Thursday, April 24, 2014
At its upcoming national convention in Indianapolis, the National Rifle Association plans to promote a federal law permitting gun owners to travel across state lines with lisenced weapons. The LATimes reports:
In the past, the NRA has worked to get a national reciprocity bill, allowing guns that are licensed by one state to be legally carried across state lines. At present, the laws are a patchwork quilt, with about 40 states allowing some form of reciprocity.
In 2011, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives approved the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, intended to allow gun owners to travel more easily from state to state without worrying about whether their permit to carry a concealed weapon is valid. The legislation had bipartisan support, passing 272-154, with 229 Republicans and 43 Democrats voting yes.
But since the Senate was not going to take up the measure, the House action was essentially a show vote for lawmakers seeking to curry favor with the NRA and other gun rights advocates.
A similar measure failed in 2009 in the Democratic-led Senate, with a 58-39 vote that, although a majority, feel short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. The closeness of that vote highlighted the power of the NRA, with its 5 million members, to pressure both parties on gun issues.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
As described in Part I of this article, the Supreme Court has strongly indicated that First Amendment tools should be employed to help resolve Second Amendment issues. Before District of Columbia v. Heller, several Supreme Court cases suggested that the First and Second Amendments should be interpreted in the same manner. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago applied this approach, using First Amendment analogies to resolve many SecondAmendment questions.
Part II of this Article details how influential lower court decisions have followed (or misapplied) the Supreme Court’s teaching. Of course, precise First Amendment rules cannot necessarily be applied verbatim to the SecondAmendment. Part III outlines some general First Amendment principles that are also valid for the SecondAmendment. Finally, Part IV looks at how several First Amendment doctrines can be used in Second Amendmentcases, showing that some, but not all, First Amendment doctrines can readily fit into Second Amendmentjurisprudence.
Monday, January 13, 2014
The title of this post comes from this article reporting on Missouri's effort to rally support from other states for its effort to frustrate enforcement of federal gun laws. The article begins:
Having failed in an earlier effort to bar federal agents from enforcing gun regulations in Missouri, conservative lawmakers are trying a new tack this year: banding together with other like-minded states to defy certain federal laws at the same time.
Supporters believe it will be more difficult for the federal government to shrug off such statutes if more states act together.
Missouri's latest proposal, introduced this past week, would attempt to nullify certain federal gun control regulations from being enforced in the state and subject law enforcement officers to criminal and civil penalties for carrying out such policies.
The state's Republican-led Legislature came one vote shy of overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of such a measure last year. This year's bill adds a new twist, delaying the effective date for several years to allow time for other states to join the cause.
"We continue to see the federal government overreach their rightful bounds, and if we can create a situation where we have some unity among states, then I think it puts us in a better position to make that argument," said Republican Sen. Brian Nieves, who is sponsoring the legislation.
Missouri's efforts came after President Barack Obama called for expanded federal background checks and a ban on assault weapons following deadly mass shootings at a Colorado theater and a Connecticut elementary school.
CRL&P related posts:
- Opposition stymies gun legislation that would establish mandatory minimums for illegal gun possession
- Guns & Ammo magazine fires editor for support of minor firearm regulations
- Why Are Police Shootings of Innocents on the Rise?
- Senators bicker over state stand your ground laws
- Ohio House passes gun bill with "stand your ground" provision after lengthy debate
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Plain Dealer columnist argues for armed employees in schools.
Federal judge will hear challenge to Ohio's ban on recognition of same-sex marriages on death certificates.
Student's civil rights suit alleges anti-LGBT harassment by teachers and administrators; police lieutenant claims he was fired in retaliation for testimony he gave against the department in several civil rights cases; Orlando PD face allegations of excessive force by a group of officers; and, civil rights suit over alleged unjustifiable death of Lansing teenager re-emerges.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Calling on states to repeal gun restrictions, Gun Owners of America executive says 'Gun-free zones are murder magnets'; Gun control advocates have modest hopes for 2014; Guardian columnist calls for U.S. to follow Australia's example by passing life-saving gun laws; school shootings raise questions as to appropriate security measures; and, stand-your-gounds laws are again on Floridians' minds.
Iowa man's death at the hands of a trooper's Taser is ruled a homicide, while a Michigan family drops their suit against police after daughter's death from Taser.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Gun control activists leave Capitol Hill to build up infrastructure in the states, while support for tighter gun laws lessens; gun violence is a daily reality for some schools; Politico says Utah is America's gun permit mill; and, CNN columnist says 'Background checks pose no threat to legal gun ownership.'
Detroit's bankruptcy disrupts settlement payments to the man whose wrongful conviction landed him in prison for nearly a decade.
Tea Party groups suing county officials in Texas for denying them use of the county courthouse.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Advisory committee says NSA's mass surveillance should continue under new privacy constraints.
Investigation finds that guns website posts ads from sellers without licenses; Guardian's Michael Cohen claims America's gun carnage continues with no end in sight; and, gun club hopes to curb violence by teaching young people different ideas about guns.
Trial in North Carolina voter ID case is scheduled for July 2015.
Civil rights suit alleges deputies pepper sprayed a couple and beat the husband after he held train doors open for his wife; civil rights suit filed after sheriff's deputy makes a man sit and kneel on hot asphalt for nearly half an hour, causing second-degree burns; and, civil rights groups say Dallas PD has a pattern of using excessive force.
Same-sex couples now will receive equal treatment when applying for federal student loans.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
How gun control is losing, badly; gun control groups focus on states; report says reducing gun violence requires early intervention for troubled youth; Ana Marie Cox claims Congress is scared of the gun lobby; but, gun control activists are staying positive.
Former contractor files a civil rights suit alleging the federal goverment harassed him because of an auto-complete error in Google search; and, Miami Gardens police chief resigns following allegations of racial profiling.
No agreement on court date for North Carolina's voter ID case.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
NSA takes advantage of 'cookies' used for advertising to track surveillance targets.
Federal judge rejects California AG's request for dismissal in case challenging law requiring 10-day waiting period for gun owners.
Cruel and unusual punishment suit after prisoner placed in solitary confinement for one month could cost taxpayers.
American man claims discrimination after the California Department of Corrections denied him a job because he had previously used a false SSN, while in Illinois this guy still has a job.
Amendment aimed at protecting sexual assault victims scrapped as Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act.
Bill introduced in the Senate to eliminate state laws regulating the sexual activity of people with HIV.
Chinese Law Prof is expelled for criticizing China's one-party government.
Man convicted of a hate crime after attacking a Sikh cab driver to serve more than three years in prison.
And, a six-year old is suspended after kissing a classmate on the cheek. I wonder if he would have received similar punishment if had hit her.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Allegedly illegal strip searches in Milwaukee jail could cost the city millions; man acquitted of drug charges files a civil rights suit against FBI alleging malicious prosecution; police face civil rights suit after officer pleads guilty to child porn; jail staff knew diabetic woman in their care needed insulin perhaps days before she died; Miami Gardens police allegedly used excessive force and denied medical treatment to arrestee; and, man was killed by a police officer who had accidently been tased by another officer.
Atlantic says Obama misled MSNBC's Chris Matthews on NSA surveillance; Guardian reflects on how the debate over surveillance has changed since Snowden's leaks; Nobel-winning writers say NSA surveillance is compromising freedom; Bill Clinton worries about the NSA's collection of economic data; and, NSA makes tech companies worry about profits.
Federal judge holds journalists have no constitutional right to be embedded with military; and, ACLU says prison officials violated the First Amendment by denying reporters access to prisoners after a riot.
Gun manufacturers doing better than before Newtown.
December 10, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Excessive Force, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Same-sex marriage, Strip Searches, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, December 9, 2013
Senate likely to extend ban on plastic guns, but nexus of gun-control debate has shifted to the states; and, four of five members of the city council in rural Rhode Island town face recalls after recommending changes to process for issuing concealed weapons permits.
Obama about ready to announce changes to NSA surveillance program; major tech companies submit open letter to Obama and Congress demanding new limits on NSA's freedom-harming surveillance; Snowden might testify before the EU Parliament's committee on civil liberties; local law enforcement is using software in NSA-style monitoring of cellphone data, and here's how it does it; and, Sen. Paul calls for a renewed commitment to the Fourth Amendment.
Rutger's basketball player alleges civil rights violations against former coach for allegedly repeated verbal and physical abuse; and, New Orleans settles civil rights lawsuit alleging man was falsely arrested and held for five months.
Editorial lambasts New Mexico prison for placing 71-year-old in solitary confinement for one month on suspicion of bringing meth into the facility.
Internet companies speak out against former Cincinatti Bengals cheerleader's defamation suit after federal judge allows it to proceed.
December 9, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Revenge Porn, Universities and Colleges, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Milwaukee to file civil rights complaint against company that lost a flashdrive containing employees' personal information; and, DOE will not file civil rights complaint after a report finds rampant cheating in El Paso schools.
Virginia officials making preparations for new voter ID law.
Colorado baker must serve same-sex couples, Judge says.
Reason.com highlights three important on-going Second Amendment cases.
Virginia Restaurant owner says he can take video of customers using the bathroom.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Federal court hears case alleging the heat on death row in a Louisiana prison is unsafe; civil rights lawsuit filed alleging that a diabetic inmate died because the prison failed to provide adequate medical care; and, civil rights lawsuit alleges the police in a Miami suburb targeted African-Americans.
Fourth Circuit orders gun found on a convicted felon suppressed because it was obtained during an illegal search.
Americans are more deeply divided on gun policy than before Newtown; Plain Dealer columnist contrasts Newtown parents efforts to keep children safe from guns with those of gun-rights activists; and, Georgia man mistakingly kills a man suffering from Alzheimer's.
Iowa Supreme Court upholds law banning non-residents from hunting on property that they own.
December 7, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Theories of Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, December 6, 2013
Democratic lawmaker urging Florida to allow online voter registration, same-day registration, and to create more early voting sites; and, Obama expects to see bipartisan improvents to voting access in 2014.
Florida State's Attorney won't press charges against officers facing civil rights lawsuit over harassment allegations.
Gun-rights advocates target the NFL over its policy against ads with guns; gun-control advocates release advertisement as citizens remember Newtown; and, Giffords launches gun-control PAC.
NYC's Fire Commissioner discusses with NPR attempts to close force's racial gap.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Massachussetts legislative committee on election laws considers voter ID bill; Mississippi's Secretary of State claims that 90 percent of the state's citizens already have ID required by new voting law; and, voting rights group to advocate for laws that expand voting and access to the polls in all 50 states.
Civil rights lawsuit filed against a police officer who allegedly broke an elderly man's arm in a roadside incident while off-duty; taxpayers in a Rhode Island town will cover $7 million settlement agreed to after a confrontation in which the police shot a teen 9 times leaving him paralyzed; and, wrongful death claim against California police for the shooting of a suicidal man is allowed to proceed.
Federal judge hears oral arguments on Utah's same-sex marriage ban.
Tennessee asks state Supreme Court to provide dates of execution for 10 inmates.
December 5, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Election Law, Excessive Force, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Right to Vote, Same-sex marriage, Theories of Punishment, Voter ID, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Georgia prosecutors struggle to decide whether to apply stand-your-ground law to man who shot Alzheimer's patient who attempted to enter his house; House passes gun-control bill, but Sen. Schumer hopes for broader reforms; Politico explains why gun control advocates might have to settle for small gains; guns and ammunition have been stolen from Dallas SWAT; student brings a stun gun to a Cleveland Heights elementary school; and, one teacher explains why she talks to her middle-school students about guns.
Three couples challenge Utah's same-sex marriage ban.
Federal judges question the Wisconsin law requiring abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
First Amendment controversy continues to brew after Pheonix bans gun-rights activist's 'Gun Saves Lives' billboard.
Snowden was considered for Walters's 'Most Interesting Person of the Year'; and, The Atlantic informs us that there was a pre-Snowden Snowden (with perhaps a less villanous name--Yardley).
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Kansas City Star editorial says electoral reforms should focus on making voting easier for eligible voters; and, The New Republic explains how this might be accomplished.
Guardian columnist explores some of the consequences of the continuing controversy over the NSA's surveillance program.
SCOTUS to decide whether government can prevent some from protesting based on security interests.
Woman wants Mississippi to recognize same-sex marriage so that she can get a divorce; and, lawmaker challenges Hawaii's new law legalizing same-sex marriage in court.
NPR explores pilot program that provides public defenders to immigrant detainees.
December 1, 2013 in Election Law, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Right to Vote, Same-sex marriage, Voter ID, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, November 29, 2013
Latinos want DOJ to sue over redistricting in Los Angeles County that allegedly unfairly reduces their influence; and, Pennsylvania legislature considers a bill to curb voter intimidation.
Some experts question whether new encryption services actually will protect users from spying.
Same-sex couple files lawsuit challenging Texas's ban on same-sex marriage.
Missouri sheriff faces a second lawsuit over allegations he sexually harassed female employees.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
NSA has been monitoring the porn-watching habits of suspected radicals, which The Atlantic's Friedersdorf claims is bad for democracy; NSA soon will be split up; The Progressive discusses 'The NSA's New McCarthyism'; Ambinder has a cool NSA org chart; and, Nice, Canada. Real nice.
Cleveland Plain Dealer calls on Senate to oppose pending stand-your-ground bill; Iowa gun club will remain next to school; and, woman sentenced to 20-years in prison after firing a warning shot to deter her allegedly abusive husband released the night before Thanksgiving.
Congresswoman Fudge asks Holder to investigate Ohio's new voting laws; African-American youths pay higher 'time-tax' at the polls; and, Kentucky could be the next state to enact a voter ID law.
Federal judge decides NYPD must proceed with case of Occupy protester claiming an officer grabbed her breast.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Revelations about the extent of the NSA's surveillance program could put international data-sharing agreements at risk; federal judge hears arguments regarding the release of DOJ documents on the legality of NSA's surveillance program; The Atlantic explores the inception of the NSA; and, Microsoft will change encryption to prevent NSA surveillance.
Texas National Guard will allow same-sex couples to apply for benefits immediately; gay teen banned from mall at which he allegedly was attacked; Kentucky couple fined one cent for remaining in county clerks office after closing time to protest same-sex marriage ban; and, judge okays terminally ill woman's request to marry her female partner before Illinois same-sex marriage law becomes effective.
Colorado Democrat resigns after gun-rights advocates successfully petition for her recall; and, Plain Dealer guest columnist argues that Ohio legislature should pass gun-safety laws to prevent children from accessing guns.
Voters claim Lousiana segregated African Americans into one racially-gerrymandering congressional district.
SCOTUS to hear arguments as to constitutionality of ACA's contraceptive rule; and, it will consider the First Amendment rights of Bush protesters alleging official's attempts to disperse them were not supported by valid security interests.
November 27, 2013 in Department of Justice, Election Law, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Same-sex marriage | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, November 25, 2013
Texas officials worry that new voter ID law could cause significant problems in higher-turnout elections; and, county officials in Alabama ask for more workers to deal with new voter ID law.
Excessive force lawsuit costs Los Angeles County $1.6 milliion.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
NSA actually sought to expand surveillance program.
Montgomery Advertiser calls for more ballot access for minor party candidates; PolitiFact calls North Carolina governor's claim that Democrats 'agree' with voter ID law 'mostly false'; and, Plain Dealer column argues that Ohio election reforms should not include photo ID.
Wisconsin Court of Appeals will not block probe into campaign spending and fundraising during this month's elections.
Inmate charged with double murder files a hand written civil rights lawsuit alleging unduly harsh prison conditions and First Amendment violations.
Seattle PD settle a civil rights suit for an illegal search resulting in arrest of ex-felon for illegally possessing a firearm.
November 23, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Election Law, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Right to Vote, Same-sex marriage, Stop-and-frisk, Theories of Punishment, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, November 22, 2013
ACLU sues Kansas Attorney General over state's new election law requiring proof of citizenship to vote; Independent candidate denied ballot access in Alabama's special congressional election; 134 voters in Virginia election couldn't provide proper ID; and, Arkansas's voter ID program is nearly ready.
Some fear Ohio gun bill could limit police stops; Washington voters to choose betweent competing gun policies; Michiganders can now carry guns in state capital's libraries; and Dershowitz and Levinson debate Second Amendment's contemporary usefulness.
Woman files suit against Pittsburgh PD after a repeated sex offender was permitted to remain on the job; store owner files civil rights lawsuit after store's surveillance videos allegedly show racial profiling by police officers; and, civil rights lawsuit against officers in Utah could end up costing the state's taxpayers millions.
Government lawyers return to federal court to defend NSA's mass surveillance of telephone data.
Pennsylvania judge holds status hearing on the challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The title of this post comes from this article from The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which begins:
After an impassioned debate, the Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday approved legislation that would make sweeping changes to the state’s concealed-weapons laws, including a so-called “stand your ground” self-defense provision.
With the 62-27 vote, the legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate.
Supporters of House Bill 203 said it contains a number of changes designed to shore up Second Amendment rights, cut red tape, toughen rules for concealed handgun permits, and expand recognition of Ohio’s conceal-carry permits to other states.
But Democratic legislators warned that a so-called “stand your ground” self-defense provision would lead to greater gun violence in the state, particularly against minorities.
The stand-your-ground provision would eliminate Ohio's law requiring a person to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. Under current Ohio law, residents have no duty to retreat only when they are in their homes, cars, or the vehicles of immediate family members – a so-called “castle doctrine.”
NSA ignored courts on conduct of domestic surveillance; Supreme Court won't hear challenge to NSA domestic surveillance; and, Rep. Sensenbrenner claims NSA's surveillance program threatens America's economy.
Divided Ohio Supreme Court upholds school district's firing of teacher who refused to remove religious materials from his classroom.
Ohio House committee approves new 'stand your ground' law; gun owners in San Fancisco claim city's large-capacity magazine ban violates the Second Amendment; and, Ohio city looks to repeal several gun laws after legal challenge by gun-rights advocates.
Christian Science Monitor explains how voter ID laws affected 2013 elections; PolitiFact Texas labels claims that no problems resulted from state's new voter ID law 'mostly false'; and women are more likely to be disenfranchised under North Carolina's new voter ID law.
Juveniles file a federal lawsuit against Florida county and private prison contractor alleging extremely harsh conditions and overuse of pepper spray.
Governor expected to sign Illinois's law legalizing same-sex marriage later today.
Iowa woman wrongfully terminated for alleging workplace discrimination wants her job back.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Northern Illinois University student has been arrested after police discovered an AR-15 rifle and a handgun in his dorm room; federal agents claim gun made by a 3-D printer could threaten security; Iowa gun store owner has been arrested after selling fully automatic machine gun; Milwaukee youth help city officials develop strategies to reduce gun violence; and a Florida woman pulls a gun on a journalist.
Sen. Rubio is scheduled to speak at a conference led by an anti-gay activist; Indiana woman has been denied access to her partner who is currently unconscious in the hospital; and five Senagalese women could face as much as five years in prison because they are lesbians.
Supreme Court considers whether law enforcement officials violate the Fourth Amendment when they search an apartment after one roomate denies them entry but another later permits it; and TSA's profiling program is ineffective.
Students decry lack of diversity at UCLA; and federal court hears oral argument on University of Texas's addmission policy that considers race.
Former Dolphin's offensive lineman Jonathan Martin might sue the team for harassment and discrimination.
ProPublica documents China's efforts to censor Twitter messages.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Gov. Christie is a strong proponent of "violence control," which sometimes means gun-control.
NYC asks federal judge to vacate the lower court order requiring changes to the city's stop-and-frisk program.
Sen. Wyden discusses Snowden's continuing revelations about the NSA's surveillance program.
ACLU releases a new report on discrimination against military victims of sexual trauma.
Lawyers ask a South Carolina judge for a new trial for the 14-year-old boy executed in 1944.
And, this protester makes a real statement.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Authorities in New Mexico face another lawsuit over allegedly illegal body-cavity searches, as do police in Milwaukee.
Medical marijuana distributor files a civil rights lawsuit alleging that authorities targeted him for his "outspoken advocacy" of local taxation of medical marijuana.
Same-sex marriage will be legal in Hawaii when the governor signs legalization bill into law later this week.
Guardian editor will face questioning by British lawmakers for publication of NSA leaks.
3-D printer makes gun, raises production concerns.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Texas's voter ID law challenged in a new lawsuit in federal court, and spending on ballot initiatives is going through the roof.
Guns & Ammo editor resigns after publishing editorial supporting firearm regulations; Florida legislators decline proposal repealing state's stand-your-ground law; and Gifford's gun-control group establishes a sister organization for veterans.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will sign bill legalizing same-sex marriage on November 20, 2013, and four Idaho couples sue state over same-sex marriage ban. The Week explains why House Republicans have an interest in supporting ENDA.
Sen. Graham has introduced a new anti-abortion bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Thousands of NYC voters may not have known that the city's ballot had to be flipped over.
Although not charged, the Cleveland PD continue to hold a man's gun pursuant to a city ordinance that permits police to seize an arrestee's guns until a court orders their return.
House Republicans say they're worried about ENDA's effect on small businesses, and gay-rights advocates turn to President Obama urging him to sign an workplace anti-discrimination order. Crotia prepares to vote on whether to allow gay-marriage.
Secure email system used by Snowden now will work to create a new system that is immune from government surveillance.
LAPD arrests 54 Walmart protesters as more than 500 workers and community leaders gathered to protest the store's low wages.
Mother files suit against local school district alleging it ignored reports that an assistant principle repeatedly snuck her daughter out of her home for sex.
November 8, 2013 in 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Civil Rights Litigation, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Assembly, Gun Policy, Same-sex marriage, Schools, Search, Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Recently, Guns & Ammo magazine fired contributing editor Dick Metcalf for authoring this column for the December 2013 issue, in which he wrote:
I firmly believe that all U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly. And I do believe their fellow citizens, by the specific language of the Second Amendment, have an equal right to enact regulatory laws requiring them to undergo adequate training and preparationfor the responsibility of bearing arms.
Many Guns & Ammo readers were outraged by his column, and many reportedly claimed to have canceled their subscriptions.
Breitbart's Awr Hawkins was particularly upset about Metcalf's comparison of the Second Amendment right to keep and bears arms with the right to drive. Hawkins writes:
Metcalf misses the point. The 2nd Amendment protects a natural right; that's why it is not to be infringed. Owning and operating a vehicle is not a natural right, so comparing it to gun ownership is like comparing the ability to own and operate an airplane with the rights to freedom of speech and religion.
This is an important point because our Founders' central reason for creating the Bill of Rights was to hedge in a body of natural rights as off-limits to government regulation and interference.
While Metcalf's focus on driving is curious (and probably inapposite), Hawkins did not inform his readers that Metcalf in fact invoked the government's authority to restrict First Amendment rights to justify his claims. Indeed, Metcalf wrote:
Note carefully: Those last four words [of the Second Amendment] say "shall not be infringed." "Well regulated" is, in fact, the intial criterion of the amendment.
I bring this up because way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be. Freedom of speech is regulated. You cannot falsely and deliberately shout, "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Freedom of religion is regulated. A church cannot practice human sacrifice. Freedom of assembly is regulated. People who don't like you can't gather an "anti-you" demonstration on your front lawn without your permission. And it is illegal for convicted felons or the clinically insane to keep and bear arms.
Hawkins, of course, did not independently raise this point. The obvious presumption, then, is that Hawkins either (1) did not read Metcalf's column (which is hard to believe given that he took the time to write a response), or (2) was deliberately trying to misinform his readers. Perhaps both--the attendant presumptions are not mutually exclusive, after all.
In any case, Metcalf proceeds to argue that if the Founders intended to prevent all arms-related regulations, "then the authors of the Second Amendment themselves should not have specified 'well regulated.'"
Metcalf's position is entirely reasonable, and it comports with the general understanding of every Supreme Court justice--that, at least, minimal regulation on gun ownership is permissible. Writing for the Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, for example, Justice Scalia said: "The Constitution leaves...a variety of tools for combating [gun violence], including some measures regulating handguns." 554 U.S. 570, 636 (2008). Relying on Heller, Justice Alito wrote in McDonald v. City of Chicago, "We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents' doomsday proclamations, [this ruling] does not imperil every law regulating firearms." 130 S.Ct. 3020, 3047 (2010).
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Happy Election Day!
PA voters might think they need photo ID in order to vote today, but a state judge has stayed the PA voter ID law until the court has a chance to resolve a recent challenge to its constitutionality by the ACLU. The ACLU also has challenged the constitutionality of the WI voter ID law. In TX, a former U.S House Speaker was denied a voter ID card.
DOJ announced yesterday that it will monitor some Nov. 5 elections in MI, NY, and OH to ensure compliance with Voting Rights Act.
Parents of the 13-year-old boy killed by a sheriff's deputy while carrying a plastic gun have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the county.
New study finds that the cost of hospital treatment for firearm-related injuries exceeds $2 billion.
Sharpton demands assurances from Macy's CEO that racial profiling will not be a problem during the holiday season.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
report in The New York Times
It was the latest in the department’s two-year run of an unusually high number of unintentional shootings of innocents. Last August, police wounded nine bystanders while unloading 16 rounds at a suspect who’d just shot a co-worker on the street near the Empire State Building. In separate cases last year, cops wounded four other bystanders.
Gun battles and shoot-don’t-shoot decisions can be appallingly hard for even experienced cops to handle well. Low light, suspects in motion, and combat stress all affect accuracy and judgment. Criminologist David Klinger of the University of Missouri-St. Louis tells the story of a SWAT officer involved in an early-morning arrest of four suspects driving a van. When one of them raised a pistol, the officer fired several rounds from almost point-blank range—three or four feet away. One of the bullets missed completely, hitting a second suspect, and the rest hit the first suspect in his extremities instead of his chest, where the officer had been aiming.
In those adrenaline-filled encounters, good training more often than not makes the difference. Practicing realistic simulations of live fire allows cops to make better decisions and hit what they’re shooting at. In many jurisdictions, however, they aren’t getting enough or the right kind of weapons training, in part because of cuts to police-training budgets. That puts both bystanders and sometimes police in the line of fire, and local governments on the hook for big payouts.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Pro Publica breaks down the effects of the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder.
At University of North Texas, students sign petitions to get rape-kit access.
NPR asks whether race affects stand your ground laws.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The Senate is debating stand your ground laws today, and unsurprisingly the parties don't agree upon the laws' utility. The title of this post come from this article, which states:
Senate Republicans and Democrats are debating the merits of state stand your ground laws, with Democrats urging a review and Republicans saying the policy is a matter of self-defense.
Under the gaze of Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, Sen. Dick Durbin opened the hearing by saying the laws have been abused and urging Congress to consider how the policy would affect other gun legislation. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said the laws make possible the right to self defense.
At least 22 states have some form of the law, which generally cancels a person's duty to retreat in the face of a serious physical threat.
The 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed, was shot in 2012. A jury acquitted George Zimmerman earlier this year, sparking racial tension and debate over the laws.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Air Force Academy cadets no longer are required to recite "so help me God" in Honor Oath.
Illinois bill to impose mandatory minimums for illegal gun possession could be a win-win for Chicago mayor.
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center must wait to pursue civil rights lawsuit against the city and mayor for violation of due process in tax collection efforts.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Gun-rights advocates are planning to start collecting signatures in an attempt to recall California lawmakers who supported proposed gun regulations.
Greensborough police captain's civil rights lawsuit alleging discrimination by PD moved to federal court.
American Prospect argues that the Surpreme Court's reliance on two post-Reconstruction decisions have limited available remedies to victims of sexual assualt.
ACLU files amicus brief on behalf of secure email service provider facing contempt charges for failure to cooperate with U.S. government.
N.C. Attorney General and potential gubernatorial candidate speaks out on new voter ID law.
October 25, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Civil Rights Act, Civil Rights History, Civil Rights Litigation, Election Law, Equal Protection Clause, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Right to Vote | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wisconsin woman held in drug treatment center under fetal protection law challenges the law's constitutionality.
NRO's Reihan Salam says political reformers should focus on increasing party power.
Time raises questions about online reporting of sexual abuse.
Ohio Secretary of State says there's a need to cut down early voting hours.
Ohioans could be turning to Michigan abortion clinics as local ones close.
Columnist rejects argument for arming teachers and says its time to start holding partents of schoolhouse killers responsible as well.
And, a North Carolina Republican official resigns following racially-charged comments on Wednesday's The Daily Show.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Opposition stymies gun legislation that would establish mandatory minimums for illegal gun possession
The Illinois House Judiciary Committee has axed a controversial measure from H.B. 2265 that would have established mandatory minimum sentences for illegal gun possession. According to The Chicago Tribune, "Supporters say the measure is aimed at felons, gang members and people in possession of weapons without a valid firearm owner permit." Opponents, however, worry that the measure will send people to jail for up to three years for a simple mistake. The NRA claims, "This specific provision incorrectly targets otherwise law-abiding citizens, rather than deterring violent criminals with harsher penalties[.]" The measure will be subject to further negotiation.
Both sides argee that Chicago has a gang problem. Gang activity in Chicago is increasing, and gang membership has reached 100,000. Gang-related violence is high and guns play a prominent role in much of that violence. One evening last September, for example, gang-related shootings killed 3 people and put 23 more in the hospital.
But the question of how to deal with that violence remains a difficult one. Mandatory minimums for illegal gun possession reportedly would have prevented as many as 19 deaths just this year, and one study estimates that the law would prevent nearly 4,000 crimes annually. According to DNAinfo Chicago:
The cost-benefit analysis found that more than 63 percent of those on probation for unlawful use of a weapon are arrested again for the same crime within a year, with 7 percent rearrested for a violent crime.
But, mandatory minimums may not be the answer. As the Chicago Sun Times editorial observed:
In the real world, this is what happens: Mandatory minimums, dictated by law, make it impossible for judges to use common-sense discretion when imposing sentences, so judges must nail some poor sap who simply made a foolish mistake with the same harsh sentence they would impose on a hardened criminal. But those mandatory minimums do nothing to reduce the ability of prosecutors to use discretion when deciding what charges — light or heavy — to file against a defendant. The indirect result is that prosecutors, not judges, set the sentence.
Whether establishing mandatory minimums would achieve desired outcomes is debatable, but one thing is certain: curbing gang-related gun violence requires social programs and community investment. As several Chicago officials have observed, social conditions such as high unemployement and underemployement exacerbate the problem. One group has protested South Chicago's "trauma care desert," noting that gunshot victims must be taken as far as 10 miles to receive care--sometimes with deadly consequences.
Some effots have been taken to ameliorate the situation facing youths in areas of high gang activity. In Chicago, city officials reportedly plan to provide social services such as GED programs and help securing jobs for former gang members. Others have tried to create dialogue between rival gangs. Father Michael Pfleger, for instance, has brought rival gang members together through a weekly basketball league. Reportedly, violence in his community has dropped.
Gun regulation likely would be valuable to curbing Chicago's gang violence, especially in conjuction with other efforts aimed at broader systemic problems. But mandatory minimums may be a short-term fix to long-term problems. Maybe not.
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For more on manditory minimums see Sentencing Law and Policy.