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Colorado’s Experience Soundly Refutes Common Anti-gun Talking Point

Last month, while addressing a group of Colorado sheriffs, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper spoke on the topic of the state’s 2013 measure outlawing almost all private transfers of firearms. According to the Denver Post, Hickenlooper told the sheriffs, “I think we screwed that up completely… we were forming legislation without basic facts.”

A new Associated Press report examining Colorado background check data in the first year of the new law proves the accuracy of Hickenlooper’s statement, and should (although likely won’t) end the repetition of an already discredited anti-gun background check factoid.

The report states that the Colorado Legislative Council, an offshoot of the state legislature that is tasked with analyzing legislation, estimated that 420,000 additional background checks would be conducted in the two years following the new private sale restrictions. This led the Colorado legislature to allocate $3 million to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to handle the anticipated increase.

However, the AP notes, “officials have performed only about 13,600 reviews considered a result of the new law — about 7 percent of the estimated first year total.” The article goes on to state, “In total, there were about 311,000 background checks done during the first year of the expansion in Colorado, meaning the 13,600 checks between private sellers made up about 4 percent of the state total.”

How did the Colorado Legislative Council get their estimate so wildly wrong?

They relied on the same bogus statistic (that 40 percent of gun transfers occur between private parties) which gun control advocates and the White House have been using to advocate for expanded background checks all over the country.

The 40 percent statistic is from a Police Foundation survey, the results of which were published in a 1997 National Institute of Justice report titled, Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms. The figure has been debunked repeatedly by the NRA and others, and even earned the President “Three Pinocchios” from the Washington Post’s fact-checker for his repeated use of the misleading stat.

Unfortunately, these public admonishments haven’t deterred gun control supporters from using this absurdly inflated figure. In November, Sen. Dianne Feinstein repeated the factoid in an opinion piece for the San Jose Mercury News. As recently as early July, the Brady campaign asserted in a press release, “Approximately 40 percent of all guns sales go unchecked.” A May press release from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety reiterated estimates “that 40 percent of gun sales occur without a background check in the U.S.” Even President Obama’s official website, whitehouse.gov, has a page for his “Now is the Time” gun control campaign that continues to claim, “Right now, federally licensed firearms dealers are required to run background checks on those buying guns, but studies estimate that nearly 40 percent of all gun sales are made by private sellers who are exempt from this requirement.”

The data from Colorado’s first year of restricted private transfers makes continued use the 40 percent figure untenable. Still, some gun control advocates might seek to blame Colorado’s low increase in background checks on scofflaws, and those unaware of changes in the law, circumventing the new restrictions. Even if these factors did have a role to play in the underwhelming check numbers, they could hardly be expected to raise the percentage of undocumented private transfers by a factor of 10. Even if they could, it would merely weaken the case of the efficacy of private transfer restrictions. Evidence of background check avoidance would simply underscore NRA’s position that background check laws cannot affect the behavior of those who intentionally or unknowingly violate them.

Colorado’s expensive foray into background check expansion should serve as a warning to state and federal legislators as to the limited effect these laws can have, and the importance of collecting the “basic facts” before crafting legislation that inhibits the rights of their constituents.

Yet the tactics of gun control supporters are nothing if not shameless, so don’t expect them to relinquish the 40 percent myth any time soon. President Obama has openly embraced the confiscatory gun bans of Australia and Great Britain, and he and other gun control radicals realize they can’t achieve that goal without registration. “Universal” background checks are the next step in that direction, so for their proponents, the ends justify their dishonest means.

For everyone else, however, Colorado’s example is a resounding reminder that the war the proponents of “universal” background checks are waging is one of ideology, not one of facts, and it is certainly not in the service of “gun safety.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column is by the NRA-ILA with accompanying graphic.

Amnesty, legalizing marijuana and gun control: Creating a “cartel of death” in America

There has been much discussion about amnesty for illegal aliens in Congress. Democrats, led by President Obama, want amnesty at all cost. I recently had a conversation with Kelly Kirshner, the former Mayor of Sarasota, FL. He is planning a demonstration to promote “immigration reform”, which is code for amnesty. Kirshner believes he is doing good, when in fact he is promoting policies that will bring violence to America.

Dr. Lawrence W. Reed from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, created the Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy. Reed’s third principle states: Sound [public] policy requires that we consider long-run effects and all people, not simply short-run effects and a few people.

Amnesty (immigration reform) is inextricably linked to efforts to legalize drugs and control gun ownership in America. These three movements are joined at the hip and will, in the long term, lead to a “cartel of death” in America. By not taking into account the long-run effects and all people these policies will wreak havoc on our society, especially our youngest and most vulnerable.

Mexican_drug_cartels_2008

The major Mexican drug cartels. For a larger view click on the map.

Many have documented how our borders are not secure. Dennis Michael Lynch in his documentary “They Come To America” focuses on the land border between the United States and Mexico. Many ignore the border states along the Gulf of Mexico. Drug cartels, like the Gulf Cartel, use these porous borders to come to America transporting not only illegal aliens but also drugs and the certain violence that is part and parcel of the drug business.

There is a push by Libertarians, Democrats and some Republicans to legalize medical marijuana. This effort is only the first step, like in Colorado, to the full legalization of marijuana, like in Florida. By legalizing marijuana you legalize the cartels and the culture of death that comes with them and their drugs. President Obama gave banks permission to do business with marijuana distributors.

Sheila Polk in her op-ed column “Legalized marijuana: Colorado kids are paying the price” writes:

On Jan. 1, Colorado opened its doors to this nation’s first legal sale of recreational marijuana. Lost in the buzz is the documented impact of legal marijuana on Colorado children.

The reality about today’s marijuana, an addictive substance whose average potency has dramatically increased from 3 percent THC in the 1990s to almost 15 percent, should change everything that people think they know about the drug.

[ … ]

Past 30-day use of marijuana by teens 12 to 17 is highest in medical-marijuana states. In Denver between 2004 and 2010, past 30-day users of marijuana ages 12 and up increased 4.3 percent, while the increase for the nation was 0.05 percent.

By 2010, past 30-day use for this age group was 12.2 percent, compared to 6.6 percent for the country. One in six kids who start using marijuana becomes addicted.

Read more.

The below video is by the National Rifle Association. It is a different approach for the NRA in that it links the violence and the effort to demonize guns by President Obama, Michael Bloomberg, candidate for Florida governor Charlie Crist and others. We now know due to the work of bloggers and authors like Katie Pavlich, that these guns were provided by our own government in an operation named “Fast and Furious.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABCDEFGH[/youtube]

Polk concludes with:

What can Arizona learn from this?

Lesson Number 1: We should not rush to experiment with an entire generation of our young people by legalizing marijuana. Use of marijuana by Arizona’s 8th, 10th and 12th graders has already increased by 14.4 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Lesson Number 2: We must build an environment in which every child can learn and thrive. That must include funding public education to heighten awareness about the harms of marijuana. Every child can succeed when adults believe in them and create safe communities for them.

Marijuana is never part of that equation.

A wise warning indeed. Drugs, children, violence and guns make for a toxic combination.

EDITORS NOTE: Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney and co-chair of MATFORCE, the Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition. The featured image is courtesy of  activist Thomas Good, who is in costume – “recruiting” for the military as the Grim Reaper, October 2007. The photograph was taken by the subject’s 14-year-old son, Nathaniel Good. In March of 2007 the photo was reprinted as the cover shot on “Peacework” magazine, a publication of the American Friends Service Committee.

RELATED COLUMN: Swiss model helps curb heroin addiction | FLORIDA TODAY | floridatoday.com

The Fallacy of “Reasonable” Gun Control Laws

The Second Amendment clause, “The right of the people,” indicates that the framers were acknowledging a right rather than granting a right. Therefore, this right “to keep and bear arms” is an inherent and intrinsic right that predates the Constitution. A preexisting right cannot ever be malum prohibitum – wrong because legislatures, courts or political correctness says it’s wrong.

Regardless of recent Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decisions supporting this legal fact, our detractors have continued to work to disparage our right. Their next assault might be to the effect that, though the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) is an individual right, it is not absolute. They will contend that even a SCOTUS mandate is not absolute and thus is subject to restrictions.

Contrary to what some over zealous pro-gunners want to believe, the antis are correct inasmuch as the RKBA is not an absolute. Stay with me, now. If it was, we would have to allow little children and prison inmates to keep and bear arms. Therefore, some limits must be acceptable. But limits do not mean anything the legislature/courts want it to be. Bearing arms is not an absolute right under all conditions anymore than free speech allows one to yell fire in a crowded building when there is no fire. The constitutional right to bear arms does have limits, but these confines are only limited to two factors: Citizenship and Other’s Rights.

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” Justice Louis Brandeis, 1927.”

CITIZENSHIP: At the time of the Constitution’s inception the framers, “all men in a man’s world,” clearly gave little thought to anyone other than the man as the defender of family, property or country. Whereas, in Eighteenth-Century England, only the landed rich were empowered to defend honor and country. This concept of all men being full citizens and having the right, empowerment and obligation to self-preservation was unique to America.

A citizen, circa 1785, was considered to be any white, American, male over the age of 21 and not a felon. The idea of civilian gun controls was unconscionable. It is was also inconceivable that a Thomas Jefferson or a James Madison would refuse to take a musket away from a drunk, a child or someone conspicuously deranged. Had one been able to ask these learned, most-sacred-document framers of the conflict of such a restrictive action; they most likely would have replied with words to the effect that the drunk or mental incompetent were, at least temporarily, not citizens. A child was, of course, not a man and a felon had forsaken his citizenship.

The controversy of the 2nd Amendment exists because, erroneously, some have insisted that the right to keep and bear arms is a state (as in Ohio, Texas, Florida) right and not an individual right. However, it is clear that the first clause: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, means a free America. The word “state” also means nation/country, such as “the State of Israel” or “the Arab States” or “Secretary of State”. In other words, the nation can best form a well regulated militia (army/navy) if its militia (originally, men between the ages of 18 and 45) are free to keep and bear arms.

With the ratification of the 13th, 14th and 19th Amendments all of-age Americans were recognized as full, ruling-class citizens. Arms possession was, AND STILL IS, the signature of being a citizen – not a subject to some monarchy and most assuredly not mentally inept, a child, a felon, or a substance abuser.

OTHER’S RIGHTS: Violating the rights of others is cause to restrict gun rights. Allowing certain persons, such as children, felons, drunks, etc., to possess firearms most assuredly creates a substantial risk of loss of someone’s life or liberty. However, restricting the RIGHT of a law-abiding, bona fide citizen from carrying a firearm that is concealed from public view where it can not induce panic or be available to a snatch-and-grab thief, does not present a substantial risk of damage to anyone. Likewise, machine guns, assault rifles, or short-barreled shotguns, while in the possession of law-abiding citizens, are of no danger to others.

Constitutional rights are only such when they don’t infringe on the constitutional rights of others. One’s right to swing his fist ends where the other person’s nose begins. Of course, if one keeps his fist concealed in his pocket he is violating no ones rights. On the same token, if a law-abiding citizen goes about his legal business with a firearm concealed in his pocket he is no more infringing the rights of any other person than the theater-goer who keeps the word “fire” concealed in his mouth.

Some citizens might wish to exercise their right to the “pursuit of happiness” by not wanting to be in the presence of guns. On their own property, not accessible to the public, they can do as they please. However, where public property is involved such as court houses, police stations and legislatures guns can be restricted by instituting the use of metal detectors and storage boxes that the carrier can store his/her gun until he/she leaves that secure area.

But, what about the reasonableness factor? Other “rights” such as those found in the Third, Fourth and Eight Amendments are subject to this doctrine of reasonableness – why not the Second? Our enemies might argue, that, under the reasonableness doctrine, it is reasonable to ban certain types of arms or exclude bearing of arms into specified locations without incorporating metal detectors/lock boxes.

Unlike other Articles and Amendments there is no such provision for “reasonableness” in the Second Amendment. Discretion is not part of the right to bear arms. In other portions of our Constitution we see the following discretionary wording:

Article I, Section 4: “Each house may determine the rules….”

Amendment III: “…but in a manner prescribed by law.”

Amendment IV: “…against unreasonable searches…upon probable cause.”

Amendment VIII: “Excessive bail….nor excessive fines…nor unusual punishments”

If the framers of the Constitution had intended for the bearing of arms to be anything other than what it says, they would have included in the Second Amendment subjective words or terms such as “reasonable,” “excessive,” “prescribed-by-law,” “upon-probable cause,” “unusual,” or “may”.

Reading discretionary or reasonableness provisions into the Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights, is no different than reading the First Amendment to say: “Congress shall make no UNREASONABLE law respecting an establishment of religion…” If the legislature or the courts are permitted to insert reasonableness into the Second Amendment, what’s to prevent them from saying a national church or attending church only on Tuesdays is not unreasonable. Not in America, not yet anyway!

SUMMARY: The Second Amendment RKBA is a conditional absolute right. Conditional, insomuch as restrictive conveyances can only be based on citizenship and the rule of other’s rights. In other words, if you are not precluded from owning a gun and your exercising of this right does not infringe on anyone else’s right, you can bear any type of arm anywhere you wish.

Until such time as the Constitution is amended, keeping and bearing any type of arms is an intrinsic and absolute right for all citizens. While on the other hand, non-citizens do not have an absolute right to a firearm. However temporary that condition might be. The “American ruling class” (aka voters), if they so desire, can change the definition of citizen or establish some restrictions – but ONLY by amending the Constitution.

Though voters may change the Constitution and are empowered to repeal portions or amendments thereof, they may not abolish intrinsic and fundamental rights such as the right to self-protection and the means to maintain that right.

Copyright 2014 Chuck Klein

Connecticut State Trooper on Gun Law: “I will not register my AR-15. Governor Malloy is a joke!”

Gun-lines-firearm-gun-registration

Gun registration line in Middletown, Connecticut.

Today I saw pictures of people lining up in Middletown, Connecticut registering their guns and giving up their unalienable Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

I immediately called the Connecticut State Police and spoke to a State Trooper. I identified myself as Senior Chief Petty Officer Geoff Ross, US Navy retired. I stated my friends in Connecticut will not comply with this unconstitutional law first implemented in Germany by Adolf Hitler under the “1938 Weapons Act of NAZI Germany“.  The 1938 Weapons Act stated in part:

§ 1

Jews (§ 5 of the First Regulations of the German Citizenship Law of 14 November 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt 1, p. 1332) are prohibited from acquiring. Possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons. Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority.

§ 2

Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew’s possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation.

The State Trooper agreed with me and stated he “will not enforce this unconstitutional law.” He stated that he “will not register his AR-15, weapons and magazines.” He thinks “Governor Malloy is a joke.” I am withholding his name for his protection. We hit it off as if old friends.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) is participating in a legal challenge of the new law – Shew vs. Malloy. Pending a court challenge the CCDL is reminding gun owners that the deadline to register and declare the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is upon them. According to the CCDL website oral arguments are set for Shew vs. Malloy in the US District Court, District of Connecticut, on January 30, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. EST  at the Federal Courthouse in Courtroom One, 450 Main St., Hartford, before Judge Alfred Covello. The proceedings are open to the public.CCDL advises, “If you want a seat in the courtroom, you will need to arrive early.”

I then called Governor Malloy’s office at 860-566-4840 and spoke to a staffer who laughed when I told her Governor Malloy was violating the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. I told her that I will now travel frequently through Connecticut and I will not register my weapons when I do. I then told her if Governor Malloy wants my weapons he can come and get them himself. She promptly hung up.

I sent an email to Governor Malloy’s office. I am also writing a letter to the Commander of the Connecticut State Police, Colonel Danny R. Stebbins, asking him if he will comply with this law or the US Constitution. A copy of the letter will be sent to Governor Malloy. Stay tuned for their replies.

Residents in Connecticut were confronted with the reality that their constitutionally protected rights are not inalienable as they stood in long lines to register their firearms. The registration is mandated by the state’s new gun law, which went into effect on January 1, 2014.

Talking Points Memo reports, “Under a wide-ranging gun control law, passed earlier this year in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, gun owners have until Tuesday to submit the paperwork.” The new law also prohibits the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Below the acknowledgement of my email from Malloy’s office:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your correspondence to Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Your email has been received and is in the process of being reviewed. If appropriate, a member of Governor Malloy’s staff will respond to you shortly

If you are in need of more immediate assistance, please feel free to call our office at 860.566.4840 or 1.800.406.1527, Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:00AM and 5:00PM.

Thank you for contacting our office.

Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy

RELATED COLUMN: Gun Control, the Jews, and the Third Reich

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.

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

Infographic: As gun sales rise gun crimes plummet

Florida has over one million citizens with concealed carry permits. This does not include the millions more who own a firearm in the state. Florida has come under scrutiny for its Stand Your Ground laws, which protect citizens who are protecting themselves. Gun rights are embedded in America’s history, a part of the Constitution and a right of law abiding citizens.

This infographic is from the National Shooting Sports Foundation says it all.

Gun Crimes Plummet Even As Gun Sales Rise

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

About the National Shooting Sports Foundation

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 8,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers.

Firearms Freedom Act coming to Florida?

The SWFL Citizens Alliance has been working to get Florida to be one of the next states to pass a Second Amendment Protection and Firearms Freedom Act. This is happening while Democrats are trying to repeal Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

A Firearms Freedom Act passed in Kansas this year. Proponents see it is a strong statement of “State Sovereignty” based on both the Commerce Clause and the 2nd, 9th and 10th Amendments of the US Constitution.

Map of states that have passed, introduced or are considering a Firearms Freedom Act. For a larger view click on the map.

In an email the SWFL Citizens Alliance states, “We have met with and have the support of 7 of our 8 FL House and Senate delegation from Southwest Florida. Rep Matt Hudson submitted the Kansas bill to Florida House Bill writing team and we have a Florida Draft of the bill – see attachedRep. Dane Eagle volunteered to sponsor this bill and our SWFL delegation strongly supports him to sponsor the House version of this bill.”

“We have had lengthy conference calls with the Kansas Sponsor of their bill, Rep. John Rubin and the NRA Affiliate, Patricia Stoneking, who was co-author of their KS Bill,” notes the Alliance.

The Alliance had a booth at the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Summer Conference. Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk introduced the Florida draft legislation during the conference. The sheriffs agreed by consensus to ask their Legislative Committee to consider including this in their 2014 Legislative Agenda. The FSA Legislative Committee meets on August 30th.

The Alliance is seeking a Senate sponsor, with “several Senators contacted who are reviewing the draft legislation”.

September 23, 2013 is the first Florida Committee week in Tallahassee. The Alliance hopes to get teams from 8-10 counties to meet with various Committee heads to insure the Second Amendment Protection and Firearms Freedom Act is a priority for both House and Senate in the 2014 cycle.

Read the SWFL Citizens Alliance mission and vision statement here.

Miami, FL: Good guy with a gun, stops bad guy with a gun

This story is courtesy of Michael Dorstewitz from BizPac Review:

National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne LaPierre recently remarked, “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Florida man made this point crystal clear over the weekend.

At a Burger King on Miami’s Biscayne Blvd., a robber walked in, displayed his gun and demanded that a family turn over its valuables, according to NBC-6 News Miami.

What the robber didn’t consider is that Floridians respect the Constitution, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The father pulled out his own firearm and shot the robber in the leg.

Read more.

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.