2nd Amendment protects more than just guns

The Connecticut Supreme Court has reversed the conviction of a man who was found to have war memorabilia in his car, including a dirk knife and a police baton, while he was moving from one residence to another.

The non-profit advocacy group Knife Rights said the decision affirmed knives are arms protected by the Second Amendment in a case with potential wider implications.

The case centered on the transportation of Jason DeCiccio’s weapons collection, including knives, in his move from Connecticut to a rental in Bolton, Massachusetts, where he was to take a job as a claims processor at the Veterans Administration.

“The defendant originally was convicted for having a weapon in a motor vehicle, a violation of Connecticut’s harsh anti-weapons laws,” Knife Rights said.

But the court noted the Second Amendment “protects the defendant’s right to possess the dirk knife – in his home and, second, that the statute’s complete ban on transporting those items between residences unduly burdens that right.”

The court said the “safe transportation of weapons protected by the Second Amendment is an essential corollary of the right to possess them in the home for self-defense when such transportation is necessary to effectuate that right.”

DeCiccio was injured in a traffic accident and taken to a hospital, where he became “disoriented and combative.”

During the police officers’ processing of the vehicle, they found two machetes, a sword, a couple of smaller knives and a police baton.

DeCiccio was charged with six counts of having a weapon in a vehicle and was acquitted on four counts. Convictions followed on his possession of a baton and a dirk, a small knife like a dagger, with a straight blade.

He appealed, and the Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously wrote: “The defendant has established, therefore, that his conviction under [Paragraph] 29-38 (a) for using his Jeep to transport a dirk knife and police baton to his new residence violated his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

NPR affiliate WSHU reported DeCiccio’s attorney, Michael Zariphes, said the decision was welcome but would not compensate DeCiccio for the last four years, including the 15 months he was in jail.

“His life was essentially put on hold,” the attorney told the station. “Which is a shame because he is a man who served in the military and put his life on the line to protect the very Constitution that sort of put him in jail.”

Citing both the Heller and McDonald decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed that individual Americans have the right to keep and bear arms, the court said: “Well after the nation’s founding, knives continued to be an important tool for many Amerians soldiers. During World War II, American soldiers, sailors, and airmen wanted and purchased fixed blade knives, often of considerable dimensions. At least in some units, soldiers were ‘authorized an M3 trench knife, but many carried a favorite hunting knife.’ The Marine Corps issued the Ka-Bar fighting knife. As one World War II memoir records, ‘this deadly piece of cutlery was manufactured by the company bearing its name.’ … Vietnam memoirs record that Ka-Bar and similar knives were still in use.

“We agree with the defendant that, under Heller, the dirk knife that he was transporting to his new residence falls within the terms ‘arms’ for purposes of the Second Amendment.”

Likewise, the baton also fits the definition under the Constitution.

“We are persuaded that the police baton that the defendant had in his vehicle is the kind of weapon traditionally used by the state for public safety purposes and is neither so dangerous nor so unusual as to fall outside the purview of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.”
(H/T: WND)


Environmentalists Suffer Big Loss on Lead Bullets Case

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled against environmentalists who are trying to force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate spent lead bullets and lead shot used in hunting and shooting sports.

In a decision favorable to gun enthusiasts, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Tuesday that environmental groups have suggested no way in which EPA could regulate spent lead bullets and shot without also regulating cartridges and shells.

The Toxic Substances Control Act exempts cartridges and shells from regulation.

The National Rifle Association and much of the pro-gun lobby intervened on the EPA’s side in urging the federal appeals court to uphold the dismissal of a lawsuit by 101 environmentalist organizations.

“Given that bullets and shot can become spent only if they are first contained in a cartridge or shell and then fired from a weapon,” the environmental groups “have identified no way in which EPA could regulate spent bullets and shot without also regulating cartridges and shells,” precisely what the law prohibits, said the decision by appeals judge David Tatel, a nominee of President Bill Clinton. The other two judges on the case were Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard, both nominees of President Barack Obama.

More than 50 million hunters and target shooters in America use traditional ammunition containing lead components, according to pro-gun groups. Ninety-five percent of domestically manufactured ammunition is made with lead bullets or lead shotgun shells.

Lawyers for the environmentalists say there are many effective alternatives, such as substituting copper for lead bullets and lead shot.

Gun supporters say ammunition manufactured with alternative materials is more costly to produce and sell than traditional ammunition.

At least six states have issued warnings about lead bullets and the risks for pregnant women and children.

Lead is a carcinogen with significant health effects on people. EPA banned lead-based paint and lead-based paint products in 1978.

In 1991, the government adopted a nationwide ban on lead shot in migratory waterfowl hunting after biologists estimated 2 million ducks died each year from ingesting spent lead pellets.


Another lawsuit filed challenging federal ban on new machine guns

In a law suit supported by Freedom Fighters Foundation, a complaint for declarative and injunctive relief was filed Friday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Plaintiff Ryan S. Watson, acting individually and as trustee of the Watson Family Gun Trust, is suing Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones in their official capacities for administering, executing and enforcing “statutory and regulatory provisions [that] generally act as an unlawful de facto ban on the transfer or possession of a machine gun manufactured after May 19, 1986.”

Attorney David R. Scott is joined in the lawsuit by Stephen D. Stamboulieh, the Mississippi attorney who filed a similar action in Texas on October 30 in the case of Hollis v. Holder. This latest action differs from the first in that Watson is subject to an actual taking resulting from actions performed under authorization of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, for which approval was later revoked.

Following an ATF Firearms Industry Programs Branch determination that “unincorporated trusts do not fall within the definition of ‘person,’” Watson, acting as an authorized official of the Watson Family Gun Trust, electronically submitted an ATF Form 1, “Application to Make and Register a Firearm” in May. In August, he received ATF approval along with its stamp evidencing payment of the tax affixed to the form, and based on that authorization, he manufactured a machine gun.

Watson had also submitted an earlier Form 1 in April in paper form, and while that one was later returned disapproved, the signature box, date box and approval box had been “whited out” by ATF. In both cases ATF processed and retained the $200 “tax.”

As for the approved machine gun, ATF reneged after the fact and advised Watson it had erroneously approved his application, despite, per Stamboulieh, the agency having no statutory authority to revoke an approval. ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division ordered Watson to surrender the manufactured machine gun, reminding him that “possession of this unregistered machine gun is a Federal felony.”

The complaint asks for judgment along several grounds, including that existing statutes barring private ownership of machine guns exceed the authority of Congress and violate the Second Amendment. It additionally seeks declarations that such statutes cannot be applied individually or against trustees, that the defendants are enjoined from enforcement and that they have no authority to revoke tax stamps. Alternatively, the complaint asks that “unincorporated trusts are not prohibited from manufacturing or possessing machine guns.” It also seeks to recover costs of the suit and attorney fees, as well as “any other further relief as the Court deems just and appropriate.”

(Via: Examiner.com)

California vs. the Constitution–on Freedom, Faith, Guns and Property

Via: Breitbart

227 years ago, on September 17th, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. On that day, the delegates met for the final time and signed the revolutionary document they had spent months crafting. As a result of their extraordinary statesmanship, this radical document gave birth to freedom, and for the first time in the history of man’s relation to man, a society acknowledged that the “just powers derived from the Creator” belong to every citizen as a sovereign instead of as a subject.

Now, however, the government founded to protect our natural, inalienable rights has become the greatest threat to them. And the nation formed to protect religious liberty now forces conversion to political correctness, supplanting freedom with compliance.

Take the recent decision by California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White to strip the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) of its right to be a recognized organization on CSU’s 23 campuses because it refused to surrender its beliefs.

“They can’t ask their leaders or members to sign a statement of faith.“  a CSU spokesman said.

This is no small matter, but you’d never know that by the statements of Susan Westover, university counsel for CSU.

“These issues have already been litigated and we have prevailed,” she said as if this were a dispute over winning an intramural soccer game. “It doesn’t make sense to allow any group to discriminate on any grounds,” Westover said. “These are not private organizations existing out there. These are student groups that are based in our education setting. Our entire purpose is education. This is when our students are supposed to be exposed to new ideas, especially those that are in conflict.”

Actually, IVCF is not discriminating against anyone.  They are simply exercising a basic natural right of free association and free assembly with whomever they choose. This natural right is affirmed in the First Amendment, which specifically prohibits Congress from making a law that would interfere with religious liberty:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now, you might wonder, what exactly is IVCF requiring of its leaders in this affirmation of faith? Given the tremendous effort CSU has put into quashing this affirmation, you’d think they were advocating intolerance or hatred or condemnation of others, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In a previous story on Breitbart, Dr. Susan Berry notes exactly what IVCF requires:

On its website, IVCF states its “chapter leaders are required to affirm InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis,” which essentially recognizes God as the Creator of all things who exists in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the Bible as having been divinely inspired.

So, now the government wants to tell a religious organization that it cannot require an affirmation of specific beliefs that are the foundation and the tenets of that faith? What is it about Christianity in particular that strikes such fear into the hearts of tyrants?

After I learned of this egregious policy, I drafted a letter, excerpted below (click here to read the full letter):

While I know that it is no longer popular at your institution to study the Constitution as it was written and amended, your decision to deny a Christian group the right to assemble as a recognized organization on campus, is a blatant violation of the First Amendment.   The claim that this group violates the CSU policy of inclusion is laughable.  The cited policy is inherently intolerant of virtually all individuals who adhere to any faith.

Academia has long prided itself on embracing diversity. Unfortunately, the reality is far different.  Academia is dominated by leftists whose definition of diversity is only skin-deep. When it comes to embracing diversity of thought, your policy is predictably intolerant of anyone who holds beliefs that differ from yours.

I’m hoping that by banishing this Christian organization from recognized status, perhaps CSU students will become even more curious as to why “the man” saw it as such a threat.

Religious liberty is not the only freedom under assault. On this anniversary of the signing of our Constitution, California’s state government is daily abusing the “just powers” entrusted them by the people.

Even now, California’s Governor Jerry Brown is considering a bill (AB1014, Skinner, D-Berkeley) to deprive California citizens of their Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” by creating a special restraining order that empowers law enforcement to take your guns first and hold a hearing later in spite of you having committed no crime.

Brings to mind that movie, Minority Report, which allows the government to arrest you for a crime you haven’t yet committed.

And this week, Brown signed into law a bill that grants government unprecedented control over the groundwater that flows under private property. That has nothing to do with the drought. It is the left seizing on a crisis they created as a justification to consolidate power.

If you cannot freely associate according to the precepts of your faith without interference from the state, you have no religious liberty.

The right to worship as you please was the reason our founders fled religious tyranny to form this great nation. And the right to defend your “life and liberty” is a natural God-given right, essential if you ever hope to “pursue happiness.” Moreover, the right to own and control one’s private property is the physical incarnation of freedom.

When government becomes the greatest threat to your liberty, you have tyranny.

It’s time to remind those who rule that they rule with our consent, not at our expense, and their job is to protect, not infringe our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

California’s Gun Waiting Period Ruled Unconstitutional

Federal court decides 10-day waiting period laws violate Second Amendment rights

In an e-mail to its supporters, Calguns Foundation announced: California’s 10-day waiting period for gun purchases was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge this morning in a significant victory for Second Amendment civil rights. The laws were challenged by California gun owners Jeffrey Silvester and Brandon Combs, as well as two gun rights groups, The Calguns Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation.

In the decision released this morning, Federal Eastern District of California Senior Judge Anthony W. Ishii, appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, found that “the 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code [sections 26815(a) and 27540(a)] violate the Second Amendment” as applied to members of certain classifications, like Silvester and Combs, and “burdens the Second Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs.”

“This is a great win for Second Amendment civil rights and common sense,” said Jeff Silvester, the named individual plaintiff. “I couldn’t be happier with how this case turned out.”

Under the court order, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) must change its systems to accommodate the unobstructed release of guns to gun buyers who pass a background check and possess a California license to carry a handgun, or who hold a “Certificate of Eligibility” issued by the DOJ and already possess at least one firearm known to the state.
“We are happy that Second Amendment rights are being acknowledged and protected by our courts,” said Donald Kilmer, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “This case is one more example of how our judicial branch brings balance to government in order to insure our liberty. I am elated that we were able to successfully vindicate the rights of our clients.”

Attorneys Victor Otten of Torrance and Jason Davis of Mission Viejo were co-counsel for the plaintiffs.

“This ruling clearly addressed the issue we put before the court,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We are naturally delighted with the outcome.”

“California gun owners are not second-class citizens and the Second Amendment doesn’t protect second class rights,” noted plaintiff Brandon Combs. “This decision is an important step towards restoring fundamental individual liberties in the Golden State.”

“This victory provides a strong foundation from which other irrational and unconstitutional gun control laws will be challenged,” concluded Combs. “We look forward to doing just that.”


The court’s decision can be read or downloaded at http://bit.ly/silvester-v-harris-decision.

NRA unveils provocative Trigger the Vote ad.


Chris W. Cox, President of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation announced the kickoff of the NRA Trigger the Vote campaign.  Cox states in an email to supporters: “Registering to vote is critical to preserving our Second Amendment rights.”

Cox further explains: “One of the missions of NRA’s Freedom Action Foundation is to protect the Second Amendment through a vigorous non-partisan voter registration program.”

The email provided a link to a new video from the “Trigger the Vote” campaign entitled “Father and Son”

It features a father taking out a small pistol safe from a closet and tells his son “Remember, this isn’t a toy. This is serious business.

The son asks his father why he has one, the dad responds, “To protect our family and our rights.”

The father opens the safe and reveals a voter registration card.

An interesting twist on citizen’s responsibility to act and to act responsibly when handling a firearm or voting.