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Category Archives: Second Amendment

What’s standing in the way of new gun restrictions in Texas? Here are the key players – Times Record News

Posted: October 27, 2019 at 3:22 pm

Lupe Valdez, former Dallas County Sheriff, talks about how easy it is to buy a gun in Texas and what could help curb mass shootings. Lauren Roberts, Times Record News

The National Rifle Association sounds an alarm to drum up new members.

"Our rights are under attack like never before," the group warns on its website.

In hopes of getting Second Amendment enthusiaststo click thered "Join" button andsink $45 into a membership,thepowerfulorganization touts itslobbying arm and political action committee.

The NRA-Institute for Legislative Action -- styled as "Tireless Defenders of your Second Amendment Rights" -- and the NRA Political Victory Fundinvestdollars and othercurrenciesof influence in Austin toblock gun controllegislation andpush for looser laws as do other pro-gun groups.

Former state Sen. Craig Estes already had an A+from the NRA and its independent state affiliate, the Texas State Rifle Association, when pro-gun groups approached him to champion open-carry legislation in the interim beforethe 2015 legislative session.

The letter grades are based on a lawmaker's voting record, his answers to the TSRA-NRA candidate questionnaire and comments that can be verified. The A+ is reserved for bill authors whose legislation passes.

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So the lobbyists knew they were on friendly ground with Estes.

They made a compelling case that citizens ought to have the right to either carry concealed or openly, the Wichita Falls Republican said.

For one thing, most other states allowed some form of open carry for handguns, and carryinglong guns in public was already legal in Texas, Estes said.

And then there was the racial discrimination argument from blacks backing open carry.

"One of the reasons that we had open carry laws was because after the Civil War, emancipated slaves, people did not want them carrying guns. So it was kindof almost a Jim Crow situation," Estes said.

TEXAS SHOOTINGS:Texas remains the state with most mass shooting deaths. What happens now?

The ban on carryinghandguns openly in public dates back to the 1870s, and while whites often skirted the law by claiming the travelers exception, it was enforced more often against blacks, according to a Houston Chronicle article written on the eve of the legislative session in 2015.

In a Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 photo, Terry Holcomb, Executive Director of Texas Carry happily displays his customized holster as he walks to the Capitol for a rally. Open Carry Texas and Texas Carry held a rally on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin to celebrate Texas becoming an open carry state.(Photo: Ralph Barrera)

Estes, who was chairman of the Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee, mulledover the issue during the interim.

The TSTRA had awarded him the Doc Brown Legislator of the Year Award twice, in 2012and 2014, for getting pro-gun legislation passed.

The award is named for the late Dr. James T. Brown, TSRA's lobbyist from 1980 until his retirement in 2003, according to the TSRA's website.

Estes said it was his privilege to be one of the point men in the Senate for the Second Amendment while he was in the state Senate.

He authored the law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2016, making it legal for Texans with a permit to openly carry a holstered handgun.

The lawyers who combed through and crafted thebill's languagelikely drew upon other states' model legislation, which is a common practice, Estes said.

During his 17 years in office, he received $12,175 in donations from the NRA and TSRA PACs and affiliates, according toa Dallas Morning News database.

The NRA and the TSRA are the heavyweights focusedon influencing gun lawsin the Legislature.

Open carry legislation was one of the bills authored by former state Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, that became law during his 17 years in the Legislature. Estes is shown here after results for the Republican primary for state Senate District 30 showed he lost the election to current state Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, in this March 6, 2018, file photo taken at Estes' home.(Photo: Lauren Roberts/Times Record News)

I try to take every organization and individual seriously, Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, said. But I would say the NRA and Texas State Rifle Association are the organizations, unfortunately, that legislators turn to.

Switzer said the pro-gun organizations' real power lies not as much in campaign contributions as in grading lawmakers, having paid staff members and being active with legislation.

They do the whole process of drafting legislation through passing legislation, Switzer said.

Its clear that Texans want gun safety. But instead, we have lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby who dont have the courage to stand up for gun safety.

Molly Bursey, volunteer leader with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said the El Paso and Odessa shootings spurred calls for background checks on all gun sales and red flag laws.

Its clear that Texans want gun safety, Bursey said. But instead, we have lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby who dont have the courage to stand up for gun safety.

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez chalked the lack of movementup to the greed of those profiting from looser gun laws and lawmakersbenefiting from pro-gun political contributions.

"Until we get more people in office who care more about people than their donations, theres not going to be a major change," Valdez said. "Or the public calls out enough."

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez cites lawmakerswho benefit from pro-gun political contributions as one of the reasons for Texas' loose gun laws.(Photo: Lauren Roberts/Times Record News)

On Aug. 3, a white gunman slaughtered 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso. He said he was targeting Mexicans in a city where nearly 85 percent of its residents are Hispanic.Within the same month, Texans were targeted again by amass shooter who used an assault-type gun to kill seven people in the Odessa rampage. He also wounded three police officers in theAug. 31 attack before police killed him.

The next day, Sept. 1, a host of laws went into effect that make it easier to carry guns in schools, churches, disaster zones and elsewhere in the Lone Star state.

Protecting citizens against mass shooters did not factor into Estes'push for open carry more than a decade ago, hesaid.

TEXAS GUN LAWS: What to know about firearm laws in the Lone Star State

Most of the people that are doing that are coming in with a semiautomatic rifle and shooting up the place, Estessaid. The Legislature, as you know, is grappling with those issues in the interim right now.

Estes said open carry has been a success -- not the wild West as feared.

"There were those who had great doubts whether it would be a good thing for Texas, and I think those fears were unfounded," he said.

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But the author of the open-carry lawprefers concealed carry.

"It's just what Ive kind of always done ever since Ive gotten my concealed carry license," he said. "There are occasions where I will openly carry."

His philosophy?"I think thats very appropriate for good people to have guns, either concealed or openly, he said.

He still had an A+ grade and endorsements from both the NRA and the TSRA when he lost the Senate District 30 seat in the March 6, 2018,Republican Primaryto then state Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper.

Here are some of the players expected to stand in the way of gun restrictions in the 87th Legislature to convene in January 2021 or in the unlikely chanceGov. Greg Abbott calls a special session on gun violence in the interim:

In a state of gun lovers, the NRA does not invest heavily in Texas elected officials.

A Dallas Morning News analysis showed the NRA and its independent state affiliate, the TSRA, have dribbled approximately $700,000 into their war chests since 2000. This is in a state with multi-million dollar elections.

For perspective, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has gotten$191,825 from gun rights interests fromhis rise to the Senate in 2002 through 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

NRA and TSRA PACs and affiliates have given $13,700 to Gov. Greg Abbott, according to a Dallas Morning News database. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has received $11,000, and Republican House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has gotten $1,950.

The NRA and TSRA bestowed endorsements and A+ grades on both Abbott and Patrick in the ratings released in 2018, the latest available. Bonnen garnered an A and an endorsement.

The NRA has self-reported a membership of 5.5 million, a membership that spike after mass shootings that give rise to discussions of gun restrictions.

The Texas State Rifle Association, a Bastrop-based organization, was founded in 1919 and callsitself as a protector of the Second Amendment, provider of gun safety training and supporter of competitive shooting, hunter education and wildlife conservation.

The TSRA Political Action Committee provides a voters guide during election season, grading state politicians and endorsing them based on their voting record and efforts pushingforward pro-gun legislation.

The association boasts that it has the states only full-time team of lobbyists for gun rights.

They were featured on the cover of the March-April edition of the TSRA Sportsman among articles on Krav Maga, muzzle loaders and Glock shooting competitions.

The association reaches out in a variety of other ways, too, with publications, a professional staff andinformationon everything from women's programs to shooting ranges.

TEXAS GUN LAWS: What happens when good guys have guns?

The association gets exposure to youth with shooting and education initiatives through the TSRA Foundation, which sponsors youth competitions, trains coaches and holds events to get children started in shooting sports.

The NRA looks tostate affiliates like the TSTRA to carry its pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment messagetostates, as well as deliverthe national group'sprograms and legislative take, and motivate the grassroots to promote NRA programs at the community level, according to the NRA website.

But the state affiliates are independent operators, separate from the NRA but recognized by it, according to the website.

Officially recognized associations like the TSRA can apply for NRA grants to buy office equipment, pay staff, build a website and foot the bill for otheractivities, according to the website.

Tara Mica is the NRA Texas lobbyist. She has been an Austin-based regional lobbyist for the NRA for 24 years, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

In June, Mica told the Dallas Morning News that it was a very good year for pro-gun bills in Texas.

When you get 10 pro-Second Amendment bills to the governor and he signs them all, I would rank it up there with one of the most successful sessions weve had since Ive been doing this, Mica said.

Alice Tripp was the legislative director at TSRA for 21 years and says on her LinkedIn profile that she has been about passing good legislation and stopping bad. Doing it as long as Im able.

The carrot and stick of grades,endorsements and Doc Brown awards is howthe association funnels information directly to where TSRA leadership feel the group'sreal cloutlies.

Our power and influence is our membership, not our money. Thats really what grassroots lobbying is, Alice Tripp, the association's former legislative director,told the Texas Tribune last year.

TSRA has approximately 37,000 members.

Still, the moneyplays its part. PAC checks go first to legislators who push the association's pro-gun bills and hear them in committee, according to Tripp.

She retired Aug. 31 but not before announcing her successor.

Mike Coxof Driftwood is the new legislative director for TSRA. Cox has been a TSRA board member, is a Hill Country cattle rancher and owns Driftwood Concealed Handgun Training.

"I'm a perpetual student of the gun, but mostly in handguns," Cox said in a Guns.com YouTube video.

Cox spent over 20 years in the Middle East working for the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. before returning to the United States.

The lobbyist has attracted the attention of Abbott,who has made a habit of givingthe conservative Republican postson hismany boards and commissions.

The governor reappointedCox tothe Texas Safety Center Board last year for a term. This particular board sends a report to the governor on school safety and security due on Jan. 1 at the beginning of every legislative session.

Abbott most recently gave Coxa spot on the newly formed Texas Safety Commission.

The group is supposed to createa plan tosquelch extremist groups and hate thought,and promote community healing -- while producing legislation to prevent mass shootings and combat domestic terrorism.

Meanwhile, in an Oct. 4 newsletter, Cox urged all TSRA membersto attend a public hearing held by the Texas House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety on Oct. 10 in Farmers Branch.

In a shameless effort to exploit the tragedies in El Paso, Midland and Odessa, gun control advocates have demanded restrictive measures, Cox wrote in a battle cry for the interim between legislative sessions.

Bursey namedOpen Carry Texas as one of the groups that continue to challenge common-sense gun laws.

The group was founded in 2013 by its president, C.J. Grisham. He is a retired Army first sergeant who lives in Temple with his family. Grisham is also the membership director for Self Defense Fund, which sells insurance plans for gun owners legal defense.

Grisham helped lead the charge to persuade Estes to author thelegislation that swept aside the prohibition on open carry of handguns.

Mission accomplished, the groupshifted its focus to constitutional carry, whichwould allow Texans to carry a gun without any kind of gun license at all. Law enforcement frowns mightily upon this proposal.

The Texas Municipal Police Association does not support constitutional carry and considers it mislabeled, Kevin Lawrence, TMPA executive director, said.

Particularly disliked is aprovision prohibiting law enforcement officers from approaching someone to ask if he or sheis legally carrying a gun -- which is part of a police officer's job, Lawrence said.

Open Carry Texas does not appear to be a membership organization but does accept recurring donations.

Part of the group's mission is "to educate all Texans about their right to openly carry rifles and shotguns in a safe manner" and "condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them," according to the bio on its blog.

The blog's latest post addresses, "Why Your Old Gun Will Always Stay in Fashion."

It was unclear this month why the group's @OpenCarryTexas Twitter account has been suspended. The social media platformnoted on the profile that it suspends accounts that violate the Twitter rules.

Founded in 1975, the group represents the views of gun owners whenever their rights are threatened, according to its website.

Rachel Malone is the Austin-based Texas director for GOA, focused on lobbying the Legislature. She started another group in 2002, Texas Firearms Freedom, to promote constitutional carry. She was formerly operations director for the Republican party of Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has long used his top NRA grade as an electionselling point, tweeting about supporting "gun rights"before the 2014 gubernatorial election.(Photo: Annie Rice/Caller-Times)

Abbott has been known as a pro-gun governor. In keeping with that, he used the power of the veto to squash House Bill 1168 in June.

The measure would have made it illegal to have a gun in secure airport areas. In his veto statement, he said the bill, perhaps unintentionally, would prohibit carrying in any part of an airport terminal building.

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UK Terror Serves as a Warning to United States: Protect The 2nd Amendment! – Newstalk1290

Posted: at 3:22 pm

A story shared by Breitbart News over the weekend should serve as a warning to Americans; our right to keep and bear arms must be preserved at all costs. These kinds of stories seem to be all over Europe and especially Great Britain. Britain, sadly, may already be lost forever, largely due to the ignorance of their leadership.

The story of a horrific attack by 20 armed thugs left one young man with a nearly severed hand and another with ax wounds to his chest that left him with a collapsed lung. The only weapon the victims had was a chainsaw. British law prohibits citizens from being armed. Similar gangs of thugs have also been linked to rapes in Britain.

Though the story does not say this specifically, one can conclude that the attackers are most likely Muslim. They were not charged with a hate crime, despite calling the victims 'white bastards'. Put the shoe on the other foot and a hate crime charge would have been filed. The level of cowardice in all of this is mind boggling.

Attacks like this are less likely in the United States because you and I have a constitutionally protected right to be sufficiently armed. There are only a few limitations placed on us when it comes to possessing a firearm and fairly strict rules already in place to govern when and how we can exercise deadly force.

Your Second Amendment rights are more about restraining and limiting government than anything else. But that right extends to self protection and defense. This story serves to show why we must, at all costs, resist any attempts by any political faction in this country to curtail our gun rights. Otherwise, we run the risk of seeing this kind of horror played out in cities all across America.

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UK Terror Serves as a Warning to United States: Protect The 2nd Amendment! - Newstalk1290

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Van Ens: Hit the Second Amendment’s bull’s-eye – Vail Daily News

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 4:45 am

Ask a U.S. citizen what the Second Amendment stands for. Some respond this amendment protects an individuals right to carry a gun. Like a shooter who misses the target, they are confused as to the amendments scope and intent.

Historically, the Second Amendment safeguards the citizens right through the states efforts to recruit armed militias that defend our nation. In 1939, Robert H. Jackson, who served as President Franklin Delano Roosevelts solicitor general, maintained the Second Amendment is restricted to the keeping and bearing of arms by the people collectively for their common defense and security. Robert Bork, President Ronald Reagans nominee for the Supreme Court in 1989, then agreed, saying this amendment works to guarantee the right of states to form militia, not for individuals to bear arms. On target, Bork later missed the mark as to what the Second Amendment allows.

Granted, its stilted expression blurs the amendments meaning. It reads: A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Constitutional framers were wary of growing a federal government that usurped the rights of states to defend themselves. Consequently, the federal army remained small. When President Thomas Jefferson left office in 1809, federal troops numbered a little more than 12,000. Most patrolled the western frontier, consisting of territories east of the Mississippi River, which included the Ohio River Valley. There Native Americans fought encroaching white pioneers. Federal troops protected white settlers who headed West through the Cumberland Water Gap.

Whena foreign adversary attacked the U.S., colonials assumed states had the rightto raise volunteer militias to defend the nation. States fiercely protectedtheir rights to draft, fund and provide leaders for local militias.

Statesexpressed slight, if any, concern about the federal government infringing oncitizens by denying them the right to carry a gun. The colonial U.S. was an agriculturaleconomy. Farmers hunted game to supplement harvested crops. Children 10 yearsand older fired muskets to kill deer while their parents worked the land. ThomasJefferson shared the cultural assumption that the U.S. would prosper with10-year-olds trained to fire muskets.

Historian Garry Wills pointed out that the Second Amendment had everything to do with the common defense and nothing to do with hunting: One does not bear arms against a rabbit.

Since the 1970s, the National Rifle Association has turned the Second Amendments meaning on its head. It cleverly treats the opening to the amendment about arming militias as a preface to its alleged main punchline: every citizen has the right to carry a gun.

The NRAs grammatical hatchet separates the amendments two clauses. The second clause is wrongly elevated about alleged gun rights, casting aside state militias right to bear arms.

When the NRA kept its national headquarters in Washington D.C. instead of moving to Colorado Springs in the late 1970s, it placed a motto on its headquarters doors, making muddy the Second Amendments original meaning. The NRA separated the second clause from the first in its motto posted on the door: The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed.

Historian Jill Lepore traces the NRAs slippery slide to reshape the Second Amendment. In 1982, Utahs Republican Senator Orin Hatch headed the Judiciary Committee that passed a report: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Hatchs committee spun a convoluted constitutional argument thats off-target. What the Subcommittee [Hatch chaired] on the Constitution uncovered was clear and long lost proof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for the protection of himself, the family, and his freedoms, scoffs historian Lepore, who rejects this faulty historical reading.

Many conservative citizens accept this unconventional interpretation of an alleged older, long-lost interpretation of the constitutions original meaning regarding their gun rights. Evangelicals tend to oppose restrictions on gun ownership, reported NBC News on September 4, 2019, and prefer having guns in the hands of good guys, schoolteachers, security guards and law-abiding citizens.

The NRA stacked the deck with handpicked pundits to support their false claim. Of twenty-seven law review articles published between 1970 and 1989 that were favorable to the NRAs interpretation of the Second Amendment, reports historian Lepore, at least 19 were written by authors employed or represented by the NRA or other gun groups.

The NRA violates the Second Amendments original intent: the right of states to arm their militias.

The Rev. Dr. Jack R. Van Ens is a Presbyterian minister who heads the nonprofit, tax-exempt Creative Growth Ministries (www.thelivinghistory.com), which enhances Christian worship through dynamic storytelling and dramatic presentations aimed to make Gods history come alive.

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Why Don’t People and Vogue Celebrate the Second Amendment? – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

Posted: at 4:45 am

Why Don't People and Vogue Celebrate the Second Amendment? iStock-1145895496

United States/United Kingdom -(AmmoLand.com)-When we talk about the need for the NRA to get involved in cultural engagement in order to establish a pro-Second Amendment culture, some might question the need. After all, Hollywoods bias is well known, its arguably baked into the planning many Second Amendment supporters have. But this will matter a lot even if correction, especially if the Supreme Court case on New York City gun regulations ends up with a favorable ruling.

Why? Think of it this way: In America, while the Constitution protects our God-given rights, the people still rule. The First Amendment not only protects the right of Second Amendment supporters to defend our freedoms, it also protects the right of anti-Second Amendment extremists to encourage the American people to throw out pro-Second Amendment elected officials and replace them with anti-Second Amendment extremists. And we need not kid ourselves: Anti-Second Amendment extremists have been running an incredibly effective long game against our right to keep and bear arms, one that is a full-spectrum fight that includes wielding pop culture against us.

One way is through those magazines you often see in the supermarket, either in the checkout aisle, or where others are stored. Two that blatantly snubbed women who support the Second Amendment in issues celebrating women who made a difference are People and the British edition of Vogue, the latter guest-edited by Meghan Markle.

But in those two magazines, we saw three anti-Second Amendment presidential candidates, a prime minister who inflicted an injustice on thousands of people in her country (when people are wrongly punished via having their legally-owned property confiscated over a shooting they did not carry out, an injustice has taken place), and a major media mogul who supported the extreme anti-Second Amendment group March 4 Our Lives. Excluded? Women who support our right to keep and bear arms.

No talk of Dana Loesch, who has defended the Second Amendment despite becoming a target for vicious slurs and worse. What about Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who turned into an activist for our rights after her parents died in a mass shooting? There are countless other women who gave stood for the Second Amendment and have a great deal of accomplishment to their names, including former NRA President Marion Hammer, former NRA-ILA Executive Director Tanya Metaksa, and even NRA board members like Susan Howard or Sandra Froman (another former NRA President). People and Vogue dont even mention them.

You may wonder why we should care about a magazine from the supermarket checkout aisle, or a publication devoted to fashion. Well, when they are leveraged to attack our rights, we need to care. Worse, these magazines have wide circulation. Between its English and Spanish versions, People reaches almost four million people a week. The American edition of Vogue reaches about 1.2 million. American Rifleman comes in at 1.85 million, or less than half that of People. Vogue has a larger circulation than either American Hunter (929,000) or Americas First Freedom (roughly 630,000).

People, incidentally, will also get mentioned in other news outlets and it sits in the waiting rooms of doctors offices so the four million figure is probably low. Vogue also will crop up in those waiting rooms. American Rifleman? Not so much these days.

Finally, who reads those magazines? Well, much of that readership comes from the suburbs. One admitted success that anti-Second Amendment extremists like Michael Bloomberg have achieved is that they are doing well among suburban women the proverbial soccer moms precisely because they have them so scared of their kids school being the location of the next mass shooting that they dont consider the facts.

Plus, look at who often turns up as the subjects of those magazines Hollywoods A-list. Say what you will, but the writers are good storytellers, and while the actors and actresses are often against our rights, we should not dismiss their ability to help along a narrative that makes Second Amendment supporters resisting the injustices like those that Beto ORourke wishes to inflict on us as the villains.

People and Vogue will be two of the venues used to spread that narrative. The NRA and other pro-Second Amendment groups are going to need to adjust to this new type of threat, and that will require changes. It will be very important for Second Amendment supporters to be mindful of how their approach in defense of our freedoms comes across, and to use the right techniques to convince our fellow Americans that the narrative that anti-Second Amendment extremists are presenting is phonier than a red carpet smile, instead of reinforcing the phony narrative.

About Harold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.

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Gun advocates seek ‘friend’ to take over Fish and Game – The Union Leader

Posted: at 4:45 am

Gun Owners of America State Director Alan Rice has often clashed with Fish and Game officials. Here he testifies at a legislative hearing against the agency while Col. Kevin Jordan, right, listens in. (Courtesy Photo)

CONCORD Gun rights advocates who condemned as anti-Second Amendment the outgoing Fish and Game director are urging Gov. Chris Sununu to nominate a pro-gun replacement.

The state chapter of Gun Owners of America, along with gun rights leader and state Rep. John Burt, R-Goffstown, celebrated the Fish and Game Commissions recent decision to oppose a third four-year term for Director Glenn Normandeau.

They maintain that Normandeau, the second-longest-serving administrator in the agencys history, opposed every attempt to relax gun regulations. They say those efforts included repealing the law requiring a permit to carry a concealed gun, and unsuccessful bills to eliminate the need for a license for pistols or allow riders to carry guns on snowmobiles.

The anti-gun activism is coming from the top. New Hampshire Fish and Game needs a strong leader who respects and reveres the Constitution and doesnt break faith with the taxpayers of New Hampshire who fund the department with state tax dollars, Burt said. The department needs to stop advocating for gun control since the department receives close to $500,000 per year of federal gun tax monies.

For nearly 90 years, Fish and Game has received Pittman-Robertson Act dollars from a 10% federal tax on handguns and an 11% tax on shotguns and ammunition.

Rep. Mark Proulx, R-Manchester, is still angry that the agency opposed his bill several years ago to end the prohibition against motorists carrying loaded guns in cars and trucks.

Normandeau has pushed against the Second Amendment across the board. It boggles my mind how you have someone against firearms running Fish and Game. It is time for a change, Proulx said.

State Rep. Daniel Eaton, D-Stoddard, has worked with Normandeau throughout his career. Eaton praised Normandeau as someone who could work with opposing factions, from those seeking fewer restrictions on guns to others who want to license all guns or even ban private ownership outright.

(In) no place in the description of the Fish and Game Department does it say that the executive director is to be a gun activist. Quite the contrary, the job of Fish and Game is to provide for the safe use of firearms, said Eaton, who is entering his 30th year in the Legislature and is a retired police chief in his hometown.

Eaton maintains that regardless of his personal views, Normandeau has been an impartial arbitrator.

He is anything but anti-gun. I have seen him in events off campus when hes not on the job and hes very supportive of the rights gun owners have, he said.

Impartial arbiter or gun control promoter?

Alan Rice, state director of GOA-NH, claims Normandeau has acted as if he represents Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group founded by shooting victim and former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

We are urging the governor to appoint a director who is not a lobbyist for gun control as if hes working for the Giffords Group, he said.

Rice has often tangled with Fish and Game officials. He once told Col. Kevin Jordan, chief of Fish and Games Law Enforcement Division, that he would not hesitate to use a gun to shoot a deer during bow hunting season.

Even the popular television series North Woods Law stoked the activists ire, with Rice decrying how Fish and Game conservation officers were depicted in interviewing suspected scofflaws without providing proper Miranda warnings and allegedly committing other civil liberty violations.

Two studies out this week offer compelling insights into guns in New Hampshire and complicate the politics surrounding them. While the state ranks in the top 10 per capita in gun ownership, it is one of the nations least violent states, including having the lowest gun-involved murder rate.

This state is more pro-gun than ever, said Mike Hammond, general counsel to GOA-NH and a former congressional candidate from Dunbarton.

Outgoing Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau fired back at gun advocates who maintain hes been anti-Second Amendment during his long tenure. The Fish and Game Commission voted in secret not to recommend a third, four-year term for Normandeau.

I think people who think its good politics to run a lot of anti-gun legislation up the flagpole in Concord have been fooling themselves. Gun owners here have been fat, dumb and happy and not worried about anyone taking their guns, Hammond said.

Normandeau said his mandate is simply to enforce the laws and monitor any changes that affect them.

Mr. Rice, et al, clearly dont know how things work, he said, citing the duties of the commission.

The two issues of significance causing concern were public safety and poaching. The deliberations of the commission, as well as the votes, on these issues were all done in public. I do not recall Mr. Rice or Mr. Hammond ever appearing at a commission meeting to bring their comments to the commissioners or myself and the staff.

I do not believe I have ever met either one of them, Normandeau said.

AG says commission exceeded its authority

In June 2017, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald issued a memo to the commission warning it had exceeded its authority by coming out against a bill to repeal a license to own a pistol or revolver and to make it legal to carry a loaded pistol in a car (SB 12).

In summary, the Legislature directed the commission to establish positions on proposed legislation. However, that legislation is limited to the commissions presumably unique expertise in matters relating to fish, wildlife and marine resources as defined by statute as well as overall department management, MacDonald wrote. Firearms is not one of the enumerated subject matters.

In the memo, MacDonald rejected the commissions defense that it acted because the bill could somehow relate to shotguns, which come under Fish and Game regulation.

It is the position of this office that SB 12 has no effect on existing law with respect to loaded rifles and shotguns, MacDonald wrote.

A group of gun advocates attacked the outgoing director of the Fish and Game Commission and urged Gov. Chris Sununu to make sure a "pro-gun" nominee replaces him when the incumbent's term ends in March. (Courtesy Photo)

Not all gun advocates share Rices negative view of Normandeaus tenure.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Clegg is a lobbyist and president of Pro-Gun NH, but hes often at odds with Rices views.

Its not a gun issue; its a hate issue, Clegg said. The idea a gun group would interfere in the commissions work is ridiculous. Alan Rice opposes all the changes we were able to get into Fish and Game laws.

State Rep. Katherine Rogers, D-Concord, and a former Merrimack County attorney, wrote two of the four gun control measures that Sununu vetoed last spring.

This attack is insane. The Fish and Game Department is the only agency that doesnt have a commissioner but a director that gets jerked around by this politically-appointed commission, Rogers said.

It is already tilted and skewed to people who want to go out and hunt. I do not want to grab their guns; I hardly have room for my dogs toys, she said.

Rogers believes the governor appreciates that firearms are just one facet of Fish and Games mission.

I have fought with the governor on these issues, but I think he understands the job of Fish and Game is about more than a gun, Rogers said.

Rather than Second Amendment loyalty I want to know, does the next director have a background in marine biology, eco-tourism, hiking trails, the green economy, she said. Frankly all of these will have more to do with the success or failure of that agency going forward than what the NRA wants.

As for Rice, he intends to remain a vigilant guardian of gun freedoms in New Hampshire.

When wildlife managers decide they are going to stray from managing wildlife and get into issues of gun safety and freedoms, thats when we have to step in, he said.

Rep. Ellen Read, D-Newmarket, is working on a 2020 bill to reorganize the agency.

Sununus office did not respond to a request for comment.

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2020 Dem candidate opposes mandatory gun buybacks not because of the 2nd Amendment, but because of police brutality – TheBlaze

Posted: at 4:45 am

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro opposed the mandatory gun buyback program proposed by rival Beto O'Rourkebut it's not because he believes it violates the Second Amendment.

Instead, the former Obama administration official pointed to the recent killing of Atatiana Jefferson by a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, to demonstrate that he wouldn't want to create more scenarios in which police are going to people's homes. And the only way for a "buyback" to be truly "mandatory" is if officers are going door-to-door to get the guns.

"There are two problems I have with mandatory buybacks," Castro said during Tuesday night's Democratic debate. "No. 1, folks can't define it, and if you're not going door-to-door then it's not really mandatory. But also, in the places that I grew up in, we weren't exactly looking for another reason for cops to come banging on the door."

Castro went on to summarize the Jefferson story, explaining how she was fatally shot by a police officer who came to her home after a neighbor called the nonemergency line to have someone check on her.

"I am not going to give these police officers another reason to go door-to-door in certain communities," Castro said. "Because police violence is also gun violence, and we need to address that."

Castro was responding to O'Rourke's advocacy of "mandatory buybacks," which is the term of choice for Democrats instead of "confiscation." O'Rourke said that people who don't comply with the mandatory buybacks can expect to get a visit from the police. Meaning people who don't want to sell their guns to the government will have them taken by force.

Although Castro is approaching it from a different perspective, his overall point is something that many on the right agree with: If you send police officers to people's homes to take their guns, there are likely to be some violent consequences.

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Sturbridge gun rights advocate is Blogger of the Year – Worcester Telegram

Posted: at 4:45 am

By Kylie Chisholm, Special to the Telegram and Gazette

ThursdayOct17,2019at7:12PMOct17,2019at8:05PM

STURBRIDGE - A Sturbridge man is making his mark in the gun community with his YouTube series "Riding Shotgun with Charlie."

Charlie Cook was inspired by shows like "Carpool Karaoke" and "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" when he started his series. Cook wanted to talk to locals in the gun community from the comfort of his own vehicle and started making videos doing just that.

Cook interviewed a friend whose story was featured in the book "Lessons from Unarmed America" by Mark Walters and Rob Pincus. Walters connected Cook to the Second Amendment Foundation, an organization dedicated to educating people about the constitutional right to bear arms and the gun control debate.

"I was given the opportunity to speak at the Gun Rights Policy Conference for the past four years," said Cook. The Second Amendment Foundation has hosted the conference annually for 34 years.

Cook was presented with the Blogger of the Year award at this year's conference, last month in Phoenix. This was the first year the award extended to video bloggers, known as vloggers.

The conference had more than 1,100 attendees and 90 speakers. Cook said the panels covered a variety of perspectives on gun safety and gun laws.

Cook posts his content to a variety of platforms. His videos are posted to his YouTube and Facebook pages, and the audio is posted as podcasts available from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, IHeart Radio and Google Play.

Attending national conferences has allowed Mr. Cook to interview people across the country. He said at this year's Gun Rights Policy Conference he interviewed several people for the series during his time in Phoenix.

Since starting the show, Cook said, he is amazed at how generous the community has been to him.

"The people I have met doing this are the greatest people," said Cook. He said his guests are always willing to help and share their stories about why they are pro-gun activists.

Cook hopes to spend next summer traveling across the country interviewing people for the series. He also works as a firearm instructor in Massachusetts.

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The art of the boast: Trump’s a master – Star Tribune

Posted: at 4:45 am

WASHINGTON It's never just a deal.

President Donald Trump's penchant for overselling his accomplishments has been on vivid display in recent days as he hailed his Syria cease-fire as a boon for civilization and claimed his trade agreement with China was the biggest ever. The economy is the "greatest" ''in the history of our Country," the military is the "most powerful" it has ever been, regulations have been cut at record rates, and, in his telling, America is "winning, winning, winning" like never before.

Trump has been a master of the art of exaggeration for decades, as he famously explained in his 1987 book, "The Art of the Deal."

"People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular," he wrote. "I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion."

A search of Trump's Twitter feed turns up more than 1,200 mentions of the words "biggest," ''best" and "smartest."

Critics, for their part, accuse him of creating problems in order to solve them essentially setting fires and then demanding credit for putting them out.

Here's a look at some recent inflated claims.

THS SYRIA CEASE-FIRE

Trump made big news Thursday when he announced that Vice President Mike Pence and other top administration officials had secured a five-day cease-fire deal with Turkey in northeast Syria something Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said he wouldn't do.

Trump quickly took credit, insisting his "unconventional approach" including a pullback of U.S. troops that paved the way for a Turkish invasion targeting Syrian Kurds was responsible.

Rather than bemoaning the loss of life that resulted, Trump spent much of Thursday minimizing the carnage and hailing the deal in epic proportions.

"It's really a great day for civilization," Trump said. He insisted that because of his intervention, "millions of lives will be saved."

"What Turkey is getting now is they're not going to have to kill millions of people, and millions of people aren't going to have to kill them," Trump said. In all, over the more than eight years of Syria's devastating civil war, hundreds of thousands have been killed.

__

THE CHINA DEAL

Trump last week announced with great fanfare a reprieve in the U.S.-China trade war that has resulted in tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of goods.

"The deal I just made with China is, by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country," Trump tweeted the day after. "In fact, there is a question as to whether or not this much product can be produced? Our farmers will figure it out. Thank you China!"

But despite his big talk, there is much left to be done, with many details to be determined and no documents signed. And some of the thorniest issues such as U.S. allegations that China forces foreign companies to hand over trade secrets and a major dispute over the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei were dealt with only partially, or not at all, and will require further talks.

"The president is acting as if a lot of Chinese concessions have been nailed down, and they just haven't," said Derek Scissors, a China specialist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

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CRITICIZING DEMOCRATS

Plenty of politicians criticize their rivals for having a bad idea or pushing ill-conceived policies. Trump paints them as an existential threat to the Republic and democracy. Throughout the 2016 campaign, the 2018 midterms and at his recent rallies, Trump has demonized Democrats as the enemy, claiming Thursday that they are out to "destroy America as we know it."

"At stake in this fight is the survival of American democracy itself," he told the crowd at a Dallas campaign rally. "I don't believe anymore that they love our country."

He warns the stock market will crash if he loses, and says Democrats want to destroy health care and repeal the Second Amendment.

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HIS CROWD SIZE

Trump's exaggerations of his crowd sizes are well documented. On Thursday night he offered a doozy.

"So outside, they have close to 30,000 people," he reported to the enthusiastic crowd. Then he asked local officials whether they might be able to "fill up this little area, let 'em in. It would be so nice."

"You know they have a certain max," he added. "We broke the record tonight."

Tamika Dameron, a public information officer with the Dallas Police Department, said that wasn't even close.

The Dallas Fire-Rescue Department and American Airlines Center calculated the total number inside was 18,500, less than the 20,000 or so capacity of the arena, and said there were "about 5,000 on the outside."

During the Mavericks 2011 NBA Finals series, the highest attendance at the American Airlines Center was 20,433.

__

Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg and Stephen Hawkins in Dallas contributed to this report.

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

Posted: October 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marianne Preger-Simon

Whately

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Opinion: What the gun lobby gets wrong about the 2nd Amendment – Los Angeles Times

Posted: at 5:39 pm

The Supreme Court will hear a gun control case in December that could significantly limit the ability of state and local governments to regulate guns for public safety reasons.

The case involves a New York City regulation on transporting handguns that was repealed in July. Although that original rule is no longer in effect, for now the court has not determined the matter to be moot, so the case will move forward.

In this dispute and others, opposition to gun regulations is often grounded on the premise that once an individual interest is identified as a fundamental right, that interest prevails over all countervailing public concerns.

That premise is profoundly mistaken. And, importantly, it is inconsistent with the way that constitutional doctrine has developed with other fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Second Amendment rights should be treated no more favorably, despite the political rhetoric of gun rights supporters who claim that any firearm regulation is an unconstitutional infringement on their rights.

Of course, a constitutional right does carry with it a strong presumption against government interference with that particular activity, even though the exercise of the right involves a societal cost. We protect freedom of religion, for example, even though we know that some religious practices like pulling children out of school after the eighth grade might be considered problematic or harmful.

But there is a critical difference between assigning a high value to a constitutional right when balancing it against social concerns, and arguing that the right necessarily overrides the publics ability to regulate that activity in ways that may be needed to protect the community.

The doctrine surrounding freedom of speech is instructive. No one doubts that speech rights are taken seriously in America. Yet the right to free speech is not absolute and can be regulated in numerous circumstances. Courts subject government regulations that affect speech to different standards of review that balance the publics interest against the individuals liberty. Among factors considered are the kind of speech involved and the location and manner of the restriction.

For example, a ban on rallies on public streets in residential neighborhoods after 9 p.m. would likely be upheld even though it burdens speech, so long as the law did not discriminate based on the message rally speakers expressed.

So too with protections for personal privacy under the 4th Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. That amendment doesnt bar all searches and seizures, but instead requires that such intrusions be reasonable, a concept that inherently involves some kind of balancing of interests. Hence, we all must endure airport security screening searches because they are a reasonable means to protect air travel safety.

The individual right to bear arms for self-defense, as announced by the Supreme Court in 2008, is likewise not unlimited. Even though the court in that case struck down a flat ban on possession of handguns that might be used for self-defense in peoples homes, it observed that states could for historical and public-policy safety reasons prohibit people with felony convictions or people with mental illness from possessing guns, demonstrating that the very scope of the 2nd Amendments protection takes account of countervailing public objectives. For instance, some states require that gun owners keep their firearms locked up if there are children living in the home, even though gun owners might prefer easier access to firearms for self-defense.

Or consider the contours of self-defense itself. A 2nd Amendment right to keep guns for self-defense does not eliminate the need for society to think about how guns should be responsibly employed, even in self-defense situations. If someone uses a gun purportedly for self-defense purposes and kills another person, the 2nd Amendment does not preclude an evaluation of whether the alleged threat was sufficient to justify the use of deadly force or whether the killing involved excessive force because reasonable non-lethal alternatives were available for the shooter to defend himself.

The national debate now has focused on proposed regulations such as background checks and assault weapons bans. Whether specific measures would be permissible under the Constitution depends on their particulars, but the big point is that particulars matter.

In evaluating gun control regulations, its legitimate to take into account the social harms and risks arising from individuals keeping, bearing and using firearms. Constitutional analysis of the 2nd Amendment, as with other fundamental rights, requires some kind of balancing of interests, which includes considering the states need to promote public safety.

Vikram D. Amar is dean and professor of law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Alan E. Brownstein is professor of law at the UC Davis School of Law.

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