 vote.

While there may be no end to the hypocrisy, rancor, and obstruction that liberal loyalists are willing to inflict on the American political process, all citizens of goodwill can rest assured that in Judge Gorsuch, they have a decent, unbiased, and highly-qualified Supreme Court justice who will uphold the law.

And Second Amendment advocates in particular should sleep more soundly knowing that when the Supreme Court again hears a case on the right to keep and bear arms, Justice Scalias seat will be occupied by a man dedicated to ensuring that the Framers vision of constitutional freedom is upheld.

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Freedom Wins! Pro-Second Amendment Judge Will Join U.S. Supreme Court – NRA ILA

The Second Amendment and ‘weapons of war’ – The Montgomery Herald

Put simply, writes Judge Robert King of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war.

In Kolbe v. Hogan, the court upheld Marylands ban on assault weapons, also known as rifles that look scary to people who know nothing about guns.

As talk radio host Darryl W. Perry of Free Talk Live notes, Kings perversely broad statement would cover a ban on the possession of rocks:

And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him 1st Samuel, Chapter 17

King also displays a poor grasp of history. No judicial power is required to extend the Second Amendment to cover weapons of war, because theyre precisely what it was intended to cover in the first place.

The Second Amendment was ratified only a few years after a citizen army many of its soldiers armed, at least at first, with weapons brought from home defeated the most fearsome professional military machine in the history of the world, the army of a global empire.

The express purpose of the Second Amendment was to guarantee the continued maintenance of an armed populace. In fact, the Second Militia Act of 1792 legally required every adult able-bodied white American male to own and maintain weapons of war (a musket or rifle, bayonet, powder and bullets) just in case the militia had to be called out.

Even in the 1939 case usually cited to justify victim disarmament (gun control) laws, U.S. v. Miller, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the reason Jack Miller/s short-barreled shotgun could be banned was that it WASNT a weapon of war: [I]t is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.

Yes, you read that right: The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment applies ONLY to weapons of war. I think thats too narrow myself, but at least it comes at the matter from the correct historical perspective.

The purpose of the Second Amendment is best understood in terms of a quote falsely attributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Japanese navy at the beginning of World War II: You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.

Shame on King and the 4th Circuit for failing to uphold the plain meaning of shall not be infringed.

(Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism, thegarrisoncenter.org. He lives and works in north central Florida. Follow him on Twitter @thomaslknapp.)

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The Second Amendment and ‘weapons of war’ – The Montgomery Herald

Secret Service Says Trump’s Second Amendment People Comment Led to Threats Against Clinton – PoliticusUSA

National security and intelligence community journalist Michael Best reported on Thursday that he just got the documents from the Secret Service regarding threats against Hillary Clinton, and they indicate that the Secret Service did see threats against Clinton seemingly as a result of Trumps comment about second amendment people.

Secret Service documents indicate they did see threats against Hillary Clinton seemingly as a result of Trumps 2nd Amendment people comment, Best writes on Twitter, adding, DHS reaction to Trumps 2nd Amendment people comments: YIKES!’

On August 9th, 2016, Donald Trump suggested his supporters might shoot Clinton if she got to pick a Supreme Court judge, By the way, if she (Hillary Clinton) gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although, the Second Amendment people maybe there is. I dont know.

On July 20th, CNN reported that the Secret Service was investigating a Trump adviser after he called for Clintons execution on the radio. Trump adviser Al Baldasaro told a radio host that Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.

Donald Trump didnt distance himself from Baldarsaro.

Days later, Trump made his second amendment people comment about Clinton getting to fill the Supreme Court seat that Republicans stole from President Barack Obama. Trump supporters and Republicans have tried to pretend his comment wasnt an incitement to violence, but the Secret Service says they did see threats seemingly as a result of Trumps comment.

On the day when Senate Republicans are changing the filibuster rule so they can confirm an extremist to the Supreme Court who was nominated by a president who is under investigation for possible collusion with Russia, the Secret Service confirmed that Trumps call for second amendment people to shoot Clinton if she got to nominate a Supreme Court justice seemingly resulted in threats against her.

Republicans have become radical jihadists inciting violence to get their way, so after not even waiting the average period of time to get Gorusch confirmed, they flipped out and voted to change the Senate rules an act they admitted would ruin the senate. This is the modern day Republican Party. They have become the reactionary hot headed destroyers they chide the far left for being in the 60s.

Republicans arent here for the law and order theyre here to violate laws and norms until they get their way. If they dont get what they want, second amendment people might have to fix it for them.

And if that doesnt work, theyll just change the rules to fit their extremist pick for a seat they already violated precedent to steal from the Democratic president.

With the major victim/persecution complex that colors the Right these days, if the shoe had been on the other foot with these comments, we never would have heard the end of it. There would be investigations into investigations, and leaks and so many more leaks, and conservative journalists illegally recording people to prove how horrible Democrats were. And the press would breathlessly report on the drama, the victimization, the persecution.

If the shoe were on the other foot, elected Democrats would be saying Trump should be shot for treason for all of the Russian connections, since Republicans said that over Clintons hyped up email scandal when she wasnt even found guilty of anything. But Democrats dont roll that way. The Democratic President, Barack Obama, was careful and responsible with his rhetoric.

When it came down to actually inciting violence against his Democratic opponent, Trump supporters and the entire Republican Party enabled and supported Donald Trump. If they werent under a fast gathering cloud of sweeping Russian smoke, this would be a new low for the Republican Party.

As it is, facing possible treason and obstruction of justice accusations, inciting threats against a rival is to be expected. Its how dictators do things.

did Donald Trump incite violence, did donald trump threaten Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, second amendment people

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Secret Service Says Trump’s Second Amendment People Comment Led to Threats Against Clinton – PoliticusUSA

Second Amendment Victories Continue to Pile Up – The New American

The restoration of Second Amendment-protected rights in the states is happening so quickly that its hard to keep up. On Friday, the Georgia legislature sent a bill to Governor Nathan Deal that would allow concealed handguns on public college campuses, with some exceptions built in to appease Deal, who vetoed a similar but stronger measure last year. Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, a pro-gun rights group, was realistic: Its not the bill that we wanted but its the bill we got. It gives [us] a foot in the door. If Deal signs the bill, Georgia would become the 11th state with this kind of campus-carry law.

Georgia legislators also sent to Deals desk a bill that improved a number of the states existing gun laws, including giving individuals moving to the state from reciprocal carry agreement states a 90-day grace period to obtain a Georgia Weapons License (GWL) while continuing to carry legally using their previous states license. That bill also explicitly prohibits any probate judge from suspending, extending, delaying, or avoiding the process of approving a GWL application made by a citizen of the state.

In addition, it would protect firearms instructors from civil liability for any injuries caused by the failure of one of their students to use a firearm safely.

A third bill sent to Georgia Governor Beal would allow Virginia concealed handgun permit holders to enjoy permit reciprocity with Georgia.

The next day, multiple pro-gun and pro-hunting bills moved ahead in Virginia, including a measure that would allow any law-abiding person to carry a firearm in any state, county, or municipal park or other recreation area. Another bill would allow law-abiding Virginians to carry a firearm onto school property while dropping off or picking up students. Still another would protect shooting ranges from frivolous lawsuits and noise complaints as long as they are operating lawfully. This bill is a direct pushback against anti-gun groups that have filed such lawsuits and complaints in attempts to shut those ranges down.

Last week, North Dakota became the 14th state to allow constitutional carry, just weeks after New Hampshire passed similar legislation. Other constitutional-carry bills are pending in Alabama, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

A Michael Bloomberg-funded move in New Mexico to set up a gun registration system was rejected last week, following voter rejection of such a proposal in Maine last November.

On the national level, gun owners are celebrating House Speaker Paul Ryans withdrawal of his anti-gun ObamaCare Lite bill because of its hidden potential to invade Second Amendment-protected rights. Gun Owners of America (GOA) refused to back the bill unless it contained language that prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against gun owners, doctors from entering patients gun ownership information in any federal database, and federal agencies from trolling Medicaid and other federal health databases in order to add names to the NICS background-check database. GOAs demands were ignored, and so the group rallied its members against the passage of Ryans bill.

Also on the national level, Second Amendment supporters are still celebrating the move by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on his first day in office, which revoked a last-second move by former President Obama to phase out the use of lead ammunition for bird hunting on federal land. Under normal circumstances, such a directive wouldnt have rated a footnote, but in the present environment it showed that President Trump was not only determined to respect the Second Amendment but to put people in place in his cabinet with a similar determination.

And, just days later, President Trump himself repealed the so-called Social Security gun ban, under which certain Social Security beneficiaries would have had their Second Amendment-protected rights arbitrarily revoked without due process.

Another hopeful sign at the federal level is Trumps nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. After reviewing the available background of Gorsuch, 30-year defense attorney Andrew Branca, writing in National Review, stated:

As a strong Second Amendment advocate and someone who has concealed-carried a firearm for pretty much every day of my adult life I, for one, welcome Judge Gorsuchs nomination to the Supreme Court, with great optimism for the Courts future Second Amendment jurisprudence.

Restoring Second Amendment-protected rights after decades of efforts to abrogate them is an inch-by-inch process, and that process is being helped along greatly by a president who is determined to keep his promises in this area. On the importance of the Second Amendment, Trump wrote:

The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesnt create that right it ensures that the government cant take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendments purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.

These victories, taken one at a time, dont appear to amount to much. Taken together, however, they indicate not only the momentum shift in favor of the Second Amendment, but a better understanding of it. The language does confuse some: 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 following statement concerning the importance of books in a well-educated culture, offered by Stephen Halbrook, a senior fellow at The Independent Institute, is instructive in clarifying the Founders meaning: A well-educated citizenry, being necessary to the culture of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.

An Ivy League graduate and former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Second Amendment Victories Continue to Pile Up – The New American

Firearms technology and the original meaning of the Second Amendment – Washington Post

Gun-control advocates often argue that gun-control laws must be more restrictive than the original meaning of the Second Amendment would allow, because modern firearms are so different from the firearms of the late 18th century. This argument is based on ignorance of the history of firearms. It is true that in 1791 the most common firearms were handguns or long guns that had to be reloaded after every shot. But it is not true that repeating arms, which can fire multiple times without reloading, were unimagined in 1791. To the contrary, repeating arms long predate the 1606 founding of the first English colony in America. As of 1791, repeating arms were available but expensive.

This article explains why the price of repeating arms declined so steeply. Then it describes some of the repeating arms that were already in use when the Second Amendment was ratified, including the 22-shot rifle that was later carried on the Lewis andClark expedition.

One of the men to credit for why repeating arms became much less expensive during the 19th century is James Madison, author of the Second Amendment. During Madisons presidency (1809-17), Secretary of War James Monroe (who would succeed Madison as president), successfully promoted legislation to foster the development of firearms technology. In particular, the federal armories at Springfield, Mass., and Harpers Ferry, Va., were ordered to invent the means of producing firearms with interchangeable parts.

To function reliably, repeating firearms must have internal components that fit together very precisely much more precisely than is necessary for single-shot firearms. Before President Madison and Secretary Monroe started the manufacturing revolution, firearms were built one at a time by craftsmen. Making a repeating arm required much more time and expertise than making a single-shot firearm.Howto make repeating arms was well-known, but making them at a labor cost the average person could afford was impossible.

Thanks to the technology innovation labs created at Springfield and Harpers Ferry, inventors found ways to manufacture firearms components at a higher rate, and with more consistency for each part. Instead of every part being made by hand, parts were manufactured with machine tools (tools that make other tools). For example, the wooden stocks for rifles could be repetitively manufactured with such precision that any stock from a factory would fit any rifle from the factory, with no need for craftsmen to shave or adjust the stock.

In New England, the Springfield Armory worked with emerging machinists for other consumer products; the exchange of information in this technology network led directly to the Connecticut River Valley becoming a center of American consumer firearms manufacture, and to rapid improvements in the manufacture of many other consumer durables. The story is told in: Ross Thomson, Structures of Change in the Mechanical Age: Technological Innovation in the United States 1790-1865 (2009);Alexander Rose, American Rifle: A Biography (2008); David R. Meyer, Networked Machinists: High-Technology Industries in Antebellum America (2006); David A. Hounshell, From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932 (1985); Merritt Roe Smith, Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology: The Challenge of Change (1977);Felicia Johnson Deyrup, Arms Makers of the Connecticut Valley: A Regional Study of the Economic Development of the Small Arms Industry, 1798-1870 (1948). By the 1830s, manufacturing uniformity was sufficiently advanced that repeating arms were becoming widely affordable, and no longer just for the wealthy.

What kind of repeating arms were available before1815, when the Madison-Monroe mass production innovation program began? The state of the art was theGirandoni air rifle, invented around 1779 for Austrian army sharpshooters. Lewis and Clark would carry a Girandoni on their famous expedition, during the Jefferson administration. The Girandoni could shoot 21 or 22 bullets in .46 or .49 caliber without reloading. Ballistically equal to a firearm, a single shot from the Girandoni could penetrate a one-inch wood plank, or take an elk. (For more on the Girandoni, see my article The History of Firearms Magazines and Magazine Prohibitions, 88 Albany L. Rev. 849, 852-53 (2015).)

The first repeaters had been invented about three centuries before. The earliest-known model is a German breech-loading matchlock arquebus from around 1490-1530 with a 10-shot revolving cylinder.M.L. Brown, Firearms in Colonial America: The Impact on History and Technology, 1492-1792, 50 (1980). Henry VIII had a long gun that used a revolving cylinder (a revolver) for multiple shots.W.W. Greener, The Gun and Its Development, 81-82 (9th ed. 1910). A 16-round wheel lock dates from about 1580.Kopel, at 852.

Production of repeaters continued in the seventeenth century. Brown, at 105-6 (four-barreled wheel-lock pistol could fire 15 shots in a few seconds); John Nigel George, English Guns and Rifles, 55-58 (1947) (English breech-loading lever-action repeater, and a revolver, made no later than the British Civil War, and perhaps earlier, by an English gun maker).

The first repeaters to be built in large quantities appear to be the 1646 Danish flintlocks that used a pair of tubular magazines, and could fire 30 shots without reloading. Like a modern lever-action rifle, the next shot was made ready by a simple two-step motion of the trigger guard. These guns were produced for the Danish and Dutch armies. Brown, at 106-7.

In Colonial America, repeating arms wereavailable for people who could afford them, or who were skilled enough to make their own. For example, in September 1722, John Pim of Boston entertained some Indians by demonstrating a firearm he had made. Although loaded but once, it was discharged eleven times following, with bullets in the space of two minutes each which went through a double door at fifty yards distance. Samuel Niles, A Summary Historical Narrative of the Wars in New England, Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 4th ser., vol. 5, 347 (1837). Pims gun may have been a type of the repeating flintlock that became popular in England from the third quarter of the 17th century, and was manufactured in Massachusetts starting in the early eighteenth. Harold L. Peterson, Arms and Armor in Colonial America 1526-1783, 215-17(Dover reprint 2000) (Smithsonian Institution 1956). Another repeating flintlock, invented by Philadelphias Joseph Belton, could fire eight shots in three seconds. Idem,217. Pim also owned a .52 caliber six-shot flintlock revolver, similar to the revolvers that had been made in England since the turn of the century. Brown, 255.A variety of multi-shot pistols from the late eighteenth century have been preserved, holding two to four rounds. Charles Winthrop Sawyer, Firearms in American History: 1600 to 1800, 194-98, 215-16 (1910).

The repeaters described above werenotthe most common arms. It would take two decades for the program begun by President Madison to result in repeating arms beginning to become affordable to the middle class. So in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a person who could not afford an expensive repeater, but who wanted to be able to fire more than one bullet without reloading, would often buy ablunderbuss. The blunderbuss was the size of a very large handgun. Its muzzle flared outward slightly, like a bell. This made it easier to load while bouncing in a stagecoach, or on a swaying ship. The blunderbuss could fire either one large projectile, or several at once. Most often it was loaded with about 20 large pellets, and so it was devastating at short range. The name seems an adaptation of the Dutch donder-buse or thunder gun.

Excellent for self-defense at close quarters, the blunderbuss was of little use for anything else, having an effective range of about 20 yards. Militarily, it was used by sailors to repel boarders. Stagecoach guards and travelers carried blunderbusses, and it was also a common arm for home defense.For more on the blunderbuss, see Brown and George, above.

No one would dispute that modern arms are much improved from 1791 in terms of reliability, accuracy, range and affordability. But the gap from the 22-shot Girandoni (powerful enough to take an elk) to a modern firearm is pretty small compared withthe changes in technology of the press. Compared to the one-sheet-at-a-time printing presses of 1791, the steam and rotary presses invented in the 19th century made printing vastly faster a speed improvement that dwarfs the speed improvement in firearms in the last 500 years. When the First Amendment was written, a skilled printer could produce 250 sheets in two hours. Today, a modern newspaper printing press can produce 70,000 copies of a newspaper (consisting of dozens of sheets) in an hour. Now, with digital publishing, a newspaper article can be read globally within minutes after it is written.

This means that irresponsible media can cause far more harm today than they could in 1791. For example, in 2005, Newsweek magazine published a false story claiming that American personnel at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated Korans belonging to prisoners there. Eventually, Newsweek retracted the story. But the phony story had already spread worldwide, setting off riots in six countries, in which over 30 people were killed.Had Newsweek been using 18th-century printing presses, the false story would have mostly been read by several thousand people in the New York City area, where Newsweek is based. It would been months if ever before the Newsweek issue with the false story was read by anyone in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

We do not limit any constitutional right to the technology that existed in 1791. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the court observed:

Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35-36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.

This is an accurate statement of constitutional law, but it understates how truly frivolous the argument against modern firearms is. The people who ratified the Bill of Rights certainly didnot anticipate the invention centuries later of the Internet or of thermal imaging sensors. The American people of 1791 did not have to anticipate the invention of repeating arms, because such arms had been in existence for centuries.

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Firearms technology and the original meaning of the Second Amendment – Washington Post

LA Clippers JJ Redick: Second Amendment Should ‘Evolve’ to Allow … – Breitbart News

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He referenced the Second Amendment while talking about collegiate sports, contending that NCAA basketball players ought to be paid. In fact, Redick jumped from announcing the end of amateurism in collegiate sports to declaring the end of a Second Amendment that protects 21st century firearms.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Redick said:

The idea of amateurism, it doesnt exist anymore. And so if youre going to do what youre doing, then you just need that complete overhaul. Its got to be something radical. Its not just, Oh, lets just pay every player $5,000. It really requires something really radical. And maybe thats getting rid of college athletics as we know it.

He paraphrased a Thomas Jefferson quote to segue to guns, saying, I go back to the Thomas Jefferson quote Im going to butcher it, but its something weve all read. You wouldnt expect a little boy to wear the pea coat he wore as a boy as a grown man. You need to change with the times.

Redick then addressed gun control, saying laws should evolve in the same way he wants to see collegiate sports evolve. He said:

Laws should reflect that [change], rules, regulations, especially as we know more. Gun control. I dont want to get political, but gun control. Thats something that should evolve as technology evolves. When the 2nd Amendment was created, we had to worry about bears, people lived on the frontier and it took a minute to load a muzzle. I think laws should reflect where we are with guns.

Ironicallyjust one day before Redick made these commentsIndependent Institutes Dave Kopel wrote that gun control arguments framed around musket arguments show a lack of historical knowledge. Writing in The Washington Post, Kopel said:

Gun-control advocates often argue that gun-control laws must be more restrictive than the original meaning of the Second Amendment would allow, because modern firearms are so different from the firearms of the late 18th century. This argument is based on ignorance of the history of firearms. It is true that in 1791 the most common firearms were handguns or long guns that had to be reloaded after every shot. But it is not true that repeating arms, which can fire multiple times without reloading, were unimagined in 1791. To the contrary, repeating arms long predate the 1606 founding of the first English colony in America. As of 1791, repeating arms were available but expensive.

Kopels historical observation helps the reader better understand the Supreme Courts majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008). In that opinion, late Justice Antonin Scalia pointed to judicial precedent to show the Second Amendment protects guns in common use at any given time. In other words, at all times the Second Amendment protects the guns commonly owned and used by law-abiding citizens. This means protection for the very 21st century firearms J.J. Redick believes justify more gun control.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets 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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LA Clippers JJ Redick: Second Amendment Should ‘Evolve’ to Allow … – Breitbart News

Rape Survivor Explains Why She Supports The Second Amendment [VIDEO] – Daily Caller

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On May 12, 2006, Kimberly Corban was asleep in her college bedroom when a complete stranger raped her.

She thought those was her last moments on earth, as he tried killing her soul by brutally assaulting her body. This assault, her 911 calland her decisions afterward changed the trajectory of her entire life.

Now, she believes your greatest courage comes from your worst struggles. She has vowed never to be vulnerable again as she has learned more about self-protection, including how to use a firearm.

With her help and courage, her rapist was caught and convicted in 2007. She has also become a role model and an inspiration to a multitude of other young people who are learning how to protect themselves.

Last week, the head-turning, entrepreneurial TurningPointUSA launched the Trigger Warning Campus Tour, featuring Corban talking about her story and what students can do. Her motto is being a victim is never a choice, but becoming a survivor is.

I dont carry because I worry about what could happen. I carry because I already know.

There are no promises once citizens learn and train how to use a firearm, but the way you train or how much you know or what you choose to carry is going to be one more tool in your toolbox, Corban says. Safety and security are multi-layered, she says, mentioning dogs, security systems, and mace.

The Daily Caller News Foundation filmed Corban at Conservative Political Action Conference after her Armed and Fabulous panel. She spoke along with Kristi McMains, Katie Pavlich, Antonia Okaforand Ashlee Lundvall.

In this interview, Corban tells how she met Kristi McMains, a Louisville attorney attacked in January 2016. The two met in 2016 at the NRA annual meeting. Kristi had been so moved by Corbans story that she began carrying a gun for self-protection only to find within weeks her life was threatened by a man with a knife. Kristi says she was alive because of Corban, who told her story and changed McMains life.

Corban says at the first meeting last year, they ugly cried. Then, at CPAC, Corban was a proud mom hearing McMains tell her story for the first time.

Corban says she avoids movies that glorify rape. She says, what its like to have your soul murdered is never accurately depicted. I dont seek out fictional depictions of it in movies because theres enough of it in real life.

For more on Kimberly Corban see her website, the NRA ad she was inand her interaction with former President Obama, who she voted for in 2008, at a CNN town hall in 2016 about gun control here or follow her on Twitter @Kimberly_Corban.

Videographer Sean Moody is credited with the video work for this piece.

Mrs. Thomas does not necessarily support or endorse the products, services or positions promoted in any advertisement contained herein, and does not have control over or receive compensation from any advertiser.

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Rape Survivor Explains Why She Supports The Second Amendment [VIDEO] – Daily Caller

How Trump’s Vow To Protect Second Amendment Is Causing Turmoil for Outdoor Retailers – TheStreet.com

While U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to “totally” protect the Second Amendment has eased gun owners’ worried minds, his lax stance on firearms is causing a negative impact on the outdoor retail industry.

The F.B.I. said it conducted 2.23 million background checks in February, representing a 14% decline from February 2016. Background checks were down 20% in January and 17% in December, as gun owners no longer feel the need to rush to stock up on firearms as they did when former President Barack Obama was pushing for stricter federal gun laws.

During his campaign, Trump was even endorsed by The National Rifle Association (NRA).

But, as gun sales drop, outdoor retailers across the board are feeling the pressure.

Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) said on its recent fourth-quarter earnings call that its outdoor category was particularly pressured, “driven in part by a decline in hunting.”

“We did say that the hunting business was difficult,” Dick’s CEO Edward Stack said in response to an analyst’s question on individual categories. “That hunting business…it continues to struggle and struggled in the fourth quarter, both firearms and a bit from an ammunition standpoint.”

Olin (OLN) , owner of Winchester Ammunition, reported a 20% slip in ammo sales in its recent fourth quarter. In a December report, Wunderlich Securities analyst Rommel Dionisio estimated that firearms sales will “likely slow” in 2017. Looks like consumers are proving his prediction right.

Gander Mountain, one of the largest outdoor retailers in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on Friday, listing $500 million to $1 billion in assets and liabilities.

Gander Mountain, which touts itself as being “America’s Firearms Supercenter,” blamed its filing on slowing foot traffic. The company operates about 110 stores in 26 states in the U.S.

To combat its own slipping gun sales, American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) is trying a different tactic in separating itself from the firearms industry. For instance, it changed its name from Smith & Wesson, a brand too associated with guns.

At its investor day in January, American Outdoor said it would be expanding on acquisitions of companies that are not so heavily focused on firearms to create long-term value. The move follows its recent acquisitions of knife maker Taylor Brands and Ultimate Survival Technologies, the manufacturer of survival, rescue, life support and disaster preparedness equipment.

Shares of American Outdoor have fallen about 15% since Trump was elected to office.

Trump and your taxes: Watch Jim Cramer lead a roundtable discussion on how investors and retirement savers should position their portfolio.

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How Trump’s Vow To Protect Second Amendment Is Causing Turmoil for Outdoor Retailers – TheStreet.com

Letter: Second Amendment is clear as mud – Salt Lake Tribune

Would Second Amendment supporters please be honest? In a March 8 forum letter Michael Beck states: “The Second Amendment is clear: The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment actually reads: “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.” This is clear as mud to me and although our current activist right-wing court seems to agree with Beck, it would seem open to interpretation.

Too bad the Senate stole a seat so it can’t be tested any time soon.

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Letter: Second Amendment is clear as mud – Salt Lake Tribune

Georgia’s Involuntarily Committed May Regain Their Second Amendment Rights – Bearing Arms

Last Friday, the Georgia Senatepassed Senate Bill 99, which would allow those who were involuntarily committed to regain their Second Amendment rights sooner rather than later.

Under current Georgia law, if a person is committed, he or shes hospitalization is reported to the FBI for the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) and remains on the persons record for five years.

SB 99 removed the five year period that would prohibit someone from purchasing a firearm. Now, the person must go through a hearing process to determine whether they still pose a risk to themselves and/or others.

According to Democratic Sen. Elena Parent, this bill would allow people who no longer pose a threat to regain their Second Amendment rights in a more timely fashion.

The bill passed 52-1 with bipartisan support.

Author’s Bio: Beth Baumann

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Georgia’s Involuntarily Committed May Regain Their Second Amendment Rights – Bearing Arms

Your Help Urgently Needed to Protect the Second Amendment Rights of America’s Veterans! – NRA ILA

Americas veterans helped protect us. Now we can ensure they themselves are not arbitrarily denied the right of self-protection.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs marked up and favorably reported H.R. 1181, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, sponsored by Committee Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN). The bill now moves to the full U.S. House, where a vote could come as early as next week.

H.R. 1181 is meant to deal with a longstanding and shameful practice by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which administers disability benefits for veterans and their families. Under this practice, anyone who the VA declares incompetent to manage his or her own benefits and assigns a fiduciary is automatically reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as a prohibited mental defective. The person is then subject to a lifetime ban on the acquisition and possession of firearms, unless he or she successfully petitions for relief from disabilities.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, the NICS contained 167,815 active records submitted by the VA under this program.

The VAs program suffers from a number of legal and practical issues.

Above all, it does not attempt to identify which beneficiaries have mental illnesses that actually cause them to be a danger to themselves or others. Rather, it merely targets individuals who have been identified as needing help to manage their benefits. Yet there is no scientific or empirical evidence to support the idea that needing help managing money is the same thing as being too dangerous or irresponsible to safely handle a firearm.

Second, the statute on which the reporting is based prohibits firearm acquisition or possession by persons who have been adjudicated as a mental defective. While these terms are not defined in the statute, the purely bureaucratic process by which a fiduciary is assigned which in most cases does not involve a hearing, much less a judge is hardly the sort of procedure most would consider an adjudication. And the only issue at stake is whether the person needs help with his or her finances. It does not affect rights other than under the Second Amendment, including the right to form legally binding contracts, vote, hold office, serve on a jury, etc.

While the VA does theoretically make relief available after the fact, few of the beneficiaries affected by the program have the means to negotiate the highly bureaucratic process, which may also require expensive mental health evaluations and legal aid. The procedure also turns due process on its head by forcing the petitioner to prove by a high standard of evidence that he or she is not a risk to public safety, a premise the government was never required to establish in the original adjudication.

The VAs own records showed that as of April 2015, only 3% of relief petitions had been granted. And the decision makers considering the petitions are the same sorts of VA bureaucrats who made the original fiduciary determination, not an independent judge or magistrate.

H.R. 1181 would change all this by ensuring that the VA could only report a beneficiary to NICS as prohibited mental defective if a judicial authority had already made a finding that the person is a danger to self or others. This would ensure due process, as well protect those who simply need help managing their finances but are not at increased risk of committing a dangerous act with a firearm.

President Trump signed a measure into law last month that prevented the Social Security Administration from going through with a plan to implement a similar reporting system for certain of its Disability or Supplementary Security Income beneficiaries assigned representative payees.

And the House had passed a bill to halt VAs program in 2011, which eventually died in the Senate.

Action to stop this unconscionable infringement of veterans Second Amendment Rights is long overdue.

Please contact your congressional representative NOW and respectfully ask him or her to vote YES on H.R. 1181, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act. You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representatives office, or you can send an email using our Take Action tool.

Americas veterans answered the call to serve for the good of all. Now is your chance to ensure their rights are protected. Dont delay. Please call or write your representative today.

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Your Help Urgently Needed to Protect the Second Amendment Rights of America’s Veterans! – NRA ILA


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