Why Good People Should Be Armed

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Despite all the fear-mongering, emotionalism, and deceptive propaganda surrounding the issue of firearms, the principle that matters most is quite simple.

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Fast & Furious Florida Style: ATF Implicated in Pensacola Rogue Operation

Over the last several years, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has been plagued by mismanagement, scandal and rogue operations, the most infamous of which has been the ill-fated and deadly “Fast and Furious” debacle.  Despite these ongoing problems and the criticism and calls for reform they have generated, BATFE has continued its practice of questionable tactics and judgment.

In fact, over the course of the last week, numerous media outlets have reported on yet another dubious BATFE operation–this one lowering the bar to a new, disturbing level.

As Fox News reports, BATFE agents in cities across the country used rogue tactics to go after guns on the street by allegedly luring mentally ill individuals to participate in sting operations, then later arresting many of these same individuals.  There are also reports that BATFE agents allowed minors to smoke pot and drink alcohol in connection with these operations.

The allegations against BATFE came about as a result of an in-depth investigation earlier this year by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which exposed an ill-conceived BATFE sting in Milwaukee that included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him for his work.

According to the latest Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on the issue, BATFE officials told Congress the failed Milwaukee operation was an isolated case of inadequate supervision.

But apparently it was not.  Instead, it appears that it was part of a pattern of questionable activities in several states.

The Journal Sentinel article reports that among the findings of the investigation were the following revelations:

■ BATFE agents befriended mentally disabled people to stimulate business and later arrested them in at least four cities in addition to Milwaukee. In Wichita, BATFE agents referred to a man with a low IQ as “slow-headed” before deciding to secretly use him as a key figure in their sting.  Agents in Albuquerque gave a brain-damaged drug addict with little knowledge of weapons a “tutorial” on machine guns, hoping he could find them one.

■ Agents in several cities opened undercover gun- and drug-buying operations in safe zones near churches and schools, allowed juveniles to come in and play video games and teens to smoke marijuana, and provided alcohol to underage youths. In Portland, Ore., attorneys for three teens who were charged said a female agent dressed provocatively, flirted with the boys and encouraged them to bring drugs and weapons to the store to sell.

■ As they did in Milwaukee, agents in other cities offered sky-high prices for guns, leading suspects to buy firearms at stores and turn around and sell them to undercover agents for a quick profit. In other stings, agents ran fake pawnshops and readily bought stolen items, such as electronics and bikes–no questions asked–spurring burglaries and theft.  In Atlanta, agents bought guns that had been stolen just hours earlier, several that were taken from police cars.

■ Agents damaged buildings they rented for their operations, tearing out walls and rewiring electricity–then stuck landlords with the repair bills.  A property owner in Portland, Ore., said agents removed a parking lot spotlight, damaging her new $30,000 roof and causing leaks, before they shut down the operation and disappeared without a way for her to contact them.

■ Agents pressed suspects for specific firearms that could fetch tougher penalties in court.  They allowed felons to walk out of the stores armed with guns. In Wichita, agents suggested a felon take a shotgun, saw it off and bring it back–and provided instructions on how to do it.  The sawed-off gun allowed them to charge the man with a more serious crime.

■ In Pensacola, BATFE hired a felon to run its pawnshop.  The move widened the pool of potential targets, boosting arrest numbers.  BATFE’s pawnshop partner was later convicted of pointing a loaded gun at someone outside a bar.  Instead of a stiff sentence typically handed down to repeat offenders in federal court, he got six months in jail–and a pat on the back from the prosecutor.

Rest assured, we’ll keep readers apprised of any new developments in the investigation and reporting of these shocking allegations.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on NRA-ILA.

FL 1st District Court: Universities can’t ban guns on campus

BizPac Review’s Joe Saunders reports on Tuesday’s 1st District Court of Appeals ruling, “Florida Carry Inc. and Alexandria Lainez vs. the University of North Florida centered around Lainez’s ability to store a gun in her vehicle while attending classes at [the University of North Florida] UNF so she would have available for self-defense while traveling to and from campus. Lainez is a young mother ‘and she takes seriously her responsibility to protect herself and her child.’”

“Lainez, who’s 24 and has had a concealed weapons permit for three years, said she takes firearms safety and training pretty seriously, too. A Jacksonville resident with a half-hour one-way commute to school, she said she’s working to get students at other schools interested in gun training, too,” writes Saunders.

Gary Fineout, Associated Press, reports, “State universities would be blocked from regulating guns on campus under a potentially far-reaching ruling handed down Tuesday by a Florida appeals court. The 1st District Court of Appeal – in a rare opinion decided by the entire appeals court – sided with a University of North Florida student and a gun rights group that challenged a university rule banning students on campus from storing guns in their cars.”

Read the 1st District Court of Appeal opinion here.

“[T]he appeals court ruled that the Florida Legislature has pre-empted the regulation of guns by local governments and state agencies. The court decided the state’s 12 public universities are covered by this 2011 law. The ruling notes that while universities have the power to restrict lawful conduct – like drinking or smoking on campus – that power does not extend to regulating guns,” notes Fineout.

Joe Saunders from BizPac Review writes, “This is a growing movement in a number of cases,” said Jacksonville attorney Eric Friday, who represents Florida Carry Inc. and UNF student Alexandria Lainez in the court fight. Friday, who called the Lainez decision the biggest of its kind in Florida in 20 years, said the case “reaffirmed that the power to regulate firearms rests solely with the Legislature and not anywhere else.”

Saunders notes, “Lainez, a member of Florida Carry, sued UNF to change the regulation, but lost at trial to UNF’s argument that it could ban weapons because state law allowed school districts to do so. UNF argued that since it’s a school, it should be considered like a public school district. In Tuesday’s decision, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled otherwise.”

ABOUT FLORIDA CARRY:

Florida Carry is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental civil right of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self defense as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution’s Declaration of Rights.

Florida Carry, Inc. was organized in order to better coordinate activities, effectively lobby the state legislature, and to provide a legal entity capable of filing suit to demand compliance with state and federal law. Florida Carry stands only to represent our members and the over 7 million gun owners of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization’s agenda that may compromise that mission. Florida Carry is now the state’s largest independent second amendment advocacy organization.

Common Core’s Anti-Gun Lessons on Sandy Hook

The pundits may have thought that Barack Obama’s efforts to exploit the Sandy Hook School tragedy on December 14, 2012, where a mentally ill young man killed 20 elementary school students and 6 teachers, had been tabled for lack of support.  Now we learn that Obama’s Organizing for Action super pac is exploiting the one-year anniversary with fake memorials in order to resume the push for gun control.

Along with the efforts to reach adults are those to reach children in schools.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of Obama’s education initiative called Common Core (recently admitted to be an “Obama initiative” by David Axelrod) is aiding in the effort to eviscerate the Second Amendment by emotionally manipulating and indoctrinating students.

An Education Week article touts free “anti-violence” lesson plans for students in grades 4-12 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shooting. Education Week is full of handy “tips” and “news” for teachers, but is really a Gates Foundation-subsidized Common Core propaganda outlet, as I noted in my report on Common Core for Accuracy in Media.  Education Week articles are frequently linked in the U.S. Department of Education’s newsletter, The Teachers Edition.

The “anti-violence” Common Core-aligned lesson plan that Education Week is promoting could hardly be more propagandistic.  It is written by shooting victim Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Congresswoman, and Nicole Hockley who lost her son Dylan at Sandy Hook.   It claims the ostensible purpose of “turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation” and “To be open to all possibilities.”  It says students should be “Open to those with the most opposing views.”

But the only views teachers are told to give are those that advance an anti-gun rights agenda.

To prime students emotionally, teachers are asked to show a School Tube video from Roma High School to demonstrate how a student-led vigil can “show how people can come together after tragic events to make the world a better place.”  (No empirical evidence is given about the cause and effect.)

There is very little reading required in the lesson, but what there is a USA Today article by Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, chiding “special interests,” like the NRA, which they claim is “advancing the interests of an ideological fringe” and “cow[ing] Congress” into refusing to take action on “common sense reforms.”  The other is an article linked to Giffords’s and Kelly’s lobby group called Americans for Responsible Solutions.  (There is an attachment for additional reading from Slate Magazine for “older students” that unscientifically aggregates the number of gun deaths by asking readers to send in news about gun deaths in their towns.)  Teachers are advised to have students read the “Sandy Hook Promise” from the website and discuss “why they feel the promise was created.”

Teachers are told that the first two paragraphs of the promise are “most helpful.”

These are the first two paragraphs:

“Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, non-profit organization led by community members and several parents and spouses who lost loved ones in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. . . .

Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.”

Teachers are told to have students “brainstorm” on the question, “How can we work together to make the United States a safer place?”

Teachers are offered the suggestion of having students trace their hands on construction paper and then making cut-outs.

On these they should write one-sentence statements, beginning with the words, “I hope.”

As models, photographs of the lesson plan writers’ own construction paper hands are presented: ”I hope for a country that can work together to prevent gun violence,” wrote Gabby Giffords on her hand.  “I hope parents can come together to build a future for our children safe from gun violence,” wrote Nicole Hockley on hers.

Finally,

Show students the other postings on UClass [a “global lesson exchange” for teachers]. Have them comment positively on other students’ hands that have been posted on UClass. Urge them to do at least one thing to make the United States a better place.

Teachers are assured that the lesson plan follows the new Common Core education standards.

For grades 3-8, the “Correlating Common Core Standards” are:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

It gets a little more rigorous for high school students:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

In case the difference in these two academic standards is not obvious, students in upper grades are asked to “create a plan for their own anti-violence campaign” (words in bold in original). In other words, high school students should become activists.

The promoters of Common Core have repeated sales points about “high standards,” “rigor,” “close reading,” and including “critical thinking.”  Really?  Do you remember tracing your hand on construction paper in high school?

The lesson on Sandy Hook is typical of those now being produced and advertised as meeting Common Core requirements.

Of course, we know that many teachers have been using classrooms to indoctrinate students for decades now.  What is different under Common Core is that the lessons are even more ideological.  They profit the multinational publishing companies as they rewrite materials to adhere to Common Core.  And they advance the agendas of left-wing non-profits and the federal government.

The construction paper hands being produced in grades 4 through 12 to commemorate Sandy Hook show how Obama’s Common Core initiative is working (pardon the pun) hand in glove with his political pac.

The nexus between Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, the Second Amendment and Israel

You may be asking yourself what possible connection is there between Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, the Second Amendment and the state of Israel. The one thing they all have in common can be summed up in two words – self defense.

Christopher Amore, a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and an associate at the law firm of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass in New York, in the National Security Law Journal notes:

The concept of self-defense has long been a part of most legal systems. For example, the Bible endorses the principle of self-defense in its recognition of the right of the homeowner to kill the unlawful intruder. The Talmud acknowledges a right to use force against aggressors who threaten human interests, or threatened to kill. Saint Thomas Aquinas, a thirteenth century Italian Catholic priest and philosopher, reasoned that the purpose of using deadly force in self defense was not to kill, but rather to repel the attacker. “[The] force had to be directed against the attack, not the attacker. The death was a side effect of the legitimate purpose rather than the goal itself.”

“In 1688, English lawmakers, affirming the natural right for people to defend themselves, codified the right to bear arms in the Declaration of Right: ‘the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.’ The Convention Parliament, the legislative body responsible for the drafting of the Declaration of Right, believed that the right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense was one of the ‘true auntient and indubitable Rights and Liberties of the People.’ England’s recognition of the inherent right to self-defense in the seventeenth century would be echoed over three hundred years later by the United States Supreme Court. Interpreting this provision of the Declaration of Right in the landmark Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court explained that ‘the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence’ was necessary in order to protect ‘the natural right of resistance and self-preservation’,” states Amore.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws and the Second Amendment are founded on the principle of the right of self defense. Self defense does not always require a gun, but when it does, it’s use is permissible under the law in Florida.

How is Israel part of this discussion?

Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, signed on June 26, 1945, states: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations . . .” By referring to this right as “inherent” the Charter acknowledges that the right to self-defense predates the drafting of the Charter, and is fundamental to international humanitarian law.

Israel, as a member of the UN, has the “inherent” right to defend itself from those who have repeatedly called for its destruction, e.g. Iran. If a belligerent neighbor threatens you with death and the destruction of your homeland you have “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.”

President Obama has been consistent in his efforts to keep law abiding citizens of the United States and the world (Israel) from defending themselves.

President Obama interjected himself into the George Zimmerman self defense case, has used the Justice Department and other agencies, like the EPA, to attack the Second Amendment right to defend against tyranny and now is preventing Israel from defending herself from a nuclear armed Iran. The recent agreement with Iran allows for the continuation of nuclear material enrichment and the building of a hard water nuclear plant, one to produce U235 and the other to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon.

Colorado’s Democrat Senator Evie Hudak, who resigned to avoid a recall, put it best when she said, “You Don’t Need a Gun to Prevent Rape.” This quote is Obama’s domestic anti-gun and anti-Israel policies in a nutshell.

It is the policy of this administration to disarm those who have a right to defend themselves against evil doers and criminals. You see criminals and rogue nations, like Iran, don’t care about anything than becoming better armed than you, your local police, the County Sheriff, state and federal law enforcement and our military.

RELATED COLUMNS: 

The Geneva Interim Accord: A Bad Deal

YOUNG AND ARMED: Young Women Spike Growing Gun-Ownership Numbers

Backdoor gun control is here: No lead means no bullets

I am one who steers very clear of tinfoil hat conspiracy theories. I often believe progressives plant stories in order to distract and disrupt, enabling them to pursue their true goals and objectives. That’s why I stress the importance of staying focused on the modern liberal socialist policies of the Obama administration, not the sideshow antics.

However, as a former combat commander, I have been trained to look for trends. And I believe we’ve found a very disturbing one. It seems that back door gun control is in full effect in the United States. Why? Thanks to Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we can no longer smelt lead from ore in the United States.

The first contact the EPA made with The Doe Run Lead Smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri (population 2,800) was in 2008 but it was in 2010 that the EPA finally forced Doe Run to plan a shut down. This plant has been in operation since 1892 but will finally close its doors this month. It was the last lead smelting plant in the US.

The closedown is due to new extremely tight air quality restrictions placed on this specific plant. President Obama and his EPA raised the regulations by 10 fold and it would have cost the plant $100 million to comply.

In response to the Doe Run lead smelter shutdown, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the Doe Run Company “made a business decision” to shut down the smelter instead of installing pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act.

Of course this is why we need serious regulatory reform that precludes executive agency fiat, especially regulation implementation that exceeds a certain adverse financial impact to a private sector business.

Of course the canned progressive socialist response is “For years families with children near Doe Run’s facilities have been exposed to unacceptable levels of lead, one of the most dangerous neurotoxins in the environment,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement Assurance. There are a few auxiliary lead processing plants remaining in the USA but their function is to re-claim lead from old batteries.

What this all means is that after December 2013, any ammunition that will be available to US citizens will have to be imported, which will surely increase the price and possibly come under government control. It seems this is fully in concert with the US Military and Homeland Defense recent purchase of large quantities of ammunition.

The effect is chilling: you can own all the guns you want, but if you can’t get ammo, you are out of luck. Remember when President Obama promised his minions that he was working on gun control behind the scenes? Welcome to it. The result is that all domestically mined lead ore will have to be shipped overseas, refined and then shipped back to the US.

Not only will ammo be even harder to come by, the demand and the process of supply will cause the price to skyrocket even more. And ponder this, there is an excellent chance that Obama will rig the market to where all ammo has to be purchased from the government instituting an ammo registration.

There hasn’t been a peep about this in the major news outlets, but it’s done. With the US no longer producing lead, all supplies will now have to come from China, Australia or Peru, with the overwhelming emphasis on China.

China is the largest miner of lead and the largest importer of scrap lead in the world. The highly progressive state of California recently passed a law that lead ammo is banned for sporting use. There is an alternative, copper ammo, but it is hugely expensive to make, and pure copper bullets are frequently labeled ‘cop killers’ so they can’t be sold.

So America, back door gun control is moving forward and while we are all distracted with Obamacare and Iran nuclear negotiations, our Second Amendment rights are undergoing an assault by clandestine infiltration. Remember we reported on this website the gun registration actions being undertaken in Washington DC. Barack Obama and his progressive socialist acolytes are quite savvy at political chess. He is seeking to outflank, envelope, and destroy the Second Amendment. Now it’s our move in 2014.

This column originally appear on AllenBWest.com.

Remembering President John F. Kennedy, NRA Lifetime Member


John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Every American remembers where they were when the news came of his shooting and death. I was  in class at Washington University, in St. Louis when the word came of his assassination. The class was dismissed and all students sent home.
One thing never reported was that JFK was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. On March 20, 1961 JFK became a life member and in a letter to the NRA President Franklin L. Orth stated, “Through competitive matches and sports in coordination with the National Board for Promotion of Rifle Practice, the Association fills an important role in our national defense effort, and fosters in an active and meaningful fashion the spirit of the Minutemen.”
Mike Fuljenz from Newsmax writes:

“John F. Kennedy supported Second Amendment rights for Americans, saying in an April 1960 statement, “By calling attention to a well-regulated militia, the security of the nation and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding forefathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of government tyranny, which gave rise to the Second Amendment, will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains a major declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason, I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.”

Kennedy was one of eight U.S. presidents to become a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, guardian of Americans’ Second Amendment rights. In this distinction, JFK was the lone Democrat in the company of Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, all of whom became lifetime NRA members (although Nixon disavowed his membership in 1969 and Bush resigned in 1995).

In his March 20, 1961, letter to NRA Executive Vice President Franklin Orth accepting his Life Membership, Kennedy wrote, “I am pleased to accept Life Membership in the National Rifle Association and extend to your organization every good wish for continued success.”

Media Matters took exception to the NRA using the image of President Kennedy and quoting his statement:

“The cost of freedom is always high but Americans have always paid it” in a fundraising email sent out on September 11, 2011 (above left). It was on that date that four Americans paid the ultimate price of freedom in Benghazi, Libya. There is a growing number of Americans who today “fear government tyranny”, which “gave rise to the Second Amendment”, and may be a “major danger to our nation.”

Remembering JFK, NRA Lifetime member and supporter of the Second Amendment. Lest we forget.

RELATED COLUMN: I SAY WE REPEAL HER: Texas A&M Law Prof Says It’s Time to Repeal Second Amendment

Florida HB-89 — “Threat of Force to Stop Attackers” Bill Passes

House Bill 89, Threatened Use of Force, introduced by Representatives Neil Combee (R-Auburndale) and Katie Edwards (D-Sunrise) was favorably amended and passed the Florida House Criminal Justice Committee by a bipartisan vote of 12-1. The bill currently has 29 cosponsors and with the number growing.

According to NRA-ILA, “HB-89 is a bill to stop abusive prosecutors from using 10-20-LIFE to prosecute people who ‘threaten to use deadly force’ against an attacker as a means of self-defense and to stop an attack. Some anti-gun, anti-self-defense prosecutors have been abusing the 10-20-LIFE law to prosecute average citizens who displayed a weapon or gun in self-defense to make an attacker back off.”

“Average citizens who never would have been in the system if they had not been attacked and in fear for their own safety, are being prosecuted for defending themselves. Because citizens took responsibility for their own safety, some prosecutors treat them like criminals and make them victims of a judicial system that is no longer about justice but rather about the whim or politics of prosecutors. 10-20-LIFE was passed to be used against criminals who use guns in the commission or attempted commission of crimes — NOT average citizens who rightfully defend themselves against threats of force,” notes NRA-ILA.

Voting In Favor of HB-89 were Florida Representatives Matt Gaetz, Ray Pilon, Irving Slosberg, Randolph Bracy, Mike Clelland, Dane Eagle, James Grant, Gayle Harrell, Dave Hood, Travis Hudson, Dave Kerner and Charles Van Zant.

Kionne McGhee voted Against HB-89.

FOLLOWING IS THE TESTIMONY OF MARION P. HAMMER:

HB-89 by Rep. Neil Combee & Rep. Katie Edwards
House Criminal Justice Committee
Thursday, November 7, 2013 3:00pm – 8:00pm

Thank You Mr. Chairman and Committee Members. The NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida support the Proposed Committee Substitute.

The simple truth is the intent of the 10-20-Life law is being violated.

10-20-Life was intended to lock up criminals who use guns during the commission or attempted commission of a crime.

10-20-Life was designed to put criminals behind bars and keep them off our streets – and to stop plea bargaining and sentence reductions for gun wielding criminals.

It was designed to stop prosecutors and judges from slapping gun-toting criminals on the wrist so they could quickly clear cases.

Folks, I was here in 1999 when we passed 10-20-Life – and NRA was a part of helping pass the law. I know what was intended and why.

10-20-Life was never intended to be used against citizens who, in an act of self-defense, threatened the use of force to stop an attacker.

It was never intended to be used on citizens who, in fear for their own safety, threaten to use force to stop an attack.

Yet that’s how some prosecutors are using it. Depending on the seriousness of the threat, they’ll try to put you in prison for 10 years or 20 years for threatening to use deadly force to protect your own life or the lives of your loved ones.

So the message from those prosecutors seems to be, if you actually use force in self defense — the law protects you But threaten to use force in self-defense, and they’re going to put you in prison for 10-20 years.

That is the cold hard reality of how some prosecutors are treating law-abiding people who never would have been in the system if they had not been attacked and in fear for their own safety.

There are people sitting in prison today who should not be there – but they are because prosecutors abused their discretion and violated the intent of 10-20-Life. This bill will stop that. Please support it.

Thank you.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law Stood Its Ground against attack – for now

By an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 11-2, the Florida House Criminal Justice Committee defeated House Bill 4003 by Representative Alan Williams (D). HB-4003 would have repealed Florida’s Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law.

According to NRA-ILA, “House Speaker Will Weatherford kept his word.  He gave Representative Williams and his Dream Defenders the hearing they requested. Committee Chairman Matt Gaetz kept his word.  He skillfully and expertly ran a fair, open and orderly 5-hour hearing. In a structured format, each side was allowed 30 minutes for Legislators who were not on the Committee to speak on the bill. Speaking in opposition to repeal were Representative Jason Brodeur (R), Representative Marti Coley (R) and Representative Katie Edwards (D). Representative Alan Williams was the only Legislator who spoke in the 30 minute time slot allocated for legislators to speak in favor of repeal.”

Karl Etters in The Tallahassee Democrat writes, “Florida was the first state to adopt the extension of the Castle Doctrine in 2005, which includes a clause stating that a person who feels threatened has no duty to retreat, but instead can lawfully use deadly force anywhere they are lawfully allowed to be. But with more than 10 bills filed in the Florida Legislature addressing some form of self-defense, lawmakers say even without a full repeal of Stand Your Ground, there is room to make tweaks.”

Etters notes, “At a Wednesday press conference, he [Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale] said instead of focusing on a full repeal, effort should be diverted toward bills like SB 130, which denies aggressors the chance to use self-defense. Gaetz said ‘what the Senate has proposed is an exercise in style over substance. I think you’ve got a couple of senators who just want to see something pass even though it doesn’t fundamentally alter the rights of Floridians in a favorable way.’ National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida President Marion Hammer said this bill ‘wipes out part of the statutes. It doesn’t tweak it; it doesn’t amend it. It doesn’t adjust it. It is a repeal’.”

Allison Neilson from Sunshine State News reports, “On their Twitter page, the Dream Defenders brought in the issue of race at the hearing, saying that every single supporter of the Stand Your Ground bill at the hearing was white. ‘Every. Single. Opponent. testifying in support of #StandYourGround has been white. Everyone.’ read the tweet. But several lawmakers dismissed the claim that the law was about race, including Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, and Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. Eagle dismissed the claims, saying instead the law was an issue of human rights.”

Speaking for 2 minutes each were 59 speakers from around the state (24 in support of repeal and 35 opposed to repeal). Following speakers on both sides of the issue the vote was as follows:

Voting Against the Bill To Repeal Stand Your Ground:

Representatives Matt Gaetz, Ray Pilon, Irving Slosberg, Mike Clelland, Dane Eagle, James Grant, Gayle Harrell, Dave Hood, Travis Hutson, Dave Kerner and Charles VanZant.

Voting in Favor of the Bill to Repeal  Stand Your Ground

Randolph Bracy and Kionne McGhee.

Currently twenty-two states have some form of an expanded self-defense law that extends to public places, while others only cover a person’s vehicle or business.

Florida pro-gun Sheriff defeats anti-gun State Attorney

willie meggs

William “Willie” N. Meggs, State Attorney, 2nd Judicial Circuit

NRA-ILA notes in an email that Liberty County, Florida Sheriff Nick Finch, was “prosecuted for his actions in upholding the Second Amendment” by William “Willie” N. Meggs, the “anti-gun State Attorney for 2nd Judicial Circuit, Florida.”

Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack was at the trial of Sheriff Finch and wrote on the Oath Keepers website, “Today, October 31, 2013, Sheriff Nick Finch won his case in a farce of trial in Liberty County, Florida. Sheriff Finch was charged and arrested and booked into his own jail last June. Sheriff Finch had done something unheard of, yet noble and courageous. He nullified the arrest of a law abiding citizen who had the audacity of carrying a gun in his pocket. Sheriff Finch said ‘not on my watch.’ So the State moves in, arrests the Sheriff and re-arrests the citizen, Mr. Parish. The end result was Finch was removed from office and went to trial. Mr. Parish once again had the charges dropped, but he had to perform 50 hours of community service and pay $200.”

“Let’s be very clear here, neither man was guilty of anything! There were no victims and no evidence that a crime had ever occurred,” notes Sheriff Mack.

According to Joe Wolverton II, J.D. writing in The New American:

Minutes after noon on Thursday, October 31, an eight-person jury acquitted Sheriff Nick Finch of both charges against him. Finch, the sheriff of Liberty County, Florida, was accused of official misconduct and falsifying records. Finch maintained that he was simply standing up for the right of the people to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment.

The jury agreed, reaching its verdict in fewer than 90 minutes. Within minutes of being found not guilty, Sheriff Finch spoke with Governor Rick Scott, who reinstated Finch within hours.

“Sheriff Nick Finch will be reinstated immediately,” said Governor Scott in a written statement. “I would like to thank the members of the jury in Liberty County for their service in this trial. I would also like to thank Interim Sheriff Buddy Money for his service to the state of Florida.”

Wolverton notes, “Governor Scott’s persecution and prosecution of a sheriff standing up for the Second Amendment rights of citizens of his county is particularly questionable given the hostile climate that threatens the right to keep and bear arms nationally. It’s over now, though, and all is forgiven. The fact remains that Finch suffered substantial financial setbacks as a result of his removal and at press time, it was unclear whether Sheriff Finch would receive back pay for the four months he was suspended.”

Wolverton writes, “There is an additional disturbing aspect of the case not being commented on by other news outlets. Imagine that Sheriff Finch had released a man arrested and jailed for having openly preached Christianity in a public place. Would Governor Scott have been so hasty to remove Finch from office? Why would the rights protected by the Second Amendment be subordinate to those guaranteed by the First Amendment?”

This trial cost Sheriff Finch both his liberty and treasure. Sheriff Finch standing up for the US Constitution has made him a hero to supporters. Those who enforce the law are required to protect and defend the people and their Constitutional rights. Justice was served, but at a price.

Senator Dick Durbin attacks Florida’s stand your ground law

On October 29th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), assistant Majority Leader, titled, “‘Stand Your Ground Laws’: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force.”

According to the NRA-ILA, “Present were several witnesses who attacked not only SYG laws, but also the Right-to-Carry, and even the American jury system.”

Ronald S. Sullivan, Clinical Professor of Law Harvard University.

NRA-ILA reports:

During his testimony, Harvard Law Professor Ronald Sullivan incorporated the themes of the previous witnesses and also shared his opinion of the highly publicized case involving George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Coming to a different conclusion than that of the jury who acquitted Zimmerman, Sullivan theorized that Zimmerman was motivated by racism and that he shot Martin as Martin was attempting to defend himself from attack. In a radical statement, Sullivan noted that as a result of the Zimmerman case, residents of Florida are led to believe “they can incorrectly profile young black children, kill them, and be protected by stand your ground laws.”

One of the witnesses who defended the right to self-defense was Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato institute Illya Shapiro.  Shapiro’s testimony made clear that that the concept of no duty to retreat has been part of the American legal tradition dating back 150 years and that it is the law in 31 states. Shapiro went on to note that the Supreme Court enshrined the concept in federal law with the 1895 case of Beard v. United States, and that as an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama sponsored an expansion of the state’s self-defense laws.

Christopher Amore, a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and an associate at the law firm of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass in New York, in the National Security Law Journal, published by George Mason University writes:

The concept of self-defense has long been a part of most legal systems. For example, the Bible endorses the principle of self-defense in its recognition of the right of the homeowner to kill the unlawful intruder. The Talmud acknowledges a right to use force against aggressors who threaten human interests, or threatened to kill. Saint Thomas Aquinas, a thirteenth century Italian Catholic priest and philosopher, reasoned that the purpose of using deadly force in self defense was not to kill, but rather to repel the attacker.

“[The] force had to be directed against the attack, not the attacker. The death was a side effect of the legitimate purpose rather than the goal itself.”

In 1688, English lawmakers, affirming the natural right for people to defend themselves, codified the right to bear arms in the Declaration of Right: “the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.” The Convention Parliament, the legislative body responsible for the drafting of the Declaration of Right, believed that the right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense was one of the “true auntient and indubitable Rights and Liberties of the People.”

England’s recognition of the inherent right to self-defense in the seventeenth century would be echoed over three hundred years later by the United States Supreme Court. Interpreting this provision of the Declaration of Right in the landmark Second Amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court explained that “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence” was necessary in order to protect “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.”

Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith. (Photo credit: News 13)

Guns.com reports, “Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith announced this week that the city’s neighborhood watch program has been revamped and has now banned neighborhood watch members from carrying guns, local media reports…Opinions on the shooting – and the trial – remain a highly debated and heated topic, just as the program’s decision to ban firearms likely will be. The new rules and regulations of the neighborhood watch program, which will be announced at a community meeting next Tuesday, include prohibiting volunteers from pursuing any individual who they deem suspicious.”

Smith appears to be implementing procedures that not in accordance with Florida’s concealed carry and stand your ground statutes. The decision to carry and use deadly force is made by the individual.

Senator Christopher Smith, Democrat Minority Leader Florida Senate.

The Florida legislature will take up stand your ground during the 2014 legislative session. According to Robert M. Levy:

With the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial — in which he was acquitted in the shooting of a black teenager — some lawmakers are calling for a serious revision of Florida’s 2005 “stand your ground” self-defense law.

Following Trayvon Martin’s killing, Scott convened a task force to look at the law, but the panel did not recommend any major changes and none were achieved this year. But Senate Democratic leader Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale has re-filed legislation [SB 0122] that would prevent individuals from “unreasonably escalating” a violent conflict and then claiming self-defense. The bill would also prevent a self-defense shield for individuals who chased someone down or left a safe place.

The bill also requires local law enforcement agencies to develop guidelines on neighborhood watch programs.

The House has agreed to hold hearings on the self-defense law, although the chairman of the panel has said he doesn’t support any changes to it.

Is disarming Floridians and weakening Florida’s stand your ground laws the best way to ensure “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation”? We expose, you decide.

Florida Second Amendment Protection Act gains support

Concerns about efforts to restrict the right to bear arms is growing. This issue came to the forefront of American gun owners when US Secretary of State John Kerry signed the United Nations Arms Treaty. According to Guns.com:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) sent a letter today [October 15th]to the White House, along with 49 other senators and 181 members of the U.S. House, urging the president to notify the U.N. that the United States does not plan on ratifying the controversial Arms Trade Treaty, which seeks to regulate the world’s annual exchange of $70 billion in conventional weaponry. 

Despite the fact Secretary of State John Kerry has signed the agreement and President Obama strongly backs it, the ultimate decision on whether it is adopted by the U.S. falls to the Senate, which must pass it by a two-thirds majority.

Given that 50 senators have promised to vote against the ATT, it’s pretty much dead in the water and that was the essence of Manchin’s letter.

Florida has over one million concealed carry permit holders, it is estimated that nearly 25% of Floridians own a gun and the sunshine state has one of the strongest stand your ground protection statutes in the nation. What gun owners see as a growing threat to their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms has lead to the introduction of the Second Amendment Protection Act, which will be debated during the 2014 legislative session. Gun Owners of America has endorsed and it members are supporting the Florida Second Amendment Protection Act.

The proposed legislation would prohibit any state cooperation with federal acts that violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“No agency of this state, political subdivision of this state, or employee of an agency or political subdivision acting in his or her official capacity, or corporation providing services on behalf of this state or a political subdivision of this state shall enforce any federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation of the federal government of the United States regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition within the limits of this State.”

“The proposed Florida Second Amendment Preservation Act is the kind of legislation that all states should be enacting. Since the Federal government seems not to understand the meaning of ‘shall not be infringed,’ the states must step in to reign in an out-of-control government in Washington,” Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt said.

The bill rests on the non-commandeering doctrine that holds the federal government cannot compel states to enforce federal acts.

“There is absolutely no legitimate debate on this issue,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “The Supreme Court has held at least four times that the federal government cannot force states to into action on its behalf. This bill essentially lets the feds know, if they want to violate Floridian’s rights they’ll have to try and do it themselves.”

Maharrey said Florida Second Amendment Protection Act would seriously impede any federal attempts to violate the right to keep and bear arms in the Sunshine State. Just last week, the National Governors Association admitted in a letter to Congress that the feds need help “in implementing most federal programs.”

“Northern states effectively used this exact same strategy to thwart draconian federal fugitive slave acts allowing black people to be snatched up and hauled back south into slavery simply on the word of a white man,” Maharrey said. “By refusing to lift a finger to help, states can slam the door on unconstitutional federal acts.”

Gun Owners of America has over 300,000 members nationwide. Florida Tenth Amendment Center outreach director Francisco Rodriguez said he’s thrilled to have the organization backing the legislation.

“The Florida Tenth Amendment Center is anticipating flood of support for this bill preserving the Second Amendment, and GOA’s endorsement sparks the engine to accelerate the success.”

You can find more information on the legislation, including the full text HERE.

ABOUT GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA

Gun Owners of America (GOA) is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue.

ABOUT THE TENTH AMENDMENT CENTER

The Tenth Amendment Center exists to promote and advance a return to a proper balance of power between federal and State governments envisioned by our founders, prescribed by the Constitution and explicitly declared in the Tenth Amendment. The TAC works to preserve and protect the principle of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism.

FL AG Pam Bondi working against Second Amendment?

The following was received from Florida Carry:

While California Senator Dianne Feinstein was filing a bill in the U.S. Senate to ban millions of privately owned firearms, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office filed documents attempting to have the Florida Supreme Court prohibit a Florida appellate court from hearing the case of Dale Norman, a concealed carry licensee who was convicted of violating Florida’s ban on the unconcealed carry of firearms.

In Florida, it is generally unlawful to carry a firearm except under the state’s concealed carry licensing laws.  The Florida courts have consistently ruled that concealed carry is not a right protected by the Second Amendment, but only a privilege which is granted at the whim of the Legislature.

The County Court Judge who issued the lower court ruling in the Norman trial called the law “vague” and possibly unconstitutional.  He went on to certify the case’s constitutional issues as “Questions of Great Public Importance” to be reviewed directly by the 4th District Court of Appeals because they “affect millions of Floridians”. Subsequently a federal appellate court ruled in Moore v. Madigan that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the Right to Bear Arms protects a person’s right to carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense and other lawful purposes.

The Florida Attorney General is now attempting to convince the Florida Supreme Court to prohibit a three-judge panel at the appellate court from exercising its jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of the “Open Carry” ban law and to review the judgment and sentencing imposed on Mr. Norman.

The applicable Florida rules of appellate procedure demand that “If the district court of appeal accepts the appeal, it will decide all issues that would have been subject to appeal…”.

“We have not seen a Florida Attorney General take such drastic anti-Second Amendment positions since 1987 when Bob Butterworth fought tooth and nail against concealed carry licensing”, said Florida Carry, Inc. Executive Director Sean Caranna.  “We’ve previously spoken to staffers at the highest level of Bondi’s office to be sure that they were aware of the impact this case has on the right to bear arms.  This is an attempted end-run around the Constitution that she swore an oath to protect.”

Why is the Attorney General devoting so many tax payer dollars to defending Dale’s $500 fine and misdemeanor criminal conviction for violating the Open Carry ban?  We truly hope that we are wrong, but it appears that upholding the Second Amendment is a bridge too far for Pam Bondi.

Dale Norman’s Attorney Eric J. Friday said, “We will continue to fight to ensure that Dale Norman gets his day in Court.  The lower court judge made it clear that he felt this case should be addressed by the DCA.  Since the Moore v. Madigan decision, there is no constitutional basis for Florida’s open carry ban.”

ABOUT FLORIDA CARRY

Florida Carry, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental rights of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self-defense as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I Section 8 of the Florida Constitution. Florida Carry stands only to represent our supporters, members, and the over 7-million gun owners of Florida. We are not beholden to any national organization’s agenda that may compromise that mission. Florida Carry works tirelessly toward striking down ill-conceived gun control laws that have been proven to provide safe havens to criminals and be deadly to law-abiding citizens.

EDITORS NOTE: Florida has over one million concealed carry permit holders (one in seventeen citizens). This does not include the number of Floridians who own guns estimated at 24.5% of the population or over 4 million residents.

Backlash for 3 Sarasota commissioners on Stand Your Ground Vote

Frances Rice, a Sarasota resident, is outraged at three Sarasota City Commissioners who voted to pass a resolution which calls for the repeal of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.

“This will result in the denial of our Second Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution,” states retired Army Lt. Colonel Frances Rice, who is pursuing avenues for initiating a petition to recall Sarasota City Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, Commissioner At-Large Suzanne Atwell and Commissioner At-Large Susan Chapman (see photos and contact information at the end of this column).

“I was inspired by the successful recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron,” Colonel Rice said.  “They were ousted from office after they abridged the Second Amendment right of the citizens of Colorado with a draconian and unconstitutional gun-control law.”  She went on to say that “it is unconscionable that Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman are now using their elected office as a vehicle for abridging the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Sarasota.”

Colonel Rice further stated that Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman have “misrepresented Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law as a gun law when it is not.  This law contains absolutely no references to guns or shooting.”  According to Rice the self-defense, self-protection law has four key components:

1.    It establishes that law-abiding residents and visitors may legally presume there is a threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle.  Law-abiding citizens and visitors may, in these circumstances, use defensive force, including deadly force, against the intruder.

2.    In any other place where the law-abiding resident or visitor “has a right to be,” that person has “no duty to retreat” if attacked.   The law-abiding resident or visitor may “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

3.    In either case, a law-abiding resident or visitor using the force permitted by the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action.  The law-abiding resident or visitor cannot be arrested, unless a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.

4.    If a civil action is brought and the court finds the law-abiding resident or visitor (the defendant) to be immune based on the parameters of the law, the law-abiding resident or visitor (the defendant) will be awarded all costs of defense.

Rice points to two articles which address how African Americans are affected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law:  “How Black Leaders Exploit Their People for Political and Financial Gain” by Gary DeMar and “Five Myths of the ‘Racist’ Criminal Justice System” by Larry Elder.

“Neither Vice Mayor Shaw nor Commissioners Atwell and Chapman called for a repeal of Florida’s self-defense law when a white man in Tampa, David James, was killed by a black man, Trevor Dooley, and Trevor Dooley invoked the self-defense law in his defense.  An article is posted on the Internet which provides additional analysis is entitled “George Zimmerman & Trevor Dooley: Stand Your Ground Hypocrisy?” by Lee Stranahan,” notes Rice.

Rice states, “Not one word was said by Vice Mayor Shaw or Commissioners Atwell and Chapman when, in Jacksonville, the NAACP advocated the use of Florida’s self-defense law in support of a black woman, Marissa Danielle Alexander, who claimed self-defense against an abusive husband.  The details about this case can be found in an article entitled ‘NAACP weighs in on what they say is a ‘Stand Your Ground’ case against Jacksonville woman‘ by Charles Broward.”

Rice notes, “Yet, Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman have now roused themselves and passed a resolution to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law when their action will have no effect other than to deny the citizens of Sarasota their Second Amendment rights.”

Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner District 2 Paul Caragiulo voted against the resolution. Mayor Snyder spoke in full support of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law and the duty of elected officials to protect the Second Amendment right of the citizens of Sarasota.

Colonel Rice opined that “Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman should be held accountable for their blatant abuse of power and malfeasance by being recalled from office.”

Two City Commissioners are already backtracking on their vote to repeal Stand Your Ground. Susan Chapman said,”We didn’t vote to repeal Stand Your Ground. We voted to revisit it.” Suzanne Atwell said her support for the vice-mayor’s plan should be seen as agreeing to have “a conversation about a highly charged issue.” The repeal was listed in the City Commission’s document titled Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities. The revised priorities state, “The City Commission requests that the State Legislature repeal the Stand Your Ground statute and establish a more civil approach to governance than afforded under the current statute.” [Emphasis added]

To view the results of this survey as a pie chart click here.

UPDATE: According to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), “Yesterday, the Sarasota City Commission met with the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation to present the city’s list of legislative priorities.  One of those priorities requested the legislative delegation to work to repeal Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ statute. Fortunately, the four legislators attending this meeting disagreed with the city commission and oppose repealing the ‘Stand your Ground’ statute.”

EDITORS NOTE: The City of Sarasota is governed by a “Commission – Manager” form of government. There are five City Commissioners, two are elected at-large and three are elected from single-member districts. All elections are nonpartisan.

Mayor Shannon Snyder

Mayor Shannon Snyder
District Three
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Shannon.Snyder@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Willie Shaw

Vice-Mayor Willie Shaw
District One
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Willie.Shaw@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Suzanne Atwell

Commissioner Suzanne Atwell
At-Large
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Suzanne.Atwell@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo
District Two
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Paul.Caragiulo@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Susan Chapman

Commissioner Susan Chapman
At-Large
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Susan.Chapman@sarasotagov.com

FL Middle school quiz asks – “What Kind Of Party Animal Are You?”

Dr. Fran Adams, Superintendent of Indian River County School District

“I was contacted tonight by a group of parents wanting answers. This quiz (survey) below was given to Ms. [Megan] Kendrick’s 7th grade Pre-AP Civics class last week at Storm Grove Middle School in Indian River County,” writes Laura Zorc, SE FL State Coordinator for Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC).

The What Kind of Party Animal Are You? quiz states: “Take this quiz to get a sense of which party, the Republican or the Democrat, is the better fit for you. Remember, you do not have to pick a party – you may remain Independent. You may also change your party.”

Question #1: “I would support a government increase of my taxes if the money were used to pay for expanded health and social programs.”

Question #2: “I think the government should impose stricter limits on access to guns.”

Question #3: “I believe organized prayer should be kept out of schools. Having students pray is a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Question #4: “I would support drilling for oil in a wildlife refuge to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Question #5: “I believe that looking out for U.S. interests abroad must come first, even if that means the U.S. takes action without the approval of the United Nations or our allies.”

Question #6: “I believe if you have nothing to hide, theres no reason to worry about government surveillance. It would not bother me if my government listened in on my personal phone calls as long as the surveillance was helping to catch terrorists.”

Question #7: “I believe the government should relax regulations on immigration and find a way for law-abiding illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally and pay taxes.”

NOTE: The answer choices for each question are – Agree (one point), Not Sure (two points), Disagree (three points).

According to Jennifer Idlette-Williams, Principal of Storm Grove Middle School, “The survey What Kind of Party Animal Are You? came from page 14 of the Junior Scholastic Magazine, which is a state approved resource for Florida’s mandatory Civics state curriculum. All three of the Civics teachers at Storm Grove use the survey, and other Indian River middle schools have used it. No grades were attached to the survey and no names were linked to the survey. There was no parental opt out for taking the survey as it is part of the state approved curricula.” Principal Idette-Williams noted, “Students could create their own political party animal. One student created a frog, which can live in the water or on land. This student would be comfortable with both parties.”

What kind of a party animal are you

Quiz used in Civics class. For a larger view click on the image.

According to Zorc, “The students were told that they could not take this Quiz/Survey home, they had to complete [it] at school. One student felt that they must consult with ‘his or her’ parent and did not feel comfortable filling it out. In other words the student had to ‘smuggle it out’ as described to me. (NOTE: Child is afraid of getting in trouble and we will can not disclose identity of child)”

Zorc states, “After you read this quiz/survey, as a parent you will be appalled by material being taught. Parents are outraged at the way the questions are presented.” See teacher’s weekly agenda to notice that this assignment is Common Core State Standards aligned.

“Parents want an explanation to why a ‘civics’ (a study of the theoretical practical aspects of citizenship, its rights and duties…) curriculum aligned to Common Core State Standards is being taught? The FL DOE had been emphatic that CCSS is only going to be taught in English Language Arts and Math only. Secondly, parents want to know ‘who’ approved this curriculum material being taught?” asks Zorc. According to the school principal the FLDOE approved the use of this material.

Parents, concerned citizens and members of FPACC plan to attend the September 24th Indian River County School Board meeting to ask that this material be removed from the public school district curriculum.

EDITORS NOTE: WDW – FL has calls into the school district and school board requesting information including who authorized the use of this quiz, what other schools have used it and how is the data from the quiz used. We are awaiting a reply and will post an update.