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Obama’s Scalia Replacement

President Obama will announce his nominee to replace Justice Scalia shortly. The press reports that it is Merrick Garland.

Not surprisingly, he’s got a record that does not point to a positive future for the Second Amendment if he is confirmed.

This article from Dave Kopel in 2008 warned of Garland on a short list to be appointed, and he cited red flags from Garland’s role in Parker v. District of Columbia and NRA v. Reno. Kopel summed it up this way:

Merrick Garland is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He could be counted on not only to oppose Second Amendment rights in general, but even to nullify explicit congressional statutes that protect those rights.

More recently, even National Review noted that Garland’s positions on the Second Amendment were enough cause for worry since the White House indicated they might choose someone “moderate,” and these aren’t signs of moderate positions on the right to keep and bear arms.

Media Matters had a post up early this morning trying to claim that these previous moves are “myths,” and that he’s not really anti-Second Amendment. I guess that means the White House knows it will be a problem. Now would be a great time to call your Senator and let them know what you think about this nominee.

One of the Heller Five Gone

Word is just breaking that Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead this morning in Texas. Thoughts and prayers go to his family.

Politically speaking, this really shakes up the Supreme Court on the issue of the right to keep and bear arms. In 2012, Sebastian blogged about this potential in terms of the odds that all Heller Five make it to the end of 2016. The numbers weren’t good, and they proved to be accurate.

Harrisburg & The Great American Outdoor Show’s Showdown

Merriam-Webster defines extortion as “the act or practice of extorting especially money or other property; especially: the offense committed by an official engaging in such practice.”

The mayor of Harrisburg who has made clear that he hates NRA and its members went to the press whining that NRA isn’t engaging in pay-for-play for hosting the Great American Outdoor Show in his town.

As part of the deal with the county to host the show, NRA did agree to support regional grants in accordance with the typical rules of the NRA Foundation’s policies and by-laws. Just like your local Friends of NRA banquet gives at least 50% of the money to regional grant requests, the Great American Outdoor Show program is following the same model.

Harrisburg’s mayor is fuming that NRA is holding true to the agreement and his city isn’t the automatic, pre-determined grant winner every year. Apparently, NRA did make the offer to fund a smaller grant this year, but the Mayor threw a hissy fit when he learned they wouldn’t agree to make that a set fund for him annually in direct violation of the NRA Foundation’s by-laws. So, he seems to have rejected their grant offer.

The city officials are fuming since they thought the cash would pad their budgets each year, and now they learn that other worthy area entities in need will benefit. This will not stand for Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Police Chief Thomas Carter who believed they would be the exclusive beneficiaries of the grant request process. As it is, NRA already pays somewhere around $200,000 in amusement taxes to the city and school district. Plus, the city gets the tax revenue from the millions brought in by vendors, hotels, eateries, and other sales associated with the event. But that’s not good enough.

So, when the Mayor and Police Chief were angered to learn that the rules and by-laws wouldn’t be bent to hand the cash to them, they demanded a bigger payoff in other forms. They wanted to increase the rate that NRA would have to pay for off-duty police officers to assist with the event. Since the rate was apparently agreed to be on the low side, NRA offered to pay more, working up to a 33% increase over the next three years. This was not acceptable to the City, and the mayor demanded an immediate 67% increase. Since the rate the Mayor wanted apparently wasn’t remotely market rate compared to even larger cities, NRA has now turned to the county and departments from other cities who will likely gladly take the money. Harrisburg now loses $10,000 in fees associated with that deal.

However, that wouldn’t stop officers from taking vacation time to work the NRA show, something that has apparently been done with the support of the department for nearly 30 years. Since Harrisburg has now declared war on the Great American Outdoor Show, the Police Chief is banning his officers from taking vacation during that period so they can’t earn extra money from the huge event. He’s also going to mandate overtime to more patrolling to try and keep them away.

While the behavior may not meet a legal criminal definition of extortion, it sure does seem to me like the quotes in the article by the mayor and police chief fit the spirit of the dictionary definition of the term.

Pat Toomey Goes for More Gun Control

CeaseFire PA is bragging that Sen. Pat Toomey called them with promises of pushing more gun control as he goes into his final year of this term.

As you may recall, the gun control legislation that Pat Toomey actually authored is not at all what Pat Toomey tells voters he’s backing. Toomey’s numbers were already anemic at best. I don’t see how telling American gun owners that they need to give up their gun rights in light of a terrorist shooting is good politics.

Banning Possession of Gun Knowledge

New South Wales has moved to ban the possession or sharing of information on 3D printed firearms.

Considering that plans have been available since 2013, this seems a bit like trying to put the genie back into a bottle. We know how well it works to tell people that they can’t have something anymore when it can be downloaded from the internet. It’s not like Australia doesn’t already have laws on the possession of actual guns, but I guess now they want to ban the knowledge of guns, too.

Cops vs. Criminals

In New Haven, the mayor is saying great things about a plan by police to steal personal items from people’s closed cars that they can turn around and sell for profit after 60 days. The police claim that this is done in the best interest of the car owners, as it prevents a thief from stealing it and taking it to the pawn shop for a profit.

And this is why local elections matter.

Another Anti-Gun Hypocrite?

I couldn’t help but find the news that Rosie O’Donnell’s adopted daughter is speaking out about their family life in the press very entertaining. It seems, according to the daughter, that Rosie is a hypocrite about many things in life, especially her presentation to the public of her involvement in the lives of her children.

It doesn’t mention anything about gun hypocrisy, but the daughter does claim that Rosie calling her a crazed runaway was a lie to maintain appearances. She claims she was kicked out, but the runaway claims when Rosie faced potential questions over why her underage daughter wasn’t around. The mental illness claims are simply because the daughter struggles with anxiety and depression after Rosie’s divorce from the only mother who ever cooked her a real meal and she was forced to live with Rosie who, apparently, loves smoking weed all day while the nannies often raise the kids.

Now this is a she said/she said case, but it just doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to believe for those of us in the gun culture who have watched her lose control of herself when anyone disagrees with her on the subject.

Kathleen Kane Now Ineligible for Office?

It seems like there’s now a question over whether Attorney General Kathleen Kane is, as of today, now ineligible to hold the statewide office. Why? Because the state Supreme Court just suspended her law license.

Yes, the woman who Mike Bloomberg spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect, can’t even represent one of Mike’s Illegal Mayor allies who held a man hostage with a gun.

Oh yeah, and just because I try to remind the voters in the central part of the state who voted their football allegiances over gun rights every time that Kathleen Kane is in trouble – elections have consequences.

Interesting News on New York Employment Law & Handguns

Eugene Volokh has a great post up on the Nassau County District Attorney’s office policy that forbids employees from owning handguns at home.

While he does first address the Second Amendment constitutional rights, I found the second part of the post the most compelling. There’s actually a law in New York that forbids employers from discriminating against employees or candidates for employment based on their lawful hobbies that in no way impacts their work (no compensation, no use of work equipment, not done on premises, etc.). I had no idea that such a statute was on the books in their Labor Code, but it seems like one that gun owners in New York might want to keep in mind.

Volokh only makes the case that this protects handgun collecting, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t also protect a competitive shooter. Sports are listed as a protected leisure time activity. Regardless, this was a very interesting tidbit that could come in handy should an anti-gun boss decide to take an extreme action against a New York gun owner – like the DA’s office has apparently decided to do in Nassau County.

Protecting Profits, Not People

So the news that Regal Cinemas is instituting bag searches at their theaters has been making the rounds.

Honestly, I didn’t even think to blog it when I first read about it because I presumed that everyone knows the real reason – and that it has nothing to do with public safety. It turns out that Sebastian suggested not everyone realizes the extent to which it has absolutely nothing to do with guns.

See, Regal, like every movie theater chain I’ve heard of, bans food and drinks not purchased at their concession stands.

Outside Food or Drink:
No outside food or drink is permitted in the theatre.

As this Time article notes, the theaters see about 85% of every dollar spent at the concession as pure profit. The money isn’t made at the ticket counter, but at the concession stand.

How bad is it? Search on the terms Regal Cinema and candy, and the first page includes Yelp reviews talking about how to sneak candy into the theater to save big bucks over Regal’s inflated prices. I could buy an entire pound of Twizzlers at Wegmans today for less than what Regal discounts a regular size candy to on Mondays for members of their rewards club.

Theater owners know that people sneak food and drinks in so that they don’t have to stop at the concession stand. I have no doubt that they have talked about ways that they could catch these people and toss their outside food for years, but only now feel like they have enough “cover” to do so in the name of public safety. It’s not about catching anything that’s a threat to the safety of patrons, but about catching those people who want to save a buck and forcing them to feed Regal’s profits.

I have little doubt that if you could spend a week watching which bags they choose to search, they will universally be targeted on those who don’t walk up with anything from the concession stand and those who appear poor (as though they might want to save a several dollars). It won’t be some creepy dude who buys a soda while carrying a suspiciously shaped bag.

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