• Obama, Senators Want to Resurrect Gun Ban

    -- Seek to blame all gun owners for actions of a lone Dirt Bag Read More
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  • House Bill to Protect Gun Owners from Being Framed

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GOA News

  • Genius of the Fourth
  • Pope Francis
  • SC Shooting
  • Obama Slammed
  • State Dept Proposal

The Genius of July 4 Trumps Every Gun Control Argument

by Erich Pratt

The most amazing debate took place in the Grand Canyon State earlier this year.

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Pope Francis Libels Gun Owners

by Larry Pratt

The Pope has been taking aim at the Second Amendment for some time.  Last year, he referred to arms makers as “merchants of death.” Now the Pope has questioned the Christianity of manufacturers and owners of guns

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The President Gets it Wrong Once Again -- Guns are actually saving lives

by Erich Pratt

Just hours after the tragic shooting in a South Carolina church, President Barack Obama resumed his fanatical war on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.

 

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Gun Groups Slam Obama on SC Comments

Gun-rights groups Thursday slammed President Barack Obama's call for a national reckoning on gun violence after the fatal shooting of nine people in a South Carolina church Wednesday night and his remark that "this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries."…

"Just hours after the tragic shooting in a South Carolina church, President Barack Obama resumed his fanatical war on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners," said Erich Pratt, spokesman for the Gun Owners of America.

"The president wants to blame an inanimate object — the gun," Pratt added. "But that just deflects blame away from the real culprit: gun-control policies that leave people defenseless in the face of evil perpetrators who are never effectively prevented from acquiring weapons."

[The President] acknowledged the scant sentiment within the Republican-controlled Congress for stricter gun laws, saying that he recognizes "the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now."

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State Department Proposal May Make Information-Sharing on Guns Illegal

There has been quite a buzz recently about the State Department’s proposed rulemaking concerning the Arms Export Control Act -- and its impact on information concerning guns.

GOA has looked over the regulations -- and other people’s comments concerning the regs. One initial comment is that a lot of the proposed language which has caused such a stir is carried over from current regulations.

This is not dispositive. If an anti-gun president, like Obama, wanted to use a long standing preexisting statute to implement comprehensive gun control -- and if that preexisting statute had historically been interpreted conservatively -- the first thing the anti - gun president would do is recodify the regulations, with slight modifications.

That said, here are the major problems with the proposed regs, as we see it. This is probably more than you want to know. But, if you’re going to get involved, it’s not more than you need to know.

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Self-Defense Corner

  • TX Woman
  • Elderly Man
  • Wrong Car
  • Hail of Gunfire
  • Robber v. Clerk

Female Concealed Carrier Shoots Knife-Wielding Robber In Houston

Don’t mess with Texas women.

A woman was “cool as a cucumber” Friday evening when she opened fire at a man who tried to rob her at a gas station in northeast Harris County, sheriff’s deputies said.

The woman, in her mid-30s, pulled into an Exxon station about 6 p.m. along FM 2100 and Saddle Creek Farms Drive.

She was in the driver’s seat when a man suddenly got into the passenger side. He pulled out a knife and demanded her cash, Harris County sheriff’s deputies said.

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Elderly Man Defends Himself After Second Home Invasion Attempt

When people hear you’re 70 years old, they may think you’ve begun to slow down with age.  

In the case of this attempted home invasion in Sullivan County, Tenn., apparently not slow enough.  Ronald Dykes, living alone in his home, heard an intruder coming in through the window at night and successfully hit the burglar.

Sullivan County Sheriffs Department, when they arrived on the scene, were quickly able to apprehend the burglar when he – understandably – arrived at a medical facility with a gunshot wound.

Elderly Targeted for Home Invasion

It’s become an all too common situation where burglars will scout the homes of the elderly and see them as easy targets. Often living alone or with little supervision, they’re seen as veritable treasure troves of valuables and given little consideration. Just like this tragic home invasion that happened in early May, where an elderly couple was targeted – criminals often don’t consider the lives of their prey when it comes to burglary. As such, why should the home owner make any consideration at all for the burglar?

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Detroit Woman Saves Herself From Carjackers

Detroit is no stranger to violent crime.

And a history of hard times mixed with increasingly desperate criminal elements only make matters worse.   That’s why more and more residents are taking matters into their own hands.  Today, that choice was vindicated when carjackers attempted to force a woman from her car at a stop sign.

CCW Raises the Risk of Preying On Vulnerability

Most violent criminals aren’t looking for the hardened target. A woman in her car, at a stop sign probably seemed like a safe bet. But these carjackers weren’t simply going to take ‘no’ for an answer. Not only were they willing to pull the trigger – they did even before she had her weapon out.

On the opposite side of the fence, just two weeks ago a man died of gunshot wounds in Detroit when he was carjacked.

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FEDERAL AGENT KILLS MIDDLE EASTERN MAN ALLEGEDLY PLANNING TO BEHEAD OFFICER IN BOSTON

The Middle Eastern man shot and killed by counterterrorism agents in Boston Tuesday was allegedly planning to behead a police officer.

The man–26-year-old Usaama Rahim–was holding a “large military-style black knife” at the time.

Breitbart News reported that the man was shot after refusing to comply with orders from law enforcement. Boston police commissioner William Evans said:

He was on foot, under surveillance. The officers have been surveilling him and again they wanted to speak to him… and he turned and our officers gave several commands for him to drop the weapon and unfortunately he came at the officers and they did what they were trained to do and that’s never an easy decision for any officer to make.

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ALLEGED ARMED ROBBER MEETS ARMED CLERK: POLICE FIND ROBBER LYING IN PARKING LOT

On June 2, three armed men allegedly targeted a business in which the clerk was armed as well. The clerk saw the three would-be robbers coming, had his gun at the ready, and shot the first of the suspects as soon as he entered the store.

The incident occurred around 10 pm at the Happy Daze smoke shop in Houston, Texas.

According to ABC 13, the store owner said three suspects “pulled in. They made a U-turn and they parked right there and [the clerk] heard them yelling, ‘Go, go, go.’ When they opened the door, they had their mask on and everything.”

The owner said the clerk figured out what was about to happen and grabbed his handgun.

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John McCain's Lobbying Reform Provisions Unconstitutional And Would Protect Corruption
by Mark Fitzgibbons

Editor's note: trashing the First Amendment rights of groups like GOA in 2002 with the infamous McCain-Feingold law -- better known as the Incumbent Protection Act -- wasn't enough for Sen. McCain. He's back for more in 2006 with S. 2128, the Gag Act.

Proposed regulation of the grassroots, such as Section 110 of S. 2128 (the Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act), with similar provisions in counterpart bills before the House of Representatives, would harm America.

Not only does such regulation abridge freedom of speech, of the press, the right of the people to peaceably assemble, to petition the Government for redress of grievances, and to exercise our respective faiths, but such regulation would actually protect the corruptive influences that these lobbying and ethics reform bills are purportedly intended to fix.

Through the grassroots, citizens across the country assemble peaceably, though perhaps not always politely, on political and social matters of importance to them. The problems Congress purports to cure through its recent efforts are the quid pro quo of legislation for gifts or other "consideration." Whatever the problems inside the Beltway, none of those problems can be blamed on too much citizen participation in public policy matters. Any efforts to regulate the grassroots, therefore, are misplaced.

The grassroots, of course, are the People. They are whom Justice William Brennan called "citizen-critic[s] of government." More than merely critics of government, the grassroots are populist means of criticizing corporations, even entire industries. They are critics of the institutional, mainstream media as well as critics of the new and alternative media. Grassroots organizations are critics even of other grassroots organizations.

S. 2128 would require registration and reporting of "paid" efforts to "stimulate" the grassroots. Section 110 of the bill defines these as efforts "to influence the general public... to contact one or more... legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials... to take specific action" on matters of public policy. "Attempts to influence" 500 or more citizens by any person or entity receiving or spending $25,000 or more in any quarter trigger these grassroots lobbying registration and reporting requirements.

The thresholds triggering registration and reporting may be met by the placement of just one media ad or just the postage for one direct mail letter mailed nationally. It is not merely that these thresholds are low; they are unconstitutional. These provisions directly violate the "constitutional rights" identified in 2 U.S.C. 1607(a) of the underlying lobbying registration statute that S. 2128 amends (not that constitutional rights need statutory recitation of the fact that they exist). What possibly could have made these constitutional rights fall out of favor since 1995, when the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities bill was first passed?

The registration requirements are a prior restraint on the exercise of First Amendment rights, and the reporting requirements are burdens on such rights, with civil and even criminal sanctions in some of the legislative proposals for failure to register and report. Registration is a prior restraint because failure to register within a set period of agreeing to engage in such rights sets off penalties. Speech and press rights must therefore obtain government clearance in advance of communications being issued.

James Madison, in describing the distinction between the American version of a free printing press versus the British version, said that

    a law inflicting penalties on printed publications would have a similar effect with a law authorizing a previous restraint on them. It would seem a mockery to say that no laws should be passed preventing publications from being made, but that laws may be passed for punishing them in case they should be made.

Section 110 of S. 2128 is a prior restraint. Section 106 of the bill amending 2 U.S.C. 1606 would create substantial penalties for that to which all Americans have guaranteed and constitutionally protected rights "paramount to laws," as Madison said.

Such regulation would stifle speech, but more so, it would effectively censor small, start-up and unpopular causes already strapped for cash. These bills would treat small and unpopular citizen causes the same as large corporations hiring high-priced K Street lobbyists, and would penalize or completely shut out some of the most valuable means of citizens protecting their own freedoms.

It is well-settled law that paid efforts to engage in First Amendment rights merit no fewer constitutional protections than unpaid volunteer efforts. Journalists who receive paychecks are no less protected than unpaid bloggers.

The paid ads of the Committee to Defend Martin Luther King "communicated information, expressed opinion, recited grievances, protested claimed abuses, and sought financial support on behalf of a movement whose existence and objectives are matters of the highest public interest and concern." New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 266 (1964). Such "editorial advertisements," of course cost money to prepare, to place, to print and to disseminate. They are "the promulgation of information and ideas by persons who do not themselves have access to publishing facilities -- who wish to exercise their freedom of speech even though they are not members of the press." Id.

There are many other examples, too long to list in this letter, of why "paid" efforts to engage in protected First Amendment activity are not only as protected constitutionally, but are as important and as valuable as unpaid efforts. For example, paid efforts to circulate petitions are "core political speech" subject to the "zenith" of First Amendment protections. See, Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 421–422 (1988). The bottom line is that First Amendment protections of speech, the printing press, petitioning and association rights are not lost merely because it costs money to communicate in today's world of mass media.

Regulating "paid" efforts to stimulate grassroots activity merely gives the appearance that Members of Congress and their respective Republican and Democratic Party committees would prefer for their own professional political consultants to have a leg up in the marketplace of ideas and donations. Members of Congress may already send communications at taxpayer expense under their "free" franking privileges, and as 535 of the most important people in the country, easily have more access to express their views for free through the mainstream media.

Costs of compliance with quarterly reporting requirements will effectively reduce the ability of marginal grassroots efforts to communicate, and will silence cash-strapped unpopular causes. Corporations and large, established causes that are already wealthy will be able to comply. Thus, your bills would effectively silence some critics and allow the wealthier ones to communicate. Such censorship through regulation merely protects the corruptive influences inside the Beltway.

Since the apparent ethics issues are the quid pro quo, it seems that a better solution, and certainly one without constitutional prohibitions, would be to require Members of Congress who sponsor legislation or amendments to sign, under penalties of perjury, that such legislation is submitted without gifts or promises of some consideration.

The expansion of the grassroots these past 40 years has empowered Americans, and that is a good thing. The grassroots are the very antithesis of corruptive influences inside the Beltway. Whatever the solution to the complex problems of congressional ethics, a vote to regulate the grassroots would be the equivalent of a vote to protect the corruptive influences.

Op-Ed Articles