In The Supreme Court

Inside An Amicus Brief Backing Right-To-Carry In New York

Sometime next month, the United States Supreme Court will hand down a long-awaited ruling in a case challenging the restrictive and arbitrary carry permitting process in New York State, and one amicus (“friend of the court”) brief filed by a national gun rights organization gives us a unique historical perspective.

The brief was filed last year by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, an often-overlooked grassroots gun rights group with a special interest in the case. Beyond the fact that its very title says this organization is devoted to bearing arms, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSR&PA) — which brought the lawsuit — is a CCRKBA state affiliate. No way CCRKBA was going to sit on the sidelines in this case.

The 36-page brief was submitted by attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay with the Benbrook Law Group, PC of Sacramento, Calif. Right up front, the CCRKBA explains, “America is and always has been a place where violence and disorder lurk just below the surface of civilization. The American constitutional system, with all of its enduring genius, cannot change this fact of human nature.”

A few lines later, the brief states what may be at the core of the argument against New York’s restrictive carry permit scheme.

“The term ‘first responder’ would have struck colonists as odd,” the brief observes, “as law enforcement was not designed to ‘respond’ quickly to violent situations: the people were their own first responders. While law enforcement has advanced in reach and technological capacity, the police are not organized to be on the scene at a moment’s notice to prevent violence. The people remain primarily responsible for preventing crime and protecting themselves.”

And only a single paragraph later, CCRKBA lowers the proverbial boom on the present social state, with its continued civil unrest, with protests targeting police, Supreme Court justices, churches and just about any entity they don’t agree with.

“The fragility of civilization is on full display in America today,” the brief states. “Violent riots erupted throughout the Nation in 2020, and violence has remained elevated as police—already strained and now under political assault—have retreated in major cities. Just as in periods of social and political unrest and conflict in prior centuries, a surge in violent crime has followed the breakdown of social order.”

Here’s The Problem

When CCRKBA filed its brief, Chairman Alan Gottlieb said in a prepared statement, “Police in New York have traditionally been arbitrary in their decisions about who does, and who doesn’t, get a carry permit … In an age of reductions in police numbers and increasing violence, people must be able to become their own first responders. Law-abiding armed citizens are as important now as they ever were.”

The CCRKBA brief is a historical look at early America, where there was no 9-1-1 and no telephones to call for help. When our forefathers were suddenly faced with an emergency, they had to deal with it right there on the spot. There were no police, and there wasn’t even a Marshal Matt Dillon.

In New York, and seven other states, government has literally removed the right of the people to bear arms in their own defense, turning it into a government-regulated privilege. NYSR&PA finally had enough.

This isn’t the organization’s first rodeo. A couple of years ago, NYSR&PA sued New York City over a handgun ordinance so restrictive in nature that it prohibited owners of licensed handguns from taking their firearms outside the city, for any purpose. When the Supreme Court agreed to review that case, city officials tripped over themselves in a scramble to repeal the ordinance to avoid a high court ruling.

I believe that rushed reform came because the city knew all along it’s restriction was unconstitutional and city fathers simply did not want the Court to say so, thus setting a precedent anti-gunners would choke on.

This time around, New York State didn’t attempt to change things. This was under the administration of disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who may have thought he’d get away with it.

Gun prohibition lobbying groups have been whining for weeks, pushing the notion that their supporters need to turn out this November to elect a roster of so-called “Gun Sense” politicians. The theory is these gun grabbers will be able to legislatively dance around anything the high court hands down. This bears watching.

This is how a lot of guns are stolen. They’re left in a vehicle (often unlocked), where thieves can grab them quickly.

Meanwhile, Gun Thefts Increase

This may appear to be blasphemy, but NBC News recently reported on a “study” done by the Everytown for Gun Safety gun control lobbying group that actually has some merit, sort of.

According to NBC, in 271 small-to-large cities during 2020, “an estimated 77,000 guns were reported stolen” and more than half were taken from vehicles.

Show of hands — how many people reading this have left a gun in their car? A former Seattle, Washington police chief left a Glock 9mm pistol in his parked department-owned car several years ago. When he returned, the gun was gone and it has never been recovered to my knowledge. CCRKBA offered a reward for the recovery of the gun and prosecution of the thief. No takers.

The NBC report also noted last year’s gun thefts just in South Carolina tallied “more than 5,100.” That was up from “roughly 4,200 in 2019.”

No Background Checks

For the edification of people who think the answer to violent crime involving firearms is “universal background checks,” here’s a dose of reality: Stolen guns change hands without the benefit of background checks.

When thugs acquire stolen guns, they never fill out a Form 4473, never apply for a concealed carry license or permit to carry the thing in public, and they never, ever attend a firearms safety course. This seems to elude gun control proponents who never understand why the laws and regulations they support don’t reduce violent crime. When the number of “shots fired” reports rise, along with the body count in many jurisdictions, it’s irrefutable evidence the gun laws have failed. Do we ever scrap those laws? Oh, no, just add more.

One top cop in Virginia, Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot, was quoted in the NBC report explaining it has become a rare event to recover a gun at a crime scene which wasn’t stolen, often from a car.

NBC heard from a gun owner who believes people who leave guns in their unlocked cars ought to be prosecuted. His name is Patrick Schollaert, father of Caroline Schollaert. Last year, she spotted a guy breaking into her car. She armed herself, confronted the man and while she was talking to police on the phone, the suspect pulled a gun and fatally shot her. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department, the murder weapon “had been stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the same neighborhood 11 days before the shooting.”

Dave installed a Console Vault in his truck to hold a handgun securely in the
event he has to leave his sidearm in the vehicle. Better than having it stolen.

Get A Safe

Some years back, I acquired a gun safe called a Console Vault. It has a three-digit combination lock and is designed to fit into the console of my pickup. Crafted from steel, this little locker installed easily (took me about 20 minutes one afternoon) and keeps a gun secure.

Whatever it costs, the sum is much less than the gun such a device protects, or the life that might be saved to prevent some thief from ripping you off. This thing is capable of holding a Colt Commander or similar-sized Kimber, or my Model 19 Smith & Wesson with its 2.5-inch barrel, plus spare ammunition.

Car security vault models come in several sizes. Dave’s has room inside to hold a pistol and spare magazines.

Never leave a gun in your vehicle overnight, else you might become the new poster child for “Everytown for Gun Safety.”

Money Talks

Last month something important happened that got almost no publicity, perhaps because it revealed the mountains of money put into the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund by firearms and ammunition manufacturers — and in turn, sportsmen and women, and gun owners — since 1937.

That was when Congress passed the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Fund. In May, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported the fund had crossed the $15 billion threshold. Show me another segment of the population able to make such a boast.

Named for its primary sponsors, Nevada Senator Key Pittman and Virginia Congressman Absalom Willis Robertson, it is a federal act that makes sportsmen and women, and non-hunting gun owners and recreational shooters the leaders in conservation. What other segment of the population can say its money has purchased critical wildlife habitat for elk, deer, waterfowl, upland game and non-game species?

Some conservation organizations acknowledge the benefit to wildlife that comes from hunters and shooters. Good for them. When you consider the tens of millions of dollars raised annually by sportsman organizations to provide matching funds for wildlife conservation and enhancement projects, other groups that make a habit of trying to block hunting seasons or responsible management efforts involving wolves and black or grizzly bears are pretty much all hat and no cattle (ask somebody from Texas).

Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration funds are administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and annually apportioned to the states.

Uvalde Outrage

On Wednesday, May 25, in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, The Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms released the following joint statement:

Legitimate, law-abiding American gun owners are today as outraged and saddened as everyone else by the horrible acts of a crazed murderer in Uvalde, Texas. The Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms join our fellow citizens to grieve the unimaginable loss suffered by the Uvalde community and the citizens of Texas.

The past 24 hours have allowed us to learn far more about the killer and the circumstances surrounding his deplorable act of violence. Unlike anti-gun-rights politicians including Joe Biden, who quickly exploited this horror to push an agenda aimed at diminishing the Second Amendment and shifting blame to millions of gun owners, we waited for more information.

If there is blame beyond that of the killer, it must be shared by political leaders whose policies have turned our public schools into soft targets, and by self-appointed activists and school boards that have resisted school resource officer programs, opposed and prohibited programs that train teachers and staff to provide armed first response in an emergency, while perpetuating dangerous “Gun Free School Zone” laws.

President Biden demanded “commonsense gun laws.” We believe it is time for common sense, period. We spend billions of dollars on foreign aid. We can provide millions of dollars to local law enforcement agencies for school resource officers. We protect our politicians with armed security. Let’s protect our schools to the same degree.

Let’s take advantage of a great resource: our retired military and law enforcement professionals. They protected our nation and our communities. They can easily protect our school children.

Instead of demonizing gun owners and the firearms industry, bring them to the table and benefit from their knowledge. Together we can succeed where the gun prohibition agenda has disastrously and repeatedly failed.

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