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Obama Passes on International Gun Control Treaty…for Now

As France, the UK, and other nations gathered to sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in New York, the U.S. was not among them.

Although it was widely believed that Obama would add his name to treaty when other Western allies gathered to sign it on June 3, Sec. of State John Kerry now says that Obama will sign the treaty once “the process of confirming the official translations” has had time to be “satisfactorily” completed.

From the time the U.N. General Assembly passed the ATT on April 2 till now, there has been a growing chorus of opposition to signing on to the document. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) pushed through an amendment opposing the treaty in the senate, effectively ending any chance for a resolution of ratification at this time. The NRA ran a campaign against it, encouraging its 5 million members to contact their Senators and the administration and ask that the treaty be opposed. And just last week, according to Fox News, 130 members of Congress signed a letter to Obama, asking him not to sign the treaty.

As Bloomberg News reports, even with the signatures the treaty has no force until 50 of the signatory nations ratify it.  For the U.S. alone, if Obama does sign it as Kerry says he will, the ratification process is anticipated to “take [up to] 10 to 15 years.”

This is because a successful resolution of ratification requires two-thirds of U.S. Senators to support it, and Sen. Inhofe has already demonstrated that this won’t be happening any time soon.

 

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MISSOURI JOINS KANSAS IN TELLING FEDS TO POUND SAND WHEN IT COMES TO GUN CONTROL – Liberty News

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From the Missouri Torch we learn Missouri lawmakers passed a bill to nullify federal gun control laws.

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.

Missouri’s bill comes at a time when federal government is doing everything in its executive power to restrict American rights. Kansas is currently locked in an epic battle with anti-rights Attorney General Eric Holder and the state appears to have the upper hand with its legal argument. The Missouri bill aggressively reaffirms and strengthen rights for Americans to own guns and defend themselves.

In addition to declaring federal gun laws unenforceable, the bill would allow concealed weapons to be carried by designated school personnel in school buildings. It would allow appointed “protection officers” to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety. The officers would also be required to complete a training course.

The bill would also allow people with a firearms permit to openly carry weapons less than 16 inches in length even in localities that prohibit open-carry of firearms.

Privacy rights of gun owners have been a hot topic this legislative session after lawmakers learned the state Highway Patrol shared the list of concealed weapons permit holders with a federal agent in the Social Security Administration.

The legislation passed Wednesday would prevent people from publishing any identifying information on gun owners. A person who publishes such information would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. It also would prevent doctors or nurses from being required to ask patients about firearm ownership.

While the federal government has gained ground on its attempt to violate the 2nd Amendment, states are beginning to fight back and represent the people in a big way.

3D-Printed Gun’s Blueprints Downloaded 100,000 Times In Two Days (With Some Help From Kim Dotcom)

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/05/08/3d-printed-guns-blueprints-downloaded-100000-times-in-two-days-with-some-help-from-kim-dotcom/

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If gun control advocates hoped to prevent blueprints for the world’s first fully 3D-printable gun from spreading online, that horse has now left the barn about a hundred thousand times.

That’s the number of downloads of the 3D-printable file for the so-called “Liberator” gun that the high-tech gunsmithing group Defense Distributed has seen in just the last two days, a member of the group tells me. The gun’s CAD files have been ten times more popular than any component the group has previously made available, parts that have included the body of an AR-15 and the magazine for an AK-47.”This has definitely been our most well-received download,” says Haroon Khalid, a developer working with Defense Distributed. “I don’t think any of us predicted it would be this much.”

Update: The State Department has now demanded Defense Distributed take down its printable gun files due to possible export control violations.

The controversial gun-printing group is hosting those files, which include everything from the gun’s trigger to its body to its barrel, on a service that has attracted some controversy of its own: Kim Dotcom’s Mega storage site. Although the blueprint is only publicly visible on Defense Distributed’s own website Defcad.org, users who click on it are prompted to download the collection of CAD files from Mega.co.nz, which advertises that it encrypts all users’ information and has a reputation for resisting government surveillance.

Cody Wilson, Defense Distributed’s 25-year-old founder, says that the group chose to use Mega mostly because it was fast and free. But he also says he feels a degree of common cause with Kim Dotcom, the ex-hacker chief executive of Mega who has become a vocal critic of the U.S. government after being indicted for copyright infringement and racketeering in early 2012. “We’re sympathetic to Kim Dotcom,” says Wilson. “There are plenty of services we could have used, but we chose this one. He’s down for the struggle.”

The most downloads of Defense Distributed’s “Liberator,” surprisingly, haven’t come from the U.S., but from Spain, according to Khalid’s count. The U.S. is second, ahead of Brazil, Germany, and the U.K., he says, although he wasn’t able to provide absolute download numbers for each country.

Update: Although Spain was initially outpacing the U.S. in downloads, it seems more Americans have now downloaded the file.

The gun’s blueprint, of course, may have also already spread far wider than Defense Distributed can measure. It’s also been uploaded to the filesharing site the Pirate Bay, where it’s quickly become one of the most popular files in the site’s 3D-printing category. “This is the first in what will become an avalanche of undetectable, untraceable, easy-to-manufacture weapons that will turn the tables on evil-doers the world over,” writes one user with the name DakotaSmith on the site. “Share and enjoy.”

It’s worth noting that only a fraction of those who download the printable gun file will ever try to actually create one. Defense Distributed used an $8,000 second-hand Stratasys Dimension SST to print their prototype, a 3D printer that the vast majority of its fans won’t have access to.

Nonetheless the “Liberator,” which I first revealed last Friday and then witnessed being test-fired over the weekend, has caused an enormous stir online. Defense Distributed says that it received 540,000 users to its website in the two days since its printable gun was released, and its video revealing the gun has attracted 2.8 million views on YouTube.

The project has also already immediately inspired a legal backlash. New York congressmen Steve Israel and Chuck Schumer have both called for the renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act to ban any gun that can’t be spotted with a metal detector.

But Defense Distributed’s real goal hasn’t been to create an undetectable gun so much as an uncensorable, digital one. As the group’s founder radical libertarian founder Cody Wilson sees it, firearms can be made into a printable file that blurs the line between gun control and information censorship, blending the First Amendent and the Second and demonstrating how technology can render the government irrelevant.

“Call me crazy, but I see a world where contraband will pass underground through the data cables to be printed in our homes as the drones move overhead,” Wilson said when we first spoke in August of last year. “I see a kind of poetry there…I dream of this very weird future and I’d like to be a part of it.”

KANSAS GOVERNOR SAM BROWNBACK’S RESPONSE TO ERIC HOLDER’S THREAT

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Now that Eric Holder has suddenly appeared interested in the Constitution, all eyes are on Kansas as a state vs. fed battle brews. We published Holder’s venomous threat to Kansas a few days ago. Yesterday we posted the Kansas Secretary of State response, which included an epic verbal rebuke of Holder’s incorrect view of federal power. Today I’m going to include a quote from Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and his response to Holder.

The right to keep and bear arms is a right that Kansans hold dear. It is a right enshrined not only in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, but also protected by the Kansas Bill of Rights…The people of Kansas have repeatedly and overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment to protecting this fundamental right. The people of Kansas are likewise committed to defending the sovereignty of the State of Kansas as guaranteed in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution…”

This is important because it paints a very clear picture of how the Obama administration reacts to attempts to protect the 2nd Amendment. Obama constantly claims he doesn’t want to remove the right to bear arms, yet his administration will openly threaten and bully anyone, or any state, that tries to protect the right.

The Kansas vs. the fed battle will continue to boil and it will be interesting to see what comes of it. In the meantime, though, we can now safely assume the Obama administration is actively seeking to weaken the 2nd amendment.

KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE READS ERIC HOLDER’S THREAT, RESPONDS WITH VERBAL BODY SLAM

 
KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE READS ERIC HOLDER’S THREAT, RESPONDS WITH VERBAL BODY SLAM
Published: May 7, 2013
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Eric Holder may think he can operate as Sheriff of Nottingham for King Obama when it comes to pushing states around, but Kansas is proving it will not be bullied. In fact, Kansas is basically telling the federal government to pound sand when it comes to federal gun control.

Yesterday we reported on Eric Holder’s threatening letter to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. The letter came as a response to the passage of SB 102. Holder is telling Kansas the bill is unconstitutional. Here’s a summary of the bill.

SB 102 establishes the Second Amendment Protection Act.

First, the bill excludes from federal regulation any personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured commercially or privately and owned in Kansas. The bill provides that for as long as any such personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition remains within the borders of Kansas, it is not subject to any federal law, regulation, or authority.

Second, the bill prevents any federal agent or contracted employee, any state employee, or any local authority from enforcing any federal regulation or law governing any personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured commercially or privately and owned in Kansas, provided it remains within the borders of Kansas. In the process of a criminal prosecution, the bill precludes any arrest or detention prior to a trial for a violation of the Act.

Finally, the bill allows a county or district attorney or the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief in court to enjoin certain federal officials from enforcing federal law regarding a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately and owned in the state of Kansas and that remains within the borders of Kansas.

At the time of posting Holder’s letter, I missed the response letter sent by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The response is blistering and basically tells Holder to pound sand. But Kobach doesn’t just show Holder the door while explaining to him that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he actually brings up Holder’s gun-walking program in the “fast and furious” scandal.

Talk about a verbal rebuke and body slam!

Here’s the letter in full.

Kansas Secretary of State Kobach Responds to Eric Holder

BOSTON Update- Unnamed whistleblower speaks

An unnamed whistleblower has come out and said the following. I hope this is not true but we shall find out soon..

You never let a serious crisis go to waste – Rahm Emanuel (Chicago Mayor)

————————————————

STEP 2 IN PROGRESS

This is likely to be bona fide whistleblower testimony with the Boston bombing

The following should probably NOT be ignored.

“I work on a security commission and I’ve just received word to start on a campaign we’ve been working on for the last two months and now it all makes sense.
I’ll keep it as short can I can
They’re going to pin this event on a male late teens to early 20s and say he did it because he’s unstable. They are going to find firearms and a NRA book in his home. They are going to to say he used reloading powder for the explosion and that reloading powder shouldn’t be for sale to the public. They are then going to say that because the powder in ammunition can be used for explosions that the number of rounds you can buy should be limited and taxed to help pay for these events.
I can’t do anything or I’ll lose my job and possibly face criminals charges. Please don’t let them get away with it. They won’t find the suspect till later this week and the raid is issued to occur on Friday. This was a staged event. The people hurt are real but the event was planned. Don’t let them hurt our rights.”
–Admin comment – Let’s step by step this as the elite scammers do it. Here we go:
Step 1. – COMPLETE “They’re going to pin this event on a male late teens to early 20s and say he did it because he’s unstable.” – HERE IS THE ARTICLE THAT PROVES THE LONE WOLF, SINGLE MAN DOING IT –Step 1 in the setup complete – READ THAT FREAKING ARTICLE THAT IS LINKED, IT IS SPOOKY

Step 2 – IN PROGRESS – GUN POWDER STORY CONFIRMED: They are going to find firearms and a NRA book in his home. They are going to to say he used reloading powder for the explosion and that reloading powder shouldn’t be for sale to the public. Step 2 IN PROGRESS (interesting it is that it is ISRAEL where the gunpowder story is being fronted FIRST. Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . . . . . . . HERE is another link

Step 3 – They are then going to say that because the powder in ammunition can be used for explosions that the number of rounds you can buy should be limited and taxed to help pay for these events. – step 3 pending

Step 4. I can’t do anything or I’ll lose my job and possibly face criminals charges. Please don’t let them get away with it. They won’t find the suspect till later this week and the raid is issued to occur on Friday. Step 4, – pending

The Issues with Toomey-Manchin expanded background check bill

Today, the U.S. Senate  voted on the Manchin-Toomey amendment to Senator Reid’s gun-control package. In a Monday post on the Volokh Comspiracy, I criticized the amendment because two of the important pro-gun-rights provisions in the amendment were misdrafted, and had the opposite effect of what was claimed.

The amendment was drafted with input from Alan Gottlieb’s Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, an excellent organization that has done great work on behalf of the Second Amendment for the last four decades. I believe that CCRKBA’s motive in assisting Senator Toomey in his negotiations with Senator Schumer were honorable, but I also believe that the deal struck was not nearly as good for Second Amendment rights as Alan Gottlieb has claimed.

On Tuesday, Gottlieb sent out an email headlined “David Kopel’s Claims Regarding the Manchin-Toomey Amendment are False.”

Below, I’ll respond to each of Alan’s arguments. The arguments are footnoted; for ease of display, I pasted the footnotes at the end of each section to which they pertain.

1. Manchin-Toomey’s narrow definition of gun registration

According to the Gottlieb e-mail:

• Kopel’s false registry claim: The Manchin-Toomey Amendment includes a provision barring the Attorney General from consolidating or centralizing records of gun sales and gun ownership. Kopel argues that because this provision refers only to the Attorney General, it must therefore authorize any other governmental entity to create a registry, including the Army or the Department of Health and Human Services.

➢ Response: Federal law expressly and repeatedly prohibits the creation of a gun registry by any government entity or political subdivision, including through the NICS background check database.[1] And the Manchin-Toomey Amendment leaves those provisions intact.

Footnotes:

[1] 18 USC 926(a); PL 112-55 Division B, Title II. In addition to express prohibitions on the creation of a registry, federal statute requires that records generated by successful background checks be destroyed, and regulation clarifies that the destruction must take place within 24 hours. 18 USC 922(t)(2)(C); 28 C.F.R. 25.9(b)(1)(ii). Another federal regulation specifically states that the NICS background check database cannot be used to create a registry. 28 C.F.R. 25.9(b)(3).

The first item in Alan’s response is that there is already a federal ban on gun registration. Unfortunately, that ban is not working very well. To make things considerably worse, Manchin-Toomey provides a definition of gun registration that further weakens the existing ban.

Let’s take a look at current law. Footnote 1 points to 18 U.S.C. 926(a), which provides that the attorney general (the cabinet officer who supervises the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the ATF) may only prescribe some rules and regulations, and is specifically forbidden from prescribing certain other types of rules or regulations. In particular, regarding registration:

No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act [May 19, 1986] may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.

(“Secretary’s” is a relic of the time was the ATF was under the supervision of the Secretary of the Treasury. It should have been changed to “Attorney General” when the ATF was moved to the Department of Justice.)

Has this stopped the Obama administration from registering guns? Definitely not. On July 12, 2011, the Obama administration sent a “demand letter” to every licensed firearms dealer in the four southwest border states ordering that any sale of two or more semi-automatic rifles to a person within five business days must be reported to the ATF. Ostensibly, this mass demand for gun-sales records is part of “a criminal investigation” into gun trafficking into Mexico.

Suits were filed over the demand letters, but they lost at the district-court level and are currently on appeal to the D.C. Circuit and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals. In the D.C. Circuit, the three-judge panel was quite uninterested in the argument that the compilation of records on long-gun buyers violated the statutory prohibition on “any system of registration of firearms.”

The same problem cropped up during the Clinton administration, when Attorney General Reno defied the statutory requirement that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System “destroy all records of the system” regarding approved sales. Instead, she kept them for six months, supposedly for auditing purposes.

The NRA sued, but lost 2-1 in the D.C. Circuit. The majority reasoned that “destroyed” did not mean “destroyed immediately” and that the anti-registration statute “does not prohibit all forms of registration.” And besides, reasoned the majority, the Reno records did not include the name of every U.S. gun owner. (Never mind that the statute prohibits “any system of registration.”)

Later, Attorney General Ashcroft fixed the problem with a regulation (cited in Gottlieb’s footnote 1) requiring the destruction within 24 hours of background-check records from approved sales. Of course, this regulation can be repealed whenever the Obama administration, or any future administration, chooses to do so.

As NRA v. Reno and long-gun registration cases demonstrate, the problem with the registration ban in Toomey-Manchin  (and the parallel language in the instant-check statute) is that it has very broad language (“any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions”) that the courts construe very narrowly, by acting as if “any system of registration” only applies to a system which registers everyone or everything.

Now look at how Manchin-Toomey makes things worse:

(c) Prohibition of National Gun Registry.-Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(m) The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the-

(1) acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by-

(A) a person with a valid, current license under this chapter;
(B) an unlicensed transferor under section 922(t); or

(2) possession or ownership of a firearm, maintained by any medical or health insurance entity.

Now, we have a specific answer to the judicial question “What is gun registration?” The answer provided by Manchin-Toomey is that gun registration is only something which is done by “the Attorney General.” It is something that only involves the attorney general acquiring particular types of records.

So now suppose that a few months after Manchin-Toomey becomes law, the Department of Homeland Security begins collecting all state gun-registration records, and all state records of persons with concealed-carry permits. Just this month, it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security has been working with the Missouri Department of Revenue to obtain electronic access to its permit list. In addition, the federal Social Security Administration, in a joint project with the ATF, had requested and been sent a complete list of all of Missouri’s concealed-carry-permit holders. The data sharing violated Missouri state law, and the revelations led to the resignation of Missouri’s director of the Department of Revenue.

When people complain that DHS (or the Social Security Administration) is violating the ban on federal gun registration, DHS and Social Security can reply, accurately, that they are doing no such thing. Manchin-Toomey specifically defines “national gun registry” as only something which is under the control of the attorney general, which Homeland Security and Social Security are not.

Further, Manchin-Toomey says that the only kinds of records which could constitute a “national gun registry” are the records which are maintained by gun sellers or records maintained by medical or health insurance entities. DHS and Social Security, in contrast, would be collecting only records that belong to state governments.

If Manchin-Toomey had gone through the normal committee process with earings, the problem might have been pointed out and fixed, so that the entire federal government was expressly prohibited from compiling gun registrations lists from any source, rather than just prohibiting the attorney general from compiling just two particular types of documents.

Or, to take another approach, suppose that Eric Holder decides to repeal the Ashcroft regulation, and begins keeping instant-check records for three years. He won’t be violating Manchin-Toomey, because instant check records of gun sale approvals by the FBI aren’t records that belong to gun sellers or health-insurance entities — they already belong to the FBI.

Pursuant to the instant-check provisions, Holder is supposed to “destroy” the NICS approval records, but the D.C. Circuit has already said that “destroy” really means . . . destroy eventually.

2. Creation of Gun Registries by Cabinet Departments other than the DOJ

In my article for Volokh, I explained that the narrow definition of “national gun registry” as something that only the attorney general could do leaves other federal departments free to create registries, such as the Department of the Army and the Department of Health and Human Services. (I should have also pointed to Homeland Security and Social Security.)

Gottlieb rebuts my points about Army and HHS:

➢ Response: Moreover, both the Secretary of the Army[2] and the Secretary of Health and Human Services[3] are specifically prohibited from creating a registry of gun ownership.

Footnotes:

[2] Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, Pub. Law 111-383, Section 1062(a) (2010).

[3] Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 12-110, Sec. 10101(e), March 23, 2010.

The cited prohibitions are, unfortunately, not as strong as Gottlieb thinks. The Department of Defense prohibition does not apply to “(1) a military installation; or (2) any other property that is owned or operated by the Department of Defense.” So, for instance, DOD could still require the registration of guns owned by military personnel and their families if they live in DOD-owned housing, which about a third of them do.

As for HHS, Gottlieb accurately cites the firearms protections in Obamacare: Wellness programs under the law cannot require information about the insured’s firearms; the law specifically refuses to grant the HHS secretary the authority to collect information about individuals’ firearms; Obamacare specifically does not grant the secretary the authority to create databases of gun owners; insurance rates may not discriminate against gun owners; no activity undertaken under the powers granted by Obamacare may require individuals to disclose gun-ownership information.

These are good and solid protections and, as long as they stay on the books, Obamacare cannot be used to create gun registrations. However, HHS isn’t an entity that sprang into being with the passage of Obamacare; it has myriad other statutory powers that long predate Obamacare, and nothing in the health-care law limits HHS from using those other powers for gun registration.

Moreover, nothing in the Obamacare statute limits other cabinet departments, such as Homeland Security, from asking doctors, insurance companies, or any other medical personnel to provide records of patients’ gun ownership.

3. The “15-year federal felony” provision

Gottlieb writes:

➢ Response: Finally, Kopel completely ignores the fact that Section 123 of the Manchin-Toomey Amendment that makes it a 15-year federal felony to compile or create such a registry is not directed simply at the Attorney General or Department of Justice employees; it is directed at “any person”, and makes it a general federal crime to misuse any of the required federal record keeping under the Gun Control Act for this purpose no matter who attempts do it.

Here, Gottlieb may not have read the bill carefully.  The new federal felony provision is as follows:

Section 924 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-

 (1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:

(8) Whoever makes or attempts to make a transfer of a firearm in violation of section 922(t) to a person not licensed under this chapter who is prohibited from receiving a firearm under subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 or State law, to a law enforcement officer, or to a person acting at the direction of, or with the approval of, a law enforcement officer authorized to investigate or prosecute violations of section 922(t), shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

(q) Improper Use of Storage of Records.-Any person who knowingly violates section 923(m) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.

Part 1 provides a five-year penalty for violating the background check provision. (This applies, remember, to anyone who sells a gun “pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display or other listing on the Internet or in a publication by the transferor of his intent to transfer, or the transferee of his intent to acquire, the firearm.” If you list a gun for sale on your gun club’s website and sell your gun to a fellow club member without conducting a background check, you could go to federal prison for up to five years.

Part 2 is the 15-year penalty for gun registration. Yes, as Gottlieb accurately writes, the penalty is for “any person.” What does “any person” have to do in order to commit the crime? He must be a person “who knowingly violates section 923(m).”

Okay, but what kind of person can violate 923(m)? Here’s what 923(m) says: “(m) The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records . . .”

In short, if you are not the attorney general, or someone whose boss is the attorney general, you cannot violate 923(m).  If every federal employee, every state employee, and every American citizen compiled a gun registry, the only persons who could be punished with 15 years are employees of the attorney general.

4. Creation of a Registry by the ATF from Retired-Dealer Records

Manchin-Toomey forbids the attorney general to “consolidate or centralize the records of the (1) acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by (A) a person with a valid, current license under this chapter.”

In other words, the ATF can’t go to Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and demand the sales records which the FFLs are required to keep pursuant to the Gun Control Act of 1968, which stipulated that records would have to be kept of retail firearms sales, but that they would be held by the dealer, not the government.

But when a dealer leaves the business, the 1968 law requires that he send his sales records to the ATF. In my Volokh post, I expressed the concern that Manchin-Toomey does not forbid the ATF to “consolidate or centralize” the retired dealer records.

Gottlieb replies:

• Kopel’s false claim regarding the use of retired dealer records to create a registry: Kopel argues that the Amendment authorizes the centralization of retired dealer records because it only expressly prohibits the creation of a registry from the records of “a person with a valid, current license under this chapter.” He argues that because ATF already has these records under its control, it can easily centralize them into a registry.

Ø Response: The existing prohibitions on government registries extend to the records of retired dealers and while the ATF houses the records, it is prohibited from centralizing them. The agency has gone to considerable expense to comply with this law, maintaining the records on microfiche rather than in a centralized database. Nothing in the Amendment would alter the treatment of these records.

This isn’t quite accurate, although Gottlieb’s mistake is understandable. In the past, the ATF did microfiche the records in an attempt to comply with 18 U.S.C. 926(a)’s ban on “any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions.”

More recently, however, the ATF has been doing optical character recognition of the dealers’ records. The use of OCR explains why the ATF has become extremely rigid about how the forms must be filled out — for example, dealers get in a lot of trouble if the buyer fills in his state of residence as “Colorado” or “Colo.” rather than using the two-letter postal abbreviation.

Once the OCR forms are in the database, the ATF can conduct a query by make and serial number, but the database does not allow a query by buyer’s name. With serial-number query, you will get the retail-sale record for that particular gun, including the name and residence of the buyer.

By not allowing a direct query by buyer’s name, the ATF is, at least arguably, attempting to comply with 18 USC 926(a)’s existing ban on “registration of . . . firearms owners.” Whether the current database complies with 926(a)’s existing ban on “registration of firearms” is more questionable.

But if Manchin-Toomey passes, the ATF’s problem is solved. Manchin-Toomey’s 923(m) tells us what a “national gun registry” is. As long as the ATF obeys the new 923(m), the Bureau will have a strong argument that it is also obeying the old 926(a).

On the day that Manchin-Toomey becomes law, the ATF can likely do whatever it wants with the retired-dealer records: allow name-based queries, or even compile complete lists of every individual buyer, along with the specific purchases a buyer has made.

Now suppose that Gottlieb’s legal organization, the Second Amendment Foundation, brings a suit against the new ATF practices. (SAF has, by the way, done a vast amount of great legal work, including taking the lead in the enormous Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. Chicago.) SAF’s lawyers will have to concede that 923(m) defines “gun registry” and says that a “gun registry” is not something that involves retired-dealer records. Challengers will thus have to argue that when 926(a) says “any system of registration,” the phrase does include retired-dealer records. The chances of winning that case are slender.

5. Interstate Travel

Current federal law protects interstate travelers from being prosecuted for not having gun permits in the states through which they travel – you can take your handgun from Pennsylvania to Vermont without having to acquire a New York State pistol permit, for instance.

Gottlieb writes:

• Kopel’s false interstate travel claim: The Amendment’s interstate travel prohibition clarifies current law. The Amendment provides that regardless of state law, people in transit may carry their unloaded, locked guns across state lines, unless they are traveling with the intent to commit a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than a year. Kopel argues that this language makes it unlawful for people to travel through states where possession of a gun without a permit is crime punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than one year.

➢ Response: The Amendment specifically states that it supersedes state law which means that state laws regarding the possession and carrying of firearms are pre-empted for people traveling through the state pursuant to this provision.[4] A state law prohibiting possession without a permit will be superseded by the federal law allowing interstate travel.

➢ Response: The Amendment explicitly bars arrest or detention for violations of state law “relating to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms or ammunition” unless there is sufficient cause to believe that the person is not behaving lawfully under the bill’s interstate travel provisions. In other words, individuals complying with the amended interstate travel terms will not be in violation of state law.

Footnote:

[4] The section applies “notwithstanding any provision of any law (including a rule or regulation) of a State or any political or subdivision thereof.”

Manchin-Toomey provides a full re-write of the above interstate-travel provision, breaking it into various sub-sections. The revised language has many useful improvements. For example, if you are driving, the current provision requires that the gun be in the automobile trunk, and if the auto has no trunk (e.g., an SUV or a pickup truck), the gun must be in “a locked container.” Manchin-Toomey still allows use of a locked container, but also allows the option of just putting a lock on the gun itself. Likewise, there are new and better protections against arrest, as Gottlieb accurately points out in his second “Response” on this topic.

But what Gottlieb has overlooked is the changes wrought by the revised structure of the provision. In order to qualify for the protection of the new interstate-travel codicil, you have to be engaged in “transport.” If you’re not engaged in “transport,” then the new statute does not apply to you. Here’s the language:

 a) In General.-Section 926A of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

926A. Interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition

(a) Definition.-In this section, the term ‘transport’-

(1) includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental to the transport; and
(2) does not include transportation-

(A) with the intent to commit a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year that involves a firearm; or

(B) with knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe, that a crime described in subparagraph (A) is to be committed in the course of, or arising from, the transportation.

So if you fail the new provision on “transport,” then you are excluded from the protections provided by the whole measure. Under Manchin-Toomey, you are not engaged in “transport” if you have “knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe” you are committing “a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year that involves a firearm.”

Well, if you enter Massachusetts with a gun in your car and you don’t have a Massachusetts gun permit, your act is a crime punishable by more than year in prison and involving a gun, and you probably know it. (Possessing a gun outside one’s home or business without the requisite permit is punishable by two and a half to five years in prison. New Jersey and New York City also have punishments of over a year in prison for simple unlicensed possession.)

When you are arrested and prosecuted by Massachusetts, New Jersey, or New York City, you won’t be able to make any arguments based on Manchin-Toomey’s new travel protections, because you will have failed one of the clauses, and thus be considered outside of it.

The whole problem would have been solved if the Manchin-Toomey drafters had stuck with the original language in the House bill that was intended to improve transportation protection. With the original House bill’s language, 926A would protect you if you intended to commit the crime of unlicensed gun possession, and not protect you if you intended to commit the crime of armed robbery. The Manchin-Toomey language denies you protection in both situations.

I have no doubt of Alan Gottlieb’s sincere dedication to the Second Amendment. It is easy to miss subtle drafting problems, especially during secret and hectic negotiations, especially when the other side is led by Senator Charles Schumer and a billionaire with an infinite supply of lawyers. When I’ve been involved in reviewing legislation under time pressure, I’ve overlooked things too. But that’s why legislation needs to go through committee hearings and be available for public review for more than just a few days.

Alan’s outstanding work on behalf of the Second Amendment in the past will undoubtedly by matched by more great work in the years to come. I just think he’s making a mistake right now.

— David B. Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute in Denver, an associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington, and an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Denver University’s Sturm College of Law.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/345845/problems-toomey-manchin

Senate votes 53-46 to stop US from joining UN Arms Trade Treaty

 

In the last batch of amendment votes to the budget, the Senate voted on several foreign policy proposals.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment that would prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty in order to uphold the Second Amendment. His amendment passed on a 53-46 vote.

Republicans have been critical of President Obama’s decision to consider the treaty, although Obama has said he would not vote for anything that would violate the Second Amendment.

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would regulate international arms sales. Negotiations end on March 28.

“We’re negotiating a treaty that cedes our authority to have trade agreements with our allies in terms of trading arms,” Inhofe said. “This is probably the last time this year that you’ll be able to vote for your Second Amendment rights.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) offered an alternative amendment that clarified that under current U.S. law, treaties don’t trump the Constitution and that the United States should not agree to any arms treaty that violates the Second Amendment rights. His amendment passed by voice vote.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said he thought it was irresponsible to be considering major foreign policy decisions at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/290001-senate-votes-to-stop-us-from-joining-un-arms-treaty#ixzz2OPlML9aZ

Colorado Sheriffs Rebuke their State’s Gun-Crazed Democrats

 

Published: March 19, 2013 | 1 Comment
gun-control

Would you look at what’s happening in the not-exactly red state of Colorado? The Governor, who is a Democrat, and other Democrats in the state legislature are hell-bent on passing major gun control legislation over the apparent will of the people. The debate there has featured such shining moments as this from Joe Salazar:

“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.”

At the same time, the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs thought it preferable to advise women to urinate or vomit on their attackers rather than allow them their Constitutional right. Still, the Democrats pressed onward in their quest to rid their state of evil firearms of evilness or at least keep them out of the hands of crazy people such as soldiers.

Their overreach has met with stiff resistance in the form of law enforcement officers who have said, on the record, they will not enforce whatever insane law the gun-obsessed Democrats in their state concoct. First up, as Duane Lester reported here, was the Sheriff of Weld County. We can now add a second, Sheriff Terry Maketa of El Paso County, the most populous county in the state.

“Maketa said his office keeps records of every concealed carry permit holder in the county as required by law, but he would never share it. He said he would destroy the database if anyone tried to get their hands on it and would intervene if government agents started arresting county residents for exercising their constitutional rights.”

Don’t think for a second there won’t be others. Democrats may believe they have the whip hand in the gun control debate, but they’re about to learn what happens when they take things several steps too far.

http://www.libertynews.com/2013/03/colorado-sheriffs-rebuke-their-states-gun-crazed-democrats/

Feinstein’s Gun Ban Bill Crumbles

 

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
March 19, 2013

Feinstein’s measures may be added later as amendments to a more comprehensive Democrat bill.

California Democrat and influential senator Dianne Feinstein admitted Monday her gun ban proposals will not be part of a Democrat bill to rollback the Second Amendment.

“My understanding is it will not be [part of the base bill],” Feinstein said. “It will be separate.”

Feinstein was told by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about the decision. Feinstein’s bill proposed making illegal 157 models of semiautomatic firearms Democrats characterize as “assault weapons” and outlaw so-called “high-capacity” magazines.

In addition to endangering the larger and more comprehensive Democrat package, Feinstein’s measures would jeopardize red-state Democrats during the 2014 elections.

Senate Judiciary Democrats have approved what they describe as a gun trafficking bill, a measure to expand background checks, and a proposal to increase school safety following the shooting at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut.

The gun trafficking proposal and its “straw purchase” prohibition has Republican support. Democrats plan to use it as a foundation and add amendments to the bill, possibly including some of the stripped Feinstein measures.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy will reportedly introduce the legislation on the Senate floor this week. It is believed he will schedule the bill for a vote in April following a two week congressional recess.

 

http://www.infowars.com/feinsteins-gun-ban-bill-crumbles/

For the Record : Gun Control

More and More Turn to the Militia Movement – Intelligent Americans Have had Enough

dont tread on me 

http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com
Posted on March 12, 2013 by Mark Schumacher

Just looking out your window at the scattered storage yards used by the military around our country tells you a lot these days. Huge yards filled with armored personnel carriers, along with the many types of portable retracting command towers verifies the government’s worries with militias’ anger against tyranny. When you read articles about the government buying billions of bullets and thousands of weapons you can almost feel their cowardly concerns.

Every aspect of American life as we once knew it 50 years ago has been altered in some tyrannical way. We can’t trust the propaganda spewing from the mainstream media or the puppets on the cable channels. All that’s left of the truth telling business are patriot sites such as From the Trenches World Report. The growth has been phenomenal as the BS propaganda continues to flow from the usual talking heads.

The beauty of the patriotic sites is how unfiltered and real the information is. You won’t be getting information from some college fed propaganda whore, you will be getting it from a Bill of Rights loving American who only wants the God given freedoms enjoyed since the ratification of 1791. These and only these rights are what we believe in. True patriots have a real big problem when our leaders swearing in on a constitution that stands for anything different. The people must be in charge of the government, not the other way around.

When we are told we can not drink a 16 ounce soda, or are unable to buy ammunition and are forced to give up our weapons we begin to see infringement. Freedoms we believe in so vehemently are being infringed, not good. Many intelligent Americans are starting to feel the same way.

You see, the militia movement is made up of a very diverse group. Educated, uneducated, pink, blue, short, tall, fat, skinny who all love America in which it was originally meant to be loved, free. Many are turning to sites such as ours because they are feeling that our freedoms are disappearing, if not gone for the most part. When they come to our site they are mad as hell, and it shows when they comment. Many wish to write about their experiences, and are allowed to do so and at times using language not taught in some regimented classroom, spewing new world order garbage.

The numbers speak for themselves as the growth of the militia movement has grown exponentially, a growth by the way, involving all walks of life, not just the downtrodden as many talking heads will have you believe. You won’t have to be filtered by some billionaire at sites such as ours. We invite all who believe in freedom, nothing more, nothing less. Sure we have the occasional filters associated with any site to filter out the idiots who think they’re cute, but for the most part, we enjoy all who participate.

Many friends have been made on sites such as ours, and this is what makes sites as these interesting. We have learned about cures for cancer, how to be self reliant in bad times, learned about correct ways in which to handle and maintain weapons, talked about the ways medicinal marijuana can save your life etc, etc., things you will never learn in some swanky over price college which in reality is a place that teaches you on how to hate America.

Some of the finest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to deal with I met on From the Trenches World Report, most of which many others can’t hold a candle to. I thank God every day for the opportunity to be involved because I know that if it weren’t for sites such as this, our government would have a much more forceful grip on my freedoms.

Look around people; do you like what you see? Getting involved with the patriot movement can change all of that, that simple. Many just enjoy staying in the background and reading and learning without commenting, which is fantastic in that maybe they will start to see the light. In any event, we enjoy a wide spectrum of the population. Hopefully, this will continue as the New World Order Crowd will be demolished.

It up to us to make sure this happens, traitors to the Bill of Rights be damned.

God bless the Republic of the United States of America and God bless the Bill of Rights.

List of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Opposing Obama’s Gun Control Plan Continues to Grow

On March 5, 2013, in Gun ControlNew YorkPresident Obama, by Rusty Wei
  • The number of sheriffs associations, and police chiefs nationwide who oppose the President’s attempts at gun control continues to grow.

Currently, about 1 in 3 state sheriffs now oppose the attack on a law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights.

Via Washington Secrets:

Three more state-wide sheriff associations have joined those opposed to President Obama’s kitchen sink approach to gun control, raising the number to 14, or nearly one-third of the nation’s statewide police organizations.

Sheriff associations in South Carolina, California and most recently Nevada joined the other states in demanding Obama to stop his gun grab and instead focus on expanding the national background check system to include far more information on the mental health status of gun buyers than it does now.

Nevada joined the growing group opposed to gun control just Monday. In their letter, provided Tuesday morning to Secrets, they also appealed to legislators to turn the focus on the mental health of those buying guns.

In New York, the list is as follows:

Capture

The President has unveiled 23 Executive Orders he plans to use to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights.

– See more at: http://menrec.com/list-of-sheriffs-and-police-chiefs-opposing-obamas-gun-control-plan-continue-growing/#sthash.cOCxH1Gn.dpuf

 

Sheriffs Vow to Defend 2nd Amendment from Federal Government

Sheriffs Vow to Defend 2nd Amendment from Federal Government
 
By Dr. Harold Pease
 
Finally, an organization is protecting the Constitution and it is not the House of Representatives, U. S. Senate, U.S. President, the U. S. Supreme Court, or the States, as should be the case. It is the least likely of all those who swear by oath, upon condition of taking office, to preserve it—the Sheriffs’ Departments in county after county and growing. 
 
Sheriff Tim Mueller of Linn County, Oregon was the first with his January 14th directive to all sheriffs in his county that they would not be enforcing any law that violated the 2nd Amendment. Two days latter the New Mexico Sheriffs Association, with 30 of their 33 county sheriffs, next stood with “we also will protect the Second Amendment from the federal governments recent assault on it.” Then, the next day, 28 of 29 counties in Utah under the signature of the Utah Sheriffs’ Association informed the President that they will protect the 2nd Amendment for their people even with their lives—even from the federal government. In California 13 county sheriffs have made similar pledges.
 
The straw that broke the camels back for the county sheriffs was President Barack Obama’s signing some 23 executive orders on January 16, further restricting the rights of gun owners. The Utah backlash followed the next day. 
 
Sheriffs are the only elected law enforcement body in the United States and they understand that Congress has sole authority to make law, that law must originate with and be approved by both the House and Senate, and that the only power that belongs to the President is suggestion, through his state of the union address, and his veto, which can be overridden. 
 
The Utah sheriffs reminded the President that, “It is imperative this discussion be had in Congress, not silenced unilaterally by executive orders” and advised that he remember, “that the Founders of this great nation created the Constitution, and its accompanying Bill of Rights, in an effort to protect citizens from all forms of tyrannical subjugation.”
 
Some 535 individuals make all the law on the federal level, not just a single person as was the case with kings and is the case with dictators today. All executive orders that have the effect of making law are unconstitutional; the President has no authority to make law. Doing so reduces the relevancy of the Congress and is a form of tyranny. Moreover, it is well to remember that a law cannot undo an amendment to the Constitution—only another amendment and that requires the support of 3/4ths of the states, so Congress is restricted also.
 
The Utah Sheriffs letter said in part, “With the number of mass shootings America has endured, it is easy to demonize firearms; it is also foolish and prejudiced. Firearms are nothing more than instruments, valuable and potentially dangerous, but instruments nonetheless. Malevolent souls, like the criminals who commit mass murders, will always exploit valuable instruments in the pursuit of evil. As professional peace officers, if we understand nothing else, we understand this: lawful violence must sometimes be employed to deter and stop criminal violence. Consequently, the citizenry must continue its ability to keep and bear arms, including arms that adequately protect them from all types of illegality.” This inference also includes the government.
 
The letter ended aimed directly at the President. “We respect the Office of the President of the United States of America. But, make no mistake, as the duly-elected sheriffs of our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights—in particular Amendment II—has given them. We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”
 
Finally, we have a body that understands the Constitution, honors its oath, and is prepared to defend it—even against the federal government. Look for other counties all over the United States to follow. Is your sheriff, who took the same oath, willing to defend you? Why not ask him? Send him a copy of this letter. In light of the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by the President December 31, 2011, which authorizes the arrest of U. S. citizens on U.S. soil by the military and their shipment to Guantanamo Bay, where they can be held indefinitely without trial, you might wish to have the support of your county sheriff.
 
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org
 

Obama using fake Twitter messages in fight over gun control

Source: The Hill

A Texas Republican on Monday said President Obama’s gun control campaign is a fraud based on fake messages over Twitter. 

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) accused Obama of trying to make support for his position look stronger than it really is by flooding Twitter with messages from people who don’t exist.

“Obama’s anti-gun campaign is a fraud,” Stockman said. “Obama’s supporters are panicking and willing to do anything to create the appearance of popular support, even if it means trying to defraud Congress,” he added. “I call upon the president to denounce this phony spam campaign.”

Stockman said that in response to Obama’s call for people to tweet their congressman in support of gun control legislation, he received just 16 tweets. But he said all of these messages were identical, and that a closer look at them revealed that only six were from real people.

“The other 10 are fake, computer-generated spambots,” his office said in a press release. As evidence, he said these 10 tweets use default graphics and names, and have not engaged in any interaction with other people. Two of the tweets were sent at nearly the same time, and both follow just one person: Brad Schenck, Obama’s former digital strategist.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/284679-gop-lawmaker-says-obama-using-fake-people-to-flood-twitter-with-gun-control-messages#ixzz2ME7ZvNo2