Gun News of the Week: What’s New in Concealed Carry
Plus: Gun owners applaud demise of Ryan/Trump 'Obamacare 2.0'
Gun Owners Applaud Demise of Ryan/Trump ’Obamacare 2.0’
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) American Healthcare Act (H.R.1628) is a mishmash-of-a-morass that preserves the same provisions that made Obamacare a blatant affront to the Constitution in general and the Second Amendment in particular.
Among them: Doctors, insurance companies and federal agencies, specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), can still ferret through medical records as a basis to violate privacy, influence medical treatments, raise insurance premiums and deny law-abiding citizens the right to own a firearm.
“The bill needs to be amended to prohibit the ATF from trolling the national health database, or Medicaid, or any new entitlement program for persons with PTSD, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, or merely ‘anxiety,’” said Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America in a March 20 alert. “The Obama Administration did that with Social Security, for the specific purpose of imposing a lifetime gun ban on millions of Americans. As it is, ‘Son of ObamaCare’ opens that possibility again — on a grand scale.”
The justly maligned American Healthcare Act (AHCA), which was endorsed by President Donald Trump but supported by only 17 percent of Americans, was pulled by Ryan from scheduled votes on March 23 and on March 24 because it did not have the support to pass even in the GOP-controlled House. In fact, according to some estimates, it would have failed by as many as 40 votes.
Which is fine with most gun owners and many Second Amendment advocacy groups, including the GOA, which recommended three changes to any attempt to resurrect the AHCA — also referred to as “Obamacare 2.0”:
—Amend the AHCA to prohibit the ATF from “trolling the national health database, or Medicaid, or any new entitlement program for persons with PTSD, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, or merely ‘anxiety’ to pre-empt a Constitutional right.
—Amend the AHCA to bar insurance companies from asking about gun ownership and basing coverage on the answer to increase insurance rates “as a result of gun ownership” or flat out deny insurance coverage.
“Already,” the GOA states, “New York and California are considering using gun insurance requirements to ‘insure’ guns out of existence.”
—Amend the AHCA to ensure doctors cannot legally ask patients about gun ownership and enter that information into a federal database to create a “de facto national gun registry.”
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K-12 KILL ZONES
Colorado District OKs Measure to Protect Students While California Proposes Statewide Death Traps
The ‘Gun-Free Zone’ death trap that prohibits anyone other than law enforcement from carrying a concealed weapon on public school property is the law of the land in 11 states. In 39 states and the District of Columbia, the state’s department of education or local school boards can allow designated staff or others with concealed-carry permits to be armed on school grounds.
In the last two years, rural school districts in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and elsewhere have authorized vetted staff members to carry concealed weapons on K-12 campuses in much-publicized concessions to common sense. After the Fleming School Board in Colorado voted unanimously in July to do the same, the Hanover School District recently made that same decision. Meanwhile, in California, however (and of course), a proposed bill would pre-empt local control and endanger students by making all public school properties statewide free-fire zones.
Hanover, a close-knit hamlet of ranchers and farmers in El Paso County — which is larger than the state of Rhode Island — is on the rolling plains 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs where, in an emergency, residents can wait up to a half hour or more for sheriff’s deputies to arrive.
Hanover School District 28 board member Michael Lawson, a volunteer fireman and National Rifle Association firearms instructor, thought the district’s one school resource officer was not enough to ensure the safety of its 270 students attending its five schools, especially in an area allegedly infiltrated by Mexican cartels illegally growing marijuana in homes throughout the area.
Last June, Lawson suggested allowing trained faculty and staff to carry guns on campus. The district circulated a survey among students, parents and community members asking, “Are you in favor of arming staff?” By a 126-123 margin, participants thought it would be. In December, the school board approved the proposal in a 3-2 vote.
Although Hanover School Board President Mark McPherson opposed it, he vowed to follow through with the decision. “We will come together as a team and look at policies, training and who will pay for it,” he said.
In California, state law allows school officials to make policy regarding who can carry firearms on school properties. At least three school districts allow teachers and staff to carry a gun on campus. However, AB 424, proposed by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would eliminate that option for districts. The bill has passed a public safety hearing vote and is expected to be introduced this spring.
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Arkansas Governor Signs Expanded Concealed-Carry Bill into Law
Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson on March 22 signed legislation expanding locations where concealed carry is permitted, including colleges, some bars and government buildings, including the state Capitol.
House Bill 1249 allows someone with a concealed carry permit to legally tote concealed weapons virtually anywhere as long as they undergo up to eight hours of active-shooter training.
The measure was originally crafted to allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on college campuses, but it was expanded as it advanced in the Legislature. It allows concealed carry at private establishments such as bars, restaurants and places of worship unless private property owners post signs prohibiting weapons in their establishments. Concealed handguns are still banned at K-12 schools, courtrooms and prisons.
At least one potential amendment is anticipated. Sen. Jon Dismang (R-Beebe said he will propose a revision that exempts the University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) center and the State Hospital, an inpatient facility for the mentally ill, from the expanded list of places where concealed carry is permitted. Another proposed provision would also allow private colleges to prohibit concealed carry if they choose.
According to the Associated Press, when Hutchinson was questioned about concealed carry being permitted at University of Arkansas football games in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, he said anyone could slip a weapon in there regardless if it was legal or not.
“If you think about it,” he said, “while you might have a sign that says ‘No weapons allowed in Razorback stadium,’ there’s not any magnetometers, and so a bad guy could get a gun into Razorback stadium now. This does [allow] carry into sensitive areas, so under this current law, if you had the enhanced training you would be able to go into that facility.”
The law goes into effect on Sept. 1.
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IN THE COURTS
Gorsuch Dodges Feinstein Deceit, calls Heller ‘Law Of The Land’
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch told the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 22 that the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision is the “law of the land” and must be upheld.
“Heller is the law of the land,” he said. ”It’s not a matter of agree or disagree, it’s a matter of upholding the law.”
Gorsuch was queried about the Second Amendment and firearms legislation/litigation in general on the second day of his three-day confirmation hearings by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (R-Calif.), a staunch anti-gun hysteric.
After hearings concluded on March 23, Senate Minority Leader Charles “Chuckie Cheese” Schumer (D-N.Y.) told The Washington Post will vote no on President Trump’s nominee and is rallying other Democrats to join him in blocking Gorsuch’s confirmation.
Under Senate rules, 60 votes are required to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. While Republicans are eager to confirm Gorsuch before Easter recess begins April 10, the GOP only has 52 certain votes.
The 5-4 Heller decision solidified the right of a private citizen to keep and bear arms as a fundamental individuals right.
In an opinion penned by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who Gorsuch would replace, the Supreme Court ruled that “the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense. Assuming that Heller is not disqualified from the exercise of Second Amendment rights, the District must permit him to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.”
Feinstein, who has repeatedly authored attempts to reinstitute the 1995-2005 Assault Weapons Ban, cited a phrase by Scalia that “weapons that are most useful in military service, M-16 rifles and the like, may be banned.”
But, as Breitbart Second Amendment columnist AWR Hawkins noted, Feinstein did not use Scalia’s entire statement and she did not quote it in context. “Here is Scalia’s entire statement: ‘It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service — M-16 rifles and the like — may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause,’” Hawkins wrote, noting, “The context was that he was showing that one clause of the Amendment is not set against another.”
Gorsuch knew this, too, which was apparent in his response to Feinstein’s dishonest ploy. “Heller makes clear that we judges are to apply. The question is whether it’s a gun in common use, for self-defense — and that may be subject to reasonable regulation. That’s the test as I understand it. There’s lots of ongoing litigation about which weapons qualify under those standards. And I can’t pre-judge that litigation sitting here.”
During his tenure as a 10th Circuit Court Judge, the 49-year-old Harvard Law School graduate has not issued any significant Second Amendment-related rulings. Nevertheless, he has been overwhelming endorsed by gunners and Second Amendment advocates.
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