Category Archives: Dave Workman

VA Gov. Northam Lost One When Judge Ordered Gun Range Re-opened

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam lost one recently when a judge in Lynchburg ruled that the governor overstepped his authority by shutting down ranges. nra-ila image
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Anti-gun Democrat Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam lost one in Lynchburg Circuit Court when Judge F. Patrick Yeatts ruled—in a much-overlooked case—that Northam overstepped his authority when he declared a state of emergency and closed “recreational and entertainment” businesses, including indoor shooting ranges.
According to NPR, Judge Yeatts essentially said Northam lacks the authority to close gun ranges, as explained in a six-page order.
There is an interesting passage on Page 4 of the order, which could have ramifications reaching far beyond the doors of SafeSide Tactical, the indoor shooting range that sued. According to WFXR News, the range re-opened.
“But the case involves both statutory and constitutional rights analyses, not a pure constitutional rights analysis,” Judge Yeatts explained. “Levels of scrutiny favorable to the Governor in the present case contradict §44-146.15(3) (state statute)’s provision that the Governor canot “in any way limit or prohibit rights of the people to keep and bear arms.” (Emphasis added in original document). Having found that indoor gun ranges are protected by the statute, the Court cannot uphold executive orders that limit or prohibit indoor gun ranges. The Court assumes executive orders regulating all businesses would not violate the statute, but the Order targets indoor gun ranges by lumping them in with the closure of recreational businesses.
“The Court declines to invent a level of scrutiny to circumvent the text in the statute,” Judge Yeatts continued. “If the Court were to use a level of scrutiny, the Court would find that proper training and practice, at a range as analyzed above, is fundamental to the right to keep and bear arms, even necessary for the self-defense concern discussed by the Governor. Accordingly, the Court would apply strict scrutiny and find that the Order fails because the total closing of all indoor gun ranges is not narrowly tailored.”
In his decision, Judge Yeatts alluded to a Second Amendment Foundation case from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Ezell v. City of Chicago, which held “that the federal constitution’s Second Amendment includes a corresponding right to train with firearms by target practice at a range.”
According to the Virginian Pilot,” Richard Schragger, a law professor at the University of Virginia, said in an email the ruling only applies to the Lynchburg gun range, but the reasoning could apply across the state and other gun ranges could bring a similar lawsuit.
NPR noted that Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued a statement that his office was “considering how to respond.”
“Governor Northam’s efforts to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19 are necessary and proving to be effective, but unfortunately, the gun lobby believes the ability to shoot a gun indoors during this pandemic is worth risking further spread of the virus and making Virginia communities and families less safe,” Herring said, according to the Associated Press, according to the NPR report.
But in the final lines of his ruling, Judge Yeatts appears to respond:  (by law) which the Court has a duty to interpret and apply.”
It wasn’t the only piece of bad news for Northam. Fox News reported the Justice Department is “siding with a Virginia church suing Gov. Ralph Northam after police threatened a pastor with jail time or a $2,500 fine for violating the state’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions by holding a 16-person church service on Palm Sunday.”
On the far side of the country, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, also a Democrat now seeking a third term, announced he is going to allow a slow re-opening of the Evergreen State, with fishing and hunting seasons to open May 5, one day after his previous May 4 deadline, but he extended the overall shutdown to May 31.
Washington was the only state, according to some reports, where recreational fishing had been suspended. The order also pushed back the opener of the spring wild turkey hunting season.
Inslee has been taking increasing heat from voters as small businesses across the Evergreen State have been hammered hard. Seattle’s famous Pyramid Alehouse, a landmark business located near the city’s baseball and football stadiums, announced its permanent closure last week.
Inslee’s emergency order did not exempt gun shops or shooting ranges, and many, but not all, have been closed for several weeks. Others remain open in defiance of the emergency order nearly two months ago. Those shops have instituted creative business practices to remain open.
One significant impact has been on concealed pistol license applications in Washington State. For the second month in a row, the state Department of Licensing reported a decline in the number of active CPLs. At the end of February, there were 650,825 active licenses. That declined to 649,165 as of May 1, a loss of 1,660 CPLs.
Sheriffs and police departments have suspended taking new CPL applications because the process requires completed fingerprinting, and that requires physical proximity between staff and applicants.
While federal lawsuits have been filed in other states over similar issues, so far Washington authorities have not been sued.

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About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
The post VA Gov. Northam Lost One When Judge Ordered Gun Range Re-opened appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


‘Constitutionally Defective’ – Judge’s Ruling in CA Ammo Case Eviscerates Law

A federal judge has ruled California’s background check requirement for purchasing ammunition violates the Second Amendment. (Dave Workman)
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Buried halfway through the 120-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez that California’s background check requirement for ammunition purchases violates the Second Amendment are five words that cut to the core of gun control laws across the country.
“Criminals don’t do background checks.”
The remark is on Page 69 of the Benitez ruling, which declares the California ammunition requirement “constitutionally defective,” and it is perhaps a fitting spot. It is at the middle—the core—of a ruling that will likely be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco, but in the meantime Golden State gun owners are cheering, albeit cautiously.
The case is known as Rhode v. Becerra, named for the chief plaintiff, Olympic Gold Medalist and California resident Kim Rhode. The case was brought in response to Proposition 63, passed by California voters in 2016. The case was supported by the National Rifle Association and included several plaintiffs, both private citizens and businesses.
“As the court said, ‘The right to keep and bear arms is the insurance policy behind the right to life…a shield from the tyranny of the majority.’ California wasn’t just obstructing the people’s fundamental right to defend their families and lives—it was encouraging unlawful hostility toward an individual, Constitutional right,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action in a prepared statement. “The NRA funded this case for the same reason the court struck down the laws: enough was enough.”
The Associated Press quoted Hannah Shearer, litigation director for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, calling the ruling “a dangerous step in the wrong direction.”
But attorney Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, issued a statement (quoted by NBC News) with a polar opposite perspective: “This is a devastating blow to the anti-gun-owner advocates who falsely pushed Prop 63 in the name of safety. In truth, red tape and the state’s disastrous database errors made it impossible for hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Californians to purchase ammunition for sport or self-defense.”
Indeed, according to the Benitez ruling, “the burden is that 101,047 law-abiding citizens (plus an untold additional number who may have been discouraged by the clumsiness of the system) were unable to exercise their Second Amendment right to acquire ammunition for their firearms.” That notation is found on Page 66 of the ruling.
Most reports are focusing on the judge’s opening remark: “The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured.”
But there is much more in Judge Benitez’ lengthy decision, and one must read carefully to find it all.

Benitez, the senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, is a George W. Bush appointee, taking office in June 2004. He ascended to the senior position on Dec. 31, 2017.
He is the same judge who ruled in a case that was recently argued before the Ninth Circuit declaring California’s ban on so-called “high capacity magazines” also violates the Second Amendment. That case is known as Duncan v. Becerra.
In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Benitez—who was born in Havana, Cuba 69 years ago—wrote on Page 52, “The majority of citizens who use common ammunition do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense. Under Heller and McDonald, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to acquire and keep common ammunition. Using the simple Heller test, it is obvious that the California background check laws that de facto completely block some law-abiding responsible citizens from buying common ammunition are unconstitutional. Under the simple Heller test, judicial review could end right here.” (Emphasis added.)
Three pages later, Judge Benitez says the California statutes “directly burden the Second Amendment right directly to its core, which is the right to defend one’s self, family, and home.”
Reading further, to Pages 65-66, the judge rakes California’s case with this observation:
“At this point, however, the government has done little more than simply posited the existence of the disease sought to be cured. And the cure, making it difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire ammunition, is far worse than the disease. The government has certainly not demonstrated that the blanket background check system will cure any disease and alleviate harm in a direct and material way without unnecessarily burdening the rights of citizens.”
He also criticizes the “clumsiness” of California’s background check system that initially denied purchases to 770 people, of which some were later found to be “not prohibited persons at all.” Contrasting that number against the 101,047 mentioned earlier is one of the keys of the judge’s opinion.
Judge Benitez probably explains the problem best in a passage on Page 67, where he observes:
“This state experiment is a one-size-fits-all, one-of-a-kind approach with no legislative record. The State justifies the experiment upon little more than conjecture springing from three old studies: (1) an old study of Los Angeles recordkeeping law; (2) an old study of Sacramento recordkeeping law; and (3) the straw purchaser experience of the State of New Jersey…California’s background check for ammunition purchases is the first state experiment in the country. But it is not the first experiment. The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 required ammunition be sold by federally licensed firearm dealers who would maintain records of ammunition sales. The Gun Control Act also prohibited, like the new California anti-importation law, interstate mail-order ammunition sales. After 18 years of that experiment, Congress repealed the prohibition on mail-order sales and the ammunition purchase recordkeeping requirement in the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. In support of the changes, the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Treasury Department said the ammunition recordkeeping had no substantial law enforcement value.”
Twenty pages later (Pages 88-89), as if to underscore what he had written, Judge Benitez refers to a more recent study in 2018 that was highlighted by the plaintiffs in their case.
“Observing that ‘we know little about the effectiveness of CBC [comprehensive background check] policies,’ the authors (of this newer study) recently set out to determine the impact of California’s background check system for purchasing firearms implemented in 1991. The study identified the rate of homicides and suicides from firearms during the ten years preceding the background check law and the ten years following. The conclusion is that the implementation of California’s firearm background check law had little or no effect on firearm-related homicide rates. ‘[T]he net difference during the 10 years post intervention was practically 0.’”
Four pages later, Judge Benitez notes, “To be clear, at this point in the case, the evidence does not fairly support the notion of Proposition 63 that background check and anti-importation provisions for ammunition acquisition will make the public safer.”
He hammers one more nail into the coffin on Page 95, and it might stand as a lesson to state governments everywhere, if his ruling is upheld.
“Government is not free to impose its own pure policy choices on American citizens where Constitutional rights are concerned. As Heller explains, the Second Amendment takes certain policy choices and removes them beyond the realm of state action.”

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About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
The post ‘Constitutionally Defective’ – Judge’s Ruling in CA Ammo Case Eviscerates Law appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


Biden Website Reveals Alarming Gun Control Agenda

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden has plans for American gun owners that are spelled out in a 3,100-word agenda found on his campaign website that includes a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” background checks on all gun sales and transfers, restrictions on the number of firearms someone can buy in a month, “safe storage” and enough other red tape to turn the right to keep and bear arms into a heavily-regulated privilege.
This coming Saturday, April 25, “Team Joe” is planning a “Service Outreach Unity Leadership (S.O.U.L.) of the Nation” event to recognize the efforts of “our communities’ heroes.”
A message on his website says, “When Joe launched our campaign a year ago this Saturday, he said that this election is about more than just politics – it’s about the soul of this country. That is true now more than ever before.”
The former vice president, now said to be considering a female running mate since he is virtually assured of winning the nomination—which a majority of Democrats appear to favor, according to a recent Rasmussen survey—insists he will follow “constitutional, common-sense gun safety policies.”
Here are some of the highlights found in his campaign literature:

Put America on the path to ensuring that 100% of firearms sold in America are smart guns. Biden believes we should work to eventually require that 100% of firearms sold in the U.S. are smart guns.
End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions. Biden will enact legislation to prohibit all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts. (This could be a direct threat to such places as Midway and Brownells, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.–ed.)
Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Joe Biden will enact legislation to once again ban assault weapons, his agenda says. This time, the bans will be designed based on lessons learned from the 1994 bans. For example, the ban on assault weapons will be designed to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality. While working to pass this legislation, Biden will also use his executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons.
Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. Currently, the National Firearms Act requires individuals possessing machine-guns, silencers, and short-barreled rifles to undergo a background check and register those weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Due to these requirements, such weapons are rarely used in crimes. As president, Biden will pursue legislation to regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act.
Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities. Biden will also institute a program to buy back weapons of war currently on our streets. This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act.
Reinstate the Obama-Biden policy to keep guns out of the hands of certain people unable to manage their affairs for mental reasons, which President Trump reversed. In 2016, the Obama-Biden Administration finalized a rule to make sure the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends to the background check system records that it holds of individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms because they have been adjudicated by the SSA as unable to manage their affairs for mental reasons. But one of the first actions Donald Trump took as president was to reverse this rule. President Biden will enact legislation to codify this policy. (Critics of this policy say it went after military veterans who had problems with finances.)

There is much more in Biden’s scheme, such as holding firearms manufacturers responsible for illegal acts committed by people using one of their firearms. Another provision will “Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs…to require individuals to obtain a license prior to purchasing a gun.”
It’s all spelled out in detail, in 3,167 words, and there is nothing in this narrative about Biden “hoping” to do anything. At several points, the document says “Biden will.”
To accomplish this, he’s going to want a running mate who agrees with, and will adhere to, his policies. The recent Rasmussen survey, conducted April 12-13 with a margin of sampling error at +/- 3 percentage points, says 61 percent of likely Democratic voters “believe it is important for Biden’s running mate to be a woman or person of color, with 35% who say it is Very Important.”
Does that mean most Democrats are more interested in political correctness than they are in performance? Here’s an excerpt from the Rasmussen report:
“But when given a list of seven top potential vice presidential nominees, Democrats rate most about the same. The possible candidates and their levels of support are: Bernie Sanders (15%), Kamala Harris (14%), Elizabeth Warren (13%), Amy Klobuchar (12%), Stacey Abrams (11%), Michael Bloomberg (7%) and Pete Buttigieg (5%). Thirteen percent (13%) of Democrats prefer someone else, and 11% are undecided.” By no small coincidence, Klobuchar is being touted as Biden’s “safe pick” in a Washington Examiner piece.
In its introduction, the Biden doctrine emphasizes that he “has taken on the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the national stage and won – twice. In 1993, he shepherded through Congress the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which established the background check system that has since kept more than 3 million firearms out of dangerous hands. In 1994, Biden – along with Senator Dianne Feinstein – secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As president, Joe Biden will defeat the NRA again.”
Perhaps “victory” means different things to different people. Since 1993, the NRA reportedly raised its membership by at least 50 percent, and that era has seen the emergence of other rights organizations as powerhouse groups, specifically the Second Amendment Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and various state-level organizations. Millions of gun owners were energized during the Clinton and Obama administrations when Biden and his Capitol Hill colleagues went after gun rights.
Indeed, it was a SAF case—McDonald v. City of Chicago—that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, providing the opportunity to incorporate the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment. That opened the legal floodgates allowing dozens of legal actions challenging the kinds of gun laws Biden and his contemporaries favor.
Near the top of his agenda, Biden says he will “Get weapons of war off our streets.” There are all kinds of proposals to make it more difficult for law-abiding gun owners to remain “law-abiding.”
There is little, if anything, about locking up criminals. Instead, one finds this:
“There are proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities without turning to incarceration. For example, Group Violence Intervention organizes community leaders to work with individuals most likely to commit acts of gun violence, express the community’s demand that the gun violence stop, and connect individuals who may be likely perpetrators with social and economic support services that may deter violent behavior.”
On the heels of a mass shooting rampage in Canada, a nation with some of the strictest gun laws in the hemisphere—laws the gun prohibition lobby would like this country to emulate, were it not for the pesky Second Amendment—Biden’s gun control agenda is unlikely to win any converts in the firearms community, and it will give U.S. gun owners plenty to think about as November draws closer.

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About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
 
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SAF, FPC File Lawsuit Alleging ‘Deprivation of Rights’ in GA County

The right to bear arms is at the center of a new federal lawsuit filed in Georgia by the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition have filed a federal lawsuit in Georgia on behalf of a resident of Cherokee County, alleging deprivation of rights because the county and Probate Judge Keith Wood have suspended the process for Georgia Weapons License (GWL) applications as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The case names as defendants Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Gary Vowell, Cherokee County, and Judge Wood, in their official capacities.
This lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division. The case is known as Walters v. Kemp. Plaintiffs are represented by attorney Adam Kraut of Sacramento, Calif., John R. Monroe of Dawsonville, Ga., and Raymond M. DiGuiseppe of Southport, N.C.
According to the 23-page complaint, “On or around March 14, 2020, Defendant Judge Wood of the Cherokee County Probate Court issued a ‘Notice to the Public’ suspending all processing of carry license applications for two months, through May 13.”
This order “was purportedly based upon declarations of the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court declaring a ‘statewide judicial emergency’ (‘JEO’), following the Governor’s Declaration of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis,” the document explains.
But because the state has a general ban against carrying loaded operable handguns outside the home or vehicles without a GWL, the complaint alleges, Cherokee County residents who could qualify for a license have been “denied any chance to lawfully carry such a weapon in public, anywhere outside the limited confines of their homes, cars, and workplaces, for self-defense or for any other lawful purposes.”
Essentially, the lawsuit contends, Cherokee County and the judge “have closed their GWL application doors to Plaintiff Walters and other individuals like her.”
Here is what can be found on Judge Wood’s Probate Court website:
NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
On March 14, 2020, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton issued an order Declaring a state-wide judicial emergency order based on the Coronavirus/ COVID-19 pandemic. An order entered on April 6, 2020 extends this period through May 13, 2020.
This order, in part, limits court operations to only those matters which are deemed essential.
The public should avoid coming to the Probate Court offices during the period of time covered by this Justice Melton’s order. However, the Court recognizes that some types of proceedings are essential to be handled on an emergency basis. In order to continue meeting the needs of the citizens of this county and taking into consideration the nature of the current pandemic, the following shall apply during the pendency of the judicial emergency:
ESSENTIAL MATTERS
The following matters are deemed essential and shall be processed as a normal course of business:

Emergency Guardianship and Conservatorship Proceedings filed pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§29-4-14 and 29-5-14, et. seq.
Guardianship and Conservatorship Proceedings filed pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§29-4-1 and 29-5-1 where there are allegations of abuse or neglect
Petitions for the appointment of a Temporary Medical Consent Guardian
Orders to Apprehend (a/k/a 10-13 orders) pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§37-3-41 and 37-7-41
Proceedings providing for the disposition of remains pursuant to O.C.G.A. §31-21-7
Marriage License applications for weddings which will take place during the pendency of the Judicial Emergency
Other legitimate emergency matters will be accepted on a case-by-case basis

NON-ESSENTIAL MATTERS
The following matters are deemed non-essential and will not be accepted during the pendency of the judicial emergency:
Weapons Carry Licenses
Weapons Carry License application WILL NOT be accepted during the period covered by the judicial emergency. The emergency order extends the period for renewal for any Weapons Carry License that expires during this period of time.”
“This is the most recent in a series of legal actions we’ve had to file around the country,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “because we’ve discovered that some officials have arbitrarily decided the COVID-19 crisis allows them to suspend the Constitutional rights of the citizens they serve. We’ve been stunned by this pattern because such actions are not permitted by the Constitution. Authorities may not, by decree or otherwise, enact or enforce a suspension or deprivation of constitutional liberties.”
Over the past month, SAF, FPC and other groups including the National Rifle Association, have filed several federal legal actions, primarily challenging orders by governors to shut down gun stores, but this lawsuit in Georgia differs because it is directed at a problem for law-abiding citizens wanting to protect themselves outside the home. It challenges a jurisdiction’s authority, and that of officials in said jurisdiction, to “suspend” accepting applications for concealed carry permits or licenses.
The case could have implications reaching far beyond the Georgia border, all the way to the Pacific Northwest.
In several jurisdictions, licensing authorities or law enforcement agencies have not been accepting new applications for carry permits or licenses because the process normally involves fingerprinting for background check purposes. Fingerprints cannot be taken without actual physical contact between agency personnel and an applicant. Various county sheriffs’ offices and police departments around the country have suspended the process while the pandemic continues.
How this lawsuit might affect those situations in other parts of the country is open to speculation.
“The Constitution explicitly protects the fundamental human right to bear arms, especially for self-defense,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Governments cannot eliminate the right of law-abiding adults to carry handguns for self-defense in public, which is all the more pertinent in these troubled times. As the Supreme Court has already explained, the Constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms is especially important for self-defense in case of confrontation, and individuals must be allowed to exercise their rights outside their home.”
A similar lawsuit was reportedly filed against Gov. Kemp and Fulton County Probate Judge Pinkie Toomer by resident of that county, Sara Carter, and Georgia Carry. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, plaintiffs’ attorney John Monroe noted the problem with these delays. A citizen cannot carry a firearm without a license, and if probate judges don’t issue licenses, the right to carry has effectively been removed.
This lawsuit came only days after SAF, FPC and others sued in New Mexico, and only a few days earlier, had filed a federal lawsuit in Massachusetts. SAF and FPC have been involved in legal actions in several states, and there are still other targets being considered.
Whether these legal actions have any deterrent effect is also a matter of speculation.
Only in states with so-called “constitutional carry” statutes that allow the carrying of sidearms openly or concealed without a license (or permit) is this not an issue.
Since the pandemic emergency was declared nearly two months ago, there has been a rush on gun stores across the country. It only figures that more people would be interested in obtaining carry permits/licenses to have their defensive firearms with them in the event of an emergency away from home.
Recently, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms publicly welcomed all of the new gun owners to the firearms community, counseling them to seek competent instruction in the safe use and handling of guns.

RELATED:
Historical Irony: 2A Groups Sue Mass. Gov. Baker as Battle Anniversary Looms

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About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
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WA Prison Release Plan Has Evergreen Gun Owners Alarmed

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state may release nearly 1,000 “nonviolent offenders” from prison to comply with a state Supreme Court order related to the COVID-19 outbreak. iStock-1165446040
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Reports that Washington State plans to release nearly 1,000 “nonviolent offenders” to ostensibly “limit the spread of COVID-19 among the prison population” have Evergreen State gun owners alarmed, amid reports of rising property crimes and because gun shops have been left off the list of so-called “essential” businesses.
According to the Daily Olympian, Gov. Jay Inslee revealed the plan in a written statement. This came in the aftermath of a protest last week by some inmates at the Monroe Reformatory. Critics accuse the governor, a Democrat, of rewarding misbehavior by prisoners.
Using social media, gun owners have been expressing concerns about the release, and what it might mean to their communities.
The newspaper said the Department of Corrections (DOC) plan will “focus on five groups serving sentences for nonviolent crimes.” Among them, prisoners who are due for release within 2 to 6 months, prisoners who are vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, inmates incarcerated for lower-level supervision violations and those on work release.
But State Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane) thinks the idea is nuts. He released a statement explaining why.
Padden, ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee, said this: “The people of this state are rightfully alarmed and upset by the Governor’s ill-advised decision to simply release hundreds of inmates who have yet to fulfill their debt to society. This was the most extreme option available to him in order to address the Washington Supreme Court’s order to protect inmates during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, it increases society’s risk by not only potentially increasing crime, but also increasing the spread of COVID-19.”
This is not a problem unique to Washington. Fox News is reporting, “Thousands of non-violent inmates have been released from jails in Los Angeles County to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but the county sheriff said Monday he’s now concerned about a potential future spike in crime.’
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was recently sued in federal court by several gun rights organizations over his effort to shut down gun stores in the county. Prisoner releases have also been reported in Louisiana, New Jersey, and Detroit.
It is not lost on Washington citizens that the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in decisions by several county sheriffs and local police departments to “suspend” accepting applications for new concealed pistol licenses. Renewals are still being processed, but there has been a surge of gun-buying since the pandemic panic first set in more than a month ago, and there is no way to accurately estimate the number of people who would have applied but did not because their applications would not be accepted.
Despite Gov. Inslee’s failure to list gun shops as “essential,” several stores have remained open. The Tri-City Herald recently reported on a couple of those stores in the south-central part of the state, which is traditionally considered “gun country.” The newspaper noted that defiant Washington gun shops cite the Department of Homeland Security’s last month that included gun stores and employees as “essential.”
There is another reason for public concern over this prisoner release. Many people remember a downtown Seattle shooting between three known gang members that left one woman dead and several other people wounded in January. Two of the suspects in that rush hour gun battle were under DOC supervision at the time, having been convicted of prior felonies that disqualified them from possessing firearms.
Down in Utah, a 42-year-old man who was released from a halfway house early over coronavirus concerns was arrested after allegedly breaking into a woman’s home, threatening her with a knife and attempting to rob her. The woman’s son called police, who found the suspect in the woman’s bed, where he allegedly had told his victim to claim he was her lover. Arresting officers took him away.
The ACLU of Washington declared in its own press release, “The Governor’s actions to release a limited number of individuals from Washington state corrections facilities is a useful first step but does not eliminate the danger that individuals incarcerated in Washington state face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the Governor and the Department of Corrections to do more to reduce state prison populations which is the only way to follow the advice of public health experts and keep those living and working in our correctional facilities safe.”
The State Supreme Court “ordered the governor and the state’s Department of Corrections to ‘immediately exercise their authority to take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety’ of inmates in response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to KOMO News, the ABC affiliate in Seattle.
And now Inslee has announced a cooperative effort with the governors of Oregon and California—both Democrats—to start their own process of re-opening their states. May 4 is a tentative date Inslee had set for ending the “stay home” order, and if that holds true, it will have been nearly two months since gun owners could apply for new CPLs. It will be telling to see how much of a jump in CPLs will be recorded in June and July. At last count, there were more than 650,400 active licenses in the Evergreen State.
RELATED:
Are WA Armed Citizens Being Penalized for Seattle Shooting?

About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
The post WA Prison Release Plan Has Evergreen Gun Owners Alarmed appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


N.J. Gov. Murphy Hit with Federal Lawsuit by Second Amendment Foundation

The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy over an executive order that has shut down gun sales in the state.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Several days after the Second Amendment Foundation warned the Mayor of New Orleans against suspending firearms sales in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, that organization has hit the New Jersey governor with a federal lawsuit alleging depravation of rights for “shutting down firearms dealerships in the Garden State, thus preventing citizens from exercising their rights under the Second and Fourteenth amendments.”
It may be the first time in history for such a legal action, as panic over the Coronavirus continues.
SAF is joined by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, on behalf of Robert Kashinsky and Legend Firearms, a gun shop in the state. They are represented by noted civil rights attorney David Jensen at Jensen & Associates in Beacon, N.Y. He is also representing SAF and the Connecticut Citizens Defense League in a federal lawsuit against the state of Connecticut’s prohibition on so-called “high capacity magazines.”
Attorney David Jensen
In the New Jersey case, Gov. Phil Murphy and State Police Supt. Patrick J. Callahan are defendants in their official capacities. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, alleges depravation of rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The case is known as Kashinsky v. Murphy. The complaint may be read here.
The lawsuit contends that Murphy, by issuing Executive Order 107 on March 21, mandated “the closure of all retail businesses that sell firearms or ammunition and of making the portal for firearms background checks unavailable on the website of the New Jersey State Police…amount to a ban on obtaining firearms or ammunition in the State of New Jersey.”
Kashinsky, according to the federal complaint, does not own a firearm, but he recently obtained a Firearms Purchaser Identification card for the purpose of buying a gun out of concern for his ability to protect himself and his wife in the event of an emergency. However, Murphy’s executive order was quickly followed by a notice posted on the State Police background check portal of its website “indicating that the State Police would no longer conduct background checks,” the lawsuit says.
“Gov. Murphy cannot simply suspend the Second Amendment, and neither can Supt. Callahan,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Yet, under this emergency order, that’s exactly what they’re doing. The Constitution, and federal law, don’t allow that.
“New Jersey may have been the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights,” Gottlieb observed. “but they’re the last state to recognize it.”
In 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, SAF and the National Rifle Association took the City of New Orleans to federal court over firearm seizures conducted by the administration of former Mayor Ray Nagin. The court found those gun confiscations—some of which were done at gunpoint—to be unconstitutional.
Recently, when North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a statewide emergency due to the Coronavirus, SAF reminded officials about the case of Bateman v. Purdue, that prevents suspension of Second Amendment rights during an emergency in that state. The intent was to allow people to venture outside their homes with firearms in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane.
“We could not have foreseen that our case against North Carolina would ever keep citizens safe in this kind of emergency,” Gottlieb said, “but we are delighted that no public official can arbitrarily render the state’s residents unable to defend themselves on the grounds of a declared emergency. That’s the time when honest citizens might need their firearms the most while away from home.”
Just days ago, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an emergency order that actually exempts firearm and ammunition distributors and retailers from any shutdown, recognizing them instead as “essential businesses…for the purposes of safety and security.” SAF applauded the governor.
The New Jersey lawsuit could put other states on notice about trying to shut down the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Most state constitutions also have right-to-bear-arms provisions, and they are often more protective than the Second Amendment.

About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books #add on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
The post N.J. Gov. Murphy Hit with Federal Lawsuit by Second Amendment Foundation appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


SAF Says Ill. Governor Gets It Right; ‘Firearms, Ammo Essential’

As the nation deals with the coronavirus panic, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued an emergency order that says firearms and ammunition dealers and distributors are “essential” businesses that will stay open. (Dave Workman)
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker got it right with Friday’s emergency order response to the spreading Coronavirus pandemic when he included firearms and ammunition suppliers and retailers on the list of “essential business operations” that will remain open, according to the Second Amendment Foundation.
Pritzker issued Executive Order 23020-10, which “directs all individuals living within the state of Illinois to stay at home, except for “Essential Activities, Essential Government Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations.” These include information technology equipment manufacturers and suppliers, hardware, food, cleaning supplies, and “firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security.”
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb lauded Pritzker in a prepared statement, saying the governor “sets and example for others” to follow.
“When an anti-gun Democrat governor declares that essential businesses include firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for the purposes of safety and security, that is a really big deal,” Gottlieb said. “Every governor should copy the Illinois example when issuing ‘shelter-in-place’ and business closure orders in the face of the Coronavirus.”
Three other states—New York, California and Pennsylvania—have taken the extreme step of ordering the public to “shelter in place.” People need to stay home except for essential businesses.
In San Jose, Mayor Sam Liccardo declared gun stores are “non-essential.”
“We are having panic buying right now for food,” Liccardo said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “The one thing we cannot have is panic buying of guns.”
San Jose police reportedly shut down the Bullseye Bishop gun store last week. The newspaper quoted painting contractor Joshua Wolfe, who was purchasing ammunition. He said the right to arm one’s self is essential.
One gun rights group, the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), filed a lawsuit asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to block Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf from including gun stores in his state’s shutdown. Wolf reportedly revised his order, but according to Spotlight PA, “sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores” must remain closed.
“Weapons and ammunition retailers are one of the most essential business types in the United States,” said FPC President Brandon Combs in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. “There is no ‘except in emergencies’ clause in the Constitution and the government cannot shut down the people’s right to keep and bear arms.”
Gottlieb was also quoted by the newspaper, “Gun prohibitionists want to close down every gun store they can and will use any means necessary. They do not believe that the means for self-defense is essential or a protected constitutional right. Our legal team is monitoring the situation very closely.”
Gottlieb may wind up busy closer to home. The Bellingham, Wash., city council is currently considering an emergency ordinance—a draft of which was obtained by Ammoland News—that would allow the mayor or director of emergency services to issue an order “prohibiting the carrying or possession of firearms or any instrument which is capable of producing bodily harm and which is carried or possessed with the intent to use the same to cause such harm; provided that any such order shall not apply to peace officers or military personnel engaged in the performance of their official duties.”
Ammoland has learned that the city may “clean up” the ordinance’s language, which allegedly has been on the books since 1977 and thus would have been nullified by the state preemption statute. That remains to be seen.
Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood reacted to the concerns over the proposal and posted these remarks on his website:
“The proposed changes will allow us to be more responsive to emergency needs while retaining important checks and balances in place through Council oversight of Mayoral actions,” Mayor Fleetwood said.
“No action is being taken or proposed at this meeting that relates to banning guns, and any rumors about changes to firearms regulations, rumors about martial law, or rumors about closing city streets, are false.”
Such an order, were it ever enforced, would likely collide with Washington’s 35-year-old preemption statute that places sole authority for firearms regulation in the hands of the state legislature. It might also violate the state and federal constitutional right to bear arms provisions. Washington State’s constitution leaves no wiggle room, stating, “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired…”
Gottlieb seemed to be making that point in his support of Gov. Pritzker’s emergency order.
“Depending upon how long this emergency continues,” Gottlieb stated, “many Americans may find themselves facing situations where they will need to be their own first responders. Gov. Pritzker obviously understands this, and we encourage the governors of all other states to recognize this isn’t an issue of party politics but of personal and community safety.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has not issued an emergency “shelter-in-place” order, instead imploring the public to essentially police themselves. This came after scores of people were filmed at a popular Seattle beach enjoying the sunshine, playing games and relaxing in close proximity to one another.
Gottlieb may have summed up the current situation best by noting, “We are all in this together, and we will make it through, together, as well. Stay safe, stay well and stay ready.”

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About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books #add on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
The post SAF Says Ill. Governor Gets It Right; ‘Firearms, Ammo Essential’ appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


Ohio Gov. DeWine Cracks Code: Locking Up Criminals Reduces Violent Crime

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine may have cracked the code on criminal violence. (Screen snip, YouTube, WCPO News)
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has evidently cracked a proverbial code about violent crime and it went virtually unnoticed last week, overshadowed by President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and his acquittal by the U.S. Senate in the impeachment trial, and the Iowa caucus debacle.
DeWine, speaking at the Associated Press Legislative Forum—according to Lima News columnist Jim Krumel—said this: “What we have is, repeat, violent offenders who have no legal right to have a gun, or not supposed to have a gun, who are showing up with guns, all the time. And so giving the prosecutors, the police and ultimately the judges, the authority to send that person away for a long time, will save lives.”
That logic can be applied to the case in New York City involving a repeat offender identified as Robert Williams, 45, of The Bronx. According to the New York Daily News, the suspect is no model citizen, having done a stretch in prison for attempted murder. He was released on parole in 2017. He was scheduled for a court appearance on Monday Feb. 10 on a drunk driving and resisting beef dating back to 2018.
As a convicted felon, Williams is not allowed by law to possess a firearm. Yet he’s now being held for opening fire in a police station where one police lieutenant was wounded, and he’s also suspected in a shooting involving two other police officers Saturday.
DeWine’s observation could also just as easily apply to the unfolding case in Seattle, where three suspects who engaged in a shootout that left a female bystander dead and seven other people injured all have criminal records that preclude them from having guns. Two of the suspects, William Tolliver and Marquise Latrelle, have 65 arrests and 35 convictions between them. Tolliver’s history includes 44 arrests, one felony conviction and 18 gross misdemeanors. Tolbert has been arrested 21 times, with three felony convictions and a dozen gross misdemeanors in his file. They traded rounds with Jamel Jackson in the Jan. 22 chaos outside a McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Seattle. Jackson was wounded and is now in custody facing gun charges. Tolliver and Tolbert were arrested in Las Vegas and are awaiting return to Seattle.
Conservative radio commentators in the state, echoing the thoughts of their listeners, are accusing prosecutors and judges of being soft on criminals, which has only emboldened them to the point of engaging in a deadly shootout.
All of this is unfolding against a backdrop of gun control politics in Washington, Oregon, Virginia and Florida, as well as on the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire.
But DeWine—who some believe to be soft on gun control while others suggest he goes too far, and has a concealed carry license in Ohio, according to columnist Krumel’s narrative—reportedly has heard from police chiefs in the Buckeye State who told the governor “it is a small number of people responsible for the violence,” Krumel reported.
While gun control advocates in Oregon are pushing a so-called “safe storage” bill that is opposed by Beaver State gun owners, and several gun control laws are being considered in neighboring Washington State, DeWine’s observations are supported by laws adopted by Evergreen State citizens more than 25 years ago.
“Three Strikes and You’re Out,” followed by “Hard Time for Armed Crime.” Both of those measures were championed by the firearms community, and opposed by the liberal establishment for putting people behind bars for lengthy sentences, or for life.
Washington’s “Three Strikes” law was passed in 1993, via Initiative 593. Subsequently, several states adopted similar statutes. But Washington voters appear to have lost historical perspective, or been swayed over the years by the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby as more people migrated to the state, drawn by the booming tech industry.
In a recent KING 5 News survey conducted by SurveyUSA in late January, 45 percent of respondents think the state needs stronger gun control laws. They are slightly outnumbered by 46 percent who believe the existing gun laws are adequate (27%) or are too strict (19%).The station—Seattle’s NBC affiliate—played up the gun control support, which many in the firearms community suggested was an example of media bias.
In Ohio, DeWine is pushing a proposal calling for “voluntary background checks” on private gun sales, a suggestion comparatively benign to the agendas being pushed in the Pacific Northwest and passed by the anti-gun majority Democrats in Richmond, VA.
All of these things bring the focus to New Hampshire, where socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders said during last Friday’s debate, “My view is right now, we need universal background checks, we end the gun show loophole, we end the so-called ‘straw man provision,’ we make certain that we end the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country, and we go further.”

Sen. Sanders on his proposed gun policy: "Under my administration, it will be the American people doing gun policy not dictated by the NRA….we need universal background checks." https://t.co/0GxKJz7e8Y #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/Q7huLTNuPa
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2020

It’s the “further” that alarms gun owners who have been watching the Second Amendment “under siege,” as observed by Trump during his State of the Union address.
“Just as we believe in the First Amendment,” the president stated, “we also believe in another constitutional right that is under siege all across our country. So long as I am president, I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
Perhaps one way to accomplish that will be to once again get tough on criminals. As DeWine and those unidentified Ohio police chiefs have clarified, getting recidivist criminals off the streets, including those in New York and Seattle, might be the most effective way to reduce violent crime while leaving the rights of millions of law-abiding citizens alone.
RELATED:
Are WA Armed Citizens Being Penalized for Seattle Shooting?

About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.
The post Ohio Gov. DeWine Cracks Code: Locking Up Criminals Reduces Violent Crime appeared first on AmmoLand.com.


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