Lawmakers in California seek to put 10 year gun bans on more misdemeanor offensives

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, wants more gun bans on more misdemeanor gun offenders. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)


A proposal backed by a number of gun control groups that would expand the list of crimes that trigger an automatic 10-year ban on gun possession is moving through the Senate.


The bill, backed by a lawmaker who helped write last year’s Gun Violence Restraining Order legislation, would add such crimes as selling ammunition to someone under the age of 21 to current ones that mandate a ban on gun ownership and purchases for a decade. Introduced in April, it passed the Senate by a 24-15 vote and is now winding its way through the Assembly.


The measure’s sponsor is Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who contends it will help stop future gun crimes.


“The horrific tragedy that happened nearly a year ago in Isla Vista has strengthened the resolve of so many of us that we must do more to prevent gun violence,” she said in a statement. “We know that those convicted of nonviolent firearm-related offenses are more likely than the average person to commit very serious crimes in the future. They are five times more likely to be charged with crimes like murder, seven times more likely to be charged with other nonviolent firearm offenses, and four times more likely to be charged with new violent offenses.”


Jackson’s bill, SB 347, adds to the state’s already existing list of misdemeanor crimes that result in a 10 year prohibition on possessing a firearm. These include:


Transferring a handgun without a firearms license.

Selling or giving possession of ammunition to a minor.

Selling handgun ammunition to a person under 21 years of age.

Possession of ammunition by a person prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Furnishing ammunition to a person prohibited from possessing ammunition.

Carrying ammunition onto school grounds.

Receiving stolen property consisting of a firearm.

Carrying a loaded or concealed weapon if the person has been previously convicted of a drug charges.

Possession of a firearm that is not registered.


“This bill helps keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and keeps our communities safer,” said Jackson.


The legislation is supported by the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association and other law enforcement groups as well as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Coalition Against Gun Violence.


In opposition are the National Rifle Association and its state affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association who contend the move is overly broad.


“The addition of these misdemeanor offenses to the prohibited category list that include the ‘transfer’ of firearms or ammunition could entrap family members who are giving firearms to relatives and are unaware of the requirements for firearm transfers through licensed dealers,” reads an alert from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.


Jackson’s bill is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

Chicago and LAPD bought military grade surveillance devices with asset forfeiture and DHS money

The military surveillance devices known as “Dirtboxes” have been in secret operation for more than a decade, tracking citizens’ locations and intercepting their calls, breaking the encryption on hundreds of calls at once.

drtboxDRT boxes (named for Digital Receiver Technology Inc, a Boeing subsidiary), are called “Stingrays on steroids” — Stingrays are the powerful, secretive fake cell towers used to track whole populations’ movements around cities. Dirtboxes are often mounted on low-flying aircraft and used for mass-scale urban surveillance.

Dirtboxes are used by the US military and NSA overseas, including in France. Because of the secrecy surrounding Dirtboxes, they are acquired through no-bid contracts, and many of the cases in which they are used collapse in court because police departments are unwilling to reveal their phone surveillance capabilities in public forums.

Chicago bought their Dirtboxes with cash seized in dubious civil forfeiture cases; LAPD’s funding came from a DHS national security grant.

The main difference between the Harris and Digital Receiver Technology devices, Martinez said, is the ability of the most sophisticated Digital Receiver Technology devices to simultaneously break the encryption of communications from hundreds of cellphones at once. A 2011 purchase order for this equipment by the Washington Headquarters Services, a branch of the Pentagon, states the devices can retrieve the encryption session keys for a cellphone “in less than a second with success rates of 50 to 75% (in real world conditions).”

In Chicago, cell-site simulators have been used to eavesdrop on the activities of demonstrators during a 2012 NATO summit and Black Lives Matter demonstrations last year.

“What’s happened here is the U.S. goes to war against a foreign country under dubious circumstances, private companies develop these surveillance technologies with the help of the CIA and NSA, and they import them back home and use them on Americans,” Martinez said.

Chicago and Los Angeles have used ‘dirt box’ surveillance for a decade


North Carolina Pastor Will Arm Congregation

Congregants carrying guns in church isn’t completely unheard of, but neither is it so common a sight as to go unremarked. For one congregation, though, it will be a regular occurrence within the year, if the pastor’s plans are carried out.

Since the mass murder carried out in a church in Charleston, S.C., in June, there has been an increased concern about the safety of parishioners, particularly those in predominantly black congregations. A number of politicians and Second Amendment advocates have spoken of placing armed officers in churches — in some cases, as Fox 10 Phoenix reports, whether they wanted them or not.

In this case, however, according to NBC, the Washington Missionary Baptist Church in Shelby, North Carolina, is arming the congregation by choice. Pastor Melvin Clark says that rather than have individuals take matters into their own hands, and carry guns to church to feel safe, whether or not they’re trained in the use, he’ll have ten members of his congregation trained, through a police training program or a local community college program. These members will be armed, and act as plainclothes security guards for the church on a rotating schedule.

He told TWC News he’ll have the ten church members licensed and insured, as well as trained, and that he’ll plan the specifics in conjunction with local police and other pastors. If all goes as he plans, he’ll have guns in the hands of trained church members inside a year.

The church already takes a number of security measures, with cameras on the entrances and a buzzer to let visitors in, but Clark’s focus on security isn’t exactly unfounded. Aside from being only a few hours away from the church where nine members were shot and killed this summer, and from a general flurry of KKK recruitment, marches, and activity in the Carolinas since the massacre, Clark himself has previously been targeted, in his church. According to Fox Insider, in 2002, a man with a gun entered the church and held Clark hostage. He believes appropriate security measures could help prevent a recurrence of such an event.

Whether or not a weapon should ever enter a church has been in much debate over the last few months, but Washington Missionary Baptist is taking the position that if there will be guns in church, they should be in the hands of those trained to use them in a professional manner, and the Reverend Clark is working to ensure that.

Judge Rules “Open Carry” Law Trumps School-District Policies

In Clio, Michigan a judge has ruled that a Clio-area father can legally open carry his pistol inside of his daughter’s elementary school despite a legal challenge from the school district.

Genesee Circuit Judge Archie Hayman on Monday, Aug. 10, ruled in favor of Kenneth Herman, who filed the lawsuit March 5 in Genesee County Circuit Court against the Clio Area School District after he was denied access to Edgerton Elementary multiple times while attempting to pick up his daughter because he was open-carrying a pistol.

Herman said after Hayman’s decision. “The ruling today does not come as a surprise, the law is the law, Now that Clio Area Schools have heard the ruling, read the laws and the Court of Appeals case law has been explained to them, I they stop burning through tax dollars fighting the law and common sense.”

DFWFZHerman sued the district after it declared all of its properties weapon-free zones and banned him from openly carrying his firearm in its buildings.

State law prevents people from carrying concealed firearms on school property. However, the law allows individuals with concealed pistol licenses to openly carry their firearms in schools. Herman is a CPL holder.

The district in July filed a motion asking Hayman to dismiss the entire case because it claims it is based on a “fundamental misunderstanding of Michigan Law.”

Much of Herman’s lawsuit focused on a 2012 Michigan Court of Appeals decision stemming from a case that involved Michigan Open Carry. The decision stopped a Lansing library group from banning the open-carrying of firearms on its properties.

But the district argued Herman and Michigan Open Carry are incorrectly interpreting the appeals court decision, saying the ruling does not apply to school districts.

The district argued that state law allows districts to enact policies to safeguard students and, therefore, allows them to institute firearm bans.

But, Hayman sided with Herman and Michigan Open Carry’s argument that the ability to create local weapon policies is beyond the legal authority of the school district and its attempt to do so intrudes upon the lawmaking authority of the state, which has created laws to allow open carry of firearms on school grounds for some people.

Herman said he hopes Clio school officials do not violate Hayman’s order and he looks forward to carrying his firearm in the future.

The Ann Arbor school district is also named in a similar, separate lawsuit filed after the district banned guns on school property.

Iowans Push for ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Iowa state senator Rick Bertrand (R-Dist. 7) is pushing legislation to change the state’s current self-defense laws to included a “Stand Your Ground” provision.

Bertrand says his bill “clarifies [the] Second Amendment” Iowans already possess and protects law-abiding citizens who have to use a gun in self-defense.

According to ABC 9 News, “Stand Your Ground” legislation failed to pass in the last legislative session but supporters have since gathered “thousands of signatures” and are making clear that their votes in the 2016 elections will be used to get rid of lawmakers who oppose the self-defense bill.

Iowa Gun Owners director Aaron Dorr points out that Iowa law currently lets Iowan use lethal force when under threat, but he stresses that that law is not sufficient because it doesn’t shield the law-abiding citizen when he or she has to pull the trigger. He stressed that no one wants to be in a situation where they have to shoot but at the same time he said it is not right to keep law-abiding citizens in a place where they fear possible charges for protecting themselves or their families.

Senator Bertrand said, “Gun laws don’t keep guns away from the bad actors. They keep them from the good players, so at the end of the day, I trust Iowans and Americans.”

Federal Judge Denies Injunction against State Department in 3D Printed Gun Suit

A federal judge denied 3D printed gun inventor Cody Wilson’s request for a preliminary injunction against the State Department after the agency forced him to remove gun designs from his company’s website.

Wilson’s lawsuit came after the State Department claimed the posting of designs for his 3D printed gun on his company’s website violated the Arms Export Control Act because they could be accessed outside of the United States. Wilson was joined in the suit by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and together they argued the State Department was violating Wilson’s First, Second, and Fifth Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman disagreed in a ruling earlier this month. In the ruling, first reported by Reason‘s Brian Doherty, Judge Pitman said the plaintiffs did not meet the requirements necessary to secure a preliminary injunction against the State Department and were unlikely to succeed on the merits of the case.

Wilson took issue with the reasoning Judge Pitman used in his ruling. “I think the gun owning public would be incensed to learn the judge’s reasoning. He doubts there’s a right to own a firearm protected by the Constitution,” he said. “He considers it trivial to censor the speech online because we could use the mail or people could come in person to get the files from us. He thinks gun software development isn’t handicapped by being banned from the Internet because there’s still other means of communication.”

SAF’s founder said he didn’t like the ruling but was happy the case would now move through the court system faster. “It would have been better to win the preliminary injunction but this case now will move faster and we believe we will win it at the appeals court,” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb said. “The government would have liked to tie us up in the lower court for years.”

A State Department official said the case was about protecting Americans.

“The United States is cognizant of the potentially adverse consequences of indiscriminate arms transfers and, therefore strictly regulates exports of defense items and technologies to protect its national interests and the peace and security of the broader international community,” said the official. “At the end of the day, it’s about protecting U.S. national security by regulating foreign access to exports of U.S. defense articles and potentially sensitive defense manufacturing technologies that could be used by terrorists or other bad actors to harm Americans, including our troops serving overseas; as well as citizens from U.S. allies and partners around the world.”

Wilson said the case showed that the fight over the Second Amendment is still raging. “We’re like seven years after the Heller decision here and we’re still in the courts fighting over whether you have the right to buy a gun, like in Mance v. Holder case, or the right to even make one or talk about making one, in my case,” Wilson said. “I mean, this is crazy, man.”

PEW: Majority of Americans Say Gun Ownership Protects Them from Crime

A majority of Americans say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns than for the government to limit access to firearms, a Pew Research Center survey conducted this month found.

The nationwide survey was conducted Dec. 3 to 7 with 1,507 adults using landlines and cellphones and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all respondents. For African-Americans, the error margin is plus or minus 10 points.

The center said that it was the first time in two decades of its surveys on attitudes about firearms that a majority of Americans had expressed more support for gun ownership rights than for gun control.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said it was more important to protect gun ownership rights, and 46 percent said the priority should be controlled access to firearms.

In a 2000 Pew survey, 29 percent chose gun rights over gun control, and in a 2013 survey conducted a month after the Newtown shooting, 45 percent favored gun rights.

The Pew poll on firearms, conducted in early December, also found that African-Americans have become increasingly likely to believe that firearm ownership does more to protect people than it does to threaten an individual’s safety, even as they continue to support gun control measures.

When asked in 2012, 29 percent of African-Americans said guns offered people protection rather than exposed them to greater danger, but in this year’s survey, the number of African-Americans who viewed firearms as offering more personal safety nearly doubled to 54 percent.

By contrast, the views of whites who believe guns are more likely to provide personal protection have changed more modestly rising to 62 percent this year from 54 percent in 2012, the poll found.

Overall, 57 percent of Americans said gun ownership was more helpful in protecting people from becoming victims of crime, and 38 percent said it did more to endanger one’s safety.

Censorship of Drudge, Fox News could happen under Net Neutrality rules

A Washington, D.C., appeals court is set to hear arguments later this year on new net neutrality rules, which critics say could lead to government regulators censoring websites such as the Drudge Report and Fox News.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments against the Federal Communications Commission’s rules on Dec. 4. A panoply of amicus briefs filed with the court last week offer a preview of the arguments.

In its February vote on net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission stated that broadband providers do not have a right to free speech. “Broadband providers are conduits, not speakers … the rules we adopt today are tailored to the important government interest in maintaining an open Internet as a platform for expression,” the majority held in its 3-2 vote.

The rules, which went into effect in June, require that broadband providers — such as Verizon or Comcast — offer access to all legal online content. It did not place such a requirement on “edge providers,” such as Netflix and Google. The FCC defines edge providers as “any individual or entity that provides any content, application, or service over the Internet, and any individual or entity that provides a device used for accessing any content, application, or service over the Internet.”

Church Launches Range Ministry and Builds Gun Range

Rocky Mount United Methodist Church in Jemison Alabama has opened a gun range directly behind its sanctuary in effort to educate its members about gun safety and reach out to the community in the process.

“Really, the whole purpose of this range is to provide recreational and gun safety in a warm, loving, Christian environment,” the church’s pastor Phillip Guin told the Clanton Advertiser. “We wanted to come up with some different ideas to help our church grow, and we thought this would be a unique ministry to offer to the community.”

After the range opened, the church formed the Rocky Mount Hunt and Gun Club LLC, a separate, membership-only, not-for-profit group. To use the gun range, people must be members of the gun club or be guests of a member.

The Jemison Police Department even used the gun range to provide firearm training through annual Citizens Academy, Guin said.

“There are a lot of people that are interested in enjoying themselves in a safe fellowship environment with a gun,” Guin told Mashable. “This is not anything about some radical form of militant Christianity. It is a bit unique out of the box as church ministry goes, but we see it no differently as a church having a softball team or hosting camping ministries.”

Guin said that criticism of the gun range is unwarranted, and that the purpose of the range is sincere and pure.

“The ministry itself is what we’re doing in the name of Jesus Christ,” he told a Mashable reporter. “It does happen to involve guns, but we don’t want it to sound as though we’re forming some kind of weird cult that revolves around guns.”


Gun Registry Necessary to Enforce Background Check Law says Oregon Sheriff

Oregon’s unconstitutional SB 941 legislation requiring background checks for all gun sales went into effect on August 9, but Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp pointed out that the law is unenforceable without an accompanying statewide gun registry.

To be clear, Trapp did not call for a gun registry but simply observed that those who fashioned and passed the law actually heaved new gun control upon the backs of Oregonians which is unenforceable.

Some keen observers point out that the government has to know where every gun is in order to know that one neighbor is not selling a gun to another without a check, or that one co-worker is not selling a gun to another without a check; or that one childhood friend is not selling a gun to another without a check, and so forth.

Until the government knows where every single gun and gun owner are located, talk of requiring a background check for every single sale is just that—talk.

Sheriff Trapp is making the same point in Oregon.

According to The Register-Guard, Trapp indicated Oregon’s SB 941 is “logistically unenforceable” because “there is no centralized registry of guns in Oregon, only five-year records of gun sale transactions that could be used to track a gun found in a criminal’s possession.” And without a gun registry to demonstrate the origins of a given gun, Trapp explained that “offenders could claim they bought or sold a gun legally in a person-to-person sale before SB 941 became law,” and there would be no legal way of countering them.

Again, Trapp is not calling for a gun registry. Rather, he is making a logical observation. But it highlights the insidious threat posed by expanding background checks inasmuch as those checks will require gun control proponents to push an unconstitutional gun registry scheme to make the system work.

Just a reminder, gun registration always leads to confiscation.

bservation. But it highlights the insidious threat posed by expanding background checks inasmuch as those checks will require gun control proponents to push an unconstitutional gun registry scheme to make the system work.

Just a reminder, gun registration always leads to confiscation.