House leaders threaten to ‘punish’ Democrats for made-for-TV stunt
It was a stunt: a made-for-TV sham to convince the TV-educated that they’re the solution, not the problem. The June 22 sit-in on the House floor by 60 Democrats was nothing more than a callous, calculated political ploy to divert attention from their own party’s obstruction of significant mental health and gun-related legislation in the Senate the previous day and, most importantly, to ensure they could stump for gun control as a campaign issue in November’s election.
They should be punished by voters for being so blatantly transparent but, in all likelihood, few will be. So, in the partisan algorithms of contemporary politics, the sit-in did exactly what participants hoped it would — it provided a photo opportunity and sound-bite that they could manipulate while delegating contextual facts to irrelevancy.
Nevertheless, House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy said on Sept. 6 that the House leadership will punish the pretenders with “appropriate measures.”
McCarthy told the Associated Press that there were “a number of rules” broken when the House Democrats sat in on the floor for 25 hours to make a point about gun control.
House Republicans and others characterized the sit-in as a publicity stunt that brought chaos to the House floor. Of course, to be fair, the Tea Party-led Republican Party has not been shy about orchestrating its own brand of obstructionism in the last seven years, so any outcry from the GOP is also strictly partisan pandering.
“One of the things that makes our country strong is our institutions,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “No matter how bad things get in this country, we have a basic structure that ensures a functioning democracy. We can disagree on policy. But we do so within the bounds of order and respect for the system. Otherwise, it all falls apart.”
It’s all theater, but you don’t have to buy a ticket and take a seat in a cinema anymore. Just turn on the TV and take a seat and be mesmerized by heroes making a stand — as long as that stand looks good on TV and, most importantly, as long as they can manipulate that stand into campaign fodder in an election year.
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14TH AMENDMENT GUN CONTROL
New Orleans, Palm Springs, Missoula: Cities imposing own firearms laws
It’s a nuance easily overlooked in the hyper-partisan spittlefest that suffices as contemporary political discourse, but gun-owners’ rights is a Second Amendment issue while gun control is, to its greatest extent, a 10th Amendment and 14th Amendment matter.
Under the 10th Amendment, states have significant latitude in regulating firearms. That is why there is such variation in gun laws from state-to-state.
Under the 14th Amendment, however, municipalities nationwide have been increasingly trying to impose their own regulatory matrix on firearms under the guise of “public safety.” That is why gun-owners should support pre-emption laws that prohibit local governments from imposing more restrictions than stated in state law.
Most famously, the city of Chicago tried to use its “public safety” mandate under the 14th Amendment to claim it could cherry pick through the Constitution to decide which ones it would honor and which ones it would discard. Chicago’s argument, fortunately, did not hold water with the Supreme Court in its 2010 McDonald v. Chicago ruling.
Nevertheless, the Second Amendment is being chipped away by municipalities elsewhere under the 14th Amendment — and doing so without much notice because we live in an era where, if it doesn’t happen on TV, it isn’t news. Unfortunately, local news doesn’t get much coverage on the cable TV networks and since few read the local newspaper — a dying institution whose demise is imperiling our democracy — few really grasp the implications of this 14th Amendment trend.
Here’s just three examples from last week:
1. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a lackey in the sway of former New York City Michael Bloomberg, is pushing a multi-faceted “gun safety ordinance” that passed an important council vote last week.
The proposed ordinance would mandate that guns lost or stolen should be reported to the New Orleans Police Department within 48 hours. Failure to do so could lead to a $250 fine.
The measure would also make all 103 city parks and buildings, as well as areas where city-sponsored events are taking place, gun free zones under threat of a $500 fine or six months in jail.
In addition, the proposed ordinance would make “negligent carrying of a concealed firearm,” even with a permit, a crime if a law enforcement officer suspects the carrier is under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
2. The Palm Springs (Calif.) City Council on Sept. 7 voted 3-2 to approve a proposed ordinance that will require gun owners to report a theft or a loss of their firearm within 48 hours and require all guns to be kept in a locked container while no one is in the residence.
A gun owner can still have the weapon out and within reach while they are in the house. So, the city of Palm Springs has given residents “permission” to “be on their own” without its august supervision inside their homes.
The ordinance will come back for a second reading and final vote on Sept. 21.
3. The Missoula (Mont.) City Council will stage a public hearing on Sept. 26 to discuss a proposed city ordinance to require background checks on all gun sales and trades—including private transfers among family members—within city limits.
This proposal has been percolating about for more a year and the fact and it still remains on the agenda in a Montana city is an indication how pervasive, yet under-reported, this trend remains.
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Washington AG launches ‘assault weapon’ crusade
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Sept. 7 proposed a state ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines in yet another blatantly transparent ploy by a wanna-be politician feathering his prospective nest.
Ferguson told the Associated Press in a staged-for-TV announcement that he will submit his proposed legislation to the State Legislature in the 2017 session.
According to the Associated Press, Ferguson’s proposed legislation has two key elements: A ban on semi-automatic weapons with “military-style features” that render them more easily concealable or more deadly; and a limit on magazine capacity to 10 rounds.
The bill would ban weapons like the AR-15 and only targets sales, “grandfathering” current gun ownership. The legislation would not require registration of existing weapons.
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IN THE COURTS
3rd Circuit Court ruling relaxes restrictions on owning guns after convictions
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 7 ruled that some people convicted of minor crimes should get a chance to legally own guns in issuing an 8-7 decision that could prompt some states to revamp existing laws or rethink proposed ones.
The Court sided with two Pennsylvania residents, restoring gun ownership rights to Daniel Binderup and Julio Suarez.
According to the Associated Press, Binderup pleaded guilty in 1998 to misdemeanor corruption of minors for a consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. He received probation and a fine, but the offense carried a potential sentence of five years. Suarez pleaded guilty in Maryland to misdemeanor possession of a handgun without a license. He received a suspended sentence and a fine.
The 3rd Circuit majority ruled that federal gun ownership ban requires offenses be serious crimes. Both Pennsylvania and Maryland graded Binderup and Suarez’s convictions as misdemeanors.
Judge Thomas Hardiman told the AP that there has long been a public understanding that gun ownership rights under the Second Amendment can be taken away from people who “demonstrated that they would present a danger to the public if armed.”
“The government has presented no evidence that either Binderup or Suarez has been, or would be, dangerous, violent, or irresponsible with firearms,” Hardiman wrote.
Both Binderup and Suarez were represented by Alan Gura, who said he expects the Justice Department will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. “It’s difficult to see what the public interest is in disarming these plainly nonthreatening individuals,” Gura said.
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