Unless one was hiding under a rock in East Timor, it is hard to escape the 24/7 coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder case. The accused is Floridian, George Zimmerman, a self-described “captain of the neighborhood watch” program, and the victim, Trayvon Martin was a black, 17-year-old, six-foot football player shot after “some sort” of struggle.
So far the case is lean on evidence and robust on speculation. The incident actually occurred in February with little fanfare, but with the advent of social media, the self-defense/murder case percolated and finally boiled over into a second-degree murder charge.
The increased media coverage brought out the usual civil rights’ suspects, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the New Black Panthers all migrated to Florida to fan the flames with the typical race-baiting cliches, calling for large-scale marching and promising civil unrest if their demands were not met.
Enter anti-gun activist NYC Mayor Bloomberg
The anti-gun NYC mayor wasted little time inserting his beliefs into the nation’s Stand Your Ground Laws. Yesterday he addressed the Washington DC media at the National Press Club where the Mayor proffered his latest disarming campaign aptly named “Second Chance on Shoot First.”
The national campaign seeks to change the law in 25 states making Bloomberg’s plea a tall order, especially since the states followed a strict legislative process before governors signed the bills into law. However, Mr. Bloomberg seems to disagree with the legal process state’s adhere to before they “make law.”
“The fact is, all Americans already have a right to defend themselves with commensurate force,” Bloomberg said in DC, “but these ‘Shoot First’ laws have nothing to do with that or with the exercise of Second Amendment rights, instead they justify civilian gunplay and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results.”
Bloomberg further disparaged the 25 states and added the National Rifle Association (NRA) into the mix by accusing them of endorsing “vigilante justice,” that amounted to nothing more than “a license to murder.”
“The laws are not the kind of laws a civilized society should have and the (National Rifle Association) should be ashamed of themselves,” Bloomberg shot back. “This has nothing to do with gun-owners’ rights. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.”
The well-known anti-gun activist, Mayor continued his pandering and stated, it’s “plain and simple, this (Stand Your Ground) is just trying to give people a license to murder. The NRA’s leaders weren’t interested in public safety. They were interested in promoting a culture where people take the law into their own hands with a gun and face no consequences for it.”
Mayor Bloomberg rages at anti-gun campaign
The Mayor appeared visibly angry as he told a Daily Caller reporter he couldn’t believe she would bother asking a question about the $10,000 “dead or alive” bounty offered by the New Black Panther Party for the “capture” of George Zimmerman.
“I don’t know that to be the case,” Bloomberg told the reporter. “Anybody who puts a bounty on somebody else’s life is acting totally inappropriately and I’m outraged to even be asked the question. Whadya think? I didn’t even know about it until you just told me, thank you very much,” he finished.
Yet, Bloomberg’s claim of not knowing about the New Black Panther bounty placed on Mr. Zimmerman is disingenuous at best.
“Like Mayor Bloomberg’s other efforts to disarm law-abiding Americans and criminalize the exercise of fundamental civil rights protected under the Second Amendment, his position on ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws is simply misguided. The laws are designed to keep innocent victims of violent crime, who are forced by their attacker to use a gun in self-defense, from being improperly prosecuted,” said Brandon Combs of The Calguns Foundation.
This isn’t the first time the NYC mayor accused the NRA of encouraging a well-armed citizenry while innocent victims pay the ultimate price. Bloomberg pointed out that U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would require all states to recognize conceal-carry permits just two-weeks after Trayvon Martin’s untimely death. When contacted about the flagrant assertions made by Mayor Bloomberg, the NRA declined to jump into the political fray and respectfully declined to comment.
Again, Bloomberg assumed details surrounding the controversial Florida incident without knowing the facts and went on to brandish local law enforcement authorities about gun laws when his City is one of a handful that has witnessed increased gun crime rates despite implementing the toughest laws in the nation.
“In fact, Florida authorities have still not, as far as I know, revoked George Zimmerman’s concealed carry permit. So if Congress passed the legislation today, he could legally carry a gun in New York City,” he finished. Such conceal-carry laws would dramatically affect Mayor Bloomberg’s confiscatory procedures of seizing legal guns transported through NY airports as previously detailed by this reporter (see below).
However, Bloomberg does know a little about unlawful justice. The self-appointed food police mayor has recently banned trans-fat oils in his city, blocked homeless shelters from receiving food donations that don’t meet his healthy standards and supports warrantless scanning of citizens on NY streets.
Some might even say Bloomberg is a de facto dictatorial mayor who has no problem rearranging the rules. A prime example of this is the mayor’s audacity to change the law limiting the mayor to two terms so he could serve a third term.
The NY Times; asserted Bloomberg, leveraged his billions to “to win three terms as New York City’s mayor. Exercising power through a commingling of electoral clout, personal wealth and private philanthropy, (that) Mr. Bloomberg won in 2001 and 2005.”
Presumed guilty until proven innocent
Zimmerman “was a man with a history of violence,” Bloomberg said in prepared statement. “I can tell you in New York we would never allow such an individual to carry a gun and neither would many other states.”
Clearly, the mayor failed to inquire about Zimmerman’s history. NBC news found only one incident concerning Zimmerman.
According to the NBC’s Nightly News, “Zimmerman had a run-in with police years before shooting Martin in February 2012. The Florida native was arrested in Orlando in 2005 for “obstructing justice’ and ‘resisting an officer with violence’ during an alcohol-control arrest at a college bar. Zimmerman’s actions resulted in a misdemeanor charge and court-ordered anger-management classes.”
Bloomberg wasn’t the only U.S. official to weigh in on the Florida tragedy. President Obama famously told the White House press pool a few weeks ago “if I had a son he would look like Trayvon.”
Not one to shy away from racially charged issues, Eric Holder the Department of Justice Attorney General attending yesterday’s Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention held in Washington, D.C., answered a question with the following explanation:
“We will examine the facts and the law if we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime we will take appropriate action the facts and the law will guide us forward,” Holder responded. “I have great faith in our justice system. The truth will ultimately be determined and appropriate action will be taken,” Holder claimed.
What is self-defense or Stand Your Ground?
According to Adam Winkler, Professor of Law for UCLA; “The Stand Your Ground law won’t likely offer Zimmerman much of a defense in this case, but nevertheless may still be relevant. In particular, the law offers Zimmerman the possibility of avoiding a trial. The real impact of Stand Your Ground laws is not in their expansion of the right of self-defense to the public streets — many states, including my own liberal state of California, have allowed people to stand their ground for decades.”
“The innovation of Stand Your Ground laws is to establish procedures to reduce the likelihood that a person who kills in self-defense ever has to stand trial.
Traditionally, one claiming self-defense would have the opportunity to raise that defense at trial before a jury. In Florida, however, the Stand Your Ground law gives defendants like Zimmerman the right to a pre-trial hearing to challenge his indictment.
At this special pre-trial hearing, which will occur long before any jury trial, Zimmerman will have the opportunity to present evidence to a judge showing he acted in self-defense. If he can show that he was acting in self-defense by a “preponderance of the evidence” – legalese for “it’s more likely than not” — then the charges against him will be dropped and he’ll never face a jury. That burden of proof is not very demanding and requires a showing far less demanding than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” test used in criminal trials ordinarily,” Winkler reported.
There is no question that what happened to Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. A young man lost his life. But to blame this crime on firearms is equally wrong-headed. Every year 13,000-law enforcement agencies report their stats to the FBI and the numbers are thought provoking.
Violent crime is down, even with an uptick in firearm sales, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) preliminary 2011 crime data indicates a multi-year downward trend.
Now that Mr. Zimmerman has been arrested, it’s time for cooler heads to prevail and allow justice to do her job without the sensationalism of media seeking agitators.
To read past NYC Bloomberg verses the 1st and 2nd Amendments;
Unwitting airline passengers robbed of their 2nd Amendment rights in NYC
NYC continues to shakedown legal gun owners
New York City 1- US Constitution 0- NYC profits from seizure of legal guns
NYCLU challenges Constitutionally of NYC stop and frisk
NYC frisks & searches and violates civil liberties daily
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Supreme Court has taken up a Second Amendment case, the outcome will surely create changes in the way Americans are allowed to acquire firearms, what rules will be in play and what role cities and states will have in the right to own a gun.
In part the Second Amendment reads; a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Not only was this right given to all citizens of the U.S. for self-defense, but also the founding fathers wanted its citizenry to never fear their government.
The case currently before the High Court, McDonald verses Chicago, will take on the issue that states can regulate the ownership of handguns. McDonald a retired military man was stripped of his rights to own a handgun because Chicago passed stringent gun ownership rules. He is fighting back.
“It’s a basic question,” says the plaintiff Otis McDonald. “If these 12-13-year-olds can walk up and down the street with guns, I should be able to own one. I’ve paid my taxes and I have worked all my life. I have been open to governments and I’ve served my country in the Army. Why is it I can’t own a hand gun to protect my home?”
Many say this case has been a controversial issue the Supreme Court has not wanted to open for more than 200 years, but the pendulum of change is swinging in America.
The stakes are high and anyway you look at it the rules in the second Amendment will change.
Think of it as building a house. First you have to dig a hole, this is what the Heller case did when it ruled; “The Court recognized in the Heller case that the Second Amendment protects an individual right of a U.S. citizen in a federal enclave, so it is no stretch that a U.S. citizen would enjoy that same right anywhere in the United States,” according to Gun Owners of America who follow gun rights cases.
This case set up the pouring of the cement phase or foundation phase that now resides in the Supreme Court’s hands known as the McDonald case. All that is left is the architectural design or what the house will look like. The Court will first determine if the rights exist and then they will set up the regulations gun owners and states must abide by.
Activists behind McDonald explain that the reason they are pushing the Supreme Court to overrule another case called Slaughter-House has nothing to do with guns. Instead, these activists want to advance a libertarian agenda, in which federal judges could sit in judgment of state and local laws involving labor, employment, business regulations and other economic issues having nothing to do with guns.
Currently the Constitution is silent on these matters and Court members could be ruling in the favor of activists who want the courts to start declaring constitutional rights against such things, therefore giving federal judges the power to strike down laws of this sort that the judges don’t agree with.
While most agree the make up of the court assures at least a 5-4 ruling in favor of McDonald, Clayton Cramer, an expert in gun laws says this issue will come down to the 14th Amendment.
The dilemma with this approach is it could endanger gun rights. Most attorneys agree the narrower your focus when arguing a case, the Justices are more likely to rule in your favor. The consensus with the McDonald case is to keep the focus on the gun ownership issue.
Groups like the National Rifle Association will argue this is about the right to keep and bear arms “This is quite a lot to swallow under the best of circumstances. In a situation such as this, where the narrowest argument you can make is still a broad one with serious ramifications, pushing a much larger agenda than necessary starts to run the risk that the Court will choke on the whole thing.”
For this reason, the NRA is working hard to keep the focus of this case where it belongs, on gun rights. Whether the Second Amendment gives 300 million Americans a right against state or local laws that ban guns is a monumentally important issue for personal liberty, and so the NRA’s argument presents, only that issue before the justices.
Their argument stresses that the Court should apply (or “incorporate”) the Second Amendment to the states through the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause. Although this approach is beset with problems from a conservative legal perspective, it’s nonetheless how the Court has always tackled these issues and so it becomes the safest route for extending gun rights to the states.
Yet the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal advocacy group with ties to members of the Obama administration, is urging the justices to strike down the Illinois gun bans. The center says the case allows the court to correct a poor constitutional interpretation from the late 19th century and that establishing a federal right to self-defense could open the door to progressive readings of individual rights in future cases.
The attorney arguing McDonald’s case is Alan Gura, a conservative, and he is aiming to have the Supreme Court strike down the Illinois gun ban. He also says that a victory in gun cases could pave the way for future rulings that will bolster property rights and limit government power.
“This case will restore those (gun rights) to all with certain caveats,” Gura said in a Fox News interview. “The Bill of Rights protects an individual rights in this country.”
Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, observed the oral argument in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. He said, “In the two years since the Heller decision, courts throughout the country have rejected the arguments of gun criminals and the gun lobby that the Second Amendment enshrines their ‘any gun, anywhere, any time’ agenda.”
“The arguments seemed to indicate a consensus around the Court’s strong language in the Heller decision that reasonable restrictions on gun ownership are ‘presumptively lawful,” Helmke said. “The Supreme Court should maintain the limitations it set out in the Heller decision and defer to the judgments of our elected officials in protecting the public from gun violence.”
Taking the McDonald case one step further is Denis Henigan of the Brady Center. “I think there is broad legislative authority to reduce the risk from the right to own a gun and we hope the Court gives similar assurances in this case.”
Gura fired back and said, “The Supreme Court is a court of law, not a social science experiment and under the laws and the right in our Constitution is the right to keep and bear arms.”
An ardent supporter on the bench is Justice Scalia who wrote the majority opinion that invalidated Washington D.C.’s handgun ban, however he went a step further an stated that the Second Amendment, “if properly understood, there is no limitation upon arms control by the states.”
Justice Scalia wrote a book in 1997 titled, “A Matter of Interpretation,” where he viewed “the Second Amendment as a guarantee that the federal government would not interfere with the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
Now the McDonald case before the court sees the city of Chicago and their claims contrary to the Second Amendment and that it does limit arms control by the states.
Gun Owners of America argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should recognize a robust individual right to keep and bear arms that prohibits states and their subdivisions from infringing on that right. GOA urges the Court to guarantee citizens the right to keep and bear arms as a “privilege or immunity” of national citizenship under the Privileges and Immunities (P&I) clause of the 14th Amendment.
GOA also urged the Court to avoid reliance on the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause and its so-called Incorporation Doctrine. The Incorporation Doctrine was invented by judges manipulating the Due Process clause, but P&I is based on the actual words of the Constitution.
The Court has already recognized in the Heller case that the Second Amendment protects an individual right of a U.S. citizen in a federal enclave, so it is no stretch that a U.S. citizen would enjoy that same right anywhere in the United States. P&I will protect the rights of citizens who constitute the government – the same persons called “the people” in the Second Amendment, GOA contends.
Moreover, P&I would not be subject to erosion over time as justices on the court change, as has proven true with Due Process incorporation. There is little risk that the Supreme Court would later use the P&I clause to create new constitutional rights, such as for health or housing. If the McDonald decision relies on the Due Process clause, the result could be a weakening of the right to keep and bear arms as well as the invention of new rights – something that has already been done using that clause.
The NRA is also actively involved in the Supreme Court case and was allowed to present their argument for 10 of the 30 minutes to the Justices.
“As a party to the case, NRA argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today that the Second Amendment protects the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms no matter in which city or state one resides. We are optimistic the Court will hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment and that handgun bans, like those in the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park, are unconstitutional under any standard of judicial review,” said Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox of the NRA.
“This view is shared by a bipartisan group of 309 members of Congress from both chambers, 38 state attorneys general and the majority of the American people. We look forward to the decision by the Court later this Term.”
Just as history proves the United States is an ever-evolving country and through political parties the justice system moves like a pendulum. The economic upheaval has caused many to get back to basics. It appears that the pendulum is swinging from the left to the right.
One thing is certain in uncertain times Americans want the right to protect themselves. The McDonald case is 200 years in the making and the decision facing the Supreme Court is the fact that it is either a federal government right or a state’s right to apply the right to own a gun.
The rules de jour often embedded in our leaders are based on personal political beliefs rather than the personal individual needs of citizens.
There is now doubt America faces a different “wild west” scenario, but there is also no doubt the founding fathers made is very clear – Americans have the right to keep and bear arms.
This is part one in a series.
With the country busy talking about cap-and-trade, illegal immigration and health care, Congressmen Bobby Rush of Illinois slithered into committee legislation to curb American’s Second Amendment rights.
The Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record Sale Act of 2009 or HR 45 is set to amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Pursuant to the legislation, a person would have to be issued a firearm license and states such a license would have to renewed on a yearly basis.
Uncle Sam wants money from gun owners on a yearly basis and would most likely collect those fees through the 1040 tax form.
The new law would prohibit transferring a firearm to any family members unless they provide a valid firearm license. The license must be checked by a dealer by using an special authorization number.
The proposed legislation directs the Attorney General to establish and implement a federal record of the sale system. This would create another bureaucratic level for gun owners to jump through on a yearly basis.
HR 45 also seeks to charge gun owners with a crime if they do not comply with the instant criminal background check, fail to report a loss or theft of the gun within 72 hours, fail to notify the Attorney General’s office with a change in address within 60 days and keeping a firearm loaded.
Lawful gun owners have written the government regarding HR 45 stating the following; “Currently there are more than 20,000 existing gun laws on the books and most do nothing to curtail criminals…Where ever lawful ownership flourishes, crime rates, by what ever measure are reduced.”
There would also be a yearly fee attached for gun owners in order to pay for a new bureaucratic office the government would need to set up.
Gun rights’ activists are extremely hawkish when it comes to new legislation and this bill is no different. “If this bill passes, Democrats would likely lose control of their chamber in upcoming mid-term elections in 2010,” said Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
According to Keane, more than 80 million U.S. citizens currently own firearms.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
The quiet streets of this San Diego seaside community were awakened to the Second Amendment rights as 12 Californians walked the sidewalks with their firearms. Six of the 12 open carriers were women and six additional non-carriers handed out informational fliers to anyone who was interested.
Most of residents were curious about what was going on, some thought the open carriers were a part of law enforcement and a few were offended, but the morning event ended with educating the public about their right to carry a gun in the state of California.
Of coarse there are a few rules to be followed when taking your gun outside your home. First you need to be a registered gun owner, the weapon must be in a holster in plain site and it cannot be loaded. Ammunition is normally carried, but separate from the gun.
Once the group met, they notified the local law enforcement, as a courtesy, that they would be walking the downtown district of Encinitas.
“It’s awesome, we as Americans have the right to carry our guns and it can’t be taken away from us,” said Rochelle Howes, fellow open carrier participant. “This is my second open carry and it amazes me that some law enforcement officers don’t know we have this right.”
Fellow gun advocate, Mari Hayden, says this is her first open carry event. “This is great. I just talked to an off-duty officer who said they were creeped out by this right, but I told her I was creeped out that she was a cop.”
Another fellow carrier was Rosa Garcia, a Mexican immigrant who came here legally with a sponsor; “I do this to share quality time with my sons.” The Garcia’s are belong to the San Diego Minutemen group and since they’ve lost their business due to illegal immigration, they depend on the kindness of the Minutemen for help to get by in the tough recession.
When it comes to the importance of being able to carry their firearms, many open carriers had different reasons for the educational walk through Encinitas.
“I will save a liberals’ life even if they won’t save mine,” says Pendry Boteler. “I don’t mine though because I’ve been around guns my whole life.”
The goal of this group is to exercise this right in every North San Diego County city in order to educate as many Americans as possible, says Jeff Schwilk founder of the San Diego Minutemen.
Not everyone was convinced this was a good idea. A few residents left their table outside a café and said, “You people are nuts and paranoid. You shouldn’t want guns in your Christian nation.”
However across the plaza the group ran into current City Council member and former Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalager. “I’m not used to seeing people walk down the street openly carrying guns. I’m not endorsing it, but I’m not freaked out by it either.”
He continued to say that growing up he used guns and referred to them as tools that they used on the property to get the fox out of the chicken coop.
Finally one of the carriers drove down from Orange County to learn about the organization in hopes of bringing a chapter to the Orange County area in a few months.
Vincent Burke is a lifetime National Rifle Association member and assists the U.S. Border Patrol on the U.S./Mexico border in counter-narco terrorism activity. “It’s tough work, but someone’s got to do it.”
Once the streets were safe and the group hungry, they all ended their day at Giovanni’s Italian restaurant on Hwy 101 for lunch, guns and all.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner