Sep 30, 2014
I believe this response goes farther than either Caleb or I did in excoriating Jan Morgan from banning muslims from her gun range, much of which I agree with. Reading some of the comments over at Caleb’s post, I was struck by how many folks don’t really get the context under which we’re arguing, so I thought I’d take a minute to explain it.
The key law at work in this context is Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination based on race color, religion, or national origin in “public accommodations.” When most people talk about the Civil Rights Act, they usually mean the 1964 Act. There could be some debate about whether a gun range is a public accommodation under the act, but I think it would be quite surprising if a court were to agree that it is not. There had been an attempt in the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to use the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to reach a similar result, but the Supreme Court said no. The 1964 act relied heavily on Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce. So it has been established law for some time that this type of discrimination is unlawful.
There are some who argue that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 went too far in regulating private behavior and limiting property rights. Barry Goldwater was one of the more famous opponents to Title II of the Civil Rights Act, but it’s likely his opposition cost him his bid for the Presidency. I do believe the libertarian argument against Title II of CRA64 is a legitimate one, is not based in a desire to perpetuate racism, or beyond debate. But politically, I’ve written before, opposition to CRA 64 is a non-starter, and probably will continue to be for some time.
It’s worth making sure people understand what the law currently says about what Jan Morgan is doing, and why I think that makes her a distasteful person to have on “our side.” Opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has never been a winning political position, and she’s bound to lose any lawsuit. This was attention grabbing, pure and simple.
Sep 30, 2014
The Second Amendment as a Normal Right. It is rightfully harsh on how some federal circuit courts have treated the Second Amendment. Here’s an expert:
Suppose a state were to prohibit abortion at 20 weeks of gestation absent a doctor’s certificate of “medical emergency,” invoking “documented risks to women’s health and the strong medical evidence that unborn children feel pain during an abortion at that gestational age.”30 In a world where Kachalsky-style “scrutiny” applied to the abortion right, it simply wouldn’t be the courts’ job to second-guess a legislature’s regulatory oversight of the medical profession in the important interests of patient safety and prevention of cruelty. Yet when Arizona enacted just this law, the Ninth Circuit wasted no time striking it down:
Allowing a physician to decide if abortion is medically necessary is not the same as allowing a woman to decide whether to carry her own pregnancy to term. Moreover, regulations involve limitations as to the mode and manner of abortion, not preclusion of the choice to terminate a pregnancy altogether.31
The court properly made quick work of the theory that a fundamental right is not infringed when everyone is free to exercise it upon proving need.32 “The presence of a medical exception does not make an otherwise impermissible prohibition constitutional. The adequacy of the medical exception has no bearing on whether the prohibition is permissible in the first place.”33 Regardless of what the legislature may earnestly believe to be required in the interests of health and safety, the Supreme Court has guaranteed a woman’s right to terminate pregnancy until viability.34 “The twenty-week law is unconstitutional because it bans abortion at a pre-viability stage of pregnancy; no health exception, no matter how broad, could save it.”35
Heller and McDonald leave no doubt that the Second Amendment must operate similarly, as a normal constitutional right…
Read the whole thing. The courts seem to know how to treat rights when a case involves a right that judges favor.
Sep 29, 2014
Bob Owens has the story about a gun range that has decided to exclude muslims. I’m with Caleb of Gun Nuts Media on this one. This does not show gun owners in a good light, and merely serves to reinforce the stereotype of gun owners being ignorant bigots. This kind of discrimination is also illegal, so this is certain to invite a lawsuit which Jan Morgan will lose.
She could refuse to rent to someone who came in and said “Please, I would like to rent a semi-automatic rifle so I can practice killing infidels.” But refusing to rent to someone for just being muslim would violate the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on discrimination in public accommodations.
It’s my view that this is a shameless publicity stunt done by a woman who makes money feeding the worst instincts of the political right. One problem I think the right has is too many people who make a living doing that.
Sep 25, 2014
The case is Binderup v. Holder, filed in the Eastern District of PA. The plaintiff was convicted years ago of Corruption of Minors for having sex with a 17 year old. In Pennsylvania, Corruption of Minors is a misdemeanor, but has a possible sentence of up to five years, so it applies for the purposes of a federal prohibition. Corruption in Pennsylvania tends to occur for one of two things, alcohol and sex. Often both. Furnishing liquor to minors in Pennsylvania can cost you your gun rights. So can sex between a 18 year old and 17 year old. The age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16, so the charge is not Statutory Rape, but Corruption of Minors is still an option for the prosecution.
This is an “as applied” challenge, meaning the statute was challenged as applied to this person’s individual circumstance. It was not a facial challenge to the statute as a whole. This would presumably apply to other persons similarly situated to this defendant. To read more details about this case, see Of Arms and the Law and also Alan Gura’s blog, who is the attorney who argued this case.
Slowly but surely, we are chipping away here and there. The other side may brag about our defeats, but we’ve also had some very important and circumstantial wins. There are a lot of people in Pennsylvania, who are no threat to anyone, who have gotten caught in this trap. Now there may finally be some relief for them.
Sep 24, 2014
Bob Owens at Bearing Arms caught one MDA chapter leader, and volunteer for the Carolyn Maloney campaign, suggesting that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels was a pretty insightful guy. I would bet money that Alison Martin had no idea who Joseph Goebbels was when she uttered that statement of support, and when she found out, she deleted her Twitter account because it was embarrassing.
That said, the quote in question is one that has been attributed to Goebbels, but I can’t find any evidence that quote is actually his. I don’t believe if her statement was uttered in ignorance that it lets Ms. Martin off the hook — far from it. It shows a dangerous ignorance. The fall of the Weimar Republic and rise of the Nazis is a recent history that describes a country making the slow (and democratic!) descent into the madness of a mass murdering police state. I would also wager that Ms. Martin has never read Orwell. Perhaps she can learn something from another quote from George Santayana:
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Sep 22, 2014
Bitter’s mother and grandmother are on their way back to Tennessee, after spending the last week up here with us. Things turned a bit cold up here for folks used to Oklahoma summers. It’s starting to feel more like fall now and less like summer.
Don’t ever let anyone try to tell you that no one wants to take your guns from you. The NJ Star-Ledger calls for Australian style confiscation. Check the comments for people debunking “It worked for Australia!” propaganda.
The changing face of target shooting. Our opponents will do everything humanly possible to halt this trend. Keep that in mind when analyze proposed legislation to gauge their strategy.
Politico: “Gabby Giffords gets mean” The best way to fight back is to help out the politicians she’s attacking, both on the streets and in the voting booth.
John Richardson has a good piece on racial profiling on Form 4473. Why they are doing this now is an interesting question.
Alan Gura on DC’s may-issue shenanigans “In America, the police don’t determine what rights we have good reason to enjoy. You don’t need a good reason to speak, to worship, to vote or to carry a gun for self-defense.”
Doctors groups seem to quite often be comprised of petty tyrants who know how to run your life better than you do. Here’s another example. You hear this a lot from gun control advocates: only federal gun laws are effective, because otherwise you can just go to a state with weaker laws. Well, then why do they keep trying to pass more controls at the state level then?
The war against accurate rifles. They’re going to hate particle beam weapons. More on that topic here.
Has Attorney General Kane offered a gift to gun owners? It seems improbable, but Josh Prince is going to try to put to some use.
SayUncle is done with the NFL. The NFL is an anti-gun organization.
Daily Caller: Top 3 Myths of the Second Amendment.
Shannon Watts: “Now, for the first time in our country’s history, there is a well-financed and formidable force positioned to take on the Washington gun lobby.” Well financed by a single billionaire asshole who has his own private armed security.
Even some Democrats are acknowledging Shaneen Allen doesn’t deserve to go to jail. This is what gun control means. When you heavily regulate a consumer product that’s widely legal most everywhere else, it necessarily means good people will go to prison. Democrats should think long and hard about that before passing everything our opponents (who are fine with gun owners going to prison) ask for.
NRA is getting involved in the race for Jim Gerlach’s old seat. I’m guessing Mike Fitzpatrick isn’t getting help this year. Fine by me, since I’ve been nothing but disappointed in him. Fitzpatrick has taken endorsements from gun control groups. Fitzpatrick has said previous he plans to step down in 2016. If this is not the case, he needs a primary challenger.
More about where NRA is spending its money this year.
Dave Kopel: New anti-gun strategies.
Headline of the century?
Republicans need to figure this stuff out if they want to win elections. They are way behind. A big question in my mind is whether this will work for a run-of-the-mill candidate and not the new messiah incarnate.
The Fourth Amendment may be sick, but it’s not dead yet.
Sep 22, 2014
The manhunt for an accused cop killer is heating up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I should be clear that I hope the State Police catch this guy, since regardless of whatever grudge one may have against cops in general, singling out two random officers for execution is unconscionable. But my support for the PSP in their manhunt is greatly tempered when I read of nonsense like this:
Heavily armed state troopers guarded an entrance into a neighborhood or area where they believe 31-year-old suspected cop killer Eric Frein may be hiding.
Police are checking every vehicle leaving. Local residents still have not been able to get back into their homes since last night, with some sleeping in shelters, others in their cars as it appears police are hot on Frein’s track but still haven’t got him.
No, you don’t get to kick people out of their homes and randomly search vehicles just because it’s a cop killer. You wouldn’t do that for someone who murdered a convenience store clerk, and you know it. You don’t get to suspend the Constitution just because its one of your own. This is what makes people hate cops in the first place.
Sep 18, 2014
Bob Owens notices that CeaseFire PA has jumped quick on attempting to exploit the ambush murder of two Pennsylvania State Troopers by a crazed gunman. They are claiming that murders committed with long guns has doubled since 1996. That number is, of course, a complete fabrication. Bob looks at the actual figures and notes the number of murders with long guns has, in fact, halved. Bob notes:
The attempt to target long-guns comes after numerous media outlets sympathetic to gun control curious chose last week to abandon their 30-year fixation on so-called “assault weapons.”
Apparently, they’re now going to go after bolt-action rifles used for hunting, calling them “sniper rifles,” comparing their owners to “insurrectionists” and”terrorists” as they attempt to push universal background checks as a de facto gun registry.
I don’t think that can be stressed enough. If they get the “background check” bill they want, there will be de facto firearm registration in this country. We already have this for handguns in Pennsylvania, and nationally there is registration for firearms bought at retail through 4473. But the exceptions are important. Because you can buy, sell, and trade firearms privately, when the knock comes, they can’t prove anything. If that knock comes (don’t ever let anyone tell you they aren’t out to take your guns), you don’t want to be in a position where you have to turn it over, or admit to another serious crime.
Sep 18, 2014
Quinnipiac also has Corey Gardiner up by 8 over incumbent Democratic senator Mark Udall. I wonder what could have happened in Colorado since 2012 that’s gotten people so angry at the Democratic Party and Mark Udall? Remember, Coloradans, that both your Democratic senators voted for the awful Manchin-Toomey compromise which would have gutted the safe travel provisions of FOPA, among other things. They also voted for Lautenberg’s magazine limits. Don’t forget that when November comes around.
Sep 17, 2014
Dave Hardy, who unlike me is a lawyer, looks at the Brady Center suit against Lucky Gunner and declares it weak tea. As a reader mentioned yesterday, LG is owned by former law students of Glenn Reynolds. If I were them, I’d be looking into what sanctions are available in Colorado against plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits with an aim to punch back twice as hard.
I believe the best strategy to discourage the Brady Center from continuing to harass and harangue people out of exercising their constitutional rights is to make sure they pay for this to the fullest extent available under the law. I believe in the past, our side was generally reluctant to play dirty with the Bradys, for fear of the negative PR associated with the big, bad gun industry attacking poor little gun control advocates. I think in this case, based on comments I’ve seen around non-gun sites, most people view this as suing car dealers for DUIs. We shouldn’t fear the news cycle on this one.
I think we should ensure that the costs for these legal adventures is borne as much as possible by the Brady Center. If the Brady’s don’t accomplish anything except enriching our pro-2A attorneys, I’m pretty certain this strategy will be declared a loser, and they will stop.