Back in Session

Congress returns this month — make your voice heard

Something remarkable happened on the last Friday in March gun owners should habitually remind their congressional representatives about as they return to work in September.

A federal judge in San Diego ruled the California ban on so-called “high capacity magazines” was unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote in his 86-page ruling:

“Congress tried for a decade the nationwide experiment of prohibiting large capacity magazines. It failed. California has continued the failed experiment for another decade and now suggests that it may continue to do so ad infinitum without demonstrating success. That makes no sense.”

The case is Duncan v. Becerra, and it just might wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

With Democrats in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, they have launched a variety of gun control efforts, perhaps based on faulty or misleading data and it is time to call them out. If a federal judge can do it in the most liberal circuit in the nation, then Second Amendment activists can do it at home.

Refute misleading rhetoric with facts. Back in December 2018, a story in the New York Times declared:

“More people died from firearm injuries in the United States last year than in any other year since at least 1968, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There were 39,773 gun deaths in 2017,” the report continued, “up by more than 1,000 from the year before. Nearly two-thirds were suicides. It was the largest yearly total on record in the CDC’s electronic database, which goes back 50 years, and reflects the sheer number of lives lost.”

At least the story didn’t call all of those people “gun violence victims,” which is a long-standing habit of the gun control crowd. Indeed, the Times article made it clear far more people took their own lives than there were crime victims, and it is an important distinction. When you can separate the actual number of homicide victims from those suicides and accident victims, one gets a better perspective about possible courses of action.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2017, of the 15,129 murders reported during the year, 10,982 people were killed with firearms, a terrible number by any definition. Balance this against the estimated 80 million to 100 million gun owners and, by some estimates, more than 350 million privately owned firearms, which weren’t involved in any sort of crime — it amounts to a fraction of a fraction.

There are a couple of other numbers from 2017 one should remember. Of the 2017 firearm-related slayings, 403 were known to have been committed with rifles and 264 with shotguns. The same year, 1,591 people were murdered with knifes or “cutting instruments.” Another 467 were killed with blunt objects and 692 were beaten or stomped to death (hands and/or feet).

So far, nobody has demonized knives, hammers, crowbars, golf clubs, baseball bats or other things used to commit murder. Only firearms get the treatment. It doesn’t hurt to ask why.

Understanding how the gun control crowd plays the numbers game makes it possible to offer a reasoned counter-argument.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Here Came The Judge

When it comes to making good arguments, there may be nothing better than the wisdom from Judge Benitez, a 2004 George W. Bush nominee. Elections do matter. Can you imagine a federal District Court judge nominated by Al Gore, or Hillary Rodham Clinton, writing the following?

“That large capacity magazines are useful in military service, there is no doubt. But the fact that they may be useful, or even ‘most useful,’ for military purposes does not nullify their usefulness for law-abiding responsible citizens. It is the fact that they are commonly-possessed by these citizens for lawful purposes that places them directly beneath the umbrella of the Second Amendment.” —U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez

An appeal by anti-gun rights California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was guaranteed the moment Judge Benitez released his ruling and he moved fast, asking for a stay of the ruling while it was being appealed. Becerra will defend his turf, even if it amounts to a legal landfill where, beneath a benign-looking surface there lies a mass of rotten legislation designed solely to erode the rights of honest citizens.

Judge Benitez offered so many juicy passages in his ruling it is difficult to pick the best with which rights activists can make an argument. But here’s one we found particularly relevant:

“Mass shootings are tragic. But they are rare events. And of these rare events, many are committed without large capacity magazines. For example, in the two high school incidents in 2018 one assailant used a shotgun and a .38 revolver (at Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas) while the other used an AR-15-style rifle but with 10-round magazines (at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida). In the attack at the Capital Gazette newspaper (Annapolis, Maryland), 5 people were killed and 2 injured by an assailant with a shotgun and smoke grenades. The Attorney General has not supplemented the record with a police report of the single mass shooting in California last year (at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California). However, press reports indicate the shooter used a legally purchased pistol with an ‘extended magazine.’ Another report said seven 30-round magazines were found at the scene. Eighteen years of a state ban on acquiring large-capacity magazines did not prevent the assailant from obtaining and using the banned devices.”

Translation: All of those California restrictions enacted over the years haven’t really accomplished anything. If a federal judge can figure this out, why can’t state and federal lawmakers? If you, the gun rights activist, can reason this through, why can’t those who support restrictive gun laws?

The answer is simple. They don’t want to, and they don’t care that you do. Their agenda isn’t about public safety, it’s about public disarmament, and explaining this may require a bit of political incorrectness.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Your Assignment, Should You Accept It?

There will be more federal judicial appointments by President Donald Trump. Do your homework, find out about each nominee and support the confirmation of those who understand the Second Amendment doesn’t grant a right, it protects a right, and it is equal to all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights.

The chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee is Lindsey Graham. He’s the South Carolina Republican who unleashed a blistering verbal slapdown of Democrats on the committee a year ago, in the aftermath of the attempt to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court (he may be contacted at 290 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, [202] 224-5972,

While Sen. Graham might prefer to hear from his South Carolina constituents, in his role as chairperson of a powerful Senate committee, he should anticipate hearing from citizens who live in other states. It’s your right and his responsibility.

One Thing More

In 2018 the Senate did not act on National Concealed Carry Reciprocity legislation, allowing it to die after the House of Representatives approved the bill in late 2017.

Back in January, legislation was reintroduced as the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. We’ll put something to rest right now because the rumor mill works overtime in an effort to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

According to South Dakota Sen. John Thune’s website, this legislation does not establish national concealed carry standards and it does not provide for a national concealed carry permit. Got it?

Also, this legislation does not allow a resident to circumvent their home state’s concealed carry permit laws, Thune’s website continues.

All state laws concerning where and where not to carry are respected. No state laws are overridden, even if anti-gunners claim otherwise.

With Congress returning in September, and the traditional summer vacation season ending, it is now time to get politically active. Don’t just work yourselves into a frenzy. Channel your energy and accomplish something besides yelling at the television or nodding your head at the latest Fox News report.

Find out who your two U.S. Senators are and connect with them here:

Remind your senator there are now 16 states with “constitutional carry” (no permit or license required), and three joined the category just this year. Passage of a national reciprocity bill could bring it a step closer for the entire country.

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