Bloomberg dollars finance four state initiatives — are you paying attention?
According to Congressional Quarterly’s State Track, while Congress was grid-locked in made-for-TV fiddlefests — Democrats as guilty as Republicans for partisan do-nothing grandstanding — state legislators were busy passing more than 180,000 laws and resolutions over the last two years.
That’s not necessarily a good thing because state legislators tend to be far more ideological and “agenda”-driven than elected officials in the nation’s nearly 91,000 local governments, and the professional politicians in Congress, at least before the Tea Party turned everything into a polarized spitting contest.
For instance, that’s certainly not a good thing in California, where the state’s Soviet (legislature) this year imposed an entire regulatory scheme on gun owners and firearms-related businesses.
So an inert, incapable Congress has fostered state legislative activism and, come November, gun-related ballot ballot measures will be presented to voters in at least four states — California, Washington, Maine, and Nevada.
* Washington Initiative 1491: Modeled on legislation adopted in California, Connecticut and Indiana, the measure proposes to deny access to people under protective orders. In 2014, Washington voters passed Initiative 594 to expand background checks.
* California Proposition 63: Proposes prohibiting the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines — period — and would require most individuals to pass a background check and obtain authorization from the California Department of Justice to purchase ammunition.
* Maine Question 3: The “Maine Background Checks for Gun Sales Initiative” proposes requiring background checks before a gun sale or transfer between people who are not licensed firearm dealers.
* Nevada Question 1: The “Nevada Background Checks for Gun Purchases Initiative would require all firearm transfers to go through a licensed gun dealer. Certain transfers, including temporary transfers and those between immediate family members, would be exempted.
While the NRA is not aggressively lobbying against these measures — or, at least, not spending a lot of money other than a $45,000 contribution to the Coalition for Civil Liberties in California, because it’s focused on keeping Hillary out of the White House — former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t sparing any of his billions in financing gun control initiatives, including the four on this November’s ballots.
“2016 will be the year of gun sense,” Kate Folmar, a spokeswoman at Everytown for Gun Safety, a Bloombergian front group told Reid Wilson of The Hill. “If elected leaders themselves won’t change the laws that make it too easy for dangerous people to get weapons, the American people will change them themselves.”
At least those American people not transfixed into paralysis by passively absorbing 24/7 cable news programs, which afford little attention to state legislatures which, therefore, means, state legislatures simply don’t exist to a growing segment of TV-educated voters.
And that suits the gun-control lobby just fine, as Folmar told The Hill’s Wilson. “Our goal is in fact a state-by-state strategy, given how intractable Congress is. It’s not unlike what you saw with the marriage equality arc,” she said. “They started to build momentum state by state, and as more and more people lived in marriage equality states, momentum built.”
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‘Midnight reg’ comes in letter: Gunsmiths must pay $2,250 annual ‘registration fee'
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is among many groups and individual gun owners scratching their heads over a July 22 “guidance” letter issued by the U.S. Department of State —Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) that’s stated intent was “to clarify who is required under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to register as a ‘manufacturer’ of ‘defense articles,’” which, apparently, includes firearms and ammunition products.
The NSSF’s Larry Keane noted in a press release that the “guidance” provides little clarity about anything other than a newly-imposed-by-fiat annual $2,250 registration fee for those required to register.
The DDTC’s “‘guidance’ has created considerable and understandable confusion and concern among gunsmiths and gun owners,” Keane writes, adding the NSSF “is reviewing the ‘guidance’ and will send a letter of protest to DDTC expressing our strong opposition to the new ‘guidance,’ the scope of which clearly exceeds their statutory authority.”
Among the NSSF's concerns is how the term "manufacturing" is applied in the DDTC's new regulations. The AECA and ITAR describe "manufacturing" in the "ordinary dictionary definition," Keane writes, while the DDTC expands the definition to include gun-smithing, which "is not manufacturing under any reasonable dictionary definition of the term." Keane said by the DDTC's definition, "an auto mechanic who fixes your car is a car manufacturer."
As AWR Hawkins, Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio, tries to explain: “The DDTC’s letter sets forth certain activities that correspond with ‘manufacturing’ and require registration/fees if being done by a gunsmith. The letter also lists a number of activities that a gunsmith can do that do not require registration,” he writes. “The combination of the two – register for this; don’t register for that – is cryptic at best.”
Perhaps not so cryptic is the signal emanating from the Obama Administration: Brace for a bevy of gun-related “midnight regs” after November’s elections and before a new administration is seated in January.
Texas proposal makes declaring gun-free zone a liability risk
A Texas State Senator says he will introduce a bill in 2017 that would place civil liability on businesses that ban lawful guns in the event of a patron getting hurt, a measure that would encourage publicly accessible businesses to drop gun-free zones.
Any business that retain a gun-free zone does so at it’s own risk and assumes “custodial responsibility for their patrons.:
“Currently, while these gun-free zone businesses possess the right to prevent legally licensed to carry permit holders from carrying a firearm while on their premise, there is no designation of responsibility to provide for the safety of their patrons during an active shooter situation,” state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, told the Dallas Morning News.
Hall’s bill is based on a similar 2016 Tennessee proposal that allowed anyone with a valid gun permit to sue a property owner in the event of death or injury from either man-made or natural hazards while inside a gun-free zone. Those seeking to litigate would have a two-year window from the event and need to show they were a permit holder at the time but were not armed due to a “no guns” sign posted in the business. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a version of the measure on April 27.
Hall expects to introduce the bill in January though it could be pre-filed earlier.
Six-time medalist Kim Rhode: Don’t ask unless you want to hear what you don’t want to hear
Olympic U.S. skeet shooter Kim Rhode made history few heard about on Aug. 11 when the 37-year-old won a medal for her sixth consecutive Olympics capturing bronze in the skeet shooting event at the Rio Olympics.
In doing so, Rhode becomes the first female Olympian to medal in six consecutive games, and the first summer Olympian as well. Only Italian luger Armin Zoeggeler has done it on the men’s side.
Rhode and fellow American Olympic shooters don’t necessarily covet media attention because when they get it, it’s usually pretty stupid. After all, as she told Time magazine in a recent profile, “the media elite and gun control movement is entirely ignorant about the American cultural traditions centered around firearms. They view all firearms as death weapons, but many in America associate their firearms with family hunting trips or days spent together at the gun range.”
Yes, Rhode is not only an Olympian in every sense of the word, she’s an articulate American well-schooled in her rights and her sport and tired of being interviewed by “reporters” who aren’t — especially when she and other professional sports shooters are, for some reason, singled out to comment on acts of lunacy by gun-control zealots.
“We have that stigma attached to our sport,” Rhode told Time magazine. “When you are talking to a NASCAR driver, they’re not asked to comment on an incident that occurred with a vehicle.”
But in case they do, she’s got the right answer for all comers.
“We should have the right to keep and bear arms, to protect ourselves and our family,” she said. “The Second Amendment was put in there not just so we can go shoot skeet or go shoot trap. It was put in so we could defend our First Amendment, the freedom of speech, and also to defend ourselves against our own government.”