Why It Is Important To Know Your Rights

On Friday, the New York Post reported the story of Nancy Genovese, 58, who was arrested in Suffolk County New York in July 2009 and charged with criminal trespass. Ms. Genovese was taking pictures of a decorative helicopter in front of the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach for a “Support Our Troops” website.

When her car was searched, Southhampton police found a legally owned rifle she was taking home from a nearby shooting range.

The article reports what happened next:

She contends a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene later and said to her, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” When Genovese said she’s gone to Tea Party rallies, he allegedly said, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and then added that she’d be arrested for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.”

“Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because [authorities] did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights,” her lawyer Frederick Brewington said.​​

Genovese said in a statement said she was “relieved” by the jury’s verdict. She added, “if this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated.”

Ms. Genovese has been awarded ​$1.12 million​ by a federal jury over her false prosecution by Suffolk County authorities. It obviously pays to know your constitutional rights!

Another Gun Confiscation And American Citizen Forced To Go To Court To Defend His Constitutional Rights

Today’s National Review posted a story about a soldier in Texas arrested for “rudely displaying” his weapon. Yes, you read that right.

The article describes the incident:

“We live out in the country in Texas, near Temple,” he told me. “My son and I were on a ten-mile hike so that he could earn his hiking merit badge – it’s the last badge he needs to become an Eagle Scout.” But half way into the hike, Grisham said, “a police officer pulled up.” Initially, he was “cordial” and he “asked what we were doing.” Grisham told him. “Then he looked at my rifle. I carry a rifle any time I walk around because there are feral hogs and cougars and things like that.” 

From here, things took a turn for the worse.

“‘Where you going with that rifle?’ he asked me. I said, ‘does it matter? Am I breaking any laws?’” Then, he says, the officer “grabbed the rifle without telling me – but it was attached to me. My immediate reaction as a combat veteran was to grab it back and then take a step back. I asked him what he was doing. So he pulled his gun on me. Then I thought about my son, so I put my hands off my gun and he told me to move over to the car. Luckily my son had the video camera to document the hike for his merit badge. I told him to turn it on.”

There is a video of the incident included in the article. I suggest you watch the whole thing. This is clearly unconstitutional.

The soldier’s concealed-carry permit was taken along with his guns. The article notes that historically what happens next is that the prosecutor will offer to drop the charges if the soldier gives up his guns. It is a very subtle form of gun confiscation.

Evidently this is not an isolated incident. The obvious question here is, “Why are the police wasting their time on legal gun owners when there are so many illegal guns out there?” If the police had been half as diligent in “Fast and Furious” as they are at harassing legal gun owners, a lot a people would be alive today who are no longer with us.

UPDATE: Evidently there are some questions about whether or not Mr. Grisham set up this encounter. However, even if this were the case (and we don’t know if it was), confiscating someone’s guns without proper legal procedure is a serious violation of the Constitution. The fact remains that it will cost Mr. Grisham a lot of time, money, and energy to get those guns (which are rightfully his) back. If I come across further information on this story, I will post it.

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