What Is Good Moral Character?

North Carolina HB110 and SB90 as currently written were meant to allow the protection of a religious congregation that rented a school building for their services. It was even titled, “The Religious Assembly Security and
6 Protection Act of 2019.” It would allow those with a concealed handgun permit to carry a handgun on school property after school hours while in a building used for religious services. In other words, a person could serve as church security.

The NC Senate Judiciary Committee in its infinite wisdom is proposing to gut the bill and change it into one dealing with pistol purchase permits and concealed handgun permits. It would change the cost of a pistol purchase permit from $5 to $25 but would now allow unlimited numbers of purchases on the same permit for five years. That proposal has the anti-rights forces such as NCGV in an uproar because there was no limit on how many handguns you could buy with one background check.

More importantly, the proposed committee substitute would apply the same “good moral character” requirement for a pistol purchase permits (now called a Class B Handgun Permit) to the NC Concealed Handgun Permit. What is good moral character? We don’t know because it is such an amorphous phrase. It is right up there with “justifiable need” as many May-Issue permit states use as a criteria. Does someone who writes angry letters to the editor or has a Confederate flag hanging in their basement lack good moral character? Would an avowed atheist be considered to lack good moral character if the local sheriff was a deacon in his or her fundamentalist church?

The proposed committee substitute which isn’t even published on the General Assembly’s website is being pushed by the North Carolina Sheriffs Association and their director Eddie Caldwell. It is a power move on their part as all revenue from all permits would now go to the sheriff rather than being shared with the NC Department of Public Safety. Thanks to dedicated volunteers in Grass Roots North Carolina who keep their ear to the ground we even know about this PCS. The staff attorney prepared this bare bones summary which omits the key issue regarding the good moral character requirement.

This proposed committee substitute must be stopped as it would convert our shall-issue permit into a may-issue permit through the “good moral character” requirement. Grass Roots North Carolina has prepared the following alert asking people to both call and write the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as Republican leaders and say NO.

SHERIFFS GRAB POWER
TO DENY
PERMITS


Links for social media:
https://tinyurl.com/y3w7syp9

OR

https://www.grnc.org/defend-your-rights/recent-grnc-alerts/1068-senate-republicans-to-gut-concealed-carry

This is not a drill, and this is not a joke. Republicans in Raleigh are in the process of
gutting NC’s “shall issue” concealed carry permit application structure…



Regarding
concealed carry permit (CHP) applications, we are furious (yes, furious ) to be forced to announce that the
Republicans you sent
to Raleigh have snuck language into the Proposed Committee Substitute
(PCS) of a bill that would, in essence, transform North Carolina from a
“SHALL ISSUE” state into a “MAY
ISSUE”
state
.


We at GRNC are incensed and you ought to be as well. As you know, GRNC engineered
NC’s “shall
issue” concealed carry law in 1995. Since then, GRNC has been
instrumental in greatly improving it with restaurant carry, limited
school/campus carry and more. We’re not about to stand by and watch a
naked power grab by NC’s sheriffs, aided by Republican senators, roll
back all
of our progress
.

Are You of “Good Moral Character?”

Last week, in Raleigh, Republicans snuck new language into a PCS for Senate Bill S90 (“Protect Religious
Meeting Places”) (=H110),
and
it’s worth noting that, initially, S90 was not even written to deal with
the concealed carry application process. It’s also worth noting
that before the poisonous PCS, S90 was a promising pro-gun bill.

Yet, the PCS language strips “shall issue” status from the people and confers
“may issue” power to your county sheriff
. According to the
PCS, a sheriff can deny CHPs by claiming applicants are not of
“Good Moral Character,” the same shameful Jim Crow-era language that
still exists on Pistol Purchase Permit applications, which GRNC has
been fighting to eliminate.

And you’ve probably guessed already: there is no strict definition for “good moral
character
,” and truly, no definition would suffice in this context anyway. Therefore
(and
conveniently), lacking “good moral character,” grounds for denying a
CHP, is an open-ended label that any sheriff could attach to any
applicant for any reason
.

Shifting Power from Citizen to Sheriff

Lest you wonder, “good moral character” has nothing
to do with an applicant’s criminal history. Exhaustive,
indeed intrusive, criminal and medical background checks, and (de facto)
long waiting periods are already part of the CHP application process.
The sheriff’s personal, subjective and nebulous analysis of your character can have no legitimate purpose.
The only
clear purpose of this language in S90’s PCS is to take power away from
you, the law-abiding citizen, and hand it to your county sheriff to lord
over you, so he can withhold your rights at will.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Sheriffs would never
use this new power to deny permits to qualified people.”
Yet, if they’d never use their newfound power, why enshrine it in our
state’s laws? It can have only one purpose, and if there is no
intention to use it (now or later), it would not have been proposed as
substitute language for S90.

What You Can Do
Are you
prepared to live in a state that treats gun rights the way California
does—like “gun privileges?” Are you ready to cede your Natural rights to
your county’s sheriff, so he can ration them back to
you as he sees fit? If not, please join other gun rights supporters in
putting an immediate halt to this attack on your gun rights (from the
Republicans no less!). Once again, we must remind these politicians who “brung ‘em” to the dance, and it looks like
we’ll have to be more stern than usual
.

Below, see how you can easily contact
Senate Judiciary Committee members (and Sen. Berger) to tell them,
emphatically, that any vote, indeed any support whatsoever, for S90’s Proposed Committee Substitute will be considered a severe and
blatant anti-gun action
! 

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IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!



  • EMAIL MEMBERS OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Use the copy/paste email list provided below and the copy/paste text provided
    under ‘Deliver This Message. 

  • PHONE REPUBLICAN LEADERS &
    YOUR SENATOR
    :
    This is serious and so phone calls to committee chairs and to your own senator
    are just as important as sending an email message. Call today and leave a message; call Monday and call Tuesday. That’s how important this
    is
    . Please use the phone numbers provided below to contact
    Judiciary Committee leaders. Also, please call your own senator (find
    contact
    details below). When you reach each senator’s office, tell him or her:

    I
    am a gun rights voter, and I am enraged that
    Republicans are seeking to force a huge step backwards for gun rights in
    our state. The ostensibly pro-gun party should be ashamed to be
    identified as
    the party that introduced Senate Bill 90’s PCS language, which would
    grant “may issue” power to sheriffs for Concealed Carry
    Permits, stripping citizens of the unalienable portion of unalienable rights. Any Senator supporting this PCS will be considered
    anti-gun, and will pay at the polls. Thank you.
  • ATTEND TUESDAY’S COMMITTEE HEARING: The presence of gun rights voters at this meeting is critical. Committee members must know that we see what
    they’re trying to do, and that we’re serious about stopping them. Please attend Tuesday’s committee
    meeting
    . You may have an opportunity to speak, so arrive early in case you need to sign up. Find details below.

  • PLEASE
    CONTRIBUTE TO GRNC
    : Help us fight gun control while we promote Second Amendment principles. Please CLICK HERE to contribute. Bear in mind that GRNC is an all-volunteer organization, so you can be sure your
    donations are put to the best possible use. Any amount helps, and any amount is appreciated.

NC Senate Judiciary Committee, Copy/Paste Email List:
Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net; Dan.Blue@ncleg.net;
Danny.Britt@ncleg.net; Harry.Brown@ncleg.net; Jim.Burgin@ncleg.net;
Warren.Daniel@ncleg.net;
Jim.Davis@ncleg.net; Toby.Fitch@ncleg.net; Kathy.Harrington@ncleg.net;
Rick.Horner@ncleg.net; Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net; Jeff.Jackson@ncleg.net;
Natasha.Marcus@ncleg.net; Mujtaba.Mohammed@ncleg.net;
Paul.Newton@ncleg.net; Terry.VanDuyn@ncleg.net; Phil.Berger@ncleg.net

Senate Member Phone
Senator
Danny Britt, Jr.
Senate Judiciary Committee Co-chair
(919) 733-5651
Senator Warren Daniel
Senate
Judiciary Committee Co-chair
(919) 715-7823
Senator Phil Berger
Senate President Pro Tempore
(919) 733-5708
Please call your senator, too.

Need name/contact information?
Click Here and select the ‘NC
Senate
‘ option to find your senator.

Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee

Attend to Stop the Gutting of Concealed Carry
WHEN:  Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 10:00 am
WHERE:  NCGA Legislative Building
Room
1124/1224
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
IMPORTANT

NOTES:
Please arrive early to allow extra time to park and to get through building security. 60 minutes early is
recommended.
Please dress for the press. Business attire preferred. Please no inflammatory slogans on clothing or
otherwise.
Please bring a roll-up paper sign with the following message on it:

“SENATOR BERGER: DON’T GUT CONCEALED CARRY”

DELIVER THIS
MESSAGE

Suggested Subject: “Don’t Gut Concealed
Carry
”  
Dear
Senator:

I have just
learned of the Republican Party’s effort to transform North Carolina’s
concealed carry permit (CHP) application structure from
“shall issue” to “may issue.” I see that Senate Judiciary Committee
members have snuck language into S90’s Proposed
Committee Substitute (PCS) that would grant sheriffs unchecked power to
deny concealed carry permits to any applicant, any time, for effectively
any
reason. The PCS’s language, which poisons an otherwise pro-gun bill,
allows a sheriff to declare that an applicant, any applicant, is not of
“good moral character.” This is the same shameful Jim Crow-era language
that still exists on the Pistol Purchase Permit application,
language that ought to be removed (not added elsewhere).

Of course, “good moral character” has no
particular definition, nor would any be satisfactory given the
context. Exhaustive and intrusive background checks and (de facto) long
waiting periods are already part of the CHP application process. The
sheriff’s personal, subjective and nebulous analysis of an applicant’s
“character” has precisely zero legitimacy. Clearly, its
only purpose is to wrest power from the law-abiding citizen and hand it
to our county sheriffs to lord over the citizens, so sheriffs can
withhold
Natural rights by fiat.

This is unacceptable! I am incensed that the committee members,
especially those in the Republican Party, would even consider such an
anti-gun scheme.
North Carolina is not California, it is not New York, and gun voters
will not allow this state to transform into one of these states in the
context of
the Second Amendment.

Be
warned:
Any
favorable vote, even the slightest measure of support for S90’s PCS,
with its “good moral character” clause, will be perceived as a threat to
every gun rights voter in this state, myself included. Do not
doubt it, backing S90’s PCS will be recorded as an extreme anti-gun
action!

Put a stop to
S90’s anti-gun PCS now. I will be monitoring your actions on this
critical matter through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina

Respectfully,

UPDATE: My sources in GRNC tell me the bill has been pulled from the committee calendar. It appears the committee heard from you.

Use Special Session Of NC Senate To Do Something On Gun Rights!

The North Carolina Senate is being forced back for a special session to deal with the wording of some the proposed constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot in November. One of the amendments to be voted on deals with making hunting and fishing constitutional rights under the NC Constitution. That’s nice but the reality is that Republicans in the State Senate think such an amendment will placate gun owners despite their sitting on a bill authorizing permitless concealed carry.

The Republican majority still think backing hunting is supporting the Second Amendment and gun rights. That might have been fine when all you had was Gun Culture v. 1.0 but we have moved to Gun Culture v. 2.0 and beyond.

Grass Roots North Carolina recognizes this and they also recognize that this special session is an opportunity for the Republicans to actually do something with regard to gun rights.

GOP SENATORS CAN
STILL EARN YOUR
VOTE


Thus far, the NC Senate has made 2018 a dud for gun-rights
voters, but there is an opportunity for redemption, and just in time for
the
election…

For better or worse, a judge
has
effectively forced the NC Senate to convene a special session in order
to fine-tune the language in some of this November’s proposed
amendments.  This is great news for both gun owners and GOP senators.

Republicans Have Miscalculated

During this year’s regular session, NC Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, Rules Chairman Bill Rabon, and other Senate
Republicans have completely ignored gun owners. Had they simply passed HB-746
(permitless concealed
carry), they would have lived up to their recurring campaign rhetoric,
as well as their party’s platform. Instead, they chose to punt, perhaps
to avoid an issue they perceived to be controversial. Unfortunately,
that’s not courageous and that’s certainly not leadership.
Disregarding pro-gun voters, who are basically the Republican
base, is ill advised preceding a mid-term election where majorities are
up
for grabs, and Republicans need every vote they can scrounge. With that
in mind, perhaps it’s fair to say that Senate leaders have
miscalculated
.

The Good News for Senate Republicans

By a serendipitous twist, NC senators now have a chance to redeem
themselves in the eyes of their base, and just in the nick of time.
With a special session convening this coming week, there is
no reason GOP leaders can’t give HB-746 a hearing, and make sure it
comes
to the floor for an up or down vote
. This simple action would please the grass roots voter, while ensuring more freedom and a greater
level of safety for all North Carolina citizens.

Good News for Gun Voters

The good news for gun owners is that the NC Senate may
actually use this opportunity to show you, the gun-rights voter, that
they
haven’t forgotten you. They may actually do the right thing, even if
it’s only to court your vote in November. No matter the reason, the
right thing is still the right thing, and perhaps we should expect
Republican senators see it our way this coming week.

Please
Encourage Senate Leaders

Of course, our public servants will
need some encouragement if they are to get this done
. Below, see how you can easily contact Senate leadership and urge them to grab this
opportunity and use it to impress their voting base, while making North Carolina both safer and freer. 


IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!



  • PHONE SENATE LEADERS AND YOUR REPUBLICAN
    SENATOR
    : Find phone numbers below. Deliver the following phone message (if there is no answer, please leave a message or
    call back):

  • Hello,
    I am a pro-gun voter, and I am calling to express disappointment
    in this year’s short session, but also enthusiasm over the opportunity
    we have in this week’s special session. By using this session to
    pass HB-746, the permitless concealed carry bill,  Senate Republicans
    have a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of their voting base, and
    just in the nick of time. This mid-term election will surely be
    precarious for Republicans, and with their recent snub of gun voters, I
    am not
    terribly excited about pulling the lever for them. I insist that HB-746
    be given a hearing and be brought to the floor for a vote. Make this
    happen or
    risk an unmotivated voting base in November. Thank you.

  • EMAIL ALL REPUBLICAN
    SENATORS
    :

    Below, find copy/paste email
    list(s), along with a copy/paste email message you can use, which is provided under ‘Deliver This Message.’
CONTACT
INFO

Senate Leader Phil Berger:
(919) 733-5708

Senator Rules Chair Bill Rabon: (919) 733-5963

Find your GOP senator’s phone number (click on the ‘Senate’ tab, search by county, district,
or your voter registration): https://www2.ncleg.net/RnR/Representation

NC Senate
Republicans copy/paste email *list(s)
:


John.Alexander@ncleg.net;
Deanna.Ballard@ncleg.net; Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net;
Dan.Barrett@ncleg.net;
Tamara.Barringer@ncleg.net; Phil.Berger@ncleg.net; Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net;
Danny.Britt@ncleg.net; Harry.Brown@ncleg.net; Bill.Cook@ncleg.net;
Warren.Daniel@ncleg.net;

Jim.Davis@ncleg.net; Cathy.Dunn@ncleg.net; Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net;
Rick.Gunn@ncleg.net; Kathy.Harrington@ncleg.net; Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net;
Rick.Horner@ncleg.net; Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net; Joyce.Krawiec@ncleg.net;
Michael.Lee@ncleg.net; Tom.McInnis@ncleg.net;
Wesley.Meredith@ncleg.net;

Paul.Newton@ncleg.net;
Louis.Pate@ncleg.net; Ron.Rabin@ncleg.net; Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net;
Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net; Norman.Sanderson@ncleg.net;
Vickie.Sawyer@ncleg.net ;
Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net; Jerry.Tillman@ncleg.net; Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net;
Trudy.Wade@ncleg.net; Andy.Wells@ncleg.net

*Spam filters or email program limitations may cause the need to send more than one email, to cover the entire
list of representatives. If so, the list above is split into three pieces, for your convenience.

DELIVER THIS
MESSAGE


Suggested Subject: “Motivate Your Base: Pass HB-746
Now
”  
Dear
Senator:

After a
terribly
disappointing short session, I am writing to express both enthusiasm and
hopefulness over an opportunity for Senate Republicans to redeem their
snub
of gun-rights voters. This coming week’s special session presents a
golden opportunity for Senate Republicans to live up to their pro-gun
campaign language, and to satisfy the pro-Second Amendment principles
documented in the Republican Party platform.

Basically, pro-gun voters are the base of the Republican
Party. That is why it was so surprising to see Senate leadership ignore
this critical voting bloc leading up to a mid-term election, one that is
sure
to be precarious for Republicans. Both polling and history tell us that
Republicans will need all the votes they can scrounge in 2018. With
majorities
on the line, new attention to HB-746 (permitless concealed carry) is the
sure path to motivating the base, and I demand that you pursue this
during
the coming week.

Until
now, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, Rules Chairman Bill
Rabon, and other Republican leaders in the Senate, have let me down.
Frankly, I am
not excited about voting for increasingly unreliable and complacent
Republican candidates, and it’s fair to assume that many other voters
are
similarly hesitant. A substantive and long-overdue show of support for
gun rights, by passing HB-746 during this special session, would go a
long way
to shrink the chasm GOP senators have opened between themselves and
their voting base. More importantly, passing HB-746 would make North
Carolina both
safer and freer for all of its law-abiding citizens.

I insist that you do the right thing during
this special session. Do what it takes to give HB-746 a hearing and see
that
it is brought to the floor for an up or down vote. I will be monitoring
your actions on this matter through alerts from Grass Roots North
Carolina.

Respectfully, 

Too Slick By Half

The (anti-gun) cult of personality known as Giffords has produced a Concealed Carry Reciprocity Toolkit for all their uninformed followers. It provides talking points, phone scripts, email templates, pre-written tweets, ready-to-use graphics, and loaded (pun intended) town hall questions.

Here are some of their talking points:

TALKING POINTS

  • This bill would make it legal for dangerous and untrained people to carry loaded, hidden guns in more public places. If this bill passes, people who are prohibited from getting a concealed carry permit in a state with strong gun laws will be allowed to apply for a permit in a state with weaker laws. This includes convicted stalkers, domestic abusers, people convicted of violent crimes, and people with no training or experience firing a gun.

  • This bill fails to create a national standard for who should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon and undermines states rights by forcing states with strong concealed carry laws to honor permits from states with weak or non-existent concealed carry laws. Right now, states have the right to choose which states’ concealed carry permits they recognize, which is important because the requirement to carry hidden, loaded guns in public vary drastically from state to state. If this bill passes, that will no longer be the case.
  • Concealed carry reciprocity will make it nearly impossible for law enforcement officers to quickly and easily verify that people carrying a hidden, loaded weapon are doing so legally. Nearly every major law enforcement association OPPOSES this bill because of its disastrous consequences for public safety.
  • Concealed carry reciprocity will threaten the safety of victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking by enabling domestic violence offenders to follow their victims across state lines with loaded, concealed firearms. Preliminary data from the National Domestic Violence Hotline shows that 23% of victims reported that their abuser crossed state lines in an attempt to further assault their victims.
  • Weakening gun laws will increase violent crime in our communities. Recent research found that violent crime increased in states that loosened concealed carry laws, with 10% more murders and up to 14% more violent crime.

You can examine the entire document here.

What I think this illustrates is just how much of a top-down, Astro-turf organization that the group formerly known as Americans for Responsible Solutions really is. This was obviously created for them by public relations and media professionals. It assumes that the Know Nothings who feel that “something has to be done” are too uninformed to write their own letters or say something more than “I’m against this” when calling Congressional offices.

I find it highly ironic that a group so closely associated with the Democrats would go full “states’ rights” in their opposition to carry reciprocity. While it is now the rallying cry of the progressives on this issue, it was the rallying cry for racist Democrats in the 1950s and 60s in their opposition to integration and civil rights.

DC Asks For En Banc Hearing In Wrenn Case

In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, we draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of gun violence, and we say gun control now, gun control tomorrow, gun control forever.

The quote above is actually a paraphrase of a line in the 1963 inaugural address of the late Alabama Gov. George Corley Wallace (D-AL). Wallace was talking about the segregation of the races. The absolutism shown by the District of Columbia on the matter of the right to keep and bear arms is strikingly similar to that of Wallace on race. However, unlike Wallace who publicly recanted his racist and segregationist positions, the District of Columbia Council shows no such inclination towards the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. Thus, it was no surprise that DC filed for an en banc hearing of the Wrenn decision which invalidated their “good reason” requirement for a carry permit.

The brief filed yesterday requesting an en banc rehearing attacks the majority decision on two fronts. First, they argue that they are a special place that is entirely urban and that contains many sensitive places like foreign embassies. They argue that the majority ignored the special needs of such a locale and then contend that their “good reason” may-issue carry law helps reduce crime and save lives. They cite a pantheon of anti-Second Amendment academics ranging from Saul Cornell to John Donohue as their evidence for this contention. They especially rely on the latter and ignore the criticism of his work due to “synthetic statistics”.

The second front of their attack on the majority decision is to say that it ignored historical precedent and the two-step process established in Heller I.

Rather than follow this well-worn path, the panel majority failed to conduct its own historical analysis at the first step, instead drawing assumptions from
Heller I’s historical analysis. Op. 14-17. And then the panel majority did not even proceed to the second step of the Second Amendment inquiry, mistakenly finding the District’s law categorically unconstitutional. Op. 25-29. These missteps departed from established precedent and warrant en banc review.

In this second front they also point out binding precedents in other circuits such as Kachalsky in the 2nd and Peruta in the 9th which ruled against shall-issue carry in the former or any carry in the latter. As to the 7th Circuit and the twin cases of Moore v. Madigan and Shepard v. Madigan which did find a right to carry outside the home, they cherry-picked from that decision.

They conclude:

Even if Heller I’s historical analysis did imply something about the scope of public carry in general, it did not hold anything about whether the pre-existing
right codified in the Second Amendment included a right to publicly carry firearms on crowded city streets in the nation’s capital with no particularized self-defense reason―let alone do so clearly enough to warrant the entry of judgment on appeal from a preliminary-injunction ruling. This Court should grant en banc review to correct the error and consider the District’s law using the appropriate analysis dictated by
Heller I, II, and III.

It is a toss-up to whether they will be granted the rehearing and also a toss-up on what the full panel of judges on the DC Circuit might decide. Given former President Obama’s stacking of the DC Circuit, we could very well see a decision like that of the 9th Circuit in Peruta where a win was nullified.

The Second Amendment Foundation, which is an organization plaintiff in the case, released a statement yesterday regarding the petition for an en banc rehearing. Quoting Alan Gottlieb, it said, in part:

“The Second Amendment Foundation expected the City of Washington, DC to file this appeal in an attempt to try to overturn our court victory that said their virtual ban on the right to carry a firearm for self-protection was unconstitutional,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.

SAF has been battling the city over this issue for some time. The city has strenuously resisted these legal efforts, arguing in its latest petition that the city is “unique” because of its dense population that includes “thousands of high-ranking federal officials and international diplomats.” But earlier this summer, the District Court of Appeals majority opinion is that the “good reason” restriction violates the Second Amendment rights of citizens living in the district.

“They have no intention of complying with any court decision that supports the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb said. “It took the Heller decision to force them to allow a gun in your own home for self-defense. It took the Palmer decision, another SAF case, to force them to repeal their total ban on carry and now they are kicking and screaming about losing the Wrenn decision.”

Gottlieb maintains that even if the District is “unique,” the citizens living there still retain their right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. The city’s “good reason” requirement makes it far too easy to deny all but a few people their rights on the flimsy grounds that average citizens never have a good enough reason. The court recognized this problem and ruled against the District’s requirement, he noted.

“Municipal stubbornness cannot be allowed to outweigh the constitution,” Gottlieb said. “A civil right should not be subject to bureaucratic neurosis.”

I like that last line – a civil right should not be subject to bureaucratic neurosis.

I Thought We Were Partners In The Fight For The Second Amendment (Updated)

The Second Amendment does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear firearms shall not be infringed”. Rather, it says “the right of the people to keep and bear ARMS shall not be infringed.” Various courts have found that the term “arms” includes not only firearms but also knives and non-lethal weapons such as stun guns.

Doug Ritter, founder and chairman of Knife Rights, calls their fight “the second front in the defense of the Second Amendment.” Todd Rathner, Director of Legislative Affairs for Knife Rights, is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NRA and has fought for the liberalization of laws against suppressors and those against switchblades and other knives. I would wager that over 99% of gun owners support their efforts to change laws against switchblades, dirks, daggers, and other knives.

It is against this background that I was incredibly saddened to see a sign in the window of Microtech Knives posting the premises against concealed carry of firearms. You can see the sign circled to the left of the front door in the picture below.

The Complementary Spouse and I were driving to dinner when we came across the industrial park where Microtech South is located. We took a short detour through the park because I had always wondered about their location. That was when I saw the sign.

Microtech has a well deserved reputation for producing high end knives and especially automatic knives aka switchblades. Their knives sell in the hundreds of dollars. They even had a firearms division called MSAR at one time. Their founder, Anthony Marfione, has even been on the Board of Regents of the American Knife and Tool Institute which fights for knife owner’s rights.

I should point out that I explicitly recognize the right of the owners of private property to either post or not post their premises at their own discretion.

However, is it too much to expect a knife company to recognize gun rights in the same manner we in the gun culture recognize knife rights? I thought we were all in this fight together.

UPDATE: One of the comments below is from Dan Lawson who is general counsel to Microtech. In the interest of fairness, I am reprinting it here so that his comments will not be overlooked.

Microtech is very supportive of the individual right to keep and bear arms. To us, this means that individuals have the right to possess and carry weapons in case of a confrontation.

We view this as a fundamental and inalienable right with which all are created. We also recognize that “arms” within the scope and meaning of the right encompasses anything an individual wears for his or her “ defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another” ; within the words of Heller.

Essentially everyone at Microtech is armed all the time. Everybody has a knife. We make the best edged arms in the class. We also have a “Proprietary Armed Security Force” on premises. Our employees and friends know us as avid owners and users of firearms.

The Microtech facility is not a place open to the public. We do, as a part of our security program, reserve the right to ask that visitors with whom we have no experience or familiarity not bring firearms into the secured spaces. We do not “post against carry” and certainly do not discourage people from exercising their rights.

Dan Lawson, General Counsel, Microtech Knives, Inc.

I’m happy to see a response from Microtech and glad to see their reaffirmation of a commitment to the Second Amendment. I do take issue with Mr. Lawson’s assertion that they don’t post against carry. The sign by the door indicates, in my opinion, that they do post against carry and it would carry the force of law in the state of North Carolina. 


§ 14-415.11(c)(8) of the NC General Statutes states you cannot carry even with a permit on “On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the posting of a conspicuous notice or statement by the person in legal possession or control of the premises.”


UPDATE II: Microtech Knives posted on their Facebook page that they’ve taken down the no CCW post sign. I can confirm this is correct as I drove by their facility within the last hour and checked.


One of the comments earlier asked if all the others in their industrial park were posted against carry. The answer is no. While I didn’t go door to door to look for little, tiny posted post against carry decals, I didn’t see any other facility in the area including their next door neighbor, a pottery store, that were posted as I drove slowly by each building.


I would like to point people to Oleg Volk’s share of my original post as it has a lot of interesting comments including ones from Dan Lawson and Anthony Marfione. Jonathan Sullivan aka Linoge also has generated some good comments in response to his share of my post.


I was amused by a post by Todd Underwood of United Gun Group who characterized my post as “a poorly written article”. That is his opinion with which I, unsurprisingly, disagree. He bases much of his response on a comment by Microtech’s general counsel Dan Lawson. You can see my response to that above.


Private property is private property and the owners or those in control of the premises are free to do what they will including posting it against carry. Signs, however, do not and will not stop a person or persons intent on causing those in the building harm. Concealed carry permit holders are the good guys and have had their bonafides attested to by a criminal background check. A more reasonable sign and one I’ve seen on the doors of a number of gun shops might say, “We respect the right to carry concealed. We ask that you keep your firearm holstered while on our premises.” If I had seen such a sign, I would have publicized it just as quickly as the sign that has caused this controversy.




Big Win In DC Today

In a case brought by the Pink Pistols, Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction against DC’s “good reason” requirement for a carry permit. The case, Grace and Pink Pistols v. DC, seems to have kept under the radar until now.

The text of the decision is here.

Earlier this year, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had rejected the arguments of the Second Amendment Foundation in Wrenn v. DC. That case had been sent back to the District Court after it was found that Judge Frederick Scullin of New York had not been properly appointed to hear the case.

With the NRA Annual Meeting opening on Friday, the National Rifle Association was quite thrilled by the result. They issued this press release:

NRA Responds to Significant Second Amendment Victory

Federal judge orders D.C. officials to stop enforcing provisions that bar most residents from carrying firearms

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association (NRA) today responded to an order issued by a federal judge in Grace and the Pink Pistols v. District of Columbia that instructed D.C. officials to stop enforcing provisions of the city’s code that barred most D.C. residents from carrying firearms for self-protection.

“Today’s order is a victory for Second Amendment rights and has real implications for the safety of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects the core right of self-defense in the home, but as the District Court today reaffirmed, that right is just as important to ordinary citizens commuting to work or shopping for groceries in an unsafe neighborhood.”

In the ruling issued today, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that the district’s law is likely unconstitutional and that the plaintiffs who are challenging it in court would be severely harmed if the district were allowed to continue to enforce its ban while the lawsuit went forward. The judge held that the district’s “overly zealous . . . desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens” unconstitutionally flouted the Second Amendment.

In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down a D.C. law banning most citizens from possessing handguns at all, reasoning that such a ban was flatly inconsistent with the individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The district continued to enforce its ban on carrying firearms in public even after that ruling, however, and a federal district court struck that separate ban down in 2014. The district responded by enacting a new “licensing” scheme that only allowed its residents to carry firearms in public if they could show a specific, documented need for self-defense—for example, by proving that they had been attacked or were receiving death threats. The city issued a minuscule number of licenses, and the scheme had the practical effect of a full ban.

“Legislation that restricts the law-abiding does nothing to reduce crime and is unconstitutional. The NRA is glad that fact was recognized in federal court today,” concluded Cox.

The ruling prohibits law enforcement from enforcing the concealed carry ban temporarily while the constitutionality of the ban continues to be argued in court. The NRA will continue to support this suit financially.

Professor Eugene Volokh has his analysis of the case here.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part V

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R-ID) signed “permitless” concealed carry (aka constitutional carry) into law on March 27th. It allows Idaho citizens age 21 and over to carry concealed without a permit within city limits. They already had this right outside city limits. This made Idaho the ninth state to have constitutional carry.

On Tuesday, the Mississippi House of Representatives concurred with the Mississippi Senate on amendments to HB 786. The Senate amendments expanded what was originally just a church carry bill into one that included that and constitutional carry. The amended bill passed both houses with veto proof majorities. The bill now goes to Gov. Phil Bryant (R-MS) who is expected to sign the bill. That would make Mississippi the tenth state to have constitutional carry and the third to pass it this year. Some have criticized the bill as also including “nullification”.  Actually the bill doesn’t include nullification as it merely states that Mississippi officials and law enforcement don’t have an obligation to enforce Federal gun control laws which is in line with existing Supreme Court precedent.

Given that the number of states with constitutional carry has increased to 10, Rob Vance and I concluded it was time to update the graphic showing the spread of freedom. The graphic below shows how the United States has moved from no carry to shall-issue and permitless carry over the last 30 years. As I said a few years ago, shall-issue is the new norm. Maybe one day I’ll be able to change this to constitutional carry is the new norm.

Here are the population statistics that accompany the above graphic:

0.4% No Issue, HI
27.0% May Issue, CA,DC,MD,MA,NJ,NY,RI
65.4% Shall Issue
7.2% Unrestricted, AK,AR,AZ,ID,KS,ME,MS,VT,WV,WY

At the same time that shall-issue and permitless or constitutional carry have expanded, violent crime has decreased. While correlation isn’t causation, I do think this is significant. When this graphic was first developed, Rob noted that there was no positive correlation between carry and violent crime. Unfortunately, he also noted that a negative correlation has not yet been proved. Linoge at Walls of the City has been studying gun ownership and the incidence of violent crime for a number of years. His latest is posted here. He has a similar result. Thus, neither more guns or less restrictive carry means more crime.

An Update On Virginia Reciprocity From VCDL

Grass Roots North Carolina received the following from Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League regarding the negotiations between Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and gun rights supporters to restore concealed carry reciprocity.

BREAKING NEWS:  *** February 1 cutoff date for dropping recognition of 25 states has been extended to March 1
***


THE
“DEAL”


As
you’ve undoubtedly
heard from the media, there is a package deal in the works between
Governor McAuliffe and the Republicans in the General Assembly dealing
with 1)
concealed handgun permit (CHP) reciprocity, 2) voluntary background
checks at gunshows, and 3) those subject to a permanent domestic
violence
protection order.


To
many CHP holders, CHP
reciprocity is a HUGE deal, especially if they travel out-of-state
regularly and want to be able to carry discretely.  For example, there
is no
solution to carrying in South Carolina if we don’t have an agreement
between our two states.

There is a
lot of misinformation from the media and elsewhere and a lot of people
are
coming to the wrong conclusions about what the deal does and doesn’t do.
 Rumors are flying that gun owners only get back the reciprocity
that was taken away by Herring and the State Police – that is FALSE.  We
have gained important ground!

THE DEAL IS
STILL IN THE WORKS.  Things could still go south as the key bills that
make up the deal work their way through the legislature and onto the
Governor’s desk.  SO, FOR NOW, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  THERE IS NO
ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE THIS WILL BECOME LAW, BUT A REASONABLY GOOD CHANCE IT
WILL.  If it fails, we may not be able to fix the reciprocity situation
for another two-long-years.


VCDL has been privy to the deal for several days, as was a
national group.  VCDL monitored progress of this potentially
groundbreaking
advancement of our liberty from its genesis, and provided counsel and
discussion points during its evolution.

The final product was given the nod by VCDL, however we will be watching like a hawk for
any changes that negatively affect gun owners.

IMPORTANT DETAILS ON THE “DEAL”

There are three components that make up the deal, each component represented by matching bills in the House and in the
Senate.


#1 – Reciprocity details –
gun owners gain ground!


*
Virginia will honor the carry permits from ALL states!  This is
considerably better than current law and something VCDL has been trying
to get
for at least seven years now.  


*
Because Virginia will honor all other states, Virginia CHPs will be
recognized by all the states we have lost AND we will gain some new
states:
 New Hampshire, Georgia, and Colorado!

*
The State Police and the Attorney General will have NO say in the new
law.  If another state requires a formal
agreement to honor Virginia CHPs, the new law requires the Attorney
General to enter into any such agreement.  If he fails to do this, item
#3,
below, does not go into effect.


*
One other change on the reciprocity law:  If your Virginia CHP is
revoked for cause, you won’t be able to carry on a non-resident permit
from another state.  Not a deal breaker.

NOTE:
 Just because we are honoring all other states, doesn’t mean we can
carry in all those states.  Someone
from New York will be able to carry here, but we won’t be able to carry
in New York unless New York is willing to enter into a reciprocal
agreement with Virginia, for example. 

As more and more states start honoring out-of-state permits, the prospects of our permit being honored by even more states
down the road is bright!


#2 –
Voluntary gun show background checks


*
Background checks for a private sale are COMPLETELY voluntary.

* The State Police shall be at every gun show in Virginia, by law.  (Some gun owners were thinking this was some kind of
a trick – that if the State Police don’t show up, the gun show would be cancelled.  This should put that worry to rest.)


*
The gun show promoter shall notify the State Police of
the location and times of the gun show at least 30 days in advance,
shall provide a free location for the police to set up, and shall have
signs
letting attendees know of the voluntary background checks at the State
Police booth.  (I checked with one of Virginia’s largest gun show
promoters on this to see if any of it was objectionable and was told,
“no.”)

* The State Police may charge a reasonable fee.  (If they charge more than you want to pay, you can
just walk away and do the transaction without the background check.)

*
NO information on the make, model, or serial number of the gun being
sold will be provided to the State Police – i.e. no
federal Form 4473!  The purchaser will have to fill out the Virginia
form, which asks a few questions and has the buyer’s name, address, and
signature.  (If you don’t want to fill out that form, you can just walk
away and do the transaction without the background
check.)


*
There is a carrot: if a
background check is run, the seller receives some special legal
protections that are currently not available for private sales.  If a
background
check is not run, you don’t have any more or any less legal protections
than under current law.

Yes, down
the road inevitably there will be some bills introduced that attempt to
make
the background check mandatory.  We get bills on mandatory background
checks for private sales every year.  We will have to fight and defeat
those bills in the future, just as we fight and defeat similar bills
today.

For those gun owners who
would feel safer selling a gun to someone who has had a background
check, this
provides a new option in addition to the current option of either asking
if the person has a CHP or going through the more laborious and
expensive
route of letting an FFL do the transfer.  It also has no effect on
private sales conducted anywhere outside of gun shows, where this
voluntary
option is not provided.


#3 –
Persons subject to a PERMANENT domestic violence protection order cannot possess firearms until the order expires

* The ONLY permanent protection order this restriction applies to is one for domestic
violence and NOTHING else.


*
The subject of the protection order must have had his day in court along
with any legal counsel.  Temporary protection orders do NOT affect
possession of firearms.


*
If the judge, after hearing the defense, decides to issue a permanent
protection order anyhow, the subject of the protection order will lose
his gun
rights for the duration of the order (MAXIMUM of two years), and
automatically get those gun rights back when the permanent protection
order expires.
 Note:  a new permanent protection order could potentially be issued
when the perament protection order expires if the judge thinks a danger
still exists.


*
The subject of the
permanent protection order will have 24 hours to turn his guns over to a
person of his choice, as long as that person can legally possess
firearms.


*
The above is basically
federal law already, and state law already prohibits a person with such a
permanent protection order from purchasing  or transporting a
firearm.


WHAT’S
NEXT?


* VCDL will be monitoring the deal’s
progress, watching for changes that negatively affect gun owners. 

* If a negative issue arises and is not fixed quickly, I will advise all of you immediately via an Urgent Legislative Action
Alert.  


* I will also be providing
links to the three bills described above as soon as the final language is available online.  That way you can read them for
yourself.


* For now just standby on
this, as I keep you advised of the progress of the deal.

* If you don’t have any absolutely urgent questions, please hold on to them for now as it would be easy to overwhelm me
with emails (I’m already getting over 200 a day as is).

 We interviewed Phil for The Polite Society Podcast yesterday evening. I will put up a link to that interview as soon as it is published. However, in the meantime, Phil said that an appropriations bill had been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly that would restore reciprocity to the way it was before Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) went full-Bloomberg. Given it is an appropriations bill, Gov. McAuliffe must either approve it in full or veto the entire bill. There is no line-item veto on appropriations bills.

Needless to say, the gun prohibitionists are having a hissy fit over the compromise between McAuliffe and gun rights supporters. A few days ago the Washington Post reported this:

“Governor McAuliffe should reconsider this dangerous gift to the gun lobby,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, which in the fall poured more than $2 million into two state Senate races at McAuliffe’s request.

Late last night the Post reported that Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors has now started a social media campaign against McAuliffe.

On Wednesday, Everytown launched a social media campaign against McAuliffe, who last week stunned gun-safety advocates by announcing that he had struck a gun deal with Republican legislators and the National Rifle Association. It shows side-by-side photos of McAuliffe and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre.

“What do VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe and NRA head Wayne LaPierre have in common?” one version reads. “Both Gov McAuliffe and NRA Head Wayne LaPierre support allowing dangerous people to carry hidden loaded weapons in Virginia.”

While clearly a lower-budget affair than last fall’s TV blitz, Everytown’s social media campaign against McAuliffe was a stunner, given how closely he worked with gun-safety groups since his 2013 campaign for governor. He narrowly won the race while bragging about his “F” rating from the NRA.

If I were a Virginia politician, I’d look at what Everytown is doing and realize just how fickle they are in their support. Alternatively, you could say that they just want their bought and paid for politicians to stay bought.

Evidently Money Talks In Virginia

There has been a lot written about the ad hoc decision of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) to drop the recognition of out of state CCW permits from 25 states. The move impacts approximately 6.3 million Americans. I am one of those as Americans as North Carolina’s permit will no longer be recognized in Virginia. However, I can assure my friends in the commonwealth that their permit will be recognized in North Carolina as we have universal recognition of out of state permits.

The non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project takes as its mission the goal of making government data regarding campaign finance disclosure understandable and accessible to the general public. From what I can see, they do a good job of it.

Given how much money Michael Bloomberg has funneled into Virginia both directly and indirectly I thought it would be interesting to see if Attorney General Herring was a recipient of his generosity. As Deep Throat said to Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money”.

Lo and behold the top donor to his campaign for Attorney General was none other than Independence USA PAC. They gave $1,292,417 of in-kind donations to his campaign. The money went for media production and advertising buys. To put this into perspective, the next two highest donors gave approximately half this amount each. The only candidate to get more money from that PAC was Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA).

Independence USA PAC is Bloomberg’s personal super-PAC. FactCheck said this about it:

Independence USA is a super PAC that focuses largely on helping to elect candidates who support stricter gun-control laws. It was founded in October 2012 by Michael Bloomberg, and, so far, has been entirely funded by the former New York City mayor.

The race for Attorney General between Herring and Republican St. Senator Mark Obershain was exceedingly close. The final vote tally left Herring winning by little more than 900 votes. Indeed, up until the last poll, Obershain was either in the lead or tied with Herring.

When you owe your elected position to Michael Bloomberg, when he says jump, you say how high. Evidently now was the time that Bloomberg said jump and jump is what Herring did in response.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Four

I published Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Three last Wednesday. It was an update of the 2011 post that tracked the spread of firearms freedom as evidenced by the growth in shall-issue and constitutional carry. It was released on October 15th to commemorate the effective date of constitutional carry in the state of Maine.

Also published in 2011 was another collaboration with Rob Vance called Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Two which plotted annual FBI violent crime rates against the growth of shall-issue concealed carry. We explicitly stated back then that there wasn’t a positive correlation between violent crime rates and liberalized carry laws. We also said that proving a negative correlation would take more a more rigorous statistical approach. However, we took note of Linoge’s work regarding the negative correlation between crime involving firearms and gun ownership. I would note that Linoge has updated his work and the negative correlation is even stronger in 2015 (-0.8016) than in 2011.

Rob has updated his graph to reflect the changes since 2011 in both crime rates and the growth of shall-issue and constitutional carry.

When Illinois, the fifth largest state in the US, was forced to adopt shall-issue concealed carry, the anti-rights movement predicted blood in the streets of Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. That is, more blood than is normal in Chicago with its long history of stringent gun control. The graph above normalizes the crime rates as per 100,000. If shall-issue concealed carry would have caused an increase in crime rates in Illinois, it would have shown up in the graph.

Rob notes this about the graph and what it illustrates:

Every time the citizens of our states manage to convince their legislators that individual self-defense via unrestricted or shall issue concealed carry is the best approach, the press repeats the shibboleth that such laws will result in “blood in the streets.” Well, the press has been wrong about that, and they’ve been wrong repeatedly and over many many years. Then again, newspaper circulation is down and this kind of lazy reporting might be one of the reasons why. Violent crime rates, including the murder rates, are down in the United States from a peak in the early 1990’s, but you wouldn’t know it from our press. The diagram below starts with data gathered to demonstrate the change in state laws in favor of no or de minimis regulation of concealed carry of firearms for self-defense (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QxBfs9acTUH8hL1OtkitcivuCzr4IQKjKOQ4_obK61c/pubhtml), and integrates FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data on the national level of violent crime over time.

Concealed carry laws matter because they change the balance of power in the favor of law abiding citizens over violent criminals, increasing both the real and the perceived risk associated with criminal behavior. Over the last 25 plus years the rate of violent crimes in the US has fallen substantially, and this change runs directly counter to the increasing availability of concealed carry as a self-defense option for Americans. We are now experiencing lowered rates of violent crime last seen in the early 1970s and murder rates from the mid-1960s. As John Lott has written (extensively I might add), “More Guns = Less Crime.” Correlation isn’t causality is a truth from statistics; yet it is entirely truthful to say that the normalization of armed self-defense is taking place in a period when the rate of violent crime is falling in the US. Any other conclusion does not follow the data.

Links to our data sources are below:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/17/despite-lower-crime-rates-support-for-gun-rights-increases

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm