Archive for the 'guns' Category

A New Triumph for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (and for II’s Dave Kopel)

Posted by on Feb 14 2014 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Dave Kopel, guns, Kopel Dave, Natelson Rob', Rob Natelson, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

A federal court of appeals has just vindicated the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in a big way. And II’s own Dave Kopel was largely responsible.

California denied citizens the right to carry firearms outside their homes, unless they obtained a concealed weapons permit. But to get such a permit, citizens had to demonstrate “good cause”—and fear for one’s personal safety was not sufficient to show “good cause.” The effect of the statute was to allow the local sheriff to deny the right to bear arms to all but a favored few.

On February 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the largest of the nation’s federal court of appeals districts) issued Peruta v. County of San Diego. It held that the California statute violated the Second Amendment. In doing so, the court cited one of Dave Kopel’s articles. But that citation went nowhere near showing the extent of his influence.

To clarify the historical understanding of the term “bear arms,” the Court spent much of its opinion citing and discussing obscure 19th century cases and commentaries on the right to keep and bear arms. It was Dave Kopel who first re-introduced these materials to public notice.

In 1998, Dave wrote an article called The Second Amendment in the Nineteenth Century, 1998 B.Y.U. L. Rev 1359. This was a massive compendium of cases, commentaries, and other materials. (By “massive,” I mean 188 pages, roughly three times the size of the typical law journal article.)

This article placed into the legal databases for the first time the full story of how the public viewed the Second Amendment during the century after the Constitution was ratified. By collecting and publishing this material, Dave made the collection readily accessible to later commentators, who built on his work. He also thereby made this material available to the courts.

The Court of Appeals cited Dave’s article in Peruta, but didn’t fully explain how that contribution made possible much of the later work that the court also cited. Pioneers don’t always get the credit they deserve.

This incident is only the latest example of how II, although a Colorado think tank, also advances freedom nationally and internationally.

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How To Deal With a Faithless State Lawmaker: The Hudak Recall

Posted by on Nov 27 2013 | Civil Rights, congress, Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory, elections, guns, Politics, Second Amendment, TABOR

Advocates of freedom and constitutional rights won a victory today when Senator Evie Hudak resigned to avoid being recalled.

For years, people have asked me, “When a Member of Congress repeatedly violates his or her oath of office, what can we do?” Because Congressmen can’t be impeached (and their colleagues rarely expel them), my answer always has been, “You have no alternative but oppose him or her in the next election.”

But for Colorado elected officials, we do have an alternative: recall. And after long failure to use that tool, the voters finally have deployed it—three times this year.

Recall elections work because in recall elections, unlike general elections, issues aren’t “bundled” together in inseparable packages. You vote on one office, and on the record of one politician. Of course, the political class doesn’t like that: They like it when government is involved in so many matters and election campaigns are so muddled that you don’t really have a clear “yes” or “no” vote: So you just re-elect the person whose name you know—the incumbent.

But a recall, like a voter initiative, offers the electorate a much more focused choice. It’s democracy at its finest.

In some other states, the political class (sometimes through the courts) have gelded the recall process by requiring adequate “cause” for a recall. In those states, whether there is “cause” is decided by (guess who?) the politicians or judges. In light of what has happened this year, look for an effort to limit recall in Colorado, too. If they do try to limit recall, just remember: In a republic, lawmakers are the agents of the people, and the only judges of whether an agent has been faithful are those who hired him.

In the case of Evie Hudak, the signs were that a majority of her district believed she had been faithless: Contrary to her oath of office and contrary to her employers’ instructions (as set forth in the state and federal Constitutions), she had attacked our right to keep and bear arms. Because of this, she deserved to be gone, just as much as if she had attacked our right of free speech or our state constitutional right to vote on tax increases.

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The Sickness in Our Souls Challenge

Posted by on Aug 26 2013 | guns, Idiot Box (TV Show)

The John Morse campaign released an attack video saying I misrepresented his “sickness in our souls” insult of gun owners on my TV show “Devil’s Advocate”. Who knew he even watched?

Anyway, here is my response. Please pass it around to anyone you think might be interested.

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Morgan and Douglas County: Our Gun Show is Coming to You!

Posted by on Jul 16 2013 | Events, Gun shows, guns, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

We’ve been all over this beautiful state on our Colorado and the Second Amendment road show featuring lead attorney and Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel and various sheriffs. However, there are two more locations we’re headed to this week: Morgan and Douglas Counties.

We will be in Morgan County TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 17th. For more details and to RSVP ($5), go here. Check out the event flyer here.

We will be in Douglas County this Thursday, July 18th. For more details and to RSVP ($5), go here. Check out the event flyer here.

So far we’ve sold out every place we’ve been, so don’t wait to RSVP online!

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Update on Colorado Gun Lawsuit Successes

Posted by on Jul 12 2013 | guns, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

I wanted to give you an update on how our lawsuit against the new anti-gun bills is going. We are pleased to announce that we’ve had a couple major victories on two of worst aspects of the bills: “continuous possession” and “readily convertible.” See the video below to hear some more details. To keep up with the technical details of the case, visit ColoradoGunCase.org.

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First Major Success in Lawsuit Challenging New Gun Control Laws

Posted by on Jul 10 2013 | guns, Kopelization, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Today the Independence Institute’s federal civil rights lawsuit achieved its first major success, eliminating the problems that were caused by two vague phrases in House Bill 1224, the magazine ban.

The Independence Institute’s David Kopel is representing 55 elected Sheriffs and one retired police officer in lawsuit against the new anti-gun laws signed by Governor Hickenlooper last March.

Tuesday night, on the eve of a federal court hearing, the plaintiffs and the Colorado Attorney General agreed on proposal to fix two problems the magazine ban.

First, the magazine ban applies to magazines which are “designed to be readily converted” to hold more than 15 rounds. This could outlaw some or all magazines which have removable base plates; if a base plate is removed, an extender can be attached to a magazine that will increase the magazine’s capacity.

The Attorney General agreed to issue new guidance to state law enforcement that will remedy this problem. The new language says that magazines with removable base plates are only illegal if they have actually been altered so that they do hold more than 15 rounds. “Unless so altered, they are not prohibited.”

The second problem, which has also been fixed, was that House Bill 1224 required the grandfathered owners of magazines to maintain “continuous possession.” This outlawed many innocent and constitutionally protected activities, such as leaving magazine for a gunsmith for two weeks while it is repaired, or loaning a magazine to a family member.

The Attorney General agreed to fix this problem by issuing additional guidance to law enforcement, stating that: “‘Continuous possession’ is only lost by a voluntary relinquishment of dominion and control.” “Dominion” is a legal term for the highest level of ownership rights. So if you loan your magazine to your daughter for a week, and she does not have the right to sell the magazine, then you still have “dominion.”

The practical result of the new language is that owners of grandfathered magazines can now engage in all lawful activities with those magazines, including loaning them to friends and family. The grandfathered owners simply may not sell the magazines, or give away ownership.

For the Sheriffs, this means that they can now return a stolen magazine to its rightful owner.

The successful resolution of these issues was achieved by voluntary agreement with the Attorney General. However, that agreement never would have happened without the pressure of the preliminary injunction motion which we filed on June 10, as well as our subsequent filings and briefs.

Because the Attorney General did, ultimately, voluntarily agree to put these changes into Technical Guidance which is binding on the executive branch of the state government, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger decided that it would be unnecessary for her to issue an injunction.

With these two issues now resolved, we are beginning preparation for a full trial on the merits. The trial will be our challenge to the entirety of the unconstitutional anti-gun laws:

  • House Bill 1224 bans the sale of magazines holding more than 15 rounds. We will argue and present evidence that this violates the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. The Heller decision forbids bans on arms which are “Typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” We will show magazines of up to 20 rounds for handguns, and up to 30 rounds for rifles, are standard for many popular firearms, and thus protected under Heller.
  • House Bill 1229 imposes paperwork, fee, and background check requirements on many ordinary uses of guns–such as loaning a gun to a friend for a week when he goes on a hunting trip. We will argue and present evidence that it is unconstitutional to treat temporary firearms loans as if they were firearms sales made by a gun store.

Today’s success shows that our legal strategy is working. We have removed the problems of two badly misdrafted provisions in the magazine ban. If we have the proper resources to take the rest of the case to a full trial on the merits, we are hopeful that we can liberate Colorado entirely from House Bills 1224 and 1229, which are unconstitutional and harmful to public safety.


(Click image to donate)

This is just the first victory in a looooong fight. We need your help. Please donate to help us fight this battle HERE. Thank you all so much.

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VIDEO: Assault on the 2nd Amendment – Co Springs

Posted by on Jul 02 2013 | Events, guns, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

If you didn’t make our sold out event in Colorado Springs on May 28th, we have the entire video here for you:

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Continuing the Gun Rights Road Show

Posted by on Jun 28 2013 | AR-15, Events, Gun shows, guns, Second Amendment, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

We’ve been all over this beautiful state on our antiques road show Colorado and the Second Amendment road show featuring lead attorney and Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel and various sheriffs. However, there are two more locations we’ve just added to our list: Morgan and Douglas Counties.

We will be in Morgan County on Wednesday, July 17th. For more details and to RSVP ($5), go here. Check out the event flyer here.

We will be in Douglas County on Thursday, July 18th. For more details and to RSVP ($5), go here. Check out the event flyer here.

So far we’ve sold out every place we’ve been, so don’t wait to RSVP online!

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Taking the Gun Show on the Road

Posted by on Jun 03 2013 | Events, guns, Kopelization, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Our Second Amendment event last week in Colorado Springs was a HUGE success. We were surprised how enthusiastic the crowd was to hear Dave Kopel and company (sheriffs) discuss gun rights in Colorado and why we’re suing the state. We had such big turnouts at both our Denver and Colorado Springs events, we decided to take the show on the road. After all, our lawsuit addresses the anti-gun bills that hold firearms and magazines hostage throughout the entire state. It’s only appropriate that we hear from folks outside the Denver and front range area.

ROAD TRIP!

First up, next Wednesday, June 12th we will be in Glenwood Springs to hear from the good folks in Garfield County (flyer here for details). This night out will feature Dave Kopel and three county sheriffs – Garfield’s Lou Vallario, Weld’s John Cooke, and Larimer’s Justin Smith – presenting on the Second Amendment in Colorado and our fight against the new anti-gun bills. It’s only $5 to attend and you can sign up online or by calling us at 303-279-6536.

After Glenwood Springs, we’ll be heading to Delta County the next day in an event featuring Kopel and Larimer Sheriff Justin Smith, plus a couple new faces – Delta Sheriff Fred McKee and Montrose Sheriff Rick Dunlap. That’s Thursday, June 13th at the Delta County Center for Performing Arts and Education. For details, see the flyer here. You can purchase tickets and RSVP online here or give us a call at 303-279-6536.

That’s Glenwood Springs on Wednesday, June 12th and Delta on Thursday the 13th. Don’t miss these events!

I wouldn’t wait too long to purchase tickets. There are many more people interested than are seats available. RSVP today!

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54 Colorado Sheriffs file lawsuit against anti-gun bills

Posted by on May 17 2013 | guns, Kopelization, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

We filed suit against the unconstitutional gun laws today.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

A couple of hours ago the lobby of our Independence Institute building, affectionately known as the Freedom Embassy, was overflowing with microphones, cameras, and news reporters for the announcement that our lawsuit has been filed against the unconstitutional new gun bills. Quite literally, reporters were spilling out of our front door.

Sheriffs, representing the 54 elected sheriffs across Colorado, disabled gun owners, women for concealed carry, and the Colorado Farm Bureau all spoke on why they are plaintiffs in this landmark case.

You can see the press conference in its entirety below. Please take at least a few minutes to witness the passion behind our plaintiffs and listen to their reasons for challenging the State of Colorado. These are the people that make me so very proud to be a Coloradan. They are the spirit of Colorado.

We are honored and humbled to spearhead this effort to overturn these dangerous laws. Here is the full video of the press conference. Here is the official complaint.

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