11 September 2010
15 August 2010
10 August 2010
By John R. Lott Jr. as posted on Big Government.com
People walking the streets armed with guns must be dangerous, right? The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center keep claiming that even those individuals who have legally obtained permits to carry concealed handguns are extremely dangerous. With millions of Americans already having been issued such permits from the various states, this is an important issue.
The gun control organizations have frequently made these claims in the press. The Associated Press articles by Erik Schelzig and by Jim Abrams have given extensive, uncritical coverage. Members of the gun control organizations have made these claims unchallenged on such places as Fox News and on the Huffington Post. But the gun control advocates inaccurately describe many shooting cases, choosing to ignore that the majority of incidents involve people properly defending themselves.
Over the past three years, the number of active permit holders in the United States has gone from about 5 million to more than 6.2 million today. The numbers issued by the state regulatory agencies show time after time that these permit holders abide by the law.
Take Florida, which currently has the most concealed handgun permit holders in the country and is one of the two most populous states with right-to-carry laws. Between Oct. 1, 1987, and May 31 this year, permits had been issued to 1.8 million people. On average, the permits had been held for quite a long time, well over 10 years. For all those individuals across the more than 22 years of legal carry, there were only 167 cases where the permit was revoked for a firearms related violation, or about 0.01 percent of permit holders. While the state doesn’t provide a precise breakdown of the reason for those revocations, the vast majority were apparently for people who accidentally carried their concealed handgun into a gun-free zone, such as an airport or school.
Throughout the past 30 months, beginning January 2008, only three additional permit holders have had their permit revoked for a firearms-related violation. With more than 739,000 active permit holders, that is an annual revocation rate of 0.00017 percent.
In sharp contrast, the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center portray Florida as Ground Zero for problems with concealed handgun permit holders. They boldly assert that 17 Florida permit holders have “killed” people with their guns over the past three years and that this one state by itself accounts for 17 of the 96 “killer” permit holders nationwide. The other 79 cases are scattered across 26 other states, with no other state accounting for more than 10 cases. Florida is also said to account for 2 of the 7 cases where permit holders are said to have killed law enforcement officers.
So what is the evidence? The gun control groups don’t actually point to actual court cases. They look at news stories and selectively report what is reported in those stories. For Florida, there are eleven “pending cases.” The gun control groups assume that anyone involved in a shooting will be convicted. Indeed, in 7 of the 11 cases no one was even charged with a crime. Three cases involved suicides, and three had convictions for some type of offense. (See this link for a detailed presentation of sources.)
But there is something that the gun control advocates conveniently omit: When a permit holder uses a gun defensively and kills an attacker in a public place, the police often arrest them. Typically, he will later be released, but the police must first investigate what happened. The police can’t just take the shooter’s word for it that they used the gun defensively.
Take the four pending cases where charges were filed, two of which involved the “killing” of law enforcement.
– Humberto Delgado, Jr. was charged with the death of a police officer. Delgado obviously engaged in a horrible crime, but there is one major problem with the stories as presented by the gun control groups. He also was charged with carrying a concealed firearm. If he had a concealed handgun permit, he obviously couldn’t have been charged with this crime. Delgado was just your typical criminal, who didn’t have a permit, who killed a police officer.
– James Wonder was charged with the death of an off-duty Customs and Border Protection Agent Donald Pettit. Pettit is said to have engaged in road rage against Wonder and then followed Wonder’s car into a Post Office parking lot solely to continue harassing Wonder. Pettit had over shot the parking lot and had to circle back to go into it. He had no intention to do business with either the Post Office or any other nearby business. Pettit was clearly the aggressor in the situation. The Sun-Sentinel newspaper wrote on August 29, 2008: “local lawyers said [Wonder] may be able to make a strong claim under Florida law that he was within his rights to shoot Pettit.” One measure of the severity of the case is that Wonder was released on a very minimal bond of $10,000. Neither the Brady Campaign nor the Violence Policy Center noted these points in their discussion of the case.
– Gabriel Mobley shot two people outside a bar, and the gun control groups’ discussions fail to mention the defensive nature of Mobley’s actions. A friend of Mobley’s had an argument with two other men in a bar. Mr. Mobley separated the men, but the two waited outside and Mobley’s lawyer, Richard Della Ferra, told me that they pounced on Mobley and his friend as soon as they left the bar. Witnesses saw one of the two attackers throw a punch that shattered the friend’s eye socket. Mobley says that he shot when he thought one of the two men was reaching for a weapon, and police found the DNA of one of the men on a steak knife at the scene.
– On January 7, 2008, Adam Hill was accused of accidentally firing his gun, the bullet fatally striking a friend while the friend had visited Hill to use his washing machine. Since the case has yet to go to trial, the law office that is representing Hill was unwilling to discuss the case, but they did say that the news articles did not accurately represent what had happened in the case. The law office representing Hill in his legal case emphasized to me in a telephone discussion that news articles on these cases can be quite misleading because defense lawyers warn their clients not to talk to others about their case, including the press.
Two of the three convictions in Florida are quite different than what gun control groups represent. One involved a boyfriend who accidentally shot his girlfriend when he was showing her how to use a gun in her home. There was no evidence of arguing or any disagreement. In another case, the issue was whether the permit holder had done enough to avoid the confrontation. A convicted felon confronted the permit holder. According to newspaper accounts, even the prosecutor acknowledged: “Kallenbach was in some way defending himself during an escalating altercation between the men caught on the security video” and that “People can look at that tape and interpret it two or three different ways.”
While this discussion focuses on Florida, the just released third edition of More Guns, Less Crime provides a detailed analysis for all states from 1990 to July 1, 2008. In state after state, permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Arizona, there were 99,370 active permits as of December 1, 2007. During 2007, 33 permits were revoked for any reason — a 0.03 percent rate. In Texas, there were 288,909 active permit holders. Of these, 160 were convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, a rate of 0.05 percent. That is about one-seventh the conviction rate in the general adult population, and the convictions among permit holders are for much less serious offenses.
I went to some other cases from the gun control groups after July 1, 2008. In two of the other five killings involving law-enforcement, it also appears as if the person who fired a gun didn’t have a concealed handgun permit. In one case, in Pennsylvania, Christina Korbe fired a shot killing a police officer when police raided her home. The police were serving an arrest warrant on her husband, and she didn’t know it was the police who were breaking into her home, and she was concerned about the safety of her two children, ages 4 and 10.
The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center evaluate the benefits of concealed handgun laws based solely on the claimed costs — they don’t compare the cases where defensive uses occurred to the bad things that happen, but only count what they claim are the bad cases. They ignore lots of amazing defensive gun use cases. But even more bizarrely, they count legitimate self-defense cases as bad events even when no charges are filed or the permit holder is later exonerated.
08 August 2010
06 August 2010
NOTE: This article was written before our historic victory in the McDonald V. Chicago case.
By Vin Suprynowicz
Mayor defends gun law with bayonet? As an 80-year-old Korean War veteran, his wife and great-grandson slept in their home in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago just before dawn on May 26, a would-be burglar broke in a basement window, crawled over some discarded paint buckets, and made his way up winding stairs to an enclosed porch.
The intruder tried the knob of the locked door that led to the first-floor apartment. He then turned to the oversized glass window of the 80-year-old's bedroom, pulled out his gun and fired, police and family say.
But just as the man got off a second round, the homeowner, who had a handgun of his own, fired a single shot, killing the intruder.
"He missed, (but) my daddy didn't," said the 80-year-old's son, Butch Gant, who lives upstairs.
"My father had no choice. It was him or the other guy."
The shooting came as the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to rule by the end of June on Chicago's decades-old ban on possessing handguns. During oral arguments in March, the court's majority appeared to lean toward striking down the city ordinance. That means they're expected to rule—again—that residents have a constitutional right to keep a handgun at home.
(How many times do they have to issue the same ruling before it's assumed to apply in every American city? Don't ask me.)
Chicago police have long aggressively tried to disarm the law-abiding public, saying firearms are the principal weapons used in murders and gang violence.
But the Chicago Tribune reported many in that city echoed the feelings of the victim's family that if he hadn't been armed, the encounter could have ended in their deaths.
"He saved our lives," the man's wife, 83, who had been asleep with her husband when the window shattered, told the Tribune.
Police let the Korean War veteran, who walks with the aid of a cane, go without filing immediate charges because it appeared he acted in self-defense, according to police sources.
But they took away his handgun, which he had bought after being robbed just six months earlier, vowing not to be a victim again, his family said.
The dead intruder was later identified by his family as Anthony "Big Ant" Nelson, 29, on parole since December following a three-year prison sentence for a drug conviction. Nelson had a 13-page rap sheet that includes a number of drug and weapons convictions dating to 1998, according to police and court records. He lived less than a mile from where he died.
If gun laws could do any good at all, surely they'd block ex-cons with 13-page rap sheets from going armed.
"They did the right thing," said neighbor Audrey Williams, 75, of the shooting. "If anyone tried to come in on me, I'd do the same thing." Ms. Williams described the assaulted family—whose names were withheld by police as crime victims—as "sweet people who don't bother anyone."
"How are we going to protect our homes without guns?" asked Gant, the son. "That gun law should be abolished."
Fortunately, thanks to the Illinois legislature's override of indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's veto of state Senate Bill 2165 in November, 2004, the Army veteran should not face prosecution, report Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation.
That was the "Hale DeMar" act, which protects homeowners who shoot in self-defense even if there's a local ordinance against handgun possession.
DeMar shot a burglar in his Wilmette home and was initially charged for violating that community's handgun ban, but public outrage forced the Cook County prosecutor to drop the charge.
"The question remains in this case whether the old gentleman will get his gun back from the police when the investigation is completed," Gottlieb and Workman note.
Shortly before this latest incident of righteous self-defense, at a May press conference, Mick Dumke, a reporter from the alternative weekly Chicago Reader, asked Chicago Mayor Richard Daley what should have been an obvious question, reports our friend John Lott at the National Review Online.
"Since guns are readily available in Chicago even with a ban in place, do you really think it's been effective?" the reporter asked.
Daley's response "wasn't very helpful," Lott, an economist, reports. "Picking up a very old rifle with a bayonet that had been turned in during one of Chicago's numerous gun buybacks, Daley blustered: 'Oh, it's been very effective. If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. ... This gun saved many lives—it could save your life.'"
Reporters greeted Daley's outburst with a moment of stunned silence. But it wasn't Daley's answer that was important, Lott points out. "The novelty is that a reporter actually questioned Daley on whether the gun ban had failed."
Even mainstream television news is questioning the gun ban. A broadcast on Chicago's CBS-TV in May noted:
"They are law-abiding citizens in Chicago, but they are so worried about their own safety, they say they might have to break the law. The last straw was the death of Chicago Police officer Thomas Wortham IV last week. That has some African-American families in Chicago considering doing something they never would have done before: carry a pistol. CBS 2's Jim Williams reports he grew up among those families and he's never (seen) anything like it. Many Chicagoans have been upset for some time about violence here, but Wortham's murder has touched a raw nerve in the black community. Now some want to do more than simply call 911 or march for peace in the streets. They want their own gun...."
Gun ban supporters often argue their city-by-city efforts have failed to reduce crime because of the ease of getting guns in nearby jurisdictions,. Lott pointed out in a separate piece for FoxNews.com on May 25.
"Yet, even in island nations such as Ireland, the U.K., and Jamaica-all of which have imposed bans-their easily defendable borders and lack of obvious neighbors haven't stopped drug gangs from getting either drugs or the guns that they use to protect their valuable product.
"Do gun bans really stop criminals from getting guns? Americans need not look no further than the massive gun battle with armed gangs fighting police and soldiers that took place in Kingston, Jamaica today,î Lott noted. "At least 30 people were killed in the fighting. It is a huge number for a small island nation of fewer than 3 million people, but unfortunately murder is so common in Jamaica that these murders won't even be noticed in the annual crime numbers."
Jamaica wasn't always such an extremely violent country. Jamaica experienced large increases in murder rates after enacting a handgun ban in 1974. In fact, Jamaica's murder rate hasn't sunk below 10 murders per 100,000 people since the gun ban went into effect.
Taxi driver Derrick Bird drove his vehicle on a shooting spree across a tranquil stretch of northwest England on June 2, methodically killing 12 people and wounding 25 others by shooting each of them in the face with a shotgun, before turning the gun on himself, officials said.
The rampage in the county of Cumbria was Britain's deadliest mass shooting since 1996.
None of the victims had any chance to defend themselves, because England has banned the possession of handguns for self-defense. (Even rural farmers need to state a "reason" to be allowed to keep a shotgun.)
Maybe the cantankerous cabbie's victims were supposed to dash home to grab a bow and arrow (or have those been banned, too?)
The body of the suspected gunman, 52-year-old Derrick "Birdie" Bird, was found in a wooded area near Boot, in England's scenic Lake District. Police said two weapons were recovered.
Eight of the wounded were in hospitals, three in critical condition, as of the next day. Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons on June 3 the British government would wait until police had finished investigating the deadly attacks before debating whether UK gun laws needed to be..."
Wait for it...
"needed to be tightened," the Home Secretary said.
What are they going to take away from law-abiding prospective English murder victims next ... scissors?
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal, and author of Send in the Waco Killers and the novel The Black Arrow. See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/.
04 August 2010
THE WINNER: Attorney General Eric Holder
REASON: Failure to protect voters rights in this country. Voting is the only non-violent recourse citizens have to control this Republic. Mr. Holder is doing everything in his power to control this. Two actions in particular include his decision to ignore the Black Panther Voter Intimidation Case, and the choice to ignore the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Anything for his boy Obama to win a second term.
02 August 2010
With the mid-terms looming large in a year where incumbents are expected to take a beating at the polls many Democratic candidates are favoring gun rights, aiming to win endorsements or positive ratings from pro-2nd amendment groups.
University of New Hampshire Professor of Politics, Andrew Smith, says Democrats started moving away from a strong anti-gun stance in the 90's when many in the party blamed the issue on massive political losses in Congress.
"I think it started with the 1994 elections where a lot of Democrats believe it was the NRA involvement in that election which caused the Democrats to lose the House and the Senate. So they backed off that issue," said Smith.
The National Rifle Association, by far the most powerful pro-gun lobby in the country, spends massive amounts of money to protect the right to bear arms, donating cash to candidates and political action committees. While Republicans receive the majority of the organizations endorsements and money, over the last 10 years, the NRA has dramatically increased funding for Democratic candidates.
"I think finally the message hit home that it's bad politics to be on the wrong side of the 2nd amendment at election time and I think you see that reflective in what's been happening on this issue amongst Democrats in Washington, DC and state legislatures around the country." said Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association.
"Gun ownership in the country amid labor unions folks runs from a low of 48% in California to a high of 60, 70, 80% in states like Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia. In the 2000 election, half of those union members had a firearm in their home voted for George Bush over Al Gore based on the gun issue and that cost Al Gore the presidency."
According to the center for responsive politics, a non-partisan group that tracks political spending, during the 2002 election cycle the NRA put 8% of their federal campaign contributions toward Democrats. This election cycle, they've received 26% percent.
Though the NRA has yet to release many key endorsements heading into the fall elections some major races could be affected when the word comes down. In the midst of a tough re-election campaign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could get a boost as the NRA considers endorsing him.
In Indiana, Democratic Senate candidate Brad Ellsworth, a former sheriff, may win the organization's endorsement over Republican Dan Coats.
The slow political shift has frustrated some Democrats that have long fought for tougher gun laws, like New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who's husband was killed in 1993 when a gunman randomly fired into a commuter train. She wishes fellow Democrats would fight the pressure exerted by the pro-gun lobby.
"They've been very open about saying... 'Carolyn, if the NRA comes against a bill, I gotta vote with the NRA.' They're not going to take that chance. I understand that," said McCarthy of her Democratic colleagues. "Does it bother me? Of course, it bothers me because I'm not trying to take away anyone's right to own a gun."
Depending on where a given candidate hails from, gun rights can be a major issue.
Take the "Live Free or Die" state of New Hampshire where hunting is popular and the 2nd amendment has long been prioritized as a critical personal liberty.
"It's a freedom issue and that's what this is about," said Mitch Kopacz, president of Gun Owners of New Hampshire. "It's the canary in the cage if you will, the firearms... for free speech and other issues. If we have firearms we still have the rest of our rights."
While a contingent of voters will cast ballots strictly adhering to which candidate supports firearm freedoms, many others will prioritize other matters.
"Because the economy is bad and when the economy is bad all other issues get pushed to the side, including the issues about guns," explains Smith. "So I think what you're seeing with Democratic candidates is that the party has moved away from that more doctrinaire position against 2nd amendment rights."
I remember s few Supreme Court nominies who where "pro-gun". I also saw how they voted in both the Keller and McDonald cases. I advise caution when a Dem with an anti-gun record becomes concerned for our gun rights all of a sudden. Yes, there are a few genuine pro-gun Dems out there. Just do your homework before you vote. If they have a pro-gun past, then they may be pro-gun. If they were pitching support for another "assault weapons" ban, then preach the virtues of the Second Amendment today, be skeptical. Remember the tale of the scorpion and the turtle.
31 July 2010
The United Nations is holding secret closed meetings to work out a global arms trade treaty. The agreement, which could be finished by 2012, is a threat to Americans' Second and First Amendment rights.
"Some type of micro-stamping regulations seems all but inevitable. It is very, very likely," the Heritage Foundation's Theodore R. Bromund, who tracks the U.N., told The Washington Times. "Restrictions on trade between private individuals are somewhat less than 50-50, but you surely can't rule that out. Some kind of gun registration and licensing system is an extremely likely probability." Registration proposals cover guns as well as individual rounds of ammunition.
The Obama administration strongly supports the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty and no doubt will use the process to push for gun-control regulations that it can't get through Congress otherwise.
A lot of baloney is floating in Turtle Bay. Gun registration is being promoted despite evidence that the costly bureaucratic system has been a complete failure in solving any crimes or stopping criminals from getting access to guns everywhere it's been tried. "None of these treaties have a relationship to reality," Mr. Bromund explains. "Terrorists are still going to have access to guns because governments give them guns, and they are still going to be able to give them guns." As an example, he pointed out, "The FARC fighting in Colombia get their guns from Venezuela."
As with everything that goes down at the U.N.'s headquarters on Manhattan's East River, America will pick up a disproportionate share of the tab to implement the treaty, with all those countries considered most "in need" taking another free ride. This is counterproductive even without the usual fraud and waste that hobble U.N. programs.
Gun rights aren't the only thing would-be globocops are targeting in the treaty. There is a U.N. discussion paper advancing "the reduction of violence in the media and in video games" as well as "sustained efforts at reeducation and reorientation of [member state] citizens." Whatever the plan, that can't be good for the First Amendment.
Any U.N. Arms Trade Treaty will undermine freedom around the world. The right to bear arms is an individual's protection against oppression anywhere. It took herculean efforts by George W. Bush's administration to thwart this U.N. power grab a few years ago. Unfortunately, we now have a left-wing White House working to make this dangerous treaty a reality.
© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times
29 July 2010
About four brigades' worth of American military personnel lost the right to have their votes count in the 2008 elections.
It now appears that the Justice Department is willing to allow many of the same 17,000 Americans fighting for us overseas to be disenfranchised once again in November. Congress and the Defense Department need to step in to ensure this doesn't happen.
Military Voter Protection Project Director M. Eric Eversole accused his former employer, the Justice Department's Voting Section, of encouraging states to use waivers to get around a law Congress passed last year to address the problems with overseas voting. The statute requires that states mail absentee ballots to military personnel at least 45 days before an election, ensuring there is sufficient time for them to reach far-flung locales and be returned by Election Day. Waiving the law effectively denies a state's soldiers, sailors and airmen the ability to exercise the most basic right of citizenship.
Sen. John Cornyn brought up Mr. Eversole's charges in a meeting Wednesday with Defense Department officials responsible for ensuring military voting rights. The Texas Republican was one of the two lead sponsors of the legislation in question.
"I was very encouraged by what the Defense Department is doing in terms of marketing the new system to military and civilian personnel overseas," Mr. Cornyn told The Washington Times, singling out Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, for praise. "But the bureaucracies at both the federal and state levels are agonizingly slow. And I am concerned with the process by which waivers are being granted. I want to make sure [states] aren't being granted permission not to comply with federal law."
The authors of that law intended that the waivers be used in limited circumstances and only when other measures are taken to ensure the ballots are counted on time. "I want to make sure there is not a presumption that [states] don't have to comply," Mr. Cornyn explained. Because Defense officials show deference to the legal advice provided by the Justice Department, the waiver recommendations are troubling and deserve a full and complete investigation. Mr. Cornyn urged at a minimum that Justice officials require that states provide full transparency for all waiver applications, placing the relevant documentation online for public review.
Experts agree that the 45-day requirement provides a reasonable amount of time both for states to print ballots and for military personnel to return them in time for counting. Deviations from this new system should be extremely rare and subjected to close scrutiny. Unless that happens, the reasons for suspicion regarding the Justice Department's actions will be legion.
© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.
28 July 2010
The Department of Justice is ignoring a new law aimed at protecting the right of American soldiers to vote, according to two former DOJ attorneys who say states are being encouraged to use waivers to bypass the new federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
The Department of Justice is ignoring a new law aimed at protecting the right of American soldiers to vote, according to two former DOJ attorneys who say states are being encouraged to use waivers to bypass the new federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.
The MOVE Act, enacted last October, ensures that servicemen and women serving overseas have ample time to get in their absentee ballots. The result of the DOJ's alleged inaction in enforcing the act, say Eric Eversole and J. Christian Adams — both former litigation attorneys for the DOJ’s Voting Section — could be that thousands of soldiers' ballots will arrive too late to be counted.
"It is an absolute shame that the section appears to be spending more time finding ways to avoid the MOVE Act, rather than finding ways to ensure that military voters will have their votes counted," said Eversole, director of the Military Voter Protection Project, a new organization devoted to ensuring military voting rights. "The Voting Section seems to have forgotten that it has an obligation to enforce federal law, not to find and raise arguments for states to avoid these laws."
Adams, a conservative blogger (www.electionlawcenter.com) who gained national attention when he testified against his former employer after it dropped its case against the New Black Panther Party, called the DOJ’s handling of the MOVE Act akin to “keystone cops enforcement.”
“I do know that they have adopted positions or attempted to adopt positions to waivers that prove they aren’t interested in aggressively enforcing the law,” Adams told FoxNews.com. “They shouldn’t be going to meeting with state election officials and telling them they don’t like to litigate cases and telling them that the waiver requirements are ambiguous.”
The MOVE act requires states to send absentee ballots to overseas military troops 45 days before an election, but a state can apply for a waiver if it can prove a specific "undue hardship" in enforcing it.
Sen. John Cornyn,R-Texas – who co-sponsored MOVE – wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on July 26 saying he is concerned that the Department of Justice is allowing states to opt out of the new law. Click here to read the letter.
“Military voters have been disenfranchised for decades, and last year Congress acted," Cornyn said in a statement to FoxNews.com. "But according to recent information, the Department of Justice has expressed reluctance to protect the civil rights of military voters under the new law. All our men and women in uniform deserve a chance to vote this November, and the Obama administration bears responsibility for ensuring that they have it.
“For far too long in this country, we have failed to adequately protect the right of our troops and their families to participate in our democratic process. The MOVE Act was supposed to end this sad history. The right to participate in democratic elections is fundamental to the American experience.”
In his letter to Holder, Cornyn cites minutes from the 2010 winter meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), during which Rebecca Wertz, deputy chief of the DOJ's voting section, told state election officials that the legislative language regarding waivers is not completely clear. Wertz described the provisions of the law as “fairly general” and “somewhat of an open question as to what type of information” a state needs to submit in order to for their waiver application to be granted. She said it was also unclear whether waivers are for one election only, or if they apply to future elections.
According to the meeting's minutes, obtained by FoxNews.com, Wertz also said “that the DOJ is working to find effective ways to disseminate any information guidance that can help states with different questions about MOVE interpretation. She invited questions and dialogue from states, and said that litigation is always the last resort.”
Cornyn wrote, “If these are the positions of the DOJ, then they fly in the face of the clear statutory language, undermine the provisions in question, and jeopardize the voting rights of our men and women in uniform.”
He said the language of the law makes it clear that there is no ambiguity when it comes to states' eligibility for being granted a waiver, and that the statute does not leave room for the Justice Department to decide whether to enforce its requirements.
“If a state is not in compliance with the statute, there is little room for “dialogue” or negotiation, and the Voting Section should take immediate steps to enforce the law and safeguard military and overseas voting rights, including pursuing litigation whenever necessary,” Cornyn wrote. “The comments by the DOJ official, as reported in the NASS minutes, appear to ignore Congress’ clear legislative language and could facilitate the disenfranchisement of our men and women in uniform.”
Cornyn, who discussed Eversole’s allegations at a meeting with Defense Department officials last week, called for Holder to immediately provide guidelines to state election officials; to ensure that states are required to abide by the law; and to provide Cornyn himself with a state-by-state breakdown of which states have already applied for waivers and which are expected to be in noncompliance with MOVE in the November midterm election. He also called for full transparency in the waiver process.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, Xochitl Hinojosa, declined to comment, other than to say Cornyn’s letter is being reviewed.
FoxNews.com obtained waiver applications submitted by Washington and Hawaii.
Defense Department spokeswoman April Cunningham told FoxNews.com that New York, Delaware, Maryland, Alaska and Virgin Islands had also applied for waivers. (Cornyn's co-sponsor for the MOVE Act was New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat.)
“The voting section has taken this haphazard approach to enforcing military voting law,” said Eversole. “The voting section is asserting itself into statute to make a statute that’s not ambiguous, ambiguous. Can you imagine any other agency giving prospective defendants advice like this?”
“Everybody in Washington knows it doesn’t matter how good the law is; it comes down to who’s enforcing it,” said Adams. “This stuff should be transparent and online for the citizens of these states to comment on, the fact that it's being done behind closed doors tells you everything you need to know about how it will affect the voters.”
Adams and Eversole separately pointed out that the DOJ’s website lacks any mention of the MOVE Act. In fact, the section on military voting includes the outdated and nonbinding 30-day recommendation for sending out ballots. There is no mention of the the current 45-day mandate.
But the DOJ's online voting section includes a detailed section devoted to helping felons learn how get their voting rights back.
“It is just offensive to most Americans that we can send soldiers to the front lines but they can't vote,” said Eversole. “This is an issue that tugs at the heartstrings of America and people can’t understand why we can’t get that right. This is something we have to get right. We should be fighting as hard for their rights as they’re fighting for ours.”
27 July 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Fairfax, Va. -- The National Rifle Association is supporting a lawsuit against Mayor Richard Daley and the City of Chicago's newly adopted gun control ordinance, which violates the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago. Last Friday, the City Council rushed through passage of this ordinance in response to the Court's June 28th decision rendering Chicago’s draconian handgun ban unconstitutional.
“The Supreme Court has now said the Second Amendment is an individual freedom for all. And that must have meaning,” said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. “This decision cannot lead to different measures of freedom, depending on what part of the country you live in. City by city, person by person, this decision must be more than a philosophical victory. An individual right is no right at all if individuals can’t access it.”
Just four days after the Court struck down the nearly 30 year-long handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago enacted the most restrictive anti-gun ordinance in the United States. In the words of Corporation Counsel Mara Georges, the top attorney for the City: “We've gone farther than anyone else ever has.” The so-called “Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance” provisions include: a prohibition on all gun sales inside the City; a prohibition on possession of firearms for self-defense outside the “home” -- even on a patio or in an attached garage; a prohibition on more than one assembled and operable firearm in the home; and a training requirement to obtain a Chicago Firearm Permit. However, range training would be impossible since it will now be unlawful to operate a shooting range inside city limits.
“The Supreme Court told Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago that it has to respect the Second Amendment. By enacting this ordinance, their response is 'Make Us',” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “The NRA will not rest until Chicago's law-abiding residents can exercise the same freedoms that our Founding Fathers intended all Americans to have.”
Recent statements from some of Chicago's city officials reflect their complete lack of respect for the Supreme Court decision. Alderman Daniel Solis stated, “the decision made by the Supreme Court is not really in the best interests of our citizens.” Alderman Sharon Denise Dixon denounced what she called the Court’s “blatant… misreading of the law.” And another city council member even went so far as to say, “[w]e’re here today because of their poor judgment."
The case is Benson v. City of Chicago.
I HOPE this case can be determined BEFORE those two communists are confirmed for the Supreme Court.