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In a deliberate move to catch gun control activists off guard, an organization representing Colorado sheriffs in a lawsuit over a series of recently passed gun control laws abruptly announced the filing of the suit in federal court today.
“We did that deliberately,” David Kopel, an attorney with the Independence Institute, which is handling the case, said. “We wanted to catch our opponents who support gun control off guard.”
As recently as Wednesday, the Independence Institute was suggesting the filing was still a few weeks off. Appearing at a rally against another bill, Amy Oliver Cooke, wife of Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, said they were planning to file the suit in the next couple of weeks.
The suit, which was filed in federal district court, lists 54 out of the state’s 64 sheriffs as plaintiffs in the case.
Kopel says what is significant to note is that while not all sheriffs are party to the suit, not a single sheriff has come out in opposition to it.
Cooke had harsh words for critics in the media and others who questioned whether a government official should sue another government official.
“Some in the media … asked me if I think it’s a good idea or if it’s appropriate for [a] government official to sue another government official. My response is unequivocally yes. It is our duty and responsibility as sheriffs to protect the people who elected us and whom we serve.”
At a recent event in Fort Collins by the Independence Institute providing updates on the case, Cooke said he was proud that gun control supporters are nervous over the lawsuit.
“When we announced our opposition to these gun control laws, the Greeley Tribune ran a story titled, ’48 Sheriffs going Rogue on Guns,’” Cooke said. “They should be fearing us. What right does the state have dictating how many rounds of ammunition [a woman] can have to defend herself?”
The lawsuit isn’t just limited to law enforcement officials, but lists a variety of organizations including the Colorado Farm Bureau, which has expressed concerns about rural farmers and ranchers having to deal with predators, Women for Concealed Carry, and the Colorado Outfitters Association.
“We have a diverse number of plaintiffs in this case. We are celebrating diversity,” Kopel said. “The difference is we actually believe in genuine diversity.”
Cooke noted that the lawsuit was not a partisan issue, with Republican and Democratic sheriffs both taking part in the lawsuit.
“This is not about urban versus rural as the governor likes to portray it,” Cooke said. “We have rural and urban plaintiffs in this case. It is about the Constitution. It is about the 2nd and 14th amendments. The suit is about our way of life, our freedoms, our rights, our liberties which transcend political affiliation and place of residence.”
Within minutes following the announcement of the filing of the suit, Republican Atty. Gen. John Suthers, who will be defending the state in the lawsuit, finally issued a statement providing guidance to law enforcement on how they are supposed to enforce the new laws.
Under the existing laws, any magazine that holds greater than 15 rounds, or can be modified to hold greater than 15 rounds, is now illegal to purchase in the state. The problem is nearly all magazines are designed with features that make them readily expandable to hold more than 15 rounds. The law’s wording effectively bans all magazines in Colorado.
Suthers said in the guidelines that magazines “must be judged objectively” and that a magazine holding 15 rounds or fewer cannot be defined as “large capacity” just because it can be modified to hold more.
While those currently possessing magazines greater than 15 rounds, the law prevents the transfer of any of these magazines. The wording states the grandfather clause only applies as long as the holder “maintains continuous possession” of it. Cooke and other sheriffs have pointed out that based on this wording, anyone who gives their magazine to a gunsmith or asks for help on a shooting range with a jammed magazine is now violating the law.
Suthers said “an owner should not be considered to have transferred a large capacity magazine or lost continuous possession of it simply by handing it to a gunsmith, hunting partner, or an acquaintance at a shooting range.”
However, the problem is Suther’s statement is just what it says, guidance, and it does not hold the force of law. Any officer can choose to disregard Suther’s recommendations anytime he chooses in favor of the plain text of the law.
The lawsuit also claims the gun control measures violate the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as individual civil rights.
Dylan Harrell, one of the disabled plaintiffs in the case, said his disability, which confines him to a wheelchair often makes it more difficult for him to defend himself or his family. He also noted that as an outdoorsman, when exiting his vehicle he needs help.
“I often request the assistance for the safe handling of my firearms anytime I am transferring from a wheelchair to an ATV or another vehicle,” Harrell explained. “It is now against the law for me to even seek assistance anytime I am transferring my firearms for my wheelchair to another vehicle. I am filing this lawsuit on the half of all Coloradans with disabilities such as my own.”
The suit noted that disabled citizens often find it difficult to change magazines quickly, which could be a serious threat to their life if their weapon is needed for self-defense.
Colorado’s far left government this year is controlled by Democrats in the governor’s office, in the House and the Senate. They rammed through a number of gun restrictions and limits – at the behest of the White House.
During debate over the gun control measures, the vast majority of citizens testifying before the legislature were opposed to any new gun control laws. However, frequently their testimony was dismissed and treated with disdain by Democratic lawmakers who seemed to have already made up their minds about passing the laws.
State Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, scolded a witness opposing one of the gun restrictions.
Amanda Collins, 27, of Reno, Nev., was telling her story of being assaulted and explained that had she been carrying a concealed weapon, the incident might have ended differently.
“I just want to say that, actually statistics are not on your side even if you had a gun,” Hudak scolded. “And, chances are that if you would have had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you.”
Hudak continued, speaking over the committee witness, “The Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence says that every one woman who used a handgun in self-defense, 83 here are killed by them.”
Finally able to resume her testimony, Collins said, “Senator, you weren’t there. I know without a doubt [the outcome would have been different with a gun].
“He already had a weapon,” she told the meeting of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. “He didn’t need mine.”
LOS ANGELES — A California law that requires all semi-automatic handguns to be equipped with technology that stamps its identifying information on bullet casings is now in effect after years of delays.
Though signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007, the law couldn’t take effect as it was supposed to in 2010 because of patents on the technology, including at least one that had been bought up by a gun rights group to delay the law’s implementation.
On Friday, Attorney General Kamala Harris officially certified and announced that patents were no longer an issue. Former state Assemblyman Mike Feuer, who authored the law, hailed it as a “monumental day for law enforcement” and said it was the first such law to go into effect in the nation. Other states, notably New York, have looked at such a law, but have had troubles getting it passed.
“This very important technology will help us as law enforcement in identifying and locating people who improperly and illegally use and discharge firearms,” Harris said.
The law doesn’t impact the more than 1,200 guns already on the state’s official firearm roster. Only new or modified semi-automatic handguns sold in California must be equipped with the technology that “microstamps” a bullet casing with a code identifying a gun’s make, model and serial number whenever the gun is fired.
New guns are not often added to the roster and one is not expected this year, said Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office.
Gun rights groups argued that the law was an effective ban on new guns because of the burdens it places on manufacturers.
“Manufactures are not going to create a special run of firearms with all of these very burdensome manufacturing technologies just so they can comply and produce firearms for one market,” said Brandon Combs, executive director of the Calguns Foundation, a gun rights group based in San Carlos, Calif.
The Calguns Foundation extended a patent by paying a $555 fee, Combs said. He said the group was planning to conduct an “audit” of the state Department of Justice to determine whether the patents were truly “unencumbered.” The group has challenged requirements of the state’s handgun roster as unconstitutional in a federal court filing.
Feuer, who is running for LA city attorney, said the law would likely extend to other states which had been “looking to California to see if our law goes into effect.”
About 40 percent of California’s homicides are unsolved each year, most of which involve guns, Feuer said, but “we can do something to change that.”
U.S. Department of Justice/Office of Justice Programs/Bureau of Justice Statistics
In yet another example of the massive gap between the American people’s perception of what is going on around them (whether by propaganda channels or simply cognitive bias) and the actual reality, Reuters reports that while gun-related homicides are down 39% from the 1993 peak, only 12% of people believe that gun crimes have fallen. Non-fatal firearm crimes declined by 69% to 467,300 in the same period but 56% of Americans believe that gun crime is higher now than it was 20 years ago, the Pew Research Center said its poll showed. The dichotomy between record food stamp usage (and non-employment) and multi-year highs in consumer sentiment comes to mind – we wonder which is more ‘real’.
Highlights of the report:
Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011.
Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011.
For both fatal and nonfatal firearm victimizations, the majority of the decline occurred during the 10-year period from 1993 to 2002.
Firearm violence accounted for about 70% of all homicides and less than 10% of all nonfatal violent crime from 1993 to 2011.
About 70% to 80% of firearm homicides and 90% of nonfatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun from 1993 to 2011.
From 1993 to 2010, males, blacks, and persons ages 18 to 24 had the highest rates of firearm homicide.
In 2007-11, about 23% of victims of nonfatal firearm crime were injured.
About 61% of nonfatal firearm violence was reported to the police in 2007-11.
In 2007-11, less than 1% of victims in all nonfatal violent crimes reported using a firearm to defend themselves during the incident.
In 2004, among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of offense, less than 2% bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show and 40% obtained their firearm from an illegal source.
Males, blacks, and persons ages 18 to 24 were most likely to be victims of firearm violence
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News in Jefferson Country from Pie N Politics dot com Editor Liz Bowen: When purchasing a gun, California gun owners allow background checks. But, for reasons of privacy guaranteed by the Constitution, those records should be purged from the government computer system after the gun purchase.
Unfortunately, the State of Washington did not purge its background check system and thousands of social security numbers and over a million driver’s licenses were hacked yesterday.
The situation is appalling, according to the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Names and private information of over a million individuals’ should not have been in the system.
Either you support privacy, or you support criminals, said the Citizens Committee Chairman Alan Gottlieb. There’s no middle ground. The group insists the keeping of background check records — after the gun sale — should be abolished.
BELLEVUE, WA – Thursday’s revelation that the Washington State court system has been hacked and the records of hundreds of thousands of citizens may have been accessed clearly demonstrates why gun owners are adamantly opposed to background check records keeping, and want the state’s pistol registry destroyed, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said.
Reuters reported Thursday afternoon that up to 160,000 Social Security numbers and a million driver’s license numbers “may have been accessed.”
“This is the kind of vulnerability and privacy invasion that law-abiding, responsible firearms owners fear,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “If hackers can break into the state court system, they can just as easily break into records kept on gun owners at the Department of Licensing, where the handgun registry is currently maintained. This could be a gold mine for gun thieves.
“This is why,” he continued, “we insisted that the state pistol registry be abolished and that no records be retained on background checks when we agreed to discuss background check legislation earlier this year. The other side wouldn’t budge. They want gun owner privacy to be at risk.”
Gottlieb noted that retaining records is a key ingredient of every background check proposal put forth by the gun prohibition lobby.
“Now the gun control lobby is threatening an initiative campaign to push their agenda,” Gottlieb observed. “If it mirrors what they tried to accomplish in Olympia earlier this year, you’re likely to see gun owners and other privacy advocates joining forces to oppose them.
“It’s appalling that this happened,” he concluded, “but it provides a stark lesson to those who would disregard the privacy of up to two million of their fellow citizens by demanding that records be kept on people who merely exercise a civil right protected by both the state and federal constitutions. Either you support privacy, or you support criminals. There’s no middle ground.”
With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is one of the nation’s premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States. The Citizens Committee can be reached by phone at (425) 454-4911, on the Internet at www.ccrkba.org or by email to InformationRequest@ccrkba.org.
The Missouri Legislature sent the governor a bill Wednesday that would expand gun rights and declare all federal gun regulations unenforceable, in a response to President Obama’s push for gun control legislation.
The Republican-led Legislature passed the measure hoping to shield the state from federal proposals that would ban assault weapons and expand background checks. But the U.S. Senate’s defeat of a background check expansion three weeks ago did nothing to assuage the fears of Missouri Republicans who pressed forward with their legislation.
The Missouri House voted 118-36 Wednesday to send the bill to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The Senate passed the measure earlier this month.
Supporters argue the measure protects the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and it includes language condemning the theft and illegal use of firearms. The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Doug Funderburk, said his aim is to ensure Missouri is the only regulator when it comes to firearms.
“We have the authority to enforce these laws. We are trying to position us so that we in this state can have safer neighborhoods,” said Funderburk, R-St
Like many areas of the United States, citizens in Siskiyou County are finding government regulations are destroying their RIGHTS. This includes Water Rights, Property Rights and Individual Rights. We believe in the Constitutions of the United States and State of California that provide RIGHTS for its citizens. We also believe these RIGHTS are being systematically reduced, which is resulting in tyranny from our governments -- at all levels.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the government should serve the people!