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Gun News

Gun News

Gun News

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A Betrayal of Florida Gun Owners by Legislators will not go unanswered.

You stopped the appointment of a Judge, Robert Dees, who would not respect your right to self-defense.
Scott skips over NRA and Florida Carry both which opposed the lawmaker for the judicial post

Jacksonville attorney Robert Dees chosen "As of Friday morning". The governor's office had received 7,985 responses in opposition to McBurney and 134 in support..."

You have shown the power of a grassroots organization.  As you know there are a number of attacks on your rights that are "in-play" now and coming in the next Florida legislative session.  We will need you more than ever in coming months.  STAND READY to defend our rights!


PROTECTING OUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Donald J. Trump on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.

The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesn’t create that right – it ensures that the government can’t take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple.

It’s been said that the Second Amendment is America’s first freedom. That’s because the Right to Keep and Bear Arms protects all our other rights. We are the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment. Protecting that freedom is imperative. Here’s how we will do that:

Enforce The Laws On The Books

We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals. The Obama administration’s record on that is abysmal. Violent crime in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and many others is out of control. Drug dealers and gang members are given a slap on the wrist and turned loose on the street. This needs to stop.

Several years ago there was a tremendous program in Richmond, Virginia called Project Exile. It said that if a violent felon uses a gun to commit a crime, you will be prosecuted in federal court and go to prison for five years – no parole or early release. Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, called that a “cookie cutter” program. That’s ridiculous. I call that program a success. Murders committed with guns in Richmond decreased by over 60% when Project Exile was in place – in the first two years of the program alone, 350 armed felons were taken off the street.

Why does that matter to law-abiding gun owners? Because they’re the ones who anti-gun politicians and the media blame when criminals misuse guns. We need to bring back and expand programs like Project Exile and get gang members and drug dealers off the street. When we do, crime will go down and our cities and communities will be safer places to live.

Here’s another important way to fight crime – empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves. Law enforcement is great, they do a tremendous job, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time. Our personal protection is ultimately up to us. That’s why I’m a gun owner, that’s why I have a concealed carry permit, and that’s why tens of millions of Americans have concealed carry permits as well. It’s just common sense. To make America great again, we’re going to go after criminals and put the law back on the side of the law-abiding.

Fix Our Broken Mental Health System

Let’s be clear about this. Our mental health system is broken. It needs to be fixed. Too many politicians have ignored this problem for too long.

All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored. We can’t allow that to continue. We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren’t violent, they just need help. But for those who are violent, a danger to themselves or others, we need to get them off the street before they can terrorize our communities. This is just common sense.

And why does this matter to law-abiding gun owners? Once again, because they get blamed by anti-gun politicians, gun control groups and the media for the acts of deranged madmen. When one of these tragedies occurs, we can count on two things: one, that opponents of gun rights will immediately exploit it to push their political agenda; and two, that none of their so-called “solutions” would have prevented the tragedy in the first place. They’ve even admitted it.

We need real solutions to address real problems. Not grandstanding or political agendas.

Defend The Rights of Law-Abiding Gun Owners

GUN AND MAGAZINE BANS. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like “assault weapons”, “military-style weapons” and “high capacity magazines” to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.

BACKGROUND CHECKS. There has been a national background check system in place since 1998. Every time a person buys a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer – which is the overwhelming majority of all gun purchases – they go through a federal background check. Study after study has shown that very few criminals are stupid enough to try and pass a background check – they get their guns from friends/family members or by stealing them. So the overwhelming majority of people who go through background checks are law-abiding gun owners. When the system was created, gun owners were promised that it would be instant, accurate and fair. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today. Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system – and it should go without saying that a system’s only going to be as effective as the records that are put into it. What we need to do is fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.

NATIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.

MILITARY BASES AND RECRUITING CENTERS. Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We train our military how to safely and responsibly use firearms, but our current policies leave them defenseless. To make America great again, we need a strong military. To have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves.


March 17, 2016

Greg Steube Florida House of Representitive - Bill 4001-Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms

Since 1950, all but two public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, there have been no exceptions. It is well established that mass shooters target gun free zones.  James Holmes, the "Dark Knight" movie-theater killer, decided not to attack an airport because of what he described in his diary as its "substantial security." Out of seven theaters showing the Batman movie premiere within 20 minutes of the suspect's apartment, only one theater banned permitted concealed handguns. That's the one he attacked. Gun free zones provide no safety and are "gun free" in name only.
 
I ask you, why is Floridians' inherent right to self-defense stripped because they walk on campus? Floridians, who have a conceal carry license, can carry their firearm at their local grocery store, their local bank, their local restaurant and numerous other local places that they share with you. For the people who say my bill will make them feel unsafe on their campuses, do you feel unsafe when you are in Publix, Walmart, Joe's Deli and your bank? When you are in Florida, you are within close proximity to one of Florida's 1.4 million legally carrying firearm owners, every single day. 
 
With this in mind, I am insulted by the notion that we cannot trust our students and our faculty members to act thoughtfully while at an institution of higher learning but we trust them while shopping, eating and engaging in everyday activities. Again, I ask you, why is Floridians' inherent right to self-defense stripped because we walk on campus?  Despite what the anti-gun lobby is saying, HB 4001, is in congruence with current law.  To be clear, my legislation is for individuals who are 21 years or older, who have submitted to a background check and completed training be allowed to carry on campus just as they do everywhere else. Veterans are rightly the only exception to the age barrier and rightly so.

Passed the House
Total Yeas:    80    Total Nays:    37


December 12, 2015

Sheriff Gualtieri is setting up armed conflict between Deputies and Law-Abiding Gun Owners - Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri training deputies to kill law-abiding gun owners. [Maybe a little harsh but not far off the mark of his comments - Editor]
 
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is not above fabricating his own version of the truth to get his way. Even after the outright lies he was telling about the Open Carry bill were exposed in the press, the Sheriff continues to act as a purveyor of falsehoods and irrational fear. 

The law-abiding gun owners of Florida have every faith in the professionalism and judgement of most law enforcement officers. It seems that we have more faith in Gualtieri's deputies than the Sheriff does himself. The message that Sheriff Gualtieri is spreading now is that his deputies will violently attack, and may even murder, law-abiding gun owners who openly carry. His latest threats came in a statement to The News Service of Florida that "at a minimum, they're going to be thrown down on the ground with a gun pointed at them - or worse." And if good citizen with a concealed weapon walks into, say, a bank during an armed robbery, when officers arrive, "he's going to take one in the chest because he's a threat." At the same time Law Enforcement lobbyists are working to insure that "bad apple" officers are immune from prosecution or civil liability if they abuse the rights of legal gun owners. 

If Sheriff Gualtieri us unable to better train his deputies, if he is unable to maintain a disciplined and professional law enforcement agency of public servers, if he is going to continue his attempts to cause a potentially deadly rift between the gun owning community and his department's hard working deputies that could get a citizen or a law enforcement officer killed... Then Sheriff Gualtieri is unfit to serve the people of Pinellas County and should resign or be removed.

Open and Concealed carry works in 45 States, it's an insult to Florida law enforcement to believe that they are incapable of telling the good guys from violent criminals. Bob Gualtieri is a bully with a badge who would be better suited to be a street cop in Iran than a Sheriff in Florida.

Fortunately, there are still good law enforcement leaders in Florida who support your right to bear arms like Sheriff Wayne Ivey. 


U.N. Resolution 2117

The U.N. Resolution 2117 lists 21 points dealing with firearms control. The most interesting to Americans is number 11:

“CALLS FOR MEMBER STATES TO SUPPORT WEAPONS COLLECTION and DISARMAMENT of all UN countries”.

By a 53-46 vote - The U.S. Senate voted against the U.N. resolution. The 46 Senators voting in favor are listed below. Take this information to the polls with when it’s reelection time.

In a 53-46 vote, the Senate narrowly passed a measure that will stop the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

The Statement of Purpose from the Senate Bill reads: "To uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty."

The U.N. Small Arms Treaty, which has been championed by the Obama Administration, would have effectively placed a global ban on the import and export of small firearms. The ban would have affected all private gun owners in the U.S. and had language that would have implemented an international gun registry on all private guns and ammo.

The following are the 46 senators who voted for the U.N. Resolution.

Baldwin (D-WI), Baucus (D-MT), Bennett (D-CO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Coons (D-DE), Cowan (D-MA), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Harkin (D-IA), Hirono (D-HI), Johnson (D-SD), Kaine (D-VA), King (I-ME), Klobuchar (D-MN), Landrieu (D-LA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Mikulski (D-MD), Murphy (D-CT), Murray (D-WA), Nelson (D-FL), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Sanders (I-VT), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Stabenow (D-MI), Udall (D-CO), Udall (D-NM), Warner (D-VA), Warren (D-MA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR),

46 Senators Voted to Give your 2nd Amendment Constitutional Rights to the U.N. Stand up and be heard on election day.


Proctor Fish & Game - New Hampshire - September 13, 2015

New Hampshire could use some help creating a large 3 State Constitutional Carry Zone. We are aiming for at least 1,000 strong to join us at the state house Sept 16 in support of Hassan's veto override. Please spread the word! We need all the help we can get, thank you neighbor for all the support you have given us! For more information, check out this website: Are You Suitable?

As you may or may not be aware, NH governor Maggie Hassan vetoed Senate Bill 116 after it passed the Senate and the House earlier this year. Now whether you practice your second amendment right or not, this should concern you, as her veto did the following:

Endorsed and continued nearly 100 years of state-sanctioned discrimination
Ignored Articles 1 and 2A of the NH Constitution
Ignored the 73% of your fellow citizens who support the bill

If you are still unfamiliar with Senate Bill 116, here is the bill in summary:

It makes optional the current requirement for law-abiding citizens to possess a license to discreetly carry a loaded firearm.
It removes the unlimited and subjective authority of local law enforcement to decide which NH citizen is, or is not, a "suitable" person.
In the absence of its enactment and or possession of such a license, existing law subjects you to criminal charges should you accidentally place a winter jacket over your legally-carried, loaded firearm.
Despite what opponents of SB 116 falsely claim, enacting SB 116 into law would have no effect whatsoever on state or federal background firearms law.

It simply and clearly re-affirms the rights of law-abiding NH citizens.

Join Us September 16th, 2015!

The Plan: Wednesday, September 16th

Outside 10:00am to 12:45pm – Gather showing support of veto override as legislators arrive to building.
Inside 1:00pm - FILL both the Senate and House galleries in the Legislative building

33 N State St, Concord, NH 03301

Between the Legislative Office Building and the State Capital.

If carrying, it is preferred conceal carry for this particular rally, and business casual.

We need all hands on deck, and the largest possible turnout to support this veto override.

Let's make northern New England an undivided "Constitutional Carry Zone"!

SENATE BILL 116-FN:

AN ACT repealing the license requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.

SPONSORS: Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Boutin, Dist 16; Rep. Hoell, Merr 23

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

ANALYSIS

This bill:

I. Increases the length of time for which a license to carry a pistol or revolver is valid.

II. Allows a person to carry a loaded, concealed pistol or revolver without a license unless such person is otherwise prohibited by New Hampshire statute.

III. Requires the director of the division of state police to negotiate and enter into agreements with other jurisdictions to recognize in those jurisdictions the validity of the license to carry issued in this state.

IV. Repeals the requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver.


New Florida Carry lawsuit against Florida State University, President, and Police Chief. FSU President John Thrasher and Police Chief David Perry violate state law to trample Second Amendment rights by threatening to arrest law abiding gun owners.

September 8th, 2015

Tallahassee, Florida - In 2014 then Senator Thrasher admonished Florida Carry during a legislative committee hearing for supporting a pro-Second Amendment bill that corrected an unconstitutional infringement on the right to bear arms rather than going to the courts and bringing a lawsuit.

Today Florida Carry is taking his advice.

Florida Carry, Inc. joins FSU Graduate Student Bekah Hargrove of Florida Students for Concealed Carry in filing Florida Carry v. Thrasher today seeking an emergency injunction against John Thrasher, now President of Florida State University, the university, and FSU Police Chief David Perry.

In 2013 the Florida First District Court of Appeals made it crystal clear, in the case of Florida Carry v. UNF, that Universities have no authority to regulate the lawful possession of firearms that are properly stored in private vehicles on campus. Despite the fact that FSU, Chief Perry, and President Thrasher are well aware of the law and the binding decision of the court, they have chosen to continue illegally prohibiting the possession of firearms in people's private vehicles. They even go so far as to use their own police force to publicly threaten criminal enforcement of their unlawful regulations.

A recent release published by the FSU Police Department instructs that:

"Weapons and/or firearms are not permitted to be stored in a vehicle on the FSU campus at any time, including game days."(Emphasis in original)

The "FSU Game Day Plan 2015 - New Info" publication goes on to flout the laws of Florida by stating that:

"Weapons are prohibited on the Florida State University Campus at all times including football games. Fan may not store firearms or other weapons in their vehicles parked on campus while attending the game. Possession of a firearm or weapon on the FSU campus constitutes a felony and violators are subject to arrest pursuant to Florida Statute 790.115."

https://police.fsu.edu/sites/default/files/media/doc/FSUGameDayPlan2015NewInfo.pdf

The FSU Student Code of Conduct also attempts to enforce these illegal policies by prohibiting all "On-campus possession or use of firearms..." without an exception for firearm possession in a private vehicle and even "Off-campus... or unauthorized possession or use of firearms..."

https://dos.fsu.edu/srr/_localDocuments/student-conduct-code.pdf

"It has a chilling effect on the right to bear arms when law abiding gun owners are lied to by public officials, especially ones who control their own Police Forces, and are told that they will be breaking a law by the legal possession of their firearms."

Said Sean Caranna, Executive Director of Florida Carry, Inc.

"These publications are a blatant attempt by FSU President Thrasher, and his anti-Second Amendment employees, to enforce illegal gun control with the threat of throwing good people in jail for the lawful exercise of their right to bear arms. We demand that public officials follow the law and will stand for nothing less."


August 19, 2015 - This could not be more serious. National Association for Gun Right

President Obama is calling for more gun control. So is Hillary Clinton.

The Washington Post reports both U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are working on "reviving gun control."

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants to put gun owners in "systems" so the federal government can "track people."

Politico is reporting Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid "is pushing for a vote on gun-control measures."

On Fox News Sunday, high-powered GOP consultant Karl Rove blamed the South Carolina shooting tragedy on the Second Amendment, stating: "Basically, the only way to guarantee that we would dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough oomph to repeal the Second Amendment, that's not going to happen."

As you and I know, regardless of what those like President Obama and Karl Rove think, the Second Amendment is NOT to blame for the South Carolina tragedy.

The blame goes squarely on the shoulders of the evil killer who chose yet another government-created so-called "Gun Free Zone" to murder his victims.

But you and I have to face facts.

When GOP bigwigs like Karl Rove begin kowtowing to the anti-gun press -- and Members of BOTH parties all start talking the same language -- that's when the smoky backroom "deals" happen.

I know many folks thought the fight over gun control effectively ended in the 2014 elections after the gun-grabbers were crushed at the polls.

But I'm afraid there are two big reasons why that's not the case.

*** FIRST ***

President Obama is desperate to solidify his legacy among every left-wing activist in America.

Gun control is the one item on his agenda he's so far been unable to get done.

Even before news of the Charleston tragedy broke, news reports were that President Obama was preparing to unleash "more than a dozen" new anti-gun regulatory proposals.

In the days since, the number of proposed regulations said to be in the works have DOUBLED.

But I'm afraid it's not just President Obama and his regulatory machine you and I need to worry about!

*** SECOND ***

Anti-gun "Old Guard" Republicans like U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham have always thought pro-Second Amendment Members of Congress made a horrendous mistake in voting down gun control in the wake of the horrific Newtown tragedy.

They want to toss Second Amendment supporters aside to craft a bipartisan "deal" with anti-gun Democrats and gun-grabbers.

That way they can campaign as "reasonable" on the gun issue in 2016.

Then perhaps insider consultants like Rove will finally be able to dip into the pockets of BILLIONAIRE anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg!

The truth is, I'm afraid so-called "mental health" legislation is the most likely avenue for a deal.

After all, no one wants to run into a madman with a gun.

But laws are already on the books that prevent those who have been properly adjudicated from purchasing or owning firearms!

What gun-grabbers really want is the ability to strip any law-abiding American of their Second Amendment rights without due process.

So you could lose your gun rights because of your race, religion -- or just because some Obama administration bureaucrat doesn't like the bumper sticker on the back of your car!

John, handing government more power to take away our most basic freedoms isn't going to stop horrific tragedies like we saw in South Carolina!

The answer is to finally RESTORE the Second Amendment and ensure good guys are free to defend themselves when a bad guy decides to go on a rampage!

If you agree, it's absolutely vital you help the National Association for Gun Rights send a loud-and-clear message to members of BOTH parties.

"VOTE FOR GUN CONTROL AND LOSE YOUR JOB!"

Sign your NO GUN CONTROL, NO DEALS petition IMMEDIATELY


August 11, 2015 - Have they lost their minds? National Association for Gun Rights

“Republican” Senate Leader John Cornyn (R-TX) and his buddies in the Establishment Gun Lobby are plotting to surrender to the Left Wing Media by pushing a major piece of anti-gun legislation.

According to major news stories on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, Newsmax, and Politico, Cornyn is introducing new legislation that strips more Americans of their gun rights, without a trial or due process, under some ill-defined heading of “mental illness.”

I have been sounding the alarm over just such a sell-out for the last six months.

Cornyn and his U.S. Senate cronies are scheming to give Barack Obama the names of EVEN MORE gun-owning Americans.

They want to use taxpayer funds to bribe state governments to funnel the names of even more Americans into the National Insta-Check System (NICS), or as I call it, the Brady Registration system.

I suppose the heat of summer may have gone to their heads.

One thing is clear; they’ve lost touch with common sense and most of all, reality.

That’s why I hope you will IMMEDIATELY sign your “Stop Cornyn’s Gun Control Act” Fax Petition to U.S. Senator John Cornyn and your U.S. Senators.

Join me in urging them to abandon this idiotic gun control scheme.

I need your help today to expose this ridiculous preemptive surrender by supposedly “pro-gun” Republicans.

John Cornyn is ready to surrender more Americans to the anti-gun media and Barack Obama instead of getting rid of the broken and unconstitutional Brady Registration system with recent evidence of its catastrophic failures.

Senator Cornyn thinks he can curry favor with the media elites and Democrats in Congress by bringing a “bi-partisan” push for MORE money, MORE power, and MORE names of law-abiding gun owners to “fix” the Brady Registration system.

By wrapping themselves in the blood of the victims, they’re trying to distract gun owners like you and me from their real plot of expanded background checks, universal gun registration and a backdoor gun ban.

Cornyn’s legislation will lead to:

*** Even more MONEY thrown away at the NICS system. Instead of dismantling the broken system, they want to waste more money on it.

*** Even more NAMES recorded into the NICS-Brady Registration system. More names of law-abiding gun owners for the government to track.

*** Even more POWER to create a MASSIVE federal database of gun owners and gun purchases. A database that could be used for political harassment, voter suppression, IRS retribution, or even worse, attacks on gun owners.

*** Anti-gun FEDERAL Bureaucrats using NICS-Brady and Obamacare databases to ban millions of Americans from purchasing or possessing firearms.

Cornyn and his cronies want to give states the money and resources to RADICALLY expand the Brady Registration system.

Federal Bureaucrats will use this new power --under the guise of “mental health” screenings -- to create just cause to prohibit potentially millions of individuals from purchasing a gun without authority and due process of law.

They want to assume ALL gun buyers are CRAZY, until proven sane!

You see, your activism has beaten back numerous attempts to expand background checks and increase the scope of the Brady Registration Act.

Your calls, e-mails, fax petitions, and grassroots activism have already defeated expanded background checks in 2013.

That’s why they’re changing the focus of the fight. They know you and I will fight tooth and nail against expanding the Brady Registration System.

Unfortunately, the gun control cabal has found willing partners in weak-kneed Republicans like Senator John Cornyn, to repackage their gun control as “public safety.”

By wildly expanding the definitions of “mental illness” they’re going to make it more and more difficult for law-abiding Americans to purchase or possess firearms.

Cornyn’s proposal will make it MUCH EASIER to place a constitutional conservative like you on the do-not-purchase list.

Remember, the Obama Administration has repeatedly classified gun owners and conservative activists as potential “domestic terrorists.”

They will use anti-gun doctors and mental health professionals to determine if you’re “safe” or “mentally stable” enough to have your constitutional rights upheld.

This legislation will result in a backdoor gun ban, managed by Federal bureaucrats.

The Senate is wrapping up work on other legislation at the moment, but could bring up this RADICAL GUN GRAB at any time.

They need to hear from you immediately.

I know you understand how important it is that you act now.

Please take a moment and sign the “Stop Cornyn’s Gun Control Act” Fax Petition to U.S. Senator John Cornyn and your U.S. Senators.

Urge them to abandon this idiotic gun control scheme.

Once you’ve done that, I hope you’ll forward this e-mail to your liberty-loving family and friends. Urge them to stand with you and sign the Emergency Fax Petition as well.

National Association for Gun Rights 


July 15, 2015- Vermont needs Help

Calling All Gun Owners!

Next year, 2016, is an election year. It is also one of the most important elections in recent memory in regards to your rights as a Vermont gun owner.

Michael Bloomberg, through his local gun control organization, GunSense Vermont, is trying to enact stricter and stricter gun control legislation here in Vermont. It doesn’t matter to them that Vermont is the safest state in the country when it comes to gun violence. The Vermont tradition of safe gun ownership means nothing to them.

It’s what they are trying to do.

We, the gun owners of Vermont, are going to need to dramatically change the leadership in the state. Vermont needs a huge turnout at the polls to enact this change.

This past legislative session, Vermont gun owners came close to getting background checks imposed on all gun sales; private as well as through dealers. As most of you know, Senator John Campbell (D-Windsor), authored S.31, which included mandatory background checks, as well as other anti-gun provisions. That bill eventually became S.141, a very watered down bill. And, despite Governor Shumlin’s statements that Vermont didn’t need any new gun laws, he chose to sign S.141 into law anyway.

GunSense Vermont, not fully satisfied with the law they helped get on the books, vowed publicly they will be back next session for more and more…stricter and stricter…gun control legislation.

Of course, it would have been great to have NO law passed instead of a watered down one, but the good news is that Vermont gun owners won many important battles against gun control this session. For instance:

1.       The lead ban bill was put back on the wall (effectively nullified for now).
2.       The three Burlington gun control charters were shot down in flames.
3.       The repeal of protections against shooting ranges was also put back on the wall. 
4.       The ivory ban was brought down (ban on ivory grips and such).
5.       As of July 1, it is now legal in the State of Vermont to own and use suppressors!

With a renewed interest in enacting stricter and stricter gun control legislation on Vermonters by outside interests, there has also been an extreme push-back by gun rights advocates across Vermont. There are many great pro-rights / pro-2nd Amendment / pro-Article 16 groups across this state that are fighting efforts to control your rights as gun owners.

If you haven’t heard of them, I would like to introduce you to one group that has been extremely instrumental in protecting your gun ownership rights since 1997. Gun Owners of Vermont likes to take a NO compromise approach to fighting gun control in Vermont. They are the real thing when it comes to fighting attempts at gun control legislation. The group is non-partisan and their organizational mission is to supply facts to members about pro-gun and anti-gun legislation, legislators’ voting records, statements, and to lobby on the state level.

This coming year, Gun Owners of Vermont is going to be active in the election process. That’s where YOU come in.

Check out their website, located at http://www.gunownersofvermont.org. If you are on Facebook, the group maintains a very active page, located at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/144671155692751/ . Chances are you may find many fellow shooters you already know there.

Folks, this coming election is going to be critical for us. It is a serious time we are going through. We need to elect leadership that will represent Vermont gun owners in the traditions this state has always enjoyed. And we are going to need all the state’s gun owners to step up and fight back.


July 9, 2015 - Maine's New Law

Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage gave his signature to a popular bill Wednesday to allow lawful concealed carry of handguns in Maine without a permit starting this fall.

The new law, advocating what is termed constitutional carry, will allow residents who are not prohibited from possessing firearms to carry a concealed pistol or revolver while preserving the current licensing scheme to grant those who travel out of the state reciprocal rights.

Introduced in March with broad support, the bill slogged through the Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee, who voted against its passage but in the end won over the state House and Senate in bipartisan votes.

Although LePage had promised to veto all bills placed on his desk by the state legislature over a standoff on agenda issues, he signed the gun reform proposal Wednesday in a small ceremony without comment. LePage went on to “pocket veto” 19 other bills, although the effectiveness of this maneuver is being debated by the state Legislature.

“It was a great honor to be present for the signing of my constitutional carry legislation into law by our Governor,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn. “Many Maine people have worked towards this goal for over two decades. It is wonderful to finally see this commonsense proposal enshrined in Maine law.”

This permitless carry move puts Maine in the same club started by Vermont and joined by Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas (although open to interpretation), Wyoming and Kansas in the past generation.

Besides decriminalizing concealed carry without a license by those 21 and older who are not prohibited from possessing a handgun, it also allows for military service members over 18 to carry without a permit. One sticking point for gun rights advocates, a requirement that anyone carrying a firearm must disclose to police the fact if stopped, was included in the final version of the law.

Gun control groups as well as the Maine Gun Owners Association joined with the Maine Chiefs of Police Association to condemn passage of the legislation earlier this week and called upon LePage to veto the measure. The groups cited that current permit holders have to undergo mandatory gun safety and legal education before carrying a concealed weapon, which is not required under the new law for those without a permit.

The Maine State Police supported the bill as did a number of gun rights groups to include the National Rifle Association who counted Wednesday’s signing as a victory for the Second Amendment.

“Maine now joins an ever-growing number of states in passing permitless carry,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, in a statement. “Despite the best efforts of Michael Bloomberg-funded groups to distort the truth, the Maine legislature and Governor stood strong for freedom.”

Maine is the second state to adopt the practice this year, following in the wake of Kansas where Gov. Sam Brownback – like LePage a Republican – signed a measure in April. Further, Mississippi adopted a law effective July 1 that allows for off body carry in a purse or bag without a license.

At least three other states, MontanaWest Virginia, and New Hampshire saw governors, all Democrats, veto permitless carry bills sent to them in recent months by lawmakers. In each of these cases, public safety concerns brought up by gun control and police lobby groups were cited.

As noted by Brakey, Maine’s new law will go into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature, which should be in mid-October.


June 21, 2015 - New Florida Carry Lawsuit to Defend Right to Bear Arms

One of our members was illegally disarmed, harassed, detained, searched, and trespassed by Tampa Police at a Florida Carry Event.

Since 2010 Florida Carry members have been going fishing and lawfully carrying unconcealed handguns in Florida. There has NEVER been a real problem until now.

Open Carry is completely legal while fishing in Florida.

Last weekend one of our members, George Freeman, was detained for over an hour after a Tampa Police Officer unsuccessfully attempted sneak up behind him while fishing and grab his holstered handgun.  George turned immediately when he felt an unknown person grab for his gun while reaching for a concealed backup gun. As soon as he saw the uniformed officer George stopped before he drew his backup and did not resist the seizure of his handguns.  He also presented his valid Florida Concealed Carry License to the officer.

This extremely dangerous and uncalled-for move by the police officer to seize George's legal handgun didn't end once the officer found out that Mr. Freeman was not doing anything wrong.  After detaining our member for over an hour the police realized that they could not find any crime to charge him with.  So they issued him an order, a trespass notice that prevents him from going to the public pier at Ballast Point for one year. 

George Freeman was NOT breaking any law but he was banned from the city pier for exercising his Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms.

This happened at the same park that we have often used as a venue for our MONTHLY Open Carry Fishing Events since 2010 with the full knowledge of the City of Tampa and prior coordination with the City Attorney and the Police Department.

The Tampa Police also questioned Mr. Freeman in an attempt to determine the identities of our other members.  A clear violation of their First Amendment Right to Associational Privacy and Right of Peaceful Assembly.

The State Florida preempts local firearms related policies, trespassing lawful gun owners from public property is against the law.  It was also a violation of George's constitutional rights.

This will not go unanswered.  We are in the process of filing a lawsuit to enforce Florida's Firearms Preemption Law, the Constitutionally Protected Rights of our members, and to have Mr. Freeman's trespass order, search, and seizure ruled illegal.

A Tampa Police Department spokesperson issued the following statement in the media today after the incident became public:

"It was an error on the officers' part. The trespass warning will be rescinded and we are working to contact Mr. Freeman's to apologize to him.

Officers are being reminded that open carry of a firearm while fishing is legal in Florida."

Florida Carry immediately emailed the Tampa Police Department with contact information for Mr. Freeman's attorney.  There was no response to the email and his attorney, Eric Friday, has no record of a call being made to his office by anyone with the City of Tampa.  The trespass notice has, to our knowledge, not yet been rescinded. Regardless, a simple apology is an insufficient remedy for the violations of civil rights and Florida law suffered by George Freeman, Florida Carry, and our members.


May 21, 2015, Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed SB 290 into law. 

This bill, sponsored by Sen. Brandes in the Senate and Rep. Fitzenhagen in the House and supported by hard work from Florida Carry and the National Rifle Association, is important to gun owners statewide for two critical reasons:

1) The new law provides an exception for those in the process of fleeing a designated mandatory evacuation area. The exception is for a maximum 48 hours, which may be extended by the Governor, and provides that those affected may lawfully carry a concealed weapon or firearm on or about their person. The exception applies only to "the immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered".  This will allow lawful gun owners to bring their guns with them during an emergency rather than being forced to leave them behind to fall in to the hands of looters or be destroyed in a disaster.

2) The legislation also corrected the structure of Florida Statute 790.01, the law that prohibits concealed carry.

In 2013 the Florida Supreme Court ruled that carrying a firearm or weapon, even with a license, is a crime to which the licensed person only has an "affirmative defense". This was because lack of licensure was not an element of the crime, merely an exception.

[F]lorida's legislative scheme causes us to hold that (concealed carry) licensure is an affirmative defense to a charged crime of carrying a concealed weapon, as codified at section 790.01, Florida Statutes (2013), and the lack of a license is not an element of the crime. This conclusion is based upon a clear reading of section 790.01 and consideration of its structure, the chapter of the Florida Statutes that governs firearms and other weapons, and the legal precedent on this issue.

Mackey v. State, 124 So. 3d 176, 181 (Fla. 2013)

The result was that Florida's law abiding concealed carry licensees could be treated like criminals, and even be arrested, for exercising their right to bear arms. 

The new law also corrects this problem by now clearly stating that it only prohibits people who are not licensed from carrying concealed weapons or firearms.

790.01 Unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons or concealed firearms.-

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device on or about his or her person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed firearm on or about his or her person commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

We offered this simple change to the law because it will help to ensure that people who hold Concealed Carry Licenses are not treated like common criminals.

The new law is effective immediately.


May 9, 2015

Florida Supreme Court Asked to Review What the Right to Bear Arms Protects. Conflicting lower appellate court rulings put the right in legal limbo.

Under the current case law in Florida, you can be arrested for having a firearm inside your home, while legally carrying unconcealed, or while legally carrying concealed with a concealed carry license.

We know this sounds ridiculous!  But it is the truth.

To understand how we got to this untenable situation there are a few court decisions that you must understand.

In the Norman open carry case, the Attorney General's office argued that:

"[T]he exceptions listed within section 790.25(3), Florida Statutes, are not in the enacting clause of section 790.053 (or 790.01), Florida Statutes, but are contained in a separate statute altogether. This resolves the issue, and any exception is a defense that must be initially supported by evidence proffered by the defendant. See Hodge v. State, 866 So. 2d 1270, 1272 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004); Mackey v. State, 83 So. 3d 942, 946-47 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012); and Baeumel v. State, 7 So. 371, 372 (Fla. 1890)."

Attorney General's Brief in  Norman v. State, 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 2178; 40 Fla. L. Weekly D 458 (Fla. 4h DCA 2015)

The appellate court agreed:

"Defendant asserts that the exceptions under section 790.25(3) are elements the State must prove to support a violation... , not affirmative defenses. The State responds that the exceptions are affirmative defenses that must initially be raised by, and supported with, evidence from the defendant, rather than negated in the first instance by the state. 

In determining whether an exception is an element of the crime or an affirmative defense, a court looks to its placement in the wording of the statute. As we explained in Hodge: If the exception appears in the enacting clause, the burden lies with the State to prove that the defendant is not within the exception; but, if the exception is contained in a subsequent clause or statute, that is a matter of defense requiring the defendant to put forth some evidence in support thereof. In the instant case, the exceptions are not in the enacting clause of (the bans on concealed or open carry), but are contained within a separate statute altogether. See § 790.25(3)..."

Norman v. State, 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 2178; 40 Fla. L. Weekly D 458 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (citations omitted)

We seek to secure the RIGHT to bear arms in Florida, not just the defense of being licensed or in your own home.

"The court recognizes a right to carry inside or outside the home, but allows anyone who exercises that right to be arrested."

Norman v. State (FL) has already secured that there is a right to bear arms outside your home, but the lower appellate court ruled that you can be arrested for the exercise that right and then be forced to prove to a Judge and Jury that you were exercising that right as a defense to the crime of carrying a firearm in Florida.

When the right to bear arms is nothing more than an "affirmative defense", rather than a necessary element of a crime, gun owners are guilty until proven innocent.

So why is there a conflict?

The 4th DCA's ruling that the license satisfies the right to carry is in direct conflict with the 3rd DCA's ruling in Crane v. Department of State, 547 So.2d 266 (1989), which states:

"We find that retroactive application of section 790.06(2)(k), Florida Statutes, is not unconstitutional because a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm is a privilege and not a vested right."

Since the 3rd and 4th DCAs are equal levels of FL superior court, the Florida Supreme Court is tasked with resolving the split decision.

This cannot be allowed to stand. 


Do Residents of University Managed Housing Have a Right to Keep Arms Inside Their Homes. Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal Asked to Decide.

Can a State university take away your right to bear arms inside your own home?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms applies "to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute".

In the face of insurmountable precedent the University of Florida concedes that the off campus family apartments, student apartments, and even on campus dormitories are homes. But the University refuses to abide by the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court and attempts to declare that these homes are the same as classrooms, therefore the college bans the right to bear arms in housing it manages.

It does so in the name of safety, yet provides no evidence to support that banning firearms actually increases safety. There is ample evidence in crime reports from off campus housing that violent crime does in fact occur there.

This is not a new trick. Colleges tried this argument in the past to deny resident's of their 4th Amendment rights to gain unrestricted access to the student's room without an emergency or warrant. The courts did not stand for it.

The Second Amendment is a fundamental right, just as the Fourth Amendment is. It deserves the same protection from abuse.


 FLORIDA SET TO PASS POP TART GUN BILL TO PROTECT KIDS PLAYING IN SCHOOL

The days of kids playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians in the schoolyard may come to an end because of overly zealous “zero tolerance” policies.

Over the past year, schools have increasingly punished children for playing games that involve pretend firearms. Now Florida is leading the nation in stopping this madness.

On Tuesday, the Florida Senate Education Committee unanimously passed a measure that has become known as the “Pop Tart bill.”
The legislation got its nickname from an incident involving Josh Welch, a 7-year-old Maryland boy who was suspended from school in March 2013 for chewing his strawberry Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.

The Florida bill makes it clear that children in public schools will be allowed to simulate firearms while playing without risk of disciplinary action or being referred to the criminal or juvenile justice system.

The Florida House passed the companion bill Thursday by an overwhelming vote of 98-17. Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s spokeswoman Jackie Schutz told me, “The governor supports the Second Amendment and our state’s self-defense law and will review any bill that comes to his desk.”

Marion Hammer, a former president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the current head of its Florida lobbying operation said that, “Children should not be punished because some adult lacks common sense or the capacity for rational judgment.”

Ms. Hammer said the NRA supports the legislation because it would “give guidance and relief to school administrators who must walk a fine line between following the law and protecting our children” as well as “stop the abusive result of overreactions of some administrators.”

The House legislation lists the types of games that cannot get a kid into trouble, such as “brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm or weapon.”
Schoolchildren also will be allowed expressly to use a “finger or hand to simulate a firearm,” draw a picture of a weapon and possess a “toy firearm or weapon made of plastic snap-together building blocks.”

These specifics in the statute seem extreme until you look at the real-life cases in which children have been punished for playing these time-honored games.
Last month, 10-year-old Nathan Entingh was suspended for three days from his Columbus, Ohio, school for pointing his finger like a gun in the classroom.

In January, 6-year-old Rodney Lynch was suspended from his Silver Spring, Md., school for making a shooting gesture with his finger. (His appalled parents later hired an attorney to have the child’s school record cleared.)

Jordan Bennett, an 8-year-old Florida boy, was suspended from school in October for using his finger as a pretend gun while playing cops and robbers. In May, two second-grade boys were suspended from Driver Elementary School in Virginia for pointing pencils at each other while playing soldier.

The Florida bill also makes clear that children will not get into trouble for wearing clothes or accessories with firearms or weapons on them or express opinions about the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Last April, eighth-grader Jared Marcum was arrested at school in Logan County, W.Va., for refusing to take off his NRA shirt that had the organization’s logo of crossed rifles with the slogan “Protect Your Right.” A judge dismissed the charge.

Two weeks ago in upstate New York, 16-year-old Shane Kinney was suspended for a day for wearing an NRA shirt. Shane refused to obey school administrators who demanded that he turn the shirt inside out or put tape over the NRA logo with the crossed rifles and the words “The 2nd Amendment Shall Not Be Infringed” on the back.

If the Florida legislation is signed into law, it will be the first in the nation to codify what is considered children’s play instead of real danger. The NRA also supports similar legislation in Ohio and Oklahoma that instill common sense into “zero tolerance.”

Since the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, schools are understandably more concerned about the safety of their children.

However, cracking down on kids playing harmless games, using their imaginations or expressing their free speech has gotten out of control. And primary education teachers and administrators are notoriously knee-jerk anti-gun.

All states should consider introducing bills modeled after the one in Florida so our children are protected from unfair punishment for innocent fun.


THE TRUTH ABOUT GUN FREE ZONES

Gun control advocates this month took a page from the global warming activists playbook: the science is settled, so there is no need for debate.

However, instead of actually reviewing the scientific literature on the subject, Professor David Hemenway at Harvard made a survey of cherry-picked authors. Surprisingly, he found the vast majority agreed that we need more gun control.

So let’s look at the details. He polled authors who had published in the fields of “public health, public policy, sociology, or criminology.” Most notably, half of the authors picked were within Hemenway’s own field of public health and another third were sociologists/criminologists, followed by public policy and a few economists. It dramatically over weighted those in public health. It didn’t matter whether the publications even contained any empirical work or were related to the survey questions.

Authors were asked if they agreed with the statement: "In the United States, guns are used in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime.” Hemenway reports that 73 percent disagreed. However, many respondents may have believed that there still exists a net benefit from gun ownership — just not enough to say that guns are used defensively “far more often.”

It is abundantly clear that it matters who you ask and how the questions are asked. A survey released in February by the Crime Prevention Research Center conducted by Professor Gary Mauser at Simon Fraser University in Canada found that 88 percent of North American economics researchers agreed with the statement that, in the US, guns were more frequently used for self-defense than for crime. 

Other questions were posed by Hemenway in ways to hide information. For instance, respondents were asked to evaluate: "The change in state-level concealed carry laws in the United States over the past few decades from more restrictive to more permissive has reduced crime rates.” 62% of respondents claimed that there wasn’t a benefit from concealed handgun laws and the Boston Globe ran this headline: “Most gun experts believe guns do more harm than good.” 

In contrast, Professor Mauser asked researchers whether they thought permitted concealed handgun laws either reduced murders, had no effect, or increased murders. Among North American economists, 81 percent stated the laws reduced murders, 19 percent that they had no effect. Absolutely no one said that the laws increased crime. If economists outside of North America were included, the results changed slightly, with 74 percent stating the laws reduced murders, 20 percent that they had no effect, and 6 percent that they caused an increase.

Sixty percent of respondents in Hemenway’s survey agreed that "evidence indicates that background checks can help keep guns out of the hands of a significant number of violent people.” But only 31% of all those surveyed thought that the evidence was either strong (24%) or very strong (7%). And even these numbers seem unrealistically high. Study after study by criminologists and economists find that background checks have no effect on crime rates. 

Economists have done a lot of work on crime. Unlike the vast majority of work in public health, it is usually much more rigorous with more detailed statistical evidence dealing with issues of causality. Economists are also much more open to the notion of deterrence than the vast majority of authors surveyed by Hemenway. I myself was chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. But Hemenway steers away from economics journals. In addition, looking at publications from only 2011 through 2013 also picks up a recent surge in public health studies and skews the sample towards those types of authors.

I was included in the list of those surveyed, but when I emailed Hemenway reporting that my responses weren’t be recorded, my emails were ignored.

Ironically, despite over 300 studies on firearms published over about three years, Hemenway frequently complains that firearms researchers just aren’t getting enough money.

If you want to know what researchers think about gun control, simply read their research. Yet, Hemenway is right on one point: on questions such as concealed carry laws, the debate is as good as over. The vast majority of studies show that these laws reduce crime. And there are no refereed journal articles by economists or criminologists claiming that concealed handgun permits increase murder, rape or robbery.

By Dr. John R. Lott Jr.
·Published April 21, 2015
·FoxNews.com