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  • 02/23/2024 11:13 AM | Anonymous

    Trump Trial  by Tom Reynolds

    Unless you have been living in a cave, you probably know something about the Manhattan trial where Donald Trump is supposed to pay $355 million in damages The Manhattan Contrarian posted an excellent article explaining in more detail – but very understandable detail - just how corrupt this was and how dangerous it was to all of us.  It is reprinted below.  (Emphasis added).

    The Stalinist New York Attorney General Scores A Big Win Against Trump (For Now)

    February 20, 2024/ Francis Menton

    Josef Stalin set the example for the world as the most ruthless practitioner of the art of using a thoroughly corrupt and subservient “justice system” to eliminate all political opposition. Many, many others have since followed Stalin’s lead. Current notable examples include the recent murder of Alexei Navalny in prison in Russia; Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who fled that country in late 2023 after his arrest was threatened by the Maduro regime; and Pakistan’s former Prime Minister and current opposition leader Imran Khan, convicted in January 2024of “disclosing a state secret” and sentenced to 10 years in jail. Funny how the countries that engage in such practices virtually always have failed economies as well.

    The United States has been remarkably free of such practices during its history. But we have seen a sudden complete reversal of that commendable history with the efforts of multiple political actors and prosecutors to use the courts to take down former President Trump. Readers here are likely familiar with the long list of such efforts, from the two federal Jack Smith criminal prosecutions, to the Fani Willis criminal prosecution in Georgia, to the Alvin Bragg criminal prosecution in Manhattan (supposedly for incorrectly recording the blackmail payment to Stormy Daniels in financial statements), to the many efforts to remove Trump from primary and general election ballots.

    Of all the multitudinous “get Trump” efforts, the most proudly and nakedly Stalinist is the civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. What distinguishes the James crusade from all the others, as political as those might be, is that the others all have had at least a pretext of investigating some known or suspected wrongdoing. With James, by contrast, from the start it has always been about finding some way, any way, to take out the man. James initially ran for AG in 2018 on a campaign explicitly promising to get Trump, who was President of the United States at the time. My first post covering James’s vendetta against Trump was on December 13, 2018, shortly after her first election victory and before she took office. That post quoted at length from an interview James had just given to NBC News. In her interview, James emphasized that her focus in office would be on somehow getting Trump, and she essentially conceded that she had no basis at the outset to believe that wrongdoing had occurred. A short excerpt:

    “We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,” James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month. James outlined some of the probes she intends to pursue with regard to the president, his businesses and his family members. They include: - Any potential illegalities involving Trump’s real estate holdings in New York.

    In other words, when the investigation began, James had no inkling of what, if any, wrongs might have been committed “involving Trump’s real estate holdings,” and no complaining party asking for redress.

    I had a second post about the James jihad against Trump on September 21, 2022 — shortly before James was re-elected to a second four year term in November of that year. The September 2022 post was titled “A New Low For New York Attorney General Letitia James.” The occasion for the post was that James, now nearing the end of her first term, had finally announced the big Complaint against Trump that everyone had been waiting for. The Complaint listed some ten attorneys in the AG’s office as participating — a truly extraordinary investigatory team. My comments in that post have stood the test of time, so rather than re-writing them, I will quote a few of the more notable items:

    • First, there are no criminal charges.
    • [T]his is almost entirely about . . . alleged over-valuation of properties when preparing unaudited personal financial statements as part of getting loans.
    • I can’t find any allegation that any of the loans in question has ever been in default or not paid on time. (Indeed, the proof at trial was that all of the loans were always paid on time.)
    • [T]here is no one claiming harm.
    • [H]ow much equity was there? The Complaint doesn’t say. If there’s lots of equity to spare, then various overvaluations are just so much meaningless puffery, and likely would be immediately obvious to a reader with any sophistication.
    •  I have no doubt that Trump gave some ridiculously high values for some of his properties on his financial statements. My reaction is, so what? Particularly in the absence of any defaults after many years. Nothing about that is nearly as serious a matter as the ethical violation of New York’s chief law enforcement officer in misusing the office to select a target on the basis of politics without any reason to suspect particular wrongdoing. Such conduct should get the AG disqualified from running for office and even disbarred.
    • This case is brought under something called Executive Law Section 63(12). That statute gives authority to the Attorney General to enjoin someone who is engaging in “repeated fraudulent or illegal acts” or “persistent fraud or illegality.”
    • The judge notes — correctly — that the statute does not require three elements that are usually part of actionable fraud, namely intent, reliance, and damages. However, the judge skips over the problem that the statute does not do away with the element of “materiality.” Materiality is a critical element of a claim of fraud, and proof of it was completely missing here.
    • The State Comptroller at the time the statute was passed in 1956 was a guy name Arthur Levitt. Engoron quotes Levitt as saying at the time “Why not grant the Attorney General authority to enjoin anyone from continuing in a business activity if such person has been guilty of frequent fraudulent dealings?” Well, Mr. Levitt, now you know your answer. To remove the ancient common law requirements of intent and reliance from proof of fraud is to give a politicized Attorney General way too much power to attack political adversaries.
    • Several bankers from Trump’s lender, Deutschebank, testified that they did their own valuations of Trump’s properties instead of using the valuations provided by the borrower. That testimony completely undermines any finding of materiality.
    • The monetary relief is characterized as “disgorgement.” The idea is that Trump paid less interest than he would have paid if he had honestly valued the properties, and therefore he should have to give up that ill-gotten gain. But where does the “disgorgement” go? The answer is that Engoron orders the money to go to the “plaintiff,” or in other words, the AG’s office. (Does it even go to the state general fund? Good question.).

    Well, James drew for the case a judge worthy of a Stalin show trial named Arthur Engoron. After previously granting summary judgment to the AG on one count, Engoron conducted a trial from October through January to determine liability on the other counts, and also to determine damages, if any. Justice Engoron issued his 92-page decision on Friday, February 16. Readers likely know that Engoron found the defendants liable on all seven counts (not all defendants on all counts). As monetary relief (technically he calls it “disgorgement” rather than “damages”) the judge ordered a total of some $355 million payable by Trump himself, plus interest from various dates, which could add tens of millions more.

    Here are a few legal notes:

    Trump at least theoretically gets two levels of appeal from here — first to the Appellate Division, First Department; and then to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals (which only takes cases by its own discretion, like the U.S. Supreme Court). Unlike the federal courts, the Appellate Division in New York has the statutory authority to review findings of fact. Likely before the appeals proceed there will be a battle as to whether Trump is entitled to have enforcement of the judgment stayed pending the appeals.

    The Appellate Division, First Department has long had a reputation as a non-politicized court. I do not have any confidence that that reputation remains deserved today, and particularly in this case. Should it so choose, the Appellate Division has ample authority to reverse or drastically reduce the judgment, the most obvious grounds being lack of materiality and lack of damages.

    All business leaders in New York, including those who hate Trump, should rightly be concerned about what has happened here. If a Stalinist Attorney General and one judge can do this to Donald Trump, they can do it to anyone they want. Jamie Dimon, David Solomon — this means you. Trump also thought he had the politicians bought off with political contributions.

    The New York legal establishment has also shamed itself in this matter. Where are the lions of the bar calling out Letitia James for her conduct? I can’t find that. A few days ago, somebody finally brought an ethics complaint against James for the obvious conflict of campaigning to “get” a particular individual and then remaining involved in the subsequent investigation and trial. The complainant is Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a known Trump ally.

    Every day New York becomes more known for descending to third-world country status.

    Correction / Comment by  Professor Jonathan Turley

    In order to file an appeal, the courts require a deposit for the full amount of the damages or a bond covering the full amount. Even with escrow options, the call for cash or collateral can be enough to put some executives in a fetal position."

    "It can be challenging enough for many companies drained from years of litigation. For Donald Trump, the demand for $355 million plus $100 million in interest could force a fire sale on properties to pony up just the deposit."

  • 02/22/2024 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    Weaponized Government

    Weaponizing the government against political opponents is unamerican but there can be little doubt that it is wide spread and currently occurring.  Is there any doubt that a weaponized government is being used to back door the 2nd Amendment and attack a presidential candidate frontrunner.

    One of the ways the government is being politically weaponized is in the area of intelligence gathering.  Our 5th Amendment was specifically passed to protect our rights against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” 

    The following is a letter from Liberty Counsel that does a good job of outlining one of the sources of abuse.  It’s well worth reading and will, hopefully, motivate you to take action.

    Liberty Counsel Action and the ACLU have a rare moment of agreement urging the House to do more to protect U.S. citizens. The reason for this is simple. Steven Bradbury of The Heritage Foundation warns that "the FBI has come to pose a clear threat to the liberties of Americans."

    One court found that for more than four years, the FBI violated the law and invaded the privacy of Americans even when there was "no reasonable basis to expect they would return foreign intelligence or evidence of crime."

    "Since 9/11, the FBI has increasingly directed its broad intelligence-gathering powers at political movements that threaten the Washington establishment, such as Donald Trump's presidential campaigns, and at the exercise of free speech (usually speech that dissents from the government's preferred policy positions), religious liberties, and other constitutionally protected rights by ordinary Americans," according to the Heritage Foundation.

    The threat of Communist China, Hamas and other terrorists, drug traffickers, cartels, and others seeking to harm our nation, some level of monitoring foreign threats is necessary.

    However, the FBI used FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) to monitor politicians, political donors, people in D.C. on Jan. 6, and hundreds of thousands of other Americans.

    No one was safe from the FBI's prying eyes.

    The FISA law must be reformed to protect law-abiding Americans from the abuse of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. House is considering two bills that will make small changes to Section 702. Yet, sweeping reforms are needed. Urge the U.S. House to act now to put in place much broader reforms.

    Demand Congress safeguard our constitutional protections and stop the FBI abuse of FISA.

    Law-abiding citizens have routinely been targeted by the FBI. Instead of investigating foreigners suspected of crimes, the FBI used this database for political or ideological purposes. It targeted Americans based on political affiliations.

    The FBI unlawfully spied on President Donald Trump and knowingly spread false information about an alleged connection with Russia in order to suppress information about Hunter and Joe Biden during the 2020 election.

    "Because Section 702 does not involve individualized court approvals, it allows surveillance of a much wider array of foreign targets than traditional FISA. Thus, in 2022, the 702 program was used to monitor 246,073 foreign targets, while the government obtained only 337 court orders for traditional FISA surveillance," according to Heritage Foundation's investigative report.

    This abuse MUST STOP. Congress must reign in the FBI and reform Section 702 of the FISA law. Urge Congress to stop the FBI's abuse of FISA.

    It would be bad enough if this were just happening in the FBI, but this is a pattern that extends to the Department of Justice, the IRS, and many other federal agencies. These agencies are being weaponized against Americans to favor one party.

    Even the Inspector General of the Department of Justice is recommending that Section 702 of FISA be reformed by Congress to stop the abuse.

    This FISA law comes up annually, and the authorizations are reapproved every year. But not this year.

    Now the government wants Congress to pass a five-year authorization plan. Why? Because Donald Trump will most certainly be the Republican nominee for president. The agencies want the FISA authorization to exceed the term of the next president.

    We need the U.S. House to stop FISA abuse now.

    Ask Congress to pause, consider what has happened here, and strengthen the proposed language in this bill to address these problems at an even deeper level.

    Government agencies are being weaponized. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a five-page memorandum to the FBI warning that people who complain about lockdowns and mask mandates at school board meetings were a "threat" that needed to be monitored. This is wrong and FISA must be reformed NOW!

    Mat Staver, Chairman
    Liberty Counsel Action

  • 02/21/2024 4:33 PM | Anonymous

    One Man One Vote by Tom Reynolds

    The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) under Chief Justice Earl Warren was one of the most liberal SCOTUS that the USA has ever had and, hopefully, ever will. Many of the divisive issues we face today are directly related to rulings during Warren’s reign. Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II accused the Warren Court of repeatedly amending the Constitution through its opinions, rather than waiting for the lawful amendment process.

    One of the Warren Court’s worst decisions was Reynolds v Sims, which ignored the Constitution in order to remove political power from conservative rural areas and give it to liberal cities; it’s known as “one man one vote”.

    • In 1946, before Warren was appointed to SCOTUS, in Colegrove v. Green the court continued its long-standing position that legislative apportionment was a “political thicket” into which the judiciary should NOT intrude.

    • In 1962, in Baker v. Carr, the Warren Court ignored SCOTUS’ own precedent and forced the Tennessee legislature to reapportion itself on the basis of population.

    • In 1964, using its own Baker v. Carr precedent to validate its action, the Warren Court cited the Baker case as a precedent and held in Reynolds Sims that both houses of a two-house legislature had to be apportioned according to population. This is known as “one man one vote”.

    As a result of Reynolds v Sims, virtually every state legislature was reapportioned, ultimately causing rural areas’ political power to be given to urban areas. This flew directly in the face of the founders’ intent when it established the federal Senate with two votes per state in order to preserve some power in the small states. In essence, the Warren Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution was unconstitutional.

    In defense of the Warren decision, many states had abused their senate districting, which prompted the Warren decision. However, Warren wanted to fix the problem in the worst possible way and that is exactly how he did it, in the worst possible way. But the best way for Democrats.

    Warren based the decision on the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection of the laws.” Justice John Marshall Harlan II wrote a dissent that said the majority had chosen to ignore the language, history, and original intent of the Equal Protection Clausewhich did not extend to voting rights.

    As a result, minority parties in many states, such as NY State, do not have an effective vote in state matters, which negates our “equal protection of the laws.” 

    Every issue must be viewed in context; statements can mean very different things when taken out of context. The US Constitution set up the rules and overall framework for how the federal government would operate, but it also had another purpose; to use those rules to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Every part of the Constitution should be interpreted within the context of protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. “One man one vote” goes against that principle.

    The Constitution contains many examples that contradict “one man one vote:

    • The power to make laws is vested in our elected representatives in the House and Senate, not in a vote by the majority of the people (Article I Section 1).

    • Each state has two Senators, no matter what the population (Article 1 Section 3 and Amendment XVII).

    • Power is divided and the Executive department has the power to run the government and enforce laws (Article II Section I) but not to make laws (Article I Section 1).

    • The President is elected by the Electoral College, where each state has the number of votes equal to its total number of Representatives and Senators (Article II Section I). Almost all states allocate their Electoral College votes on a winner take all basis, not a percentage of votes (state laws).

    • In case no one gets a majority of the electoral votes, the decision is made by the House of Representatives where each state has only one vote for President, no matter what the population. (Amendment XII)

    • Only the House of Representatives is based on population and it is not truly “one man one vote”. The smallest state gets at least one vote (Article I Section 2). Six states are below the average representation.

    • Congress passed the law that sets the number of SCOTUS judges at nine and there is no requirement for equal representation throughout the USA.

    Why is it important to gun owners that our Constitution is not in any way based on one man one vote? Currently, New York has a bicameral (two house) legislature where both houses are based on an equal percentage of the population. What if, instead of “one man one vote”, the NY State Senate was apportioned by each county having one Senator, no matter what the population was of the county? Rural counties would then have a voice that is currently denied them because of NY City’s overwhelming population. In NY State, the principle of “one man one vote” effectively means that people in rural counties have no vote. Rural counties are subject to the tyranny of the majority.

    Stare decisis is a legal principle where courts rarely go against principles established in previous rulings. Unless of course you are a liberal court, then the only principle that matters is your current political position. Liberals respect stare decisis only when it works in their favor. The Warren Court frequently ignored Stare Decisis. Unfortunately, Stare Decisis also protects bad rulings as we have seen with “one man one vote”.

    Federal judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate (Article 2 Section 2); they are not elected. (Another example that goes against “one man one vote”.) 2nd Amendment defenders face an extremely grave time with the Senate and Presidency both in gun grabbers’ hands; they have run rampant in approving far left judges who will make political rulings, such as the Warren Court made, instead of judgments based on the Constitution. Elections have consequences and we need to ensure that future Presidents and Senates only appoint conservative judges who believe in the rule of law.

    Perhaps, someday, we will have judges who recognize that “one man one vote” was another constitutional aberration of the Warren Court and needs to be overturned. That would overcome the tyranny of the majority that is now the rule of law in NY State and give gun owners and Upstate NY a voice in their government that is currently denied to them.

  • 02/20/2024 4:39 PM | Anonymous

    Another Congressional Redistricting  by Tom Reynolds

    The Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) was created by a NY constitutional amendment that was approved by the voters in 2014.  The IRC is composed of ten members who are appointed in various ways.  It was supposed to do the redistricting for Congress and the NY Senate and the NY Assembly after the 2020 census was completed. 

    The IRC was pushed by the Democrat Party because, at that time, the NY Senate was in Republican hands and this was a way to change that.  But then, the Democrats unexpectedly won control of the NY Senate and they didn’t like the IRC idea, any more.  The Democrats wanted to return to the old way where the Senate majority decided on the districts – since they were now in the majority.

    The redistricting fight after the 2020 census reflected the Democrats desire to neuter the commission and was so bad that it led to a court stepping in and doing the final redistricting.

    Semifinal?  That was not the end of it.

    Democrats viewed the new congressional districts as too fair to Republicans, who made gains in the 2022 elections, even though Democrats still held the vast majority of NY seats in Congress.  Democrats managed to get the process reopened.

    Last week, by a vote of 9-1, the IRC approved a new congressional map, to replace the too-fair-to Republicans-map.  It could help NY Democrats make slight gains in this year’s U.S. House elections, but it falls well short of the electoral windfall for the Democrats that they were expecting.

    The new map now moves for final action to the Democrat-controlled NY State legislature, where its fate is unclear. Democrats in the state legislature have final say over the map, holding the power to reject the commission’s plan and take over the line-drawing themselves. But that would risk another round of legal fights, with Republicans likely to challenge any map they view as an overly aggressive gerrymander. Several Democrats remained noncommittal.  The last thing the Democrats want is another judge drawing the final districts – unless they can pick the judge.

    The IRC’s map leaves largely undisturbed much of the present districts, with only a few major exceptions.

    According to the NY Times, with tears of regret in its eyes, “The commission’s map includes modest tweaks that would help Democrats flip one seat in Syracuse, and would most likely make a pair of vulnerable incumbents — one Democrat and one Republican — safer in the Hudson Valley.”

    The Times continued, “But it does not touch lines on Long Island or in Westchester County, both major suburban battlegrounds where Democratic campaigns were looking for a leg up, or on Staten Island, where the party has long coveted a right-leaning seat. Even subtle shifts in those areas could have made a handful of Republican-held seats virtually unwinnable for incumbents in November.”

    Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the NY State Senate majority leader, said “We are committed to concluding it in a manner that upholds fairness and democracy.”  (Who said Democrats don’t have a sense of humor?)

    With the Special Election victory of Democrat Suozzi, the House has a slim Republican majority of 6 (219-213).  There are three special elections scheduled for this Spring to fill out the three open seats and two are in heavily favored Republican districts and one is in a heavily favored Democrat district.  If all goes as projected, when the dust settles, Republicans will hold a seven-vote majority. 

    At least until the November elections.

    The redistricting is especially important to Democrats as the major issues with voters (inflation, crime, immigration) would all seem to be negatives for them.  Getting more favorable districts may be their main election strategy.

    And of course, to Second Amendment defenders, the Democrat party has made itself into the enemy of our gun rights, so this should be of great interest to 2A defenders.

  • 02/16/2024 3:39 PM | Anonymous
    Defying SCOTUS  by Tom Reynolds

    Last Wednesday, February 7th, SCOPE sent an email titled Chevron Dying. It raised an important question about courts, legislatures and executives that defy United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rulings and get away with it. Specifically, we asked:

    When judges, legislators and executives openly defy the Constitution, that also opens the door to abuse and some action needs to be taken.  Without threat of punishment, there is little downside to ignoring SCOTUS and the Constitution.

    We have a problem that needs to be addressed. With all the legal brainpower in Washington, there must be some possible solution? Of course, there has to be the will to solve the problem. 

    Yesterday, Ammoland contained an article titled, 'Is the U.S. Supreme Court Losing Control Over Lower Courts', which is a reprint from “Arbalist Quarrel.” The article raised the same issue that SCOPE did a week earlier about lower courts openly defying SCOTUS. However, this article went beyond SCOPE in that it gave multiple examples of states defying SCOTUS.

    And it raised the same unanswered question: what can we do about it? It’s not only a NY problem but it’s a bigger problem than you might have imagined.

    It is worth reading to see the volume and types of cases where SCOTUS is openly defied.

    Is The U.S. Supreme Court Losing Control Over The Lower Courts

  • 02/15/2024 12:27 PM | Anonymous

    See this 7 minute 40 second video which lays out the situation in NY very well:

    A New More Sinister Way For NY To Disarm It's Citizens

    Comments made on this video:

    -Former NYer here. I waited 12 weeks for my pistol permit. And that was 20+ years ago. 

    -They’ve normalized tyranny in that state. 

    -It’s been generational programming. 

    -Life long residents think the suppression of their rights is normal and acceptable.

  • 02/14/2024 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    Allowing Credit Card Companies to Track Gun Purchases  by John R. Elwood

    In 2022, the International Organization of Standards (ISO) announced it would create a Merchant Category Code (MCC) for gun and ammunition purchases for credit card companies to use.  Who is the ISO, and what is an MCC? 

    The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental (NGO), international organization.  It applauds itself by saying it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.  It began in 1946  and, today, it has a membership of 170 national standard bodies.  The ISO is an NGO that has an accredited status with the United Nations’ (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs and is headquartered out of Geneva, Switzerland.  The United States has access to the ISO through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). 

    A Merchant Category Code (MCC) is a four-digit code that credit card that companies use to identify the type of business that is processing a financial transaction – such as hardware stores, department stores or gasoline stations.  The code serves several purposes including whether a business needs to report a particular transaction to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calculating consumer cash back rewards. 

    Prior to this change, guns and ammunition stores were categorized as sporting goods or miscellaneous general merchandise stores. 

    Who is leading this effort?

    The usual suspects in gun control efforts, Democrat Senators Menendez and Warren, led an effort urging the United States Treasury and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide guidance to financial institutions for the full implementation of these guns and ammunition codes.  Senator Elizabeth Warren stated, “We need implementation across the country if we’re going to do everything, we can to prevent gun violence.   The sooner credit card companies and banks begin using the new merchant code for gun retailers and tracking suspicious gun purchases, the more mass shootings we will have a shot at preventing before they occur”.  (A statement based on no factual studies.)  The organization Guns Down America supported this effort, calling on companies to make the gun store code available in every state where it is not banned. 

    Senators Menendez and Warren wrote to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Attorney General Merrick Garland stating, “We believe the new MCC code has the potential to help reduce gun violence and save lives.”  The Senators highlighted in most mass shootings between 2007 and 2018, credit cards or debit cards were used to acquire the guns and ammunition used in the attack.

    (Most cars in auto wrecks were probably financed with car loans so is the answer to auto crashes a new MCC category for auto loans?) 

    A resistance formed.  Later in 2023, inspired by an uproar from Second Amendment Constituents, Republicans in the United State Senate pushed back.  Several states also launched a legislative effort that shut down the effort to track purchases of firearms and ammunition.  At least seven Republican-controlled state legislatures have banned MCCs for gun and ammunition purchases, while nine other legislatures are considering similar legislation.  States that have already banned MCCs include Wisconsin, West Virginia, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Montana, Texas, and Florida.  Under the “Florida Arms and Ammo Act”, credit cards companies can be fined up to $10,000 if they track gun and ammunition sales. 

    Great, now we can rest?  Not so fast!

    The MCC for gun and ammunition purchase is back!

    Major credit card companies (Mastercard, Visa, American Express) are moving forward to make an MCC available for firearm and ammunition retailers in order to comply with a new California law that will allow banks to potentially track suspicious gun purchases and report them to law enforcement by May 2025.  Gun control activists hope the code can be used as a tool to help identify suspect purchases and stop gun crime including mass shootings.

    What is the big deal

    Bankers have the expertise to identify potential criminals who will misuse firearms? 

    What’s a suspicious purchase…more than one box of ammo?

    Some people don’t have to use a credit card or debit card to purchase firearms or ammunition, they can use cash or pay with a check.  But, what if the federal government goes to an all-digital currency like a digital dollar, and cash is not available?   If that were to happen, and that is not out of the realm of possibilities because Democrats in the U.S Government are currently looking to move to a digital dollar.  If implemented, EVERY purchase you make, including gun and ammunition purchases, will be monitored by the U.S. Government. 

    (Not doing enough for climate change by buying what the government considers too much meat?  The digital dollar will tell on you, too!)

    The National Rifle Association (NRA) vehemently denounces the use of a firearm-specific Merchant Category Code (MCC) as a clear infringement of the sacred Second Amendment rights of every American.  An NRA representative stated, “Orchestrated by left-wing institutions and anti-gun lobbyists, this underhanded maneuver aims to bypass federal laws, effectively implementing a de facto national firearms registry and trampling the Constitution.  Amid an environment where lawful gun sales already undergo rigorous scrutiny, this scheme represents an unprecedented assault on the privacy of law-abiding gun owners”.  

    A gun expert stated, “If governments or credit card companies start to require certain purchase patterns at gun stores be reported to police, that could put a lot of innocent people under suspicion depending on how broad the criteria are”.

    We have been warned!  California’s move to institute a gun and ammunition MCC is a warning to New York State gun owners.  Now, what are we going to do about it? 

    The New York State organization, Shooter’s Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) OPPOSES this attempt by the left-wing Democrat Party to restrict the privacy of gun owners when they purchase a gun or buy ammunition.  We do so because: 

    The NRA-ILA summarizes it nicely: “Several provisions in federal law, but most notably a key part of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, prohibit the federal government from centralizing most firearm records into a registry. The new MCC could provide a way for the government to outsource the creation of a registry that the government itself is prohibited from creating. If banks and payment processors share their records with the government, that would be a major step towards the registration of all gun owners in America.”

    Gun owners know what comes after national registry…CONFISCATION

    Just as important, it is not the responsibility of an INTERNATIONAL non-governmental (administrative bureaucracy) like the ISO to pass laws on citizens of the United States.  Public-private partnerships DO NOT make legislation, the United States Congress makes our laws!

    This is a great example of why It is important to remind each and every American that every AMERICAN must continue to be involved in the legislative process and to ensure that your representatives are fighting to protect your Constitutional rights”. 

    Let’s not assume someone else will fight this battle.  Let’s get involved now! 

    The hour is late in the fight to protect the United States Constitution.

  • 02/09/2024 11:07 AM | Anonymous

    Special Election This Coming Tuesday

    There are currently 219 Republicans and 212 Democrats in the House, giving Republicans a seven-member advantage.  Normally, if only four Republicans switch their vote on any issues, the Democrats could enact any law.  But Republican Steve Scalise is home being treated for cancer and unavailable to vote.

    There are currently four openings which will be filled by Special Elections.

    Ohio’s 6th Congressional District is currently open with a special election scheduled for June 11th.  The district is rated as solid Republican.

    California’s 20th Congressional District is currently open with a special election scheduled for May 19th.  The district is rated as solid Republican.

    New York’s 26th Congressional District is currently open.  Governor Hochul must make a decision on a date for a special election by February 12th.  The district is rated as solid Democrat.

    The Constitutional Right you save may be your own.

    This coming Tuesday, February 13th, a special election will be held in New York’s 3rd Congressional District.  The district primarily represents part of the northern shore of Long Island.  Tom Suozzi (D) is running against Mazi Melisa Pilip (R).  The election is rated a tossup.

    Given the Republicans’ small majority and with Republicans and Democrats sharply divided on gun control – as well as many other issues – this election is important to all Americans and of special interest to all SCOPE members.

    Tom Suozzi is running on the Democrat ticket.  He said, “I’m proud of my F-rating from the NRA. We see these violent acts with guns happening much too often.”

    The Brady Campaign and Giffords endorsed Suozzi and Moms Demand Action named him a ‘Candidate of Distinction’.  Brady, Giffords and Moms are all rabidly anti-2A organizations so it’s fair to say that Suozzi is not 2A friendly. 

    SCOPE rate Suozzi as an “F”.

    Mazi Melesa Pilip is running on the Republican ticket.  Being a political newcomer, there isn’t much available about her position on 2A.  One statement was that, on gun control, Pilip supports pro-gun interpretations of the Second Amendment, but makes clear the need for responsible regulations.

    Suozzi’s campaign, in an appeal to Democrats, sees it as a negative when they say this about her, “Pilip is also running on the Conservative Party platform that opposes common sense gun reform, even red flag laws.

    Pilip spoke about gun policy in an interview with Spectrum News.  When asked about preventing school shootings, she said there are "already policies in place that we have to make sure that we coordinate between the federal and state government."

    So, we have one rabidly anti-2A candidate (Suozzi) running against one who is at least mildly pro 2A (Pilip).

    SCOPE rates Pilip as “B+”

    This election is important to all of us because, when voting for any legislator, you are really voting for two people; the legislator and the head of the legislator’s party.  The latter might become the Speaker / Majority Leader due to the election and have enormous power over that legislative body.  A vote for Suozzi is a vote for a Democrat Speaker and a vote for Pilip is a vote for a Republican Speaker.  And you know which party’s leadership Is anti-2A.

    If you live in the 3rd Congressional District, be sure to vote on Tuesday.

  • 02/08/2024 10:36 AM | Anonymous

    A Few More Lawsuits  by Tom Reynolds

    Gun control addicts realize they can’t get the 2nd Amendment repealed so their approach is that Americans may be able to keep and bear arms but there will be no place where they can do that.  This flies in the face of the Bruen decision but SCOTUS decisions never stop the Left; those decisions just invigorate the Left to try new approaches. 

    Ammoland reports on this case.

    Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of New York, challenging the state’s blanket ban on out-of-state residents being able to obtain a concealed carry permit or to have New York honor out-of-state permits.

    Under current New York law, only New York residents may apply for and obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, and the state does not grant any form of reciprocity for individuals who hold a similar permit from another state.

    While those who hold out-of-state driver’s licenses may drive in New York, exercising one’s constitutional right to bear arms in New York State is wholly forbidden to Americans who are not NY State residents. New York is the only known state where nonresidents are not allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.  (And residents keeping and bearing arms isn’t too popular with the NY State government, either.)

    Erich Pratt, GOA’s Senior Vice President, issued the following statement:

    “The State of New York and its cadre of anti-gun politicians have done everything in their power to weaken and outright ban the Second Amendment within their borders. The Supreme Court has made clear that the right to bear arms extends to the public square, and this right is for all Americans, not just those who are residents of individual states.”

    Sam Paredes, on behalf of the board for GOF, added:

    “This is the only example nationwide that we can find where an out-of-state resident is completely barred from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, and there’s no doubt the anti-gun legislature in Albany purposely designed it this way. We’ve warned these politicians before and we’ll do it again, fall in line on the Second Amendment, or we will make you.”

    Note: while this lawsuit applies to residents of other states, it is an important step towards forcing NY State to comply with the spirit and the letter of the Bruen decision. 

    Bearing Arms reports on this case

    The Fry v. Nigrelli lawsuit challenges several aspects of New York’s carry laws including the post-Bruen ban on lawful carry on public transit.  Gun owners from Westchester and Orange counties sued New York City in 2021 because their state-issued concealed carry handgun licenses are invalid in New York City.  The case was expanded after the Concealed Cary Improvement Act was passed in 2022.

    A lower court denied the request for a preliminary injunction against firearm bans on public transportation such as the MTA, subway, and train cars and in Times Square.  A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit, recently heard the latest appeal for an injunction.

    The Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which took effect in September 2022, bans guns from designated “sensitive places” such as schools, playgrounds and Times Square.  The gun owners claim the regulations are “inconsistent with the text, history, and tradition of firearm regulation.

    Fry’s attorney says that both the state of New York and New York City officials have argued that no one’s going to get arrested and charged with carrying in New York City, so long as they have a valid permit issued in another New York county. But the attorney has a client who’s facing felony charges; a 23-year-old who was pulled over behind the wheel in the Big Apple and charged with three felonies for carrying concealed even though he has a valid New York State carry permit.

    As might be expected, the Leftist 2nd Circuit did not seem friendly to the complaint.  The question is whether ‘Frey’ will try to take the case to the Supreme Court.

    Note: This case applies to non-residents, too; non-residents of New York City.  Since the NYC government doesn’t want its own citizens to have guns, it should not be a surprise that they hate  the idea of non city residents having guns. 

    Ammoland reports on this case.

    In Hunter v. Cortland Housing Authority, a federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to the Second Amendment Foundation and its partners in a challenge of a public housing authority gun ban in Cortland, N.Y.

    The 29-page decision enjoins the defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys “from, taking any action to enforce, or otherwise require any person or entity to comply with the firearms ban as set forth in the ‘Tenant’s Obligations’” in the standard lease agreement pending final resolution of the case.

    This is not the first time SAF has litigated a public housing case,” noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, “which have all been about the same thing, a Second Amendment violation. We have won cases in Illinois and Tennessee, and by now, it would seem that public housing authorities should have gotten the message that constitutional rights do not end at the front door. We will continue pursuing such cases as they come to our attention because people do not give up their rights simply because they live in subsidized housing.”

    No public housing authority should be allowed to simply block tenants from exercising their right to keep and bear arms,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The Bill of Rights is an all-or-nothing proposition, not a buffet from which a bureaucracy should be able to pick and choose which rights they find acceptable. We’re delighted with Judge Suddaby’s decision, which is a victory for constitutional rights everywhere.”

    Note: These cases put NY State on the defensive, for a change, something Hochul, James and company are not accustomed to.

  • 02/07/2024 1:34 PM | Anonymous

    Chevron Dying?  by Tom Reynolds

    Under the 1984 SCOTUS opinion in Chevron U.S.A. v. National Resources Defense Council, if a law is ambiguous, the court must accept the executive agency's interpretation of the law if the executive branch agency's interpretation of the law is reasonable or permissible.  No room for judicial scrutiny.

    The Chevron decision has seriously distorted how the political branches operate; under Chevron, Executive Branch agencies become lawmakers, which is contrary to that pesky scrap of paper, the United States Constitution, which demands that only Congress can legislate.

    Chevron is the reason that the ATF has been able to arbitrarily pass firearm regulations. 

    That may be changing, on paper at least. 

    The cases of two Herring fishing companies are before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS): Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce.  Why are two fishing cases of interest to 2nd Amendment defenders? 

    The federal Magnuson-Stevens Act, allowed the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to require herring boats to carry federal monitors to enforce of NMFS’ regulations.  NMFS decided that, without any express statutory authorization, the herring boats must also pay the salaries of these monitors, estimated by the NMFS to be $710 per day.  NMFS took the usual bureaucratic attitude; what are you going to do about it?  Sue us

    To NMFS surprise, Loper Bright Enterprises and Relentless sued.

    There is reason for us to be hopeful.  SCOTUS has ruled positively against the chevron Doctrine in a similar case.

    West Virginia vs the EPA was about the EPA legislating through regulation, under the Chevron Doctrine; the EPA was mandating the shutdown of coal fire power plants.  The question was not whether shutting down coal plants was good or bad but whether the EPA had the power and right to move forward with regulatory mandates on such “a major question” without express congressional approval.

    SCOTUS answer was a resounding no to the EPA.

    Justice Neil Gorsuch, in his concurring opinion, was a resoundingly strict constitutionalist: “By effectively requiring a broad consensus to pass legislation, the Constitution sought to ensure that any new laws would enjoy wide social acceptance, profit from input by an array of different perspectives during their consideration, and thanks to all this prove(d) stable over time…Permitting Congress to divest its legislative power to the Executive Branch would dash (this) whole scheme…agencies could churn out new laws more or less at whim.”

    2A defenders are hopeful these cases will mortally wound the Chevron doctrine and curtail agencies such as the ATF in its anti-2A methods.  The Chevron Doctrine must be put to death.

    However, that won’t necessarily solve the problem, in real life, as there is a related problem.  If the federal government loses the “Herring” cases, will they have any impact, other than as paper victories?

    Article VI of the Constitution states: “This Constitution…shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby…”  But what happens to judges (and legislators and governors) who ignore the Constitution?

    Answer, in most cases: nothing.

    In Caetano v Massachusetts, every level of Massachusetts’ state courts ignored an existing SCOTUS ruling that clearly stated that guns did not have to be in existence when the 2nd Amendment was passed in order to be protected by 2A.  Massachusetts judges openly defied SCOTUS and based their opinions on a type of gun not being in existence in 1790. 

    What was the judges’ punishment in Democrat controlled Massachusetts for ignoring the Constitution?  Nothing! 

    In NY State, the legislative and executive branches ignored the SCOTUS rulings in NYSRPA v Bruen and passed the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) which openly contradicted much of Bruen.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of dollars (eventually millions) are being spent suing NY State. 

    We expect SCOTUS will overturn much of CCIA.  If so, will there be any legal action against anyone who openly defied SCOTUS?  Not in Democrat controlled NY State.

    In Biden v Nebraska, SCOTUS ruled that the Biden Administration does not have authority under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003 (HEROES Act) to establish a student loan forgiveness program that will cancel roughly $430 billion in debt principal and affect nearly all borrowers.

    In response, Biden has been forgiving loans and extending repayment periods.

    Can we expect an impeachment?

    People need to be held responsible for violating their oaths of office.

    Granted, it is also dangerous path when the executive and judicial branches start taking legal action against judges because of court decisions.  This can be easily abused.  The Left has little regard for our Constitution and this would open up a new path for them to destroy it.  Which is is why there have been few impeachments of federal judges. 

    When judges, legislators and executives openly defy the Constitution, that also opens the door to abuse and some action needs to be taken.  Without the threat of punishment, there is little downside to ignoring SCOTUS and the Constitution

    We have a problem that needs to be addressed.  With all the legal brainpower in Washington, there must be some possible solution?  Of course, there has to be the will to solve the problem.

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A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

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East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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