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  • 03/21/2023 11:22 AM | Anonymous

    It’s Not a Suggestion  by Tom Reynolds

    One of the great problems of today is that the overwhelming majority of the media / press has jumped so far left.  The press in the United States has always been biased but there used to be a diversity of biases so we heard a diversity of opinions.  Now, much of what we hear are leftist echoes.

    Sometimes, when the Left tries to cover themselves with the blanket of intellectual superiority, they go down in flames.  Unfortunately, because so much of the media is leftist, this self-immolation is not covered. 

    Media coverage of Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert is a good example.  If the left can discredit her on one issue, they might discredit her on all issues.  And any who are familiar with the media’s image of her have probably developed a negative image.  But since she is a true 2nd Amendment supporter, she is important to the 2A community.

    Boebert’s statements are ridiculed by the liberal media, probably because she doesn’t have a college degree, unlike that Liberal intellectual giant, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  It’s worth exploring some of the things Boebert is criticized for saying as it shows the leftist biases of the media.  

    She once was criticized for tweeting, “Protecting and defending the Constitution doesn’t mean trying to rewrite the parts you don’t like.”  (That struck home for those of us who defend 2A.) 

    Brilliant minds on the Left immediately said she was an idiot who didn’t know about the Article V of the Constitution, which covers ways of amending the Constitution. 

    Of course she knows!  The issue Boebert was referring to - that somehow escaped the Left’s great minds - is judges rewriting the Constitution according to their personal beliefs and not according to what was written in the Constitution.

    The interesting thing is that Boebert outsmarted the liberal press.  In criticizing Boebert, the Left was, in spite of themselves, endorsing what Conservatives believe in: that the only way to change the Constitution is to amend it. That’s exactly what the Left does not believe in as they see the Constitution as an impediment to be worked around.   

    The Left’s latest bit of self-arson was headlined: “Lauren Boebert goes down in flames over latest Constitutional gaffe.”  That’s worth exploring in more detail as it involves Constitutional rights. 

    The article started out: “Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) received an avalanche of derision on Wednesday morning after she penned a vague-yet-incorrect statement about the United States Constitution.” 

    Specifically, she tweeted, “The U.S. Constitution was not written as a suggestion”. 

    Then, the article referenced her comment on amendments, noted above, to again prove she is a constitutional illiterate.  But the article never said why Boebert was incorrect to say, "The U.S. Constitution was not written as a suggestion."  Probably because what she said was true; the Constitution is not just a suggestion!

    The article then disparages her for saying, "The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it…I'm tired of this separation of church and state junk that's not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does."

    Boebert displays far greater understanding of a deeply intellectual issue than the liberal press.  She was talking about – and challenging as many others do – an interpretation of Amendment #1.  That Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” 

    The current interpretation of the 1st Amendment flows from an 1802 letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptist Association.  (That stinking letter the Left seems to be unaware of.) In it, he described the First Amendment as erecting a "wall of separation between church and state.”

    The problem is, the interpretation of Jefferson’s wall stops all discourse from both sides – government and nongovernment.  The entire U S Constitution, including the 1st Amendment, was meant to only restrict the government, not the people.  Remember the 1st Amendment wording is: Congress shall make no law.

    Daniel Dreisbach is a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C., who explains: “The literal text of the First Amendment restricts government only…The wall metaphor implies that the First Amendment restricts people of faith, religious spokesmen, and religious leaders also, but that’s far beyond the requirement of the text of the First Amendment.

    Remember the rest of the 1st Amendment about abridging the freedom of speech?  Dreisbach believes the First Amendment, “is intended and designed to create an environment where various ideas and perspectives can compete in a marketplace of ideas on the same terms and conditions…Religious communities and religious perspectives…should be able to compete in that marketplace. An analysis that draws on the wall of separation metaphor…treats religious perspectives differently than other nongovernmental perspectives and actually puts them at a disadvantage.”

    Putting up a wall to exclude or to limit the ability of religion to inform public life or to inform about political actions is wrong. 

    The 1st Amendment enforces that government should not use its overwhelming power to pick winners and losers, nor is it meant to silence either the winners or losers.

    But the Left was never big on disagreements with their principles.  We know that from their attacks on the 2nd Amendment.

  • 03/20/2023 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    Lazarus Returns  by Tom Reynolds

    The HUD program called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a program you should really be aware of even though it’s not about 2A. 

    Obama’s HUD discovered a brief mention in the 1968 Fair Housing Act, and created AFFH, which calls for diversity in all levels of housing in towns and suburbs. 

    Towns and suburbs are obligated to “do more than simply not discriminate”.  They have to make it possible for low-income minorities to choose suburban living and the towns must also provide “adequate support to make their choices possible.”

    Vox suggests “adequate support” might include:

    providing rides and counseling to those who might want to move from a low-income urban area to an affluent suburban one; (they want to move into more affluent community but can’t afford a ride to get there?)

    require increasing the value of housing vouchers so that low-income recipients could cash them out in more expensive neighborhoods; (increasing government subsidies!)

    requiring cities to steer new subsidized housing development into wealthier locales.  (I’ll bet gated communities won’t get subsidized housing near them but middle class neighborhoods will now be classified as wealthier locales.)

    Under this programsuburbs were viewed as fundamentally unjust communities because they prevented taxation from flowing into the urban cities they surround.  (Suburbanites are selfishly keeping their own money.)

    AFFH’s plan included building high-density housing in low density suburban neighborhoods, (goodbye local zoning laws). 

    Trump’s HUD Secretary, Ben Carson stripped away Obama's AFFH Rule.  (In response, the left-wing media played the race card.  Ignoring that Ben Carson is black.) 

    But the Fair Housing Act of 1968 is still on the books and the AFFH rule still exists and Like Lazarus rising from the dead, AFFH is back under President Joe Biden.

    In January, the Biden administration’s HUD department proposed a new rule that would require virtually all communities across the U S A to create plans to address local housing discrimination. (As with all whites being racist under the definition of ‘white supremacy’, rural and suburban communities are labelled as discriminatory under AFFH.)

    Backed by enforcement mechanisms and credible threats of yanking needed funding or facing a penalty which entails the potential loss of billions of dollars in federal funding, any city or county that accepts HUD grant money would have to comply. 

    Some predict there may be opposition.  (Ya think!)

    Any move toward an increase in density generally faces very strong negative reaction from neighborhood groups that have significant influence on the decisions made by local politicians,” says Greg Proctor, vice president for affordable housing for RealPage Inc.  (Put a less deceptive way, Proctor thinks it is bad that local voters have a say in what local elected politicians do.) 

    Never having met a radical left proposal she did not like, Kathy Hochul has joined Biden with her latest plan to destroy New York State.

    Politico reported in February that Hochul is pushing ‘a proposal that may be radioactive in the bedroom communities (of the lower Hudson Valley and Long Island): A plan to mandate more housing in those suburban counties…:”

    “Hochul wants to give the state bold new authority to override local zoning laws in cases where municipalities resist her measure, which she hopes will help address a housing shortage that made New York one of the least affordable places in the country.”

    New York State had the largest interstate population loss of any state in the nation last year, according to Census data.  The governor attributes it to housing unaffordability, impacting the state’s ability to compete for jobs and residents. 

    According to ‘Hochul think’, NYS’s bleeding of population and jobs is the fault of rural and suburban voters who don’t want to live in congested, crime ridden cities. 

    Could taxes and regulation have something to do with people moving to Texas and Florida, which have lower taxes and regulations?  Nah!

    Half of the 800,00 homes that Hochul wants to see built will be in NYC and require a tax incentive for affordable housing.  And there you have the underlying adjective in her plans: affordable - which is another word for government subsidized which is another way of saying taxpayer funded.

    “If you build it they will come” works in the movies but there are other issues in real life.  It’s laughable to think that if we just add houses that jobs and people will come running back.  (I bought a house in New York and stayed for the taxes is not a winning slogan.) 

    Another Hochul measure would require downstate counties to rezone to allow more dense housing near rail stations where they will have easier access to a certain crime ridden city that people are leaving for the suburbs.  (In Hochul speak: “Transit oriented development.”)

    If the targets aren’t met or new zoning changes aren’t made, a state appeals process would allow circumvention of local zoning restrictions.  (You shouldn’t have a say in what the area you live in looks like.  Hochul knows best and you’ll just have to suck-it-up.)

    An alternative to family homes are rental units.  Hochul’s answer to that is to include more anti-landlord regulations in her budget.  Brilliant strategy to increase housing development!

    The governor is looking to get her proposal approved by the Democratic led Legislature, as part of a budget deal for the fiscal year that starts April 1.  It is reported that the Democrats who control both legislative houses want to soften the bill - but still pass it.

    Because the federal and state governments are now funding so many local projects, they only need to threaten to withhold funding to trample on constitutional rights.  (The founding fathers warned about what a too powerful central government would do to individual rights.)

    You might want to contact your federal and state representatives and tell them how much you are looking forward to your rural town / suburb becoming a clone of NY City.

  • 03/17/2023 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    March 20th  by Tom Reynolds

    SCOPE has kept you informed on the upcoming court hearing on March 20th and even contributed to the legal fees.  (Over $14,000 from SCOPE and its members at last count.)

    One of the case’s lawyers recently advised that, if this follows the Court’s usual procedure, it may be 3 to 6 months before we get a decision.

    Legal Insurrection’s web site had a nice summary by James Naught of the situation.  So rather than “reinvent the wheel” in order to refresh you on the situation, the following are excerpts from that post, which closely align with what SCOPE has been saying:    

    As we have covered, on June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Thomas, struck down New York State’s restrictive concealed carry law:

    The usual suspects, of course, were not happy.

    New York and other blue states impacted by the Court’s decision immediately began attempting to work around the ruling, which resulted in New York passing its new Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) only eight days after the Court’s ruling.

    This new law, “intended to thwart the SCOTUS decision,” prohibits concealed carry in “sensitive places” such as “health care facilities; houses of worship; colleges and universities; places where children gather, such as schools, day care centers, playgrounds, parks and zoos; public transportation; places where alcohol or cannabis is consumed; and theaters, concerts, casinos and other entertainment venues.” It also prohibits concealed carry “in any business that does not post a sign saying it’s OK.”

    Additionally, although “SCOTUS struck down the prior law as giving too much discretion to the state,…the new legislation has plenty of fuzzy, judgmental standards that reestablish discretion,” such as…add[ing] new requirements for New Yorkers to receive a concealed carry permit, including 16 hours of training on how to handle a handgun, two hours of firing range training, an in-person interview and a written exam, as well as a review of social media accounts.”

    As we concluded when the new law was passed, these requirements, taken as a whole mean that “basically, you cannot actually carry. The entire scheme is a willful and knowing evasion of a constitutional right.”

    Of course, litigation ensued, and in October, as we reported, “U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby found critical parts of New York’s gun law, the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), unconstitutional.” Not only did Northern District of New York Judge Suddaby, in Antonyuk v. Hochul, strike down almost all of the “sensitive places” prohibitions in the law, he also “blocked the part where applicants must prove “good moral character” and allow authorities to review their social media profiles.”

    Now that case is on appeal, and even liberal groups such as the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, Operation Blazing Sword–Pink Pistols, an LGBT Second Amendment advocacy group, the Liberal Gun Club, and others have filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief against the CCIA, as we reported here: Liberal Groups File Court Opposition To NY Gun Control Law Requiring Disclosure Of Social Media Accounts.

    Oral argument will be heard in the case at 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning, March 20, 2023 at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in lower Manhattan.

    This is important, because as the New York Sun reports, this is the first comprehensive federal appellate challenge to states’ attempts to work around, or even completely emasculate, the US. Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling: 

    Five cases out of New York’s federal district courts will be heard in the Second Circuit in front of a panel of three judges. The judges face the difficult task of interpreting the state’s gun laws in the wake of a Supreme Court decision from last year.

    The confusion around what is and what is not permissible following the Bruen decision will now face its first comprehensive test at the appellate level after five decisions from lower courts struck down key aspects of the CCIA.

    The five cases — Antonyuk v. NigrelliHardaway v. NigrelliSpencer v. NigrelliChristian v. Nigrelli, and Gazzola v. Hochul — resulted in a number of the CCIA’s provisions being thrown out. A requirement that permit applicants demonstrate “good moral character” was thrown out, as was the requirement that applicants submit their social media information as part of background checks.

    The panel who will hear the appeal consists of Circuit Judge Joseph F. Bianco, appointed by President Trump, and Senior Circuit Judges Robert D. Sack, a Clinton appointee, and Richard C. Wesley, appointed by President George W. Bush, and who had been an Associate Judge with the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, prior to his appointment to the federal appellate bench.

    Especially important as regards this appeal is that the U.S. Supreme Court is typically reluctant to hear Second Amendment cases. Before Bruen, the Court had not heard a gun case since McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, in 2010. So, what the Second Circuit says regarding the CCIA is likely to be the last word, at least for now.

  • 03/16/2023 10:40 AM | Anonymous

    Reeling?  Angst?  by Tom Reynolds

    CBS News report on the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen indicated angst among gun control proponents now faced with the challenge of justifying restrictive gun laws.

    CBS cries about, “the new legal test” has “led to uncertainty over whether measures that aim to curb gun violence can survive legal scrutiny.”

    CBS suggests that anti-gun administrations and legislatures in multiple states are reeling from the SCOTUS majority opinion. 

    Anti-gun states have angst?  Are reeling?  Who’s kidding who?

    Kathy Hochul and the NY Legislature were not reeling when they passed several laws which flew in the face of the Bruen ruling. They knew they were on extremely radical ground (not just shaky ground but an earthquake) when they passed these laws.  But they didn’t care that these laws won’t stand up to scrutiny by anything but leftist judges and would be struck down by any reasonable reading of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision. 

    And Hochul is not alone as Deep Blue states such as California, Washington, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland are passing similar laws.

    Why are they not concerned with the Constitution?

    Like NY, these states have been dominated by democrats for years.  The governor’s mansion and the legislatures have democrat majorities and the state judicial systems are heavily filled with democrats.  And it’s not enough to just be a democrat.  To be in a political leadership position or judgeship, one has to be a far-left, woke, radical, democrat.

    The politicians believe that they will be reelected in Deep Blue states where the Democrat nomination is akin to winning the election.  (Maybe they should ask Lori Lightfoot if that still holds true.) 

    They know that it will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to challenge these laws while plaintiffs can expect defeats in the state courts and must get to federal court in order to prevail on the Constitution.

    Judges know that most of their decisions will not be appealed because of the time and money involved.

    Like politicians, the judges know that there are no personal repercussions to their ignoring the Supreme Court.  Judges are rarely impeached and probably never impeached for ruling wrong on a constitutional issue.

    Reeling?  Angst?  That would require that they care that they are violating the Constitution!

  • 03/13/2023 3:21 PM | Anonymous

    Not Be Infringed…Hunting and Fishing  by Tom Reynolds

    We all know that the U S Constitution says: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  (Amendment II)

    The U S Constitution also says: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States.” (Amendment XIV)

    The right to “keep and bear arms” is protected in the U S Constitution by the 2nd Amendment and the 14th Amendment reinforces that Constitutional rights cannot be overridden by state laws. 

    Though described as amendments, 2A and 14A are, in fact, the U S Constitution, just as much as having two Senators from each state or the President is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.  They are not 2nd Class parts of the U S Constitution, subject to states ignoring these rights as the state deems fit.

    Since the U S Constitution covers this issue, it would not seem necessary but some states also have a statement similar the 2nd Amendment in their state constitutions. 

    New York State does not. 

    But New York Civil Rights Law art. II, § 4 provides that "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed."  That doesn’t stop Kathy Hochul and the leftist legislature but there is something new being added which might cause the gun grabbers some further problems.

    Florida (that state to which many New Yorkers are fleeing) is taking the fight over gun rights to a new level.  On March 10thTownhall reported that Florida could soon add a right to hunt and fish amendment to its state constitution.  A joint resolution is currently being deliberated in the state legislature. The provision, if passed, would add to Florida's constitution a statement to "preserve in perpetuity hunting and fishing as a public right." 

    Now is the time for Republicans in the NY Legislature to introduce such an amendment to the New York Constitution.

    As SCOPE often points out, we need to awaken those millions of New York gun owners who don’t vote and believe all these gun control laws don’t affect them.  However, losing our gun rights will eventually take away our hunting rights and we need to take proactive steps to protect hunting.   Let’s put legislators and the governor on record if they are in opposition to hunting (and fishing).  If they refuse to vote for that constitutional amendment, that might awaken some of these “sleeping dog” gun owners who will ignore gun control efforts until it hits them between the eyes.

    Of course, the Left would claim their gun control laws don’t apply to guns used in hunting but hunters / gun owners would know that the models the Left would ban are used in hunting.

    This would also give 2nd Amendment defense advocates another arrow in their sling; guns being indirectly protected in the NY Constitution.

  • 03/11/2023 7:08 PM | Anonymous

    NY State Governor Elections  by Tom Reynolds

    In the last 3 New York State governor elections, the numbers of people who voted were:

    • 2014  3,925,000
    • 2018  6,231,000
    • 2022  5,962,000
    • 2014  1,537,000     (39.2% of total vote)
    • 2018  2,208,000     (35.4% of total vote)
    • 2022  2,763,000     (46.3% of total vote)
    • 2014  1,025,000    
    • 2018  1,472,000
    • 2022  1,842,000
    • 2014  3,975,000
    • 2018  3,528,000
    • 2022  3,158,000
    • 2014     532,000     (A. Cuomo vs R Astorino)
    • 2018  1,428,000     (A.Cuomo vs M. Molinaro)
    • 2022     378,000     (K. Hochul vs L. Zeldin)

    In those same elections, the Republican candidate got:

    Let’s say that half (50%) of the Republican votes were from gun owners and (since the Democrat Party is uncontestably anti-gun), let’s say gun owners voted 75% for Republicans and 25% for Democrats.  Therefore, the total number of gun owners who voted were:

    Conservatively estimated, there are 5 million gun owners in NY State!  (Some estimates go as high as 6 million.) 

    Using the 5 million figure, these following numbers of gun owners didn’t vote:


    1.1 million additional gun owners had voted in these elections and they continued to vote 75% for Republicans, that’s a net gain of 550,000 votes in each election.

    In those same elections, the Democrat won by:

    If those additional 1.1 million gun owners had voted, Republicans win 2 of the last 3 governor elections!

    Go back and look at the estimated number of gun owners who voted and didn’t vote.  An additional 1.1 million is not a stretch; the voting total never goes over 3 million which would be only 60% of the gun owners.

    The answer to the craziness coming out of Albany – and not just on guns – is right before us:  VOTE!

    And yet, the majority of gun owners…

  • 03/07/2023 11:48 AM | Anonymous

    Defensive Use of a Gun  by Tom Reynolds

    In the early 1990’s, the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS) reported ‘only’ 68,000 annual Defensive Gun Uses in connection with assaults and robberies (about 80,000 to 82,000 if one adds in household burglaries.)  That number was low according to a later study.

    In the 1995 study: Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz*, they took issue with NCVS and listed the estimated number of annual “Defensive Gun Uses” from numerous studies.  There were a lot more:





    1,621,000 (median number)





    Kleck and Gertz used these studies to prove that the NCVS report was drastically wrong. 

    Further, Kleck and Gertz gave reasons why the NCVS was so far off:

    First, the NCVS had not asked about self-protection unless the respondent first indicated that they had been a victim of a crime, so it was certainly underreported and underestimated. 

    Also, the respondent might be hesitant to admit to the use of a gun for self-protection because: 

    The defensive act itself might constitute an unlawful assault by the respondent or legal authorities could regard it that way.  (Remember the St. Louis couple who were arrested because they “brandished” weapons in front of a mob.  Also, Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with murder for defending himself against a mob.)

    Guns are highly regulated.  A victim's possession of the weapon might itself be unlawful, either in fact or in the mind of the person who used one. (Lay persons with a limited knowledge of the extremely complicated laws of self-defense or firearms are unlikely to know for sure whether their defensive actions or their gun possession was lawful.

    Kleck and Getz pointed out another interesting aspect, that the NCVS data indicated that even where the robber had a gun, victims who resist with guns are substantially less likely to be injured than those who resist in other ways and even slightly less likely to be hurt than those who do not resist at all.  (Remember Governor Cuomo rejected arming teachers to prevent collateral damage, in spite of this data to the contrary.)

    Sounds like a resounding endorsement of the 2nd Amendment.

    Then in 2018, Kleck's new paper—"What Do CDC's Surveys Say About the Frequency of Defensive Gun Uses?" found that the CDC had later asked about Defensive Gun Uses in its ‘Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey’ (BRFSS) in 1996, 1997, and 1998.  But never reported it.  Using the CDC’s data, Kleck summarized the CDC findings:

    In 1996, 1997, and 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted large-scale national surveys asking about defensive gun use (DGU). They never released the findings, or even acknowledged they had studied the topic. I obtained the unpublished raw data and computed the prevalence of DGU. CDC’s findings indicated that an average of 2.46 million U.S. adults used a gun for self-defense in each of the years from 1996 through 1998 – almost exactly confirming the estimate for 1992 of Kleck and Gertz (1995).

    Did the CDC read the Kleck-Gertz 1995 study, decided to challenge it, and then discovered their studies reflected the same conclusion?  Oops.

    Another resounding endorsement of the 2nd Amendment. 


    But then, a sharp-eyed reviewer pointed out a method error in Kleck’s latest work (not the 1995 original).  Kleck agreed and reworked the 1996, 1997 and 1998 data and came up with a lower estimate, but still over1 million Defensive Gun Uses.

    Gun control fans like to now refer to Keck as ‘discredited’ because of an error he admitted and corrected, while they never reference the corrected 1 million number.

    At some later date, the CDC published some statistics on Defensive Gun Use in its ‘Fast Facts’ web site.  It’s not clear what those statistics were since they are not there anymore.  However, in December 2022, while often quoting ‘The Reload’, multiple sources reported that the CDC quietly removed a range of gun statistics from its website after gun control advocates complained that the statistics made gun control laws harder to pass.

    Researchers with the time - and with a grant to pay for that time – can argue and nitpick about the validity of every study they do not agree with.  Of course, many grants come with the unspoken assumption that the results better be what the grantor hopes, if the researcher wants more funding.  But the sheer size of Kleck’s numbers should give everyone pause. 

    Take only the median number of Kleck’s original study,1,621,000. That’s 1.6 million crimes prevented by a gun and if only 1% had ended in serious injury or death to the victim, that is 16,210 prevented.

    Reduce the estimate to the later study of 1 million and you still get 10,000 serious injuries or deaths prevented.

    In an average year, in the United States there are about 14,000 non suicide gun deaths from all other sources, legal and illegal. 

    And the numbers of Defensive Gun Uses keep going up, according to later studies. 

    A recent survey conducted by William English, from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, found “...that guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year.” The number is the product of an exhaustive effort in early 2021, when roughly 54 thousand U.S. residents over the age of 18 were polled.

    Clearly, possession of a gun by the average citizen is beneficial, not harmful, and the numbers clearly outweigh gun usage by criminals.

    Just as clearly, when gun control is advocated by the Left, Defensive Gun Uses is missing from the conversation.  But now you know the complete story, in context.


    *   Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun (

  • 03/06/2023 1:42 PM | Anonymous

    Hateful Conduct  by Tom Reynolds

    Last Monday Scope wrote about a 1st Amendment challenge to Hochul’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act.  Any government body should tread lightly when infringing on a Constitutionally protected right, especially when that Right is specifically mentioned in the Constitution.  As evidenced by this law, apparently not if you are Kathy Hochul and the NY Legislature.  They will trample on 1st Amendment rights as gleefully as they will trample 2nd Amendment rights.

    In another of her never-ending attempts to trash the U S Constitution, in 2022 Hochul signed the “Hateful Conduct Law”, (Social media networks; hateful conduct prohibited).  It went into effect on December 3, 2022.

    The “Hateful Conduct Law” is  being challenged in the case, Volokh v. James.  The plaintiffs operate online platforms described as social media networks.  They asked for an injunction to stop the law from being enforced.  The crux of their reasoning was: “…the law regulates the content of their speech by compelling them to speak on an issue on which they would otherwise remain silent.”   

    United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Andrew Carter Jr., granted an injunction.  He described the essence of Hochul’s law as: “The Hateful Conduct Law requires a social media network to endorse the state's message about ‘hateful conduct’".

    No freedom of choice as to how or what one speaks in Hochul’s world. 

    Judge Carter continued: “A social media network that devises its own definition of ‘hateful conduct’ would risk being in violation of the law and thus subject to its enforcement provision…each social media network's definition of ‘hateful conduct’ must be at least as inclusive as the definition set forth in the law itself.

    In granting the injunction, the judge wrote about the unconstitutionality of the state compelling someone to speak in a particular way, even if the person does not want to speak: “The law also requires that a social media network must make a ‘policy’ available on its website which details how the network will respond to a complaint of hateful content. In other words, the law requires that social media networks devise and implement a written policy—i.e., speech.”

    Like the ‘Concealed Carry Improvement Act’, the ‘Hateful Conduct Law’ leaves much undefined, giving bureaucrats the latitude to fill in essential definitions in ways that are to theirs and Hochul’s liking – the U S Constitution be damned.  Judge Carter wrote: “The potential chilling effect to social media users is exacerbated by the indefiniteness of some of the Hateful Conduct Law’s key terms…the law does not put social media users on notice of what kinds of speech or content is now the target of government regulation.”

    As with the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, in their zeal to outlaw anything they disagree with, Hochul and her minions can’t seem to write a law that is both clear and constitutional.  Instead of breathlessly legislating, they should consider stepping back, taking a deep breath and thinking before legislating.

    And as with the Concealed Carry Improvement Act, the state has again sought to violate the constitutional rights of citizens.

    Hochul and the Left should read the decision in Matal v. Tam (2017). “…the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.'” 

    Or to put it even more eloquently, as Voltaire may have said, “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  Words that will never be spoken by Kathy Hochul or her friends on the Left.

    Will any of that matter to voters?  Hochul and state legislators believe that there will be no political costs for passing laws that violate the First or Second Amendments. Will social media users show up at the polls to protest Hochul’s and the Left’s ham-handed approach?  Will gun owners show up at the polls to protest Hochul’s and the Left’s attempt to eliminate civilian gun ownership?

    Until gun owners start voting in big numbers, expect more reprehensible laws like these.  This is even more frustrating since gun owners have the numbers to put a stop to this nonsense. 

    Free speech is a threat to Hochul’s definition of a democracy.  Civilian gun ownership is as much or more of a threat to Hochul and the downstate Democrats in the legislature.

    Expect NY Attorney General Letitia James to again dip deeply into the taxpayer’s pockets and appeal this decision.

  • 03/02/2023 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Clean Slate Bill  (S211 / A1029)  by Tom Reynolds

    State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz are sponsoring a bill that would seal the criminal records of many people convicted of certain felonies or misdemeanors: three years after the imposed sentencing for misdemeanor crimes and seven years for felonies.

    It was first introduced in 2020, it has never passed both chambers.

    Concessions to help pass the bill:

    • the bill won’t include sex offenders, and
    • the criminal can’t commit additional crimes, and  
    • certain entities, such as some levels of law enforcement and the state Department of Education will have access to a person's sealed criminal records. Records would remain sealed from private employers. 

    Last year, Kathy Hochul explicitly mentioned the bill in her State of the State address. (Of course, she never met a leftist proposal that was too extreme.) 

    Hochul did not mention Clean Slate in this year’s State of the State address.  (A concession to the visuals of crime running amok in NY State and the Left being soft-on-crime?)

    Last year the state Senate passed the bill, but in the Assembly, it never made it out of the Codes Committee – the committee responsible for reviewing all legislation focused on the state’s criminal justice system.

    Chair of the Codes Committee, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who is also a co-sponsor of Clean Slate, said that “The devil is in the details in terms of which crimes are included and the timetables that are involved.”

    After Democrats lost a few Assembly seats in the last election, the Republican conference gained a seat on the Codes Committee.  Last year, the committee was made up of 16 Democrats and six Republicans. This year, there are 15 and seven respectively.  Will that have some small impact? 

    Supporters say the bill will allow people who have served their time to be better able to access job and housing opportunities.  The bill’s sponsor Cruz, a Democrat from Queens said: “If you're concerned with public safety, the way to keep the community safe is to get people back to work…Statistics show recidivism is completely tied to someone's ability to sustain their family to actually earn a living."  (She better reexamine those statistics.  I doubt if absentee fathers who commit crimes do so to support their families.)

     Cruz expressed optimism that support for the bill will increase this year. “We had significant support last year, that will only increase once we finalize amendments to the bill.

    When asked whether allowing certain entities to unseal records would compromise the integrity of the legislation, Cruz said the sponsors of the bill are actively working with the Department of Education, business and law enforcement to ensure the bill supports economic development and communities.  (So, it’s important that some government people have access to these records but not you and I, who will be the ones most likely threatened by ex-convicts.)

    Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay said he believes in second chances, but he also echoed our concerns about the need for thorough background checks. “There are any number of occupations where a background check is important: in personal care settings, positions around children, jobs that handle finances. People have the right to make informed decisions,”

    Remember the debate over who’s job was “essential” during the Covid close down?  Now it’s who is essential enough to get access to these records.  I’ll bet ordinary citizens won’t qualify as essential.

    Former Democratic Assembly Member Tom Abinanti, wrote a memo about the language of the bill. “Our society depends on having background checks, in sensitive positions…We have to carefully go through that bill and make sure that everywhere there’s common agreement that background checks should be conducted, they're going to be allowed and not prohibited.”

    As usual, the Left is deeply concerned about criminals.  Those that obey the law…not so much.

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East Aurora, NY 14052

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