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  • 03/27/2020 11:35 PM | Anonymous

    What good are constitutional rights if they are violated when Americans get sick?

    By Andrew P. Napolitano

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”            — Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

    One of my Fox colleagues recently sent me an email attachment of a painting of the framers signing the Constitution of the United States. Except in this version, George Washington — who presided at the Constitutional Convention — looks at James Madison — who was the scrivener at the Convention — and says, “None of this counts if people get sick, right?”

    In these days of state governors issuing daily decrees purporting to criminalize the exercise of our personal freedoms, the words put into Washington’s mouth are only mildly amusing. Had Washington actually asked such a question, Madison, of all people, would likely have responded: “No. This document protects our natural rights at all times and under all circumstances.”

    It is easy, 233 years later, to offer that hypothetical response, particularly since the Supreme Court has done so already when, as readers of this column will recall, Abraham Lincoln suspended the constitutionally guaranteed writ of habeas corpus — the right to be brought before a judge upon arrest — only to be rebuked by the Supreme Court.

    The famous line above by Benjamin Franklin, though uttered in a 1755 dispute between the Pennsylvania legislature and the state’s governor over taxes, nevertheless provokes a truism.

    Namely, that since our rights come from our humanity, not from the government, foolish people can only sacrifice their own freedoms, not the freedoms of others.

    Thus, freedom can only be taken away when the government proves fault at a jury trial. This protection is called procedural due process, and it, too, is guaranteed in the Constitution.

    Of what value is a constitutional guarantee if it can be violated when people get sick? If it can, it is not a guarantee; it is a fraud. Stated differently, a constitutional guarantee is only as valuable and reliable as is the fidelity to the Constitution of those in whose hands we have reposed it for safekeeping.

    Because the folks in government, with very few exceptions, suffer from what St. Augustine called libido dominandi — the lust to dominate — when they are confronted with the age-old clash of personal liberty versus government force, they will nearly always come down on the side of force.

    How do they get away with this? By scaring the daylights out of us. I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime, though our ancestors saw this in every generation. In America today, we have a government of fear. Machiavelli offered that men obey better when they fear you than when they love you. Sadly, he was right, and the government in America knows this.

    But Madison knew this as well when he wrote the Constitution. And he knew it four years later when he wrote the Bill of Rights. He intentionally employed language to warn those who lust to dominate that, however they employ governmental powers, the Constitution is “the Supreme Law of the Land” and all government behavior in America is subject to it.

    Even if the legislature of the State of New York ordered, as my friend Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who as the governor, cannot write laws that incur criminal punishment — has ordered, it would be invalid as prohibited by the Constitution.

    This is not a novel or an arcane argument. This is fundamental American law. Yet, it is being violated right before our eyes by the very human beings we have elected to uphold it. And each of them — every governor interfering with the freedom to make one’s own choices — has taken an express oath to comply with the Constitution.

    You want to bring the family to visit grandma? You want to engage in a mutually beneficial, totally voluntary commercial transaction? You want to go to work? You want to celebrate Mass? These are all now prohibited in one-third of the United States.

    I tried and failed to find Mass last Sunday. When did the Catholic Church become an agent of the state? How about an outdoor Mass?

    What is the nature of freedom? It is an unassailable natural claim against all others, including the government. Stated differently, it is your unconditional right to think as you wish, to say what you think, to publish what you say, to associate with whomever wishes to be with you no matter their number, to worship or not, to defend yourself, to own and use property as you see fit, to travel where you wish, to purchase from a willing seller, to be left alone. And to do all this without a government permission slip.

    What is the nature of government? It is the negation of freedom. It is a monopoly of force in a designated geographic area. When elected officials fear that their base is slipping, they will feel the need to do something — anything — that will let them claim to be enhancing safety. Trampling liberty works for that odious purpose. Hence a decree commanding obedience, promising safety and threatening punishment.

    These decrees — issued by those who have no legal authority to issue them, enforced by cops who hate what they are being made to do, destructive of the freedoms that our forbearers shed oceans of blood to preserve and crushing economic prosperity by violating the laws of supply and demand — should all be rejected by an outraged populace, and challenged in court.

    These challenges are best filed in federal courts, where those who have trampled our liberties will get no special quarter. I can tell you from my prior life as a judge that most state governors fear nothing more than an intellectually honest, personally courageous, constitutionally faithful federal judge.

    Fight fear with fear.

    • Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is a regular contributor to The Washington Times. He is the author of nine books on the U.S. Constitution.

    Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. .

    washingtontimes.com/news/2020/mar/25/what-good-are-constitutional-rights-if-they-are-vi/


  • 03/27/2020 12:42 PM | Anonymous

    Republican state Sen. Robert Ortt in a letter this week to Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged him to open gun and sportsmen stores in New York amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Keeping them closed, Ortt argued in the letter, deprives New Yorkers of their Second Amendment rights. He pointed to neighboring Pennsylvania, which has allowed gun stores to operate on a limited hours basis.

    "While taking proper public health precautions is necessary and appropriate, the Constitution is not nullified in the face of a pandemic, and the Second Amendment’s value still remains," Ortt wrote in the letter. "New Yorkers still deserve the right to protect themselves, and allowing gun shops to operate would help New Yorkers exercise that right."

    Non-essential workers have been ordered to stay home in New York and businesses that do not fall under the category have closed their physical locations.

    Food stores, pharmacies and health care centers can remain open.

    This is the first full week of the New York "pause" to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • 03/25/2020 7:56 PM | Anonymous

    INNOCENT RED FLAG VICTIM: THE AVERAGE PERSON DOES NOT UNDERSTAND HOW DANGEROUS THESE LAWS ARE      Mar 18, 2020  By: José Niño

    A Florida man was recently subjected to the horrors of Florida’s draconian red flag gun confiscation law.

    Reason Magazine’s Jacob Sullum recounted this incident, which involved the use of Florida’s red flag gun confiscation policy, which Republican Governor Rick Scott signed it into law following the outrage from the Parkland shooting in 2018.

    Kevin Morgan was initially the victim of this unconstitutional gun grab. Morgan’s estranged wife, Joanie, believed he “was depressed, suicidal, and obsessed with the apocalypse.” She went on to say that he was stockpiling ammunition, food, gold, and guns in preparation for the end times. She even asserted that Morgan was talking about “seeing, hearing, and wrestling with demons.”

    But it didn’t stop there. According to the estranged wife, Morgan had performed a ritual where he rubbed “oils” on their children and their house walls. Further, she alleged that her husband was abusing prescription drugs for chronic pain and openly talked about dismembering his previous wife and threatened to do the same if she ever got on his bad side.

    Based on these claims, Joanie Morgan was able to obtain a temporary domestic violence projection injunction, an involuntary psychiatric evaluation under the Florida Mental Health Act (a.k.a. the Baker Act), and a temporary "risk protection order" under Florida’s current red flag law. The final protection order authorizes the removal of firearms from a person when he is considered a threat to himself or others. In Florida’s case, police and prosecutors are the only parties allowed to submit red flag petitions, but they are not always careful about investigating the allegations by people who may have a grudge. Disgruntled people – spouses, exes, roommates – can make flimsy accusations.

    Rachel Montgomery, a detective with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, was the law enforcement official who filed a red flag petition against Morgan. Circuit Judge Peter Brigham then issued the ex parte risk protection order on September 18, 2018, six months after Florida's red flag law went into effect. All three of these were ex parte orders. In other words, Morgan did not have a chance to defend himself against the allegations levied against him.

    Montgomery said that she had responded to a complaint from Joanie Morgan claiming her partner had breached the temporary domestic violence protection injunction by going back to the house in Citrus Springs to pick up clothing, medications, "several firearms," and his Ford Mustang. Montgomery briefly summarized the assertions Joanie Morgan made in her various petitions against Kevin Morgan. She asserted that Morgan “has had a decline in mental stability over the last four months" and “displayed erratic [sic] behaviors to include making threats to dismember a former paramour and threats to kill his entire family while yielding [sic] a vial containing a paralytic agent." She continued by noting that "the respondent has purchased several firearms and ammunition during this time period."

    These claims did not add up, however, after Montgomery continued to dig deeper into the case. She discovered there was no basis for the accusation that Kevin Morgan disobeyed the injunction by visiting the house.

    "I determined that it wasn't him that had gone to the house," she said. "It was actually a pool maintenance worker that had been by the house." Regarding the domestic violence injunction, "…the firearms had been transferred prior to his risk protection order,” which meant that there were no guns for Morgan to get from the house.

    Even with the Baker Act petition in, psychiatrist and mental health professionals determined that Kevin Morgan was in stable mental shape and did not require involuntary treatment after he was taken to a mental health facility back in September 2018. At a hearing to determine if Kevin Morgan’s protective orders should be extended, Joannie Morgan’s testimony was emotional, but lacking in evidence. This led to Montgomery admitting that he did not meet the law’s evidentiary standard for confiscating his firearms and committing him to an institution. The judge ended up concurring and threw out the orders.

    After this entire ordeal, Morgan offered his thoughts. The sheriff's office "jumped into a civil action without completing a proper investigation," Morgan said. "I don't think the average person understands just how dangerous these laws are. Hopefully, if my story can get out, folks will see how easily (red flag laws) can be used against someone for revenge or to get an upper hand in (a custody dispute). I want people to know how these laws can be used improperly, in the hope that some reforms will take place. We need protection for falsely accused individuals and stiff punishment for those who abuse the system."

    This case demonstrates why America is a nation of laws and has safeguards to protect the accused from false allegations. Without these measures in place, individuals could see their civil liberties eviscerated by people with an axe to grind or public officials with no desire to comply with laws. In a nation ruled by men, you can bet that gun rights will never be secure.

    http://www.gunpowdermagazine.com/innocent-red-flag-victim-the-average-person-does-not-understand-how-dangerous-these-laws-are/

  • 03/25/2020 7:34 PM | Anonymous

    Wayne SCOPE members: please visit the website of Rep. John Katko and leave the message below.  The full text of the bill is available at this URL:
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5717/text?r=1&s=1
    You can send Congressman Katko an email from the following URL:
     https://katko.house.gov/contact
    HR 5717 is a bill that would set up a national firearms registry, require a federal license to purchase guns or ammunition, expand gun free zones, outlaw just about every semiautomatic rifle, add a 30% tax to guns and a 50% tax on ammo, and many other ridiculous provisions designed to kill the Second Amendment.

    I’m opposed to this bill and ask that you oppose it also.

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East Aurora, NY 14052

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