SCOPE NY

Briefings

  • 12/21/2020 7:40 AM | Anonymous

    Beth Baumann, Town Hall 12/20/2020  Here's What America's Largest Ammo Manufacturer Has to Say About the Shortage:  All across the country, millions of Americans are on the hunt for ammunition, either for selfdefense, target practice, shooting sports or hunting. Sporting goods stores and small mom and pop businesses have had to severely limit how many rounds of ammo a person can buy at one time. Some have even went so far as to limit ammo solely to those who are purchasing a new firearm because of the shortage. Rumors have swirled through the Second Amendment community, particularly online, about Vista Outdoors, the parent company of Federal, Remington, CCI, and Speer Ammunition. Some have said that Vista Outdoors has ceased manufacturing ammo all together while others have insisted the company is picking and choosing who to sell ammo to. Vista Outdoors' President of Ammunition, Jason Vanderbrink, decided to address – and squash – the rumors once and for all. "I am tired of all the hate mail. I am tired of people showing up at our factories. I'm tired of reading the misinformation out on the Internet right now about us not trying to service the demand that we're experiencing," Vanderbrink explained. "... After a year like right now, when we've hired hundreds of employees to support American manufacturing jobs, all I hear is that we're not making ammunition." The company president broke down the realities of the shortage, something he calls "basic economics." "Seven million new shooters since March, times two boxes [50 rounds per box], which is a conservative estimate, is 700 million new rounds of ammunition our factories have to help produce," he explained. "That is impossible to do in nine months." Not only does the company have to find and hire manufacturing employees, but the employees have to be trained and materials have to be sourced. On top of that, the company is dealing with the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic as well. "So tie all of that in together and you will see we are indeed making ammunition. We, indeed, are shipping ammunition. We're not storing it in secret warehouses," Vanderbrick stated. 12/21/2020 Here's What America's Largest Ammo Manufacturer Has to Say About the Shortage https://townhall.com/tipsheet/bethbaumann/2020/12/20/president-of-four-ammo-companies-addresses-rumors-surrounding-the-ammo-shortage-n2581… 2/2 The company executive said all three of the plants are producing ammo as quickly as possible. Vanderbrick stated the company has produced more hunting ammo – especially in 30-06 – this year than ever before. They are doing their best to keep up with demand. The other calibers they are seeing a high demand for are .22LR and 9mm. According to Vanderbrick, the Vista Outdoors has never seen such a high demand for .9mm than they are now "All of this ammo is sitting here, waiting to be packed up so it can hit the retail shelves," he said. It should not come as a surprise that there is an ammo shortage. It happens every few years, especially during presidential elections. Look at what happened during the 2012 election cycle. Second Amendment-loving Americans were concerned about the possibility of a President Hillary Clinton. What did they do? Bought guns and stocked up on ammo. The same thing happened this year, in part because of a Biden-Harris ticket, and also because of the pandemic. Americans spent more time outside, hunting, fishing and recreating. And guess what? In order to bag a buck you need ammo (assuming you are using a firearm). Every month we have seen record-breaking new numbers of gun owners. In order for those folks to feel confident in their ability to protect themselves, they are buying ammo and hitting the range. They are also keeping a stash for self-defense. While it can often feel frustrating to not see ammunition in stock, give these guys a break. They are working hard to meet demand. They are running on all cylinders in the middle of a pandemic that frequently shuts down manufacturing plants and warehouses. This is also a great reminder to be prepared and buy extra ammo so you won't be out when things are scarce.

  • 12/12/2020 10:06 AM | Anonymous

    Note:  Many of the items covered in this article have varying opinions by different firearms trainers, but the article presents many of the specifics that are relevant in a self defense situation-- much good food-for-thought... It's because of these complexities that we highly recommend to all new firearms owners that they receive professional training from a competent vendor:

    Customer Meets Restaurant Robber – Armed Citizen Stories by Rob Morse, Ammoland

    It is 10:30 at night. You walk into a small restaurant to get your takeout order. You’re talking on the phone when a man behind the counter turns around, sees you, and points his gun at you. He orders you to hand over your phone. The three employees behind the counter have their hands up and are emptying the cash drawer. While you had your head in your phone, you walked in on a robbery in progress.

    You’re a gun owner. You have your Pennsylvania concealed carry permit. You’re armed tonight. You hold your phone out as you draw your firearm. You shoot your attacker one time in the neck. Now the attacker drops his gun and falls to the ground.

    You and the store employees call 911. You stay at the scene and talk to the police. Police recognized your attacker. EMTs say your attacker died at the scene. The police take your gun and ask you to talk to detectives as they review the security video.

    Comments

    Our defender did a number of things very well. The first thing is that he recognized a problem. It isn't unusual for victims to ask the robber to repeat his demands or to ask if the robber is joking. This is a natural response. We call it a normalcy bias where we experience something so unusual that we don't recognize what is happening. In an extreme case, the robbery is over before the victim is aware of what happened.

    The best self-defense moves in the world don't work until we understand what is happening around us.

    Our defender decided to defend himself and the other people in the store. He presented his firearm and hit his attacker in a vital area to quickly end the fight. Our defender then had the presence of mind to stop shooting. Most of us are taught to shoot until the threat stops, but there is a reactionary gap between the attacker's response to being shot and our new decision to stop shooting. It looks like our defender was prepared to shoot, and also prepared to stop shooting. Our defender stayed at the restaurant and gave a statement to the police. That is important because we want to establish ourselves as the victim of a violent encounter. There are a lot of details we don't know in this defense, and small details can make a critical difference.

    Deciding to defend yourself with a lethal weapon doesn't mean you have to draw that instant. The attacker pointed his gun at the defender and that give the attacker a large advantage. The good news, of a sort, is that robberies are chaotic. We want to wait until the attacker has turned his attention, and hopefully his gun, somewhere else before we draw.

    Having our hand on our gun cuts our draw time in half. If you can turn and mask your motions, then you probably gained a half-second by having your hand on the grip of your gun. That is particularly true in cold weather when many of us are wearing a heavy coat. Fortunately for us, reaching for a firearm also looks like getting your wallet out of your back pocket. That half-second is critical in a gunfight.

    We also want to move as we draw. Instructors may argue about shooting on the move, but they agree that it is a good idea to move as we clear the gun from the holster and bring it onto the target. We move because movement buys us time. When the bad guy notices that something has changed, he will point his gun back to the location where we were the last time he noticed us. It is a huge advantage not to be there. It takes time for the attacker to notice we moved, to find us, and to point his gun at us. You experienced something like this when you alternate your shots between two targets at the shooting range. Your time between shots is longer than if you were simply shooting at one stationary target. Those fractions of a second add up.

    Movement may have another purpose as well. We are responsible for every shot we fire. We might want to move so the ice machine is behind the attacker rather than letting a bullet fly through the kitchen. We can move to the side as well as up and down. We seldom have a perfect situation with a known backstop behind an attacker. Movement may give us an improvement from bad to better.

    There is still a lot to do once the bad guy is down. Ask the employees and any other customers in the store if they are hurt. Ask them to look around and see if anyone else is injured.

    Robbers often have friends waiting for them as they commit their crimes. Once the bad guy is down, then we want to lock the front and back doors. Maybe the store staff knows this, but maybe they'd appreciate the reminder.

    If the immediate threat has ended, then our gun in our hand is no longer our friend. Take a breath or two. Then, carefully put your gun back in its holster. We would also like to cover the attacker's firearm if we can do so without significantly altering any evidence. Emotions are running high and we don't want one of the bystanders to grab the attacker's gun. People feel better once the attacker's gun is out of sight.

    Everyone calls 911. You call. The store clerks and cooks call. Ask the shopkeeper from next door who came over after he heard the shot to call 911 too. Those phone calls identify the material witnesses who can affirm your defense. If the store employees don't have access to the security camera video, then ask them to call someone to get the video for you. You'd like your own copy separate from the copy of the video given to the police. At some point, you want to call your lawyer.

    Be prepared for the police to take your weapon. They do the same to a policeman who discharges his firearm. I hope you get your gun back soon and in good shape. There are no guarantees.

    If we were there, then we might want to do something a little different. We want to look before we enter a new environment so we can avoid potential problems. That means we might have to ignore a phone call that comes at the wrong moment.

    The largest lesson is to think how we would act in this situation. Would we see the robbery unfold? Would we watch from outside and call the police? What would you do if your friends, family, or children entered the store before you looked inside? It is easier to come up with possible answers now than in the moment of a robbery. If you're fortunate enough to live with friends and family, then share that question with them.

    Rob Morse highlights the latest self-defense and other shootings of the week. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from real-life self-defense with a gun. Even the most justified self-defense shooting can go wrong, especially after the shot. Get the education, the training, and the liability coverage you and your family deserve, join USCCA.

  • 12/09/2020 10:47 PM | Anonymous

    Texas argues that the case ‘presents constitutional questions of immense national consequences,’ namely that the 2020 election suffered from serious constitutional irregularities.

    On Monday, Texas filed a motion for leave to file a “Bill of Complaint” with the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin’s administration of the 2020 presidential election. The combined filings, which also include a request for an expedited review and a preliminary injunction, spanned more than 150 pages. Here’s what you need to know about this latest election case.

    1. This Is Not Bush v. Gore

    Texas’s lawsuit is a procedural creature differing greatly from the Bush v. Gore case about the 2000 election. Unlike Bush v. Gore, which traveled to the Supreme Court on appeal, Texas’s lawsuit relies on the Supreme Court’s “original jurisdiction,” or power to hear a case initially.

    The Constitution establishes several types of cases that fall within the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, but other than cases involving disputes between two states, Congress has created “concurrent jurisdiction” with lower federal courts. This means those other types of disputes may be heard by federal district courts.

    Not so in the case of a state suing a state. The U.S. Supreme Court has “exclusive jurisdiction” over such cases, meaning that such disputes can only be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Paradoxically, however, the Supreme Court does not have to hear a dispute between the states. Rather, controlling precedent holds that whether to hear such a dispute is within the Supreme Court’s discretion. That is why Texas filed a “Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint—because it needs the court’s permission to file the complaint.

    In its memorandum in support of its motion, Texas argues that the case “presents constitutional questions of immense national consequences,” namely that the 2020 election suffered from serious constitutional irregularities, including violations by the defendant states of the Electors Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. The brief also argues that a ruling would help “preserve the Constitution and help prevent irregularities in future elections.”

    Texas, however, also argues the Supreme Court’s “review is not discretionary.” In other words, Texas is also asking the Supreme Court to overturn its precedent that holds that the high court need not accept a complaint filed by one state against one or more defendant states. Given the time-sensitivity of the election dispute, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will want to waste precious days revisiting this precedent—something unnecessary if the Supreme Court accepts the Bill of Complaint on a discretionary basis.

    2. The Time Is Short—And the Court Has Already Acted

    Along with its Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint, Texas also filed a Motion for Expedited Consideration of its motions, including its second motion, a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, Temporary Restraining Order, or Alternatively a Stay. In this latter motion, Texas asks the court to order Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania not to take any action to certify presidential electors, participate in the Electoral College, or vote for a presidential candidate until the Supreme Court resolves Texas’s lawsuit.

    Noting that federal law establishes Dec. 8 as a safe harbor for certifying presidential electors, that the Electoral College votes on Dec. 14, and the House of Representatives counts votes on Jan. 6, Texas implores the court to expedite the proceeding, as “absent some form of relief, the defendants will appoint electors based on unconstitutional and deeply uncertain election results.”

    Yesterday the court, recognizing the urgency of the matter, ordered responses by the defendant states to Texas’s Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaints, and Texas’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, Temporary Restraining Order, or a Stay, to be filed by Dec. 10, 2020, at 3 p.m.

    3. Texas Presents Serious Constitutional Claims

    Notwithstanding some branding Texas lawsuit a “Hail Mary” attempt to block the outcome of the 2020 election, the Lone Star State’s complaint presents serious constitutional issues. Those issues, as Texas puts it, far exceed the electoral irregularities of “the hanging-chad saga of the 2000 election.”

    In its Bill of Complaint, filed along with its Motion for Leave, Texas presents three constitutional challenges. Count 1 alleges the defendant states violated the Electors Clause of the Constitution.

    The Electors Clause of Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides “[e]ach state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” As Texas notes, this clause “makes clear that only the legislatures of the States are permitted to determine the rules for appointing presidential electors.”

    But, as Texas reveals in its detailed summary of the facts, each of the defendant states, through non-legislative actors, nullified legislatively established election laws in violation of the Electors Clause. For example, several large Wisconsin counties used drop boxes in direct violation of the Wisconsin Election Code that provides detailed procedures by which municipalities may designate sites for the acceptance of absentee ballots. Wisconsin election officials also ignored the statutory certification requirements for absentee ballots, counting votes that the state legislature defined as illegal because they did not include a witness signature and address.

    Michigan election officials likewise violated the statutory mandates established by the state legislature, with the secretary of state mass mailing absentee ballots in contravention of state law. And in Wayne County, the home of Detroit’s Democratic stronghold, election officials ignored the state’s signature verification requirement. Georgia also violated the legislature’s requirement for signature verifications, according to Texas’s complaint.

    The most egregious violations alleged came from Pennsylvania, where election officials ignored the statutory bar on inspecting ballots before election day, then illegally provided voter information to third parties and allowed illegal curing of the ballots. Significantly, in Pennsylvania these illegal practices only occurred in Democratic strongholds, with Republicans following the law.

    These and other practices, Texas alleges, establish a clear violation of the Electors Clause, because that clause makes clear that it is the state legislature—and not administrative agencies, election officials, or even courts—charged under our constitutional system with selecting electors. (This argument finds support in the three-justice concurrence authored by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in Bush v. Gore.) From there, Texas’s Count 1 argues that “electors appointed to Electoral College in violation of the Electors Clause cannot cast constitutionally valid votes for the office of President.”

    In Count 2, Texas relied on the same facts, then asserted an Equal Protection claim, premised on the reasoning of the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore. In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution is violated when states apply differing standards for judging the legality of votes cast for president.

    “The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise,” the Supreme Court wrote. “Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.”

    Then, citing its detailed statement of the facts, which highlighted the defendant states’ disparate treatment of voters, Texas argues in Count 2 that “equal protection violations in one State can and do adversely affect and diminish the weight of votes cast in States that lawfully abide by the election structure set forth in the Constitution.”

    Finally, in Count 3, Texas asserts a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. This claim is premised on Texas’s allegation that the election practices of the defendant states in 2020 reached “the point of patent and fundamental unfairness,” thus violating substantive due process.

    These three counts, and the detailed facts Texas alleges, make clear that Texas’s beef is not with the states’ election laws, but with the states’ violation of their own election laws, in contravention of the U.S. Constitution.

    4. Texas’s Standing to Sue

    Merely alleging the defendant states violated the Constitution, however, is not enough. Texas must also establish that it has “standing” to sue, meaning it has been injured in a way entitling it to stand before the court and seek redress. In its Motion for Leave, Texas argues at great length that it has standing, and presents three separate bases for it.

    First, Texas claims the right to present the constitutional claims of its citizens, who “have the right to demand that all other States abide by the constitutionally set rules in appointing presidential electors to the electoral college.”

    Second, Texas “presses its own form of voting-rights injury as States” premised on the structure of the Constitution. “Whereas the House represents the People proportionally, the Senate represents the States,” Texas notes. Thus, “[w]hile Americans likely care more about who is elected President, the States have a distinct interest in who is elected Vice President and thus who can cast the tiebreaking vote in the Senate,” the Texas brief stresses. “Through that interest,” the brief continues:

    States suffer an Article III injury when another State violates federal law to affect the outcome of a presidential election. This injury is particularly acute in 2020, where a Senate majority often will hang on the Vice President’s tie-breaking vote because of the nearly equal—and, depending on the outcome of Georgia run-off elections in January, possibly equal— balance between political parties. Quite simply, it is vitally important to the States who becomes Vice President.

    Finally, Texas argues it has standing to sue as a representative of the state’s “electors.” These electors, Texas argues, suffer a “legislative injury whenever allegedly improper actions deny them a working majority.” Since “[t]he electoral college is a zero-sum game,” the unconstitutional appointment of electors in other states injures Texas’s electors, according to the briefing.

    5. Texas Is Not Seeking to Overturn the Election—Or Install Trump

    These injuries, Texas asserts, demand a remedy. But the remedy sought is not what some may surmise is the goal—a second term for President Trump.

    No, what Texas seeks is for the Supreme Court to mandate that the defendant states comply with the Constitution, and that means that electors are selected by the states’ legislatures. Texas makes this point clear, stressing: “Plaintiff State does not ask this Court to decide who won the election; they only ask that the Court enjoin the clear violations of the Electors Clause of the Constitution.”

    6. Texas Brings the Quotes

    The Texas attorney general’s legal team excelled in its briefing. With clear and striking facts and detailed and persuasive argument, Texas has made a solid case for Supreme Court involvement, and along the way, the legal team included some stellar quotes—some from years past and some new classics, such as this opener:

    Our Country stands at an important crossroads. Either the Constitution matters and must be followed, even when some officials consider it inconvenient or out of date, or it is simply a piece of parchment on display at the National Archives. We ask the Court to choose the former.

    If the Supreme Court does intervene, it will indeed be “in the spirit of Marbury v. Madison,” as Texas put it.

    Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Cleveland served nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk to a federal appellate judge and is a former full-time faculty member and adjunct instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

  • 11/26/2020 5:32 PM | Anonymous

    13WHAM,  Albany, N.Y. – The New York State Sheriffs’ Association is responding to comments made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding enforcement of COVID-19 safety regulations.

    During a news conference Monday, the governor announced several new yellow and orange zone designations, some in upstate and western New York.

    When asked about local police agencies enforcing safety guidelines for private gatherings, and those which say they will not be actively doing so, Cuomo alleged they were acting in a politically-motivated manner and failing to follow through with their duties.

    “You have sheriffs upstate who have said ‘I’m not going to enforce the law’. How a law enforcement officer says ‘I choose not to enforce that law’, I believe that law enforcement officer violates his or her constitutional duty," said Cuomo. "I don’t consider them a law enforcement officer, because you don’t have the right to pick laws that you think that you’ll enforce, and you don’t enforce laws that you don’t agree with. That’s not a law enforcement officer; that’s a dictator.”

    In a statement Monday, the Sheriffs’ Association pushed back against the governor’s comments. It says agencies have responded to thousands of complaints since the onset of the pandemic, and it believes the best approach is to educate the public about health mandates and encourage that they be followed.

    It argues that the governor’s instructions can’t be practically enforced and that he should be encouraging citizens to voluntarily follow health officials’ guidance.

    “We do not know if the governor’s limit on home gatherings to ten individuals is the right number or not,” the organization’s statement read. “That is a decision for science, not us, to make. We do know, however, that the governor has attempted to foist upon local law enforcement an impossible task. How are officers to know, without violating citizens’ right to privacy and other Constitutional rights, how many people are in the home? How are they to determine if the family gathering is to be deemed “essential” or “nonessential”? If twelve people normally reside in the home, are the officers to order two of them to move out? If eleven individuals are found to be present in the home, who is to be charged with violating the order, all eleven or just the last guest to arrive? Or is it only the homeowner who is in violation? Are officers really supposed to arrest guests who don’t stay six feet apart or who fail to have on their face masks during dinner? All of those are serious questions which make it impossible for law enforcement to know how to legally enforce the governor’s order. They are questions that could have been addressed if we had a functioning State Legislature, creating clear and enforceable laws after input from those who would be impacted by them. Instead we are faced with an unenforceable dictate issued without any consultation with law enforcement or the public as to enforceability.”

    The Sheriff’s Association urges citizens to follow health officials’ guidance and limit potential exposure to the virus as much as possible.

    “We in law enforcement do not have the resources nor the legal authority to force you to do these things,” the association said. “It is a matter of individual responsibility and we are confident that you will all voluntarily rise to the occasion.”

    13WHAM has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.

  • 11/26/2020 4:55 PM | Anonymous

    Justices lift New York’s COVID-related attendance limits on worship services

    The Supreme Court late Wednesday night granted requests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues to block enforcement of a New York executive order restricting attendance at houses of worship. Both the diocese and the synagogues claimed that the executive order violated the right to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment, particularly when secular businesses in the area are allowed to remain open. Wednesday’s orders by a closely divided Supreme Court, which had turned down two similar requests over the summer by churches in California and Nevada, represented a clear rightward shift on the court since Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.

    Five conservative justices – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Barrett – sided with the religious groups and blocked the attendance limits. Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, issued the executive order at the center of both disputes in October. As part of the state’s effort to combat COVID-19, the executive order and an initiative that it implements identify clusters of COVID-19 cases and then take action to prevent the virus from spreading. An area immediately around a cluster is known as a “red” zone, where attendance at worship services is limited to 10 people. The area around a “red” zone is known as an “orange” zone; attendance at worship services there is limited to 25 people. “Yellow” zones surround “orange” zones; attendance there is limited to 50% of the building’s maximum capacity.

    The diocese went to the Supreme Court on Nov. 12, asking the justices to block the attendance limits after the lower courts declined to do so. It told the Supreme Court that as a practical matter, the order “effectively bars in-person worship at affected churches – a ‘devastating’ and ‘spiritually harmful’ burden on the Catholic community.”

    The synagogues followed on Nov. 16. They stressed that although they have complied with previous COVID-19 rules, the restrictions imposed by Cuomo’s order preclude them from conducting services for all of their congregants, and they argued that Cuomo’s order targeted Orthodox Jewish communities because other Orthodox Jews had not complied with the rules.

    Cuomo pushed back last week, responding that the restrictions on attendance no longer apply to the churches and synagogues, which are in areas that are now designated as yellow zones. But in any event, Cuomo told the justices, the order isn’t focused on gatherings because they are religious, but because of the possibility that they could be “superspreader” events. If anything, Cuomo added, the order treats religious gatherings more favorably than secular events – such as plays and concerts – that involve similar risks.

    In an unsigned opinion in the Catholic diocese case that also applies to the synagogues’ case, the five-member majority blocked the state from enforcing the attendance limits while the challengers continue to litigate the issue at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and, if necessary, return to the Supreme Court for a final decision on the merits. The court explained that Cuomo’s order does not appear to be neutral, but instead “single[s] out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment.” For example, although a synagogue or a church in a red zone is limited to 10 people at a service, there are no limits on how many people a nearby “essential” business – which can include acupuncture or a camp ground – can admit.

    Because the Cuomo order is not neutral, the court continued, it is subject to the most stringent constitutional test, known as strict scrutiny. It fails that test, the court concluded, because the order is too broad. There is no evidence that these synagogues and churches have contributed to outbreaks, and other, less restrictive rules could have been employed instead – such as basing the maximum attendance on the size of the facility. And if the restrictions are enforced, the court added, they will result in permanent harm to people who cannot attend and for whom a livestream of services is not an adequate substitute.

    The court’s opinion in the two cases was released a few minutes before midnight on the night before Thanksgiving.

    Gorsuch filed a short, separate opinion in which he emphasized that “[e]ven if the Constitution has taken a holiday during this pandemic, it cannot become a sabbatical.”

    Kavanaugh filed his own opinion, stressing that Wednesday’s ruling from the court is only a temporary one until the 2nd Circuit, which is scheduled to hear argument in the dispute next month, can act on the case, followed – if necessary – by a decision on the merits by the justices.

    Kavanaugh also pushed back on a point at the heart of a dissenting opinion filed by Roberts, who acknowledged that the restrictions in these cases “may well” violate the free exercise clause but maintained that the court did not need to decide that “serious and difficult question” now because the attendance limits no longer apply to the challengers. Kavanaugh countered that there is “no good reason” not to act now. If the houses of worship challenging the restrictions do not return to red or orange zones, he observed, then the court’s rulings “will impose no harm on the State and have no effect on the State’s response to COVID–19.” But if they do end up back in red or orange zones, the rulings will ensure that they are not subject to unconstitutional treatment.

    Breyer filed his own dissenting opinion, which Sotomayor and Kagan joined. They agreed with Roberts that there is no need for the court to act now. But in any event, Breyer added, because of what we know about how the virus is transmitted, particularly when it comes to the increased risk of transmission at indoor activities at which people are in close contact with one another for extended periods of time, the question whether the attendance limits violate the Constitution is “far from clear.”

    Sotomayor also filed a separate dissenting opinion, which Kagan joined. In her view, the challengers’ cases were “easier” than last summer’s challenges by churches in California and Nevada to shut-down orders and attendance limits because Cuomo’s order treats houses of worship more favorably than comparable secular gatherings. In a pointed rebuttal to Gorsuch’s opinion, Sotomayor agreed that states “may not discriminate against religious institutions, even when faced with a crisis as deadly as this one. But those principles,” she stressed, “are not at stake today.”

  • 11/26/2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Two men enter home, pull gun on homeowner--  by Dave Urbanski

    Two men enter home, pull gun on homeowner. But he pries away weapon, fires, and hits both suspects — killing one of them.  The other suspect was taken to jail after being released from the hospital.

    Two men entered a home in Elk City, Oklahoma, sometime before 6 a.m. Saturday and went into a bedroom when one of the men pulled out a gun, pointed it at the homeowner's face, and demanded money, according to a document police provided to TheBlaze.

    What happened next?

    The homeowner told police he was afraid he would be killed, so he grabbed the handgun and pointed it away from his face. A struggle for the gun ensued, after which the homeowner told police the two men pinned him on the bed, the document states.

    The homeowner told police that after he gained control of the gun, he fired it several times until the man who pointed it at him fell to the floor. The document also states that, according to the homeowner, the other man who was with the gun-wielding assailant ran out of the house.

    That man — Isaiah Johnson, 25 — was shot in the chest during the struggle, the document from police states.

    But he had quite a story for cops at the hospital later, telling them he heard shots while walking near the house on the 600 block of North Watkins, realized he was hit, and went to the hospital for treatment, the document states.

    Soon, however, Johnson came clean.

    Upon further questioning, he confessed that he knew the other suspect — Samuel Castro Jr., 39 — had a handgun before they entered the house and was intending to rob the victim, the document states. Johnson added to police after he heard the gunshots and felt pain in his chest, he fled the home and walked to the hospital. He also said he originally told cops he was hit while walking near the residence so that he might avoid being arrested, the document states.

    Johnson was still in jail Tuesday afternoon, police told TheBlaze.

    Isaiah JohnsonImage source: Elk City, Oklahoma, Police

    Police found Castro's body surrounded by a large pool of blood in the bedroom where the struggle with the homeowner took place, the document says, adding that officers also observed a Walther .380 handgun on a small table in the bedroom.

    A medical examiner investigator found several gunshot wounds on Samuel's body, the document adds.

    Police on Tuesday would release no other information to TheBlaze.

    Quite the wake-up call

    Neighbors woke up Saturday to an abnormally large police presence.

    "I saw five or six police cars; they had all alleys blocked off," Tristian Wooten told KWTV-DT. "Cones had the area shut off."

    "They blocked off all in front of the tennis courts there that are to the south and then all the way at the north end of the block," neighbor Terry Jordan added to KWTV. "So you couldn't even really tell what house everything happened at."

    "Something like this happens, it does hit pretty close to home," Wooten added to the station. "It does kind of make you wanna ... step up your guard a little bit more."

    Jordan acknowledged to KWTV that "home invasion is kind of a whole different level" and "it's something you think about" since "as a homeowner" you want to keep your family safe.

  • 11/26/2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Problem of Self-Interest in Congress  by Harold Moskowitz

    There is a long standing but growing problem facing our legislative process; self-interest of the legislators.  When the Founders set up a government based upon virtue, it was expected that legislators would represent the interests of the district which elected them.  The assumption was that after one or two terms these representatives would return to private life where they could pursue self-interest.

    Today, it would be hard to find virtue in the Washington “Swamp.”  Many in Congress have become “career politicians.”  Personal interests are often represented, not those of the People.  Many legislators - of both political parties - often enter Congress as “middle class” but after decades in office they and close family members often become multi-millionaires.  During their time in office, their allegiance is often to the industries which funded their campaigns or contributed to their personal wealth. Financial connections to foreign-owned corporations also can affect their legislative functioning while in office.  In addition, promises made before an election are often broken after the election.

    After attaining retirement, with a large taxpayer funded pension, many become highly paid “lobbyists” representing the interests of the same industries which helped to fund their campaigns.  The problem of allegiance to corporate interests is widespread and needs to be addressed through meaningful reforms.

    There needs to be term limits added to the Constitution.  In addition, there needs to be a stronger post-retirement “lobbying” law which would place restrictions on post-retirement “lobbying.”  For instance, the law could prevent “lobbying” for ten years after the retirement date. 

    Those who claim that elections already serve the term-limiting function fail to realize the power of “name/face recognition” and, especially, the greater access to campaign funding for incumbents to aid in their reelection.  There is already a two-term limit for Presidents.  Why not for legislators?

    Members of Congress will neither propose a term-limiting amendment nor pass one on to the states for ratification.  When a new amendment is needed, the Framers gave us an alternative method for overcoming this type of resistance from Congress.  Article V of the Constitution allows for the states, in lieu of Congress, to propose necessary amendments.

    If important reforms are not made in our legislative process to deal with the growing threat of using public office for personal gain, then fewer citizens will think it necessary or worthwhile to be involved in the election process.  Yet, now more than ever, the survival of our constitutional republic requires their involvement and participation.

  • 11/03/2020 1:06 PM | Anonymous


  • 10/28/2020 3:17 PM | Anonymous

    Long Island, NY —  Three hospitals in Long Island are going to start collecting data on gun ownership from every single patient who comes in the door — regardless of their reason for being there.

    [This could be bad news for gun owners in "Red Flag" states, like NY.]

    Northwell Health system says they are going to “analyze the risks of gun ownership” by collecting the data in a $1.4 million dollar program they’re calling “We Ask Everyone About Guns.”

    Catchy name.

    Their public statement on the data collection explains that the hospital system plans to expand the study to all of their hospitals, but are starting with just three.  Additionally, they liken the problem of ‘gun violence’ to a disease — thereby invoking funding for their research. [emphasis added]

    The New Hyde Park-based health system said the grant is part of its “We Ask Everyone About Guns” research study, which approaches firearm injury risk similarly to other health risk factors that are part of routine care, like smoking, substance use and motor vehicle accidents.

    “Gun violence is a public health issue,” said Michael J. Dowling, the president and chief executive at Northwell Health. “This is the health industry’s responsibility to talk about this and do something about it.”

    This isn’t Northwell’s first foray into the gun control debate — or their first attempt to claim that gun violence is a disease.  In 2019, the Hospital system posted the following statements on their blog:

    “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” is a scientifically inaccurate statement, says Hargarten. Guns do not, in fact, kill people, but the bullets certainly do. “The kinetic energy from the bullet is the ‘agent,’ much like the HIV virus is the agent that causes AIDS,” he explains. “The bullet and the kinetic energy it transmits to the body tears and destroy cells and tissue, damages organs, breaks bones and leads to disability or death.”

    The disease model, Hargarten says, is how researchers and public health and medical professionals studied and addressed the staggering numbers of motor vehicle injuries and fatalities. “We scientifically investigated crashes and motor vehicle fatalities and learned that attenuating the kinetic energy release reduced injuries and death.” In other words, driving at slower speeds, requiring seatbelts and car seats, adding airbags, even redesigning on-ramps and road curves, contributed to a steep reduction in motor vehicle fatalities since the 1970s. With guns, Hargarten says, maybe interventions can include limiting the rate at which a gun can release bullets. Or limiting how many bullets it can release—aka restricting access to automatic weapons, “bump stocks,” and high-capacity magazines.

    Back in 2019, the government granted the CDC a $25 million dollar budget to research the ‘gun violence’ epidemic.  We pointed out at that time how ludicrous it is to liken gun violence to a disease.  Bullets aren’t contagious, and there’s no genetic component or nutritional solution! You can’t kill a germ and make it go away.

    But here we are, using tax-payer dollars to purchase science that backs up the anti-gun agenda.  This isn’t science.  It’s a politically motivated agenda that’s being advanced by our own tax dollars. [emphasis added]

    New York State Has Red Flag Laws

    Gun owners will remember that New York has already passed and implemented Red Flag Laws.  That means that if  a gun owner answers the questions their doctor is asking them truthfully –“Yes, I have guns in my home” and then expresses anger at the driver that just hit their car –sending them to the ER in the first place — they could get Red Flagged by their doctor that same day.

    If you go to the ER for pneumonia and the doctor finds out you have guns as well as a prescription for an anti-depressant, they can Red Flag you as mentally unstable.  If you are upset about the insane bill that you’ve gotten from the same hospital and call to complain to the billing department…..they’ll see on your chart that you are a gun owner and can have you Red Flagged for being angry on the phone.

    The hospital isn’t bothering to look into why the state’s current gun control — which is some of the worst in the country — isn’t stopping violent crime.   No, they’re going to pin this on law abiding gun owners and will manipulate the data to fit their agenda.

    This anti-gun agenda is out of control and these Red Flag laws are unconstitutional in the extreme. This is a dangerous combination for gun owners in New York.

  • 10/15/2020 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    S.C.O.P.E.'s Candidates’ Ratings on the 2nd Amendment

    Neither the Constitution nor the Supreme Court has stopped the never-ending attacks by those that would disarm our citizens and whittle away at the Constitution.  It is imperative that we have political office holders who will preserve, protect and defend the entire Constitution, including the Second Amendment.  Toward that end, SCOPE has rated the following candidates as an “A” and believe they will work to preserve, protect and defend our right to keep and bear arms, as enshrined in our Constitution. 

    For the United States Congress from New York State:

    District 1       Lee Zeldin

    District 3       George Devolder-Santos

    District 14     John Cummings

    District 18     Chele Farley

    District 19     Kyle Van De Water

    District 20     Liz Joy

    District 21     Elise Stefanik

    District 22     Claudia Tenney

    District 23     Tom Reed    

    District 24     John Katko

    District 26     Ricky Donovan Sr

    District 27     Chris Jacobs            

      Listed below is any New York State Senate candidate that got an A rating from at least one of either SCOPE, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) or NRA-PVF (NRA).    

    District 1       Anthony Palumbo              SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-B

    District 2       Mario Mattera                    SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 3       Alexis Weik                          SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 4       Philip Boyle                          SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-C

    District 5       Edmund Smythe                 SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 6       Dennis Dunne                     SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 7       David Franklin                     SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 9       Victoria Johnson                 SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-B

    District 15     Thomas Sullivan                 SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-?     NRA-A

    District 22     Vito Bruno                            SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 23     Justin DeFillippo                 SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-?     NRA-?

    District 24     Andrew Lanza                     SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-C

    District 30     Oz Sultan                              SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-?     NRA-A

    District 37     Liviu Saimovici                    SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 39     Steve Brescia                       SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 40     Rob Astorino                       SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 41     Susan Serino                        SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 42     Mike Martucci                     SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 43     Daphne Jordan                    SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 45     Dan Stec                               SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 46     Richard Amedure               SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 47     Joseph Grippo                     SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 48     Patricia Ritchie                    SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 49     James Tedisco                     SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 50     Angi Renna                           SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 51     Peter Oberacker                 SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 52     Fred Ashkar                          SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 53     Sam Rogers                          SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-?

    District 54     Pamela Helming                 SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 55     Christopher Missick           SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 56     Michael Barry                      SCOPE-?        NYSRPA-A     NRA-A           

    District 57     George Borrello                  SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 58     Thomas O’Mara                 SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A           

    District 59     Patrick Gallivan                   SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A           

    District 60     Joshua Mertzlufft               SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 61     Edward Rath                        SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    District 62     Rob Ortt                                SCOPE-A       NYSRPA-A     NRA-A

    Click here to download a Pdf copy of this ratings list.



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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