This week started with us in Saint Louis where my older daughter had scheduled surgery on Monday. What was expected to be a 1.5-2 hour standard procedure ended up being a five hour surgery. The surgeon found an unexpected tumor hidden behind other organs. While it was cancerous, it is at an early stage with an excellent long term prognosis. The major downside is that she will need a second surgery to complete the original procedure. Please keep Wendy in your prayers.
The news this weeks seems to be coming faster than I can keep up with so I’ll just go with a roundup with links to more indepth coverage.
The New York Attorney General’s Office rested its case against the NRA and the individual defendants on Monday. Their final witness was Eric Hines who is a forensic accountant who found the NRA had a number of internal control failures. The attorneys for the NRA and the individual defendants then asked for a directed verdict saying the state had not proved its case and that certain laws do not pertain to them.
The Reload has a good analysis of this argument by Joseph Brucker. The crux of the NRA’s argument is as follows:
The defendants’ arguments centered largely on the applicability of New York’s Estates Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) to nonprofit corporations and their executives. The statute contains a provision that subjects any nonprofit corporation organized for “charitable purposes” to certain registration and reporting requirements. However, “charitable purposes” are defined using language that echoes the IRS’s federal 501(c)(3) classification. The NRA, a 501(c)(4), admitted that the law governs some of its funds and activities. But it argued that the statute’s provisions relating to the “administration” of charitable property should only apply to its restricted charitable donations, not to general funds used for noncharitable activities such as lobbying.
The individual defendants, meanwhile, say the statute does not apply to them at all: an accountant or lawyer who accepts a position at a New York nonprofit, they argue, does not sign up for the same responsibilities as the “trustee” of a charitable foundation or bequest. The “trustee” designation set off a round of frenzied discussion in the courtroom on Monday.
If Judge Cohen accepts this interpretation, it could prove problematic for the state to force reform on the NRA.
Erik Uebelacker has been following the case for Courthouse News Service. He has a good synopsis of the testimony of former NRA 1st VP Willes Lee who had gone nuclear on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. What I found most interesting was Lee’s response as to why he had written those posts.
Lee was far more reserved in court than he was on Facebook. During his testimony, he was hesitant to critique the NRA at all, despite his willingness to do so frequently online last year.
“I don’t know why I was posting those now,” he said Wednesday. “But I must have felt that way.”
He didn’t deny the validity of the content in any of the posts, however.
“I don’t know why I was posting those now”? Jeez! Talk about wimping out when put on the stand.
The two best ways to follow the NRA trial day by day are to follow NRA Watch and to follow the tweets of Uebelacker. I hate to admit our enemies have done an excellent job in covering the testimony in the case in an above board and fair way. NRA Watch is a project of Bloomberg’s Everytown.
Moving on in the Spirit of Aloha, the Supreme Court of Hawaii doesn’t like Heller, McDonald, or Bruen nor do they think it applies in Hawaii.
The court said:
“The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities,” the court wrote. “The history of the Hawaiian Islands does not include a society where armed people move about the community to possibly combat the deadly aims of others.”
Christopher Wilson had legally purchased his firearm in Florida back in 2013. He had been charged with possessing an unregistered firearm. His first challenge under the Second Amendment was denied but his second challenge after the Bruen decision was successful. A Hawaii district court had dismissed the charges based upon Bruen but the state appealed.
If ever a case cried out for the grant of a writ of certiorari it is this one. I can’t see how the SCOTUS can ignore such an in-your-face challenge to the supremacy of national law. As gun rights attorney Alan Beck notes, “The use of pop culture references to attempt to rebuke the Supreme Court’s detailed historical analysis is evidence this is not a well-reasoned opinion.”
In other 2A news, a group of Second Amendment organizations including the Second Amendment Foundation, CCRKBA, and theFirearms Policy Coalition are asking the US Supreme Court to grant certiorari in Bianchi v. Brown. The SCOTUS had vacated and remanded the case then known as Bianchi v Frosh back to the 4th Circuit for a ruling consistent with Bruen. Since then, the case was argued before a 3-judge 4th Circuit panel and its has been over a year since the argument without a decision. For some reason, the 4th Circuit has now decided to hear the case en banc. The case is a challenge to Maryland’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (sic).
Adam Kraut, SAF Executive Director, notes in their release:
“The Fourth Circuit’s decision to hear this case en banc, over a year after it was argued before a panel and with no published opinion, seems to imply the court desired to take this case from a panel with which it disagreed,” noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “The unconstitutionality of Maryland’s Assault Weapons Ban has been apparent since it was passed into law, as Heller already provided the proper analysis, which the Fourth Circuit previously ignored to shield the law from a swift death. Intervention from the Supreme Court is necessary to restore order and force the lower courts to properly address this issue in a timely manner, as each day the Plaintiffs rights are being infringed upon.”
Finally, I would like to note that Early, One-Stop Voting begins for the North Carolina March Primary next Thursday, February 15th. Grass Roots North Carolina has issued their Remember in November ratings of the candidates based upon both their voting history (if any) and a survey. Likewise, GRNC-Political Victory Fund has issued their recommendations regarding pro-rights candidates in contested races. Today is the last day to be registered to vote for the primary. This will be the first election in which a photo ID will be required since North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring it in 2018.