Gun owners sue California over large capacity magazine ban

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California gun owners filed a complaint in federal court Friday deeming the state’s large capacity magazine ban unconstitutional.

The Calguns Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation joined seven private citizens in the suit filed against Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Chief of the Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms Martha Supernor over a law passed last year banning magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

“California’s magazine laws will turn many thousands of good, law-abiding people into criminals, but do nothing to advance public safety,” said Brandon Combs, president and chairman of FPF, in a statement Friday.

“While California’s political leadership might prefer some kind of police state without any Second Amendment or property rights, we believe that the Constitution takes their policy preferences off the table. This lawsuit is one of many that we hope will help restore fundamental freedoms in the Golden State and across the nation,” the group said.

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of legislation tightening firearm regulations statewide, including a ban on large capacity magazines. A 1999 law initially barred the further import and sale of such magazines in California, but provided a provision “grandfathering” existing owners in, therefore precluding them from legal punishment.

Senate Bill 1446, and later Proposition 63, eliminate the exemption entirely and instead require existing owners to sell, turn over or destroy their large capacity magazines within six months.

“Enforcement of this ban would immediately place thousands of law-abiding California gun owners in jeopardy of criminal liability and subjects their personal property to forfeiture, seizure and permanent confiscation, which is government taking, without due process or compensation,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M.Gottlieb in a press release Friday. “We cannot allow that to go unchallenged.”

In the 25-page complaint filed in the Eastern District of California Friday, gun owners assert “the large-capacity magazine ban is, effectively and now, actually, a confiscation, in part, of bearable arms.”

“The large-capacity magazine ban is hopelessly vague and ambiguous, as it fails to provide fair or even adequate notice to law-abiding gun owners of what they may do with their personal property without being subject to criminal sanctions,” the plaintiffs allege in court documents. “And fails to inform them of which version of the statutes may apply, or whether they are subject to an exception thereunder.”

“The State of California’s ban scheme stands for the proposition that most any personal property can simply be taken away from you or forced out of your possession without due process or just compensation by legislative fiat,” said CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman Friday. “Today it’s firearm magazines, but tomorrow it will most certainly be some other constitutionally-protected private property.”

The plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

Cleveland gun regulations, registry shot down by appeals court

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A slew of Cleveland gun regulations and a gun offender registry were ruled to be unconstitutional Thursday by a three-judge panel at the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals.

Cleveland.com reported that all but two of the city laws, proposed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and passed by the city council in 2015, were found to be in conflict with Ohio state law and thus overturned.

The appeals court ruling came as a result of gun rights group Ohioans for Concealed Carry challenging the laws after they were passed in 2015 by the city council.

Under state law, cities and villages cannot impose gun regulations that are stricter than those at the state level. Only two laws passed in 2015 were found not to be more restrictive than state law and so were allowed to stand by the appeals court.

One law allowed to stand prohibits the negligent transfer of firearms to those who are intoxicated. The other law prohibits leaving a gun where it can be accessed by minors. Both laws were ruled to mirror laws already enacted at the state level.

Judge Sean Gallagher highlighted in the panel’s opinion that the judges could only make their decision based on Ohio state law.

“The city may not enact ordinances that conflict with Ohio’s firearm ownership and possession laws, which are intended to prove uniformity throughout the state,” Gallagher wrote. “If individuals on either side of the divide are unhappy with the law as written, the remedy lies with the Ohio legislature.”

Jeff Garvas, president of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, cheered the court’s decision and said criminality could not be solved with more gun restrictions.

“Cleveland’s idea that they can legislate away the criminal use of firearms at the expense of law-abiding individuals is a flawed concept that has been proven wrong time and time again,” Garvas said.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson plans to rewrite some of the proposed laws, in a belief that rewording them will allow the laws to stand. The mayor also plans to appeal the rulings on regulating the discharging of firearms and on the proposed gun offender registry.

Trump addresses NRA convention

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ATLANTA—President Donald Trump on Friday addressed National Rifle Association members and others during the gun lobby group’s annual convention in Atlanta, making him the first sitting president to do so since Ronald Reagan in 1983.

Trump promised the group he wouldn’t infringe on the American peoples’ right to bear arms

“Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God,” Trump said.

He opened his speech thanking members of the NRA for their patriotism and support of his campaign for president, which he then recapped, slamming Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and candidate Bernie Sanders.

Trump criticized Sanders for offering free college to Americans without saying how it would be paid for. However, regardless of whether or not Sanders’ plan was a viable one, he often said he would impose a higher tax rate on the richest Americans to pay for this lofty campaign promise.      

Trump went on to recognize veterans and touted his administration’s progress in rehabbing the embattled agency.        

“We are doing a really top job already … with the Veterans Administration,” Trump said.

The president signed an executive order on Thursday to create a new VA office in order to hold its employees accountable. The order also offers protection to VA whistleblowers who report unscrupulous activity within the agency.

Last year, the loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia left a hole in the country’s highest court and was a serious loss to the gun rights community.

Trump said the fact that the Senate’s confirmation of his pick to replace Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, happened within his first 100 days in office hadn’t happened since 1881.   

The American sportsman has a champion Trump’s new pick for Department of the Interior. “On his first day,” Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed a lead ammo ban which had been enacted on federal land to reportedly prevent the toxic material from leaching into the ground water and protect carrion wildlife from consuming lead in the carcasses of other animals.

Trump also talked about maintaining the rule of law, which includes keeping the average citizen armed in self-defense.

“Our police and sheriffs know that when you ban guns, only the criminals will have them,” Trump said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working to enforce the rule of law, Trump said. The president called out MS-13, an international Hispanic street gang with roots in El Salvador and a significant foothold in neighborhoods across the U.S. His attorney general is working to get rid of the scourge, Trump said.     

“It’s about time,” he said.

Another Trump administration appointment, Homeland Security Director John Kelly is also working to ensure Americans are safe at home, the president said.

“We will build the wall,” no matter the number: Trump said the U.S. has seen a 73 percent decrease in illegal immigration since his inauguration.

Trump also touched on terrorism, criticizing politicians for spending billions on fighting terrorism across the globe, “but then we let terrorism enter through the front door,” he said.

Ted Cruz signs on to Hearing Protection Act

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz signed on as a co-sponsor to the Hearing Protection Act days before he’s scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, where the bill is expected to be a major talking point

The proposed measure has so far gained 14 co-sponsors, all Republicans, in the U.S. Senate and a related measure in the House has gained 137 co-sponsors, including three Democrats.

This legislative session is the second round for the bill. When it was proposed in the Senate in 2015, it gained only three sponsors. While the Texas senator was not one of them, he is known among gun rights groups for his no-compromise stance on guns, even picking up a presidential endorsement by Gun Owners of America during his campaign.

If passed, the HPA would remove silencers from items listed on the National Firearms Act, which requires buyers to complete legal paperwork and pay a $200 tax before obtaining one. According to the bill’s language, silencers would be regulated like rifles.

Supporters of the measure argue silencers should be treated as a safety device because it reduces the sound of a gunshot and helps to prevent hearing damage.

Yet, critics of the measure say it would only be a matter of time until they’re used to commit crimes. The items were prohibited along with machine guns and short-barreled long guns in 1934 as a response to prohibition-era gang violence.

Still, gun rights supporters have expressed optimism that the measure will pass this go around as they think President Trump will sign it if it makes it to his desk. His son, Donald Trump, Jr., has already thrown his support behind it.

Cruz is scheduled to appear alongside President Trump and other political leaders at the NRA’s Leadership Forum on Friday.

Federal gun-buying ban upheld for medical marijuana cardholders

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A federal appeals court upheld the federal ban on the sale of guns through federally licensed firearms dealers to individuals who hold medical marijuana cards, agreeing that possession of a card gives a dealer “reasonable cause to believe” that a person is an unlawful drug user.

A Nevada woman brought the case after a gun store owner declined to sell her a firearm, citing the federal rule banning the sale of guns to illegal drug users because he knew she possessed a medical marijuana card.

A unanimous ruling Wednesday by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco, upheld a lower court decision that dismissed the woman’s claims.

S. Rowan Wilson sought to buy a firearm from a gun store in the small town of Moonstone, Nevada, in 2011, several months after obtaining a medical marijuana card in the state. Gun shop owner Frederick Hauser stopped her as she was filling out required paperwork for the purchase, saying he could not sell her a firearm because he knew she had obtained a medical marijuana card.

Medical marijuana has been legalized by eight of the nine states covered by the 9th Circuit ruling — with recreational marijuana also being legal in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. But the federal government still outlaws pot as a Schedule I controlled substance

Tragic Death Of The First Black Female Judge

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Last week, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam attended an event to honor Jonathan Lippman, a fellow jurist on the New York State Court of Appeals. Given her stature amongst her colleagues, other women in the New York legal community attending the event were all anxious to greet the first black woman appointed to the bench of the state’s highest court.

Claire Gutekunst, president of NY State Bar Association, told BuzzFeed News she recalled approaching Abdus-Salaam — who was also the first black female judge to sit on New York’s highest court — while she was seated in the front row with the other judges, and giving her a hug.

“She seemed her normal, very friendly. She seemed herself,” Gutekunst said. “I have no idea now whether anything was amiss.”

Vickey Graffeo, a former judge on the Court of Appeals with Abdus-Salaam for seven years, found her old colleague at the event, too — eager to tell her that she had met a young African-American woman interested in attending Columbia Law School, Abdus-Salaam’s alma mater.

“I said, ‘I’m going to send you the contact information. I think you’d be a great role model,’” Graffeo told BuzzFeed News. “She, of course, agreed.”

“I just dictated the letter yesterday,” Graffeo added. “Unfortunately, there’s no one to send it to today.”

On Wednesday, the 65-year-old Abdus-Salaam was found dead, her body floating in the Hudson River by the shore of Manhattan’s West 132nd Street, just a few blocks from her Harlem home.

Details of her death are still unclear. On Thursday, the New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials, that her death was being investigated as a suicide. She was reported missing by her husband, Gregory Jacobs, the day before. The NYPD could not confirm the details of Abdus-Salaam’s death but said that there was no sign of trauma or struggle. Police said the final cause of her death will be determined by the city’s medical examiner.

With her death, Abdus-Salaam leaves behind a storied career of — as her colleague John Kiernan, President of the New York City Bar Association described it — “Keeping an eye on the little guys and the underdogs.”

Born in 1952 in Washington, DC, Abdus-Salaam first came to New York in the early 1970s to attend Barnard College in Upper Manhattan. From there, she attended Columbia Law School, graduating in 1977.

UNC law school professor Ted Shaw, a former law school classmate of Abdus-Salaam’s, remembers going over to her Harlem apartment with his then-girlfriend where Abdus-Salaam would feed them because he “wasn’t much for money at the time.”

“Sheila was just a wonderful soul. She was a sweet soul — loving, caring, gentle person,” Shaw said.

In the years since law school, Shaw regularly visited his friend in Harlem. He remembers having barbecues in her backyard — even though Abdus-Salaam was a vegetarian — and watching Yankee games.

“She had a wonderful easy way about her,” Shaw said.

During her early years in New York, Abdus-Salaam, whose maiden name was Turner, and her first husband began to follow the Nation of Islam and converted to the Muslim religion. The couple eventually broke up and she left the Nation. However, those close to her believe that she continued to be quietly associated with Islam. “Sheila was not one to proselytize,” Shaw said.

After law school, Abdus-Salaam started her career at East Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation, a federally funded program coordinating legal assistance for the poorest people in Brooklyn — one of the lowest paying jobs in the profession at the time.

“It is retail human vulnerability. One person at a time, work like hell to save them,” Kiernan said in describing the job. “My personal view is that the character of those people is heroic.”

From Brooklyn, Abdus-Salaam went to work for the New York State Attorney General, spending most of her time in the AG’s office in the civil rights bureau.

She became a judge in 1992 when she was elected to the New York civil court. A rising star, Governor David Patterson appointed her to the Appellate Division in 2009. Then, four years later, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed her to the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals. At her swearing-in ceremony, her former law school classmate Eric Holder, the former US Attorney General, said on her behalf: “Sheila could boogie.”

During her short time as a Court of Appeals judge, Abdus-Salaam left an indelible mark, authoring two landmark decisions in just the last year.

In the Matter of Brooke S.B. v Elizabeth A.C.C., Abdus-Salaam wrote the decision that overturned an over two-decade old ruling that said nonbiological parents in a same-sex couple had no standing to seek custody of a child after the couple broke up.

In her opinion, Abdus-Salaam said she determined that nonbiological parents could seek custody if they showed “by clear and convincing evidence that all parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together.”

Susan Sommer, lawyer for the plaintiff in that case, told BuzzFeed News that since the Brooke decision she has seen “a ripple effect” across the state.

“Just a few days ago, I got a thank-you email from somebody I don’t know at all who has custody,” Sommer said. “It has opened doors that were slammed for decades in New York.”

“She embodied so many important features for New York,” Sommer said. “A woman, an African American, a jurist who broke critical new ground for LGBT families. She represented much that we should aspire to.”

In another recent Court of Appeals ruling, People v. Bridgeforth, Abdus-Salaam authored the decision that said that an attorney could not disqualify a potential juror in a case based on skin tone, not just race.

“Defendant argues that, contrary to the people’s position, dark skin color is a cognizable class and, indeed, must be one unless the established protections of Batson are to be eviscerated by allowing challenges based on skin color to serve as a proxy for those based on race,” Abdus-Salaam wrote. “We agree with defendant.”

Despite the demands of a high-profile job, other colleagues of Abdus-Salaam remember her as someone who was generous with her time, particularly with law students.

Albany Law School Professor Vincent Bonventre, who brings his class to the Court of Appeals on Wednesdays to watch arguments, said Judge Abdus-Salaam would not hesitate to come out after the proceedings and chat with the students.

“It wasn’t ‘you’re lucky to be speaking with me’ with her — it was exactly the opposite,” Bonventre said. “She was thrilled. She would be very, very candid about how tough the cases were, open about the fact that voting in the cases was close and that she struggled with how to vote.”

Through all the triumphs of her career, Abdus-Salaam dealt with her share of tragedy in her personal life. In 2014, her brother committed suicide, the Times reported. And last year she lost her mother.

As reports emerged on her death, her colleagues and friends remained in disbelief about the possibility that Abdus-Salaam might have taken her own life.

Kaylin Whittingham, president of the New York Association of Black Women Attorneys, an organization that Abdus-Salaam was active with, said she saw the judge several times over the last few weeks.

“I did not see signs she was dealing with anything,” Whittingham said. “You can never quite tell. Whatever it is, it was just really tragic and heartbreaking.”

Whittingham remembers when Abdus-Salaam’s brother died in 2014. Around the time of his death, the ABWA was set to honor Abdus-Salaam as a trailblazer for African-American women. But because of her brother’s death, she could not attend the event, so Whittingham accepted it on Abdus-Salaam’s behalf.

“When I saw her, I gave her the award and told her, ‘This girl is on fire,’” making a reference to the Alicia Keys song, Whittingham recalls.

“All the time, that’s what I tell her: ‘This girl is on fire!’”

CORRECTION

It is unclear if Abdus-Salaam was a Muslim or if she was practicing or identified with the faith. A previous version of this article definitively called her a Muslim

SoCal cops buying and selling crime scene guns

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Law enforcement officers in Southern California could be breaking federal firearms laws by buying guns recovered at crime scenes and re-selling them without a license.

In a March 31 memo, Eric Harden, the ATF’s special agent in charge in Los Angeles, told police chiefs and sheriffs that some officers have purchased more than 100 “off roster” firearms recovered at crime scenes, and then sold them to non-law enforcement individuals.

“Such transactions potentially constitute violations of federal firearms laws, to include dealing firearms without a FFL, and lying on a federal firearms form when purchasing said firearm — also known as ‘straw purchasing,’” wrote Harden. “When presented with compelling evidence of flagrant violations of federal firearms laws, ATF is obligated to conduct a criminal investigation.”

A FFL, or Federal Firearms License, allows individuals or companies to manufacture, import and sell firearms. Calling it an “emerging problem,” Harden offered an advisory for law enforcement to teach them how to lawfully deal the recovered firearms.

“Per 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C), a law enforcement official who regularly acquires ‘off roster’ firearms and sells or disposes of them for a profit is engaging in the business as a dealer of firearms and must be licensed,” reads the advisory. “It is unlawful to knowingly misrepresent that you are the transferee-buyer of a firearm when you acquire a firearm with the intent to sell or otherwise dispose of that firearm to someone else, even if the subsequent transfer is processed through a Federal firearms licensee.”

Anyone convicted of unlawfully dealing firearms without a license is subject to up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. False statements on FFL’s could draw up to 10 years in prison. The advisory pointed out those penalties, but in his memo, Harden said his office is concerned with education.

“It is our goal to educate, not investigate, to ensure law enforcement officials comply with federal law in order to avoid unnecessary public embarrassment to themselves and your Department/Agency,” he wrote.

10 East African coutries team up to form regional force

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Kenyan soldiers in Kulbiyow, Somalia, on February 6, 2017.

 

 

A joint force of 10 Eastern Africa countries is now fully fledged, setting the pace for the creation of a unified continental military force, Kenya Defence Forces chief Samson Mwathethe said yesterday.

The countries have also established a peace fund that so far has nearly Sh100 million, excluding the total amounts pledged by member States.

The money is to be used for military operations and supporting interventions.

“It is the first regional force on standby. A peace fund was also established and operationalized. It now has Sh97,624,100,” he said.

The other four regional forces in Africa are at various stages of becoming fully fledged.

The military forces were established by economic blocs on the continent – Ecowas, Eccas, Sadc and Narc.

The East Africa Standby Force (EASF) is made up of soldiers from Kenya, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

Mr Mwathethe spoke at the farewell ceremony for EASF Director Issimail Chanfi at the International Peace Support Centre in Karen, Nairobi.

Member countries hold the position on a rotational basis and the new director is from Djibouti.

Danish Ambassador to Kenya Mette Knudsens said EASF would help in sustaining peace in the region.

“Denmark is very proud for being engaged with EASF and IPSTC. These institutions are very important players in this region. They are demonstrating that Africa has important tools for peace and security,” she said.

EASF troops are currently serving in Somalia under the African Union Mission in Somalia as well as the United Nations missions in Darfur and South Sudan.

The EASF secretariat is located in Karen, Nairobi, while the logistics headquarters are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The desire to have a common defence force in Africa was initially mooted in 2002 during the inaugural AU summit in Durban, South Africa.

The continent’s leaders wanted to no longer depend on countries outside Africa in solving problems that threaten security among member States.

Gov. Branstad signs Iowa gun expansions into law

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Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed two proposals on Thursday that bring a wide range of changes to Iowa’s gun laws including instituting “stand your ground” protections.

In all, Branstad signed some 14 pieces of legislation to include HF 517, an omnibus gun rights package, and HF 475, a popular measure expanding the use of straight-walled cartridge rifles to hunt deer.

Of the two, HF 517 was by far the more controversial in its passage and was subject to lengthy debate in the GOP-controlled legislature before passing the Iowa Senate 33-17 and House 57-36 earlier this month.

“Just signed HF517, making Iowa one of the most pro-2nd amendment states in the country,” Branstad posted to social media.

The new law removes the duty to retreat from Iowa’s self-defense statutes on the use of reasonable or deadly force. This so-called stand-your-ground model has been adopted in many conservative states with Florida passing the first of its kind in 2005.

Next, the law puts gun permit holder information out of bounds from public and Freedom of Information Act requests. Previously, anyone could get the name, address and birth date of concealed carry permit holders.

In addition to the use of force and privacy sections, the act includes mandates to loosen regulations on youth handgun possession for target shooting and hunting reasons provided they are given the firearm by a parent, instructor or guardian. Prior to the new law, only youth 14 and over could legally shoot handguns.

Finally, the law strikes gun-free zones at the state capitol, expands Fourth Amendment search and seizure protections for those carrying firearms, scraps the state ban on short barreled rifles and shotguns, and prevents officials from restricting the carry of firearms during a state of emergency.

Gun control organizations pushed hard to derail HF 517 during the legislative process and urged the governor for a veto, arguing the package was a danger to public safety.

“No matter what your position was on this bill, none of us wants to see the kind of homicide rate increase here that other states have seen after enacting Stand Your Ground laws,” Amber Gustafson, with the Iowa chapter of Moms Demand Action said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Second Amendment groups including the National Rifle Association were pleased with the new law. Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm, said, ““It is a great day for freedom. Today, Iowa joined the nationwide movement to expand law-abiding citizens’ constitutional right to self-protection.”

Hunting expansion

Also signed into law is an expansion of the state’s hunting regs to allow the use of straight-walled handgun cartridges .357 caliber and larger already approved for pistol and revolver hunting in rifles chambered for the same round.

The law directs the Iowa Natural Resource Commission to establish rules allowing the use of the rounds in long guns during the youth and disabled deer hunting seasons and for the first and second shotgun deer hunting seasons by licensed hunters. Possession of a prohibited rifle can result in a $250 fine.

The measure was well-received in the legislature, passing unanimously in both the House in March and the Senate in April while the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was reportedly neutral on the bill.

We asked 86 Burglers how they broke into homes

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Do you ever wonder whether your home security system or “Beware of Dog” sign actually keeps burglars away?

We did too. So KGW’s investigative team sent letters to 86 inmates currently serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections.  The inmates were asked to respond anonymously to 17 questions detailing how they broke in, when the crime occurred and what they were looking for.

What we learned could help you keep your home safe from burglaries.
http://www.kgw.com/news/investigations/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/344213396

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