by Morgan Lee
Newscast Media DETROIT—A community is looking for answers after 19-year-old
Renisha McBride was shot in the head after seeking the help of residents in what
media reports are describing as a predominantly white Detroit suburb following a car
crash in the early morning of Nov. 4.
While Dearborn Heights authorities have refused to release details of the
investigation, they have “identified the person who fired the shot and killed the
woman.” CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media HOUSTON—The National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention in Houston, Texas at the George R. Brown Convention Center, May 3-5, with over 7 acres of guns, gear and outfitters. Attendees also saw knives, wildlife art, shooting accessories, hunting gear, ATVs, and much more! Guests took their whole families to the exhibit with over 340,000 square feet of space, that had something for
everyone. Here are some of the highlights of the show>>
Newscast Media NEW YORK—A treaty regulating cross-border trade in conventional weapons has been approved by the United Nations General Assembly. The treaty was put to an assembly vote after diplomats failed to pass it unanimously.
The General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty in a vote on Tuesday, as 154 countries voted in favor of the proposal, three opposed it and a further 23 abstained. The treaty needed two-thirds approval to pass.
Syria, Iran and North Korea, which together blocked the treaty last week as UN diplomats sought consensus approval for the motion, voted against it on Tuesday. India, Sudan, Indonesia and Russia were among the countries that abstained. Individual member states must now ratify the treaty domestically. It will be officially recognized once 50 countries have done so.
Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott, who chaired the negotiations, said the treaty would “make an important difference by reducing human suffering and saving lives.”
“We owe it to those millions – often the most vulnerable in society – whose lives have been overshadowed by the irresponsible and illicit international trade in arms,” Woolcott told assembly members in his final appeal before they voted.
Under the terms of the treaty, countries planning to sell weapons abroad would agree to assess the risk of the arms being used to commit crimes against humanitarian and human rights law. If this risk was deemed “overriding” and could not be mitigated, the treaty said the deal would have to be stopped.
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—This headline has been brought to my attention after the Drudge Report posted it on their Web site. It has to do with a new proposal called the Firearms Protection Act, being introduced by a Texas lawmaker. The Act makes any federal laws that may be passed by Congress or imposed by Presidential order which would ban or restrict ownership of semi-automatic firearms or limit the size of gun magazines, illegal in the State of Texas.
On January 14, Newscast Media presented a two-part argument based on a recent Supreme Court decision showing why banning any modern firearm would be a violation of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
According to a January 15, article linked by the Drudge Report, Republican Rep. Steve Toth says his measure also calls for felony criminal charges to be filed against any federal official who tries to enforce any new gun restriction rule in the state.
“If a federal official comes into the state of Texas to enforce the federal executive order, that person is subject to criminal prosecution. The bill would make attempting to enforce a federal gun ban in Texas punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to five years in prison,” Toth said. The full article can be read here.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—The biggest debate going on is the debate on gun control that has escalated within the past few weeks. There is talk of Barack Obama using his executive powers to tackle the gun issue, while others wish to see restraint being exercised on this issue. Either way, the debate seems to be driven by emotion, rather than reason or critical thinking. Having waited for weeks without reviewing the ongoing debate, I will now present a judicial review on this subject that has already been settled in the United States Supreme Court.
It would be counterproductive for government to attempt to abrogate well-settled decisions and case law, and also to violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment that public officials swear to protect.
When Barack Obama took the oath of office four years ago, and when he does so again on January the 20th, the following are the utterances made:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Any Executive Order Obama issues that infringes upon the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, would not only be a violation of the oath he took publicly, but also a blasphemy upon the Constitution he swore to preserve, protect and defend.
The Supreme Court presented a very intellectual argument and ruling in 2008 and deconstructed the Second Amendment in regard to the selective banning of firearms in the United States Supreme Court, 554 U. S. ____ (2008)) decision. I will present highlights of the ruling, in simple terms, in a two-part series, using the words of the justices.
The Second Amendment provides: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State (prefatory clause), the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed (operative clause).”
The Second Amendment is naturally divided into two parts: its prefatory clause and its operative clause. The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose. The Amendment could be rephrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” See J. Tiffany, A Treatise on Government and Constitutional Law §585,p. 394 (1867)
Logic demands that there be a link between the stated purpose and the command.
Breakdown of the Operative Clause:
(i) Right of the people —We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.
(ii) To keep and bear Arms —The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson).Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.”
Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.
We turn to the phrases “keep arms” and “bear arms.” Johnson defined “keep” as, most relevantly, “[t]o retain; not to lose,” and “[t]o have in custody.” Johnson 1095. Webster defined it as “[t]o hold; to retain in one’s power or possession.” Thus, the most natural reading of “keep Arms” in the Second Amendment is to “have weapons.” “Keep arms” was simply a common way of referring to possessing arms, for militiamen and everyone else.
At the time of the founding, as now, to “bear” meant to “carry.” See Johnson 161; Webster; T. Sheridan, A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1796); 2 Oxford English Dictionary 20 (2d ed. 1989) (hereinafter Oxford). When used with “arms,” however, the term has a meaning that refers to carrying for a particular purpose—confrontation. In Muscarello v. United States, 524 U. S.125 (1998).
From our review of founding-era sources, we conclude that this natural meaning was also the meaning that “bear arms” had in the 18th century. In numerous instances, “bear arms” was unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia. The most prominent examples are those most relevant to the Second Amendment: Nine state constitutional provisions written in the 18th century or the first two decades of the 19th, which enshrined a right of citizens to “bear arms in defense of themselves and the state” or “bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” It is clear from those formulations that “bear arms” did not refer only to carrying a weapon in an organized military unit.
Meaning of the Operative Clause:
Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right.
*(What the Supreme Court is saying is, the pre-existing right, is the right to self defense).
The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . .”
Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—On Friday July 27, most observers expected the U.S. to sign the Arms Trade Treaty, given the recent incidents that had happened in America like Fast and Furious, and also the Colorado shooting. To their surprise, when Barack Obama was presented the treaty to sign, he tossed the pen on the desk and walked away, leaving observers scratching their heads.
“The White House walked away at a critical moment by failing to move this treaty to conclusion. It is a tremendous loss for thousands of innocent civilians around the globe who die each year from armed violence fueled by the unregulated transfer of arms,” said Scott Stedjan, Oxfam America’s senior policy adviser.
In this July 18 article I wrote, I explained why signing such a treaty would threaten the Constitution’s Second Amendment. Obama being a lawyer, knows that the issue of gun control is very sensitive, especially in an election year. It was therefore in order for him to walk away with the explanation from the White House that Obama needed more time.
In addition, on July 26, just 24 hours before Obama was scheduled to sign the treaty, 51 Senators sent both Obama and Hillary Clinton a letter voicing their concerns, and went as far as threatening to oppose the ratification of the treaty.
“…We also believe that the right of personal self-defense is a human right that is inherent in the individual. U.N. organizations, by contrast, have in the past argued that gun control is mandated by international human rights law, and that the right of self-defense does not exist,” the letter stated.
On Monday July 30, two Democrats introduced another bill that would end the sales of online ammunition called The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act would require buyers who are not dealers to present a photo ID at the time of purchase. The lawmakers are New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg and New York Rep. Carolyn
It is very likely that such a bill will never pass, considering the fact that the House is Republican-controlled, and the Senate already has a majority opposing restriction of firearm possession, as indicated in the above-mentioned letter.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—The Arms Trade Treaty in which countries around the globe are expected to sign a pact that would regulate international trade in conventional weapons, will conclude July 27, in New York, and many American gun owners are not happy about it. The treaty would require governments to deny weapons transfers to countries that fit certain criteria, and to develop national laws and regulations, governing imports and exports.
There have been analysts who hypothesize that Fast and Furious was engineered to give birth to this particular Arms Trade Treaty, because the Obama administration is viewed as one that is against gun ownership by civilians. Those in support of the treaty argue that it would help curb the flow of weapons that fall in the hands of terrorists, warlords or those who violate human rights.
Opponents of the treaty argue that it would fall under Article VI of the United States Constitution, triggering the Supremacy Clause. Americans would have to register their weapons in order for government to track them adequately, and the fear is that the subsequent action of an unfriendly administration toward guns would lead to an eventual banning of guns. This would not happen suddenly, but incidents like Fast and Furious would create a phasing out of weapons. Operation Fast and Furious was an operation to shut down the trafficking of guns from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels.
The Supremacy Clause provides that all treaties made under the authority of the United States, constitute the supreme law of the land as shown below:
Article VI U.S. Constitution – Supremacy Clause:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance
thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United
States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound
thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) says the treaty could be a threat to the Second Amendment, that guarantees the right to bear arms. However, Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association says the treaty will not affect the Second Amendment in any way, and will not require the U.S. to do anything.
“We’re simply bringing other countries up to our standards. This treaty, in all likelihood, will not require the United States to do anything more than it is already doing.”