“America’s 1st Freedom” is a magazine distributed by the National Rifle Association. I am not including a link to the article I am posting about because I can’t find the article electronically although it is in the April 2020 issue of the magazine.
The title of the article is “The New Gun-Control Activism.” It deals with the strategy those who oppose the right of Americans to own guns are using to limit the availability of guns to Americans.
The article notes:
Last year, for example, Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, who commands $37 billion in public pension funds, announced plans to pull $30 million worth of shares from civilian firearm manufacturer securities. Wooden also intends to prohibit similar investments in the future and to establish incentives for banks and financial institutions to adopt anti-gun protocols. The proposition was immediately praised by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and other Connecticut politicians who view the divestment from five companies–Clarus Corp., Daicel Corp., Vista Outdoor Inc., Olin Corp., and ammunition maker Northrop Grumman–as a step toward reducing gun violence.
…Wooden also requested that financial bodies disclose their gun-related portfolios when endeavoring to wok with the treasurer’s office. Wooden subsequently selected tow firms, Citibank and Rick Financial Product (both had expressed the desire to be part of the “solution on gun violence”), to take on the roll of senior bankers in Connecticut’s then-forthcoming $890 million general obligation bond sale.
Technically I guess this is legal. It is a very subtle infringement on the Second Amendment and would be very difficult to prove in court. It is also not a new approach. During the Obama administration, the administration put in place guidelines that prevented gun dealers from getting business loans from banks.
On May 19, 2014, The New American reported:
Following the Obama administration’s “Operation Broken Trust,” an operation that began just months into his first term, the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force was created initially to “root out and expose” investment scams. After bringing 343 criminal and 189 civil cases, the task force began looking for other targets.
The task force is a gigantic interagency behemoth, involving not only the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI, but also the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Postal Service, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the U.S. Secret Service.
The next target for the task force was credit card payment processors, such as PayPal, along with porn shops and drug paraphernalia stores. In 2011, it expanded its list of “high risk” businesses to include gun shops. Peter Weinstock, an attorney with Hunton & Williams, explained:
This administration has very clearly told the banking industry which customers they feel represent “reputational risk” to do business with….
Any companies that engage in any margin of risk as defined by this administration are being dropped.
In 2012, Bank of America terminated its 12-year relationship with McMillan Group International, a gun manufacturer in Phoenix, and American Spirit Arms in Scottsdale. Said Joe Sirochman, owner of American Spirit Arms:
At first, it was the bigger guys — gun parts manufacturers or high-profile retailers. Now the smaller mom-and-pop shops are being choked out….
They need their cash [and credit lines] to buy inventory. Freezing their assets will put them out of business.
That’s the whole point, according to Kelly McMillan:
This is an attempt by the federal government to keep people from buying guns and a way for them to combat the Second Amendment rights we have. It’s a covert way for them to control our right to manufacture guns and individuals to buy guns.
With the Obama administration unable to foist its gun control agenda onto American citizens frontally, this is a backdoor approach that threatens the very oxygen these businesses need to breathe. Richard Riese, a senior VP at the American Bankers Association, expanded on the attack through the banks’ back doors:
We’re being threatened with a regulatory regime that attempts to foist on us the obligation to monitor all types of transactions.
All of this is predicated on the notion that the banks are a choke point for all businesses.
How you vote matters.
Evidently the coronavirus has been around since December. China kept quiet about it, and when it spread to Iran in January, Iran kept quiet about it. One of the ‘advantages’ of a totalitarian regime is the ability to keep the public from knowing about a pending epidemic. Well, there seem to be some consequences of the fact that China and Iran chose to remain silent about the problem. As of now, Iran has the highest number of deaths outside of China.
The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that after the death of Commander Soleimani, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif in a secret meeting in Munich. The meeting was in February.
The article includes a quote from the Israel National News:
This year’s Munich Security Conference may go down in history as the COVID-19 viral super-spreader “event of the century,” if not in all of recorded history. That’s because the Munich 2020 event took place from February Friday 14-Sunday 16, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attended.
Unknown to apparently all the high security-minded attendees, FM Zarif was likely carrying much more than the dark secret that the COVID-19 virus had already begun rampaging through the highest echelons of the Iranian government and society. FM Zarif , or one of his minions, was likely carrying the actual COVID-19, and infected who knows how many of the world’s highest and most influential politicians at the Munich event.
In fact, US Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, not only met FM Zarif, but met him in Zarif’s hotel suite where there was likely a rat’s nest of COVID-19. Unless drastic steps are taken, Sen. Murphy may become the Typhoid Mary of COVID-19, and infect the entire US Senate and House of Representatives.
As of February 28, 2020 there were officially 210 actual deaths in Iran. Unofficially, there have been over 500 reliably reported Iranian deaths. But, what is very unusual about the Iranian deaths is that a large number of extremely high ranking government officials in Tehran, the capital, have actually caught the disease and have died. The officially “First reported” Iranian case was on February 19. Working backward from the 19th, that means COVID-19 was likely already circulating in Iran from middle-to-late January when FM Zarif, or one of his staff, could have caught the disease.
I don’t wish anyone ill, but it seems like violating the Logan Act might be the least of Chris Murphy’s problems.
The law of unintended consequences seems to spend a lot of time in Washington. One of the best recent examples is the “Equality Act” promoted by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. If the Democrats can maintain their majority in the House of Representative and win a majority in the Senate in 2016, they will pass the Equality Act. So what will the Equality Act do? It will allow men transitioning to women to compete in women’s sports in high school. High school women are losing athletic scholarships because they are losing to transgender women in sports events (article here).
Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the Democrat Party’s plans for America’s future.
The article notes:
Democrats have made girls’ sports a 2020 campaign issue, but establishment media outlets are keeping their viewers and readers in the dark.
Every Democratic frontrunner has pledged their support of the Equality Act, which would make “gender identity” a protected characteristic under federal anti-discrimination law. Among other things, the bill would force public schools to expand female athletic teams to include biological males who identify as transgender girls.
Every Democratic frontrunner for president has pledged their support for the bill, which passed the House in May with unanimous Democratic support. But when establishment media outlets have covered the Equality Act in relation to the 2020 election, the girls’ sports issue has gone missing.
An Oct. 10 CNN article noted that passing the Equality Act is a “top priority” for the 2020 campaigns of California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, but made no mention of the bill’s impact on female sports. CNN’s LGBT town hall the same day included zero questions about transgender athletes in girls’ sports.
The article concludes:
Polling from Morning Consult shows that majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents agree that male athletes who identify as transgender have a competitive advantage in girls’ sports, a view supported by scientific research on the subject.
Biologically male athletes have racked up victories in female sports.
Two biologically male runners in Connecticut have dominated girls’ high school track in the liberal state, which allows self-identified transgender athletes to compete as the opposite sex. At the NCAA level, a male runner who identifies as transgender won an NCAA women’s track championship in May after previously competing on the university’s men’s team.
Men competing as women harms women’s athletics. It defies science and common sense.
Yesterday The Daily Wire reported the following:
On Monday, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing teen track star Selina Soule and two other minor female track athletes submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights seeking an investigation into sex discrimination. The complaint specifically challenges the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletics, ADF announced in a press release sent to The Daily Wire on Monday.
Per the CIAC policy, Soule was forced to compete against female-identifying biological males in a high-stakes track competition where two transgender sprinters beat the field, taking first and second place by significant margins; Soule landed in 8th place, missing an opportunity to compete in front of college coaches by two places.
“I am very happy for these athletes and I fully support them for being true to themselves and having the courage to do what they believe in,” Soule told host Fox News host Laura Ingraham in February. “But, in athletics, it’s an entirely different situation. It’s scientifically proven that males are built to be physically stronger than females. It’s unfair to put someone who is biologically a male, who has not undergone anything in terms of hormone therapy, against cis-gender girls.”
“Throughout the 2018-19 track season, males consistently deprived the female athletes who are part of the complaint of dozens of medals, opportunities to compete at a higher level, and the public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities,” an ADF news release said. “The complaint notes that CIAC’s policy and its results directly violated the requirements of Title IX, a federal regulation designed to protect equal athletic opportunities for women and girls.”
I will admit that this is a new issue to me. Transgender was not common when my children were in school. It does seem to me that adolescent girls and adolescent boys are different physically. Generally boys have more muscle mass and more upper body strength. That makes competition between the sexes uneven. If a male transitioning to female is allowed to compete against women, he has a physical advantage–he will generally be taller with more muscle mass. That seems unfair to me. The only logical solution is to set up athletic events specifically for transgender students. Otherwise the athletes are not competing on a level playing field.
Anyone who celebrates the Congressional search for any smidgen of dirt on Donald Trump might want to consider that if this continues, it could happen to any President or any citizen. The two-plus year witch hunt needs to end, and those responsible need to be held accountable. The latter seems to be about to happen. The former has no end in sight.
On Tuesday The City Journal posted an article about Congress’ demand for President Trump’s tax returns (including years he was not in office). This is harassment. However, you only have to look at the events of the past week or so to find out what is actually going on–the quest for tax returns is simply a bright shiny object put in front of the American public to divert from the news that John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will be investigating the origins of the surveillance on the Trump campaign and transition team.
The article points out:
Disappointed by Robert Mueller’s failure to demonstrate President Trump’s perfidy, Democrats are focusing anew on the president’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is refusing to order the release of Trump’s federal returns to the House, saying that there is no legislative purpose for doing so, but a new effort to expose Trump’s tax history runs through Albany, where Democrats in 2018 gained solid control of the state senate for the first time in decades. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign a bill making its way through the legislature that would submit any New Yorker’s state tax returns to Congress, on request from the chairs of any of three revenue-related committees.
The excitement among Democrats is palpable. “We are facing a constitutional showdown,” says State Senator Brad Hoylman, the legislation’s sponsor. “New York, as the home of the president’s state taxes, has a special responsibility to step into the breach.” Assemblywoman Pat Fahy concurs, saying that “we can help hold the president accountable and we will set future precedents for all elected officials, that neither you as a president nor your business interests are above the law.”
Is anyone going to want to run for office under these ‘new’ rules?
The article concludes:
It’s likely that Trump’s pursuers don’t expect to find smoking guns in Trump’s tax returns. Decades in public life, including multiple infamous bankruptcies, have produced no hint of major scandal or criminality. So why should we expect his tax returns—already submitted to the government and scrutinized by forensic professionals with power to arrest—to reveal anything shocking?
Those demanding Trump’s tax returns probably just want to embarrass him by proving old rumors that he isn’t as rich as he pretends to be. For all this effort, though, that would be a weak payoff—especially since the people likely to care about such revelations aren’t Trump voters, anyway.
This is what desperation looks like.
The Trump tax cuts made life a little easier for most Americans. They made life a little more difficult for some middle class and wealthy people in states with high taxes. Oddly enough, many of these states with high taxes are blue states with large populations and huge state budgets. Some of the most affected states were California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all reliably blue states. Those states control 116 Electoral College votes and send 106 Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435 total Representatives). Now, after all the complaining that the Trump tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich (which they were not), Democrats want to give the wealthy in high-tax states their tax cuts.
Real Clear Politics posted an article today about the Democrats’ plan.
The article reports:
Democrats often complain that tax cuts primarily benefit “the rich,” but apparently they only think it’s a problem when rich conservatives get a tax break, because they’re outraged that President Trump’s tax cuts scaled back a generous subsidy enjoyed by well-off taxpayers in liberal states.
A key provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a new cap on the so-called State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax return. This provision forces taxpayers in low-tax states such as Florida and Texas to effectively subsidize those in high-tax states such as New York and California.
For years, blue-state Democrats have been able to raise state income and property taxes far higher than voters might normally tolerate. That’s because the SALT deduction softened the impact for taxpayers in those states, particularly for the rich campaign-donor class. Since the SALT deduction only applies to taxpayers who itemize their returns, its benefits naturally accrue to those in the highest income bracket.
There was previously no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct through SALT, but even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000, almost 93 percent of American taxpayers will be unaffected. It’s likely that fewer taxpayers will elect to take advantage of SALT, since the law also doubled the standard deduction, but about 11 million of the highest-earning Americans living in high-tax states are seeing their federal income tax liabilities increase.
It’s curious that liberals who criticized Trump so vociferously for “cutting taxes on the wealthy” are so upset by an element of the tax reform plan that merely takes away a tax break enjoyed disproportionately by the wealthy.
The problem here is simple. The Democrats believe that President Trump cut taxes for the rich (which he didn’t), but it was the wrong rich. However, just for the record, since most of the tax burden falls on Americans who are relatively successful, their tax cuts are going to seem larger than those who pay little or no taxes.
The following chart is from a Pew Research article. The figures are from 2015:
People who make over $100,000 (which in some areas of the country is not a lot of spending power) pay over 80% of all income taxes paid. I think we need to reopen the discussion of a flat tax. Everyone needs to have an equal stake in the game.
Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about a recent high school girls’ track meet in Connecticut.
The article reports:
High school juniors Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood took first and second place in the state open indoor track championships Feb. 16, The Associated Press noted in a report Sunday. Both Miller and Yearwood are biological males who identify as transgender girls.
One of their competitors, high school junior Selina Soule, told the AP it was unfair to force female runners to compete against male runners.
“We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing,” said Soule. “I fully support and am happy for these athletes for being true to themselves. They should have the right to express themselves in school, but athletics have always had extra rules to keep the competition fair.”
Miller is the third-faster runner in the country in the girls’ 55-meter dash. Yearwood is close behind, tied for seventh nationally.
Along with the transgender movement is the idiotic idea that there is no difference between boys and girls. As unfortunate as what is happening in high school sports because of the transgender movement, the results of the various athletic contests illustrate the fact that boys are different than girls. Any woman who has gone on a diet with her husband could have told you that–she eats salads and green things and loses two pounds–he has steak and beer and loses ten pounds. We are made differently. It has to do with muscle mass and hormones. Selina Soule is right–it is unfair to force female runners to compete against male runners.
Hopefully the women who have had to put up with competing against men claiming to be women will learn from this experience. Men and women are different and need to be reminded to rejoice in their differences. I understand that there are some people who are confused about their gender, but what is happening now is the result of making something that is the exception rather than the rule fashionable. Hopefully the young people who are caught up in this current transgender fad will come to their senses before they do something irreversible.
Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about a recent study of which states are the wealthiest and which are the poorest. Then Breitbart compared those results with the voting records of the people in those states. The results were surprising.
The article reports:
Democrats paint themselves as the party looking out for the little guy and more interested than Republicans in representing the poor and their best interests.
But according to Ken Fisher, the founder and executive chairman of Fisher Investments, best-selling author and one of the richest men in the United States, a USA Today study released earlier this month that shows the economic profile of all 50 states, ranked by household income, reveals much more.
When Fisher read what he called “a breathtaking economic profile” of the states he found in it something that was “embedded” in it that reveals what he believes is “arguably the greatest unseen political truth of our time.”
This is the surprising correlation:
USA Today headlined its story reporting on its findings: “Wealth in America: Where are the richest and poorest states based on household income?”
But Fisher headlined his commentary about the study published in USA Today on Sunday: “Midterms: Poorest states have Republican legislatures, and richest have Democratic ones.”
“Fathom it, and you will see how politics may unexpectedly affect economics and wealth for years to come,” Fisher wrote.
The article points out that the five richest states have legislatures controlled by Democrats. He doesn’t mention that those states also have some of the highest tax rates in the country. Those states are Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. According to an article at Wallet Hub, a website that ranks states according to tax rates, Maryland ranks 44th, New Jersey ranks 47th, Hawaii ranks 51st, Massachusetts ranks 45th, and Connecticut ranks 49th in the list of states with the lowest tax rates. Yes, I know there are not 51 states, but the District of Columbia was included in the list.
I guess you have to move to a state with a legislature controlled by Republicans if you want lower taxes.
The article reports:
United Van Lines, which tracks state-to-state migration patterns, found that Illinois was the top state for outbound migration with 63 percent of moves going out of state.
“The Northeast continues to experience a moving deficit with New Jersey (63 percent outbound), New York (61 percent) and Connecticut (57 percent) making the list of top outbound states for the third consecutive year,” the report states. “Massachusetts (56 percent) also joined the top outbound list this year.”
The other states that led the nation for the highest outbound migration were Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Utah, and Wisconsin.
It is interesting that the top four states are controlled by the Democratic party and have high taxes (also cold weather).
The states that grew in population were also listed in the article:
The 10 states with the highest inbound migration were Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, and Alabama. The data find that more Americans are moving to the Mountain West and the South.
The article concludes:
“Individuals move for a variety of factors,” the group states. “Climate, job opportunities, family, among others, impact the decision to relocate. Taxes can influence the decision too.”
“Tax rates and structure affect a state’s economy; states with less burdensome tax structures and lower rates tend to have better economic growth,” the foundation explains. “Increased job opportunities can result from the better economic growth.”
“Someone moving to Chicago for a new job could decide to live in Illinois or commute from Indiana,” the group says. “Indiana’s 3.3 percent individual income tax rate could be an encouragement to locate in that state over Illinois’ 3.75 percent rate. An individual moving to the Washington, D.C., area could decide to live in Virginia instead of the District because income taxes are lower.”
As more people leave the higher-tax states, the tax burden on the people remaining will increase. That is going to create situations like Detroit, where people simply leave their homes because they can’t afford the taxes. In some of these high-tax states, elderly people on fixed incomes are being forced out of their homes because they cannot afford the taxes.
Voting with your feet is a great idea as long as the people moving to lower-tax states don’t bring their high-tax ideas with them.
Serendipity means a “fortunate or happy unplanned coincidence”. We may be seeing an example of that concept in one of the unintended consequences of the recently passed tax bill.
Yesterday the Associated Press reported the following:
In New Jersey and California, top Democratic officials want to let people make charitable contributions to the state instead of paying certain taxes. In Connecticut and New York, officials are exploring a switch from income taxes to new ones on payroll. A few governors have even called for tax cuts.
The ideas are bubbling up as state lawmakers begin their 2018 sessions and assess the effects of the Republican tax overhaul that President Donald Trump signed into law last month. Lawmakers and governors in some states are grappling with how to protect their constituents.
Loosely translated this is what is happening as a result of the fact that states with low state taxes will no longer be subsidizing states with high state taxes. Under the current plan, if your real estate taxes were $20,000 a year, which is not unusual in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey or California, you knew you could deduct them on your federal income tax, so it really wasn’t that important to you. Now those deductions will be limited to $10,000 and you will still have to pay the balance to your state.
No one likes it when their gravy train is cut off.
The article further reports:
This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his state-of-the-state speech to pledge to sue over the GOP tax plan, which he called “an assault” by the federal government. A lawsuit would add taxes to the growing list of Trump administration policies that Democratic states have challenged in court.
Other states have not committed to sue, but some leaders have indicated they’ll explore the idea.
“I’m certainly not a constitutional lawyer, but the notion that this is not constitutional is something we want to pursue,” said Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Democratic governor-elect.
Officials in California and Connecticut also said this week they were considering legal options.
In high-tax states, officials have been focused on protecting taxpayers from the impact of a new $10,000 cap on deductions for paying state and local taxes. In California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, more than one-third of tax filers claim the state and local tax deduction on federal taxes; the average deduction in each state is over $15,000.
The Constitution gives Congress the right to levy taxes. Good luck with your lawsuit.
It is remotely possible that fiscal responsibility may be forced on some of our high-taxed states. When you consider that the Founding Fathers saw each state as a laboratory to experiment with unique ideas, it becomes obvious that some states did better than others in controlling expenses. Those states which controlled expenses have been subsidizing those that spent wildly for years. It is nice that things are changing. Now the governments of those states who have overspent need to change.
Yesterday Breitbart reported that in the last year food stamp [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)] enrollment has gone down in 46 out of the 50 states. The biggest drops were in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.
The article reports:
Connecticut saw the largest drop, with SNAP enrollment dropping 25.4 percent from May 2016 to May 2017.
The state also saw a pretty hefty drop in enrollment over one month — Connecticut’s enrollment in the food stamp program dropped 14.2 percent from April 2017 to May 2017.
North Carolina saw the second-largest decrease in SNAP enrollment with a 14.2 drop in the number of state residents participating in the food stamp program.
Part of the decrease has to do with a provision in the 2009 economic stimulus bill. The bill included a waiver of the work requirement in areas that were economically depressed.
The article explains:
The economic boom in these towns no longer made them eligible as of April 1, 2016, for a waiver from SNAP regulations. These regulations were put in place nationwide before the recession and require able-bodied adults without children to work at least 20 hours week, enroll in school, or take part in state-approved job training if they receive benefits for more than three months.
…The only four states that did not see declines in food stamp enrollment are Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. Each of those states reported slight gains in SNAP enrollment. Alaska saw the biggest increase in food stamp enrollment, with SNAP participation increasing by 4.1 percent. Illinois saw the second-largest increase in SNAP enrollment at 3.4 percent, and Montana reported an increase of 3 percent.
All of those states participate in the waiver program either statewide or in certain towns because of chronic unemployment in those areas.
Nationwide, food stamp enrollment has been on the downswing. Food stamp use in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in seven years, and 1.1 million Americans dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Trump took office.
There is a basic lesson here. When there is a work requirement to collect food stamps, enrollment goes down.
As I reported in July:
For example, in July 2014, Maine announced that it would no longer grant waivers from the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.
In order to receive benefits, they would thus have to work, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, or do community service for about six hours per week.
It is important to note that this policy did not arbitrarily cut food stamp recipients from the program rolls. Able-bodied adults without dependent children in Maine were removed from the rolls only if they refused to participate in modest activities.
In fact, most of these individuals in Maine chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service, despite the strong outreach efforts of government caseworkers. This indicates that these individuals had other means of supporting themselves.
As a result of the new policy, the Maine caseload for able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months, falling from 13,332 in December 2014 to 2,678 recipients in March 2015.
I wonder what Congress had in mind when the waivers were put in place in 2009. We now have the examples of Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. All of those states still have the waivers, and they are the only four states whose economies have not improved sufficiently to remove the waivers. Food stamps without a work or training requirement does not help anyone–it simply creates dependency. How many times do we have to see this principle in action before we learn that lesson?
A friend of mine who teaches social studies once pointed out to me that the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution (The Bill of Rights) are there to protect the rights of American citizens. They don’t give the government rights–they protect the citizens’ rights. In that context, the Second Amendment is there to protect the right of Americans to own guns.
The Second Amendment states:
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.
Seems pretty clear. Well, I think we are about to have a discussion on exactly what ‘infringed’ means.
Fox News reported today that the governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, wants to raise the cost of pistol fees in Connecticut. The state has a budget shortfall, and the governor thinks this might help close the gap.
The article reports:
The five-year renewal fee for pistol permits would increase from $70 to $300, first-time five-year permits would increase from $140 to $370 and fees for background checks would increase from $50 to $75.
The plan is expected to raise nearly $12 million per year in additional revenue, CBS News and The Associated Press reported.
Frankly, if I lived in Connecticut, I might consider those rather drastic increases.
The article further reports:
Gun-rights supporters and state Republican lawmakers said this increase would preclude many people from exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms, since the proposed fees would be among the highest in the country.
The National Rifle Association called the governor’s proposal “outrageous,” according to the report.
Malloy said the fees are in line with other jurisdictions and will cover the state’s administrative costs for gun permits and background checks.
To me, the size of the increase would qualify as ‘infringe.’ Making it expensive to own a gun is one way anti-gun politicians can legislate gun restrictions without actually legislating gun restrictions. I hope the governor’s idea is quickly shot down.
Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about a recent lawsuit regarding the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The parents of the children who were killed have sued the manufacturers of the guns used in the shooting.
The article reports:
It is important to remember that the rifle used by Adam Lanza, a semi-automatic AR-15, had been legally bought by his mother, Nancy Lanza. Lanza killed her while she was sleeping before he headed to the elementary school and engaged in his killing spree. In fact, some of the families blamed Nancy Lanza for what happened, saying that she knew about her son’s mental problems and “ignored all the signs” of his “increasing instability.”
The parents subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit in state court against Bushmaster Firearms, Remington Arms, and a host of other firearms manufacturers. The families claim that the manufacturers acted “unethically, oppressively, immorally, and unscrupulously” in marketing the “assaultive qualities and military use of AR-15s to civilian purchasers.”
I don’t mean to be difficult, but the manufacturers had nothing to do with the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The article reports:
Of course, the main problem faced by the plaintiffs is that this lawsuit is absolutely barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCA). The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush to stop these types of emotionally-charged lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Codified at 15 U.S.C. §7901-7903, the Congressional “Findings” specifically state that businesses that manufacture, market, distribute, import or sell firearms should not “be liable for the harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse” such weapons. Such civil liability lawsuits “may not be brought in any Federal or State court.”
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act provides only limited exceptions to this prohibition. One exception is for lawsuits claiming a normal product liability issue, such as the harm caused by a weapon that contained a design or manufacturing defect that caused it to malfunction. Or if the manufacturer deliberately sold the gun to someone who is prohibited from owning a guns—like a felon. Or if the manufacturer encouraged a gun owner to misuse the weapon in a way that led to the harm.
What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was horrific. A mentally ill young man managed to get hold of a gun and went on a killing spree. Unfortunately, the way our laws are currently written, this was not a preventable crime. The laws that cover committing a person to a mental hospital have gotten complicated, and it was reported that the young man’s mother was attempting to have him hospitalized because of his mental state. Unfortunately, she was not able to complete that complex process before her son killed her. Maybe the answer is a review of our mental health policies–not suing people who are not responsible for the crime.
Our culture has some very strange ideas about who is responsible for what. Somehow we have forgotten that as people we make decisions all of the time and that those decisions have consequences. Sometimes those decisions have horrible consequences, but when all is said and done, the consequences are the result of an individual’s decisions. A recent lawsuit against Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms, relating to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut illustrates the fact that we no longer allow individuals to be held accountable for their actions.
Hot Air posted an article about the lawsuit today.
The article reports:
The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School had a huge impact on the national discourse and, to some extent, the electoral battlefield, but there’s another fight dragging on as a result of it. Some of the families who lost loved ones during the attack by a deranged madman filed a lawsuit as a result. They weren’t going after the shooter’s estate or even that of his mother, but the parent company of the manufacturer who produced one of the guns used in the attack. Freedom Group, the owners of both Bushmaster and Remington Arms (among others) was their target, claiming that they knowingly sold a dangerous product which wound up being used against the children and teachers at the school. This week the company is pushing back, seeking the dismissal of the case on grounds that it is essentially baseless and conflicts with current law.
I love the way the article explains exactly how the current law is written:
The law in question here is the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which we’ve covered a number of times in the past. It’s a piece of legislation which really never should have needed to be passed, but Congress was forced into a rare bit of productive action when relentless nuisance suits by anti-gun rights groups threatened to bankrupt smaller members of the industry. It essentially says that the manufacturer or retailer can’t be held liable for the production, distribution and sale of safely designed, properly functioning, wholly legal products simply because they are put to an illegal use by criminals or the insane. It’s no different than saying you can’t sue the manufacturer of a properly designed and operational toaster just because your angry girlfriend throws it in the bathtub with you. (The italics are mine.)
You can argue that the guns were not properly secured and got into the hands of a dangerous person, but that is not the fault of the manufacturing company. Had there been a person in the school with a gun manufactured by the same company, there would have been fewer lives lost–does that mean that the product is no longer dangerous, but a safety item?
The article concludes:
It’s easy to understand the sorrow and anger felt by the Sandy Hook families, just as it’s obvious how and why anti-Second Amendment groups would seek to use them as pawns to further their cause. None of that changes the facts on the ground, however. This was an ill considered venture to begin with and we’re in a lot of trouble as a nation if the courts manage to bend reality enough to allow them to prevail.
On Wednesday, the Hartford Courant reported that the Connecticut Democrats will be changing the name of their annual fund raising dinner. The dinner has previously been called the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner. John Bailey is a former Democrat party boss. It is possible that his name will remain in the new title given to the dinner. Jefferson and Jackson are being eliminated because of the fact that they were slave owners.
The article reports:
“Let’s work together to show the rest of the state exactly what it means to be a Connecticut Democrat,” party Chairman Nicholas Balletto said before introducing the resolution.
In part, the resolution said, “As members of the Democratic Party, we are proud of our history as the party of inclusion. Democrats have led the way on civil rights, LGBT equality and equal rights for women. … It is only fitting that the name of the party’s most visible annual event reflects our dedication to diversity and forward-looking vision.”
The article further reports:
Connecticut Democrats have had various ideas about the issue. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of the state’s top liberal Democrats, has defended Jefferson — but at the same time said that both Democratic presidents are “very complicated” historical figures.
“I’m proud of Thomas Jefferson,” DeLauro told The Courant recently. “I think Thomas Jefferson is a founding father.”
Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, had also asked state Democrats to consider a new name for the annual fundraiser.
“Democrats have a deeply rooted history with slavery,” he said recently. “They need to do the right thing.”
Before you rush to condemn slave holders in Colonial times, you need to remember that slavery was legal worldwide. It was an accepted practice. Slavery was outlawed in England in the early 1800’s due to the work of William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, who saw it as his Christian duty to end the practice. Slavery is a horrible practice, but before you condemn those who practiced it, think of the way future generations will look at abortion in America and the selling of baby body parts. Every generation is a mixture of good and evil. We do not have the right to condemn past generations when we are doing things as bad or worse than what they did.
If the Democrats no longer want Jefferson and Jackson, I am sure the Republicans will be glad to acknowledge the part both men played in the founding and keeping of America. They were not perfect men, but they were men used by God to guide this country.
This article is based on two articles, one posted Saturday and updated yesterday at The Day and one in the Wall Street Journal today. Both articles deal with the Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court case ten years ago that allowed the city to take fifteen homes through eminent domain for the purposes of economic development.
The article at The Day reports some of the history of the taking of the property. New London was looking to add to its tax base because revenues were not meeting the needs of the city. The State of Connecticut was offering money ($70 million) to help with the redevelopment of the area where the houses were located. The fifteen houses in question were owned by seven people who filed suit against the taking of their property. The case went to the Supreme Court, and the property was taken by the City.
So where are we now? There have been some new roads added to the area; sidewalks and street lamps have been added. But things have not gone as planned.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The condemned land remains empty, housing only a few feral cats. After Hurricane Irene in 2011, the city used it as a dumping ground for debris. Yet the first real development since the Supreme Court’s controversial decision might now be on its way: New London Mayor Daryl Finizio, who was elected in 2011 as a critic of the government taking, recently announced a plan to turn the former site of Ms. Kelo’s house into a park that will “serve as a memorial to all those adversely affected by the city’s use of eminent domain.”
As I reported in December 2009:
So let’s look at where we are now. The taking of the property was used to lure Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company to New London to build a research center. Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company arrived, built its New London research center on the seized property, and this week announced that it was closing the plant. Most of the plants 1,400 employees will be relocated to nearby Groton.
Now the City of New London won’t even have the tax revenue from the people who once lived in that area of New London. They will simply have a vacant research center. Poetic justice at its best.
Private property rights are one of the sources of prosperity in our country. Violating them is foolish and does have consequences.
Just a side note. The Day noted that Pfizer got a 10-year tax abatement from the state of Connecticut. They moved their plant away from the area the day after that tax abatement ended. We need to remember that businesses are in business to make money and will do whatever necessary to protect their bottom line. What they did was legal, it just wasn’t in the spirit of the deal that was made.
This was posted on YouTube on May 20th, after President Obama gave a speech at the Coast Guard Academy stating that climate change was the biggest threat to America. The video shows some Egyptian news commentators reacting to President Obama’s speech:
Remember President Obama’s campaign promise to restore the image of America in the eyes of the world?
Yesterday the Independent Journal Review posted an article about a high school student using the internet to prepare for a debate. Student debates are a really good thing–I think they give students a chance to evaluate issues and form opinions based on both sides of the argument. But wait, about that both sides of the argument part.
The article reports:
When he couldn’t access the NRA’s homepage, he decided to check what other sites the school had blocked. Lampart said, “I went over on sites such as Moms Demand Action or Newtown Action Alliance and I could get on these Web sites but not the others.”
He also found that pro-life sites were blocked by the school’s firewall while pro-choice websites like Plannned Parenthood were not. He even found that Christianity.com couldn’t be accessed, but Islam-guide.com was readily available.
Please follow the link above to the Independent Journal Review to see the list of websites the school allowed and those it blocked.
The Board of Education commented:
The Board of Education Chairman, John Chapman, emailed Fox CT to say, “the Board appreciated hearing the comments from Andrew and agree that he has raised an important issue that warrants further investigation.”
Meanwhile, I wonder how the student is supposed to prepare for the debate.
I apologize in advance for the fact that this will be a rather long article, but I missed the beginning of this story, so I need to catch up.
According to the article:
Ares Armor sells what are called “80% lower receivers” to allow a buyer to make his own AR-15 rifle. According to federal law,”The term ‘firearm'” includes “the frame or receiver of” a weapon, but one that is only 80 percent complete does not fall under that category.
When ATF agents began nosing around Ares Armor and started asking questions, the store obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the agency from seizing its product line and customer list. A hearing was scheduled for March 20 to litigate the issue.
However, on Saturday, ATF agents raided Ares pursuant to an ex parte order — an order obtained without notice to the other party, in this case Ares — and did just what Ares feared, according to the amateur video below.
You can see the video by following the link to freedom outpost. The article at freedom outpost also explains how the ATF managed to get around the restraining order.
Freedom Outpost posted an article yesterday showing the state government’s response to this raid.
The article reports:
On the heels of the illegal ATF raid on Ares Armor, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed into law S1332, a bill which will effectively nullify federal gun laws. The nullification legislation will prohibit state enforcement of any future federal act that relates to firearms, accessories or ammunition.
S1332, or as it is commonly referred to as the Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, passed both the house (68-0) and senate (34-0) unanimously.
The article further states:
Other states such as Alaska and Kansas have passed similar legislation. Missouri is in the process of pushing similar legislation through for a second time, after Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the Second Amendment Preservation Act last year. Several other states have introduced their version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act to nullify federal gun laws, including Florida, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona.
The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations – constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. According to that doctrine:
“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program…such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
It is unfortunate that we have come to a point where the states have to defend the U. S. Constitution because the federal government is ignoring it.
The Boston Globe posted an article today about the fight among the New England States for ObamaCare grants to set up websites. Originally, Massachusetts was given a $45 million federal innovation grant to build a state-of-the-art consumer platform for President Obama’s insurance program.
Massachusetts is a bit of a ‘techie’ state, and it was hoped that they would share the technical knowledge used to build their ObamaCare website with the other New England states. That sounds like a very reasonable idea in theory. Unfortunately, in practice it didn’t work.
The article reports:
Massachusetts has failed to produce a successful computer model to share, and in the meantime Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, built by Deloitte LLP, is working so well that the state is now offering its computer system as a model for other struggling states.
Counihan said five states have expressed interest in piggybacking off Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, but not Massachusetts.
“Some states were trying to build a Maserati. We built a Ford Focus,’’ Counihan said. “It might not be as glamorous but it runs. It can get you to the store.”
So what’s the problem? The article explains:
Connecticut health care officials are now mounting a campaign to collect a portion of a $45 million federal innovation grant that was awarded to Massachusetts to build a state-of-the-art consumer platform for President Obama’s insurance program.
…But, Rhode Island state Representative Joseph McNamara, a Democrat on the General Assembly’s Permanent Joint Committee on Healthcare Oversight, said he thinks Rhode Island could benefit from the money. Federal grants for the Rhode Island insurance marketplace end by July 2015, when the state would face a $24 million shortfall, he said.
“It’s a liability that we’re starting to discuss right now,” McNamara said. “We would appreciate any assistance from our friends in Massachusetts.”
Somewhere along the way, someone needs to remind these states that this is not ‘free’ money. It comes off the backs of overtaxed taxpayers who are paying upwards of 40 percent of their earnings in taxes. At some point we need to admit that ObamaCare is costing considerably more money than anticipated and repeal it. Unfortunately, as long as states are willing to fight over federal tax money in order to avoid spending their state tax money, the federal deficit will continue to grow.
Yesterday The Examiner posted an article about the latest development in Connecticut’s war on gun owners.
The article reports:
Gun rights legal expert and activist David Hardy reported Friday that 250 law enforcement officers in Connecticut have signed an open letter stating that they will not enforce the new anti-gun and magazine laws, which they consider to be a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
David Hardy is reporting that Tyler Jackson, the head of the Connecticut Peace Officers Association, has emailed him a letter stating that the head of the Connecticut Peace Officers’ Assn has released an open letter stating that the police will not “be party to the oppression of the people of the state by enforcing an unconstitutional law.” So far 250 LEOs have cosigned the letter.
The Second Amendment states:
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.
Why is the State of Connecticut attempting to disarm its citizens?
Moving to North Carolina from Massachusetts has been something of a culture shock in a number of areas. One of those areas is the attitude toward guns. Generally speaking, I can assume that wherever I am in North Carolina there are probably at least three or four people around me with concealed carry permits that are carrying guns. Although I am not particularly interested in carrying a gun myself, I feel perfectly safe in the midst of people who do concealed carry. Actually, I feel safer than I did in Massachusetts. I know if someone comes into the mall with bad intentions, he will be met with a number of armed citizens with good intentions. That’s a good thing. Most of the mass shootings we have had have been in gun-free zones. People who intend to harm people generally like to do it where they will meet the least resistance. I have no problem with gun permits, but guns should not have to be registered, and they should not be subject to seizure by the state or federal government. Taking guns away from law-abiding Connecticut citizens is not gun control–it is disarming the civilian population–never a good idea!
On Wednesday Guns.com posted a story detailing the latest chapter in Connecticut’s war on gun owners. A law was passed at the end of last year that required certain gun owners to register their weapons with the State of Connecticut by December 31, 2013. Many gun owners simply did not register their guns. Others sent their applications in late or their applications were delivered late. Those people recently received a letter from the state:
The long and short of it it–if you missed the deadline, we will take your weapon away.
The article states:
According to the Journal Inquirer, 106 rifle owners and 108 ‘large capacity magazine’ owners in Connecticut were recently sent letters from the state police advising them that they had missed the deadline for registering their now-illicit firearms and accessories.
The state knew these individuals had these items because their registration applications were sent in, but postmarked too late to be processed.
This should be a wake-up call for anyone who doesn’t see gun registration as the beginning step of gun confiscation.
The article reports:
By the end of 2013, state police had received 47,916 applications for assault weapons certificates, Lt. Paul Vance said. An additional 2,100 that were incomplete could still come in.
That 50,000 figure could be as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents, according to estimates by people in the industry, including the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation. No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000.
This law instantly created between 20,000 and 100,000 new criminals–people who did not register their rifles. The article reminds us, “By owning unregistered guns defined as assault weapons, all of them are committing Class D felonies.”
The article reports:
The law was adopted after the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Its main provision was a dramatic expansion of guns classified as assault weapons banned for sale in the state. The ban now includes any semiautomatic firearm — that is, one that reloads a round after each pull of the trigger — if it has even a single military-style characteristic, such as a pistol grip.
Any semiautomatic firearm banned for sale could remain legal if its owner registered it by Dec. 31. Those that were made before the state’s first assault rifle law in 1993, and were not deemed to be assault weapons in that law, do not have to be registered.
Sorting out the number of potential new felons is a guessing game. State police have not added up the total number of people who registered the 50,000 firearms, Vance said. So even if we knew the number of illegal guns in the state, we’d have a hard time knowing how many owners they had.
As logical as gun registration may seem to lawmakers, its history is not a positive one. Historically gun registration has been the prelude to a seizure of guns by a tyrannical government. An unarmed population is much more easily controlled than an armed population. There is also the small matter of the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. It will be interesting to see of Connecticut attempts to enforce its new gun registration law.
I really don’t understand a lot about the concept of assault rifles, but I do wonder about a statement in the Hartford Courant article. The article states that this law was passed in response to what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I totally agree that what happened at Sandy Hook was a terrible tragedy, but is there anything in this law that is actually related to that event or that would have prevented that event?
The article reports:
Charles Gillette, who was registering magazines, told the news station that he would have a problem with it if the state was trying to ban the magazines or firearms, but said “if they want to just know where they are, that’s fine with me.”
However, not one gun owner who was registering firearms or magazines said they think the new laws will reduce gun violence.
“If people are going to do things illegally, they’re not going to be here registering their gun,” Jared Krajewski, another resident registering firearms, said.
Common sense tells us that those who have nefarious future plans involving their guns will not be in line registering those guns. All this law does is put a new restriction on law-abiding gun owners–it will have no impact at all on those people who choose to ignore the law. Newtown was a horrible tragedy, but this law may be setting the stage for an even more horrible tragedy–potentially letting criminals know which households have the means to defend themselves if they are robbed.