US Appeals Court Rules States May Restrict People From Openly Carrying Guns in Public

SAN FRANCISCO (KTLA) — As the nation debates gun control following two mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia, a California-based federal appeals court decided Wednesday that states may restrict the open carrying of guns without running afoul of the 2nd Amendment.

In a 7-4 decision, an en banc panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a county law in Hawaii that has severely limited permits for open carrying of guns.

“The government may regulate, and even prohibit, in public places — including government buildings, churches, schools, and markets — the open carrying of small arms capable of being concealed, whether they are carried concealed or openly,” Judge Jay Bybee, appointed by President George W. Bush, wrote for the majority.

The decision is likely to help push the Supreme Court to review the issue. Federal appellate courts have handed down conflicting rulings on gun laws that only the high court can resolve.

The Hawaii decision came as President Biden is calling for stricter laws in the wake of two shootings that have killed at least 18 people. States run by Democrats have generally pushed for stronger gun laws, but Republican-dominated Legislatures in many states are trying to weaken them. Fifteen states already allow people to carry concealed guns without a permit, and nine have bills to either allow or expand the practice.

Bybee, writing for the 9th Circuit, said a review of more than 700 years of American and English law showed that government has long had the power to regulate arms in public places.

“We have never assumed that individuals have an unfettered right to carry weapons in public spaces,” Bybee wrote. “Indeed, we can find no general right to carry arms into the public square for self-defense.”

Bybee was joined by another Bush appointee and five Democratic appointees.

The decision allows the continued enforcement of a law on the big island of Hawaii that limits permits for openly carrying guns, other than for hunting, to persons with an urgent need for arms and “engaged in the protection of life and property.”

A man who sought and was denied a permit for open carry for self-protection challenged the law. Evidence during the legal proceedings revealed that the county’s permits had been limited to security guards.

Wednesday’s decision overturned a 2-1 ruling in the same case a year ago by a 9th Circuit panel.

Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, writing the lead dissent Wednesday, called the majority decision “unprecedented” and “extreme.”

“At its core,” wrote O’Scannlain, a Reagan appointee who was joined by other Republican appointees, “the 2nd Amendment protects the ordinary, law-abiding citizen’s right to carry a handgun openly for purposes of self-defense outside the home. Despite an exhaustive historical account, the majority has unearthed nothing to disturb this conclusion.”

A gun control group praised Wednesday’s ruling and noted that the Supreme Court would consider this week whether to review a similar case out of New York.

“Today’s ruling, joined by respected appellate judges across the ideological spectrum, is the latest reminder that arguments against reasonable, life-saving gun laws rarely hold up in the courtroom,” said Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety.

“As the court recognized, states and localities have extremely broad power to restrict the carrying of firearms in public spaces.”

The 9th Circuit decided in 2016 that people do not have a constitutional right to carry concealed guns in public, allowing counties to set requirements for permits and decide who gets them.

Alan A. Beck, who represented the Hawaii gun owner, said he was barred from carrying a concealed weapon under the 2016 decision so he asked for a permit to carry a gun openly. Beck said he will ask the Supreme Court to review the Hawaii case.

The 9th Circuit has now decided that there is no constitutional right to carry a gun outside the home for self-protection, placing the court in direct conflict with other circuits and strengthening the chance the Supreme Court will step in and decide the issue, Beck said.

In California, only small towns can issue permits to openly carry guns and they rarely do so, he said. County sheriffs can issue permits for concealed guns upon a showing of “good cause” by the applicant, he said. In rural counties, such permits are often issued, but they are rarely approved in large cities, he said.

“It varies greatly from L.A. and San Francisco, where it is almost impossible to get, versus the rural counties,” he said. “That is just based on the sheriffs’ policies.”

Wednesday’s decision affects the nine Western states that make up the 9th Circuit.

‘DUMMY BETO’: Trump blames O’Rourke for no deal on gun control

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday came out swinging against Beto O’Rourke, blaming the would-be Democratic presidential nominee for the lack of deal being reached with Democrats on gun control legislation.

Beto, who once claimed to be a “staunch defender” of the Second Amendment, has raised eyebrows in recent weeks after vowing to confiscate all AR-15’s and AK-47’s in the country should he become president.

“Dummy Beto made it much harder to make a deal,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away. Will continue forward!”

Trump’s comments referenced O’Rourke’s remarks in Houston during last week’s Democratic debate where Beto called for a mandatory federal buyback of assault weapons. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore,” O’Rourke proclaimed.

O’Rourke quickly fired back on Twitter by calling Trump a coward for refusing to take a tougher stance on gun control.

“The only thing stopping us from ending this epidemic (of gun violence) is you,” O’Rourke tweeted.

“To be clear: We will buy back every single assault weapon. We‘ll also license every gun & do a background check on every buyer. That’s what the American people want—and deserve,” O’Rourke wrote. “The only thing stopping us from ending this epidemic is you & your cowardice. Do the right thing.”

“Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to allow a vote on a bill that would mandate universal background checks for gun-buyers. A proposed version of the bill passed the House of Representatives late last year.

A bipartisan group of senators have been pushing for a compromise bill that covers most gun purchases but negotiations on that bill have stalled.

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FALLOUT CONTINUES: Ohio gun reform urged; calls in Texas for Trump to stay away

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Republican governor bucked his party to call for expanded gun laws Tuesday and some Democrats in Texas told President Donald Trump to stay away as both states reeled from a pair of shootings that killed 31 .

A racist screed remained the focus of police investigating the massacre at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, as further details trickled out on the shooter at a popular nightlife strip in Dayton, Ohio, who was described as fascinated with mass murder.

PUSH FOR LEGISLATION IN OHIO

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged the GOP-led state Legislature to pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats.

Persuading the Legislature to pass such proposals could be an uphill battle. It has given little consideration this session to those and other gun-safety measures already introduced by Democrats and DeWine’s Republican predecessor, John Kasich, also unsuccessfully pushed for a so-called red flag law on restricting firearms for people considered threats.

“We can come together to do these things to save lives,” DeWine said.

EX: OHIO SHOOTER SHARED DARK THOUGHTS

An ex-girlfriend of the Ohio gunman, 24-year-old Connor Betts, said he suffered from bipolar disorder, joked about his dark thoughts and exhibited a fascination with mass shootings.

The woman, Adelia Johnson, said in an online essay that Betts showed her a video of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on their first date.

She said Betts expressed “uncontrollable urges” that she called “red flags,” which eventually led her to call things off in May.

EL PASO DEMOCRATS SHUN TRUMP VISIT

President Donald Trump was planning visits to both cities Wednesday, an announcement that stirred some resistance in El Paso.

Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso made clear that the president was not welcome in her hometown as it mourned. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who was an El Paso congressman for six years, also said Trump should stay away.

Escobar said Tuesday that victims’ families were already using the city’s newly opened resource center where various government and mental health services have set up booths.

“We’ve got to make sure that folks have access to mental health care. There’s going to be a lot of trauma in our community, a lot of children saw things that no human being should see,” Escobar said.

GUN CONTROL AND IMMIGRATION

On Monday, Trump made a vague expression of openness to new gun laws , suggesting a bill to expand gun background checks could be combined with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system but gave no rationale for the pairing.

Studies have repeatedly shown that immigrants have a lower level of criminality than those born in the U.S., both shooting suspects were citizens, and federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive in the Texas massacre.

In both El Paso and Dayton, a young white male was identified as the lone suspect. The suspect in the Texas shooting, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, was booked on murder charges. Betts was killed as police quickly swooped in to end his ambush.

 


Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth, Kantele Franko, Cedar Attanasio, Astrid Galvan, Morgan Lee, Paul J. Weber, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire contributed to the contents of this report.

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ATTACK ON THE SECOND: Firearm stocks spike in wake of Dems call for stricter gun control

WASHINGTON — Stock shares of U.S. gunmakers rose Monday amid renewed calls for gun control measures following last weekend’s mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

According to a report published by Newsmax, American Outdoor Brands Corp. (AOBC), which makes Smith & Wesson firearms, rose as much as 7.5%, while Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc. (RGR) rose 3.8%. Ammunition maker Vista Outdoor Inc. (VSTO) gained as much as 2% while the S&P 500 Index fell 2.3% on rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

The jump follows two separate mass shootings that occurred over the weekend, which were followed by immediate calls from Democrats to enact stricter gun laws and tougher background checks.

Authorities say a gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas Wal-mart Saturday, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more. Less than 24 hours later, a man in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people and wounded several others.

Gun stocks typically rise after mass shootings as renewed calls for tougher firearms laws increase speculation that Americans will want to purchase more weapons before new regulations take effect.

President Trump on Monday commented on the weekend tragedies, calling for “bipartisan solutions” to combat gun violence. The president blamed video games, mental illness, and racism for the shootings, but stopped short of calling for federal universal background checks, a gun-control measure popular with Democrats.

He instead called for a collaboration between state and federal agencies to “develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike.”

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ALEX JONES: ‘Psychosis’ caused me to doubt events at Sandy Hook

AUSTIN, Tx. — Alex Jones now says a form of “psychosis” caused him to previously doubt the events at Sandy Hook took place and that he now believes there was no conspiracy involved.

Jones, who is the subject of eight lawsuits by some of the Sandy Hook families, was questioned for more than three hours last week by the Texas law firm Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP.

He had previously promoted the theory on this wildly popular radio show “Infowars” that the reported school shooting, in which twenty children and six adults were killed in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, was a staged event by the Obama administration to justify stricter gun control.

“We’ve clearly got people where it’s actors playing different parts of different people,” one suit quotes Jones as saying in March 2014. “I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it.”

“I, myself, have almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’ve now learned a lot of times things aren’t staged,” Jones told attorneys during the deposition. “So I think as a pundit, someone giving an opinion, that, you know, my opinions have been wrong, but they were never wrong consciously to hurt people.”

Jones also blamed the “trauma of the media and the corporations lying so much” for causing him to question the government’s motives. “Kind of like a child whose parents lie to them over and over again,” he said.

“So long before these lawsuits, I said that in the past I thought everything was a conspiracy and I would kind of get into that mass groupthink of the communities that were out saying that,” Jones added. “And so now I see that it’s more in the middle. … So that’s where I stand.”

“The public doesn’t believe what they’re told anymore,” he said.

Jones, who has famously said the terror attacks that took place on Sept. 11 were an “inside job” and that bombings in Oklahoma City and at the Boston Marathon were “false flags” staged by crisis actors on behalf of the government, was thrown off most major social media platforms in 2018 as a result of his conspiracy claims.

Jones now claims that his comments were taken “all out of context” and that the quotes attributed to him aren’t “even what I said or my intent.”

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BACKLASH: Firearms makers dumping Dick’s Sporting Goods over push for stricter gun control

Corapolis, Pa (National Review) — A number of prominent gun manufacturers have announced that they will no longer do business with Dick’s Sporting Goods in response to the retailer’s support for stricter gun-control legislation.

After banning the sale of assault-style weapons and raising the minimum age for purchasing a gun to 21 in the wake of February’s Parkland, Fla. school shooting, Dick’s hired three Washington, D.C. lobbyists to fight for gun control on Capitol Hill, according to federal documents obtained by the Federalist. In response, the parent company of Mossberg guns, O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc., announced Wednesday that it would no longer sell guns to Dick’s.

“It has come to our attention that Dick’s Sporting Goods recently hired lobbyists on Capitol Hill to promote additional gun control,” CEO Iver Mossberg wrote in a press release. “Make no mistake, Mossberg is a staunch supporter of the U.S. Constitution and our Second Amendment rights, and we fully disagree with Dick’s Sporting Goods’ recent anti-Second Amendment actions.” Mossberg went on to encourage customers to “visit one of the thousands of pro-Second Amendment firearm retailers” instead of Dick’s.

That announcement came one day after MKS Supply, which manufactures Hi-Point firearms, cut ties with Dick’s.

“We believe that refusing to sell long guns to adults under age 21, while many young adults in our military are not similarly restricted, is wrong. We believe that villainizing modern sporting rifles in response to pressure from uninformed, anti-gun voices is wrong,” MKS Supply president Charles Brown wrote in the Tuesday statement. “We believe that hiring lobbyists to oppose American citizens’ freedoms secured by the Second Amendment is wrong. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field & Stream, in purportedly doing all of these things, have demonstrated that they do not share our values. [We’re] standing by the American people by refusing any further sales to Dick’s Sporting Goods & Field & Stream.”

A third manufacturer, Springfield Armory, discontinued its relationship with Dick’s last week.

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FIGHTING BACK: NRA responds to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call to overturn Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a statement posted to its website, the National Rifle Association, the nation’s most powerful gun-rights group, responded Tuesday to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ New York Times op-ed that “the time has come to overturn the Second Amendment”.

“The 97-year-old retired justice has long held the opinion that American citizens do not have the individual right to own a firearm for self-protection,” the Second-Amendment rights group wrote.

“Emboldened by the mainstream media, the gun-control lobby is no longer distancing themselves from the radical idea of repealing the Second Amendment and banning all firearms. The protestors in last week’s march told us with their words and placards that the current debate is not about fake terms like “common sense” gun regulation. It’s about banning all guns,” the statement continued.

“The men and women of the National Rifle Association, along with the majority of the American people and the Supreme Court, believe in the Second Amendment right to self-protection and we will unapologetically continue to fight to protect this fundamental freedom,” the statement concluded.

The organization has come under increased fire since a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 victims were killed.

The shooting sparked a movement from anti-gun groups to ban the use of certain weapons and called for stricter background checks nationwide.

Despite the backlash, the NRA says it will continue to fight for the right to bear arms, which is protected by tbe Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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SECOND AMENDMENT UNDER FIRE: Dems push bill to require background checks for ammunition

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D- Fla.) has announced her intent to pass the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018, a federal law that would require background checks for the purchase of ammunition.

“I can assure you that Saturday was day one. Saturday was a launch pad,” Wasserman-Schultz told a room of reporters of Saturday’s “March for our Lives,” an organized protest to demand stricter gun control.

“Federal law does not require a background check for ammunition. This is just such a gaping and grave and dangerous loophole that I could not wrap my mind around it when I was told that was the case,” Wasserman-Schultz during a press conference she called to announce the proposed legislation. “Ammunition sellers across the country currently have no way to determine if a potential buyer is legal or if they are prohibited from buying bullets, which are, obviously, what kills after a gun is fired.”

The current system allows purchasers of ammo to “buy as much ammunition as they want, without so much as being asked their first name, and walk out,” she added.

If passed, said Wasserman-Schultz, the bill, which she is filing in cooperation with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) would require would-be purchasers of ammo to be approved via FBI background check.

“The Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018 that I filed on Thursday, and that is being filed in the United States Senate by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, will close that gaping loophole to require all buyers of ammunition to undergo an instant background check,” Wasserman Schultz said.

Blumenthal, a staunch gun control activist, also posted to social media his support for the bill.

“Without background checks on ammunition sales, there’s nothing to stop dangerous people – barred from buying guns – from amassing vast ammunition arsenals. This ludicrous loophole puts lives at risk,” Blumenthal tweeted .

Under current law, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey require a background check in order to purchase or possess ammunition. California will also begin requiring background checks for ammunition buyers beginning July 1, 2019 — a move that is currently being challenged by the National Rifle Association. If passed, the bill would expand that requirement nationwide.

Meanwhile, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Tuesday advocated for a repeal of the Second Amendment.

“A concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment,” Stevens wrote in an opinion piece published in The New York Times. “Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.”

In a response posted to its website, the National Rifle Association fired back, calling Stevens’ comments a direct attack on the Constitution.

“The 97-year-old retired justice has long held the opinion that American citizens do not have the individual right to own a firearm for self-protection,” the Second-Amendment rights group wrote.

“Emboldened by the mainstream media, the gun-control lobby is no longer distancing themselves from the radical idea of repealing the Second Amendment and banning all firearms. The protestors in last week’s march told us with their words and placards that the current debate is not about fake terms like “common sense” gun regulation. It’s about banning all guns,” the statement continued.

“The men and women of the National Rifle Association, along with the majority of the American people and the Supreme Court, believe in the Second Amendment right to self-protection and we will unapologetically continue to fight to protect this fundamental freedom,” the statement concluded.

Calls for comment to an NRA spokesperson regarding the Scultz-Blumenthal bill were not immediately returned.

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EMINEM UNDER FIRE AFTER SLAMMING SECOND AMENDMENT GROUPS DURING STAGE PERFORMANCE: ‘NRA loves their guns more than our children’

 

INGLEWOOD, CA — Rapper Marshall Mathers, better known by his stage name Eminem, is facing backlash after criticizing pro-gun groups during an iHeartRadio performance Sunday night in Inglewood, California.

“This whole country is going nuts, and the NRA is our way/They’re responsible for this whole production/They hold the strings, they control the puppet/And they threaten to take donor bucks/So they know the government won’t do nothing and no one’s budging/Gun owners clutching their loaded weapons/They love their guns more than our children,” the singer wrapped after being introduced on stage by Alex Moscou, a survivor of the fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that occured on February 14.

“Gun owners clutching their loaded weapons/ they love their guns more than our children,” the singer continued rapping from his song “Nowhere Fast,” which bashes the Second Amendment and gun owners.

Prior to introducing Eminem to the awaiting crowd, Moscou said he and other survivors were “tired of hearing politicians sending their thoughts and prayers to us, and doing nothing to make the necessary changes to prevent this tragedy from happening again.”

This isn’t the first time that Mathers’ on-stage performances have turned political.
He raised eyebrows last year after unleashing a hate-fueled rhyme against Republicans and president Donald Trump in which he challenged the Commander-in-Chief to respond.

“Trump, when it comes to giving a shit you’re as stingy as I am/ Except when it comes to having the balls to go against me, you hide ’em,” he wrapped. “‘Cause you don’t got the fucking nuts like an empty asylum/ Racism’s the only thing he’s fantastic for.”

Although Eminem’s gun bashing lyrics were was received by fans in attendance, the singer’s critics were quick to point out his own gun-related transgressions, including being charged with possession of a concealed weapon and assault in the year 2000.

Eminem also received probation and was ordered to perform community service for committing another gun-related crime back in 2001.

Calls for statement from the NRA were met with, “We think Mr. Mathers’ reputation speaks for itself.”

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PROTECTING OUR KIDS: Trump unveils plan to ‘harden’ schools against mass shootings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Sunday announced plans to help states pay to train teachers in the use of firearms in response to a series of deadly shootings in U.S. schools.

The plan does not yet incorporate the president’s earlier pledge to raise the age limit for purchasing certain firearms from 18 to 21 but does include the option to allow trained teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons on campus as a means of protecting students from armed intruders.

“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could end the attack very quickly,” Trump said last month during a bipartisan meeting on gun control.

To help jumpstart the effort, Trump has directed the Justice Department to aid states in partnering with local law enforcement to provide “rigorous firearms training to specifically qualified volunteer school personnel,” said Andrew Bremberg, director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council.

Reiterating its call to improve background check systems and for states to pass temporary, court-issued Risk Protection Orders that would allow law enforcement to confiscate guns from individuals who pose risks to themselves and others and temporarily prevent them from buying firearms, the White House described the effort as a promise kept by the president to help keep America’s children safe and to help “harden” schools from violence. The move comes in response to a February 14 mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 victims were killed and dozens more were injured.

“Today we are announcing meaningful actions, steps that can be taken right away to help protect students,” said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who will chair a commission to oversee the project.

“Far too often, the focus” after such shootings “has been only on the most contentious fights, the things that have divided people and sent them into their entrenched corners,” said DeVos during a call with reporters on Sunday evening.

During the call, DeVos also announced the White House’s urging for Congress to pass a second bill that would create a federal grant program to help train students, teachers, and school officials on how to identify early warning signs of potential violence and focus on early intervention.

While Republican lawmakers were quick to praise the president’s efforts, Democrats condemned the plan, saying the changes simply weren’t enough to ensure safety in America’s schools.

Calling the plan “weak on security” Sen. Bob Casey, (D)-Pa., referred to the proposal as “an insult to the victims of gun violence.”

“When it comes to keeping our families safe, it’s clear that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are all talk and no action,” Casey said in a released statement.

The House is expected to vote on the STOP School Violence Act sometime next week.

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