Ricketts To Replace Sasse In US Senate

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) resigned his seat in the US Senate on Sunday in order to take a new position as President of the University of Florida. While he had been wishy-washy on some things, Sasse was strong on gun rights and voted against the so-called Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022.

Today, Gov. Jim Pillen (R-NE) announced that his immediate predecessor, former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE) would be appointed to fill the position.

Ricketts on left. Courtesy of NSSF.

In terms of gun rights, Ricketts should be great. He pledged to sign a constitutional carry bill at the NSSF Governors’ Forum held at the SHOT Show last year. Unfortunately, it did not reach his desk due to a couple of wishy-washy Republicans standing in the way. Ricketts was in favor of the right to open carry in the Nebraska Capitol building. As the tweet below makes clear, he objects to Biden’s gun control agenda.

Ricketts will serve for the next two years and then will have to run again for a full term. He has indicated he plans to run in 2024.

Ricketts and his family are large contributors to conservative causes including a $1.4 million contribution to the PAC Conservative Nebraska. Ricketts’ father Joe was the founder of the brokerage TD Ameritrade. Charles Schwab Corporation purchased TD Ameritriade in 2020 for $22 billion. The Ricketts family also owns a 95% controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Of course, Nebraska Democrats are miffed about it. They claim Ricketts’ appointment is merely pay-to-play payback by Gov. Pillen for a large campaign contribution. Whatever.

Objection, Your Honor(s)!

Cheri Beasley, the Democrat nominee for the US Senate in North Carolina, is running the ad below incessantly. It features six retired judges all extolling the virtues of Cheri Beasley. They then attack Ted Budd saying, “he focused on what is good for him, not North Carolina.”

They say their job as judges was not about politics but about standing up for what was right. If one takes their statement at face value, then you would also have to conclude that if an attorney made that statement about Budd in any one of their courtrooms they would have ruled it out of order. It is an ad hominem attack for which they provide no supporting basis.

Unlike in many states, every judge in North Carolina runs for his or her judgeship. While some may be initially appointed to fill a vacant position, they must run for the office if they want to keep the job. Therefore, it is important to recognize that every one of those six judges was not only a jurist but a politician.

Retired Chief Justices Jim Exum and Henry Frye both served as State Representatives in the North Carolina General Assembly before becoming judges. Justice Bob Orr, a Kasich supporting “Never Trumper” who ID’s as an “independent”, ran as a Republican for governor against former Gov. Pat McCrory. Judge Carl Fox was the District Attorney for Orange County before becoming a judge. Even Judges Manning and Bryan had to play politics one way or another in order to be initially appointed as judges.

What they really object to is that Ted Budd is not a member of the club unlike Beasley. He is not a lawyer and he was never a judge unlike Beasley. To my mind, given the overabundance of lawyers in the Senate this is a plus. Beyond being a conservative and a Second Amendment supporter, Budd brings the experience of having to run a business and make payroll to the Senate.

The race is close and Beasley has a ton of out-of-state money backing her. I just voted today for Budd and will keep my fingers crossed that he wins.

Text Of Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

I have embedded the full text of the “gun reform” (sic) legislation just released this evening. It is based upon the agreement between 10 Democrat senators and 10 Republican senators led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).

If you go to Sec. 12002, you will see that the definition for “engaged in business” which would require a Federal Firearms License has changed. Rather than the prior “principal objective of livelihood and profit”, it is now changed to “to predominantly to earn a profit”. If this is adopted, I am sure we will see many undercover ATF Special Agents at gun shows going after the frequent traders.

Those firearms purchasers that are over 18 but not yet 21 are being thrown under the bus as was expected. It will apply to all firearms purchases including that of a single shot .22 LR rifle. As I read it, the bill imposes what is essentially a 3-day waiting period which is extended if there are any juvenile mental health or criminal record exists. This is in Sec. 12001.

Sec. 12004 deals with straw purchases. We already know that they are illegal under Federal law. However, now adds extra penalties if the straw purchaser knowingly transfers a firearm (or has reason to suspect) to someone who plans to engage in a felony, drug trafficking, or terrorism. Just transferring the firearm raises the penalty to 15 years imprisonment. If it involves the furtherance of a felony, drug trafficking, or terrorism, then the penalty is now 25 years imprisonment.

There is a lot more and it will take some careful combing to get to the rest. If you see something as you read through it, make a comment.


Deals With The Devil

Every news source this afternoon is all excited that “a bipartisan deal has been reached on gun reform” or something like that. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly has been pushing for some “compromise” so that guns as an issue are negated for the mid-term elections. The problem with that is that gun control supporters are still going to vote for the Democrats and many pro-rights supporters might just say screw you and not vote.

When you make a deal with the devil, the devil is in the details. Of course, other than about nine bullet points, there are no hardcore, defined, written in stone details.

To even get the release on the “deal”, I had to go to Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) website. My own Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) who were both negotiators on the “deal” were so proud of their own actions that they aren’t going public with the details.

Support for State Crisis Intervention Orders

Money goes to states and tribes to set up their own system of gun confiscation orders aka red flag laws. Supposedly, consistent with state and Federal due process. Right.

Investment in Children and Family Mental Health Services

I’ll give them a pass on this one. They say: “National expansion of community behavioral health center model; major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.”

Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
This would expand the Lautenberg Act prohibitions to convictions for domestic abuse and restraining orders involving current and ex romantic partners. Thus, a vengeful ex-boyfriend (or girlfriend) could get a restraining order against you which would prevent you from protecting yourself from their wrath. Think Carol Bowne in New Jersey who was stabbed to death while waiting for a pistol permit with which to protect herself.

Funding for School-Based Mental Health and Supportive Services

I don’t have many issues with this. The release says: Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs and school based mental health and wrap-around services.

Funding for School Safety Resources

It says it will invest in programs that increase school safety in K-12 schools including providing training to school personnel and students. I doubt they mean programs like the FASTER Programs in Ohio and Colorado. At the very least, they should have “Stop the Bleed” training as well as blow-out kits for every teacher.

Clarification of Definition of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer

This one will definitely be the devil in the details. Will it be based upon how many firearms you sell in a year such as dispersing an estate or will it be based upon intent as the current law does? Current law says that if the intent is to engage in it as a business, you need a FFL.

Telehealth Investments

The release says, “Invests in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.” That is fine but I wonder if this will just become another government boondoggle.

Under 21 Enhanced Review Process

For those under age 21, there will be an “investigative period” with checks of juvenile and mental health records. As Stephen Gutowski notes, this could mean a non-instant background check process for those under age 21. They also say they will check with local law enforcement and state databases.

Penalties for Straw Purchasing

Is this going to be like doubly illegal? It is already against the law to engage in a straw purchase. As it is, US Attorneys and Federal law enforcement rarely bring cases to trial involving straw purchases. I think they believe the optics of going after the girlfriends and “intimate partners” of gang members have too many racial overtones.

Charles Blow, a columnist for the New York Times, had an op-ed a couple of Sundays ago calling for more gun control as well as attacking the gun culture. He said he did agree with the Republicans on one thing.

But I am on the same page as they are on one point. They see the passage of gun safety laws as a slippery slope that could lead to more sweeping laws and even, one day, national gun registries, insurance requirements and bans. I see the same and I actively hope for it.

While I vehemently disagree with Blow, at least he is honest about it unlike most politicians on either side of the aisle. It is a slippery slope and must be fought tooth and nail.

Every GOP Senator Needs To Read These Two Articles

While there may be other reasons to vote for Republicans, I would wager the reason most gun owners vote for the GOP candidate is they are expected to be more pro-rights and less anti-gun. Now we are watching a dance in the US Senate between Democrats gun prohibitionists and some Republican senators. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has been detailed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to “negotiate” with the Democrats on gun control measures.

It is not portrayed as gun control but gun reform. That is the new buzzword that has replaced gun safety in the lexicon of the mainstream media and the gun prohibitionists.

I try not to curse on the blog but why the fuck should we bother voting for Republicans when they are scheming with Democrats on how to stab us in the back. Is the death by a thousand cuts over time any better than one big thrust of the gun control knife? Our rights are still gone.

I suggest every Republican senator needs to be required to read these two articles by Kurt Schlicher and Lee Williams respectively.

Kurt’s article is published at Townhall.com. As he notes, compromise involves getting something in return for giving something up.

See, I’m missing the part where we get something in return instead of merely losing less. But the durwoods of the softcon wing of the GOP seem pretty eager to fail less spectacularly than they might otherwise and call it a victory. 

He goes on to conclude:

But you are supposed to be dazzled by the stars and submit. You can be sure there are GOP dummies just aching to, held back only by Mitch McConnell – the frustrating Murder Turtle who nevertheless is no dummy – whispering in their ears that screwing us over on guns is just about the only thing that can turn an electoral environment of $6 a gallon gas and public school groomers into a Republican rout.

No, this is not the time to go soft. This is not the time to indulge the perennial Republican disease of craven spinelessness in the face of Democrats and their regime media minions screaming lies about them. This is the time to say “No.”

No compromise on our rights. Not now. Not ever. 

Likewise, Lee Williams, The Gun Writer, has published an article on Substack entitled, “No. No talks. No compromises. Nothing. No means no.” As he notes, the gun prohibitionists know that getting us to give up a slice of bread now means that eventually they will get the whole loaf.

I’m with Lee when he writes:

I am sick of watching our gun rights being bartered away by RINOs, Quislings and traitors, none of whom speak for me. None of whom understand guns. None of whom have likely even fired a damn gun. And, quite frankly, I don’t care which liberal Hollywood actor they drag in next to buttress their case.

Lee notes and I concur that we have nothing to gain in any of these negotiations or discussions with Sen. Chris Murphy (RD-CT) and others of his ilk. The Democrats and their legacy media allies want to drag this out as long as possible in an effort to make us forget about gas prices, inflation, supply-chain issues, and our rapidly diminishing retirement savings.

If you are represented in the Senate by a Republican senator (or even a Democrat like Sinema, Tester, or Manchin), you need to be writing, calling, emailing, and faxing their offices daily. Let them know where you stand. Send them these articles. Make sure they know their chances of re-election are between slim and none if they cave to the gun prohibitionists. If you have donated to them in the past, make sure they know it and that the money stops if they cave. The only way we are going to win this is if they know to fear us more than what is being broadcast on the legacy media non-stop.

Senate Will Vote On Overturning Social Security Administration’s NICS Ban Tuesday

Last year, in response to a Executive Memorandum signed by then President Obama, the Social Security Administration engaged in a rule-making that would impact those retirement and disability recipients who needed help with the management of the finances. A final rule was released late in 2016 that would add these people to the NICS prohibited list. The number of people impacted is estimated at about four million recipients.

It should be noted that these individuals need help managing their finances. They have never been adjudicated mentally deficient. I come across people on a daily basis who could use a trustee to manage their finances even though they are otherwise smart, capable individuals.

The House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 40 on February 2nd that disapproved this rule issued by the Social Security Administration.

The resolution reads:

Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (published at 81 Fed. Reg. 91702 (December 19, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

The Brady Campaign sent out a text alert this morning saying that the Senate will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 14 on Tuesday. This is the Senate’s portion of the disapproval of the SSA rulemaking. They were urging their supporters to contact their Senators to “protect Brady background checks.”

S.J.Res. 14 is sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley and has 29 co-sponsors. I was disappointed to see that neither of North Carolina’s senators was on the list. Nonetheless, we have the votes to overturn this rule if all the Republicans stick together.

I would urge you to call or email your senator to express your approval for this measure. The Capitol Switchboard is at 202-224-3121. You can also go to this page to get the direct number and/or email for your Senator.

There is a lot of “fake news” and misinformation being put out in opposition to this resolution so it is vital that you call.

Is Your Senator On This List?

Following on the heels of the letter sent by House members to the BATFE came one from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and signed by 52 other senators.

You can read the letter here.

I was pleased to see that both Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Thom Tills (R-NC) were among the signatories of this letter. I’m batting three for three as my Congressman, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) had signed on to the House letter.

As Sen. Grassley noted in another press release, every senator was invited to sign on to his letter to the BATFE. It was signed by 53 out of 54 Republicans and zero out of 46 Democrats. The lone Republican refusing to sign the letter was, as might be expected, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). That the few supposed Second Amendment supporters on the Democrat side of the aisle did not sign is, in my opinion, shameful.

Here are the 52 Senators besides Sen. Grassley that signed the letter:

Senators joining Grassley on the letter include Mike Rounds (R-S.D.); John Thune (R-S.D.); Cory Gardner (R-Colo.); Tom Cotton (R-Ark.); John Hoeven (R-N.D.); Joni Ernst (R-Iowa); David Vitter (R-La); Michael Crapo (R-Idaho); Jerry Moran (R-Kan.); David Perdue (R-Ga.); James Risch (R-Idaho); John Isakson (R-Ga.); Steve Daines (R-Mont.); Dean Heller (R-Nev.); Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.); Richard Burr (R-N.C.); Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); Bill Cassidy (R-La.); John Boozman (R-Ark.); Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.); Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Thom Tillis (R-N.C.); Orrin Hatch (R-Utah); Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.); James Lankford (R-Okla.); Richard Shelby (R-Ala.); Deb Fischer (R-Neb.); Thad Cochran (R-Miss.); Shelley Capito (R-W. Va.); Pat Roberts (R-Kan.); Pat Toomey (R-Pa.); Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); John Cornyn (R-Texas); Ron Johnson (R-Wis.); Michael Lee (R-Utah); John Barrasso (R-Wyo.); Marco Rubio (R- Fla.); Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.); Dan Coats (R-Ind.); Bob Corker (R-Tenn.); Tim Scott (R-S.C.); Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.); Ben Sasse (R-Neb.); Roger Wicker (R-Miss.); Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.); Rand Paul (R-Ky.); John McCain (R-Ariz.); Rob Portman (R-Ohio); Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska); and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

If your senator is on this list, I have a suggestion. Send them a nice thank you email. It is something people rarely do and it will help reinforce their good behavior. You can find your senator’s contact info here.

Open Letter From The NRA-ILA To The US Senate

Chris Cox of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action released an open letter to the Senate. In it he states that the NRA is “unequivocally opposed” to S. 649. He states that the NRA will oppose any and all attempts to extend background checks, to limit firearms and magazines, or to criminalize private transfers and/or sales. He specifically includes the proposals from Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey issued today.

Dear Senator,

I am writing regarding the National Rifle Association’s position on several firearms-related proposals under consideration in the Senate.

S. 649, the “Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013”, introduced on March 21, contains a number of provisions that would unfairly infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. This legislation would criminalize the private transfer of firearms by honest citizens, requiring friends, neighbors and many family members to get government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution. The NRA is unequivocally opposed to S. 649.

In addition, the NRA will oppose any amendments offered to S. 649 that restrict fundamental Second Amendment freedoms; including, but not limited to, proposals that would ban commonly and lawfully owned firearms and magazines or criminalize the private transfer of firearms through an expansion of background checks. This includes the misguided “compromise” proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin, Pat Toomey and Chuck Schumer. As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools. Given the importance of these issues, votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.

Rather than focus its efforts on restricting the rights of America’s 100 million law-abiding gun owners, there are things Congress can do to fix our broken mental health system; increase prosecutions of violent criminals; and make our schools safer. During consideration of S. 649, should one or more amendments be offered that adequately address these important issues while protecting the fundamental rights of law-abiding gun owners, the NRA will offer our enthusiastic support and consider those votes in our future candidate evaluations as well.

We hope the Senate will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools. Should it fail to do so, the NRA will make an exception to our standard policy of not “scoring” procedural votes and strongly oppose a cloture motion to move to final passage of S. 649.

Should you have any questions on these issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at (202) 651-2560.


Chris W. Cox