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Briefings  from our SCOPE membership

  • 08/11/2021 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    No Mo’ Cuomo!  by Tom Reynolds

    Let’s all take a moment and enjoy the moment.  No matter what the future holds, it will not include Mario’s kid.  Aaahhh, that feels good.

    Let’s turn to the “Governor to be” Kathleen Hochul.  What do we know about her?

    She was born in Buffalo area and lived there most of her life.  An upstater!  What a change in Albany!  Will Upstate’s culture impact her policies? Or, after a lifetime in politics, has she completely sold out to the “Dark Side”?

    Other than a period after graduating from law school when she worked for a D.C. law firm, her entire career has been spent in Democrat politics.  She worked as a legal counsel and legislative assistant to U.S. Representative John LaFalce and U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan and for the New York State Assembly.  She was elected to the Hamburg Town Board in November 1994 and served until 2007. In 2003 she was appointed Deputy Erie County Clerk and served from 2007 through 2011 as the Erie County Clerk.  She was elected to Congress in a 2011 special election, primarily because a Tea Party candidate split the Republican vote.  (The election was necessary because her predecessor resigned over a sex scandal.  History does repeat itself!)    She lost her attempt at reelection in 2012. 

    In Congress, Hochul was one of 17 Democrats to join Republicans in supporting a resolution finding Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal.  The National Rifle Association supported the contempt resolution and announced it would be scoring lawmakers. This got her an endorsement by the NRA.  (Don’t get too excited about that, there is more to come.)

    Cuomo named her as his Lieutenant Governor running mate in 2014.  In response, Ammoland called for the NRA to repudiate its prior support of Hochul.  It said that, because of the Safe Act, “Cuomo is scared! That’s why he picked Kathy Hochul as his running mate . . . he knows the anti-gun SAFE act could kill his campaign so he tried to deceive you by picking a lieutenant governor with an NRA endorsement and A rating from a congressional campaign in 2012.”

    “Of course, Cuomo would never pick someone who actually would stand up for your rights.”

    Asked if she supported the SAFE Act, Hochul said: ‘Yes, I do.’

    It should be noted that there was very low voter turnout in 2014’s election:  less that 4 million voted and Cuomo won with 2.2 million votes.  Did Hochul’s presence on the ticket help keep Cuomo in office?  There are probably 5 million gun owners in NY State so many of them did not bother to vote.

    In 2018, the NY Daily News reported that Hochul said that the NY State Senate was too afraid of the NRA to pass a “Red Flag” law.

    Basically, she is a lifetime politician, which should worry us…a lot.  As Lieutenant Governor, she was mostly a non-factor but she did toe the Cuomo line, which should also worry us.  (Principles generally mean little to lifetime politicians in their pursuit of political power.) 

    And just for fun, what about her husband, William Hochul?  He worked for the Department of Justice for nearly 30 years. According to his LinkedIn account, he joined the department in 1987 and he started as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1991. In 2009, former President Obama nominated Hochul as the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York. Hochul remained in that role for more than six years before deciding to retire from the DOJ.  In 2016, Hochul became Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary to Delaware North Companies, Incorporated, a Hospitality and Gambling company.

    So, William Hochul spent his career in government, working for the DOJ, (which we have seen has proven to be more interested in politics than justice when it came to political issues).  And he was an Obama appointment!  It’s likely his current job in the gaming industry has more to do with influencing politics than managing a company.  There will likely be no sobering influence on her from her husband.

    Presumably, Kathy Hochul will want to run for Governor in 2022 and will have to start preparing, almost immediately.  The Democrat Party is loaded with people who will be stepping up for the nomination for governor:  Letitia James, NY’s Attorney General, (She produced the report which brought Cuomo down.  Any conflict of political interest there?); Thomas DiNapoli, NY’s Comptroller; NY City’s Mayor Bill DiBlasio, (Seriously?  DiBlasio?  He could unite NY since no one wants him to be governor).  And let‘s not forget those perennial power seekers: Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Octasio-Cortez (the former has time on her hands but the latter may be too busy ordering Nancy Pelosi around.)

    Hochul has a year to make a name for herself before the Democrat Primary in 2022.  But the NY Legislature has adjourned for 2021 and her duty would only include signing – or vetoing – any leftover bills that Cuomo missed.  Her only real shot at legislation will be next January to June when the legislature meets again.  Will she sell out to the extreme left?  She’s called a moderate but Joe Biden was also called a moderate before being elected.  There is, of course, the China Virus; she can’t afford for it to be perceived as going away and not needing her leadership.  

    By-the-way, why is Cuomo taking 14 days to resign?  Be afraid – be very afraid.  The last time he said 14 days until something he didn’t mean it.  What havoc can he wreak in this period?  We can hope he will only be writing another book, hoping for another big payday.

    One has to wonder what the future holds for Mario’s other kid, “Fredo” who isn’t exactly burning up the TV ratings?  Is there a future where there will be “no mo’ Cuomo”?  He has a personal scandal going because he advised his brother on this scandal while still maintaining his position as an “independent journalist”.  Of course, at CNN that’s not a scandal, that’s business as usual.

  • 08/09/2021 3:35 PM | Anonymous

    Clenched Fist  by Tom Reynolds

    SCOPE is strong because we have both chapters and a statewide organization.  Both are necessary.  One without the other would seriously weaken our efforts to defend the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment.

    We’ve heard the adage about individual fingers being weak but when clenched into a fist they are a powerful weapon.  It also applies to defense of the 2nd Amendment.

    Unfortunately, most 2A organizations don’t “play well” with each other.  SCOPE understands that we need to work with other 2A defenders and have a clenched fist in defending 2A.  It wasn’t that way until 2016 and there were a few within SCOPE who resisted that change.  Unfortunately, some individuals still continue their opposition but state SCOPE doesn’t spend any of its precious time or resources fighting other 2A organizations.  We know who 2A’s enemies are: Cuomo, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and their followers, as well as those who say they are on our side but are quick to betray 2A when push-comes-to-shove.

    The clenched fist not only applies to inter-2A relationships but intra-SCOPE relationships between chapters. 

    State SCOPE created chapters and they are powerful sources of information and influence when dealing with local issues but we also need the power of combined chapters as most issues go beyond the local area of influence.  Chapters are knowledgeable about one county or two, but statewide political offices have districts covering multiple counties and, in a few cases, the whole state.  We need both chapters and that intra-state coordination that state SCOPE provides.

    SCOPE is also unusual in that none of its officers or board members get paid, either directly or indirectly.  In fact, it’s extremely rare for an officer to ask reimbursement for their expenses.  We’re volunteers in the truest sense.  State SCOPE’s funds get used to defend 2A and not for the benefit of any officers.

    Our state officers are a crucial link to politicians at both the state and federal level.  The closed fist analogy is important here as speaking for an entire organization conveys more influence than speaking for only one chapter.  In addition, politicians and the public need to hear a consistent and focused message rather than random messages from various chapters and, in return, they like to be able to use only one contact in an organization when they want to get out their message. is our only paid employee.  As with SCOPE’s officers, she rarely seeks reimbursement for the expenses she incurs.  Along with a few volunteers, she coordinates the various aspects of SCOPE, especially the electronic aspects: our website, handling payments, dealing with questions, seeing that emails (like today’s) get sent.  There is also the routine administrative work that someone has to do.  Without that coordination, which could not be accomplished by volunteers, there would be no SCOPE presence.  Those that work often with her know her value to SCOPE and, thus, to the 2nd Amendment. 

    The Firing Lines is another state SCOPE effort that relies on volunteers to write and edit the articles.  It is a vital communications link to our members and, because it is printed and mailed, it’s expensive for state SCOPE to produce.

    SCOPE’s main purpose is education and that requires gathering information.  A huge amount of time is spent, every day at state SCOPE level, reading various sources of information, interpreting that information, deciding what’s important and timely and then writing the emails and Firing Lines Articles.  Some sources of information are general but members constantly send us information, since they know their work often gets converted into statewide distribution.  Often, SCOPE’s emails and articles are the combined efforts of several people.  You may recall that prior to the election this past November, you were receiving 4 to 5 emails a week on election issues.  Each email requires hours of research and writing.  In addition, preparing the candidate ratings and summaries of bills in the federal and state legislatures are very time consuming.  It would be difficult to get volunteers to do this if the distribution was only limited to the chapter level but because of the combined reach of the state, it is worthwhile and gets done.  Again, all this is done by volunteers.

    Our state Facebook page is, again, run by volunteers from all over the state and is an important part of getting 2A information out.  A post on Tuesday got over 250 reactions within 5 hours and 154 shares, which Facebook says reached over 5,000 people.  Three days later it had over 900 shares and reached over 40,000 people.

    State SCOPE gets emails with questions or requesting help from all over the state.  We usually answer them immediately and try to resolve all of them in a short period of time.  

    Last year, when state SCOPE’s finances were finally recovering, state SCOPE was able to financially help three chapters at fiscal year-end.  This was unusual since SCOPE has been working to balance its budget for several years but when state SCOPE has funds available it does spread them throughout the organization and does not keep them for sole use at the state level.

    SCOPE’s officers come from all over the state and not one area has undue influence.  Our Chairman is from Yates County and our past President is from Monroe County.  Our current President is from Chemung County while our Secretary is from Rensselaer County. is in Erie County.  SCOPE strives to be a statewide organization.  The state is responsive to the chapters and the chapters are responsive to the state.

  • 08/06/2021 7:48 PM | Anonymous

    Language as a Tool of War  by Tom Reynolds

    In Lt. Colonel Wayne Phelps’ book “On Killing Remotely”, he discusses the psychological aspects of killing by Remotely Piloted Vehicles (what we generally refer to as drones).  Many of the strategies and issues that Phelps discusses can easily be applied to the left’s strategies against just about everything, but especially against the 2nd Amendment.

    Phelps writes extensively about the long-practiced need to “dehumanize” your opponent in order to deal with the moral and ethical problems of taking a human life.  “The more humanity that is observed in an enemy…the more difficult it becomes to kill them.”      

    He explains how this is done, “One of the major ways this dehumanizing process occurs is by changing what the enemy is called into something particularly degrading or demeaning”.   As an example, he points out that, “In World War II, the allies referred to the Germans as Krauts and the Japanese as nips or slants”.  (Before the left starts calling that proof that Americans are all racists, Phelps also pointed out that, “The list of American nicknames given by the Germans and Japanese included Joes, foreign devils, dogfaces, yanks, round eyes and Amis (short for Americans)”.)   

    Phelps writes that, “…this kind of vernacular falls outside the bounds of acceptable behavior in today’s society”. 

    Oh yeah?  “Outside the bounds of acceptable behavior in today’s society”?

    Disagree with the left and you are labelled a racist, Nazi, Hitler, white supremacist, etc.  The left views these dehumanizing and demeaning terms as within the bounds of their acceptable behavior and they have no problems using those terms to dehumanize defenders of 2A. The goal is to dehumanize their opponents so that there are no moral or ethical qualms about leaving the opponent dead both politically and under the judicial system. 

    Phelps continues, “These sobriquets for the enemy don’t always have to be demeaning in nature to deny humanity”.  In human beings, it is a positive attribute to have common sense / good judgment.  Since the left labels all their gun control as “Common Sense” (by implication it is good judgment), anyone who opposes their positions must lack common sense / have bad judgment.  Labelling themselves as “Common Sense” demeans those that support the 2nd Amendment and creates the impression that those opposed to 2A’s have the moral high ground. 

    Phelps points out that the importance of achieving the “moral high ground” can’t be overstated.  Warriors want to fight for a “just war”.  If one fights for a just cause, “…the enemy’s cause is unjust and their intentions are evil, therefore the enemy themselves is evil…it elevates the killer to an almost hero-like status in their mind”

    If we look at the “moral high ground” strategy from a 2nd Amendment viewpoint, we are surrounded by a liberal media that trumpets every story that reflects poorly on the 2nd Amendment.  Therefore, guns are evil and gun control is a “just cause”.  Guns are objects, not people, so there are no moral or ethical down sides to criticizing them.  If, by association, gun owners get grouped with these evil objects, that’s just collateral damage as far as the left is concerned. 

    When does the anti 2A media publicize any of the thousands of stories where guns are used in self-defense, since this would give 2A the moral high ground?  When have you ever seen a story contain: “they’d probably be alive if only they had a gun”; “she could have saved herself from being raped if she’d had a gun”.  If, every day, CNN carried a story on guns saving a life, the left’s self-perceived moral high ground would crumble.  Their self-conceived heroic stature would be gone.

    Phelps further writes, “Differences in religion, language, race or ethnicity, values, beliefs and social norms all serve to move the enemy further away from one’s perspective of what it means to be human...They’re not like us and their cause is unjust.”  The left loves Critical Race Theory which accuses all white people of being racist simply because they are white; being white makes one unjust.  Being white is supposed to divide us because of our skin color while being black does not divide us.  The left media loves stories about “white” supremacists having guns.  When do they cover stories about Black Lives Matter and Antifa having guns?  (Oh wait, last summer’s riots were all peaceful protests so BLM and Antifa don’t need guns?)  According to Barack Obama, the reasons people would not vote for him, “…they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them…"   Wow.  Sounds like Phelps had Obama - and not drones - in mind when he wrote his book.   Obama dehumanized people by rejecting the 1st and 2nd Amendments as well as civil rights law in that one sentence.       

    The difficulty for 2A defenders is that we actually want to unite, not divide, so the use of dehumanizing language is denied us; we don’t need to morally and ethically justify our stance to ourselves, the Constitution has already done that.  But we can and should call out the left when they unfairly use these terms. 

    We do have a winning strategy readily available, all we have to do is for the millions of gun owners to summon the energy to use it.  There are thousands of examples of guns being used in self-defense, but they rarely get seen outside of the 2A movement.  It’s easy to find them.  Publicize them on social media and bury the media in so many of them that a few, perhaps, will have some second thoughts on the Second Amendment and give us some air time or print space.

  • 08/02/2021 10:23 AM | Anonymous

    Caetano Never Dies  by Tom Reynolds

    The Supreme Court of the United States‘ (SCOTUS) decision in District of Columbia v Heller and the follow up case McDonald v Chicago, affirmed the individual right to keep and bear arms.  They should have settled many of the gun rights issues.  Unfortunately, they did not.  Since then, several lower courts have chipped away at or ignored Heller’s fundamental premise, prompting Justice Clarence Thomas to warn of a slide towards “relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.

    Caetano v Massachusetts, a case in which SCOTUS unanimously vacated the Massachusetts conviction of a woman who carried a stun gun for self-defense, is a good example of what has been happening.  It’s important to read Massachusetts’ reasoning and SCOTUS’ rationale for saying that Massachusetts was wrong.

    Jaime Caetano was in fear for her life after an altercation with her abusive boyfriend.  After obtaining several restraining orders that proved futile, Caetano accepted a stun gun from a friend for self-defense.   When her ex-boyfriend later confronted and threatened her, she displayed the stun gun and avoided an altercation. However, when police discovered that she was in possession of the stun gun, she was arrested, tried and convicted under a Massachusetts law that outlawed the possession of stun guns.

    The case was appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts which upheld the Massachusetts state law prohibiting the possession of stun guns after examining "whether a stun gun is the type of weapon contemplated by Congress in 1789 as being protected by the Second Amendment.”  Eventually, in 2016, the case made it to the SCOTUS, which unanimously ruled against Massachusetts and for the right to possess a stun gun

    When the Massachusetts’ court ruled, it offered three explanations to support its holding that the Second Amendment does not extend to stun guns. All were rejected by SCOTUS. 

    ·  The Massachusetts’ court said that stun guns are not protected by the Constitution because they "were not in common use at the time of the Second Amendment's enactment.”  SCOTUS rejected Massachusetts’ position and said that this was inconsistent with Heller's clear statement that the Second Amendment does extend to arms that were not in existence at the time of the founding.

    ·  The Massachusetts’ court next asked whether stun guns are "dangerous…and unusual" (Heller had allowed that there was an “historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons”).  The Massachusetts Court tried to redefine "unusual" as "in common use at the time of the Second Amendment's enactment” and, thus, Massachusetts concluded that stun guns were "unusual" because they were "a thoroughly modern invention.”  SCOTUS also shot that one down by saying that the Massachusetts’ court's second explanation is the same as the first and is inconsistent with Heller for the same reason.

    ·  Finally, the Massachusetts court found nothing in the record to suggest that stun guns were readily adaptable to use in the military. SCOTUS rejected that explanation, again referring to Heller, wherein SCOTUS rejected the proposition "that only those weapons useful in warfare are protected.

    The case was sent back to Massachusetts for “further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”  On July 6, 2016, after the prosecution and defense reached an agreement, Caetano was found not guilty by a Massachusetts judge.  In a subsequent case, Ramirez v Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court relied on Caetano to strike down the state's stun gun law.

    Why is it important to read about a case that was resolved five years ago?

    First, because Jaime Caetano’s situation with her abuser was a terrific example of one of the primary reasons why civilians need guns: personal protection.  A court order was not helping her and neither were the police.  Like all of us, she needed to be able to protect herself.

    Second, because the case shows how liberal judges often feel free to blatantly ignore established law.  Heller is established law.  The Massachusetts court’s rulings were not based on missing or ambiguous SCOTUS rulings. They were attempts to ignore established law or misinterpret it in order to reach the exact opposite conclusion that the Constitution requires.

    Liberal judges want to write their own laws, ignoring the legislative process.  Only the legislature is legally allowed to make laws and the judiciary’s role is to interpret those laws, based on legislative intent. But too often liberal judges interpret their own judgments and, not coincidentally, find their own judgments to be lawful. 

    Why are these judges so bold?  Because there are no personal consequences to them. For example, none of the Massachusetts judges were fined, disbarred or removed from the bench.  In addition, there is usually little chance that the judges will be overruled since most private citizens cannot afford the appeals process, which typically requires years of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.  As a result, bad judgements often live on, unmolested by truth and law. 

    Fortunately, Jaime Caetano was able to take her case to the SCOTUS.  However, we cannot count on everyone being able to do so.     

    Therefore, our legislatures need to take action against judges who blatantly ignore the law.  Congress and the states need to act and provide a method to review and override or remove a runaway judiciary.  (This is dangerous and needs to be carefully crafted; unfortunately, the left has made it necessary.)    In turn, the voters need to support politicians who will take the necessary steps to see this happen.

    We also all need to do everything in our power to ensure that judges who hear these cases at the local and state level understand and support the Second Amendment.   Most people will not be able to appeal bad decisions made by state and local judges.  As such, we need to do what we can to put good judges - who will make good decisions - on the state and local bench.  

    Second Amendment supporters must be active and vote to ensure that legislators and judges, who take an oath to defend the Constitution, will live up to that oath.  An ounce of prevention (voting) is worth the tons of time and money needed to (maybe) cure an unconstitutional ill.

  • 07/31/2021 9:39 AM | Anonymous

    History First Hand  by Tom Reynolds

    For most of us, history is something remote, something we read about.  George Washington is someone who now lives only in books – but so does James Bond.  Who is real and who is not? 

    It’s exciting when we get to meet real history and hear about history, first hand. We get to experience that on October 16th, when Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North will be the featured speaker at SCOPE’s banquet in Utica.  Not only will he speak but he will be available from 4PM to 5:45 PM in a reception.

    Imagine the excitement of serving in the White House and then imagine the added excitement of serving in Ronald Reagan’s White House.  From 1983-86 North served as Counter-Terrorism Coordinator on the National Security Council staff. He helped plan the rescue of U.S. students in Grenada, the liberation of American hostages, the capture of the Achille Lauro hijackers and the raids on Muammar Gadhafi’s terror bases; after which he was targeted for assassination by Abu Nidal’s Islamic Jihad. And, yes, he was also at the center of the Iran Contra Affair. 

    It has been almost a half century since the Vietnam War ended.  North was there, in combat, and was decorated for his actions.

    We’ve seen testimony before Congress with politicians bending facts while they harass witnesses for political purposes.  North went through that.

    In addition to his military and political experience, Oliver Laurence North is an American television host, political commentator and a military historian. He is a best-selling author and radio talk show host and also a TV host for the documentary War Stories.  He also holds three patents.

    We are seeing many challenges.  October 16th will be a chance to hear from him on some of today’s biggest issues:

    • Why is Critical Race Theory being forcibly taught to our military?  Does it improve combat preparedness, ability or morale? 
    • We are pulling out of Afghanistan and leaving it to an enemy we had chased out.  What does North think of that?
    • The Biden administration has all but declared war on the 2nd Amendment.  As the former President of the NRA, what are his suggestions for fighting back?
    • North has a forthcoming book, We Didn’t Fight for Socialism.  That’s a timely subject for discussion. 

    Have a question?  You may get a chance to ask him.

      It’s said that 75% of life is just showing up.  If you don’t show up on October 16th, you miss the chance of a lifetime.

      In addition to North, included in the day is a tour of the Remington Museum.  There is more history, up close and personal.

      See the links below to get tickets.     

      2021 Banquet ON-LINE Ticket Ordering

      2021 MAIL-IN Ticket Order Form

      SCOPE Banquet information page

    • 07/29/2021 10:11 PM | Anonymous

      Biden Widens the List of “Assault Weapons” to Ban  by Tom Reynolds

      On July 21st, on CNN, President Joe Biden turned to the subject of guns and added the 9mm handgun to a list of firearms he'd like to ban. At the hour-long town hall, he said:

      The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon — whether it’s a — whether it’s a 9-millimeter pistol or whether it’s a rifle — is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things…” 

      The left’s favorite “boogie man” is the Assault Rifle, which would be more properly called the Modern Sporting Rifle, since there are over 20 million of them in circulation.  The 9mm might now be called the Modern Sporting Pistol since, according to production figures from federal regulators, over 2.2 million new 9mm pistols were produced in the U.S. in 2018, more than any other caliber. The 9mm cartridge has been marketed in the U.S. for well over a century.

      Whether it’s the Modern Sporting Rifle or Pistol, Joe Biden and his administration are coming for them.

      Biden Wrestles with Facts…and Loses

      As defenders of the 2nd Amendment, we have the facts on our side.  Unfortunately, those facts do not get publicized by the left-wing media.  Politicians and other anti 2A people can lie and distort with little fear of being contradicted by their media supporters. For instance, when President Biden spoke to a Joint Session of Congress on April 28th, the President got plenty wrong about firearms but you didn’t hear the facts on CNN or read them in the NY Times.

      “I’ve done before and I’ll do it again,” Biden says. “In the 90s we passed universal background checks. A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold a hundred rounds…that can be fired off in seconds. We beat the NRA. Mass shootings and gun violence declined. Check out the report over ten years.”

      Yes, please do check out the report.  According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the “Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), which also restricted magazine capacity, did not reduce crime rates.” As further evidence that Biden is again on the wrong side of history (and facts), after the 10-year-ban expired in 2004 the violent crime rate in America dropped steadily while ownership of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) rose dramatically.

      President Biden also referenced his gun control executive actions, including banning so-called “ghost guns.” “Anyone from a criminal or terrorist could buy one of these kits and within 30 minutes have a weapon that’s lethal,” the president claimed.

      30 minutes?  That reminds me of Barack Obama’s claim in 2015, at another Town Hall, that, As long as you can go on into some neighborhoods, and it’s easier for you to buy a firearm than it is for you to buy a book, there are neighborhoods where it’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.”  Obviously, Obama and I do not hang out in the same neighborhoods. 

      “Ghost guns” are unfinished firearms and unassembled parts that have been legal since before the founding of our country. They are time-consuming and expensive to assemble with questionable quality control but Biden and gun control advocates support banning them in order to get their gun control credentials stamped.

      President Biden wasn’t done stretching the truth. “I don’t want to become confrontational, but we need more Senate Republicans to join the overwhelming majority of Democratic colleagues and close the loopholes on background check purchases of guns.”

      Every firearm transfer from a licensed retailer, whether at a store, gun show or initiated online, must be completed in a face-to-face transaction, with signed background check forms, and verification through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  The problem is that criminals do not follow the law and Biden’s suggestions only create more laws for them to ignore. 

      As far as his claims of widespread gun control support - that’s cratering. Even Newsweek admitted it. 

      President Biden’s is also wrong on what the American people want.  “I think this is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is an American issue,” the president said. He should have added that it is also not an issue with the more than 21 million people who passed a NICS check to purchase a firearm in 2020, including more than 8.4 million first-time buyers. The pace hasn’t slowed so far in 2021 either.

      On firearms, President Biden needs to get his facts straight and get a better read on what the American people want.

    • 07/26/2021 7:42 PM | Anonymous

      Media Propaganda  by Tom Reynolds

      Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal prompted SCOPE member Lee Edgcomb, of Victor, to respond.  His response is worth reading as it focuses on the media’s distorted prejudices when it comes to presenting anything about guns; they sneak in words that create an anti-gun picture in the minds of those reading the article.  Lee does a nice job of pointing these out.    

      The article was titled: D.C. Shootings Highlight Rising Gun Violence

      Dear Mr. Day, Ms Sarah Chaney-Cambon, Ms. Amara Omeokwe, and Mr. Aaron Zitner,

      I understand you may not write the headlines, but please note that "gun violence “ is a very inaccurate and ungrammatical (but very effective) term created by the gun ban lobby that you are using.

      Guns are inanimate objects and are not violent nor can they commit violence. Criminals commit violence. 

      An accurate headline would be “D.C. Shootings Highlight Rising Criminal Violence”. “Shootings” already identifies the use of firearms.

      Your article accurately identifies certain neighborhoods where the particular shootings occurred.  Wouldn’t "D.C. Shootings Highlight Rising Neighborhood Violence” be more accurate a headline? Or the word “Gang”?

      I know it takes more words but, in your article, you say "a new wave of gun violence”. Wouldn’t it be much more accurate to say “new wave of gang shootings”?  Wouldn’t that provide the reader a more accurate mental picture of the problem.

      Is the image sought “gun bad” or is the image sought “gang shootings bad”?

      There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 450,000,000 firearms in the US.

      60,000,000 households say they have firearms in the home.  Between 7,000,000,000 and 8,000,000,000 rounds of ammunition are fired each year by millions of people.

      Truly, the rising violence you refer to is a criminal/gang activity called shootings, murders, hits, or whatever. But the firearm is not “violent”. It is the person behind it.

      Thanks to Lee for taking the time to let the media know that we are watching and for fighting back against the left’s radical gun control agenda.

      Another SCOPE member sent me an article in Bearing Arms, by Cam Edwards, on another media anti-gun blitz.  Some excerpts from what Edwards writes:

      ABC News says its week-long special coverage called “One Nation Under Fire” will “explore the root causes of gun violence” through both national and local reporting. I have a feeling that “One Nation Under Fire” is going to end up being one network’s love letter to the gun control lobby.

      Will ABC News mention the failures of gun control in places like New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle in any of their coverage? I doubt it, unless it’s to argue that more federal gun laws are needed since the state-level gun control laws clearly aren’t doing enough to stop the violence.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few talking heads bring up the nomination of David Chipman as permanent director of ATF at some point. With Chipman’s confirmation in doubt, Democrats are clearly trying to rally senators like Joe Manchin and Jon Tester to sign off on installing a gun control activist in the top spot at ATF, and the ABC News special seems like an ideal vehicle for them to make their case.

      Will their “root causes” of crime focus on high unemployment rates, poverty levels, dysfunctional families, and crumbling institutions like the public school and criminal justice systems? Or will they decide that the primary root causes of gun violence are guns themselves and our Second Amendment rights?

      I suppose that I should watch it to see what the enemy is saying.  Nah…life is too short.  I haven’t watched ABC news in years (perhaps decades).  I’ll let someone else suffer through it and read their response.

    • 07/25/2021 8:55 PM | Anonymous

      2022 Redistricting (part 2)  by Tom Reynolds

      On Monday, SCOPE wrote about the 2022 redistricting.  We detailed the process of redistricting and the role of an independent commission that will draw up the redistricting plan.  One paragraph in that e mail is especially important and needs further attention.  It said:

      If the Legislature fails to approve the plan, or the Governor vetoes the plan and an override by the Legislature fails, the Commission shall be notified and within 15 days of the notification (but no later than February 28, 2022), a second plan shall be submitted to the Legislature for approval. Should the Legislature fail to approve a redistricting plan as submitted by the Commission, the Legislature shall provide amendments deemed necessary and, if approved, submit such legislation to the Governor for action on the measure.”

      What this means is that the legislature gets to approve the independent commission’s plan and if the legislature twice rejects the plan, the legislature gets to draw the plan up, themselves.

      Since the Democrats overwhelmingly control both houses of the legislature, they have the ability to reject the commission’s plans but are they willing to do it twice.  This kind of display of raw partisan political power would have, in the past, subjected them to serious consequences.  But today, when the media is firmly in the Democrats’ hands (or the Democrats are firmly in the media’s hands) we would not see condemning editorials and coverage will be slight and non-condemning.  It will certainly be tempting for the Democrats to reject the plans if the commission’s plans are not partisan enough for them.   

      The unknown factor is the courts.  As SCOPE wrote in an earlier e mail about “One Man One Vote”, that prior to the 1960s, court challenges to redistricting plans were considered political questions that were most appropriately addressed by the political branches of government, not the judiciary. In 1962, in the landmark ruling of Baker v. Carr, the Supreme Court (under the far-left Earl Warren) pivoted and held that a constitutional challenge to a redistricting plan was not a political question and was justiciable.  Add to that, in New York State, that the courts are populated by Democrat appointees who may put party above the law.  However, the federal court system is more balanced.

      Courts have held that independent redistricting commissions were legal but would two rejections of the commission’s plans cause the courts to view the legislature’s plans as illegitimate, from the start?  It should certainly give them pause.

      Congressional districts are also required to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), prohibiting any voting qualification or practice that results in the denial or abridgement of the right to vote based on race, color, or membership in a language minority.    

      What about discrimination based on political parties?

      In Cox v. Larios, a district court decision struck down a state legislative redistricting plan on the basis that the plan was intentionally designed for partisan purposes.  The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) summarily affirmed that decision. The district court held that, amongst other things, the plan deliberately paired numerous Republican incumbents to run against one another.  (This would seem to say that there is a “red line” that cannot be crossed.  But where that red-line is will be the question.)

      It’s likely that most New Yorkers are not paying attention to redistricting.  And if the left-wing media fails to publicize it, the system will be open to all sorts of political gamesmanship aimed at minimizing your influence and maximizing the politicians’ power and job security.  Don’t hesitate to let your state representatives know that you are watching.

    • 07/20/2021 12:29 PM | Anonymous

      4th Circuit Appeals Decision for the 2nd Amendment  by Tom Reynolds

      The 4th District US Circuit Court of Appeals, in Hirschfield and Marshall vs BATFE et al, ruled that 18 years old have 2nd Amendment rights, including the right to buy a firearm.  The summary of the decision by Judge Richardson explains it well.  The emphasis (underlining) is added by SCOPE to emphasize important points.

      When do constitutional rights vest? At 18 or 21? 16 or 25? Why not 13 or 33? In the law, a line must sometimes be drawn. But there must be a reason why constitutional rights cannot be enjoyed until a certain age. Our nation’s most cherished constitutional rights vest no later than 18. And the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is no different.

      Plaintiffs seek an injunction and a declaratory judgment that several federal laws and regulations that prevent federally licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to any 18-, 19-, or 20-year-old violate the Second Amendment. We first find that 18-year-olds possess Second Amendment rights. They enjoy almost every other constitutional right, and they were required at the time of the Founding to serve in the militia and furnish their own weapons. We then ask, as our precedent requires, whether the government has met its burden to justify its infringement of those rights under the appropriate level of scrutiny. To justify this restriction, Congress used disproportionate crime rates to craft over inclusive laws that restrict the rights of overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens. And in doing so, Congress focused on purchases from licensed dealers without establishing those dealers as the source of the guns 18- to 20-year-olds use to commit crimes. So we hold that the challenged federal laws and regulations are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Despite the weighty interest in reducing crime and violence, we refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status.

      The following is the background on the case, taken directly from the judgment.  It reflects a common story that we often use to justify private ownership of firearms. 

      Prospective handgun buyers sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seeking an injunction and a declaratory judgment that federal statutes prohibiting Federal Firearm Licensed Dealers from selling handguns and handgun ammunition to 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds (and the federal regulations implementing those statutes) violate the Second Amendment.

      Nineteen-year-old Natalia Marshall had good reason to seek protection. She had been forced to obtain a protective order against her abusive ex-boyfriend who, since the issuance of the order, had been arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm and controlled substances. He was released on bail but never came to court, leading to the issuance of a capias for his arrest. Along with the threat from her ex-boyfriend, Marshall works as an equestrian trainer, often finding herself in remote rural areas where she interacts with unfamiliar people. Having grown up training with guns, she believes that a handgun’s ease of carrying, training, and use makes it the most effective tool for her protection from these and other risks. But because Marshall was 18 when she tried to buy a handgun, a federal law prevented her from buying from a licensed dealer who would perform a background check to verify that she was not a felon or other prohibited person. She preferred using a licensed dealer because they tend to have a wider supply, a good reputation, and a guarantee…She is now 19 and remains unable to buy a handgun from a federally licensed dealer for self-defense.”

      The 4th Circuit Court hears appeals from the nine federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  Its decision applies to all federal courts in its district.  It does not apply to the other eleven circuit courts in the United States but its decision may influence the decisions in those courts.  

      The Feds remaining option is to appeal this to the Supreme Court.  Since they are on the taxpayer’s “dime”, the cost of an appeal is no object.  The Supreme Court has the option of reviewing it or not.

    • 07/19/2021 6:23 PM | Anonymous

      2022 REDISTRICTING  by Tom Reynolds

          Last week, the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) announced it would host eight public listening sessions across the state prior to redrawing state legislative and congressional district lines, a process which takes place every ten years to reflect population changes. The sessions are a result of a 2014 public referendum in which millions of New Yorkers voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment assembling the IRC in the hopes of ensuring fair and honest guidelines for the upcoming 2022 redistricting effort.

           The listening sessions will only be held virtually.

          Each virtual meeting will begin at 2 p.m. and the schedule for the first round of hearings is as follows:

      •  Tuesday, July 20 in Nassau and Suffolk counties;
      •  Thursday, July 22 in Queens County;
      •  Monday, July 26 in Bronx and New York counties;
      •  Thursday, July 29 in Kings and Richmond counties;
      •  Monday, August 2 in the Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital Region;
      •  Thursday, August 5 in the North Country and Mohawk Valley;
      •  Monday, August 9 in the Southern Tier and Central New York; and
      •  Thursday, August 12 in the Finger Lakes and Western New York.
      • Whether the new district lines would result in the prohibited denial or abridgment of racial or language minority voting rights;
      • To the extent practicable, districts containing as nearly as may be an equal number of inhabitants;
      • Districts must consist of contiguous territory and shall be as compact in form as practicable;
      • Districts cannot be drawn to discourage competition, or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents; and
      • The maintenance of existing districts, pre-existing political subdivisions, including counties, cities, towns, and communities of interest.

          The first redistricting draft proposal will be made public on September 15; additional hearings will then be scheduled.

          More information about the regional redistricting meetings and how to participate virtually or submit testimony is available on thIRC’s website.

          The Independent Redistricting Commission was created through an amendment to the New York State Constitution which went into effect on January 1, 2015. This amendment created the Commission and set forth its composition and overall mission.  The amendment was approved by the voters of New York State in November 2014.

          The following is how it is supposed to work:

           Every decade beginning in 2020, a 10-member bipartisan commission shall be established, with eight members appointed by New York's four legislative leaders (two appointments per leader), and the remaining two members appointed jointly by the first eight members. The Commission is required to create a plan for the re-drawing of the State legislative and congressional districts, and must take into account various State and federal constitutional and statutory requirements, including:

      Approval of a redistricting plan by the Commission shall require a vote in support by at least seven members, including at least one appointed by each of the legislative leaders.  If no plan is able to garner seven votes prior to the submission deadline, the Commission shall submit the plan that received the most votes to the Legislature, along with a record of the votes taken.

      The Commission shall submit its redistricting plan to the Legislature on or before January 1, 2022, or as soon as practicable thereafter, but no later than January 15, 2022. Legislative approval of the redistricting plan shall require a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of both the Senate and the Assembly.

      If the Legislature fails to approve the plan, or the Governor vetoes the plan and an override by the Legislature fails, the Commission shall be notified and within 15 days of the notification (but no later than February 28, 2022), a second plan shall be submitted to the Legislature for approval. Should the Legislature fail to approve a redistricting plan as submitted by the Commission, the Legislature shall provide amendments deemed necessary and, if approved, submit such legislation to the Governor for action on the measure.

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

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    East Aurora, NY 14052

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