Congress Acts on Bad Social Security Measure

By Jim Shepherd

After the Senate voted 57-43 yesterday to strike down a Social Security regulation that would have required the Social Security Administration to report anyone who received disability benefits and had a wide range of medical conditions – from serious mental issues to sleeping and eating disorders- mainstream headlines quickly read “Senate Restores Right of Mentally Ill to Purchase Guns”.

It’s a certain sign of just how far the chasm is between fact and objectivity when it comes to supposedly “unbiased” news reports. The measure wasn’t a great piece of legislation artfully crafted to address a glaring need in the existing system. It was a slap-dash piece of legislation. In fact, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, said it was filled with “vague characteristics that do not fit into the federal mentally defective standard” . Those same “vague characteristics” would have lumped people with sleeping disorders into a group of considerably more serious mental issues that would have required the Social Security Administration to notify the FBI of those conditions- so they could be entered into the FBI’s NICS background check system.

In short, it would have guaranteed those people would be denied if they tried to purchase a gun if their conditions led them to have third-party involvement in the management of their affairs.

As Grassley said “If a specific individual is likely to be violent due to the nature of their mental illness, then the government should have to prove it.”
I know it’s not popular with anti-gun folks, but the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” is woven pretty tightly into our national fabric. Read more

Trump Nominates Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Last evening, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, 49, an appellate judge from Colorado to fill the United States Supreme Court seat left vacant since the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia almost a year ago. President Trump called Gorsuch’s nomination his fulfillment of a promise to voters who told him a justice who would “interpret them (the laws) as they are written was the single most important issue for them when they voted for me as president.”

Selected from a list of 20 potential judges compiled during the campaign. Gorsuch’s opinions on religious liberty and his feelings on the separation of powers were seen as key in his selection over Judge Thomas Hardiman. With an Ivy League pedigree- Columbia and Harvard- and a doctorate in legal philosophy from Oxford, Gorsuch is young enough that he could carry on the Trump legacy long after the President leaves office, as well as restoring the conservative/liberal balance of the Supreme Court.

His confirmation, however, will be hotly contested, with Democrats stung over the Republican’s blocking of Obama nominee Merrick Garland, spoiling for a fight. No word -yet- on whether Senate Republicans will use the so-called “nuclear option” of reducing the vote on Grouch to a simple majority rather than a 60-vote threshold should Democrats mount a serious effort to stymie the confirmation process. Gorsuch photo from 10th Circuit Court of Appeals with permission.

CCRKBA Slams Seattle Mayor for Hypocrisy

BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is condemning Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for “monumental hypocrisy” after he declared that the City of Seattle will fight a new Trump administration directive on so-called “sanctuary cities” by going to court to “insure…that the United States Constitution is not violated.”

“When it comes to violating the Constitution, Ed Murray has expert experience,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “This is the guy who was publicly embarrassed in 2013 when, as a state senator, he sponsored a gun ban bill that would have allowed warrantless searches of gun owners’ homes by sheriff’s deputies. After that was reported, Murray and his co-sponsors scrambled to remove that language from the bill, but it still failed.”

Gottlieb accused Murray of “trotting out the Constitution only when he can use it for a political prop.”

“Murray would eviscerate the Second Amendment,” Gottlieb said. “He signed a gun violence tax into law that penalizes law-abiding firearms owners and amounts to a poll tax. He has a track record of supporting gun control, including an attempt to ban an entire class of firearms.” Read more

Promising Consequences of the Presidential Election

By Glen Wunderlich

During a meeting with congressional Republicans immediately following his inauguration in 2009, President Obama felt compelled to remind them that “elections have consequences” and gleefully pronounced, “I won.”  With his autocratic policies on parade since then, Americans across the country had had enough, and with their collective voice, rebuked his “change” and any “hope” of more of the same.

No two ways about it, Republicans and President-elect Trump have a heaping helping on their plates, but they are poised to promulgate sportsmen-friendly regulations and Constitutional guarantees relative to the Second Amendment.  Here are a few to watch.

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act – A group of U.S. Representatives, led by Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), launched the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus.  “The recent election results present us with a new opportunity to advance pro-gun legislation and reverse the erosion of the Second Amendment that’s occurred over the last few decades. I look forward to working with the new President and this determined group of conservatives to promote a pro-gun agenda,” Massie stated.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) on the first day of the 115th Congress. The proposed legislation, with 63 co-sponsors, would compel states to recognize concealed carry permits issued from other states that have concealed carry laws within their own borders – much in the same way a driver’s license is recognized. The bill aims to eliminate the confusion of varying state-by-state laws and provide protection for Second Amendment rights for permit holders.

In addition to interstate recognition of concealed carry permits, the bill would also allow concealed carry in the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, and on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation, as well as provide greater legal protections in both civil and criminal cases for permit holders.

Hearing Protection Act – The 2015 introduction of the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) would have removed suppressors from the purview of the National Firearms Act (NFA), replacing the antiquated federal transfer process with an instantaneous NICS background check and eliminating the onerous $200 tax. The HPA also included a provision to refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who would have purchased suppressors after October 22, 2015.

Typically, suppressors reduce the noise of gunshots by 20 – 35 decibels (dB), similar to sound reduction of earplugs or earmuffs. Additionally, suppressors also mitigate noise complaints from people who live near shooting ranges and hunting lands.  It’s time to put this common-sense gun reform back on the table.

Government Savings Litigation Act – Americans were promised transparency in government, and unfortunately the promise fell as flat as roadkill.  In testimony before a Congressional committee, Boone and Crockett Club president emeritus Lowell E. Baier told committee members that H.R. 1996, the Government Savings Litigation Act, would help America’s fish, wildlife and natural resources agencies do their jobs.

In recent years, animal rights and environmental advocacy groups began using lawsuits to protest lawful decisions they oppose. The groups use the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) to recoup their legal costs. The most frequent abuses include suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies on minor procedural decisions, then collecting huge settlements and EAJA reimbursements.

These private groups are collecting taxpayer dollars and consuming agency resources that could have gone toward wildlife management and conservation programs.  The trouble is even deeper, because there is purposely no accounting for who gets paid and how much.

Baier said, “The Congressional Research Service in 2009 determined that EAJA was an anomaly in this regard. That’s a glaring privilege for nonprofit groups that is the antithesis of equality and fairness.”

Federal oversight and accounting of EAJA payouts are virtually absent; total costs are unknown. One attorney tracking the issue estimates 12 animal rights and environmental advocacy groups alone filed over 3,300 lawsuits and recovered more than $37 million in EAJA funds over the past decade. Boone and Crockett research shows EAJA actual costs exceeding $50 million per year from litigation by the top 20 environmental litigants.

H.R. 1996 would have required reporting exact costs, but Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) made sure it never made it to the senate floor.

These initiatives may seem like small potatoes, but a million here and a million there, and pretty soon we’re talking real money.  Our money.

Buckle up, sportsmen and women and enjoy the ride!

U.S. Rep. Hudson Introduces NSSF-Backed National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill

NEWTOWN, Conn.-U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced the NSSF-supported Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) on the first day of the 115th Congress. The proposed legislation, with 63 co-sponsors, would compel states to recognize concealed carry permits issued from other states that have concealed carry laws within their own borders – much in the same way a driver’s license is recognized. The bill aims to eliminate the confusion of varying state-by-state laws and provide protection for Second Amendment rights for permit holders.

“Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that,” Hudson said. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense solution to a problem too many Americans face. It will provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits.” Read more

California DOJ Withdraws “Emergency” Magazine Ban Regulations

SACRAMENTO, CA — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has confirmed that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has withdrawn their proposed “emergency” regulations on large-capacity magazines.

A December 29, 2016 Office of Administrative Law (OAL) memo, sent to Attorney General Kamala Harris today, states that “This notice confirms that your proposed regulatory action regarding Large-Capacity Magazines was withdrawn from OAL review pursuant to Government Code section 11349.3(c).” Read more

Injunction Sought in 1st Amend. “Tyrant Registry” Lawsuit

SACRAMENTO — Today, attorneys for two Second Amendment civil rights advocates have requested an injunction in a federal First Amendment lawsuit challenging a California statute that broadly restricts the Internet publication of the home address or telephone number of any “elected or appointed official.”

“In a time where government officials are actively passing legislation to criminalize law-abiding gun owners and eliminate Second Amendment rights, the First Amendment’s protection of political speech and protest by law-abiding gun owners is more necessary than ever,” said FPC President Brandon Combs.

Plaintiff Doe Publius, filing under a pseudonym due to a fear of government retaliation and the potential for criminal prosecution under the challenged law, runs a political blog under the alias “The Real Write Wringer” and writes extensively about California politics, civil liberties, and the Second Amendment. Publius (through their Web host, WordPress.com) was served a censorious takedown letter from the California Legislative Counsel threatening litigation if their “tyrant registry,” which was posted after Governor Jerry Brown signed six new gun control bills into law on July 1, wasn’t removed due to the “grave risk” that it supposedly posed to the safety of elected officials. Publius is a member of the civil rights advocacy organization Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), which lobbied against dozens of gun control bills this year.

Another plaintiff, Derek Hoskins, is the owner of northeastshooters.com, an online forum for discussing firearms issues and shooting sports activities, news, and politics a Web forum owner. Read more

CGF Issues Statement on 9th Circuit Decision in 10-Day Waiting Period Case

SAN FRANCISCO – In response to today’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the trial court in the case of Jeff Silvester, et al., v. Attorney General Kamala Harris, a federal Second Amendment civil rights lawsuit challenging the State of California’s 10-day waiting period laws, Brandon Combs, executive director of The Calguns Foundation, has released the following statement:

“Today, this panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has proven to be more interested in their own policy preferences than the Constitution and the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment.

In its decision, the Court bizarrely ruled that even a person legally carrying a concealed weapon as he buys another gun at retail needs to be ‘cooled off’ for 10 days before taking possession of another constitutionally-protected firearm.

That holding is not even rational, much less should it survive any kind of heightened constitutional scrutiny compelled by the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald opinions. Read more

California City Pays NSSF Legal Fees In Ordinance Lawsuit Settlement

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) announced today that it and co-plaintiff City Arms East, LLC have reached an agreement with the City of Pleasant Hill, California, to end a lawsuit challenging a 2013 ordinance that sought to impose burdensome and unlawful firearms and ammunition sales restrictions on local firearms retailers.

As a result of the settlement approved by the city council on Monday night, the City of Pleasant Hill will pay $400,000 to cover legal fees incurred by NSSF and City Arms in bringing the suit.

“We were successful in our goal to protect the ability of federally-licensed firearms retailers to open, operate and grow their businesses in the City of Pleasant Hill,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “As we predicted when the city council made its unfortunate decision to go forward with an ordinance, which only put into place duplicative, unneeded regulation and did nothing to enhance public safety, it was very likely that taxpayers would be left paying the tab for what amounts to an unwarranted political decision to target law-abiding businesses.” Read more

Concealed Carry Permit Numbers Up

The election of Donald Trump, endorsed by the National Rifle Association and cheered by gun owners who were skittish over Hillary Clinton, has sparked an aggressive new effort to force liberal states to take down their barriers to concealed carry permits and gun ownership, reports the Washington Examiner.

National gun groups — such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association — are eyeing legal challenges to some 10 states that make it difficult for citizens to get a carry permit.

The emerging fight was sparked by Trump’s surprise victory over gun control advocate Clinton and increased concerns among Americans, especially women and millennials, about crime and terrorism.

“It’s pure self-defense that’s driving many,” said Tim Schmidt, president of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, based in Wisconsin. “They see these terrorist attacks, and they put themselves in the shoes of those being targeted.” Read more

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