Archive for the ‘Second Amendment’ Category
Spring brings new hope to just about everyone. Everyone but gun control advocates, it seems. Based on this article, it sounds like gun control advocates are having a miserable spring:
Rural Democrats’ opposition to changing Minnesota’s gun laws casts doubt on what legislation, if any, will pass this year to tackle gun violence.
A group of at least eight Democrats from outstate Minnesota are standing firm against virtually any expansion of the state’s background check system. Together with Republicans, who need just six votes from across the aisle to block a bill, those Democrats hold the keys to shape, or sink, any gun legislation.
Bills to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines in Minnesota were quickly dropped, and an effort to impose universal background checks for gun sales was whittled down in the House to a bill that would close the so-called gun show loophole.
Advocates and lawmakers backing gun control measures acknowledge the possibility that even that bill won’t pass. Senate legislation for universal background checks is in limbo as top Democrats there wait to see what happens in the House.
The St. Paul Democrat who led an unsuccessful push to impose universal background checks on gun sales hopes a bill will hit the House floor for debate in the next two weeks. House Speaker Paul Thissen wouldn’t guarantee they’ll take up a gun bill this session, but said he wants to have the debate.
When the Newtown tragedy happened, gun control advocates stepped forward, saying that this was the best chance they’d ever get to pass sweeping gun control legislation. That’s true. If they couldn’t pass sweeping gun control legislation after that, they’d never pass sweeping gun control legislation.
Now that this coalition of rural DFL legislators and GOP legislators has formed, the gun control advocates are staring at another humiliating defeat. This is a major defeat for Speaker Thissen, Rep. Hausman and Rep. Paymar, especially Speaker Thissen. His inability to keep his caucus together on this issue indicates his agenda isn’t Minnesota’s agenda. Rather, it says that the metro DFL’s agenda is significantly different than the rest of the state.
Gabby Giffords’ NYTimes op-ed is disheartening because it’s based mostly on emotional blackmail. Here’s a perfect example of her emotional blackmail:
SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.
Thankfully, Charles Krauthammer’s reply puts things in proper perspective :
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The question is: Would it have had any effect on Newtown? If you’re going to make all these emotional appeals — he’s saying you’re betraying the families — you’ve got to show how if this had been law it would’ve stopped Newtown. It would not have. It’s irrelevant.
I wouldn’t have objected, I might’ve gone the way of McCain or Toomey on this, but it’s a kind of emotional blackmail as a way of saying, ‘You have to do it for the children.’ Not if there’s no logic in this. And that I think is what’s wrong with the demagoguery that we’ve heard out of the president on this issue. (Special Report, April 17, 2013)
The Manchin-Toomey Amendment wouldn’t have prevented the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT or Aurora, CO. The Manchin-Toomey Amendment was the last part of President Obama’s sweeping gun control legislation still left standing.
The rest of the Obama-Feinstein bill went up in flames because people noticed that the Obama-Feinstein bill wouldn’t have prevented these shootings. For once, the American people insisted on genuine solutions to real problems. They rejected the Democrats’ surely-we-must-do-something legislating style.
The American people said that we don’t have to do something if it isn’t a solution. Doing something for the sake of doing something is mostly about people feeling guilty.
Here’s more from Ms. Giffords’ diatribe:
Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.
Expanded background checks wouldn’t have prevented Newtown. It wouldn’t have prevented the Tuscon shooting. Both shooters, Adam Lanza and Jared Loughner, had mental health issues.
Rather than focusing on mental health issues, the gun confiscation crowd focused on confiscating guns:
The governor then laid out several ideas for how the state would enforce stricter laws on those so-called “assault” weapons: “Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it,” he said.
Dianne Feinstein attempted to use the same emotional blackmail in justifying her legislation. Thankfully, Sen. Cruz, (R-TX), stopped that emotional blackmail dead in its tracks. Sen. Feinstein attempted to justify her gun confiscation legislation by talking about seeing a mayor shot down.
Horrific events don’t give people permission to ignore the Bill of Rights. Apparently, Sen. Feinstein and Ms. Giffords don’t agree with that principle. Their approach is to ignore the Constitution that they took an oath to uphold. Finally, this is disgusting:
Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo, desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation, to go on.
Shame on Ms. Giffords. The “gun lobby” that she’s decrying are mostly made up of ordinary citizens paying $35 a year for membership. These aren’t high-powered K Street lobbyists. They’re your neighbors and co-workers.
As for “the wrong these senators have done,” they voted against an amendment that wouldn’t have solved any problems. God help us if we think voting no on amendments that don’t solve problems is a wrong that needs correcting.
Tags: Gabby Giffords, Dianne Feinstein, Emotional Blackmail, Andrew Cuomo, Gun Confiscation, Jared Loughner, Adam Lanza, Newtown Massacre, Mental Health, Democrats, Second Amendment, Ted Cruz, NRA, Bill of Rights, Constitution
Thursday night, I was flipping through the channels at about 10:30. Lou Dobbs was discussing gun violence with Bill O’Reilly so I thought I’d take a moment to hear what they’d have to say.
O’Reilly said that background checks were good but that it was necessary for legal gun owners to register guns. Then he said something that frightened me and angered Dobbs. O’Reilly said that there should be a law that gave a 10 year mandatory sentence to people who didn’t register their guns. Here’s O’Reilly’s explanation/’justification’ for his law:
O’REILLY: But if you had the registration and the cops went out and stopped and frisked and grabbed the gun, that’s a 10 year penalty.
Later, he said that this would be done as a preventative measure. There’s just one sticky problem with O’Reilly’s law. It’s unconstitutional. The first time it got challenged in the Supreme Court, it’d be ruled unconstitutional with a near-unanimous vote. The Fourth Amendment prohibits searches of this kind. Here’s the text of the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I’m not a constitutional attorney but I’d argue that requiring probable cause to be proven prohibits ‘preventative searches’.
Imagine police being able to search a person without obtaining a warrant. Without the Fourth Amendment’s protections, law officers would be able to go anywhere and search for anything at any time for any reason. That isn’t American. That’s what Third World dictators do in a police state. It’s what they did in the former Soviet Union or Saddam’s Iraq. It’s what they’re doing in China and North Korea.
I don’t doubt that Mr. O’Reilly’s intentions are sincere. There’s no question in my mind that he genuinely wants to protect children from gun violence. That said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. O’Reilly is a reactionary. He doesn’t think things through. It isn’t likely that he ever will.
Democrats defensively say that they’re defending the Second Amendment but that isn’t the truth. If they were, they wouldn’t make the statements like this:
“What is the inconvenience? What are we doing? What are we doing to impact on a gun owners’ right if he only has a clip with ten rounds in it instead of 30 rounds in it?” he asked.
The true test of whether Democrats are advocates of a citizen’s right to protect himself, his family or his business is whether they’ll fight for Chicago shopkeepers’ rights to protect themselves with a handgun. Unless they’re willing to tell fanatics like Rahm Emanuel, Michael Bloomberg, John Hickenlooper and Andrew Cuomo that their policies are anti-constitutional and dangerous, then Democrats shouldn’t be given credibility during Second Amendment conversations.
I’m not interested in finding ‘common ground’ with Constitution-hating zealots like Andrew Cuomo or Rahm Emanuel. Politicians like them are far beyond the mainstream on the Second Amendment. If they want to admit that they’ve been wrong about the Second Amendment and that they’re changing their position by 180 degrees, then there’s room to talk. If they aren’t willing to change their position, there isn’t much to talk about.
Columnist John Cass has written a column about a disturbing incident in Chicago. Here’s the video that’s going viral:
Kass’s column got my blood boiling. This is what got me started:
The video, posted by the Tribune’s Breaking News Center, shows in vivid and frightening detail how armed thugs robbed a gift and sports store Tuesday in the Logan Square neighborhood.
You can see the gunman demand the money. You see the store owner’s brother-in-law with a gun to his head. You see the shots being fired, and the bat wielded by a wounded and desperate Luis Quizhpe, the 62-year-old proprietor who fought for his life.
That’s what got me started but this is what’s got me seeing red:
On Wednesday we called Roderick Drew, spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Law Department, who told us that store owners are prohibited from carrying handguns.
“A business owner can register a long gun (rifle or shotgun) for their fixed place of business, but it has to stay on the premises,” Drew said. “The business owner cannot register or bring a handgun to his place of business. The only place a person can lawfully have a handgun is the home.”
Chicago’s and Illinois’ royalty are protected but shop owners are without protection. Rahm Emanuel is part of that royalty. He’s protected. Mr. Quizhpe isn’t part of that royalty. He was shot. Repeatedly. If Mr. Quizhpe had used a handgun to defend himself, there’s little doubt that Emanuel would’ve had him arrested and prosecuted.
During the Clinton administration, President Clinton talked about “people that work hard and played by the rules.” He suggested that he’d fight for them. In Emanuel’s Chicago, “people that work hard and play by the rules” get shot while the city turns a blind eye towards the victims:
Quizhpe said he’s considering selling the store his family has run for decades.
“I’ve been thinking about selling everything off and changing my business,” he said. “The reality is, with everything going on, it’s difficult to put myself and my family in danger.”
Democrats frequently talk about hunting when the conversation turns to the Second Amendment. That isn’t what the Second Amendment is about. It’s about the right of the citizenry to protect themselves from criminals and tyrant politicians like Emanuel. Chicago is doing everything possible to prevent people from protecting their families and businesses.
That’s clearly a violation of Mr. Quizhpe’s Second Amendment rights. Thankfully, Kass has written about this horrific event:
Anti-gun policy wonks talk in abstract terms. But it’s not abstract for victims. It’s not abstract for Quizhpe. And it wasn’t abstract for Michael Kozel, 57, who for 20 years owned a muffler shop in the Gage Park neighborhood. On Jan. 3 he was shot dead in the back by robbers, one of the 42 homicides that month. Chicago has already forgotten his name.
Politicians that won’t let citizens protect themselves from gun-toting thugs should be run out of office. There’s no chance that Emanuel will be run out of office. He’ll be praised by gun control activists across the nation. That’s the definition of being un-American. There’s nothing more un-American than acting like royalty while telling the citizenry that they can’t protect themselves.
When will Chicago take its city back? When will they admit that shopkeepers have the right to protect themselves against violent thugs?
When Rep. Paymar and Rep. Hausman introduced their gun grab legislation, they thought they’d get sweeping (that’s code for unconstitutional) legislation signed into law by a smiling Gov. Dayton. Then reality set in. Rural DFL legislators started saying no in droves. Pretty soon, the discussion shifted to closing the mythical ‘gun show loophole’. Then it shifted to background checks.
The problem with background checks is that they aren’t that straightforward. That’s best illustrated in this exchange between Chris Wallace and Gabby Giffords’ husband:
WALLACE: Captain Kelly, what do you think that showed?
KELLY: Well, you know, we went in there, my executive director and ours, the executive of our organization, and in five minutes and 36 seconds is the time it took to fill out one piece of paper. You only have to fill out one side and for it to be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and get an answer. Five minutes and 36 seconds.
So, what it shows you is that it is not the burden that the NRA leadership says, what a background check is. I mean, it’s a simple, common sense thing we can do to make sure the criminals and the mentally ill can’t have access to firearms.
WALLACE: Well, let’s talk about that, because in Gabby’s tragic case, the shooter, Jared Loughner, had been suspended from college because he was deemed to be a threat to himself and to others. He went to a gun store, he got a gun, passed a background check. And, yet he was able then of course to go out and shoot Gabby and 18 other people.
And, the NRA says the problem, the problem with the background check is that, the kind of mental health information, for instance in Loughner’s case, doesn’t get passed on, so it doesn’t get to be part of the background check.
Noel Sheppard’s commentary is noteworthy:
Not surprisingly, much of the media are ignorant of something called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which established very strict security guidelines concerning the dissemination of individual health records.
Just last week, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights announced that it will soon publish a request for information on barriers related to HIPAA that could prevent states from making certain information available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
In other words, HIPAA’s security provisions make background checks ineffective. The background check legislation would make legislators think that they’ve done something without doing anything meaningful.
That’s typical surely-we-must-do-something legislation. In the activists’ minds, it isn’t whether the legislation solves a problem. It’s important because it shows ‘we cared enough to do something’. It’s time politicians figured it out that people want solutions. People aren’t interested in busywork legislation that doesn’t make their lives better.
It’s understandable that Capt. Kelly is a gun control activist. His wife was nearly killed by a gun-wielding violent man. That said, we shouldn’t pass legislation based solely on a person’s emotional experiences. Legislation should be written after going through a thoughtful analysis of what will improve public safety within the limits of the Constitution.
Whether it’s federal gun control legislation that Capt. Kelly prefers or whether it’s legislation crafted by Reps. Paymar and Housman, gun control is a tricky issue complicated by HIPAA and the Bill of Rights.
While watching Vice President Biden talk on the substantive issues of the day, I often get the impression that the color of the sun in his world is different than the sun that this earth orbits. This interview is one for the ages:
Block: Let’s start with the assault weapons ban that does appear to be dying in the Senate. Is the White House still pushing to have that passed? Do you assume that it’s now not going to happen?
Biden: I am still pushing that it pass. We are still pushing that it pass. The same thing was told to me when the first assault weapons ban in 1994 was attached to the Biden Crime bill; that it couldn’t possibly pass. It was declared dead several times. I believe that the vast majority of the American people agree with us. The vast majority of gun owners agree with us. That military-style assault weapons are – these are weapons of war. They don’t belong in the street, and the recent decision declaring the right of someone to own a weapon in their home for self-protection, Justice [Antonin] Scalia acknowledged that you can constitutionally banned certain type of weapons. And, so, I haven’t given up on this.
Block: You are going to push for it. The Majority Leader Harry Reid says he doesn’t even have 40 votes for the assault weapons ban.
Biden: Look, last time we passed it we only had seven Republican votes in 1994.
Block: But he doesn’t have the Democrats.
Biden: Well, again. I have never found that it makes any sense to support something and declare that there is no possibility of it passing. There is a lot happening. Attitudes are changing, and I think the president and I are going to continue to push and we haven’t given up on it.
Having only 7 Republicans vote for the 1994 assault weapons ban is one thing. Having all 45 Republicans and 15 or more Democrats voting against Sen. Feinstein’s bill is quite another. Apparently, Vice President Biden hasn’t figured that out.
As foolish as that is, the part that’s more telling is when he says that “attitudes are changing” about assault weapons. If he’s thinking that attitudes are changing in the administration’s direction, he needs to hop in his spaceship and return to this solar system.
Then again, perhaps we’re better off with him off in that distant galaxy.
This video shows how in the tank and/or stupid MSNBC is about the Constitution:
Here’s what Andrea Mitchell said about the shootout at the I’m not a sixth grader corral:
I brought my handy pocket Constitution with me today just to make the point that this (the fight between Sen. Cruz and Sen. Feinstein) was not a fair fight because Ted Cruz thought that, somehow, he was going to take on Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who began her career in politics facing the bloodshed in San Francisco when she was elevated to become the mayor after the assassinations there.
Ms. Mitchell is a blowhard and a political hack. Notice that she didn’t address the arguments Sen. Cruz made in belittling Sen. Feinstein in the Judiciary Committee. Here’s that video:
Here’s what Sen. Cruz said that ripped Sen. Feinstein’s arguments to shreds:
My fourth and final point is that the Constitution should be the touchstone of everything we do. Some have suggested in this hearing that the role of Congress is to pass laws and it’s up to the courts to determine constitutionality. I would point out that every one of us takes an oath to defend the Constitution and that is a fundamental obligation of every member of this body.
There has been a suggestion that Heller would allow this regulation. I would point out that I am not unfamiliar with the Heller case. Indeed, I represented 31 states before the Supreme Court in the Heller case. So I have an intimate familiarity with that case, having been an active part in litigating and winning it 5-4 before the Supreme Court. And what the Supreme Court said in Heller — it did say there are some restrictions on the Second Amendment that are permissable. For example, it specifically identified the current ban on fully automatic machine guns. But it also said that weapons that are in common use, such as, in that case handguns were the principle issue being discussed, and the same arguments that are being suggested about why assault weapons could be banned were made by the District of Columbia in Heller why handguns could be banned.
The Supreme Court said “No, if they’re in common use for self defense, they cannot be banned consistent with the Second Amendment.” We have heard testimony that there are some 4,000,000 weapons that would be covered by this legislation. I would suggest that, by any measure, 4,000,000 weapons qualifies as common use. So, under the terms in Heller, they can not be constitutionally prohibited.
Mitchell’s argument is based totally on the logic that Sen. Feinstein has been in DC a long time. She’s the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Therefore, she wins the fight. Sen. Cruz’s argument is based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller, which dealt with Washington, DC’s ban on handguns.
In that case, the Supreme Court ruled DC’s handgun ban unconstitutional because it infringes on people’s right to defend themselves and their families. That’s consistent with the plain language of the Second Amendment.
If Ms. Mitchell wants to argue against SCOTUS’ ruling in Heller, she has to argue against the plain language of the Second Amendment. That’s an uphill fight at best.
Sen. Feinstein’s argument, if it can even be classified as such, isn’t based on the Constitution. It’s based on the time-tested liberal axiom of “Surely, we must do something.” That axiom isn’t rooted in thinking things through. It’s based on emotion, which is basing policy on the shakiest of grounds.
Ms. Mitchell is right in the sense that this wasn’t a fair fight. Sen. Feinstein was overmatched by the freshman Republican who knew substantially more about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights than the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It’s pretty embarrassing when a freshman schools a committee chair on the chair’s supposed area of expertise. That’s what happened, though. That’s because Sen. Feinstein didn’t think about the rights protected by the Constitution. Conversely, Sen. Cruz had an intimate and thorough understanding of the Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court’s Heller ruling.
What’s most delightful is that the best is yet to come. Sen. Feinstein’s bill doesn’t stand a fighting chance in the Senate. I’d bet that Republicans won’t filibuster Sen. Feinstein’s bill because they’ll want vulnerable Democrats to vote on Sen. Feinstein’s bill.
The confrontation between Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Cruz showed how little respect Sen. Feinstein has for the Bill of Rights. When she told Sen. Cruz that she “isn’t a sixth-grader“, she guaranteed tons of publicity for her bill. Here’s the key exchange between Sen. Cruz and Sen. Feinstein:
“Would she consider it constitutional for Congress to specify that the First Amendment shall apply only to the following books and shall not apply to the books that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the Bill of Rights?” Cruz said, speaking to Feinstein.
“Likewise, would she think that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against searches and seizures, could properly apply only to the following specified individuals, and not to the individuals that Congress has deemed outside the protection of the law?”
Pointing her finger and glaring at Cruz, Feinstein shot back.
“One, I’m not a sixth grader,” Feinstein said. “Senator, I’ve been on this Committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in and I saw people shot with these weapons.
“I’m not a lawyer,” she added, “but after 20 years, I’ve been up close and personal with the Constitution. I have great respect for it. … So I, you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time.”
“I thank you for the lecture. Incidentally, this does not prohibit — you used the word ‘prohibit’ – it exempts 2,271 weapons. Isn’t that enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka? Do they need other high-powered weapons that other people use in close combat? I don’t think so.”
First, Sen. Feinstein apparently thinks that it’s ok to infringe upon people’s rights to defend themselves. Second, it’s apparent that Sen. Feinstein thinks there’s a secret exception to the Second Amendment, one where it’s ok to prohibit the manufacture of certain types of weapons as long as a pompous senator “saw people shot with” the weapons she wants banned.
Using Sen. Feinstein’s logic, she’d be fine with banning the manufacture of handguns, too. In fact, handguns kill more people than so-called assault weapons by a huge margin.
What’s frightening is Sen. Feinstein’s criteria for violating the Bill of Rights. Apparently, Sen. Feinstein thinks anything that looks frightening should be banned. Sen. Feinstein apparently didn’t pay attention to the SCOTUS rulings on the DC and Chicago bans on handguns. The text of the Second Amendment is clear:
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.
Passing laws that prohibit the manufacture of certain types of guns is infringing on the people’s right to protect themselves.
What’s most frightening isn’t that Sen. Feinstein isn’t smarter than a sixth grader. It’s that she doesn’t respect the clearly written text of the Bill of Rights.
Juan Williams and Mary Katherine Ham normally get along with each other. This morning, Juan Williams accused Mary Katherine Ham of not caring about victims of violent crime:
Here’s the spiciest exchange:
MKH: It’s fairly clear that this wouldn’t help in these situations, that very little gun crime comes from the things you’re trying to regulate. Those things only impact people who are already law abiding and that’s what we’re talking about. You can’t just pass laws…well, people do all the time, unfortunately, but federal laws shouldn’t be passed, saying “Well, it might work.”
JUAN WILLIAMS: I live in the District of Columbia and I can tell you theey have extremely strong gun control laws and yet we have a very high murder rate. And why is that? Because guns flow in from Virginia, which has lax gun laws.
MKH: We have lots of guns in Virginia and yet, we don’t have a high murder rate so maybe there’s a deeper social problem going on than lone gunmen and gangs and crime in big cities.
JUAN WILLIAMS: Oh so protecting my life and protecting my family means nothing to people in Virginia and I should….?
MKH: Oh, right. That’s what I said, Juan.
Here’s a hint to Juan Williams. Perhaps it’s better to live in cities where you can protect yourself. If you don’t want to move, then get DC to change their laws.
Saying that MKH doesn’t care about Juan Williams protecting his family is downright irresponsible. That’s as irresponsible as MKH saying that Juan Williams doesn’t care about the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment. It wouldn’t be difficult to make a case that Juan Williams doesn’t put a high enough priority on protecting people’s Second Amendment rights. That wouldn’t make it easy to make the case that Juan Williams doesn’t care about the Bill of Rights.
In the end, Juan hinted that he planned on apologizing to MKH after the interview. To her credit, Mary Katherine Ham didn’t lose her cool despite Juan’s ill-advised accusations.