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SCOTUS Is Hearing Its First Big Gun Case in 9 Years. Heres How It Might Play Out. – The Trace

Posted: November 27, 2019 at 7:43 pm

On December 2, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on a major gun rights case for the first time in almost a decade. The case was brought in 2013 by the New York Pistol and Rifle Association, an advocacy group located outside of Albany, against New York City. The association argues that a New York City restriction that prevented licensed gun owners from taking their firearms outside the city violated the Second Amendment.

After the Supreme Court agreed to take the case thisJanuary, New York City repealed the relevant restriction, hoping that the high court would drop the case. It hasnt and could still issue a ruling with broad Second Amendment implications.

The Supreme Court has been virtually silent on gun rights since it established that the Second Amendment includes the right to bear arms in the home in District of Columbia v. Heller, a watershed decision from 2008. But its inertia has frustrated pro-gun advocates who want clarification on the many questions left unanswered in Heller: Does the Second Amendment protect the right to carry guns outside the home? What kinds of firearms are covered by the right to bear arms?

Since Heller, the court has shifted further to the right, but this doesnt mean the petitioners will win. Thats partly because the gun restriction that prompted the suit is no longer law, which could render the entire case moot.

To help us understand exactly what New York State Pistol and Rifle Association v. City of New York means for the law, The Trace spoke to Joseph Blocher, a legal scholar who co-directs the Center for Firearms Law at the Duke University School of Law. Professor Blocher also assisted with briefing for the District of Columbia in the Heller case.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Olivia Li: What is this case about?

Joseph Blocher: The Pistol and Rifle Association is suing over a restriction in New York Citys gun license that prevented gun owners from transporting their firearms outside city limits to a second home or gun range. The association says that the restriction referred to as a transport ban violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms, as well as the constitutional right to travel. There are a lot of different ways this case could go, but it could end up being a pretty big deal.

How are the constitutional questions in this case different than Heller? And how has the composition of the court evolved?

Heller was about whether there was a constitutional right to have a gun inside your home. The Supreme Court said there was, and that the core right in the Second Amendment was to keep an arm in the home for self defense.

This case, however, involves rules and conduct outside the home. Here, the court will be considering whether there is a Second Amendment right to transport your weapon from your home to another place where you have a right to have the gun, like a shooting range. The line between the home and public space has been a battle line in Second Amendment cases since Heller.

This case is also different from Heller in the sense that the court has changed a lot since Justice [Antonin] Scalia penned the majority opinion in 2008. Justice Scalia has been replaced by Justice [Neil] Gorsuch, and Justice [Anthony] Kennedy was replaced by Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh. Many people believe that Kennedy was the swing vote in Heller, and that he only agreed to sign onto Scalias opinion if it included language that was friendly to reasonable gun regulations. And Kavanaugh and Gorsuch are stronger on gun rights than Kennedy was. The associations case will be heard by a much more conservative, pro-gun court.

Why hasnt the court taken a Second Amendment case in so long?

There werent enough votes to take up gun cases! You need four justices to grant cert [when the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case]. Its likely that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch made the difference here. Before they joined, the Court declined many opportunities to hear Second Amendment cases, including ones about public carry.

But gun rights lawyers have been begging the Supreme Court for years to hear a Second Amendment case. They argue that the Supreme Court has stood idly by while lower federal courts disrespect the right to bear arms by upholding too many gun regulations. Justice [Clarence] Thomas shares this opinion. He has chided his fellow justices for not supervising lower courts on the Second Amendment.

What do the petitioners want in this case?

The petitioners want to be able to transport their guns from within New York City limits to an out-of-city gun range or second home.

Its clear that the association thinks this case is also about the right to bear arms outside the home, not just transport them. But New York Citys regulation only addressed the transport of guns between places. Gun rights groups have tried to attack restrictions on public carry in other cases, but the Supreme Court never wanted to get involved.

What has happened in this case up to this point?

The association lost its case in a federal district court in 2015. And it lost again in 2018, when an appellate court ruled that New York Citys regulation was constitutional because it served New York Citys public safety goals. The association asked the Supreme Court to reconsider that decision in September of 2018.

Theres another interesting piece to this: The New York City Police Department repealed the transport ban in July of 2019. That same month, New York State passed a law that says all cities within the state must allow gun permit holders to transport their weapons to second homes or gun ranges.

If New York City repealed the law, why is this case still going forward?

The association is saying that New York City only repealed the transport ban because it was afraid of how the Supreme Court might rule. But normally, when a person bringing a lawsuit asks for something, and she gets it, the case is over. In legal terms, this is called mootness, because theres no longer an issue to resolve. Courts should not hear cases that are moot.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, you wouldnt want a defendant to stop trespassing as soon as a lawsuit is filed just to get the case dismissed, only to start trespassing again. However, in this case, theres no danger of that happening. Remember, New York State passed a law that prohibits New York City from re-instituting its transport ban.

How might the court rule? And what are some potential consequences?

There is a range of possible outcomes, but its helpful to think of them in two buckets. First, the court could dismiss the case as moot, because theres nothing the court could do to put the petitioners in a better position than theyre already in. They are free to travel with firearms outside New York City. Second, the justices could say the case should live on, and they will try to figure out whether the transport ban violates the Second Amendment.

Within this second bucket, there are a few options. The court could agree with the reasoning of the lower court and hold that New York Citys regulation does not unconstitutionally burden gun rights. This preserves the status quo.

However, the Supreme Court could instead conclude that the Second Amendment protects the transport of guns to specific locations, as well as the right to bear arms in the home. But such a decision doesnt necessarily turn the tides. The court could simply say that this particular regulation in New York City goes outside the bounds of reasonable gun laws. Because no other city has a rule like New Yorks and New York took its own law off the books this is a narrow result that changes literally nothing on the ground.

Another option: The Supreme Court could issue a much broader ruling where the justices say that theres a right to public carry. The Supreme Court has never before announced that the Second Amendment covers the right to bear arms in public, although most lower courts have held or assumed otherwise.

Finally, the Supreme Court could change the way lower courts analyze Second Amendment cases. Right now, when a gun rights advocate challenges a firearm law, the courts try to figure out if the gun law is specifically designed to serve public safety goals. In the associations case, the Supreme Court could announce a much more originalist test, one that requires courts to find a particular historical basis for modern-day gun regulations. This change could make cases more difficult for governments who want to defend firearm regulations.

We talked about how the courts composition has changed a lot since Heller. The world outside the Supreme Court has changed a great deal, too. Weve seen an increase in mass shootings and gun violence, as well as more social activism on gun reform. Will the justices be affected by this?

Thats a really fair question, and its one that comes up in every case, not just gun rights cases: How should the Supreme Court respond to public opinion, if it should at all? And I dont think I have the answer to that. What I can say is that all of the justices in Heller recognized the problem of gun violence in the United States. Justice Scalia even wrote at the end of his opinion that gun violence was a serious problem. That was 2008. Sandy Hook, Orlando, Vegas, and Parkland all postdate Heller.

Who do you think will win?

I think the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association has already won this case, because New York City repealed its transport ban. The association has gotten everything it has asked for, and thats precisely why I believe the court should dismiss this case as moot, no matter what the justices think about the Second Amendment.

When will we get a decision?

If the court dismisses the case simply because New York City already repealed the regulation, then we could get a decision very quickly. If the court actually tries to figure out whether the New York City regulation violated the Second Amendment, well likely be waiting longer. But its really hard to say.

Do you think the Supreme Court will take more Second Amendment cases in the future?

I think if the court dismisses this case on procedural grounds, theres a good chance it will take another Second Amendment case soon, maybe even by the end of this term.

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SCOTUS Is Hearing Its First Big Gun Case in 9 Years. Heres How It Might Play Out. - The Trace

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The Supreme Court Shouldn’t Disrupt the Judicial Consensus on the Second Amendment – brennancenter.org

Posted: at 7:43 pm

This piece was originally published by SCOTUSblog.

In one sense, the stakes inNew York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New Yorkcouldnt be lower: The challenged regulation, a one-of-a-kind New York City restriction on transporting licensed handguns outside city limits, has already been repealed, arguably rendering the case moot. But when it comes to Second Amendment doctrine and methodology, the stakes are higher than theyve been in a decade. If the petitioners have their way, the Supreme Court could reject the mainstream approach for deciding Second Amendment questions in favor of a more radical test focused solely on text, history, and tradition and without consideration of contemporary realities of guns and gun violence. That would be a mistake.

The methodological debate animating this case began 10 years ago inDistrict of Columbia v. Heller, in which the court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for private purposes like self-defense, and that the right like all constitutional rights is subject to regulation. But, aside from listing some presumptively lawful measures, the court did not identify a doctrinal mechanism to evaluate those regulations (tiers of scrutiny, adequate alternatives, substantial burden, etc.), instead leaving the task to the lower courts.

In more than 1,000 cases sinceHeller, thedoctrinal dust has begun to settle, and the outlines of constitutional rules and standards have become clearer. Of course, no constitutional right is governed by a single doctrinal test; even the canard that fundamental rights get strict scrutiny repeated often by the petitioners in this case issimply false. (Free speech claims, to take one obvious example, are governed by a wide range of tests.) But courts have nonetheless converged, with striking unanimity, on a general framework for adjudicating Second Amendment cases. That framework is frequently called the two-step test.

The first step is a threshold inquiry about whether the Second Amendment comes into play at all. AsHellermakes clear, theres no scrutiny necessary for bans on possession by felons (with arguable and limited exceptions for as-applied challenges), or dangerous or unusual weapons such as machine guns, or weapons in sensitive places. For those regulations that do raise Second Amendment questions, courts proceed to the second step and apply something like a sliding scale of means-end scrutiny to evaluate the relationship between the state interest served by the regulation and the methods employed to further that interest. The more seriously a regulation interferes with the core interest of self-defense in the home, the more scrutiny it gets.

This framework is so basic as to be archetypal constitutional rights adjudication frequently involves a threshold inquiry into the rights applicability, followed by some context-specific scrutiny of burden, purpose and tailoring. In the First Amendment context, for example, courts regularly ask whether an activity campaign contributions, for example counts as speech before applying whatever doctrinal test is appropriate.

In short, assome constitutional law scholars have concluded, using the two-part framework means treating the right to keep and bear arms like the fundamental right that it is. The two-part framework, moreover, accommodates both historical analysis and consideration of contemporary costs and benefits; it includes both bright-line rules (prohibitions on laws that go too far) and standards. And the fact that it has been endorsed by every federal court of appeals is a resounding vote of confidence.

And yet the petitioners in this case contend that applying this common methodology converts the Second Amendment into a second-class right. Courts are too lenient with regard to the tailoring analysis, the argument goes, or misconstrue the historical element of the framework. They say the two-part test has been systematically misapplied.

Of course, mistakes are inevitable in any high-volume area of constitutional litigation, and some have undeniably occurred in Second Amendment cases. One court, for example, found that the amendment protectedonly those arms in existence at the nations founding not modern-day weapons like stun guns a decision overturned by a unanimous Supreme Court. In truth, such mistakes have been relatively rare. Most Second Amendment cases areweak to begin with. This is partly because ofHelleritself, which blessed as presumptively lawful various regulations that are often challenged, like felon-in-possession laws. Its also due to the fact that gun politics prevent most stringent regulations from being enacted in the first place this is not a target-rich environment for gun-rights litigators. When a court errs in upholding an unconstitutional law, however, the typical way to correct the error is through appellate decisions. In this case, by contrast, the Supreme Court is being asked to forgo the typical approach, toss out the consensus methodology and supercharge the Second Amendment with a new set of rules.

The most prominent alternative to the two-part framework is the one articulated by then-judge Brett Kavanaugh in a dissent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit: That gun regulations should not be evaluated using any level of scrutiny, but rather by looking to text, history and tradition alone.

Some advocates of this new test hope and expect that it would expand the right to keep and bear arms to some imagined historical ideal, immune from regulation. But that historical image is itself ahistorical: Gun rights and regulations have coexisted for centuries. The laws have changed, because guns and gun violence have changed, but from the very beginning weve had versions of safe-storage requirements, bans on dangerous and unusual weapons, restrictions on public carrying and even outright bans on public carry including in supposed gun havens like Dodge City and Tombstone. Guns are a part of American history, but so, too, is gun regulation. For reference, there are more than 1,500 entries inDukes Repository of Historical Gun Laws, a searchable, non-comprehensive database of firearms regulations that predate the federal governments first major intervention into the field in 1934. A properly applied historical test should uphold a lot of gun regulation.

The main problem with relying solely on text, history and tradition, however, is that it doesnt provide useful guidance for modern-day regulations that respond to modern-day gun violence. The text alone cant tell you whether a machine gun is an arm or whether convicted felons are among the People the Second Amendment protects. The 27 words of the amendment are silent on many questions, and history and tradition dont speak with one voice there were and are significantregionaldifferences in approaches to gun regulation, as well as divisionsbetween urban and rural areas.

Perhaps in some extreme cases (a total ban on public carry, for example), text, history and tradition would provide relatively clear rules. But for most standard forms of modern gun regulation restrictive licensing schemes for public carry, for example, or prohibitions on high-capacity magazines or on gun possession by people convicted of domestic violence all of the work would be done by analogical reasoning. Judges would have to decide for themselves whether certain modern guns or gun laws are relevantly similar to laws from 150 or 200 years ago.

How would such a test of judicial analogies work in practice? Is a rocket launcher like a musket, because you can lift it, or is it like a cannon, because its so powerful? How is an AR-15 like a musket? Do you compare barrel lengths? Muzzle velocity? Relative deadliness? Such questions place a lot of weight on judges own, perhaps unexamined intuitions. In this way, the test of text, history and tradition simply cloaks judicial discretion in an air of objectivity.

In practice, the supposedly historical inquiry eventually comes back, in a roundabout and less transparent way, to the same kinds of questions that are front and center for means-end scrutiny. Good analogical reasoning requires finding relevant similarities, and whats most relevant about guns is their function, especially their usefulness for whatHellersays is the core lawful purpose of self-defense. If automatic weapons are prohibited, but semi-automatic handguns are permitted, does that materially interfere with peoples ability to defend themselves in their homes? If so, has the government shown that the prohibition is appropriately tailored to a sufficiently strong interest? The two-part framework makes those questions explicit, rather than laundering them through a subjective form of historical formalism.

Text, history and traditionabsolutely matterin the context of the Second Amendment, just as in other areas of constitutional law. But to make them the sole measure of constitutionality wouldnt give much useful guidance in hard cases, and would invite a lot of unarticulated, potentially hidden judicial discretion and power. Second Amendment scholarNelson Lund puts the point well: Pretending to find the answers in history and tradition will encourage either covert judicial policymaking, which is just what reliance on history and tradition is supposed to prevent, or ill-supported historical stories in defense of results that could honestly and responsibly be justified through normal means-end scrutiny.

The Supreme Court is being asked in this case to reject a doctrinal framework unanimously endorsed by the federal courts of appeals and widely used in constitutional-rights jurisprudence, and to adopt instead a brand-new doctrinal test that would almost certainly invite broad judicial discretion. We hope that the court declines that invitation.

Joseph Blocher is Lanty L. Smith 67 Professor of Law at Duke Law School, where he co-directs the Center for Firearms Law. Eric Ruben is assistant professor of law at SMU Dedman School of Law and a Brennan Center fellow. Along with Darrell A.H. Miller of Duke Law School, they filedan amicus brief in support of neither sideinNew York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York.

The views expressed here are the authors own and not necessarily those of the Brennan Center.

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Collin County Passes Resolution Supporting the Second Amendment – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Posted: at 7:43 pm

Collin County has joined a growing number of Texas cities taking a stand for the Second Amendment.

So far, at least 10 counties have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.

The trend came after the mass shooting in El Paso and comments by former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke during a Democratic primary debate.

"Hell yes, we're going to take away your AR-15, we're not going to let them be used against fellow Americans anymore!" O'Rourke exclaimed.

Monday, Collin County passed a resolution that's "reaffirming our support for the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution."

It was introduced by Collin County Judge Chris Hill during Monday's commissioners meeting.

"I wanted to put together a resolution that says we will honor our oath of office. We will follow the laws and we will preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the laws," Hill said.

Members of the public weighed in.

"People kill people, not guns," said Fairview City Councilman Roland Feldman.

"I have never felt more afraid for my brown boys than I do in this county," said a tearful opponent.

Since O'Rourke's response at the Democratic debate in September, Hill said more than 100 people came forward to request the county take a stand for the Second Amendment.

"That frustrates citizens in this community who are law abiding," Hill said.

Some criticized the timing -- three months after an Allen man carried out the El Paso mass shooting and the same day as an Allen teenager was laid to rest. Marquel Ellis Jr., 16, was shot and killed at a party on Nov. 16.

"I would love to see the county be just as interested in everyone's safety as they are to try to make a political statement," said one critic at Monday's meeting.

Supporters said with gun rights under fire, defending the Second Amendment is their first priority.

"In this day and age, when so many politicians are out here trying to shred the constitution and not stand by their oath, I applaud you," one supporter said.

The resolution passed unanimously.

The resolution reads as follows:

A resolution of the Collin County Commissioners Court, reaffirming our support for the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

WHEREAS, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and

WHEREAS, for the benefit and protection of all people, these unalienable rights are enumerated and enshrined in the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Texas; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, we hereby reaffirm our sacred oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Texas. So help us God.

A resolution of the Collin County Commissioners Court, reaffirming our support for the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

WHEREAS, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;

and WHEREAS, for the benefit and protection of all people, these unalienable rights are enumerated and enshrined in the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Texas;

now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, we hereby reaffirm our sacred oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Texas. So help us God.

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Hundreds of residents turn out to support ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’ in Bedford County – Lynchburg News and Advance

Posted: at 7:43 pm

BEDFORD The Bedford County Board of Supervisors announced its intention to pass a resolution declaring Bedford County a Second Amendment Sanctuary, which a growing number of counties across Virginia are doing following the Nov. 5 statewide election.

Hundreds of residents attended the board of supervisors meeting on Monday to voice concerns their gun rights will be infringed by Gov. Ralph Northam and Democratic legislators who gained a majority in the state legislature after the election. About 200 residents were packed in the boardroom Monday night and about 200 more spilled out of the meeting room and into the lobby outside.

I dont think Ive ever seen this many people come to a meeting, District 5 Supervisor Tommy Scott said during the meeting.

Scott told the crowd Monday a resolution would not be voted on during Mondays meeting but county staff is preparing a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution.

We want you to know we stand with you in support of protecting our Second Amendment rights, Scott said. We are with you on this.

The resolution which Scott said would be voted on during the Dec. 9 board of supervisors meeting will be the latest in a growing number of counties in Virginia passing resolutions to protect the Second Amendment rights of residents. Appomattox, Pittsylvania, Carroll and Campbell counties have already passed similar resolutions and both and Amherst and Franklin counties will be voting on resolutions in December.

The resolutions that have been passed are not legally binding.

The resolution passed in Appomattox County last week states the countys intent that public funds of the County not be used to restrict Second Amendment rights and their intention to oppose unconstitutional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms through such legal means as may be expedient, including without limitation, court action.

More than a dozen people spoke during the public comment period Monday, voicing concerns that Democratic lawmakers already have filed several gun control bills ahead of the January legislative session. Proposals include universal background checks, civil penalties for not reporting lost or stolen firearms to police, reinstating the states lapsed one-handgun-a-month law, and giving localities the ability to prohibit the carrying of firearms in a public space during an event that would require a permit.

What they are trying to do is tyrannical, Bedford County resident Steve Worth said Monday. What they are trying to do is terrible and we cannot allow it to happen.

Bedford resident Jerry Campbell said some of the measures state Democratic lawmakers are proposing are completely unconstitutional.

We need to let people know that the United States Constitution is still the supreme law in the land, he said.

Goode resident Tim Sexton agreed.

When they start taking our rights away from us they arent going to stop, Sexton said. If they get our guns you can go ahead and rip up the U.S. Constitution and Ill be damned if that is going to happen to me.

Bedford County resident Brent Armitage said he was concerned about whether law enforcement agencies would respect the countys resolution if certain laws are passed by Democratic lawmakers in the states General Assembly.

What if I am pulled over by a state trooper? he asked. What would that mean in a sanctuary county? I dont want to get pulled over one day and become a felon within minutes.

Scott said Bedford County officials are considering that question and others as they prepare the resolution.

We dont have all the answers but we are trying to stay ahead of them, Scott said. The best way everyone here tonight can help us is to get in touch with your legislators in the General Assembly.

Bedford County Sheriff-elect Mike Miller agreed.

Dont let it stop here tonight, Miller said. We have to take it to the state. We have great local support but we have to take it to the next level.

District 4 Supervisor John Sharp encouraged people to go to Lobby Day on Jan. 21 at the State Capital in Richmond to voice their opposition to gun control legislation.

Our first line of defense is to stop these laws from getting passed, Sharp said. In January we need to show them a crowd like they have never seen. They need to be afraid and they should be afraid.

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Hundreds of residents turn out to support 'Second Amendment Sanctuary' in Bedford County - Lynchburg News and Advance

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Williams: The "Second Amendment Sanctuary" movement is a sham. But more local control is a good idea. – Richmond.com

Posted: at 7:43 pm

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Williams: The "Second Amendment Sanctuary" movement is a sham. But more local control is a good idea. - Richmond.com

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Fannin County joins other Texas counties as Second Amendment sanctuary movement – KXII-TV

Posted: at 7:43 pm

FANNIN COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) Fannin County has declared themselves a Second Amendment sanctuary county during a commissioners court meeting Tuesday, making them one of at least 15 counties across the state of Texas to do so.

County officials said it all started when a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination said he planned to take away certain kinds of firearms if he was elected next year. In response, counties all around the state have declared their properties, facilities and resources off limits to any government trying to seize weapons or arrest people for having them.

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore says the proclamation was approved unanimously, 5 - 0, by the court.

"It just lets our county know where we stand," said Moore. "We feel like those are God given rights, we feel like those are rights that were given to us by the Constitution of the United States, and we plan to uphold them."

Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson said he wants people to know that nothing is going to change in terms of the legal purchasing process.

"We're not going to participate with the federal government, or anyone that's going to come in and try and take away people's guns" said Johnson.

This means the county will not allow anyone to use their resources if they try and take away someone's firearm, such as the jail, or any help from law enforcement.

Some Fannin County residents were not enthused. Bill Roberts, who lives in Bailey, said during the court meeting he didn't see how the resolution fell within the rights of the court.

"Are we now putting the putting the sheriff and commissioners court in charge of what's constitutional and what is not?" Roberts said.

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"Meet Me in the Middle" Podcast on the Second Amendment – Reason

Posted: at 7:43 pm

The way I explain the 2nd amendment, is by analogy to a volunteer fire department.

Suppose youre concerned, not just that your community may suffer from fires, but that arsonists might get control of the local government. Your fire department might end up being sent out of the way while the fires raged, or even set to igniting them itself.

But if you rely on a volunteer fire department, even if arsonists are in control of the government, that fire department will be motivated to put fires out, not set them.

And if you guarantee the right of people to own and train with fire fighting equipment, then even if your local arsonist rules shut down the volunteer fire department, you can still organize to put out the fires they set.

The 2nd amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, is not intended to facilitate the government doing the right thing out of good motives. Its intended to stop the government from doing the wrong thing out of bad motives. You simply cant understand the Bill of Rights if youre not willing to think of the government as a potential enemy of the people, intent on doing evil, not good.

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"Meet Me in the Middle" Podcast on the Second Amendment - Reason

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Former Brady Campaign President Dan Gross, Stands with Second Amendment Supporters – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

Posted: at 7:43 pm

Opinion

USA -(AmmoLand.com)- In an amazing twist that was somehow completely overlooked by most of the nations media, Dan Gross, who served for 6 years as president of the gun control advocacy group, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, joined thousands of Second Amendment supporters at a rally on the West Lawn of the nations capital in Washington DC.

Not only did Gross express support for Second Amendment rights and respect for gun owners, but he also criticized gun control groups for intentionally and dogmatically demonizing guns and gun owners, while focusing on restricting guns instead of saving lives.

In the past, there have occasionally been lobbyists and politicians who abandoned pro-rights groups or positions to express support for some form of gun control, and those defectors typically received significant media attention for their actions.

Gross remarks are available on multiple YouTube channels and were covered in the conservative and gun press, including here on AmmoLand News, so its not hard for anyone interested to see exactly what he said.

As a member of the 2nd Amendment Rally Organizing Committee, I interviewed Gross before we agreed to invite him to the rally. I found him to be sincere in his commitment to the right to arms, if not quite as devoted to the full extent of the protections the amendment provides. At least hes open to discussion and learning.

Theres a possibility that Gross came out in support of the Second Amendment as a publicity stunt, looking for exposure and support for his new effort that focuses more on the responsibilities involved in gun ownership than on additional government regulations, and Im okay with that. Gun ownership carries significant responsibilities, and as long as those pushing the message of responsible firearm ownership arent advocating for government intervention into the lives of gun owners, I welcome them to the discussion. I might not agree with everything that Gross decides to promote, just as I dont always agree with the actions and positions of established gun rights groups, but iron sharpens iron. Discussions, even arguments, over philosophy and the best approach to the right to arms are a useful and productive process, unlike shouting and foot-stomping.

We gathered over 2000 rights advocates on the Capitol lawn on very short notice, and without funding or active support from any of the major advocacy organizations. We brought together some 30 speakers representing a wide array of perspectives and approaches, all fiercely advocating against the creeping encroachment of government regulation on our fundamental right to arms. We were respectful, cheerful, and more diverse in terms of race, outlook, and lifestyle than the dominant media would ever admit.

We used technology to send our message far beyond the couple of thousand in direct attendance to thousands more virtual participants watching the live stream, and still, more who have and continue to watch the archive footage online, making this one of the most widely seen Second Amendment events ever held.

The core theme of the rally was the message that You Are the Gun Lobby. It is and must remain the core message of the pro-rights movement. You cant rely on some group any group to protect your rights, and just sending a few dollars now and then does not get the job done. You must take direct action in the form of calls and letters to elected officials, and involvement in getting the right people elected. Its also critical that you engage with friends and family, with clear facts and by demonstrating a strong example of responsible gun ownership.

Efforts to spread the truth about gun owners and gun ownership into non-traditional communities women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, LGBTQ folks, and people of every political and religious persuasion depend on you. We need everyone to know that the Second Amendment protects THEIR rights, just as it protects our rights. The Second Amendment is for everyone, and we need everyone we come in contact with to feel welcome and appreciated as a fellow rights supporter. The right to arms must transcend our differences and bind us together under a single banner and common cause.

Dont let other differences and disagreements get in the way of what really matters. The right to arms is universal. Christians and Jews and Muslims and Sikhs and Hindus and Buddhists and atheists and everyone else, have the right to defend themselves and their families from criminals and from oppressors. We dont have to agree on the path to Heaven or road to enlightenment, but we can all agree that life is precious and worth defending.

Sure, its hard to understand how someone could be a supporter of the Second Amendment and also be a supporter of Beto ORourke, but they undoubtedly exist. The trick is to focus on the former rather than the latter. Embrace the agreement rather than focusing on the difference, and you might have a chance of changing their mind about their choice in presidential candidates. If instead, you focus on the difference, you not only have virtually no chance of influencing that choice, you run a very high probability of pushing that person away from support for rights, by making them feel unwelcome. Thats not how we win in the long run. For more insights into this sort of thing, check out the new podcast from my liberal friend Sarah Cade and Jon Hauptman. I think this is going to be a very useful series.

The Second Amendment belongs to everyone, and we must let everyone know that because we need everyone supporting it if we ever hope to secure our rights.

It wasnt that long ago that some of the most dedicated defenders of the Second Amendment in Congress were Democrats, and gun rights legislation could pass with bipartisan support. Thats not the case today, but could be true again at some point in the future, but not if we push away Democrat gun owners.

Thats why I welcome Dan Gross into our fraternity. He cant hurt us, and he could potentially help us immensely. He can help us to understand our opponents better, and thats always useful. The most important thing though, is that we can only win this fight by increasing our numbers. Rejecting and offending people who could be our allies is just foolish and self-defeating.

You Are the Gun Lobby. Your activism, your example, and your influence are what will make the difference between winning this fight, or sliding down the slippery slope of never-ending, incremental gun control.

The 2nd Amendment Rally Organizing Committee has disbanded, and all of our records are being deleted, as we promised they would be, but a new committee is already forming to hold another rally next year. Start planning now to be part of its success, but more importantly, start acting now to own the title of the Gun Lobby, and lead the way into a brighter future.

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: http://www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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Former Brady Campaign President Dan Gross, Stands with Second Amendment Supporters - AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

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19 States Now Have Counties with Second Amendment Sanctuaries in Place – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

Posted: at 7:43 pm

Opinion

USA -(AmmoLand.com)- Communities around the nation are standing up to the narrative that gun control is the will of the people. Over 230 counties, towns, and cities have passed what is known as Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinances, or SASOs.

These ordinances tell their state and federal government that the county does not support gun control and that it will not be enforced even if it becomes law.

Just in the past month, counties in Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona have enacted versions of SASOs, bringing the number of states that have them up to 19.

However, while these ordinances are passed for the right reasons, they could be better.

Many of the ordinances that have been passed simply declare the county as a Second Amendment Sanctuary, but do not usually offer any way to enforce the ordinance.

In other words, these SASOs dont have any teeth, or ways to hold those who break the ordinance accountable.

That is where our SASO is different.

Gun Owners of America has created a SASO template that can be adopted by any community, county, city, or town.

This minor addition makes your SASO much more meaningful and turns it into something impactful, rather than just a simple resolution.

Please click here to learn more about our Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance and to download a copy for yourself.

Whether you are a county commissioner, on the city council or just a private citizen who wants to see our resolution passed in your community please take a copy to tell people about it.

Click here to let us know if your locality has taken up our SASO.

We are in this fight together.

In liberty,

Matthew PattersonDirector of State and Local AffairsGun Owners of America

P.S. Please take our SASO to your commission or council and make your community a Second Amendment sanctuary. And if youve let your membership lapse, make sure to renew your membership in Gun Owners of America today for only $20!

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19 States Now Have Counties with Second Amendment Sanctuaries in Place - AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

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LETTERS: City driving habits are awful; impact of the Second Amendment – Colorado Springs Gazette

Posted: at 7:43 pm

City driving behaviors awful

A street near where I live has had a number of complaints from residents about speeding vehicles, most of which continue through to other streets in the area. The city Traffic Engineering Department is now working the issue and is likely to install calming features that narrow the road to slow traffic.

I asked for and received speed data for the street in question. The speed limit is 25 mph. Over a two day period in one lane, only 1.48% of vehicles drove at a speed below the 25 mph limit. Over 61% drove at 35 mph or higher; 33.7% were doing 40 mph or higher. Out of 1,416 vehicles, 121 were clocked at 50 mph or higher; thats two times the limit. Thirty-seven vehicles traveled at 65 mph or higher.

Nobody in his right mind should condone these kinds of driving habits. However, one has to wonder if these same bad behaviors dont also exist on the other streets in our neighborhood that are traveled by the same drivers. Narrowing one street will not likely change driver behaviors on others. To really solve the problem using the tools available to the city would mean narrowing multiple streets, not just the one that is under scrutiny. This doesnt seem practical.

I have long opposed photo enforcement. Im not fond of the thought of being under surveillance wherever I go, and Im not fond of the possibility of being ticketed two weeks after the fact by a machine that cant immediately field questions or points in my defense.

I have now changed my mind. Our driving behaviors are awful; the city cant reasonably make physical changes to every street to slow people down; and the police cannot have an enforcement presence on many streets while also chasing bad guys and clearing accidents.

I realize this is not popular, but it is time for us to bite the bullet and agree to the use of portable photo speed enforcement tools. Such devices can reliably rein in extreme speeders with relative ease and at low cost. To be clear, Im not advocating rigid enforcement of the limit; many well-intending drivers will sometimes find themselves a little bit over the limit before correcting the problem. But, I am saying that we should not tolerate people who do over 40 or 50 mph in a 25 mph zone, and that photo speed enforcement can, and would, solve that problem.

Charles Rollman

Colorado Springs

The Monday Gazette Sports section article by Brent Briggeman briefly recognized the Air Force offensive line. Those down linemen are the reason that Air Force running backs are breaking records this year, but they are never recognized during the game. Why cant announcers say lead block by Ferguson or key blocks by Hattock and Vikupitz just like they announce the runner or receivers names? It might take an extra spotter in the booth, especially with the Falcons complicated blocking schemes, but it would be nice to recognize the guys who are winning the games in the fourth quarter.

Rip Blaisdell

Teller County

Thank you for the article in the Nov. 20 edition of the Gazette: Warm ocean water delays sea ice for Alaska towns and wildlife. The dangers of the climate crisis need to be emphasized by our tireless free press to counteract the constant climate denials of the Trump administration.

(I am a subscriber, but I read it online. Thanks for that, too.)

Susan Permut

Monument

In watching the congressional investigation into possible illegal activities by the present occupant of the White House, the meeting notes between President Donlad Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki were mentioned. If memory serves me, I believe that President Trump took those notes from the meeting secretary with him as he left the meeting with Putin. Have those been published? It would be interesting to know the contents of said notes, dont you think? It might help in clarifying present matters.

Bob Armintor

Colorado Springs

At this time there are nearly a dozen countries protesting their government. Many of these protesters are being shot and killed fighting government soldiers and police. These people only have rocks and wooden clubs to fight with.

What is the common denominator of these countries? The citizens of these countries have no guns to confront a corrupt government. The other common denominator is that these citizens only other alternative is to leave their homeland. This is very evident in the droves of people leaving the Middle East and trying to get into any eastern European country.

The same situation exists at our southern border. These illegal immigrants are lured here and groomed by Democratic politicians. (The Democrats cannot win an election without the illegal votes). Case in point is the 3 million illegal votes from California in the last presidential election. The dream of these Democratic politicians is to disarm American gun owners.

Then they can throw the Constitution in file 13. After that they can make and change laws at their own discretion. These poor people coming across our southern border have no idea that they would be voting for a government just like they one they left.

Be aware that no country in the world would be foolish enough to plan a land invasion of our country with 170 million gun owners.

As a Japanese general once said after Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declaring war. We have made a very bad mistake; The Americans have an armed citizen behind every tree.

The Second Amendment was not designed for personal protection even though that is an added benefit. It was to keep out government under control. (A lesson learned by our forefathers fighting an oppressive British government).

Max Tallent

Colorado Springs

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LETTERS: City driving habits are awful; impact of the Second Amendment - Colorado Springs Gazette

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