Gun News of the Week: Firearms at the Republican National Convention
TOP STORY Cleveland RNC selfies: Guns & Poses outside the Rock N’Roll Hall of Fame When the Republican National Committee...
Cleveland RNC selfies: Guns & Poses outside the Rock N’Roll Hall of Fame
When the Republican National Committee announced in July 2014 that it had selected Cleveland as the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention, there was a great deal of discussion about gun laws in Ohio and, in particular, Cleveland’s gun laws.
There was a concession by the RNC, in selecting Cleveland, that open and concealed carry would not be permitted in Quicken Loans Arena at the behest of the Secret Service. The deal was done and there was some discussion, but no real outrage.
Why? Because the Secret Service has banned firearms on the floor of every political convention for decades, including the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa.
As Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said in March, “only authorized law enforcement personnel” working with the agency will be allowed to carry firearms inside protected areas. “Individuals determined to be carrying firearms will not be allowed past a pre-determined outer perimeter checkpoint, regardless of whether they possess a ticket to the event,” Hoback wrote in an email to the Associated Press.
Nevertheless, last March, more than 50,000 were duped into signing a Change.org mock petition demanding open carry inside Quicken Loans Arena, craftily exposing a knee-jerk reactionary inattentiveness among many gun owners — a claim gun owners usually (and accurately) make about gun control advocates.
But make no mistake, when the Republican National Convention opens in Cleveland Monday, there will be plenty of weapons legally on open display within the 1.7-square-mile area in downtown Cleveland where many events and protests will unfold.
Considering how heated, polarizing and stupid, nasty rhetoric suffices as political discourse in America circa 2016, it’s understandable that the Cleveland Police Department is nervous about groups such as the Black Panthers and Oath-Keepers planning to come armed and ready to “confront” Republican partisans and politicos.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told the AP on July 12 that he would prefer protestors and conventioneers not bring firearms to his city but affirmed it is legal to do so. “It’s the law in this state and as police chief, I’m bound to uphold the law in this state,” he said.
More than 5,000 police officers are expected to be on the streets outside the convention. Three hundred officers will be patrolling on bikes, separating potentially hostile groups from one another within two rings of security outside the convention. No guns will be allowed in a secure zone inside the convention site and right outside it, an area controlled by the Secret Service.
The whole thing is surreal and a strange position to be in for those who appreciate the Constitution, especially the Second Amendment, and support Constitutional carry. What is usually a well-conceived demonstration to illustrate how a right unexercised is a right denied will not be perceived as such by an ignorant TV media with no capacity for nuance or subtlety, but with a mission to exploit and exacerbate confrontation.
TV cameras—not firearms—are the real weapons to fear.
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TRUIMPH OF TRUMPOLITIC
Confirmed pro-gun rights advocate joins anti-Hillary team
Now that presumptive Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has named Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his presumptive Republican Vice Presidential candidate, will his politics of not-being-a-politician presumptively end?
Does it matter? He’s running against Hillary and that’s all that matters. Beat Hillary. It’s Trump or bust for Second Amendment folks.
Trump continues to demonstrate a new-found zealotry for the Second Amendment and for gun-owners’ votes by naming Pence, 57, a 12-year Congressman and Indiana Governor since 2013, as his running mate.
A conservative and longtime supporter of the Tea Party movement, Pence routinely received A and A+ ratings from the NRA. He addressed the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during May’s NRA annual meetings in Louisville, Kent. He also addressed the NRA’s Celebration of American Values in 2010.
“If personnel are policy, then Donald Trump has sent a very strong signal in support of the Second Amendment with the selection of Governor Pence,” writes The Daily Caller’s Harold Hutchison on July 14.
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Harvard professors figure it out: Mass shootings spur state gun lawmaking
According to Harvard Business School researchers, more than 20,400 pieces of gun-related legislation have been proposed in state legislatures following mass shooting events in the past 25 years. Of those bills, they say, more than 3,000 have become law.
That’s 120 new gun laws a year in a nation that doesn’t even know how many gun laws it already has — estimates range from 300 “relevant” gun laws (not including local ordinances) to 20,000 “relevant” (and presumably un-“relevant”) gun laws.
Therefore, the perception that nothing changes is, of course, not “relevant” because the facts say otherwise.
“It’s not that nothing changes after a mass shooting,” HBS researcher Deepak Malhotra told National Public Radio’s Nate Rott and Jeff Landa. “A lot of the action on (gun control) happens across states instead of at the federal level.”
As NPR reports, Malhotra and his team looked at legislation that was proposed following mass shooting events between 1990 and 2014. They present two findings — mass shootings increase the number of gun-related bills proposed and passed; if Republicans control the state legislature, new laws generally loosen gun laws and vice-versa when Democrats rule the roost.
“If you have a Republican legislature in your state and you have a mass shooting, the net effect if you look at the actual bills that get passed is there’s a significant increase in bills that loosen gun restrictions,” Malhotra told NPR.
Gun-related legislation is not the fixation among GOP legislators as it is for Democrat elected officials, who file more than 70 percent of these knee-jerk gun bills as the same tired craven charade designed to exploit the perception that nothing is happening by ensuring nothing is happening except grandstanding in the glare of the TV, waving purposely flawed bills they know will not pass, know will not withstand inevitable court challenges, but know will help garner votes from those weary of the perception that nothing happening while state legislators annually adopt 120 gun laws on average year-after-year.
Remember: It’s not what you know, it’s what you believe that counts today in America, where feeling is the same thing as thinking.
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IN THE COURTS
Constitutional rights only applicable ‘as applied’ in Florida
The Florida Supreme Court is expected to rule on an open carry case that could have national implications, according to many Second Amendment legal pundits.
In June, the seven-member state High Court heard arguments in Norman v. Florida, a challenge to the state’s nearly 30-year-old concealed weapons law that prevents people from openly carrying firearms in public places such as parks and schools.
Florida is one of only five states that ban the regular open carry of firearms. The issue was before the Legislature this year but did not pass. Proponents already have promised to bring it back again next session.
Norman v. State of Florida involves Dale Norman, a concealed carry licensee arrested and prosecuted in Fort Pierce for violating the state’s open carry ban while walking down the street the first time he carried outside his home with his new concealed carry license and “his otherwise lawfully carried handgun unknowingly became unconcealed.”
A St. Lucie County Judge in 2012 denied all constitutional arguments to dismiss the case because the question of the right to bear arms “is for someone above the level of this court,” but found that the state statute is “overbroad and … facially vague.”
Big words for a non-decision that ultimately resulted in Norman getting convicted on an oh-by-the-way “as applied” standard, which essentially means state courts shouldn’t meddle in state lawmaking and since open carry is regarded as a privilege granted by the State Legislature until the State Legislature says otherwise, standing law is enforced “as applied.”
The County Court forwarded its constitutional questions directly to the 4th District Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court’s non-decision despite the Florida Attorney General’s Office extraordinary motion attempting to prohibit it from hearing the case. Florida Carry, Inc. appealed the reeling and the case was accepted by the State Supreme Court in June.
According to Charles Nichols, president of California Right To Carry, in an April news blaze.com blog that blasted the NRA’s “fumbled” Amicus (Friend of the Court) brief in support of Norman, the Second Amendment right recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008’s Heller v. Washington DC ruling should — one would think — apply “to all states and local government” and “preclude any interpretation that states can ban Open Carry in preference to concealed carry … even if you believe that there is a Second Amendment right to concealed carry.”
But not necessarily so.
“You might believe that, but the U.S. Supreme Court says there is no such concealed carry right and state courts are bound by the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court when interpreting federal law,” he continues. “Which is something the NRA lawyers failed to learn in law school. As you can see, it isn’t difficult to make the Constitutional case for Open Carry given that Open Carry is the very definition of the Constitutional manner in which arms can be carried but, for some reason, the NRA neglected to make that case in its brief.”
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