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Briefings  from SCOPE President, Tom Reynolds

  • 07/05/2022 11:18 AM | Anonymous

    The Empire (State) Strikes Back  by Steve Dallas

    Summer is the time for movie sequels.    Heroes return for yet another adventure, from Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” to Marvel Comics’ “Thor.”  Villains resurrect their evil schemes, be they the Joker from “Batman” or the Sith Lords of “Star Wars.”

    There isn’t a new “Star Wars” movie this summer.  However, in New York, gun owners are seeing their own unfortunate sequel, as empress wannabe Kathy Hochul’s Empire Strikes Back against the Second Amendment.

    Less than a week after the United States Supreme Court came out with a full-throated support for the right of self-defense, Darth Hochul and her Democrat minions (with no Republican votes) passed some of the most draconian gun control laws in American history, all aimed directly at law-abiding gun owners, not at criminals.

    In New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen, the high court struck down New York's requirement that an unrestricted handgun permit applicant demonstrate a "special needdistinguishable from that of the general community”, if he or she wanted to carry for self-defense.  As SCOPE members know, the state’s licensing process was entirely discretionary, arbitrary - and in many jurisdictions - licensing officers (usually the county judge) simply refused to issue permits for self-defense outside the home.   In Bruen, the Court ruled that these arbitrary restrictions were unconstitutional and violated the Second Amendment's guarantee to keep "and bear" arms for self-defense.  Because the “special need for self-protection” was “distinguishable from that of the general community,” the law amounted to a prohibition on ordinary citizens exercising their constitutional right to bear arms outside the home.  Quoting District of Columbia v Heller (2008), Justice Clarence Thomas observed, “A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all.”   He also pointed to the need for "narrow, objective, and definite standards" guiding licensing officials. Therefore, the Court invalidated New York’s law.

    Unfortunately, in doing so, the court also observed that some restrictions on firearms were potentially consistent with the Second Amendment. Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s concurrence reiterated language from Heller and McDonald v Chicago: “[N]othing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    Like an exhaust port on the Death Star, this small opening was enough for Hochul to unleash her full assault on the Second Amendment.   Declaring that New York would restrict guns to the point where gun owners in the State would "go back to muskets," she called the Democrat-controlled Legislature back from recess to pass an “objective” permit law that contains no “special need” requirement for conceal carry, which now requires:

    • three-year renewal of licenses;

    • a police investigation, fingerprints, and four character references;

    • disclosure of an applicant’s social media accounts going back three years.  (Plus, the government can request any other information that is "reasonably necessary and related" to the process, which means any information, including, perhaps, ideological viewpoints);

    • sixteen hours of classroom instruction, including two hours of live-fire training and qualification;

    • an in-person interview with the licensing officer;

    • a monthly police audit of every license-holder to see if a reason exists to revoke a license.

    In terms of the conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms, the new law creates new hurdles to purchasing both guns and ammunition.   In lieu of (or in addition to), the current federal instant NICS check, the New York State Police will be tasked with conducting the checks for every firearm and ammunition purchase made in New York State.  Also, “there shall be a statewide license and record database specific for ammunition sales” and the legislation would require that firearms dealers record all ammunition sales in the database.

    Finally, in what appears to be the most blatant rebellion against the Bruen ruling, Hochul has criminalized, as a felony offense, concealed carry in perhaps 98% of the state.  The legislation creates the crime of possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun in a "sensitive location,” which are defined as:

    • Federal, State and local government property;

    • Any place that provides healthcare, mental health care, or addiction treatment services

    • Any place of worship or religious observations;

    • Public parks, public playgrounds, zoos and libraries;

    • Any place, or the location of any program, licensed, regulated, or operated by DOH, OASAS, OCFS, OMH or OPWDD;

    • Nurseries, preschools and summer camps;

    • Homeless shelters, youth homes, family shelters, DV shelters, etc.;

    • Schools of all education levels;

    • Public transportation;

    • Any establishment that serves alcohol;

    • Entertainment venues such as stadiums, concert halls, racetracks, museums amusement parks, conference centers, etc.;

    • Polling places;

    • Any public sidewalk or property that restricted from general public access for a special event that has been issued a permit for the same;

    • Any gathering of individuals to collectively express their constitutional rights to protest or assemble (ex: SCOPE meetings ?!?);

    • Times Square;

    • all private property at which the property owner does not post a sign welcoming firearms.

    Under threat of becoming a felon, the gun owner has the burden to know he or she is in a sensitive location, even if there is no sign indicating that it is a sensitive location.

    Hochul, when asked where permit holders would be allowed to carry weapons, smugly replied, "probably some streets."

    Because nearly all of the state is now defined as a forbidden zone except for “some streets,” a person who leaves a firearm in his or vehicle is required to lock it in a fireproof and impact-proof vehicle safe or face a misdemeanor charge and up to a year in jail.  At home, safe storage requirements would attach when a person cohabitates with any individual under the age of 18, up from 16.

    These new requirements will generally take effect September 1, 2022, to allow DCJS additional time for implementation, and some sections will go into effect April 1, 2023.

    Republican lawmakers are already raising concerns, not only about the fairness and practicality of the new laws, but also their constitutionality, contending many of the new measures have already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.    In fact, in Bruen, the Court flagged some limits on shall-issue regimes: “[B]ecause any permitting scheme can be put toward abusive ends, we do not rule out constitutional challenges to shall-issue regimes where, for example, lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.

    As Justice Thomas noted, The point of a fundamental right is that one must be able to exercise it. The phrase “keep and bear arms” in the Second Amendment would be rendered practically meaningless if New York’s gun regulations had been allowed to stand because the average citizen could only keep a gun at home, not bear it elsewhere.  He further specifically stated “there is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a ‘sensitive place’ simply because it is crowded and protected generally by the New York City Police Department.”     If New York cannot effectively declare an entire city a “sensitive place” under Bruen, it stands to reason it cannot constitutionally declare ninety-eight percent of the state to be “sensitive.”

    Beyond Second Amendment concerns, asking applicants to sign away their privacy rights for social media accounts, raises a potential violation of their First Amendment rights.

    Given the above, it is all but certain that litigation to overturn some, or all, of Hochul’s latest attack on the Second Amendment will occur.   In fact, in Washington D.C., four gun owners have filed a lawsuit against the District, arguing that the District’s ban on carrying firearms on the D.C. subway is unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bruen.  Expect a similar challenge in regard to New York’s transit system.

    However, these court cases will not resolve the issue overnight.   We cannot expect New York’s appellate judges, many (if not most) of whom were appointed by democrats, to suddenly become enamored with the Second Amendment because the Supreme Court said so. Democrat-controlled courts will resist Bruen the same way they resisted Heller.  It would be surprising if the Supreme Court returns to the issue in less than a decade.

    While we wait for the courts, our gun rights are once again in the hands of elected officials and we need to insist they support us.  Vote only for Second Amendment friendly candidates at every level:  Federal, state and local (even town, village and school boards).  We have just seen the lengths that democrats will go to in order to deprive us of our constitutional rights. This especially includes your local judges and the people who appoint appellate judges (the president and governor).     Do not accept “I can’t comment,” or “let’s see how it plays out in court,” or “the governor will remove me if I defy the law” as an answer.  And, never assume that any Democrat candidate will support the Second Amendment, no matter what he or she says.    Remember: When Hochul ran for Congress in rural Western New York, she pretended to be pro-gun, and even received an NRA endorsement before being converted to “the dark side.”  A similar “conversion” befell Senator Kristin Gillibrand and even Joe Biden once remarked, in 1985, “I have never believed that additional gun control or federal registration of guns would reduce crime,” before becoming a gun-grabbing zealot. 

    It may take many years, and many “sequels,” in court and at the ballot box, to win against the evil empire.    However, New Yorkers fought for decades, if not a century, for our Second Amendment rights and we will not stop now.   May the Constitution be with us, always.

  • 07/05/2022 10:09 AM | Anonymous

    Pearl Harbor Again  by Tom Reynolds

    Last Friday, July 1st, 2022—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America’s Constitution and its Second Amendment was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Empire State of New York.

    The United States Constitution was at peace with that state and, at the solicitation of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, had been in conversation in the Supreme Court with its government and its Empress, looking toward the maintenance of peace in New York.

    Indeed, it was only hours after the Supreme Court’s decision that New York’s Empress had commenced attacking the U.S. Constitution.  

    It will be recorded that the distance between the Supreme Court’s decision and New York’s attack makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned. During the intervening time between the Supreme Court decision and the attack on the U.S. Constitution, the New York Empress had deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements about concern for the safety and security of New York citizens.

    The attack, Friday, on the U.S. Constitution has caused severe damage to American rights and values. I regret to tell you that very many American rights have been lost. In addition, the New York government also launched an attack against 1st Amendment rights and free speech.

    New York has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the New York area. The facts of Friday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
    All measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against our rights.

    No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated attack, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

    I believe that I interpret the will of the Supreme Court and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

    Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, our rights and our interests are in grave danger.

    With confidence in our electoral forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

    I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by New York on Friday July 1st, 2022, a state of war has existed between the United States Constitution and the Empire State of New York.

  • 07/01/2022 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    Do As I Say, Not As I Do  by Tom Reynolds

    California’s state motto should be, “do as I say, not as I do”.  In spite of California politicians’ love of gun registries, the state has shown why gun registries must never be allowed.

    The Reload is an independent news source dedicated to accurately reporting the details and nuances of big gun stories.  According to The Reload, California gun owners have been put at risk by the Attorney General’s office after the California Department of Justice’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal went live on Monday with publicly-accessible files that include identifying information for those who have concealed carry permits, including names, dates of birth, gender, race, driver license numbers, addresses, and criminal histories.  Some 200,000 concealed carry permit holders had their personal information available for anyone to see.

    • The Reload found 244 judge permits, 7 custodial officers, 63 people with a place of employment permit, 420 reserve officers and 2,891 people in Los Angeles County with standard licenses listed in the database.

    In addition to that portal, data was exposed on several other online dashboards provided by the state, including: Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Safety Certificate, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards. 

    • Social media posts indicate that anyone was able to obtain the documents during the time it was live on the state’s website.

    • The leaked private information of gun owners is likely to increase the risk criminals will target their homes for burglaries.

    • Attorney General Rob Bonta confirmed the leak. We are investigating an exposure of individuals’ personal information connected to the DOJ Firearms Dashboard…Any unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable. We are working swiftly to address this situation and will provide additional information as soon as possible.”

    • In a press release, Bonta had said the dashboard was about ensuring transparency.  (Success!  It can’t get more transparent than that.)

    • The databases with detailed information were initially available for download via a button on the website’s mapping feature. It appeared to have been removed from public access by Tuesday afternoon.

    • It is hard to imagine that this download button got included by accident and the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) raises the question about the leak being intentional instead of just bureaucratic incompetence. Vindictive sore loser bureaucrats (over the Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA v Bruen) have endangered people’s lives and invited conflict by illegally releasing confidential private information…CRPA is working with several legislators and sheriffs to determine the extent of the damage caused by DOJ’s doxing of law-abiding gun owners. Litigation is likely.”

    Gun registries and federal licensing for buying a firearm have often been proposed by Democrats at both the state and federal level. Prominent members of the Democrat party support these efforts even though Americans of all sexes, races and even Democrats have been buying guns in record numbers.  If the possibility of the government having a list of all gun owners was not enough to ensure that gun registries should never came to pass, the fact that California just exposed the personal information of its concealed carry permit holders should show the danger and idiocy letting government bureaucrats have a gun registry.

  • 06/30/2022 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    A Good Week  by Tom Reynolds

    The past week-or-so has been very good for 2nd Amendment advocates.  The Supreme Court weighed in against New York State’s / City’s draconian gun laws with their bureaucratic delays and rejections, and a true believer in 2A is the Republican / Conservative candidate for governor.  On the negative side, a political opportunist who gave up her earlier gun rights’ support in order to gain political office is the Democrat candidate for governor.

    On 2nd Amendment freedoms support, SCOPE rates Republican and Conservative candidate Lee Zeldin as an “A”.  On a scale of A through F, Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul rates a “Z”.

    With nearly all districts reporting by Wednesday morning, only about 15% of registered New York Democrats had voted for a candidate for governor, and about 17% of registered Republicans.

    Lee Zeldin, beat out three other opponents and took about 44% of the Republican vote across the state, according to the Associated Press and an unofficial tally with just over two-thirds of districts reporting.

    Zeldin’s a staunch Trump supporter and an unapologetically pro-life and pro-gun rights candidate, which should appeal to conservatives in the wake of back-to-back Supreme Court rulings on abortion and New York’s gun laws.  He has attended the last two SCOPE Members Meetings.

    In his victory speech Tuesday, Zeldin spoke of New Yorkers moving out of state, based on safety concerns.  "New Yorkers don’t feel safe on our streets, on the subways and in their homes and in their places of employment."

    Zeldin’s comments reflected his agreement with the Supreme Court’s decision on NYSRPA v Bruen, which emphasized that the 2nd Amendment is about self-defense.  Hochul’s reaction the Supreme Court decision was to call a special session of the NY legislature to find a way around self-defense and the Supreme Court decision. 

    The chasm between Zeldin and Hochul on gun rights – and just about everything else - could not be more apparent. 

    With continued political disasters weighing down Joe Biden and the Democrat Party, pollsters are predicting a Republican wave in November.  Given the stark difference in positions between the parties and the candidates, this bodes well for the 2nd Amendment. But- and it is a very big but – New York State’s 5 million gun owners will have to show up to vote, something that has not happened in the past.

    By the way, the Supreme Court’s decision would not have happened if Pro 2A Donald Trump had not been President and able to appoint three Supreme Court justices.  If Hillary Clinton had been elected, 2A would be on life support.  On the other hand, NY Appeals Courts Justices are primarily appointees of Andrew Cuomo (You may remember him and his attitude towards 2A.)  NYSRPA lost in NY State Courts in front of Cuomo appointed justices but won in front of Trump appointed justices.

    After Chris Jacobs betrayed the 2nd Amendment, it cost him an almost certain reelection and he will be unemployed in January.  Gun owners have the power to turn around NY State – but they have to use it on election day.

  • 06/28/2022 6:01 PM | Anonymous

    Comments on NYSRPA v Bruen  by Tom Reynolds

    After the oral arguments on NYSRPA v Bruen, 2nd Amendment supporters were very optimistic about a victory.  Then, one of our concerns shifted to how narrow or broad the decision might be; we were hoping for Justice Thomas to write the opinion as we anticipated a broad decision from him.  We were not disappointed.  He not only dealt with the lawsuit issues but clarified and reinforced several issues.

    It’s important to remember that the 2nd Amendment codified an existing right.  It did not create a right.  It protects that right.

    There were two previous 2nd Amendment cases that impacted gun rights and this latest case: District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.   The Heller decision applied to the District of Columbia’s gun laws, so some liberal states said it did not apply to them.  McDonald said Heller’s positions did apply to all the states. 

    In Heller, there are 5 main points which are important to note since they disagree with Democrat talking points and this NYSRPA v Bruen decision reinforced them:

    • ·      The 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.  Individual self-defense is ‘the central component’ of the Second Amendment right and that theme was repeated in the NYSRPA decision (It’s not just for hunting.)
    • ·      The right of the people to keep and bear Arms does not depend on service in the militia.
    • ·      The reference to “arms” does not apply only to those arms in existence in the 18th century.  (If it only applied to 18th century arms, would the 1st Amendment not apply to TV, radio and the internet?)
    • ·       It made legal the possession and use of handguns, but it referenced the home.  (The left and NYS jumped on this and wanted Heller & McDonald to only apply to guns in the home, which necessitated the NYSRPA lawsuit.)
    • ·       It rejected any interest-balancing inquiry, what we might call it a Cost Benefit or social cost analysis. (This is very important.  More on it later.)
    • ·      An individual who wants to carry a pistol or revolver outside his home must obtain an unrestricted license (concealed carry).  (To NYC, bearing arms meant only carrying between the living room and the kitchen.)
    • ·     
    • ·      And getting an unrestricted license was the “Catch 22”.  The unrestricted applicant had to “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”  (Very subjective!  Celebrities qualified but blacks living in high crime areas did not qualify.)

    In New York and other left leaning states, legislatures ignored the Heller & McDonald decisions when passing new laws and governors enforced existing laws that went against the decisions.  Liberal judges often ignored the decisions.

    NY City’s gun licensing procedures had two controversial things that were addressed in the NYSRPA decision:

    The lawsuit began when two NYC residents, who are NYSRPA members, were denied unrestricted permits.  They sued.  As members, this gave NYSRPA legal standing in the suit.  And they lost all along the way…until the Supreme Court.

    SCOTUS held that New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Constitution by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.  SCOTUS added that the definition of “bear” naturally encompasses public carry.

    SCOTUS (Justice Thomas) then went further:

    Some lower court judges were ignoring the wording of the 2nd Amendment and deciding cases on the social impact of the law – as the judge saw it.  SCOTUS threw out this cost-benefit analysis used by some courts and said: The Second Amendment does not permit, “judges to assess the costs and benefits of firearms restrictions.  A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all.”

    And to further drive a nail into some liberal talking points, SCOTUS said that the Founders created a Constitution whose meaning is fixed according to the understandings of those who ratified it.  The Constitution can, and must, apply to circumstances beyond those the Founders specifically anticipated.

    In a concurring opinion, Justices Kavanaugh and Roberts tried to settle some other issues and cut off likely liberal disinformation: “[N]othing in our opinion, should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings…"

    To close a door on those who wanted to declare all of NY City a “sensitive place”, SCOTUS said that effort lacks merit because there is no historical basis for New York to effectively declare the island of Manhattan a “sensitive place” simply because it is crowded and protected generally by the New York City Police Department.

    The three liberal judges dissented on the decision but, like the oral arguments, they could not find constitutional grounds so they reverted to what might generally be called emotional and social issues.

    Justice Alito criticized the three dissenters, stating "Much of the dissent seems designed to obscure the specific question that the Court has decided." 

    Having lost in the Supreme Court, liberals will continue indirect attacks on 2A.  Expect:

    The permitting process will become more bureaucratic and time consuming and will include more training, marksmanship standards and already includes a 5 year license renewal.  In addition, there may be psychological exams to get a license.

    Gun owners will be attacked financially.  There is currently a proposed federal law requiring an annual payment of $800 for liability insurance by all owners and another proposal for a 1,000% tax on sales of firearms.

    Both gun owners and legal gun sellers will see states use their regulatory power to prevent access to banks, credit and insurance.

    Legal gun sellers will see more stringent audits by BATFE and NY State, where they could lose their license over minor paperwork errors.  In addition, NY State now requires increased security measures which will be very expensive and cumbersome.

    So, let’s celebrate a well deserved win but, tomorrow, we need to get back to work defending 2A.

    And don’t forget to vote in the primaries – TODAY.

  • 06/27/2022 11:37 AM | Anonymous

    History, Common Sense, and the Constitution  by Tom Reynolds

    The leftist politicians’ rabid outrage at the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision on NYSRPA v Bruen consistently says people will be less safe after SCOTUS’ decision.

    N.Y. Governor Hochul said the decision was “sending us backwards in our efforts to protect families and prevent gun violence” and “could place millions of New Yorkers in harm’s way...This decision isn't just reckless. It's reprehensible.”

    President Joe Biden also called the decision disappointing, and one that "contradicts both common sense and the Constitution."

    N.Y. City Mayor Eric Adams' statement: “Put simply, this Supreme Court ruling will put New Yorkers at further risk of gun violence.” 

    In response to the SCOTUS decision, Governor Kathy Hochul expects to call an extraordinary session of the state Legislature to tweak the state's gun laws.

    Perhaps they should all stop reading Democrat talking points off the teleprompter and, instead, read some scientific studies on what firearms really cause: People use firearms in personal defense many more times than people are killed. Firearms in law abiding citizens’ hands make people safer.  

    1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.

    The following abstract from the CDC survey gives both the methodology and the results:

    Estimating intruder-related firearm retrievals in U.S. households, 1994

    R M Ikeda 1L L DahlbergJ J SacksJ A MercyK E Powell

    Affiliations expand

    • PMID: 9591354


    To estimate the frequency of firearm retrieval because of a known or presumed intruder, the authors analyzed data from a 1994 national random digit dialing telephone survey (n = 5,238 interviews).

    Three mutually exclusive definitions of firearm retrieval were constructed:

    (1) retrieved a firearm because there might be an intruder,

    (2) retrieved a firearm and saw an intruder, and

    (3) retrieved a firearm, saw an intruder, and believed the intruder was frightened away by the gun.

    Of 1,678 (34%) households with firearms, 105 (6%) retrieved a firearm in the previous 12 months because of an intruder. National projections based on these self-reports reveal an estimated

    1,896,842 (95% CI [confidence interval] = 1,480,647-2,313,035) incidents in which a firearm was retrieved, but no intruder was seen;

    503,481 (95% CI = 305,093-701,870) incidents occurred in which an intruder was seen, and

    497,646 (95% CI = 266,060-729,231) incidents occurred in which the intruder was seen and reportedly scared away by the firearm.

    Estimates of the protective use of firearms are sensitive to the definitions used. Researchers should carefully consider both how these events are defined and the study methods used.

    And if Hochul, Biden and Adams need more:

    In 2013, President Obama ordered the Department of Health and Human Services and CDC to “conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it.” In response, the CDC asked the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council to “convene a committee of experts to develop a potential research agenda focusing on the public health aspects of firearm-related violence...” This committee** studied the issue of defensive gun use and reported:

    • ·      Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed…”

    • ·      “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million…”

    • ·      “[S]ome scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey,” but this “estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.”

    • ·      “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies…

    Could it be that the Founding Fathers and SCOTUS got it right and that Hochul, Biden and Adams are, once again, on the wrong side of history, common sense and the Constitution?

    **Contributor(s): National Research Council; Institute of MedicineDivision of Behavioral and Social Sciences and EducationExecutive Office, Institute of MedicineCommittee on Priorities for a Public Health Research Agenda to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related ViolenceCommittee on Law and Justice; Alan I. Leshner, Bruce M. Altevogt, Arlene F. Lee, Margaret A. McCoy, and Patrick W. Kelley, Editors

  • 06/24/2022 11:42 AM | Anonymous

    Governor’s Primary  by Tom Reynolds

    Next Tuesday, June 28th, there will be a primary election in both the Republican and Democrat Parties for governor.  SCOPE does not endorse any candidates as our job is to inform you about them to help you make your decision.

    Historically, voter participation in primaries is low, perhaps one-third as many people vote in the primary as will vote in the general election.  This sometimes allows a highly motivated group to show up in enough numbers to help a fringe candidate to win.  This is how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got elected.  (The message here is – get out and vote!)

    For those that complain about the quality of their party’s candidates in the general election, the primary is an opportunity to have a say in who will be their party’s candidate.

    On the Republican side, there are four candidates: Lee Zeldin, Rob Astorino, Harry Wilson and Andrew Giuliani. 

    In their campaigns, they agreed on most (but not all) Republican / Conservative positions.  The issue is whether, as Governor, they will hedge and not follow through.  The Assembly will certainly stay in Democrat hands and the Senate will probably be Democrat, but perhaps neither will have the veto proof majority that currently exists. Do the candidates have the values to make good decisions and the strength, commitment and savvy to follow through and fight for those decisions?

    All four are pro 2nd Amendment but a Democrat legislature is not going to repeal the anti-gun laws it has already passed.  But, the Governor has options: veto future anti-gun legislation and threaten to veto unrelated legislation to force the legislature to change the gun laws.  (The latter would take real political will-power and commitment.)  In addition, through executive actions, the Governor can rein in some of the anti-2A Albany swamp. SCOPE President Tom Reynolds had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with Zeldin about gun related issues, something he has not had the opportunity to do with other candidates.  Zeldin seems to understand the issues and is not just using talking points.  (This is not to say the other three do not understand the issues.)

    On crime, all four would fire Soros’ funded Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg (and others) for refusing to enforce laws and they all would repeal or change the “Bail Reform Laws”.  They all condemn the “Defund the Police” movement.  Giuliani separates himself, a bit, on this by specifically endorsing his father, Rudy’s, successful but controversial anti-crime policies as Mayor of New York and indicating that he will use them.

    All four would end Covid mandates.  Giuliani won some supporters in the first debate by not submitting proof of vaccination and having to participate by long distance.

    All four spoke in favor of choice in schools which includes more charter schools.  They also believe in parents as the primary overseers and are against Critical Race Theory and other such leftist theories being taught in schools.

    Zeldin, Astorino and Giuliani are pro-life while Wilson is pro-abortion.  Knowing his position is not a winner amongst Republicans, Wilson tries to downplay it as less important than other issues and differentiate his stance from the radical pro-abortion element.

    Zeldin, Astorino and Giuliani both specifically supported removing the ban on Natural Gas as a way to get NY’s economy going.  Wilson says he wants to expand the energy supply.

    All four believe the road forward needs to include various tax cuts, although they each have their own ideas about which ones.

    For what it is worth, Zeldin and Giuliani are strong Trump supporters and Astorino is a supporter but, perhaps, less so than those two.  Wilson is not a Trump supporter.

    Electability in the General election is an issue. 

    • ·      Zeldin has consistently won in a toss up Congressional District.  In 2010 he was elected to the New York Senate and in 2014 he was elected to Congress.
    • ·      Astorino won election to his Town Board in 1991 and County Legislature in 2003.  He ran for election as the Westchester County Executive and lost in 2005 but won it in 2009 and won again in 2013 and then lost in 2017.  (Westchester is a solidly Democrat county.)  Astorino lost in a 2014 statewide race for NY Governor.  (More on that later.) 
    • ·      Wilson narrowly lost in a 2010 bid for NY Comptroller (he got 46% of the statewide vote), his only run for office; this is the best showing by a Republican in a statewide race, since then.    
    • ·      Giuliani has not previously run for office.
    • ·      Astorino was a County Executive for eight years; he highlights that the Westchester budget was $1.8 billion when he entered office and still $1.8 billion, eight years later, when he left office.  Very importantly, he also successfully fought the Obama administration’s attempt to radically destroy suburban / rural life through the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulations.  (Note: the Biden administration is resurrecting this effort and if you don’t know about this you should!  This threatens the very core of suburban / rural living.)
    • ·      Wilson was a private investor and corporate restructuring expert who earned millions.  At 36, he left business to pursue charity work and politics.  Wilson highlights the lessons he learned as an executive in the private sector as key to turning around NY State.  (Note, Democrats disparaged Mitt Romney’s similar experience.)    
    • ·      Zeldin’s executive experience is as an officer in the Amy and now as a Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves.  He is the only candidate with military experience and serving in Iraq would certainly qualify as working in a high stress environment. 
    • ·      Giuliani has no executive experience but has his father as Mayor of NY City to model on.  

    The Governor position is an executive position so executive experience is worth considering. 

    The political party “establishment” is a factor. 

    Both the Republican and Conservative Parties have endorsed Zeldin as their candidate.  This brought criticism down on the parties as being done too early before the “people” had a chance to speak in the primary.  This also made Zeldin the front runner and gave him an advantage but it also made him a target. 

    It should be noted that the Republican Party endorsement was an effort to focus attention and fund raising on one person and, unsuccessfully, avoid intraparty conflict which gives the Democrats talking points.  Kathy Hochul has raised more than $35 million for her campaign while all 4 candidates, together, do not approach that figure. Hochul, as the incumbent governor, also has the ability to dole out state funding, as she did with $600 million for the Buffalo Bills new stadium. (Your tax dollars at work.)

    In 2014, several candidates in the Republican Party made a deal with Andrew Cuomo.  If Cuomo did not work against them, these Republicans agreed not to actively support Republican governor candidate Astorino, which hurt Astorino’s campaign and fund raising.  Astorino also charged that Republican Governor’s Association Chairman Chris Christie did not support him in deference to fellow governor Cuomo.  (Christie claims it was a financial decision that, with limited funds, they only supported candidates with a strong chance of winning.)  The election turned out to be low turnout in both parties and the Republican Party blew its best chance to defeat Cuomo.   

    Harry Wilson claims to be a lifelong Republican.  He worked in the Obama administration as a Special Advisor to the Treasury Department on the GM Bankruptcy and on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation reform.  (In 2010, Wilson voiced the Democrat talking points when he told Tom Reynolds that he supported the Obama GM scheme because the credit market could not have handled a GM breakup.)  Wilson also contributed to Soros’ funded Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.  (Wilson claims it was a token donation to a fellow college alum and he would never have done it if he knew Bragg’s positions.)  In an interesting twist, Wilson served on Rob Astorino’s 2009 transition team to Westchester County Executive.

    Through Rudy, his father, Andrew Giuliani has been exposed to the inner workings of the Republicans at both the the state and federal level.  During Donald Trump’s presidency he served as associate director of the office of public liaison, then as special assistant to the president.

    As the front runner, Zeldin has been the main target of the other three candidates and, therefore, often on the defensive.  All four should have been focusing, instead, on Kathy Hochul.  Some of this deserves further explanation. 

    While in the NY Senate, Zeldin voted against Common Core and against the NY Dream Act.  Contrary to political ads, he did not vote for the SAFE Act, as he was on reserve duty (and he later said he would have voted against it).  Zeldin did later vote for NY State budgets that included funding for the SAFE Act; this was a common trait of many Republican Senators at that time, who had opportunities but not the will to roll back Cuomo’s agenda (using NY City Rent Control as leverage is just one example). He does claim to have voted against most Cuomo initiatives.     

    In 2011, before newly elected Governor Cuomo had morphed into “Der Fuhrer”, Zeldin said that Cuomo would be a better president than Obama.  (That’s a very low bar to hop over and an interesting question as to who would have been worse!)  Put in context, he was not endorsing Cuomo for President, as has been charged, but being generous at a gathering where his Senate District was getting state money.

    All candidates were asked if, should they lose the primary, would they endorse the primary winner.  Astorino, Giuliani and Harry Wilson all clearly answered yes.  Zeldin filibustered but in the middle he indicated he would support the primary winner.  But as an added complication, he is already designated the Conservative Party candidate and would have to resign that in order to not split the vote. The real issue is not the endorsement but not running as a third-party candidate.  But that was not the question.

    The debates. 

    The governor candidates have had three debates with the last one widely televised.  Candidates don’t seem to understand that they do themselves little good by trying to shout down the other candidates during the debates.  All three attacked Zeldin who actively engaged them, especially Wilson and to a point, Astorino.  The general impression is that Zeldin may have hurt himself by not handling these confrontations well.  Astorino came across as the most polished and changed some minds.      

    For the Democrat governor candidate, the polls give Governor Kathy Hochul an overwhelming advantage over her two Democrat opponents: Jumaane Williams and Tom Suozzi. Since Hochul is considered the sure winner of the Democrat primary, we won’t spend time on it at this point.

  • 06/22/2022 6:54 PM | Anonymous

    Go Woke Go Broke – (But Not the CEO)

    The Woke Left doesn’t like much about America and the 2nd Amendment probably heads its enemies list.  You may enjoy a few stories about how the Woke left is faring in its war on all things American.

    In February 2020, Bob Chapek became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Walt Disney Company. 

    In March of 2022, Florida’s legislature passed the Parental Rights in Education legislation, which prohibits Florida’s schools from providing instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity issues to students in kindergarten through the third grade.

    Chapek was originally silent on the bill, which made his LGBTQ employees unhappy.  So, Chapek apologized and the company came out with a tweet saying that it would work to repeal the legislation or strike it down in the courts.  The LGBTQ employees were less unhappy – but definitely not happy - as Chapek was seen as an untrustworthy flip flopper who did not have true allegiance to LGBTQ.

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis denounced Disney as “woke” and accused it of trying to inject “California values” into his state and coordinated legislation that revoked the special tax district status that Disney enjoyed in Florida since 1967.  This will cost Disney billions of dollars.

    Two dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Republican Study Commission voiced opposition to allowing Disney to renew its copyright on Mickey Mouse in 2024, based on what they called the company’s "political and sexual agenda." (The copyright would long ago have expired without legislation to continue it.) 

    Peter Rice, who served as Disney’s Chairman of Entertainment and Programming, led the fight against Governor DeSantis. Rice was unexpectedly fired, recently, which reportedly stunned "woke" staffers.

    Under Chapek, Disney opened a new theme park in China.  Apparently, China’s attitude toward the Uyghur genocide doesn’t bother Disney’s LGBTQ employees.

    Disney is also pushing critical race theory on employees through a new plan called “Reimagine Tomorrow,” urging workers to recognize their “white privilege.” Staffers are told to reflect on America’s “racist infrastructure” and “think carefully about whether or not [their] wealth” is derived from racism.

    Disney had earlier planned to move 2,000 employees from California to Florida in 2023. That has been delayed until 2026, which will cost Disney millions.  Many of those employees who were being transferred were unhappy to leave LGBTQ friendly California for Florida and are now unhappy to be left in limbo – otherwise known as California.

    In March 2020, because of Covid, Chapek laid off approximately 28,000 employees while enacting pay cuts for the company’s senior executives.  But in August 2020, he fully restored the executives’ pay while the employees were still furloughed. Chapek’s pay is reported to be $32 million this year.

    Disney just released the new children’s movie Buzz Lightyear and its Woke employees are elated that the cartoon includes a lesbian kiss.  The movie is projected to need a $600 to $700 million box office to break even and fell well short of expectations in its opening weekend.

    Disney’s stock price has dropped from $183 to $94 in the past year.

    On another front:

    Gannett, America’s largest newspaper chain, publishes the far-left USA Today along with 250-plus local papers. It is cutting back on telling its readers what to think.

    Readers don’t want us to tell them what to think,” said the Gannett editors, according to the far-left Washington Post . “They don’t believe we have the expertise to tell anyone what to think on most issues. They perceive us as having a biased agenda.

    A biased agenda!  Oh, say it aint so!  So, Gannett said it aint so – they said it’s the readers’ fault. 

    The editorial committee blamed the readers for not knowing the difference between the editorial and news sections: “Today’s contemporary audiences frequently are unable to distinguish between objective news reporting and Opinion content.” 

    A few examples of editorials confused by Gannett – but not by the readers - as being objective news: “Inflation is transitory,” “Trump colluded with Russia,” “Jussie Smollett is a victim,” “Trump will never be president,” “Biden is a moderate,” and “Things will go back to normal with Trump gone and the adults back in charge?”

    According to the Washington Post, Gannett lost $135 million last year.  Their stock price dropped from $18.86 to $3.08 over the past 5 years.  (That’s not a drop that’s entering an abyss!)

    And if that isn’t enough:

    The Kellogg Company announced that it was breaking itself up into three companies: a cereal business, a plant-based food business, and a snack business.  The company now says that its basic structure is unworkable. Management hopes that the parts might be worth more than the sum.

    The chief executive is going with the growing snack business rather than staying with the cereal business that management helped destroy.

    Kellogg did real damage to its brands when it decided to take sides in American politics by boycotting Breitbart. Declaring that Breitbart - and by extension the entire center-right in America - did not conform to Kellogg’s values. Tony the Tiger became the self-declared opponent of Americans who preferred Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton.

    The company had long been suspected of being controlled by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the far-left social justice operation that is its largest shareholder  The wealthy radical leftwing foundation agitates for open borders, supports George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and pushes a host of leftwing causes.

    Perhaps the smaller descendants of Kellogg will be a bit less eager to include culture wars in its basic structure. 

    Shares had peaked in April of 2016 just short of $82, then dropped to $56 in 2019 and traded in the low $60’s until it just “jumped” to $67.

  • 06/20/2022 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    Newspaper Opinion Piece  by Tom Reynolds

    The Opinion Page in Sunday’s Elmira Star-Gazette (Gannett Newspaper) had three “opinions” about gun laws; two were for gun control while the one pro 2nd Amendment opinion was from SCOPE President Tom Reynolds, which is printed below.

    Bad decisions get made when emotional.  NY just passed new gun laws to prove this.

    We all want tragedies to stop but these new laws are ineffective, feel-good laws that will not stop these tragedies.  They are aimed at law abiding gun owners and not the criminals who commit these crimes. 

    You will now need a license to use a constitutional right; to buy or take possession of America’s most popular semi-automatic rifle, the Modern Sporting Rifle. 

    What’s next?  A license to use 1st Amendment rights to comment publicly about licensing laws? The answer is yes.  Also passed was a law to monitor what you say. It created a task force on “Social Media and Violent Extremism”, which is a poorly disguised step to censor the Right, since NY doesn’t even consider ANTIFA and BLM riots to be violent extremism.   

    21 will become the minimum age to purchase or possess any semi-automatic rifle.  Do 18 years old lack sufficient judgement and maturity?  If so, why should they vote at 18 or be able to get an abortion without their parent’s’ consent before 18 or be able to identify as a different gender before 18? 

    One law hopes to implement microstamping.  The fact is that microstamping doesn’t work and is easily defeated. 

    Another reason for these laws is to drive retailers out of New York.    

    NY State had passed a law that guns are a “Public Nuisance”, to get around the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).  PLCAA is the law that Biden constantly lies about, saying gun manufacturers can’t be sued.  NY is intentionally exposing gun stores and manufacturers to frivolous lawsuits, in order to bankrupt them with legal fees.    

    Acting in tandem with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, NY is increasing record keeping requirements to put gun stores in danger of losing their licenses over minor paperwork infractions.

    If they wanted real change, the legislature would have done away with Bail Reform, Gun Free Zones and made District Attorneys, like Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg, enforce the laws.          

    Per the FBI’s 5 years statistics on homicides, which are available on line, all rifles, not just semi-automatics, are used less in homicides than: knives or blunt instruments (hammers) or hands & feet.  Semi-automatic rifles are not the problem. 

    One minister asked how one could oppose abortion and still be for guns.  Abortions kill a defenseless human being.  Gun owners want to protect themselves and others so they do not become defenseless murder victims.

    Our core problem is that the leftist culture is a culture without morals and ethics.  A culture that denigrates American values and a culture without God.  Murder is a sin but when is that aspect discussed?  Change the culture not the laws.

    One anti-gun opinion tried to say that being pro-gun was incompatible with being anti-abortion. That issue was addressed in Reynolds’ article. 

    That anti-gun article contained numerous erroneous assumptions about AR15’s and absolved “Hollywood, wokeism, videogames and other mythical scapegoats” of any blame in murders.  Of course, it also threw in one of the left’s favorite boogey men, it blamed white domestic terrorists for targeting non-white Americans, which ignores that non-whites are the overwhelmingly the killers of other non-whites.  But hey, never let a leftist talking point go to waste, no matter how incorrect.   

    One of the pro-gun control opinions centered around raising the age to own 21, the hypocrisy of which was also addressed in Reynolds’ opinion.  The anti-gun author used Gary Cooper in the movie “High Noon” as the rationale why a rifle is not needed for self-defense.  And there you have an example of the intellectual depth of the left, when they quote a fictional movie to defend their position.     

    Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge about guns, gun control and the Constitution fills the pages of the leftist media.  How many people read these erroneous statements and accepted them as truth.  Pro gun defenders need to speak out with the facts.

  • 06/13/2022 5:47 PM | Anonymous

    Dumb Jocks  by Tom Reynolds

    San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters, "I don't plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country." Later, Kapler wrote about his disillusionment with what he called "the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents."

    Joe Biden’s attempt to create a “Ministry of Truth” to persecute his political enemies was rejected as unamerican and unconstitutional.  Sounds like a, “delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents” when American citizens can peacefully stop their government from infringing upon citizens’ rights.  When people try that in most other countries, they get crushed.

    If Kapler looked around, he would see a multitude of major league players making more than a million dollars a year who are from Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.  Sounds like the USA is a land of opportunity.  And not just for baseball players; our southern border is overflowing with people trying to get in – not out.

    Kapler’s description of the National Anthem called it a: “…thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of humans”.  According to Kapler, the Modern Sporting Rifle, (Assault Rifle to him) is used “nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of humans.”  It’s estimated there are 15 to 20 million of those rifles in civilian hands.  His comment is both uninformed and a lie.  15 million guns being used nearly exclusively in mass slaughters would be called a civil war! 

    Did Kapler miss that the Chinese government disarmed its citizens and that some of those citizens, the Uyghurs, are now the victims of crimes against humanity by…the Chinese government. Now there is a mass slaughter of humans!  I’ll bet the Uyghurs wished they had a few AR15’s.

    When the 2nd Amendment was passed, the signers hadn’t just returned from hunting deer, they had just freed a country and they meant to keep it free.  But Kapler probably missed that history class.

    The next time you watch a ballgame, check out the security police.  I’ll bet they are armed.  It’s the same old story for the celebrity elite: “security for me but not for thee”. In a liberal’s world, self-defense is a no-no, except for themselves.

    SCOPE recently wrote about the need to change the culture back to traditional values.  Baseball is traditionally called “Our National Pastime”.  That need for cultural change also applies to baseball.

    Not too many years ago, Chicago White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson would have been called a “hotdog”.  In today’s society, we prefer psychological adjectives such as “self-absorbed” and “narcissistic”.  He doesn’t hesitate to call attention to himself and if that causes the pitcher some embarrassment, that’s just collateral damage to the monument Anderson is building to himself.  (Oh for the days when Bob Gibson would have taught Anderson that there is a cost to his antics.)

    In a Sports Illustrated interview, Anderson defended his antics: “I kind of feel like today’s Jackie Robinson…That’s huge to say. But it’s cool, man, because he changed the game, and I feel like I’m getting to a point to where I need to change the game.”  Robinson, you may remember, was a serious barrier breaker and comparing Anderson’s antics to what Robinson accomplished not only is nonsense but it demeans Robinson’s accomplishments.  But then again, Anderson specializes in nonsense while demeaning others.

    Comparing himself to Jackie Robinson would seem to open Anderson up to some ridicule and derision; especially what used to be called “bench jockeying”.  But not in today’s “politically correct” world of microaggressions.  When Yankee third baseman Josh Donaldson facetiously called him “Jackie”, the calls of racism echoed though the land.

    Racism?  You gotta be kidding.  But in today’s leftist culture, there’s no penalty for screaming racism without a basis.

    If Anderson had said he was the greatest fan attraction since Babe Ruth, what would have been the reaction if Donaldson had called him Babe?

    Tim Anderson is just a self-absorbed lightweight but the media doesn’t don’t you dare call him that since that will brand them a racist. 

    Remember in the old cultural days when sportsmanship was lauded and people were proud to salute the national anthem?

    And we can always count on the National Felon League to chime in when nonsense is being discussed.  Remember, this is the league that condemned Tim Tebow for kneeling to God but endorsed Colin Kaepernick for kneeling to disparage the USA.

    Jack Del Rio recently tweeted that there was a comparison between the nationwide riots of 2020 and the January 6th assault on the Capitol.  The reaction could not have been more defensive, by the Left, than if he tweeted that there was fraud in the 2020 election.  Del Rio was fined $100,000 and his boss, Washington head coach Ron Rivera, issued a statement filled with left wing propaganda.  Rivera said that Del Rio now “…understands the distinction between that dark day (January 6thand peaceful protests.”  Peaceful protests?  I wonder if Rivera thinks the fighting in Ukraine is another example of “peaceful protests”? 

    Rivera continued to prove he is an intellectual lightweight by saying, “I want to make it clear that our organization will not tolerate any equivalency between those who demanded justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the actions of those on January 6th who sought to topple our government.”  So much for the 1st Amendment. 

    In some ways, there is no comparison between the events since the “peaceful protesters” carried and used guns while those that sought to “topple our government” were doing so unarmed.  The first coup in history where the rebels came unarmed.  

    Maybe the jocks aren’t the dumbest.  Since we’re writing about NFL nonsense: at the same news conference that she pushed for more gun control, Governor Hochul forked over $600 million and Erie County added $250 million (all $850 million is taxpayers’ dollars) to build a new stadium for the benefit of the Buffalo Bills’ billionaire owners and the billionaires running the NFL and the millionaires playing in the NFL.  Meanwhile, the Washington franchise is holding up governments in the DC area for sweetheart deals to buy them a new stadium.  Any guesses as to the amount of fraud and collusion in those two deals?

    Few have the courage to speak up and call it nonsense, even when it is nonsense.  We still have the 1st Amendment, why not use it to call out nonsense.

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

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

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

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