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Category Archives: Second Amendment

Colorado Ceasefire says red flag law used ‘within the bounds of projected need’ – RealVail

Posted: July 5, 2020 at 10:28 am

The gun-safety advocacy group Colorado Ceasefire on Thursday issued the following press release on the first six months of Colorados red flag law, which was hotly debated here in Eagle County:

Six months into the implementation of a new law that allows police or family members to ask a court to remove firearms from dangerous individuals, the law has been used 59 times. Thats within the bounds of projected need, according to Colorado Ceasefire. The fiscal note for the legislation estimated the law would be used as many as 170 times per year.

The modest number of cases belie the gun lobbys assertions that the law would be used to unjustly remove guns from innocent people.

From January 1 until the end of June, according to the Colorado Judicial Department, the state had 59 cases for Extreme Risk Protection Orders filed in 20 counties. Leading counties where ERPO protections have been sought: Denver: 16; El Paso: 7; Jefferson: 6; Weld: 5; and Douglas: 5.

Im pleased to see the laws being utilized to protect families, even in some so-called Second Amendment counties where law enforcement and elected officials originally had suggested the law would not be upheld, stated Eileen McCarron, president of Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action.

Especially during this pandemic, families need this law to protect their loved ones from suicide or domestic violence, she concluded.According to Violence Free Colorado, the mental stressors of job losses, financial insecurity, health concerns, and working from home while caring for children have led to a 20-50 percent rise in requests from domestic violence programs statewide.

Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial), whose son Alex was killed in the Aurora Theater shooting, campaigned on the bill and championed it in the Colorado General Assembly.

The law is named the Zackari Parrish III Gun Violence Prevention Act, in honor of Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Parrish, who was killed in an ambush by a gunman who could have been stopped had an ERPO law been in place at the time.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have ERPO laws, including Colorado. Colorados law is unique in that the state pays legal costs of the respondent in hearings for a full 365-day ERPO.Colorados legislation was originally conceived in May 2016, during a workshop co-hosted by Colorado Ceasefire, Mental Health Colorado and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, where law enforcement, mental health professionals, policy makers and others learned of the concept and its effectiveness in other states. The bill was signed into law in April 2019 and became effective January 1, 2020.

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What you need to know about the 2nd Congressional District primary – Press of Atlantic City

Posted: at 10:28 am

The 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary race is one of the most hotly contested in the nation, and will be decided in the state's first mainly vote-by-mail primary election.

Emotions have run high in the district ever since freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who was elected as a Democrat, switched parties to Republican after voting "no" on impeaching President Donald Trump.

Van Drew's actions angered and motivated Democrats, who have been fighting hard to replace him.

The district covers all or part of the state's eight southernmost counties.

Five Democrats are vying for the right to try to unseat Van Drew, while Van Drew faces only one Republican opponent, who pundits say has little organizational support or financing.

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the election to be mostly vote-by-mail in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to minimize close physical contact at the polls by voters to avoid spreading the coronavirus. He moved the primary to July 7 from its traditional June date to give counties more time to get vote-by-mail ballots and information to voters.

One candidate has asked for federal oversight of the election because of a history of alleged vote-by-mail irregularities in the district, but the U.S. Attorney's Office has not responded to the request.

The three leading candidates are two women and a Black man, and if any of them prevail in the fall it would be historic. Only white men have represented the district throughout its history.

The 2nd District is geographically the state's largest, requiring primary candidates to vie for the support of eight different county party organizations, requiring candidates to travel a great deal to meet with voters. The pandemic, however, has forced candidates to do most of their campaigning since March online.

Below is an alphabetical list of the candidates (Democrats, then Republicans). The list includes basic biographical information and positions on some major issues.

CUNNINGHAM

Will Cunningham, 34, of Vineland, holds a law degree and formerly worked for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and for the House Oversight Committee under late Chairman Elijah Cummings.

Health care: Fully supports Medicare for All.

Police reform: Supports Justice in Policing Act, elimination of qualified immunity for police, and outlawing chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

Cannabis: Supports full legalization of recreational marijuana for adult use on the national level by removing it from the federal Controlled Substances Act,and expungement of records for those convicted of marijuana offenses.

Climate: Only candidate to support full enactment of the Green New Deal.

FRANCIS

West Cape May Commissioner John Francis, 73, is the author of "Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking" and "The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World." He holds a Ph.D. in environmental science and has worked for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Health care: Supports serious consideration of Medicare for All.

Police reform: Supports Justice in Policing Act, favors eliminating qualified immunity for police, eliminating chokeholds and in general opposes no-knock warrants, but says under extreme circumstances they may be necessary.

Cannabis: Favors legalization for adult use and promotion of cannabis growing in South Jersey, with municipalities allowed to decide if it will be grown within their borders.

Climate: Sees environmental problems as interrelated with how people treat each other, and focuses on improving people's relationships to themselves and others to protect the environment.

ATLANTIC CITY Advocates for legalizing recreational cannabis talked about how creating a n

HARRISON

Brigid Callahan Harrison, 55, of Longport, is a professor of politics and law at Montclair State University in Essex County.

Health care: Supports a single-payer system that allows people to keep private insurance and sunsets agreements already made with labor unions, which would negotiate cost-of-living increases once the government takes over the provision of health care.

Police reform: Supports Justice in Policing Act, elimination of qualified immunity for police, and outlawing chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

Cannabis: Supports full legalization of recreational marijuana for adult use, regulating it through the federal government and expungement of records for those convicted of marijuana offenses.

Climate: Favors total ban on offshore drilling off New Jersey, rejoining Paris Climate Agreement and 100% clean energy by 2050.

{child_flags:top_story}Candidates divided on recreational marijuana

KENNEDY

Amy Kennedy, 41, of Brigantine, holds a master's degree in environmental education, taught at the Northfield Community School and is now the education director of the Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and addiction issues.

Health care: Favors moving away from a system that ties health care to employment, expansion of the Affordable Care Act and making sure Medicare will be available to all those who want it.

Police reform:Supports Justice in Policing Act, elimination of qualified immunity for police, and outlawing chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

Cannabis: Does not support recreational legalization, but favors decriminalization and expungement of records for those convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.

Climate: Supports the 100% Clean Energy Economy Act to reach a net-zero economy by 2050 and the CLEAN Future Act, which would give governments and the private sector support and flexibility to address climate change.

TURKAVAGE

Robert Turkavage, 64, of Brigantine, is a retired FBI agent who switched parties to Democrat late last year because of his opposition to President Donald Trump.

Health care: Favors preserving the Affordable Care Act, including pre-existing conditions coverage, by reinstating the individual mandate penalty.

Police reform: Favors better training for police officers and more careful use of, but not elimination of, no-knock warrants.

Cannabis: Opposes legalization for recreational use and favors dropping criminal charges for possession of small amounts to a misdemeanor.

Climate: Supports maintaining methane-related regulations and would advocate for a return to the vehicle fuel economy standards sought by the Obama administration. Favors reentering the Paris Climate Agreement to combat greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

PATTERSON

Bob Patterson recently moved his permanent address to Ocean City from Haddonfield, Camden County, to run in the district. He was the Republican nominee who ran in 2018 against Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st, in the district that covers Camden and its surroundings. After a long career in business and government, he worked for the Trump administration as a senior adviser and acting associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration.

Economy: Favors supporting neglected economic sectors at home, such as manufacturing, transportation and defense industries, to build up the working and middle classes.

Immigration: Favors ensuring American jobs go to American workers, building a wall along Americas southern border, creating a foolproof entry-and-exit system and establishing an airtight employment-verification system. Opposes amnesty deals.

Israel: Supports continued military aid to Israel and continued investment in economic and military partnerships with Israel, and President Donald Trumps decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Abortion: Strongly pro-life and opposes support for Planned Parenthood.

Gun rights: Fervent supporter of Second Amendment rights.

The Democrats vying to challenge Jeff Van Drew in the 2nd Congressional District agree that

VAN DREW (INCUMBENT)

Jeff Van Drew, 67, was first elected to Congress in 2018 as a Democrat. The district had been held by Republican Frank LoBiondo for more than 20 years. Van Drew, a dentist, spent decades in the state Legislature as an assemblyman and then a senator.

Economy: Wants to bring manufacturing jobs back to South Jersey and promote tourism, and favors government doing more to help the agriculture and fishing industries.

Immigration: Favors comprehensive reform, strengthening border security, cracking down on employers who violate laws, increasing the accessibility of visas for high-skilled workers, and allowing law-abiding immigrants to earn citizenship and pay taxes.

Israel: Favors the U.S. position that the State of Israel has an undeniable right to exist and thrive with the same sense of security and economic self-determination as any other nation in the Middle East.

Abortion: Pro-choice, but opposes late-term abortions.

Gun rights: Strong supporter of Second Amendment rights.

Congressman Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd, made national news in his freshman year in Congress, which he started as a Democrat and ended as a Republican.

Long known as a moderate in the state Assembly and Senate, many thought Van Drew would continue to be a solid Democrat who occasionally deviated from the party on issues like gun rights, after he was elected in 2018 to fill the seat of longtime Congressman Frank LoBiondo, a moderate Republican.

But right from the start, Van Drew set himself apart by voting "no" for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker -- fulfilling a campaign promise but confusing those on the House floor. He was supposed to call out a name of someone for speaker, so his "no" vote was recorded as "present."

Then he was one of the few Democrats calling for bipartisan compromise on a budget to end what became the longest federal government shutdown in history. Later, he visited the southern border and came back saying there was, indeed, a crisis there. He supported both some funding for a border wall, and increased funding for housing and services to undocumented migrants. Van Drew was also one of just two Demcorats to first vote against proceeding with an impeachment inquiry, and to vote against both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

And on Dec. 19, 2019, he announced his party change to Republican while sitting next to Trump in the Oval Office.

Brian T. Fitzherbert (dropped out of race Jan. 24, 2020), 30, of Egg Harbor Township, founded the Atlantic County Young Republicans and ran in 2018 in the Republican primary, but withdrew before the primary that was won by Seth Grossman.

Fitzherbert stresses his knowledge of technology and aviation as an advantage for him to help develop those industries in South Jersey. He is a Program Manager for defense contractor L3Harris, working on multimillion dollar programs for military vehicles. Previously, he developed drones, ground control stations, electronic warfare testers, simulators, and area attack weapons supporting the Warfighter at Textron Systems.

He graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed his graduate studies at the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, studying systems engineering and project management.

He has racked up endorsements from a wide variety of local officials, including former Assemblyman and Cumberland County Freeholder Sam Fiocchi and Northfield Mayor Erland Chau.

David Richter, 53, the former CEO of Hill International in Philadelphia, is an engineer, lawyer and businessman. He recently moved to Avalon from Princeton, but summered much of his life in the Cape May County town.

He switched races to the 3rd Congressional District, which covers Ocean and Burlington counties, on Jan. 27.

I understand what it takes to get things built, said Richter. In Congress, I plan to work hard to ensure the federal government is investing in South Jerseys infrastructure expanding our transportation network, keeping our environment clean and maintaining our coastline.

Richter earned two bachelors degrees and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as masters degrees from Oxford and Harvard universities, he said.

He and his wife, Michelle, have been married for 20 years and have four daughters.

Patterson has homes in Haddonfield and Ocean City, and ran in 2018 against Congressman Donald Norcross, D-1st, in the district that covers Camden and its surroundings.

Patterson, a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, said he is running for Congress to protect conservative values and make South Jersey great again. His priorities are protecting American jobs, restoring manufacturing in South Jersey, ending unfair trade deals, and securing the nation's borders.

Patterson recently worked in the Trump administration as a senior adviser and acting associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration. Prior to that he worked as vice president for government relations at the U.S. Business & Industry Council (USBIC), an organization committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing and opposing unfair trade deals.

Ashley Bennett, 35, a Democrat elected to the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2017, faces re-election in 2020 as she runs for the right to challenge Congressman Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd.

A psychiatric emergency screener at Cape Regional Medical Center, shedecided to run for freeholder after the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, and in response to a Facebook posting by then-Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman. It was about the Womens March in January that questioned whether the women would be home in time to make dinner. Bennett ran for and won Carmans seat.

West Cape May Commissioner John Francis, 73, has a colorful and unusual biography, and he wrote about it in a book published by National Geographic called, "Planet Walker: 22 years of walking, 17 years of silence." Francis spent many of his younger adult years refusing to ride in cars or other vehicles that use fossil fuels, after seeing the results of an oil spill on the Pacific coast. He also stopped speaking for 17 years, in order to learn to listen, he said. During that time, however, he earned a bachelor's, master's and doctorate, became an expert in oil spill cleanup, and worked for the Coast Guard. Now he travels the world as a motivational speaker, he said.

He learned in his silent travels about the interconnectedness of all issues, Francis said. "Really it's all about people and how we treat each other. It's going to manifest in the physical environment." So he said his focus in Congress would not just be on environmentalism, but on human and civil rights, gender equality and economic equity and human relationships "as the foundation for what happens in the environment. You have to be really interested in everything."

Brigid Callahan Harrison, Professor, Montclair State University at Murphys Marks: The Governors Freshman Report Card at the Atlantic City Convention. Nov. 14 , 2018, (Craig Matthews / Staff Photographer)

Longport's Brigid Callahan Harrison, 54, is a professor of politics and law at Montclair State University in Essex County. She has been endorsed for by State Senate President Steve Sweeney, by six of the eight county Democratic chairs in the Second Congressional District, and by others.

Long a commenter in the media about New Jersey politics, this is Harrision's first run for office.

KENNEDY

Amy Kennedy, of Brigantine, 41, is a former teacher and the wife of former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, with whom she has five children. She announced Jan. 6 she will run in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Kennedy, now a mental health advocate, said she and her husband have supported Van Drew in the past, but he has clearly lost his way.

Our nation is in crisis. Our political system is in crisis. Our environment is in crisis," Kennedy wrote in a press statement. "We have serious unaddressed needs in our schools and in our mental health and addiction system. Our economy, though strong, is not meeting the needs of the underserved and middle class.

Freeholder Jack Surrency on Election Day 2016.

Jack Surrency, of Bridgeton, is a Democratic freeholder in Cumberland County, was reported to be running for a time, but ultimately decided to run for re-election as a freeholder instead.

He was first elected to the Bridgeton City Council in 2010 as part of a slate headed by Mayor Albert Kelly, and served on the Bridgeton Board of Education from 2002-2010, according to his resume.

He attended the Tuskegee Institute from 1976-1978, majoring in chemistry with a business minor. He also holds a master's degree in Community and Economic Development from New Hampshire College in Manchester.

TURKAVAGE

Robert Turkavage, 64, is a former FBI agent and manager out of New York. He has recently switched parties to become a Democrat, after a lifetime in the GOP.

Turkavage last ran in the 2018 Republican primary for the 2nd District race, losing to Seth Grossman, and this time is running as a Democrat.

He changed his party affiliation because the Republicans have increased the national debt by $3.1 billion as a result of tax cuts that benefited the wealthy, he said, and because of Prseident Trump's attacks on the press and the intelligence community.

Its going to be challenging, Turkavage said Tuesday of breaking through in a crowded Democratic field. I will be knocking on doors every day from January till primary day on June 2.

Will Cunningham, a Vineland native and former staffer for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, is running for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District.

Will Cunningham, 34, a native of Vineland who has worked for Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, and now works for the House Oversight Committee in Washington, D.C., announced Jan. 8 he was entering the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District.

He ran against Van Drew in the Democratic primary in 2018, and said he has the most experience in Washington, D.C., of all the candidates in the race of either party.

Cunningham said he was homeless for a time as a teen when his mom lost her job. He said his mom is still an hourly worker in Cumberland County, making $11.50 an hour. Yet with hard work and the help of government programs, he was able to get an Ivy League college education at Brown University. He also has a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

"Despite my accomplishments, I have not lost touch with how folks struggle to make ends meet," Cunningham said. "I don't have to look far."

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Opinion | Why Some Black Americans Are Arming Themselves – The New York Times

Posted: at 10:28 am

What does it take for Black Americans to feel safe right now?

For some, its owning a gun. Even if thats not something they may have ever wanted to do. In the video above, a chorus of Black voices from across the country a schoolteacher in Oakland, Calif., a political strategist in Aurora, Colo., and others have an urgent message: Go buy a gun. Arm yourself. And just make sure you get some training.

This is by no means the first time many Black Americans have felt the need to arm themselves for self-preservation. But with a white couple pulling guns on Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis, right-wing extremists increasing attacks and co-opting rallies to advance their own messaging and half of Black Americans already feeling that they cant trust the police to treat them equally, some Black Americans are saying they now have no choice but to exercise their Second Amendment right.

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House bill would prohibit police from using tear gas for crowd control in Michigan – Michigan Radio

Posted: at 10:27 am

New legislation (HB 5925) would prohibit law enforcement from using tear gas on crowds.

Following recent protests across the state and nation, some have questioned police tactics - particularly the deployment of tear gas.

Democratic State Representative Kara Hope introduced legislation to end the practice. She said tear gas is banned on the battlefield under the Geneva convention - so it shouldnt be used on citizens.

I think its part of the discussion around demilitarizing the police. I say demilitarize and its kind of ironic because this isnt allowed to be used by the military, Hope said.

Hope said she thinks even the idea that tear gas can de-escalate a situation is wrong.

I think using tear gas on protestors, particularly peaceful protestors - and I realize that assessment can be subjective - Is reflective of an us-versus-them mentality that is not healthy and not helpful, she added.

Hope said it seems to her that the deployment of tear gas against Black Lives Matter - but not other protests, such as protests to reopen the state, suggests political motivations behind when gas is used.

Thats a big problem for the 1st Amendment. The police, the authorities, the government arent supposed to engage in viewpoint discrimination. While some on the other side of the aisle might be ok seeing tear gas being deployed on Black Lives Matter or anti-police brutality demonstrations, how would they feel if it was deployed on pro-second amendment demonstrators or the people who came to the capitol to protest the stay at home order?

Hope said she has not found much support from her Republican colleagues for the legislation.

The Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police did not respond to our request for comment.

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Group calling for Land Run monument’s removal says it doesn’t need armed volunteers’ protection – KOCO Oklahoma City

Posted: at 10:27 am

A local veteran is rounding up armed volunteers to protect a Land Run monument in Oklahoma City and a group calling for its removal after he said Black Lives Matter supporters threatened to vandalize it. Black Lives Matter officials said theyre not affiliated with any alleged threats against the monument. Brenda Golden, the founder of the group SPIRIT (Society to Protect Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties), added the group doesnt need the veterans or armed peoples protection as it calls for the removal of the Land Run monument.No person of color was allowed to participate in the Land Run, so it affects all people of color, or it did, Golden said. So, we invited Black Lives Matter to support this, and we did not ask him (Shannon Collins) for his support. So, I would just reach out my hand to him in friendship and say, I appreciate that you want to protect us, but we dont need protection. Were working together with Black Lives Matter.Thats the message Golden wants to give Collins, a veteran who organized the Protect the Land Run Monuments event. He said more than 300 people are expected to attend the event thats scheduled for 10 a.m. July 11 in Oklahoma City.I want to make sure that everybody knows were not coming there as the Second Amendment rights. Were coming there with protection, just in case, Collins said. Were not going to come there with long rifles strapped. I made it clear on my event thats not going to happen.The SPIRIT group planned a peaceful display, lying under the monument as a reminder of what was a dark day for Indigenous people. The group hopes Collins and his volunteers have a change of heart and dont show up.I almost feel sorry that these people do not have the empathy to understand how painful those monuments are to our Indigenous people, Golden said. What they symbolize is racism and how the treaties were all broken in order for that Land Run to happen.I would personally rather have the monument stay and then, maybe, Native American monuments and then Black people that formed Oklahoma monuments so that when you walk through the park, you can read the history of Oklahoma, Collins added.

A local veteran is rounding up armed volunteers to protect a Land Run monument in Oklahoma City and a group calling for its removal after he said Black Lives Matter supporters threatened to vandalize it.

Black Lives Matter officials said theyre not affiliated with any alleged threats against the monument. Brenda Golden, the founder of the group SPIRIT (Society to Protect Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Treaties), added the group doesnt need the veterans or armed peoples protection as it calls for the removal of the Land Run monument.

No person of color was allowed to participate in the Land Run, so it affects all people of color, or it did, Golden said. So, we invited Black Lives Matter to support this, and we did not ask him (Shannon Collins) for his support. So, I would just reach out my hand to him in friendship and say, I appreciate that you want to protect us, but we dont need protection. Were working together with Black Lives Matter.

Thats the message Golden wants to give Collins, a veteran who organized the Protect the Land Run Monuments event. He said more than 300 people are expected to attend the event thats scheduled for 10 a.m. July 11 in Oklahoma City.

I want to make sure that everybody knows were not coming there as the Second Amendment rights. Were coming there with protection, just in case, Collins said. Were not going to come there with long rifles strapped. I made it clear on my event thats not going to happen.

The SPIRIT group planned a peaceful display, lying under the monument as a reminder of what was a dark day for Indigenous people. The group hopes Collins and his volunteers have a change of heart and dont show up.

I almost feel sorry that these people do not have the empathy to understand how painful those monuments are to our Indigenous people, Golden said. What they symbolize is racism and how the treaties were all broken in order for that Land Run to happen.

I would personally rather have the monument stay and then, maybe, Native American monuments and then Black people that formed Oklahoma monuments so that when you walk through the park, you can read the history of Oklahoma, Collins added.

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NJ Primary Elections 2020: The Five Republicans Who Want to Take over as US Senator – NJ Spotlight

Posted: at 10:27 am

Rik Mehta, left, and Hirsh Singh are the leading contenders for the GOP nomination to run for Senate.

Five Republicans are vying for the chance to try to do something no one else has been able to do in almost a half-century: Convince New Jersey voters to elect a Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate, where Democrat Cory Booker now sits.

It has been 48 years since New Jersey voters have sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate, and registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly a million. In 2018, Republican and former pharmaceuticals executive Bob Hugin spent more than $39 million, including $36 million of his own money, and lost by 11 percentage points to incumbent Bob Menendez, who had been considered vulnerable after his trial on political corruption charges ended in a hung jury.

Statewide races are the toughest ones of all for a GOP outnumbered by a million more registered Democrats in the state, said Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. But even before party registrations were so lopsided, Republican Senate candidates have fared more poorly here than almost anywhere else in the nation. Since New Jersey last sent a Republican to the Senate in 1972, the GOP has lost a staggering 15 Senate races in a row, he said.

Cory Booker must be prohibitively favored from the perspective of party registration and past results, he continued. Theres nothing in the public polling that suggests otherwise. And we should keep in mind that Vice President Biden is expected to be a strong top of the ticket in New Jersey, while President Trump is likely to be a significant drag for the Republican candidate.

The leading contenders for the GOP nomination are biotech engineer Rik Mehta and Hirsh Singh, who has come under fire for a mailing that encouraged Republicans who may have already voted for Mehta to vote a second time for Singh. Also in the race are three conservatives: Patricia Flanagan and Natalie Rivera, both of whom ran unsuccessfully as independents in 2018, and retired teacher Eugene Tom Anagnos.

Even though weve never had a primary like the one well have next month, the best way to gauge a candidates strength is the support of the county party organizations, and by that measure, Rik Mehta is substantially ahead of Hirsh Singh, Rasmussen said. Mehta is running on the all-important party line in 17 counties, while Singh will appear on four county lines. And while Singh enjoys the support of one of the strongest party organizations in Ocean, the four counties supporting him represent about 20 percent of the expected statewide turnout, based on the last few contested GOP Senate primaries, which means Mehta will be running right next to Donald Trump as the organizational candidate on eight of every ten ballots that will be cast in the primary. Historically speaking, thats hard to beat.

Mehta, 42, is a biotech engineer, licensed pharmacist, attorney and adjunct law professor. He holds four degrees, including a Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center. He has worked as a pharmacist, held positions in both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Department of Health and worked at both the Pfizer and Aquestive Therapeutics pharmaceutical companies. Currently, he is a partner in Licentiam Inc., a firm that streamlines the licensing process for health care professionals, and R & R Strategies, a regulatory policy and strategy firm. Mehta lives with his wife and three sons in Chester.

Endorsed last month by former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, Mehta said his goals in running are to make New Jersey more affordable a place where people want to live, not leave. He complains about the states high taxes.

The cost of living is absurd, and property taxes keep skyrocketing, he said. I can say from experience that it is even harder to start a business here. I decided to run for my three kids, your kids and every person who wants to make a life and raise a family here in New Jersey.

Mehta said his background in biotech and health policy make him well-qualified to deal with these issues and named as his top priority lowering the cost of health care and bringing good-paying medical manufacturing jobs back to New Jersey from China. He also said he would work to secure additional funding for small businesses. Mehta also supports a balanced budget amendment and the reduction of redundant regulations.

The political newcomer is critical of Booker, saying both he and Menendez have failed to ensure that New Jersey gets its fair share of federal spending. He also noted that Booker missed the most votes in the Senate last year, almost 65%, according to govtrack.us, even more than the other presidential hopefuls.

When Senator Booker does show up, hes become a rubber stamp for the radical left and one of the most extreme partisans in the Senate, Mehta said. Just last week he held up a bipartisan police reform bill that could bring meaningful changes to policing. Senator Booker is only concerned about making his far-left political base and Hollywood elites happy; he couldnt care less about the people he was elected to represent here in New Jersey.

Mehta hasnt forgotten that to get to Booker, he must get through four Republicans first. A recent mailer in which Mehta links himself to Trump calls Singh a perennial election loser and a RINO Republican in name only. It contends that Singh in 2009 tweeted support for a speech former President Obama gave in Cairo and that Singhs father contributed $1,000 to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphys campaign.

Republican county leaders across the state are also criticizing Singh. Eight GOP chairs have called for him to suspend his campaign after condemning one of his campaign mailings that they say encourages voter fraud. According to the Save Jersey website, Singh sent a letter to Republicans urging, if you have been hoodwinked into voting for Rik Mehta, it is your patriotic duty to contact your county clerk and request a duplicate ballot to vote for the only Conservative Hirsh Singh. Your duplicate ballot will replace your earlier ballot.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewals office said that claim is untrue in a letter sent to Singh telling him to cease and desist sending out the mailer and warning him that encouraging anyone to vote more than once in a federal election is a crime.

In a press release sent Wednesday night, Singh contended he gave proper advice, saying that several county websites and ballots indicate a voter can request a duplicate ballot if they marked their original ballot incorrectly.

A 34-year-old engineer and native of Atlantic City, Singh graduated from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and has worked in the aerospace and defense industries. According to his financial disclosure report filed with the U.S. Senate, he is senior director at Engineering and Information Technologies Inc. in Egg Harbor.

Singh has been in attack mode against Mehta. In a May 26 press release, Singh contended that Mehta supported the Affordable Care Act and got on the ballot by using Democrat Party operators to circulate his petition.

This is Singhs third attempt at a major office. In 2017, he lost the Republican gubernatorial primary and a year later he lost the GOP nomination to run for the House in the sprawling 2nd District in South Jersey despite having more money and more county endorsements than his three rivals.

On his campaign website, Singh portrays himself as the true conservative in the race and a strong Trump supporter. He states he would support a second round of tax cuts, including a reduction in the corporate tax rate to a flat 15%. Singh also said he would work to build the trans-Hudson rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York, although Trump has refused to support the project.

Singh is against abortion rights and says he would enact a measure that would end legal abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In addition to having the endorsement of the Ocean County GOP, Singh has raised more money than Mehta almost $584,00, or close to $200,000 more than Mehta. But Mehta had slightly more in the bank as of June 17: $48,000, compared with Singhs $35,000.

Of the three remaining candidates, only Patricia Tricia Flanagan has reported any fundraising to the Federal Election Commission. Her latest report, dated March 31, showed she had raised less than $15,000 and spent all but about $2,200.

Flanagan, a biotech executive, is making her second run for the Senate. In 2018, she ran as an independent against Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, receiving about 0.5% of the vote.

Born in Massachusetts, Flanagan obtained an undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and went on to present her thesis in biochemistry at Brown University, according to her LinkedIn page. A Princeton resident, she is managing director and president of global marketing at Anderson Ludgate, a biopharma market research firm. She has also worked at pharma giants Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb and at medical device company BD, all of which have a presence in New Jersey.

Flanagans campaign website touts her Christian faith and prominently features photos of her with White House adviser and New Jersey native Kellyanne Conway and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, as well as pictures from her campaign. The site also sells items emblazoned with her name and the slogan Patriots Rising, including coffee mugs, tote bags and T-shirts.

According to the campaign site, Flanagan wants to reduce government spending and income taxes and promote economic growth, especially in New Jerseys biotech sector; she opposes minimum wage mandates. Flanagan also highlights the U.S. relationship with Israel and her work with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a multimillion-dollar global charity.

If elected, Flanagans site says reforming health care is her top priority. She calls the federal Affordable Care Act unaffordable and unreliable and promises to use her experience in the private sector to preserve affordability (and) increase quality of care & treatment access. The website contains few specifics, but she calls for putting the American people in charge of their healthcare dollars and decisions, indicating support for health savings accounts.

Another candidate making her second Senate attempt is Natalie Lynn Rivera. A social services coordinator from Sicklerville, Rivera ran as an independent under the slogan For the People in 2018, garnering about 0.6% of the vote.

Rivera, 44, said she wants to give typical New Jersey residents a voice in Congress. On her Facebook campaign site she calls herself a conservative. Among her priorities are restoring Second Amendment rights that she says are under seige in the state and outlawing abortion.

What sets her apart from the other candidates, she said, is that she will be a servant to the people I think I am authentic and will serve from the heart to put their best interests at the forefront.

Another candidate running a shoestring campaign is Eugene Tom Anagnos, a retired middle school teacher who taught in Newark and Elizabeth schools. A Greek immigrant who now lives in East Hanover, Anagnos is an Army veteran who holds a bachelors degree in English Literature from Indiana University.

A strong Trump supporter, he began gathering signatures for his Senate race at Trumps January rally in Wildwood and subsequently outside of gun ranges in north Jersey, he said. Anagnos added in an email that driving his campaign is his attempt to remove NJ from leftist indoctrination and prevent CA East. The latter is a phrase that appears on his Twitter page, where he goes by the name BuddyRider aka Gene Anagnos.

If elected, Anagnos said, his top priorities would include removing some gun control restrictions, limiting interest charges on predatory lending and restructuring education to focus on building character. He opposes abortion rights.

He said that he has tried to live my life without malicious intent even though I know, as we all do, that decisions we make inadvertently affect others with unintended consequences and with love and tolerance for all of humanity.

The primary is July 7. At least one polling place will be open in every municipality, but most voters are expected to use mail-in ballots due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Lilo Stainton contributed to this report.

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PULSE OF THE VOTERS: Oklahoma, U.S. see polarizing political landscape ahead of election – Enid News & Eagle

Posted: at 10:27 am

Sad, toxic and terrible were used to describe Americas current partisan environment in this edition of the ongoing Pulse of the Voters series tracking political sentiment.

Democrat Nancy Presnall said this is the worst political division she has seen in her 71 years of life.

We are so divided and so polarized, Presnall said. It does not have to be that way.

Democrats, Republicans and independents said there is not enough civil discussion in politics. Republican Bob Osborn said everyone is so opinionated there is no room for discussion.

Independent Whitney Hall said there is too much us versus them in politics today.

I feel like people are not as interested in learning how or why things work or do not work anymore, Hall said.

Two major events have changed the political landscape leading to Novembers presidential election as the coronavirus pandemic continues to see rising numbers and Black Lives Matter protests see some Americans pushing back.

Protests

Since the death of George Floyd, a Minnesota man who died under the knee of now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, protests against police brutality and systemic racism are happening worldwide.

Some protests were violent, most were peaceful and nearly all of them divided opinion.

Osborn said as long as the protests are peaceful, he has no problem with them. Osborn and his wife even attended a protest in Enid, he said.

The term Black Lives Matter and the movement it has reignited are creating a national conversation about the political and racial divide in America.

Presnall said there might be some misconception about what Black Lives Matter means.

I fully support Black Lives Matter, Presnall said. I know there is a lot of misunderstanding about it. Nobody said that everybodys lives dont matter, but its just that the Black lives are the ones that are being threatened right now.

People have looked to President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, to see how they have responded to the protests.

Hall said Trumps responses have done nothing but inflame unrest.

He uses completely different jargon to talk about these people, Hall said. For instance, when people had guns at the state Capitol or different places talking about wanting to reopen the economy or wanting to use Second Amendment rights or different things, they were considered good people. Anybody that is protesting now was automatically considered a thug. Its already causing a problem.

Osborn, on the other hand, said he would rate Trumps response to the protests highly, saying the president does not have anything against peaceful protests.

He would rate Bidens response as a zero.

He has done nothing to help, Osborn said.

Protesters have torn down statues of Confederate generals and other historical figures. Republican Paul Allen said it really irritates him to see historical figures being erased.

COVID-19

In an effort to get the economy running again, the U.S. and several states have begun their phased reopening plans. Now, there is a continued steady increase of new cases in Oklahoma and nationwide.

Hall thinks better information could have been distributed to citizens earlier in the outbreak.

I think (the government) could have done more to partner with other agencies and countries, Hall said. We could have actually had the group in the federal government that deals with pandemics as part of the government still, instead of having gotten rid of them a few years ago. We could have actually had somebody look at previous pandemic plans that had been developed many years ago.

Many have criticized Trumps response to the spread of the virus, saying he under-reacted or ignored the warnings before it became too late.

Allen, on the other hand, thinks Trump has done everything he could with the information given to him.

Nobody has all the answers, and somebody has to make decisions and the rest of us get to sit back and wait and see what that decision is, Allen said. Then we all get the chance to second-guess it. I personally dont see anything wrong with what he has done.

Tulsa, the location of Trumps latest political rally, currently has the highest number of active coronavirus cases of any city in Oklahoma.

Presnall criticized Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Trump for seemingly ignoring health guidelines to have the rally June 20.

Stitt and Trump are like two peas in a pod just denying the realities and going ahead and doing whatever they want to do, Presnall said. Their response has been totally inadequate, and I think they are not doing enough. In fact, even worse than that, they are lying about the situation to the people.

Election 2020

The political divide between parties continues to grow as America heads toward the 2020 election in November.

Presnall said she expects a dogfight going into the election.

It is going to be a really hard-fought battle, Presnall said. One of my concerns is whether we will have a free and fair election.

I think in Oklahoma we have paper ballots and we use scanners and not voting machines, and so I think that part of it is pretty safe I guess my first concern is just voting machine tampering and voter suppression.

Republicans, however, feel confident in their candidate.

Osborn said he believes Trump will win by a comfortable margin.

It will be a very good thing for the country because conservatives believe in personal freedom and personal development, and they are not the ones that are rioting, Osborn said.

Allen said the Democratic Party does not have what it takes to keep the country running properly.

It would be a sorry situation if (the Democrats) win because they do not have the right approach to keep things rolling in America, Allen said. We cannot survive if we elect the left-wing people. Thats all there is to it. They will change the country.

Independents find themselves in a tough situation when deciding who to vote for, as their political ideas usually do not line up exactly with the Democratic or Republican parties.

Hall said she is undecided on whom she supports.

My vote is toward the people that want to have a functional, civil government, Hall said. I really dont see it going well either way.

People are going to continue to be hateful and more polarized than they ever have been, and I think you are going to see a lot of people also become very cynical with the system.

We are making critical coverage of the coronavirus available for free. Please consider subscribing so we can continue to bring you the latest news and information on this developing story.

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PULSE OF THE VOTERS: Oklahoma, U.S. see polarizing political landscape ahead of election - Enid News & Eagle

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Black and white Americans are embracing the Second Amendment – The Boston Globe

Posted: June 24, 2020 at 6:35 am

For months, news accounts have reported on the nationwide surge in gun sales. The soaring demand for guns has led in turn to soaring prices for gun stocks. Shares of firearms manufacturers like Smith & Wesson and Ruger have sharply outpaced the broader stock market.

All this was happening before Americans learned about Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd on May 25, or saw the video of Gregory and Travis McMichael, the two Georgia men one an ex-cop who gunned down Ahmaud Arbery after seeing him jog past their home. Black Americans in particular have been getting a pointed lesson in the value of their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and translating that lesson into action.

Hence the explosion in the number of Black gun owners nationwide, as David Dent reports in The Daily Beast. The National African American Gun Association, which began in 2015 with a single chapter in Atlanta, now comprises more than 100 chapters with 40,000 members 10,000 of whom joined within the past five months. They include not only recreational shooters, but new owners like Iesha Williams, a young mother who, Dent writes, was persuaded by recent events to acquire a gun as a form of protection against racial violence. Black gun ownership is as essential today as it was in 1892, when Ida B. Wells wrote that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.

Millions of Americans instinctively grasp that private ownership of guns makes them safer. But advocates of more gun control never see it that way. When Michael Bloomberg was asked in January about a Texas church where a massacre was aborted when a 71-year-old parishioner shot and killed the gunman, his response was that guns are for police. Its the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot, said Bloomberg. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place.

Only cops should have guns and decide when to shoot? Try telling that to the families of Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Botham Jean, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Michael Dean, and Walter Scott, all of whom were killed when cops whether from recklessness, incompetence, or racism decided to shoot.

Of course, most cops are neither racists nor thugs. But even the most dedicated police officers cannot always be there to provide protection when it is needed. The Second Amendment exists in part for just that purpose, as persecuted minorities have had good reason to know.

The denial of the right to own weapons reinforced the racial repression of Americas first centuries. In its infamous Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court ruled that if Black people were considered US citizens, the Second Amendment would give to persons of the negro race . . . the right . . . to keep and carry arms wherever they went. Gun controls racist roots run deep. Before the Civil War, a multiplicity of laws barred slaves from owning weapons and permitted free Black people to do so only with a courts approval. In the Jim Crow era, states found other ways to disarm Black Americans. They heavily taxed handgun sales, for example, or permitted pistols to be sold only to sheriffs and their deputies a category that often included KKK terrorists.

The Second Amendment is always revitalized when we feel threatened, writes David Harsanyi in the current National Review. Between the coronavirus pandemic, the killing of George Floyd, and the recent wave of demonstrations and looting, this is an alarming moment in American life. Black and white Americans, millions of them, have chosen to meet the moment by arming themselves. The hoplophobes may disapprove, but this is what the Second Amendment is for.

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at jeff.jacoby@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeff_jacoby. To subscribe to Arguable, his weekly newsletter, go to bitly.com/Arguable.

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Groups Exercise First, Second Amendment Rights in Peaceful Gatherings – wevv.com

Posted: at 6:35 am

Gatherings of all sizes and kinds marked a lengthy Saturday in the Tri-State, capped with a group spending the evening keeping an eye on businesses in Evansville.

About 15 men came together in the parking lot near Target on the east side, many of them openly carrying firearms.

They told us they were there to protect the community and they didnt want to see anything torn up.

The armed members of the group became the latest in a series of expressions of constitutional rights, done so through the night in peace.

For Saadia Miles, speaking out today is a family affair.

Were tired. Im raising up two beautiful black women. And this cant keep happening. After the whole worlds seen George. Its changed the dynamic of how were moving today, she explained.

She joined others in bringing their kids down to the waterfront in peaceful demonstration Saturday afternoon.

Spreading a message not just across the city, but through generations.

I think its just sad that the racism is going around, her daughter Bianca said.

Weve had a lot of negativity out here. And thats been hard to deal with, Saadia added. Were still not getting the support we need. And thats why were still standing here. Were still fighting. This is all a learning lesson.

For their family, coming out isnt just about a single issue.

We have to stop, and its not even about the police at this point either. We have to stop the gun violence against us too. We have to love each other for everybody to love us as well, Saadia explained.

As crowds continued to gather throughout the afternoonat the Four Freedoms monument before marching to the Ford Centerother mothers in the group of hundreds also shared how the last moments of George Floyd brought them out.

Im a momma. Ive got four kids but I have two black grandkids. It just bothers me. He cried for his momma at the end. Its just sad. Its horrible, Melissa Key said.

Saadia Miles, and her daughters, echoed that idea

We wanna live. This is why were here. Thats why my kids are here. We want to live. We want the same respect we give to everybody else, Saadia explained.

as their voices, and that of others from across the city, echoed through the streets.

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Leave the Guns At Home – Flathead Beacon

Posted: at 6:35 am

Opinion | LetterEveryone has a right to their opinion. But brandishing guns crosses the line.

By Ben Long // Jun 21, 2020

As a gun owner and a supporter of both the First (free speech and assembly) and Second Amendment (right to bear arms) of the U.S. Constitution, I was embarrassed and concerned by the Flathead Patriot Guards showing at the Black Lives Matter rally at Depot Park. The presence of armed vigilantes at a peaceful protest is not normal and we should not allow it to become normal.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment allows citizens to defend their homes and businesses with firearms. But it does not allow citizens to form armed vigilante squads. It does not allow armed vigilante squads to intimidate intentionally or not other citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.

The Flathead Patriot Guard told the press that intimidation was not their goal. Their goal, they claimed, was to protect the War Memorial from vandalism. Evidently they felt the need to carry large-capacity, center-fire, semi-automatic weapons to do this. Who are they afraid of? Thoughtful students and concerned citizens armed with cardboard signs?

First off, no one asked for their protection. In a civilized community, we have professionals who are hired to protect public parks and to keep order: police. At the rally, we saw police from city, county and state present. They did their job. The vigilantes were unnecessary and uncalled for.

Second, no rational person can believe that the presence of grim-faced men with ball bats and firearms is neutral. Ive been to Memorial Day vigils and public rallies at Depot Park for 30 years and the atmosphere of this rally was made menacing by the Flathead Patriot Guard. I will take them at their word that this was not their intent, but it was in fact their impact. If I felt anxious as a white male comfortable around firearms, I can only imagine what others, say a black man or indigenous woman, must feel. All Americans have the right to assemble and speak their minds without intimidation. The Flathead Patriot Guard violated that right.

Third, what were they going to do with all this firepower? If someone had wanted to break a window or spray-paint a monument, did they intend to open fire in a crowded park? What mayhem would follow from that action? What kind of mistake an accidental discharge, a backfire, a firecracker would escalate into bloodshed? Would that be worth it?

The premise of these gun hobbyists being capable of quelling some imaginary riot is video-game quality fantasy. If things had turned ugly, they and their weapons would have only made matters worse.

While protesters at the rally were to a person polite and within their rights, they were subjected to obscene taunts and gestures and squealing tires from passersby. That goes with the territory of public rallies. Everyone has a right to their opinion. But brandishing guns crosses the line.

If the Flathead Patriot Guard wants to celebrate their Second Amendment rights and their gun fetishes, they should have their own rally. Meanwhile, they should leave their guns at home. Their Second Amendment rights do not eclipse the First Amendment rights of Americans to gather and speak their minds without fear or intimidation. There is no room for vigilantes in todays Montana.

The right thing for the Flathead Patriot Guard to do is quietly disband or show up with their own signs and flags. Let the professional police do their job. If the Flathead Patriot Guard persists in their irresponsible displays of gun ownership, then our elected representatives need to clarify our laws to keep this behavior out of the bedrock American principle of right to protest.

Ben LongKalispell

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