Category Archives: gun control

US appeals court upholds Maryland assault weapons ban

debbie ar15

Me shooting a “weapon of war.” Molṑn Labé.

Next stop: SCOTUS.

From Fox News: Maryland’s ban on 45 kinds of assault weapons and its 10-round limit on gun magazines were upheld Tuesday by a federal appeals court in a decision that met with a strongly worded dissent.

In a 10-4 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said the guns banned under Maryland’s law aren’t protected by the Second Amendment.

“Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protections to weapons of war,” Judge Robert King wrote for the court, adding that the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller explicitly excluded such coverage.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who led the push for the law in 2013 as a state senator, said it’s “unthinkable that these weapons of war, weapons that caused the carnage in Newtown and in other communities across the country, would be protected by the Second Amendment.”

“It’s a very strong opinion, and it has national significance, both because it’s en-banc and for the strength of its decision,” Frosh said, noting that all of the court’s judges participated.

Judge William Traxler issued a dissent. By concluding the Second Amendment doesn’t even apply, Traxler wrote, the majority “has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.” He also wrote that the court did not apply a strict enough review on the constitutionality of the law.

“For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland’s law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home, and it should at least be subject to strict scrutiny review before it is allowed to stand,” Traxler wrote.

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said, “It is absurd to hold that the most popular rifle in America is not a protected arm' under the Second Amendment."</strong> She added that the majority opinion "clearly ignores the Supreme Court's guidance from District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects arms that arein common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense.”‘

The NRA estimates there are 5 million to 10 million AR-15s — one of the weapons banned under Maryland’s law — in circulation in the United States for lawful purposes. Asked about an appeal, Baker said the NRA is exploring all options.

But Elizabeth Banach, executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, said the decision is “overwhelming proof that reasonable measures to prevent gun violence are constitutional.”

“Maryland’s law needs to become a national model of evidence-based policies that will reduce gun violence,” Banach wrote in a statement.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake upheld the ban in 2015, but a divided three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that she didn’t apply the proper legal standard. The panel sent the case back to Blake and ordered her to apply “strict scrutiny,” a more rigorous test of a law’s constitutionality. The state appealed to the full appeals court.

Maryland passed the sweeping gun-control measure after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that killed 20 children and six educators in Connecticut. King mentioned the massacre at the start of the ruling.

“Both before and after Newtown, similar military-style rifles and detachable magazines have been used to perpetrate mass shootings in places whose names have become synonymous with the slaughters that occurred there,” King wrote. He listed the 2012 shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado; the December 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, California; and the shootings last year at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, where 49 people were killed and 53 injured.

King also noted that enacting the law is “precisely the type of judgment that legislatures are allowed to make without second-guessing by a court.”

“Simply put, the State has shown all that is required: a reasonable, if not perfect, fit between the (Firearms Safety Act) and Maryland’s interest in protecting public safety,” King wrote.

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Washington senator insists insurance bill is not about gun control

maralyn-chase

Maralyn Chase: Fully believes in your Second Amendment rights, HOWEVER…

Attention Ms. Chase:

  1. You have a Constitutional right to own a firearm. A home or car is not a Constitutional right.
  2. You do NOT have to purchase insurance (unless you are financing in which case it is usually required). Sure, you take on higher risks and even fines yet there are plenty of people who opt out of purchasing insurance.

From MyNorthwest.com: The Washington State Legislature is considering a series of gun control measures that includes Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s assault weapon ban and a gun lock safety bill.

One senator has introduced a measure that takes on the issue a different way, requiring liability insurance before someone can buy a gun.

Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-Edmonds) says people have to buy insurance for their homes, their cars, and other items, so having it for guns makes sense to her (of course it does – she’s a democrat).

Chase insists her bill is not about gun control, but rather public and private protections.

“I fully believe in Second Amendment rights, however, with those rights come great responsibilities,” Chase said. “We see the destructive power of guns almost nightly on the news and yet we do not require gun owners to have any type of liability insurance. Requiring liability insurance may cause an irresponsible gun owner to exercise extra care in preventing firearm-related accidents, especially in tragic accidents involving children.”

Dave Workman, senior editor of thegunmag.com, doesn’t believe gun liability insurance will do anything to cut down on crime or gun related accidents. “This is one more hoop that somebody is trying to throw out there to require people to jump through before they can exercise a civil right,” he said. “If they did this, or tried to do this, the howling would be heard all the way from our Washington to Washington D.C.”

Workman says politicians can only go so far with something like this before getting a negative reaction from the public. He doesn’t believe the bill will get much traction in Olympia.

Senator Chase agrees. She admits it will be difficult to get it out of the Senate given the current political makeup. But, she says, it’s important to get the discussion started. For now, her bill sits in the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee, with no hearing scheduled.

There is one group that’s in favor of gun liability insurance — insurance companies. Insurance companies sell policies for self-defense use of guns and concealed carry. It’s even NRA-endorsed. As described in a video promoting “Second Call Defense,” the “legal aftermath of a self-defense shooting can sometimes seem worse than what causes you to use lethal force in the first place.” (See the video at the MyNorthwest.com article.)

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High speed wireless devices…

montana-gunsEvery law-abiding citizen should have one, or two, or three, or more!

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Court rules that Florida doctors can ask patients about guns and gun safety

adalberto-jordan

Circuit Court Judge Adalberto Jordan

Guns, what guns?

From Fox News: A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Florida doctors can talk to patients about gun safety, declaring a law aimed at restricting such discussions a violation of the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law does not trespass on patients’ Second Amendment rights to own guns and noted a patient who doesn’t want to be questioned about that can easily find another doctor.

“The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” wrote Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan (appointed by Obama and born in Cuba) in one of two majority opinions covering 90 pages. “There is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients.”

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a finalist in President Donald Trump’s search for a Supreme Court nominee, said in a separate concurring opinion that the First Amendment must protect all points of view.

“The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it,” he wrote. “The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority.”

The law was passed in 2011 and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott with strong support from the National Rifle Association. It was the only one of its kind in the nation, although similar laws have been considered in other states.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted it was necessary because doctors were overstepping their bounds and pushing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

The law was challenged almost immediately by thousands of physicians, medical organizations and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of free speech in what became known as the “Docs v. Glocks” case. A legal battle has raged in the courts since then, with several conflicting opinions issued.

“We are thrilled that the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

The 11th Circuit noted that Florida lawmakers appeared to base the law on “six anecdotes” about physicians’ discussions of guns in their examination rooms and little other concrete evidence that there is an actual problem. And doctors who violated the law could face professional discipline, a fine or possibly loss of their medical licenses.

“There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients’ firearms or otherwise infringed on patients’ Second Amendment rights,” Jordan wrote for the court.

The NRA and Florida attorneys had argued that under the law doctors could ask about firearms if the questions were relevant to a patient’s health or safety, or someone else’s safety, and that the law was aimed at eliminating harassment of gun owners. But the 11th Circuit said there was no evidence of harassment or improper disclosure of gun ownership in health records, as law supporters also claimed.

“There is nothing in the record suggesting that patients who are bothered or offended by such questions are psychologically unable to choose another medical provider, just as they are permitted to do if their doctor asks too many questions about private matters like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, or drug use,” the court ruled.

The ruling did determine that some parts of the law could remain on the books, such as provisions allowing patients to decline to answer questions about guns and prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for people who lawfully own guns.

The case will return to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami for a ruling that follows the 11th Circuit’s direction. The case could, however, also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

DCG

This is Chiraq: Two girls, ages 11 and 12, shot in the south side over the weekend of violence

blacks protesting black-on-black crimes

Paging the good mayor, those who voted for him and #BLM. “Crickets.”

From MyFoxChicago: An 11-year-old girl was shot in the head Saturday night in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood on the South Side.

The girl was sitting in the rear seat of a vehicle about 7:40 p.m. in the 6500 block of South King Drive when gunfire was heard and she was discovered with a gunshot wound to her head, Chicago Police said. She was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in critical condition, police said. No one was in custody as Area Central detectives investigate.

Also Saturday night, a 12-year-old girl was shot and critically wounded in West Englewood. She was playing with friends about 7:15 p.m. outside in the 1900 block of West 57th Street when gunfire erupted and she was shot in the head, according to Chicago Police.

The girl, who was not thought to be the intended target of the shooting, was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital. Police initially said the victim was a woman, between 35 and 40 years old. No one was in custody as Area South detectives investigate.

The girls were among 18 shot in Chicago over the weekend, including three fatally. During the second weekend of February 2016, which was Presidents Day weekend, six people were killed and 19 wounded in shootings.

So far in 2017, 313 people have been shot in Chicago, according to Sun-Times records. At least ten of the victims have been children under the age of 14.

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Germans rush to buy illegal firearms and grenades to ‘protect themselves from migrants’

triple-dog-dare

I dare any of the proggies freaking out over Trump’s temporary immigration ban take a lovely vacation to Germany.

From Daily Mail: Germans have been arming themselves with illegal guns and grenades to protect themselves from migrants.

A website calling itself Migrant Fright was discreetly selling what it describes as first-class quality goods so that its customers can avoid ‘annoying bureaucratic hurdles or annoying paperwork’. The website has since been closed down, but Germans who have already received the weapons in the post, are practicing firing the guns in their back gardens in preparation for potentially aiming it at a prospective terrorist.

The now-defunct website, seen by MailOnline, carried a mission statement that read: ‘Protect yourself and your family. We offer first-class quality goods, discreetly sent, at a fair price. Without annoying bureaucratic hurdles or annoying paperwork. Simply order, pay conveniently and receive the delivery. Simple, fast and discreet – that is the motto of Migrantenschreck.’

Various packages were available to customers, ranging from €7.99 to €799, and includes guns, grenades and ammunition.

Professionals, including doctors, were getting the deadly weapons delivered to their workplaces, according to Sued Deutsche. Undercover reporters from the paper tracked the guns to a doctor’s address to quiz him over his purchase.

The now-armed physician claims not to have a problem with protecting his family, but has an interest in weapons. He has been practicing firing his gun in his garden, and said the noise was deafening. ‘I think the rate of crime increases with the influx of foreigners,’ he told Sued Deutsche.

‘People from other countries, of course, have different ideas about how to behave in society.  The uncontrolled immigration is a problem, we need a 180-degree rotation.’

It is understood the weapons were being bought legally in Hungary and shipped to Germany, which is illegal. Many of the customers are thought to be unaware they had broken any laws.

Germany was rocked by terror last year, heaping pressure on chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door immigration policy. A bloody week of violence that rocked Germany began on July 18 when Pakistani teenager Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, 17, posing as an Afghan refugee, hacked at passengers on a train in Wurzburg with an axe, wounding five. He was shot dead by police.

Four days later mentally unstable German-Iranian teenager Ali Sonboly shot nine people dead during a rampage through a shopping centre in Munich before taking his own life. Sonboly claimed he was taking revenge for being bullied at school with no political motive to the murderous rampage.

Earlier that month, a suspected ISIS airport bomb plotter hanged himself in a German prison after being arrested following a manhunt. Syrian national Jaber al-Bakr, 22, was found dead in his cell in Leipzig, eastern Germany on Wednesday evening – having reportedly used his own t-shirt – and was taken away overnight. He was detained on Sunday after three days on the run following a tip-off that he may have been looking to team up with associates in Leipzig.

Al-Bakr had built ‘a virtual bomb-making lab’ in a flat in Chemnitz and was thought to have planned an attack against either one of Berlin’s two airports or a transport hub in his home state of Saxony, security sources said. Chemnitz was on lockdown for hours when police raided his flat but failed to seize him before he was captured by fellow Syrian nationals who tied him up and handed him over to the authorities.

And on Monday, December 19, Tunisian ISIS fanatic Anis Amri hijacked a 35-tonne truck and ploughed it into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. 

DCG

Unsecured firearm law in Washington state would hold gun owners accountable

guy-palumbo

Author of this bill, democrat senator Guy Palumbo

From MyNorthwest.com: The deadly shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. The mass shooting at the Cascade Mall. The accidental shooting of an 8-year-old Bremerton girl at the hands of her 9-year-old classmate. All of these tragedies were the result of people getting their hands on an unsecured firearm. (One could argue that many shooting tragedies were the result of criminals pulling the trigger.)

But Washington state doesn’t have a law to punish gun owners whose weapons get in the hands of the wrong people.

Democratic state Senator Guy Palumbo is trying to change that. Palumbo introduced a bill that would make unsafe storage of a gun a crime. “It’s basically to keep the guns we do have out of the hands of dangerous people,” he said.

As the bill is currently written, a gun owner would either get a misdemeanor or felony — depending on how the gun was used — if their unsecured firearm was used illegally by someone.

You can never guarantee those wouldn’t happen — those tragedies — but certainly in those cases, this all would have had ramifications for the people’s whose guns were used in those tragedies.”

Palumbo, a gun owner himself, says it is just “common sense” to lock up firearms. “I’m a gun owner, but it’s unfair to keep them unlocked,” he said.

He admits he is not sure how well the bill will do. “It will be interesting to see if we get a hearing on it or if it passes or gets to the floor, but we’re going to keep fighting for things like this…”

A companion bill is being introduced in the House. The measures were inspired by successful policies in more than two dozen other states. The legislation would also require firearms dealers to offer gun buyers a lock box or gun lock at the time of sale, as well as post signs about the new law.

“This bill is about accountability,” Palumbo said. “So many of the tragic shootings we have seen lately could have been prevented if the gun owner had simply taken the time to store the weapon properly. As a result of this legislation, I hope we’ll start seeing more news reports about people fulfilling their potential and less about lives being cut short.”

DCG