Archive for November, 2014


By Edmund DeMarche

November 14, 2014

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Buffalo police confiscated nine illegal handguns in connection with a gun trafficking operation that stretched from the Decatur, Georgia area to Buffalo. The city has been focused on reducing the number of illegal guns on the street. (Buffalo Police Department)

A plan by police in Buffalo, N.Y., to begin confiscating the firearms of legal gun owners within days of their deaths is drawing fire from Second Amendment advocates.

The plan is legal under a longstanding, but rarely enforced state law, but gun rights advocates say, with apologies to onetime NRA spokesman Charlton Heston, it is tantamount to prying firearms – some of which may have substantial monetary or sentimental value – from the cold, dead hands of law-abiding citizens.

“They’re quick to say they’re going to take the guns,” said Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. “But they don’t tell you the law doesn’t apply to long guns, or that these families can sell [their loved one’s] pistol or apply to keep it.”

King said enforcing the state law is the latest example of authorities targeting law-abiding gun owners, while doing little to secure the streets.

“They’re quick to say they’re going to take the guns.”- Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derrenda said at a press conference last week that the department will be sending people to collect guns that belong to pistol permit holders who had died so “they don’t end up in the wrong hands.” The department will cross reference pistol permit holders with death records and the guns will be collected when possible, he said.

Derrenda said guns pose a threat if their owner is no longer alive to safeguard them, especially if a recently-deceased gun owner’s home is burglarized.

“At times they lay out there and the family is not aware of them and they end up just out on the street,” he said, according to WGRZ.com.

The state law says that if the permit holder dies, the estate has 15 days to dispose of the guns or turn them in to authorities, who can hold the weapons up to two years. LoHud.com reported that violation of the law by survivors is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine.

Pro-gun websites took Derrenda’s comments as an affront to the Second Amendment, with BearingArms.com claiming authorities could “use the relative’s pistol permit as the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent to get at every firearm they can, hoping to remove all the firearms from the home while the family is at their most vulnerable.”

The state law has been in the books for years but not enforced, King said. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office told FoxNews.com that it learned about the Buffalo police decision after the announcement, but has no plans to invoke it on a regular basis as the city of Buffalo does.

Dominic Saraceno, a Buffalo defense attorney, said he anticipates legal challenges. He is concerned that family members may simply allow police to retrieve the guns while not realizing their value.

“These gun collections can value into the hundreds of thousands,” he said. “If a police officer came to my door without a warrant signed by a judge, I’m not giving them anything. Most people don’t know that and get intimidated.”

Calls to Buffalo’s mayor’s office and to the police department were not returned. But the city has employed other programs, including buy-backs, to help counter gun violence. One such program took place in August and netted 840 guns. Critics of these buy-back programs say most people who turn in their guns are likely law-abiding citizens and these numbers do not necessarily estimate illegal guns off the streets.

“I say to those critics, again, if we can get one of these guns off the streets that could be used to commit a crime or injure a member of our community, it’s a good thing,” Mayor Byron Brown told WIVB during the summer.

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ObamaCare architect and MIT professor Jonathan Gruber’s remarks about the “stupidity” of the American voter and the passage of ObamaCare is bad enough. What is even more disturbing are his comments about the bill’s deliberate lack of transparency. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s denials Thursday were also absurd.

The arrogance and condescension that has too often characterized the Obama administration’s policies have put the American public in the unfortunate position of having to learn about the health care changes the hard way, on their own.

Here are three crucial changes that the president clearly didn’t want you to know about:


1. HUGE DEFICITS AND NEW TAXES.
 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the latest projections for the net cost of ObamaCare over the next ten years are just over $1.4 trillion. Whereas President Obama promised in 2009 that it would cost less than $1 trillion over ten years. In order to partially pay for this, ObamaCare has added more than 20 new taxes totaling over $500 billion.

2. BUREAUCRACY. Speaking of Orwellian politics, ObamaCare includes 159 new boards and agencies to restrict and govern your health care choices.

3. STILL MORE BUREAUCRACY.
 Dysfunctional state exchanges with high deductible policies, narrow doctor networks, including federally-run exchanges in 36 states which may not be allowable under the law (SCOTUS currently considering this case).

Here are three new things coming up in 2015 that you aren’t going to like:

1. PENALTIES WILL RISE – INDIVIDUAL MANDATE. 
In 2014, people are facing a penalty of $95 per person or 1% of income.

In 2015, the penalty will more than triple to $325 per person or 2% of income, whichever is higher.

If an American failed to get coverage this year, the penalty will be taken out of their tax refund in early 2015.

2. SERIOUS RATE HIKES FOR CHEAPER OBAMACARE PLANS.
 According to Investor’s Business Daily, the lowest cost bronze plan will increase an average of 7 % in many cases, the lowest cost silver plan by 9%, and the lowest priced catastrophic policy will climb 18 percent on average. Double digit rate hikes are anticipated in several southern and Midwestern states includingKansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Iowa, and Virginia.

Subsidies will continue to be a huge part of the program. In 2014, subsidies provided ¾ of the premiums for the federally-run exchanges.

3. EMPLOYER MANDATE WILL TAKE EFFECT. 
After being delayed for a year, large businesses (100 or more employees in 2015, 50 or more in 2016) will be required to offer affordable (and subsidized) health plans to at least 70 percent of their full time employees or face a $2,000-$3,000 penalty per employee.

This mandate will lead to fewer full time employees being hired.

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll in July revealed that 53 percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable view of ObamaCare.

I expect this number to rise as more of ObamaCare’s “bells and whistles” are rolled out. Americans are experiencing ObamaCare as a cancer of the health care system. — The more it grows, the more it infiltrates and destroys healthy tissue.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a practicing internist, joined FOX News Channel (FNC) as a contributor in 2008.

 

November 12, 2014 By Steve Sanetti

13violentcrimeoffensefigure-01The FBI released its annual Crime in the United States

report on Monday revealing that the country in 2013 saw the violent crime rate fall another 5.1 percent from the previous year, so it is now at its lowest since 1978.  Delving a little deeper, the murder and manslaughter rate fell 4.4 percent to the lowest level since 1968.This is very good news, and while it is being reported here and there, it will not get a small fraction of the air time that crime stories will get on local news affiliates around the country on any given night. So, sadly, we do not expect to see a perceptible move on the proverbial needle of current public perception that crime is increasing, not decreasing.

But from a public policy perspective, this is very important data that should help inform decision making and we urge you to point to it the next time you hear someone advocating the latest “common sense” proposal for more gun control laws.

While the crime rate has been dropping steadily for more than the last 20 years, the number of firearms in the hands of law-abiding Americans has beenrising dramatically.  In June, we put together an NSSF video that illustrates this relationship and other useful points in a short, but impactful presentation. Now, we have another year of data that furthers the case.

In that realm of public perception, we are encouraged by the results of a new Gallup survey released last week that found 63 percent of Americans believe that having a gun in the house makes it a safer place, a doubling of that number since 2000. This result flies in the face of what anti-gun organizations have been trying to convince the public for many years now.

Public opinion can be fickle, of course, and survey results are best viewed as a snapshot in time. Still, that more than six out of ten Americans have reached this conclusion speaks volumes about the fact that millions of our fellow Americans do appreciate that they have the right to exercise their Second Amendment rights in defense of their families.  Spread the news.

 

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Published November 12, 2014

Law-abiding Californians may not need to justify their need to carry concealed weapons, after the same three-judge panel that struck down restrictions on the permits earlier this year ruled Wednesday that it is too late for new opponents to join the fight against the ruling.

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would bar other law enforcement officials, including state Attorney General Kamala Harris, from appealing its ruling in a case originally brought by an independent journalist who sued the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department over its policy of requiring a specific reason for being allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has said he will not fight the ruling, meaning there is no one with standing left to challenge the decision made in February.

“Since becoming Sheriff, I have always maintained that it is the legislature’s responsibility to make the laws, and the judiciary’s responsibility to interpret them and their constitutionality,” Gore wrote in a letter to the county board of supervisors earlier this year, in which he said the court’s decision gave him clarity on the issuance of licenses. “Law enforcement’s role is to uphold and enforce the law.”

Edward Peruta sued Gore’s department over its policy of requiring a specific reason for being allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public, restrictions other counties around the state also had in place.

In its bombshell ruling earlier this year, the 9th Circuit found those policies to be unconstitutional and held that law-abiding citizens have a right to bear arms under the Constitution’s Second Amendment and could not be required to justify their reasons for carrying concealed weapons.

California counties have differed on policy in the wake of the decision, with Orange County issuing the permits on request and others waiting for a resolution in the case.

One judge on the panel disagreed with Wednesday’s ruling, saying the state should be able to intervene in the case to “present an argument on an important constitutional question affecting millions of citizens.”

The law would still not allow felons or the mentally ill to possess firearms, and would still prohibit the carrying of them in places such as schools and government buildings.

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Posted on November 4, 2014

Legal -Update

Long-suffering California gun owners received some rare good news in February when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recognized a right to bear arms outside the home. In its decision in the NRA-backed case of Peruta v. County of San Diego, the panel struck down San Diego County’s “good cause” requirement for a concealed carry license, as county policy failed to recognize general self-defense as sufficient good cause. The ruling, however, has been stayed as parties seek to intervene and petition for a rehearing of the case by a larger contingent of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime, droves of Californians intent on exercising their right to self-defense have already made their opinions known by applying for concealed carry licenses.

Like some other jurisdictions in California, San Diego County had operated under a strict may-issue carry policy that left the decision of who may or may not receive a license up to the discretion of the issuing law enforcement official. In San Diego, this discretion led to a policy by the Sheriff’s Office that an applicant had to show “good cause” for obtaining a license. As outlined in the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, this required all applicants to provide “supporting documentation” of their need.  The court went on to explain, “If the applicant [could not] demonstrate ‘circumstances that distinguish [him] from the mainstream,’ then he [would] not qualify for a concealed-carry permit.”

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The case originated in 2009, when resident Edward Peruta filed a complaint against San Diego County and Sheriff William D. Gore in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California after being denied a concealed carry license. Peruta argued that San Diego’s “good cause” policy violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. According to Peruta’s attorney, “It was deemed the Plaintiff did not have good cause, because Plaintiff could not document any specific threat of harm, and primary reasons for desiring a license to carry a concealed weapon were due to the fact that he often carried large amounts of cash, valuables and equipment in his motor home, and also because his duties as a news investigator placed him in high crime areas.” Later on, several other plaintiffs joined the case, along with NRA’s California state affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

In December 2010, the district court ruled in favor of San Diego. At the time, persons in California could lawfully carry an unloaded handgun with ammunition at the ready. The trial court opined, “to the extent … Defendant’s policy burden[s] conduct falling within the scope of the Second Amendment, if at all, the burden is mitigated by the provisions of [the law] that expressly permit unloaded open carry for immediate self-defense.” The opinion went on to reject the plaintiffs’ call for the use of strict scrutiny in determining whether San Diego was violating the Second Amendment right, opting instead to examine the policy under “intermediate scrutiny.” The court determined that “under intermediate scrutiny, Defendant’s policy need not be perfect, only reasonably related to a ‘significant,’ ‘substantial,’ or ‘important’ governmental interest,” and that the “Defendant’s policy satisfies that standard.”

On October 9, 2011, however, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 144, which outlawed the open carry of unloaded handguns (the open carry of loaded handguns had been banned years earlier). The legislation left those lacking a concealed carry license without even the prior, largely symbolic option of carrying an unloaded handgun outside the home for self-defense. Thus, enactment of this legislation ironically diminished one of the arguments used by the district court in rejecting the challenge to San Diego’s licensing policy.

The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where it was assigned to a three-judge panel consisting of Judges Diarmuid O’Scannlain, Sidney Thomas, and Consuelo Callahan. Oral argumentswere heard on December 6, 2012.

NRA filed a friend of the court brief outlining its position. The brief argued that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that is substantially burdened by San Diego’s “good cause” policy, and therefore the policy must be examined under a “strict scrutiny” test. In making this argument, the brief relied heavily on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Nordyke v. King, and the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller, and McDonald v. City of Chicago. The brief concluded its argument by stating: “The County interprets ‘good cause’ as meaning a particularly good cause that distinguishes an applicant from the average citizen. The fundamental problem with that interpretation is that every individual has a Second Amendment right and corresponding right to self-defense. There is no need for an individual to demonstrate an especially good reason that he should enjoy a constitutional right guaranteed by our founding document.”

On February 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in a 77-page opinion written by Judge O’Scannlain. First, O’Scannlain examined the question of whether the behavior restricted by San Diego’s policy falls within the scope of the right protected by the Second Amendment. The Judge pointed out that the Second Amendment protects a “right not only to ‘keep’ arms but also to ‘bear’ them.” After examining several sources, along with the Heller and McDonalddecisions, O’Scannlain concluded that the evidence “suggest[s] that the Second Amendment secures a right to carry a firearm in some fashion outside the home.”

Next the opinion delved into the matter of what the term “bear arms” encompassed in the founding era. On this point, O’Scannlain cited founding-era scholar St. George Tucker: “The right to armed self-defense, Tucker insisted, is the ‘first law of nature,’ and any law ‘prohibiting any person from bearing arms’ crossed the constitutional line.”

The opinion then went on to explore legal precedent for the correct interpretation of the right to “bear arms.” O’Scannlain cited the 1822 Kentucky case Bliss v. Commonwealth, in which the Kentucky Supreme Court held that the state’s right to bear arms amendment invalidated a ban on “wearing concealed arms.” The opinion then cited similar cases, including the 1833 Tennessee case of Simpson v. State, the 1840 Alabama case of State v. Reid,and the 1846 Georgia case of Nunn v. State, all of which offer evidence that the right to “bear arms” was understood to extend beyond the home.

O’Scannlain’s analysis then moved to the post-civil war period. Here the judge examined Stephen P. Halbrook’s scholarship on the Fourteenth Amendment and the post-slavery experience as it pertains to the right to keep and bear arms. Using a passage from the Heller decision, O’Scannlain determined that “[j]ust as it was ‘plainly the understanding in the post-Civil War Congress that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to use arms for self-defense,’… it appears that the right was also understood to encompass carrying weapons in public in case of confrontation.” After marshalling all of his historic evidence, O’Scannlain concluded that “the carrying of an operable handgun outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense, though subject to traditional restrictions, constitutes ‘bear[ing] Arms’ within the meaning of the Second Amendment.”

The opinion then analyzed whether San Diego’s policy is an infringement of the right to bear arms. O’Scannlain notably rejected the method of applying a certain level of scrutiny to an infringement on the Second Amendment right that other courts have used in similar circumstances. Instead, he noted that since there is no option in California for unlicensed open carry, the right to carry outside the home is effectively eliminated by San Diego’s policy, under which licenses are routinely denied. Thus, O’Scannlain found that a scrutiny test would be inappropriate, in that “the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”  In summary, “San Diego’s ‘good cause’ permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms for lawful self-defense.”

Despite O’Scannlain’s strong articulation of the right to carry outside the home, California gun owners and others under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction are not out of the woods yet. Following the ruling, gun control proponents petitioned to have the case reheard by a “limited en banc” panel of 11 judges. The Ninth Circuit has yet to determine whether or not it will grant this request.  In the meantime, the panel’s February 13 ruling has been stayed until a final disposition of the case has been made. This means jurisdictions that were operating under a “may issue” license framework may continue to do so in the interim. Nevertheless, a number of counties – including Orange, Ventura, and San Joaquin – have already changed their polices to recognize a desire for self-defense as a sufficient cause for the issuance of a concealed carry license to an otherwise qualified applicant.

In addition to being an important milestone for Golden State residents, the ruling could affect policy in other states. Another Ninth Circuit ruling in the case of Baker v. Kealoha held that a district court in Hawaii erred when it held that the state’s restrictions on carrying firearms outside the home did not implicate protected Second Amendment activity.  Further proceedings on that case, however, have been deferred pending resolution of the post-opinion matters in Peruta. Meanwhile, the U.S. territory of Guam passed legislation in response to Peruta that changed its concealed carry licensing regime from “may-issue” to “shall-issue.”

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November 7, 2014

Stinging Defeats for Radical Anti-Hunting and Gun Control Groups

Fairfax, Va. – On Tuesday, voters in Alabama, Mississippi and Maine came out in full support of protecting America’s hunting heritage and Second Amendment rights. The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) led the way to enshrine the Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife in the state constitutions of Alabama and Mississippi and worked with a coalition of sportsmen’s groups to protect hunters in Maine from extreme anti-hunting groups who aimed to ban traditional bear hunting methods in the state.

“Sportsmen and hunters are the true conservationists in the United States and the NRA will continue to lead efforts on the state and federal level to defend their rights,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “Hunting laws should be set by wildlife biologists and experts in the field who rely on sound science for wildlife management plans. On behalf of the NRA’s 5 million members, we want to thank the voters of Alabama, Mississippi, and Maine for supporting America’s hunting heritage and protecting our Second Amendment freedoms.”

In Alabama, NRA-backed Amendment 5 passed with an overwhelming 80 percent of the vote. The Right to Hunt and Fish amendment provides permanent protection for current and future generations of sportsmen in Alabama and ensures wildlife conservation and management decisions will be based on sound science and not the misguided emotions of anti-hunting extremists.

Also in Alabama, voters approved NRA-backed Amendment 3 to strengthen the state’s existing Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment. The words “fundamental” and “strict scrutiny” will now be added to that amendment in Alabama’s state constitution. “Strict scrutiny” is a standard of judicial review that provides the highest level of protection for constitutional rights.

In Mississippi, 88 percent of voters overwhelmingly approved NRA-backed Amendment 1, the Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife, creating permanent protections for current and future generations of sportsmen in Mississippi. Amendment 1 ensures wildlife conservation and management decisions will be based on sound science and prevents extreme anti-hunting organizations from diminishing the state’s strong hunting heritage.

Voters in Maine, for the second time in a decade, defeated efforts to ban traditional hunting methods critical to the state’s wildlife management and economy. The NRA strongly opposed the Maine Bear Hunting Initiative (MBHI). The restriction would have undermined the ability to control Maine’s bear population. Bear hunting is a longstanding tradition that is deeply engrained both in Maine’s heritage and economy.  Bear hunting contributes an estimated $60 million to the economy and sustains 900 hunting and outfitting jobs annually.

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I Voted

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