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Thursday, April 24, 2014

NRA hopes for 'national reciprocity' law for traveling gun owners

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.

April 24, 2014 in Gun Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"The First Amendment Guide to the Second Amendment"

The title of this post comes from this recent article by Professor David Kopel, the abstract of which states:

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.

April 19, 2014 in First Amendment, Gun Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Missouri Lawmakers Plot New Strategy For Defying Gun Laws

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.

 

Images-3Missouri'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:

January 13, 2014 in Gun Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 18, 2013

Larry Klayman, Larry Klayman, Larry Klayman.

Brazil shirks Snowden.

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.

 

December 18, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Excessive Force, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Same-sex marriage, Schools, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 15, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 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.

Michigan restricts abortion insurance offered through new exchanges.

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.

 

December 13, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Election Law, Excessive Force, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Right to Vote, Same-sex marriage, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 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.

Operator of revenge porn site says it's 'ruining my life', and his court date is scheduled.

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.

North Dakota Supreme Court weighs arguments in abortion case challenging ban on drugs to terminate pregnancies; and, legislators share personal stories about abortion.

No agreement on court date for North Carolina's voter ID case.

NSA chairman says mass surveillance is the best way to protect U.S.; Judge Napolitano warns about NSA mass surveillance; and, 'The Raven' Revisited.

 

December 12, 2013 in Abortion, Civil Rights Litigation, Election Law, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Revenge Porn, Right to Vote, Voter ID, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 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.

 

December 11, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Theories of Punishment, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 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.

Same-sex couples race to challenge Texas's same-sex marriage ban; and, this graph shows geographical online efforts to promote gay-rights.

 

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

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 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.

Lexington facing protests after booking for its New Years Eve party a DJ who previously ran a revenge porn site.

 

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

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 8, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 7, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 6, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 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.

Support for stricter-gun laws is dropping.

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.

NSA tracks cell locations worldwide.

 

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

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 4, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 1. 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

CRL&P Thanksgiving Reads: Nov. 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.

 

November 28, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Election Law, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Right to Vote, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 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

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 25, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 23, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ohio House passes gun bill with "stand your ground" provision after lengthy debate

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.”

 

November 20, 2013 in Gun Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 20, 2013

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.

Albuquerque voters reject ban on abortions after 20 weeks; and, Supreme Court won't block Texas abortion law that has caused some clinics to close.

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.

Iowa city required to release records from closed meetings.

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.

 

November 20, 2013 in Abortion, Election Law, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Right to Vote, Same-sex marriage, Science, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 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.

 

November 14, 2013 in Affirmative Action, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Same-sex marriage, Search, Seizure | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 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.

 

November 10, 2013 in First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Stop-and-frisk | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 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.

Singapore blocks popular adulturey website.

 

November 9, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Civil Rights Litigation, First Amendment, Freedom of Press, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners, Same-sex marriage, Strip Searches | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 8, 2013

CRL&P Morning Reads: Nov. 8, 2013

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

Guns & Ammo magazine fires editor for support of minor firearm regulations

Recently, Guns & Ammo magazine fired contributing editor Dick Metcalf for authoring this column for the December 2013 issue, in which he wrote:

Gun_controlI 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).

 

November 7, 2013 in Gun Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 5, 2013

Happy Election Day!

Turnout might be low, but there are some exciting ballot measures to watch around the country.

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.

 

November 5, 2013 in Civil Rights Litigation, Department of Justice, Election Law, Gun Policy, Right to Vote, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why Are Police Shootings of Innocents on the Rise?

The American Prospect asks this question and suggests more funding for firearms and situational simulation training couldn't hurt. The article begins:

In New York City, police mistakes get played out on a big stage. In September, the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) performance was caught on camera in crowded Times Square when two officers shot at an unarmed suspect, missed him, and hit two bystanders instead. The man had been lurching in and out of traffic, ignoring police commands to stop, and at one point pulled his hand out of his pants as if he had a gun, according to a 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.

 

November 2, 2013 in Gun Policy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 1, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 1, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Senators bicker over state stand your ground laws

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.

 

October 29, 2013 in Gun Policy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Oct. 26, 2013

Human memory might not be as reliable as you think, and one consequence of failed memory is the wrongful conviction of innocent criminal defendants.

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.

Saudi women fight for right to drive.

 

October 26, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Civil Rights Litigation, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Gun Policy, Universities and Colleges | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 25, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Oct. 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.

Homelessness among American K-12 students is growing.

 

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)

CRL&P Morning Reads: Oct. 25, 2013

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.

 

October 25, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Abortion, Election Law, Equal Protection Clause, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Reasonableness, Schools, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

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. 

CRL&P related posts:

For more on manditory minimums see Sentencing Law and Policy.

October 23, 2013 in Current Affairs, Gun Policy, Prisons and Prisoners | Permalink | Comments (0)