Puerto Rico Goes Constitutional Carry

Most of us don’t think much about the US territories and commonwealths. Maybe we should.

Thanks to the Ladies of the Second Amendment and their lawsuit in a Puerto Rico commonwealth court, Puerto Ricans can now carry, open or concealed, without a permit and they no longer need a permit to purchase a firearm. The court’s ruling also abolished the gun registry in Puerto Rico. All firearms transactions will now handled in accordance with Federal firearms regulations.

Wow! That’s way better than I have it in North Carolina. I still have to have a concealed carry permit and people still need to go to their local sheriff to get a pistol purchase permit (thanks to some Republicans who kow-towed to the Sheriffs’ Association.)

Below is the release that the Second Amendment Foundation put out announcing this win for gun rights in Puerto Rico.

BELLEVUE, WA – A surprising victory for gun rights in Puerto Rico has eliminated the firearms registry and licensing requirements to purchase and carry in the Commonwealth, the Second Amendment Foundation has confirmed.

As of now, according to Sandra Barreras with Ladies of the Second Amendment (LSA), the group that brought the lawsuit, “there is no regulation to purchase or carry (and) all purchases will be handled in accordance with federal firearms regulations.” LSA is affiliated with SAF through the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR).

The class-action lawsuit challenged various articles in Puerto Rico’s gun law, which the court declared unconstitutional. Because of the ruling, Barreras said, Puerto Ricans may now carry openly or concealed without a permit, and they do not need to obtain a permit before purchasing a firearm.

This was a class action lawsuit involving more than 850 individual plaintiffs, she reported to SAF offices. The news was greeted with delight, especially because in reaching its decision, the court cited the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court cases, and the recent ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia. Both the McDonald and Palmer cases were won by SAF.

“Cumbersome firearms regulations have never prevented criminals from getting their hands on guns,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “They have only inconvenienced law-abiding citizens, or deprived them outright from exercising their rights under the Second Amendment.”

Gottlieb said the lawsuit was brought in a Puerto Rican Commonwealth court, rather than a federal court. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and thus is subject to federal court jurisdiction.

“This case turned out better than anyone had really anticipated,” he commented. “We’re very pleased to have played an advisory role in this case, and if there is a government appeal, we’ll definitely be there with whatever support we can provide to our good friends in Puerto Rico.”

It Begins Again In Illinois

When the legislature returns to town, it is always a time be on guard. It doesn’t matter if it is Washington DC, Raleigh, or, in this case, Springfield, Illinois. The Illinois General Assembly reconvenes tomorrow, October 21st, and the anti-gunners are seeking to cut back some of the items contained in the shall-issue concealed carry act that passed in July.

The Illinois State Rifle Association has sent out an alert regarding four bills that the gun prohibitionists are proposing including ones that would ban concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol, increase penalties for carrying in prohibited areas, and eliminate safe havens for gun owners near school zones.

On the good side are three bills including one that would provide for reciprocity between Illinois and a number of other states. Currently, the only way a non-resident of Illinois may carry once the Illinois State Police implement the concealed carry law is by getting an Illinois non-resident carry license.

The full alert from ISRA is below:

ANTI-GUNNERS BEGIN CAMPAIGN TO DISMANTLE CONCEALED CARRY

The Illinois General Assembly returns to session Monday, October 21st, and the anti-gunners are wasting no time in attempting to dismantle the concealed carry bill passed last spring. Your help is desperately needed to shut down the gun control movement’s efforts to strip you of your fundamental right to defend yourself and your family from muggers, murderers, robbers and rapists.

We also need your help to support 3 pro-concealed carry bills that have been introduced. The details on all the bills are below:

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CAREFULLY AND TAKE THE ACTIONS LISTED TO HELP SAVE YOUR RIGHTS

HB3646 – DANGEROUS BILL – Bans Concealed Carry in any restaurant that has alcoholic beverages on the menu. Drastically reduces your choices on when and how to protect yourself. This bill is a foot in the door to create a growing list of places where you will be prohibited from protecting yourself and your family from dangerous criminals.

HB3669 – DANGEROUS BILL – This bill eliminates “safe haven” provisions for areas near schools – meaning that you could not even have a firearm locked in your trunk if you drive on to ANY property controlled by a school district. Once again, this bill would severely limit your self defense options and would make you a felon for doing nothing more than possessing a firearm. Under this bill, you would have to leave your defensive firearms at home if your plans called for you to enter any lands controlled by a school district. The real purpose of this bill is to pave the way for sweeping prohibitions on concealed carry that would make self defense impractical and a serious legal risk for most Illinois citizens.

HB3675 – DANGEROUS BILL – This bill would severely increase penalties for persons found to be carrying firearms in restricted areas. This bill is designed solely to scare law-abiding citizens out of carrying defensive firearms. This bill in no way targets gang-bangers or other violent criminals.

SB2594 – DANGEROUS BILL – This is another bill that would prohibit carry in restaurants that have alcoholic beverages on the menu.

HB3651 – GOOD BILL – This bill lowers the burdensome 16-hour training rule to a more reasonable 8-hour requirement. This bill also eliminates the re-training requirements for carry permit renewals. In short, this bill undoes that anti-gunners’ attempts to discourage people from applying for carry permits by easing burdensome training requirements.

HB3650 – GOOD BILL – This bill provides for concealed carry reciprocity between Illinois and dozens of other states.

HB3649 – GOOD BILL – This bill reduces the exorbitant fees the State Police plan on charging people for permit applications. The state should not be allowed to price-gouge citizens who want to defend themselves. This bill would make fees more reasonable and thus allow greater access to self defense for Illinois citizens.

HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE:

1. Call your State Representative and politely tell him/her that you are a law-abiding firearm owner and you do not want your right to self defense diminished for political reasons. Ask him/her to vote AGAINST HB3646; HB3669; HB3675.

2. While on the phone with your Representative, tell him/her that you would like them to vote FOR HB3649; HB3650 and HB3651.

3. Call your State Senator and politely tell him/her that you are a law-abiding firearm owner and that you do not want your right to self defense diminished for political reasons. Ask him/her to vote AGAINST SB2594.

4. Post this alert to any and all Internet bulletin boards or blogs to which you belong.

5. Pass this alert along to all your gun owning friends and family members – ask them to take action as well.

6. Please consider a generous donation to the ISRA so that we can continue to fight against those who would take your gun rights away from you.

If you do not know who your State Representative or State Senator is, the Illinois State Board of Elections has an interactive search page here:
www.elections.state.il.us/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx

If you already know who your State Representative and State Senator are and just need the contact info, you can find that here: www.ilga.gov/house & www.ilga.gov/senate .

California – Brown Vetoes Some And Signs Some

With three days to go, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed some of the many gun control bills on his desk and vetoed the rest. While vetoing the worst gun control bill (SB 374) that would have banned virtually all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, he did sign AB 711 which mandates a phase-out of all lead ammo for hunting by 2019.

A list of the bills in numerical order and their disposition courtesy of the San Jose Mercury and posted in CalGuns.net is below:

SB 127 by Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin — Requires that reports by a licensed psychotherapist to a local law enforcement agency of someone who has communicated a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims be made within 24 hours; also requires local law enforcement agencies, when they receive such reports, to notify the Department of Justice electronically and within 24 hours. SIGNED

SB 299 by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord — would require gun owners to report a gun theft or loss to police within seven days of knowing about it. VETOED

SB 363 by Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Los Angeles — expands the crime of “criminal storage” to include keeping a loaded firearm within premises where a prohibited person is likely to gain access and actually accesses and causes injury. SIGNED

SB 374 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento — would add all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines to the state’s list of banned assault weapons. VETOED

SB 475 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco — would essentially ban gun shows at the Cow Palace by requiring they be approved by San Francisco and San Mateo supervisors. VETOED

SB 567 by Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara — would update the definition of an illegal shotgun to include a shotgun with a revolving cylinder and a rifled bore. VETOED

SB 683 by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego — would require owners of long guns to earn safety certificates like those already required of handgun owners. SIGNED

SB 755 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Vacaville — would expand list of convicts who can’t legally own guns to include those with multiple drug or alcohol crimes, street gang members and others. VETOED

AB 48 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley — would ban conversion kits that allow people to turn regular magazines into high-capacity magazines. SIGNED

AB 169 by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento — would tighten exemptions to the law prohibiting purchase of handguns that haven’t been tested and deemed safe by the state. VETOED

AB 170 by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena — would provides that only an individual person, not an organization, may be issued a permit to possess an assault weapon, .50 BMG rifle, or machine gun. SIGNED

AB 180 by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland — would give Oakland an exemption from state pre-emption so it can pass its own stricter gun registration or licensing statutes. VETOED

AB 231 by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco — would make it a crime to leave a loaded firearm somewhere a child is likely to be able to get it without permission. SIGNED

AB 500 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco — would tighten gun safety laws on safe storage to include households where someone is prohibited from owning a gun; also allows additional time for Department of Justice background checks. SIGNED

AB 538 by Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento — Requires a licensed firearm dealer to provide copies of the dealer’s record of sale (DROS) to a firearm purchaser at the time of delivery. SIGNED

AB 539 by Pan — lets someone who’s temporarily prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm to transfer firearms in his or her possession or ownership to a licensed firearms dealer for storage. SIGNED

AB 711 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-South Gate — would ban use of lead ammunition in hunting by mid-2019. SIGNED

AB 1131 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley — would extend from six months to five years the prohibition from owning firearms for those who’ve described a credible violent threat to a psychotherapist. SIGNED

 The National Shooting Sports Foundation had this to say, in part, about Brown’s actions on Friday.

“We are greatly disappointed that Gov. Brown decided to sign AB 711, which as we view things today will effectively end or greatly curtail hunting in California, given the restrictions on the use of non-traditional ammunition.” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “We will have more to say on this important issue, but it is mind boggling that the governor would shut down this American tradition and actually imperil the substantial conservation funding that is provided to California through the federal excise tax on ammunition.”

Keane continued: “We are pleased that Gov. Brown vetoed SB 374 and AB 180, however, as these proposed restrictions on law-abiding Californians would have done nothing to make the state safer.”

From the Firearms Policy Coalition which includes both the CalGuns Foundation and Cal-FFL as founding members.

Last Thursday, Firearms Policy Coalition Managing Director Brandon Combs delivered 65,000 letters from individuals to the Governor’s office urging Gov. Brown to veto the bills and protect the civil rights of law-abiding gun owners.

“We can thank tens of thousands of individuals who rose to the challenge for today’s defeat of Sen. Steinberg’s outrageous SB 374,” said Combs of the Governor’s veto.

In spite of an “all-in” push for new gun control measures led by extremists like Sen. Steinberg and anti-rights special interest groups including Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign, and Moms Demand Action, the gun rights community was able to secure a roughly 80% loss rate for California gun control bills.

“Our Demand Rights campaign ramped very quickly thanks to FPC’s online ‘Take Action’ grassroots activism platform,” explained Combs. “We were able to start up where last year’s successful Stop SB 249 campaign left off. FPC’s unique ability to scale agile grassroots efforts in realtime made the difference in how we were able to pull together such a large, diverse coalition of citizen activists for an unprecedented number of issues.”

Some bills, like Senator Leland Yee’s SB 47 ban on “Bullet Button” firearms, those having a magazine locking device, are likely to return when the Legislature reconvenes.

“We told them ‘not one more inch’ and we meant it,” concluded Combs. ”We’ll celebrate the wins, learn from the losses, and come back stronger than ever to fight for gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.”

So far, I haven’t seen any official response to these bills from the NRA-ILA, GOA, SAF, or CCRKBA.

The gun prohibitionists were not altogether pleased about Brown’s actions. While they got some of what they wanted it was not everything.

The Brady Campaign criticized Brown for not doing more.

“We are disappointed that the Governor vetoed important gun reform bills designed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Dr. Dallas Stout, President of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We know that these gun policies work and would have saved lives.”

Governor Brown did sign other substantial gun reform bills into law. This includes AB 500 that requires safe storage of firearms in homes where a severely mentally ill person, a felon, or other prohibited person resides, and AB 48 that prohibits large-capacity ammunition magazine “conversion kits” that are used to subvert California’s law to restrict massive firepower of certain weapons.

“California did make strides today, but we wish Governor Brown had done more. There is more work to be done when Californians are still in danger of gun violence every day,” added Stout.

The lefty California-based Courage Campaign went much further in their criticism of Brown calling his actions “cowardly”.  They pledge to hold Brown accountable for “kowtowing to the gun lobby” on their fund raising page.

“Today, in vetoing a series of gun safety measures, Governor Brown choose to put craven political considerations above the safety and well-being of California’s more than 38 million residents.

Governor Brown, a former Mayor of Oakland, knows first hand the dangers of gun violence and the need for strong laws to protect California’s residents, which makes his actions all the more inexcusable. With over 1,143 Californians dead from gun violence since the Newtown massacre, next time there is a murder with an assault weapon, the Governor will have blood on his hands and have to answer for his vetoes today. This is the kind of cowardly behavior we expect from out NRA-owned elected officials in Washington, not from a California democrat who should know better.

The anti-hunting organizations, however, were quite pleased with Brown for signing AB 711 which banned lead in hunting ammo. The Humane Society of the US led the charge on this and got their wish.

“California has led the nation in creating humane laws, and today’s action by Governor Brown to eliminate lead from hunting ammunition is an incredible victory for wildlife and humans alike,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “This common-sense law should serve as an example for the rest of the nation on the urgent need to stop releasing this dangerous toxin into the environment.”

Many in the hunting community in California have been divorced from the fights for gun rights as shotguns and bolt action rifles have not been targeted. By signing AB 711, Brown may have finally pushed California hunters to think more about gun rights in general as they are no longer “safe” from the anti-gunners.

Given the length of this post, I’ll save an analysis of Brown’s signing and veto messages for another time.

Welcome To The Party, Guys!

The average Californian who wants to own a firearm especially a handgun has to deal with a whole host of rules and regulations that are enough to make your head swim. Now, in what can only be termed schadenfreude, so too must Federal law enforcement officers stationed in the state of California.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, deemed by Obama to be “the best looking attorney general in the country”, has changed the policy of the Department of Justice that previously exempted Federal law enforcement officers from Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. She determined California law had not carved out an exemption for them.

California gun law attorney Chuck Michel has this to say about the issue:

California citizens are just as frustrated as federal law enforcement officers with the situation. When the roster of available pistols they can purchase dwindles down to a limited few – because manufacturers are refusing to implement “microstamping” – federal law enforcement’s objections will grow louder. And if pending legislation (SB 293) concerning “smart guns” passes and is signed by the Governor, federal law enforcement will also be forced to choose from an even more limited number of models … just like civilians.

Forgive us mere civilians if we aren’t completely sympathetic to the plight of the feds.

The Feds predicament stems from a recent (and correct) change in the Attorney General’s interpretation of existing California law. While California law restricts the sale of “unsafe handguns” by dealers, there are some exceptions to the restriction. The exception used by most law enforcement agencies and officers, and the one used until recently by federal law enforcement officers, was the following:

The sale or purchase of any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, if the pistol, revolver, or other firearm is sold to, or purchased by, the Department of Justice, any police department, any sheriff’s official, any marshal’s office, the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, the California Highway Patrol, any district attorney’s office, or the military or naval forces of this state or of the United States for use in the discharge of their official duties. Nor shall anything in this section prohibit the sale to, or purchase by, sworn members of these agencies of any pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

Pen. Code, § 32000(b)(4)

You might notice, as did the California’s Attorney General, that federal law enforcement officers are not mentioned in this exception! The “Department of Justice” referred to in this section is the California Department of Justice, not a federal agency. So the AG’s analysis is correct: federal law enforcement is not exempt from the “unsafe handgun” restriction.

 He has much more on the issue here.

LaPierre Appears With Unindicted Gun Law Violator

Today, in a shocking development, the head of the National Rifle Association appeared in public with someone who knowingly and willingly flouted the District of Columbia’s stringent gun control laws. Gun control proponents have made video of Mr. LaPierre’s meeting with this gun law violator public and have disseminated it nationally. It is shown below.

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Of course, the person Wayne LaPierre met with was the host of NBC’s Meet The Press, David Gregory. It was back in December after the Newtown shootings that Mr. Gregory waved a 30-round AR magazine in Mr. LaPierre’s face during an earlier episode of Meet The Press. Under District of Columbia law, possession of any magazine with greater than a 10 round capacity is forbidden. However, in a decision that proved some people are more equal than others, DC Attorney General Irvin Nathan declined to prosecute Mr. Gregory’s violation of DC law.

An Outrage In The UK

Sgt. Danny Nightingale served 17 years in Her Majesty’s service in the Royal Army. Included in those 17 years were 11 years as a sniper in the Special Air Service Regiment. He is now serving 18-months in Her Majesty’s Prisons for possession of a Glock that was given to him as a “war trophy” in Iraq which he intended to donate to the Regiment.

What makes this even more of an outrage is that Sgt. Nightingale suffers severe memory loss due to a brain injury suffered after he collapsed at charity event and went into a coma for three days. Given his memory loss, expert testimony at his trial stated he probably didn’t even realize he had it.

The Glock itself was in possessions that he had left in Iraq that were packed up for him by fellow troopers when he had to leave Iraq in a hurry after two friends were killed. He was detailed to accompany their bodies back to the UK. The pistol was originally shipped in a container to SAS HQ and then his possessions were sent to his home. It remained packed away until 2010 until it was discovered in a search of his living quarters. Police searched the quarters due to allegations made against his housemate by an estranged wife. Nightingale was not the subject of the search.

Sgt. Nightingale pled guilty to the charges when his attorney informed him he could be facing five years imprisonment. He had planned to fight the charges.

His commander and others are standing behind him.

Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.

He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry officer, said he planned to take up the case with the Defence Secretary. Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “On Remembrance Sunday, when the nation remembers its war heroes, my client — one of their number — is in a prison cell.

“I consider the sentence to be excessive and the basis of the guilty plea unsafe. It is a gross miscarriage of justice and grounds of appeal are already being prepared.”

Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, who presided over the court martial and sentenced Nightingale, had allowed the testimony about the memory loss to be entered but thought Nightingale knew he had the Glock in his possession.

As the British might say, bullocks.

Only In New Jersey

I don’t mean to beat up on New Jersey. Really I don’t but this is just another case of New Jersey gun laws being a trap for the unwary.

Well-known gun rights attorney Evan Nappen has a post on his website entitled, “Why is the NJ State Police Allowing Prohibited Persons to Get Guns?” The post deals with a quirk in New Jersey law which states that if you didn’t receive your firearms back after a domestic violence allegation – that is an allegation and not a conviction – you have forfeited your gun rights forever in the state of New Jersey. According to Evan, the law has been on the books since 2004 but the New Jersey State Police still haven’t updated their forms for gun purchase permits. Moreover, the penalty for purchasing or possessing a firearm in such cases is five years in prison.

Have the NJ State Police failed to fix the forms to keep folks in the dark so that they don’t fight to get their guns returned? If people knew about this law many would NOT simply agree to have their seized guns sold to a dealer, transferred to a third party, or forfeited to the State. The prosecutors and the courts would have to do lot more hearings for gun returns. (Note: prosecutors and the judges are under no legal obligation tell the unsuspecting former gun owners that their gun rights will be lost by making such a deal with the State.)

No other state has such a law. However, it is the law in NJ. I do not support this law and I believe it should be repealed. Until it is repealed, many gun owners are failing to insist upon the return of their seized guns and prohibited persons are unknowingly acquiring guns. Maybe that is the plan all along.

The very thought of losing an enumerated right over an allegation is repugnant to me. I’m in the middle of a novel based in the USSR at the time of Stalin and this reeks of that era where a mere allegation was enough to send one to the gulag.

Immoral To Repeal One Gun A Month In Virginia?

Not so says the Rev. Kenn Blanchard in response to Jim Winkler who called it immoral for Gov. Bob McDonnell to have signed the repeal of Virginia’s One Handgun A Month law. Winker is the general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church and chair of Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. Faiths United is a project of the Brady Campaign.

Winkler says of Gov. McDonnell,

But our governor put the agenda of a lobby ahead of the people he was elected to represent. He put the gun lobby’s agenda ahead of protecting the residents of his state from the life-altering and life-ending horror of gun violence. Innocent lives will be lost as a result. It is not only shameful that the governor did this, it is immoral.

Pastor Kenn rightly says the repealed Virginia law was “worthless” and that it is “ethical for us to protect ourselves, it is ethical for us to protect our families, congregations, and country.” He goes on to say that using the word immoral is just wrong. I couldn’t agree more.

What If Emily Wasn’t Smart, Articulate, And Connected

In the interview below with Natasha Barrett of Newschannel 8, Emily Miller explains the events that convinced her to want to buy a gun and then her efforts to actually purchase a gun since she is a D.C. resident. If you have been following her series in the Washington Times, you know it has been a long and arduous process.

It has also been expensive. In addition to the price of her new Sig 229, Emily has had to spend $435 in fees and other expenses to meet the District of Columbia’s gun regulations. She is now having to wait 10 days before she can take her new pistol home due to a “cooling off” period.

Emily Miller is an attractive, well-educated (Georgetown), well-spoken young woman with a high profile position as a senior editor with the Washington Times. Before that she was the deputy press secretary for both Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice.  If someone like her with all of her connections has this much trouble exercising her Constitutional right to own a firearm for her own self-defense in her own home, imagine what it is like for everyone else who isn’t as bright, articulate, and connected. If you said, damn near impossible, I think you’d be correct.

I hope she mentions that when she testifies before D.C. City Council on Monday, January 30th.

Plea Deals In NYC

Sebastian has reports on one plea deal and another that may be pending on the recent arrests for possession of firearms in New York City.

First, a plea deal has been struck for the Tea Party leader arrested at LaGuardia Airport when trying to check a firearm. He pled to disorderly conduct and had to forfeit his Glock 27. An updated link to the story can also be found here.

The second involves registered nurse and medical student Meredith Graves. According to what Sebastian is reporting, a plea deal to a similar charge may be in the works.

Read both and push your Senator to support HR 822 which would have, at the least, exempted Meredith Graves from this madness.

UPDATE: Mark Meckler writes about his whole experience here. It makes for some interesting reading.