Category Archives: NRA

NRA may lose tax-exempt status due to internal corruption

A long article by Mike Spies, “Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the N.R.A.,” in The New Yorker, April 17, 2019, describes the National Rifles Association (NRA) as being in serious trouble.

The Hill reports that the New Yorker article led gun-control group Everytown For Gun Safety (EFGS) to file an IRS complaint on April 19, claiming that the NRA is in violation of tax laws on charitable organizations and should be investigated. As EFGS says in a letter attached to their complaint:

The NRA is a purported charity and exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and we write today to alert you to what we believe are activities that clearly fall outside of the NRA’s charitable purpose and mission. We call on the IRS to commence an investigation into whether (i) the NRA has violated the federal laws governing 501(c)(4) charitable organizations, and (ii) if so, consider what remedies are warranted, including potential revocation of the NRA’s 501(c)(4) status.

For his New Yorker article, Mike Spies conducted interviews and obtained the NRA’s federal tax forms, charity records, contracts, corporate filings, and internal communications. Although the “vast majority” of contributions to the NRA come from “millions of small individual donors”, what Spies uncovered is an organization of secrecy, corruption, and grossly overpaid executives. Memos by a senior NRA employee describe a workplace distinguished by secrecy, self-dealing, and greed, whose leaders have encouraged disastrous business ventures and questionable partnerships, while marginalizing those who object.

Spies’ article, “Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the N.R.A.,” begins with an admission by NRA top executive Wayne LaPierre that the organization is “troubled”. Here are the signs of financial trouble:

  • In recent years, the NRA has run annual deficits of as much as $40 million.
  • A financial audit from 2017 revealed that the NRA had nearly reached the limit of a $25 million line of credit.
  • According to minutes of a meeting of the NRA board’s finance committee in December 1996, “the NRA has been technically insolvent for several years” and “has incurred substantial debt.”

To raise money, the NRA:

  • Raised its dues for the second time in two years.
  • Liquidated more than $2 million from an investment fund.
  • Borrowed almost $4 million from its officers’ life-insurance policies, while the costs of insurance increased by 341% from 2018 to 2019.
  • Tapped another $4 million from its affiliated charitable foundation.

To cut costs, the NRA:

  • Eliminated free coffee and water coolers at its headquarters.
  • Froze its employees’ pension plan.
  • Reduced spending on its avowed core mission of gun education, safety, and training to less than 10% of its total budget.

The source of the NRA’s insolvency is a small group of executives, contractors and vendors who “extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the nonprofit’s budget, through gratuitous payments, sweetheart deals, and opaque financial arrangements“.

The small elite group who’s bleeding the NRA dry includes:

  1. LaPierre, who earns more than $1 million a year.
  2. Dana Loesch, NRA spokesperson and former Breitbart News editor, who earned close to $1 million in at least one year.
  3. Oliver North, NRA president and former Iran-Contra operative, is paid roughly $1 million a year.
  4. Kyle Weaver, former executive director of NRA’s general operations who was fired in the fall of 2016, nevertheless was paid $720,000 for that year. State filings show Weaver also received $150,000 upon his exit, and continued to be paid through 2018, receiving “a final lump sum” this past January.
  5. Weaver’s successor, Josh Powell, was paid nearly $800,000 in 2017. Powell came to the NRA after running two clothing catalogues that catered to men who enjoy adventure, venison, and fine wine. He was sued at least 20 times by businesses that had worked with him, for unpaid bills amounting to more than $400,000. In December, 2018, Powell was moved out of the job of executive director of general operations, and was “promoted” to the NRA’s legal team as  a “senior strategist” although he is not an attorney.
  6. Mike Marcellin was a senior NRA employee for almost 23 years who oversaw the NRA’s relationship with Lockton Affinity, an insurance administrator that worked on Carry Guard and other NRA-branded insurance products. Iin 2016, Marcellin retired from the NRA and started a private consultancy. Although he had worked only the first few weeks of January, the NRA paid him a full year’s salary — nearly $630,000, mostly in the form of a bonus. During the same year, Lockton paid him about $450,000. No one was aware that Marcellin was receiving income from both organizations—a situation that should have been disclosed on the NRA’s 2016 tax filings.
  7. Curiously, North and Loesch technically are not employed by the NRA, but are paid by Oklahoma-based public-relations firm Ackerman McQueen, which has shaped the NRA’s public identity for more than 30 years, wields great influence over the NRA’s initiatives, and is involved with nearly all of the group’s divisions. In 2017, according to tax filings, the NRA paid Ackerman McQueen and its affiliates $40.9 million, or about 12% of the NRA’s total expenses that year.

The NRA and Ackerman McQueen have become so intertwined that it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. Top officials and staff move freely between the two organizations. For instance, Ackerman has worked closely with LaPierre’s wife, Susan, who maintains an Ackerman e-mail address and was briefly employed there in the mid-1990s.

Many NRA employees have long suspected Ackerman of inflating the cost of the services it provides. Aaron Davis, a former special-education teacher from rural South Carolina who spent a decade working in the NRA’s fund-raising department, told The New Yorker: “Most staffers think that Ackerman is too expensive. They think they’re just using the N.R.A. to make a massive profit.”

On April 12, the NRA sued Ackerman McQueen, claiming that the PR firm has denied the NRA access to basic business records, including the terms of Oliver North’s contract, and blaming Ackerman for the NRA’s financial insolvency.

Marc Owens, who was head of the Internal Revenue Service division that oversees tax-exempt enterprises for 10 years, recently reviewed the NRA’s records, said:

“The litany of red flags is just extraordinary. The materials reflect one of the broadest arrays of likely transgressions that I’ve ever seen. There is a tremendous range of what appears to be the misuse of assets for the benefit of certain venders and people in control. Those facts, if confirmed, could lead to the revocation of the N.R.A.’s tax-exempt status.

Without its tax-exempt status, the NRA likely will not survive.

H/t truckjunkie and Guns & Gadgets

~Eowyn

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NRA sues Pittsburg over new gun ban law

The Pittsburg, PA mayor and city council have used the October 2018 mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill as justification for imposing a nearly total ban on firearms within the city limits.  The ban, signed into law yesterday (April 10), would prohibit the use of any semi-automatic firearm that could accept a magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds. The new law uses the term “military style weapons” in the ban. However, the restrictions on magazine capacity would also ban the use of most common semi-auto handguns within city limits.

The National Rifle Association wasted no time yesterday  filling a lawsuit against the city.  From The Tribune-Review, Greensburg, PA:

The National Rifle Association and its supporters wasted no time yesterday (April 10) suing Pittsburgh, the City Council and Mayor Bill Peduto following the mayor’s signing of three bills restricting the use of “military style” weapons from within city limits.

Four city residents with assistance from the NRA filed the lawsuit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, less then three hours after the mayor signed the gun ordinances into law. Other local gun owners vowed to file criminal charges  against the mayor and council.

Peduto anticipated the legal challenges. He announced that that the city would be represented at no cost in the civil suit by by a legal team from the nonprofit gun control organization Everytown for Gun Safety, founded and funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He said he and six council members who voted in favor of the ban have also retained an attorney for criminal defense. He would not name the attorney.

“The very concept that the state could create a law that would say that elected officials who challenge the validity of that law would somehow be held to criminal charges goes against everything and every proactive step forward that this country has taken,” Peduto said. “What we’re going to do is we’re going to overturn this law.”

Laurence J. Anderson, Scott Miller, Robert R. Opdyke and Michael A. Whitehouse contend in the lawsuit that the city is violating a state law prohibiting municipalities from regulating firearms by banning the use of weapons with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The suit contends that guns come standard with magazines of that size.

They are seeking a permanent injunction to stop the city from enforcing the ban, which takes effect in 60 days, and reimbursement for legal fees.

“Pittsburgh’s ban on carrying loaded standard capacity magazines in public has a chilling effect on Plaintiffs’ exercise of their right under Pennsylvania law to possess these magazines and to carry them in public for self defense,” the lawsuit said.

The mayor signed the bills in his conference room surrounded by supporters of the ban, including survivors and relatives of those killed during the October mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. The observers gave Peduto a standing ovation.

“We’re still hurting,” said Lynette Lederman, former president of the Tree of Life congregation, and a staffer for City Councilman Corey O’Connor. “The personal trauma that me as former president of Tree of Life and my friends and the leadership of Tree of Life has experienced has kind of reached a watershed moment today. I’m very proud of Mayor Peduto.”

O’Connor and Councilwoman Erika Strassburger, who represent Squirrel Hill and proposed the bills, described Tree of Life as a “tipping point” in discussions over how to stop gun violence in the city.

The legislation consists of three bills. One would ban the possession and use of certain semiautomatic weapons, including “assault rifles.” A second would ban ammunition and accessories, such as large capacity magazines. A third bill, dubbed “extreme risk protection,” would permit courts to temporarily remove guns from a person deemed to be a public threat and impose penalties on an adult who allows a child to access a gun illegally.

City residents who currently own guns and accessories outlined in the bills would be grandfathered. Violators would face a civil penalty that carries a $1,000 fine, or up to 90 days in prison, for each offense.

Council approved the bills last week in a 6-3 vote. Three council members – Darlene Harris, Theresa Kail-Smith and Anthony Coghill – who voted against the legislation, were noticeably absent during the signing ceremony.

O’Connor said council is prepared for the court battle.

“I think everybody here said basically bring it on because we’re doing the right thing,” he said. “We’re willing to fight for our residents and I don’t think anybody is going to stop us.

~ Grif

 

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Missouri bill will ban all federal gun-control laws

I thank God that our Founding Fathers, whose greatest fear was a tyrannical government, had the wisdom and foresight to institute curbs on government power in the form of numerous checks and balances.

One of those checks is the creation of a federal republic, in which the constituent geographic states have their separate powers — a founding principle that is enshrined in the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which spells out the powers of the constituent (geographical) states and of the people.

Unlike centralized polities like the UK and China wherein the central or national government holds all power, and whatever powers regional/local governments have are delegated to them, in a federation the powers of regional/local governments are not derived from the central government and, therefore, cannot be taken away by the central government. In the U.S. federal republic, as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution, it is the American people who grant separate powers to the federal government in Washington, D.C., and to the 50 state governments.

There is a bill in the Missouri state legislature (General Assembly) which, if passed, will ban all federal gun-control laws by preventing all state agencies and their employees from enforcing any federal law that infringes the Second Amendment in any way, including gun registrations, fees, fines, licenses and bans.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Pogue (R), 37, a Christian and a contractor/carpenter by profession, and co-sponsored by 4 other Republican representatives, House Bill 786: Second Amendment Preservation Act was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 31, 2019.

HB 786’s companion bill in the state Senate is SB 367, which was introduced by Sen. Eric Burlison (R) on February 7, 2019.

HB 786 begins with a powerful ringing reiteration of states’ rights and the limits on the federal government’s power which moved me to tears. The entire bill deserves your reading, and should be recommended to the legislatures of the other 49 states.

HB 786 states:

2. The general assembly finds and declares that:

(1) The general assembly of the state of Missouri is firmly resolved to support and defend the United States Constitution against every aggression, whether foreign or domestic, and is duty bound to oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the basis of the Union of the States because only a faithful observance of those principles can secure the nation’s existence and the public happiness;

(2) Acting through the United States Constitution, the people of the several states created the federal government to be their agent in the exercise of a few defined powers, while reserving to the state governments the power to legislate on matters which concern the lives, liberties, and properties of citizens in the ordinary course of affairs;

(3) The limitation of the federal government’s power is affirmed under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people of the several states to the federal government, and all power not delegated to the federal government in the United States Constitution is reserved to the states respectively or to the people themselves;

(4) If the federal government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the United States Constitution, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force;

(5) The several states of the United States of America respect the proper role of the federal government but reject the proposition that such respect requires unlimited submission. If the government, created by a compact among the states, was the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers granted to it by the states through the United States Constitution, the federal government’s discretion, and not the United States Constitution, would necessarily become the measure of those powers. To the contrary, as in all other cases of compacts among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself as to if infractions of the compact have occurred, as well as to determine the mode and measure of redress. Although the several states have granted supremacy to laws and treaties made under the powers granted in the United States Constitution, such supremacy does not extend to various federal statutes, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, or other actions which restrict or prohibit the manufacture, ownership, and use of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition exclusively within the borders of Missouri; such statutes, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, and other actions exceed the powers granted to the federal government except to the extent they are necessary and proper for governing and regulating land and naval forces of the United States or for organizing, arming, and disciplining militia forces actively employed in the service of the United States Armed Forces;

(6) The people of the several states have given Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states”, but “regulating commerce” does not include the power to limit citizens’ right to keep and bear arms in defense of their families, neighbors, persons, or property, or to dictate as to what sort of arms and accessories law-abiding Missourians may buy, sell, exchange, or otherwise possess within the borders of this state;

(7) The people of the several states have also granted Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States” and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the United States Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or office thereof”. These constitutional provisions merely identify the means by which the federal government may execute its limited powers and shall not to be so construed to grant unlimited power because to do so would be to destroy the carefully constructed equilibrium between the federal and state governments. Consequently, the general assembly rejects any claim that the taxing and spending powers of Congress can be used to diminish in any way the right of the people to keep and bear arms;

(8) The people of Missouri have vested the general assembly with the authority to regulate the manufacture, possession, exchange, and use of firearms within the borders of this state, subject only to the limits imposed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the Missouri Constitution; and

(9) The general assembly of the state of Missouri strongly promotes responsible gun ownership, including parental supervision of minors in the proper use, storage, and ownership of all firearms, the prompt reporting of stolen firearms, and the proper enforcement of all state gun laws. The general assembly of the state of Missouri hereby condemns any unlawful transfer of firearms and the use of any firearm in any criminal or unlawful activity.

1.420. The following federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations shall be considered infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri, within the borders of this state including, but not limited to:

(1) Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories,or ammunition not common to all other goods and services which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(2) Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(3) Any registering or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;

(4) Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and

(5) Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories,or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.

1.430. All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, regardless if enacted before or after the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.

1.440. It shall be the duty of the courts and law enforcement agencies of this state to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms within the borders of this state and to protect these rights from the infringements defined under section 1.420.

1.450. No person, including any public officer or employee of this state or any political subdivision of this state, shall have the authority to enforce or attempt to enforce any federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances infringing on the right to keep and bear arms as defined under section 1.410.

1.460. 1. Any entity or person who knowingly, as defined under section 562.016, violates section 1.450 or otherwise knowingly deprives a citizen of Missouri of the rights or privileges ensured by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States or Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri, while acting under the color of any state or federal law, shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

2. In such actions, the court may award the prevailing party, other than the state of Missouri or any political subdivision of the state, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

3. Sovereign, official, or qualified immunity shall not be an affirmative defense in such actions.

1.470. 1. Any person while acting as an official, agent, employee, or deputy of the government of the United States, or while otherwise acting under the color of federal law while within the borders of this state, who knowingly, as defined under section 562.016:

(1) Enforces or attempts to enforce any of the infringements identified in section 1.410; or

(2) Gives material aid and support to the efforts of others who enforce or attempt to enforce any of the infringements identified in section 1.410 shall be permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer or to supervise law enforcement officers for the state or any political subdivision of the state.

2. Neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state shall employ as a law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers any person who is ineligible to serve in such capacity under this section.

3. Any person residing in or conducting business in a jurisdiction who believes that a law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers of such jurisdiction has taken action that would render that person ineligible under this section to serve in such capacity shall have standing to pursue an action for declaratory judgment in the circuit court of the county in which the action allegedly occurred, or in the circuit court of Cole County, with respect to the employment eligibility of the law enforcement officer or the supervisor of law enforcement officers under this section.

4. If a court determines that a law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers has taken any action that would render him or her ineligible to serve in that capacity under this section:

(1) The law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers shall immediately be terminated from his or her position; and

(2) The jurisdiction that had employed the ineligible law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers shall be required to pay the court costs and attorney’s fees associated with the declaratory judgment action that resulted in the finding of ineligibility.

5. Nothing in this section shall preclude a person’s right of appeal or remediation, as provided under chapter 590.

1.480. For the purposes of sections 1.410 to 1.485, the term “law-abiding citizen” shall mean a person who is not otherwise precluded under state law from possessing a firearm and shall not be construed to include anyone who is not legally present in the United States or the state of Missouri.

1.485. If any provision of sections 1.410 to 1.485 or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such determination shall not affect the provisions or applications ofsections1 .410 to 1.485, which may be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and the provisions of sections 1.410 to 1.485 are severable.

Republicans control both the Senate and House of Representatives of the Missouri General Assembly, so HB 786 stands a good chance to pass:

  • 24 Republicans vs. 10 Democrats in the Senate.
  • 116 Republicans vs. 47 Democrats in the House of Representatives.

According to Max Headroom of The Sentinel, a former version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act, SB 613, was passed by the state legislature in 2014, but vetoed by then Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Demonrat.

Headroom notes that the current Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB 786, SB 367) faces heavy opposition from two surprising groups:

  1. Missouri’s law enforcement community, “which should be no surprise, as Missouri law enforcement agencies raked in $34,462,153 in forfeitures from 2001 to 2008, according to a report by the Institute of Justice.”
  2. The National Rifles Association (NRA) because anti-gun Sen. Jamilah Nasheed had tried to sneak language into SB 367 that would require gun owners to report a stolen firearm to police no more than 72 hours after the discovery of the theft, or face a $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor charge. However, the stolen firearm reporting clause was removed from the actual text of the bill.

See also “Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that Second Amendment applies to individuals, not militias, and may include military weapons”.

H/t truckjunkie

~Eowyn

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Federal judge strikes down California’s ban on “high-capacity” magazines

A voice of reason in CA: Judge Benitez

The judge was born in Cuba and appointed by GWB.

From Daily Mail: A federal judge declared California’s ban on high-capacity gun magazines over 10 rounds as unconstitutional on Friday, following a lawsuit by the state’s arm of the National Rifle Association.

On Friday San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled the law against high-capacity gun magazines was unconstitutional, blocking the state from enforcing the voter-approved ban outlined California’s Proposition 63.

The proposition was made to prevent the use of such magazines, which are often used in mass shootings and passed on the November 8, 2016 ballot.

California law has prohibited buying or selling of magazines with over 10 rounds since 2000, but those who had them before then were allowed to keep them.

In 2016, the Legislature and voters approved a law removing that provision.

The California arm of the National Rifle Association then sued and Benitez sided with the group’s argument that banning the magazines infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

He cited stories of three women confronted by armed intruders in their homes. The woman with a high capacity magazine was able to kill an intruder and call for help, while the two other women ran out of bullets.

‘Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,’ Benitez wrote in his 86-page order as he declared the law to be unconstitutional, granting a summary judgement in favor of gun owner Virginia Duncan and the California Pistol & Rifle Association.

Benitez cited the stories of three women who were at their homes in Florida and Georgia and were shot by gun-weilding intruders who broke into their homes. He suggested that the women were unable to stop the assailants because they had lower capacity guns to defend themselves.

You say high capacity; I say standard and necessary!

In one case a pajama-clad woman who had a high-capacity magazine attached to her weapon was able to take on three armed intruders, while simultaneously calling for help on her phone.

In the other two cases the women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.

‘She had no place to carry an extra magazine and no way to reload because her left hand held the phone with which she was still trying to call 911,’ the judge wrote, saying she killed one attacker while two escaped.

Chuck Michel, an attorney for the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, said the judge’s latest ruling may go much farther by striking down the entire ban, allowing individuals to legally acquire high-capacity magazines for the first time in nearly two decades.

‘We’re still digesting the opinion but it appears to us that he struck down both the latest ban on possessing by those who are grandfathered in, but also said that everyone has a right to acquire one,’ Michel said.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that his office is ‘committed to defending California’s common sense gun laws’ and is reviewing the decision and evaluating its next steps.

‘Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,’ Benitez wrote in his 86-page order as he declared the ban on high capacity magazines to be unconstitutional.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Sandy Hook families can sue AR-15 gunmaker Remington, court rules

March 14, 2019

The Connecticut Supreme Court today ruled that the families of those killed in the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., would be allowed to sue Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the attack. In a 4-3 decision, the court reversed a ruling of the lower court, Bridgeport Superior Court, which originally dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sandy Hook families against Remington in 2015.

The lower court’s 2015 ruling rested on the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
The law protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. A one vote majority of the Connecticut Supreme Court, however, ruled that PLCAA did not shield Remington (and by extension all gun manufacturers and dealers) from being sued.

According to the Hartford Courant, the justices contend that the victims’ families are permitted to argue Remington’s alleged violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA)’

“We further conclude that PLCAA does not bar the plaintiffs from proceeding on the single, limited theory that the defendants violated CUTPA by marketing the XM15- E2S to civilians for criminal purposes, and that those wrongful marketing tactics caused or contributed to the Sandy Hook massacre,” Justice Richard Palmer wrote. “Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.”

“Following a scrupulous review of the text and legislative history of [the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act] we also conclude that Congress has not clearly manifested an intent to extinguish the traditional authority of our legislature and our courts to protect the people of Connecticut from the pernicious practices alleged in the present case. The regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the states’ police powers.” Justice Palmer added.

“Accordingly, on the basis of that limited theory, we conclude that the plaintiffs have pleaded allegations sufficient to survive a motion to strike and are entitled to have the opportunity to prove their wrongful marketing allegations,” Palmer concluded.

Connecticut law, the court wrote in the majority opinion, “does not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior.” While federal law does offer protection for gun manufacturers, the majority wrote, “Congress did not intend to immunize firearms suppliers who engage in truly unethical and irresponsible marketing practices promoting criminal conduct, and given that statutes such as CUTPA are the only means available to address those types of wrongs, it falls to a jury to decide whether the promotional schemes alleged in the present case rise to the level of illegal trade practices and whether fault for the tragedy can be laid at their feet.”

The families’ original lawsuit filed against Remington in 2015, alleged that the company manufactured and marketed a military weapon that ended up in the hands of a civilian.

Bridgeport Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2016, declaring that it “falls squarely within the broad immunity” provided under the PLCAA.

“There is no need for a legal re-examination of the law,” said James Vogts, Remington’s attorney at the time. “Under the law, the manufacturer of the gun used by the criminal that day isn’t responsible legally for his actions.”

Some legal analysts now however say Remington might be held liable under the “negligent entrustment” exception in the law, which defines the “supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.

Major liberal me outlets, most notably The New York Times, seem positively giddy over the prospect of suing America’s firearms manufacturers out of business.

Times reporters Rick Rojas and Kristin Hussey called today’s Connecticut court ruling a “major blow to the firearms industry on Thursday, clearing the way for a lawsuit against the companies that manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used by the gunman in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”

They continued, “The lawsuit mounted a direct challenge to the immunity that Congress granted gun companies to shield them from litigation when their weapons are used in a crime. The ruling allows the case, brought by victims’ families, to maneuver around the federal shield, creating a potential opening to bring claims to trial and hold the companies, including Remington, which made the rifle, liable for the attack.

The 4-3 majority largely upheld arguments made by lawyers for Remington that the company is protected from suit in many instances. The court ruled, however, that Congress did not intend the PLCAA to preclude state law.

Ultimately, the majority said, the plaintiffs should have the opportunity to prove that Remington violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) by marketing a military-style weapon to civilians.

A Connecticut Superior Court judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2016, agreeing with lawyers for Remington that the case falls within the “broad immunity” gun manufacturers and sellers are afforded under the PLCAA. The state Supreme Court decision, however, paves the way for the suit to continue and for lawyers to access internal documents from the firearms companies.

Lawyers for the gunmaker argued that there was no way for Remington to assess the shooter, and therefore no way they could have known what the gun would be used for.

According to the Times, the lawsuit was originally filed in 2014 by nine families of the victims and a teacher who was injured in the shooting. It names gun manufacturers and distributors Bushmaster, Remington, Camfour Holdings LLP, as well as Riverview Gun Sales Inc., the gun shop where the shooter’s mother purchased the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, and the store’s owner.

Remington Arms filed for bankruptcy in March of 2018, which effectively stalled the lawsuit. In May 2018, the company announced that it had emerged from bankruptcy.

“The decision represents a significant development in the long-running battle between gun control advocates and the gun lobby,” the Times said. “And it stands to have wider ramifications, experts said, by charting a possible legal road map for victims’ relatives and survivors from other mass shootings who want to sue gun companies.”

Edify this morning called the ruling a “high-stakes challenge to gun companies, which have rarely been held liable for crimes committed with their products, and could mark a new front in the battle over gun regulations and corporate accountability. . . An eventual ruling against Remington could establish legal precedent, opening doors for more lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and expose the company’s communications about its marketing plans.”

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action outlines the issue as follows:

On October 26, 2005, President Bush signed S. 397, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.” Introduced by Sens. Larry Craig (R-ID) and Max Baucus (D-MT), this legislation is a vitally important first step toward ending the anti-gun lobby`s shameless attempts to bankrupt the American firearms industry through reckless lawsuits. Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced similar legislation, H.R. 800 in the House of Representatives.

•These suits are intended to drive gunmakers out of business by holding manufacturers and dealers liable for the criminal acts of third parties who are totally beyond their control. Suing the firearms industry for street crime is like suing General Motors for criminal acts involving Buicks.

•These lawsuits seek a broad range of remedies relating to product design and marketing. Their demands, if granted, would create major restrictions on interstate commerce in firearms and ammunition, including unwanted design changes, burdensome sales policies, and higher costs for consumers. While the suits are unwarranted, the firearms industry has had to spend over $200 million in defense.

•Congress has the power-and the duty-to prevent activists from abusing the courts to destroy interstate commerce.

•The bill provides that lawsuits may not be brought against manufacturers and sellers of firearms or ammunition if the suits are based on criminal or unlawful use of the product by a third party. Existing lawsuits must be dismissed.

S. 397 provides carefully tailored protections for legitimate suits:

•The bills expressly allow suits based on knowing violations of federal or state law related to gun sales, or on traditional grounds including negligent entrustment (such as sales to a child or an obviously intoxicated person) or breach of contract. The bill also allows product liability cases involving actual injuries caused by an improperly functioning firearm (as opposed to cases of intentional misuse).

•The Congress has often passed limitations on liability for specific groups, including light aircraft manufacturers, food donors, corporations affected by “Y2K” computer problems, charitable volunteers, health officials, medical implant manufacturers, and makers of anti-terrorism technology.
These lawsuits usurp the authority of the Congress and of state legislators, in a desperate attempt to enact restrictions that have been widely rejected. Thirty-four states have also enacted statutes blocking this type of litigation.

~ Grif
Molon Labe

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Anti-gun activist threatens to shoot GOP senator & the NRA

Yesterday, the State of Connecticut Judiciary Committee conducted a public hearing in Hartford to discuss tougher gun laws following the accidental shooting death of a teenage boy. Ethan Song, 15, accidentally shot himself with a gun belonging to his friend’s father.

As reported by the Daily Caller, a variety of gun control measures were discussed, including:

  • Safe storage of fire arms in the home.
  • A measure requiring anyone open-carrying a firearm to produce a permit if asked by police.
  • A move to regulate “ghost guns” or 3-D printed firearms and components.
  • A bill prohibiting cities and towns to enact their own firearms laws

Blind to her hypocrisy and the irony of the situation, an anti-gun activist threatened to shoot the place up and had to be removed from the hearing.

As reported by WTNH News8’s chief political correspondent Mark Davis in a tweet:

Woman expelled from gun hearing after being seen sending this text about a state lawmaker.

The woman’s text message reads:

If I had a gun, I’d blow away Sampson and a large group of NRA.

Republican Connecticut State Senator Rob Sampson is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and defender of the NRA (National Rifles Association).

Threatening government officials of the United States is a felony under federal law:

  • Threatening the President of the United States is a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 871, punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment, and is investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.
  • Threatening other officials, such as State Senator Rob Sampson, is a Class C or D felony, usually carrying maximum penalties of 5 or 10 years under 18 U.S.C. § 875, 18 U.S.C. § 876 and other statutes, and is investigated by the FBI.

See also:

~Eowyn

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12 Washington state sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun-control law

Ryan Gaydos reports for Fox News, Feb. 11, 2019, that sheriffs in 12, mostly rural, counties in Washington state are refusing to enforce a new gun-control law, Initiative 1639, that was passed last November, on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

I-1639 is a sweeping measure that raises the minimum age for buying semi-automatic from 18 to 21, requires buyers to first pass a safety course, expands background checks and gun storage requirements.

The sheriffs are from these 12 rural counties: Benton, Cowlitz, Douglas, Grant, Klickitat, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Yakima.

Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones told the Associated Press: “I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights. I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.” Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers said 75% of voters in his county voted against the bill and called the new rules unenforceable.

The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing the measure is unconstitutional because it violates the 2nd and 14th Amendments of the Constitution and gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. The suit doesn’t challenge enhanced background checks of or the training requirements.

Tom Knighton of Bearing Arms points out that although Initiative 1639 reportedly received 60% of the vote, it is urban-centered.

Like California and Oregon, a handful of urban centers dominate Washington state. As an example, just one city, Seattle, with a population of 766,893, accounts for as much as 10% of Washington state’s total population.

~Eowyn

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Contractors in LA must disclose if they have ties to NRA to get city contracts

LA Mayor Garcetti/LA Times photo

You’ll never see demorat bureaucrats forcing businesses to disclose any ties to the baby-killers Planned Parenthood.

Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted the following about this action: “Thoughts and prayers are not enough for L.A. Angelenos deserve to know who their City does business with, and we’ll keep fighting every day to get guns off the street and keep our kids and communities safe. Thank you CM @MitchOFarrell for your leadership.”

From WKRN: The Los Angeles City Council has passed a law requiring companies that want city contracts to disclose whether they have ties to the National Rifle Association. The measure passed Tuesday.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell sought the ordinance in the wake of recent U.S. mass shootings. He says the NRA has been a “roadblock to gun safety reform” for decades.

NRA attorneys had warned they’d sue if the ordinance passed.

Attorney Chuck Michel calls the move “modern-day McCarthyism” that would force NRA supporters to drop their memberships for fear of losing their livelihoods.

Michel tells the Los Angeles Times he doesn’t know of any other city that has such a policy and the NRA is confident no judge will uphold it.

—————–

Maybe city “leaders” should focus on the recidivism rate of convicted criminals in their city instead of boogeyman NRA members.

DCG

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Virginia governor proposes radical gun control measure that could end up with confiscation

Make no mistake about this gun grab: This demoRAT governor is leading the fight to take away your guns in Virginia.

From Fox News: The plan to ban the sale and possession of certain kinds of firearms proposed by Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D.) could affect millions of gun owners, an industry group said on Friday.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents gun manufacturers and dealers, said the vague description of the legislation released by Northam on Jan. 4 would apply to most firearms currently on sale in the commonwealth.

The legislative proposals being discussed would put most firearms beyond the reach of law-abiding Virginians who choose the firearms of their choice to protect themselves, hunt, and practice recreational target shooting,” said Lawrence G. Keane, the group’s general counsel. “That could potentially impact the availability of tens of millions of firearms.”

While short on details, Northam’s announcement said part of the proposed gun-control package would ban the “sale, purchase, possession, and transport” of undefined “assault firearms” including “any firearm that is equipped with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition.” Since the vast majority of semiautomatic handguns and rifles in the state are sold standard with magazines capable of holding 10 or more rounds, it appears the proposed ban would affect most firearms on sale in Virginia.

Additionally, the announcement of the ban did not include mention of any grandfathering to allow what NSSF estimated would be millions of Virginians who already own such firearms to legally keep them.

Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon.

This is a straight-up gun confiscation proposal. Stephen Gutowski from Free Beacon details more about this proposal on Twitter (from Twitchy):

“Virginia Democrats don’t just want to ban future sales of “assault firearms” as a few states have done, they want to outright ban possession which means confiscation. And their vauge definition of “assault firearms” applies to most currently sold in VA.”

“The only defining characteristic they’ve released thus far is any firearm “equipped” with a magazine that holds 10 or more rounds. That’s nearly every semi-automatic handgun and rifle sold in the state. The vast majority come standard with magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.”

The governor’s office refused to return my calls or answer my questions on the proposed ban so there’s no more details on what the actual legislation will look like or how Democrats would enforce such a law.”

“If the legislation matches the governor’s announcement, which isn’t a guarantee given how vauge and poorly written the announcement is, the proposal would be by far the most radical gun ban in the country. No other state has attempted this kind of confiscation on this scale.”

Remember this when demoRATs claim they aren’t coming for your guns…

DCG

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Country music star calls for background checks on private sales; urges other stars to support his effort

Tyler Hubbard in a screenshot from his Instagram plea…

This extremely biased article does not call out the real goal of this group: Eliminate private gun sales (as they reference an “unlicensed dealer” sale at a gun show.) Funny, I couldn’t find one mass shooting that was committed with a gun obtained via private sale.

But never let facts get in the way of an agenda.

From Yahoo: After announcing his involvement in the Toms apparel company’s campaign to support universal background checks in the firearm industry last week, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard went one step further on Monday, calling out 34 fellow country artists to add their voice of support to Toms’ “End Gun Violence Together” campaign.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Country, Hubbard expanded on his decision to speak out on the issues of gun violence and gun control, and explained the reasoning behind his call to encourage a wide range of country artists — including Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan and even fellow FGL bandmate Brian Kelley — to join him in the campaign.

“We’ve been given a platform and a voice for a reason, and it’s really time to start using that voice for more than just talking about our music and ourselves,” Hubbard says. “Whether it’s at a country bar or a country concert, every artist in our genre has been affected by gun violence directly or indirectly, and it’s something that really hits close to home and something that everybody wants to talk about, but doesn’t really know how to. But there’s no better time than now.”

Hubbard’s comments come just a month after last month’s shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, where 12 men and women were killed at the country music bar, and little more than a year after the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, two events that have galvanized the country music community on the issue of gun violence. “We’ve seen it firsthand,” he says. “Our fans and artists are getting shot.”

The Georgia native also cites growing up and having a family with wife Hayley Hubbard as factors that have influenced his thinking on gun violence over the years. “Before, I’d like to think that I was probably a hard-ass who could dodge a bullet, which is not true,” he says. “Now that I’ve got a wife and kids and family, I really start to think about things from a different perspective and I really want to start trying to make a change.”

Hubbard explained that focusing on an issue like universal background checks, supported by a vast majority of Americans in repeated polls, helped make it easier to speak out on a polarizing topic like gun control. “You’d have to be hard-pressed to find somebody that thinks there shouldn’t be background checks,” says Hubbard. “It’s not really as confrontational or controversial as one may think.”

The federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, has been in place since 1993, but there are a number of inefficiencies and loopholes (including the ability to purchase firearms from unlicensed dealers at a gun show without a background check), that have made the system less than 100 percent effective. Toms’ “End Gun Violence Together” campaign is aimed at encouraging lawmakers to pass legislation that would strengthen the federal government’s ability to run background checks on all citizens purchasing firearms in the United States.

Speaking alongside Hubbard, Toms founder/CEO Blake Mycoskie expressed admiration for the Florida Georgia Line singer’s ability to address the issues from the perspective of a firearm enthusiast. “That’s my favorite part of Tyler’s first video, is when he says, ‘I’m a proud gun owner,’” says Mycoskie, who, like Hubbard, admits he has not historically been involved in politics. “That, to me, is what broke the dam: the idea that we can celebrate the sporting nature of using guns responsibly and at the same time we can say that it doesn’t make sense that if you’re a felon you can leave prison and go buy five guns tomorrow.”

Toms’ campaign encourages citizens to send a postcard to their legislators urging them to pass universal background check legislation. Mycoskie says that since launching the initiative last month, more than 600,000 postcards have been sent to lawmakers via the company’s website.

Hubbard and Dierks Bentley were among the first country artists to join the campaign, which Mycoskie began after the Borderline shooting.

Since Hubbard’s challenge to fellow artists, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild have voiced their support for the campaign.

“This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights,” Fairchild wrote on Instagram. “We need better background checks.”

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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