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Breaking With Convention
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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It wasn’t much of a counterweight to the convention. Depending on who you listen to and which carefully-cropped photos you look at, the Astroturf Moms managed to attract anywhere from several dozen to a couple hundred supporters. For grassroots numbers, you’d need to go inside the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting, with attendance estimates exceeding 80,000.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution figured 200 people turned out at a park blocks away from the convention. The day before, a similar number staged a “die-in.” How many people at each rally were observers—as opposed to active participants—was never really made clear, but pro-gun writers were unimpressed.
 

SC: It’s the right, not the gun
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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This week the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would allow individuals filing for bankruptcy to keep up to three guns worth up to $3,000 total.

In South Carolina, bankruptcy filers are allowed to keep a home, car, tools of a trade, and so on, up to a certain value. While a case can be made for some kinds of exceptions, the purpose of the bankruptcy process is for the debtor to pay whatever reasonably can be paid toward debts that exceed assets, and then start over with the bare necessities.

Sounds good, right? The creditor gets the short end of the stick, but you can’t get blood out of a turnip, and the turnip, to bend a phrase, will have a much harder time starting over without work or shelter.
 

GA: A Campus Tour As Ga. Colleges Prepare for Armed Students
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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It’s rainy on Georgia Tech's campus the day Rob Montgomery finishes his last final exam. He’s 22 and headed into his fifth year for mechanical engineering.

“I only recently acquired the license though, and I only also recently got my first pistol,” he says.

Montgomery also owns a shotgun and an AR-15 he bought himself. He says he’s looking forward to carrying concealed more regularly.
 

Writer Sticks to Her Guns: Take This Job and…
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Contrary to the Post-Dispatch’s claims, Ms. Washington’s appearances on NRATV were not only unpaid but also clearly disclosed on her personal website. Further, the paper ran an article on her involvement in an NRA documentary mere months before she began working for them on a freelance basis. The paper’s claim that her unpaid, voluntary connection to the NRA was unknown is factually improbable and an empty excuse to force out the conservative contributor who dared to contradict their liberal bias.

Interestingly enough, the column in question went through the proper editorial process and was approved for publication. In fact, according to Ms. Washington, the editor who reviewed and approved the column was not punished.
 

Rumors Swirl Over ‘Imminent’ Justice Kennedy Retirement
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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On gun rights, Hardiman is considered to be solidly conservative, with a record of upholding the Second Amendment, dissenting in a case, Drake v. Filko, in which the state of New Jersey was limiting handgun permits to people who could show a “justifiable need.”

On issues of other individual rights, his record could be considered mixed.
 

NV: Anti-Gun Bills Scheduled for Committee Hearings Next Week
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Next week, anti-gun bills Senate Bill 115 and Senate Bill 387 are both scheduled for hearings in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

SB 115, sponsored by state Senator Moises Denis (D-2), would expand the list of places firearms are prohibited from being carried and kept to include public library property. In addition to banning firearms within the library, this prohibition would be extended to include the parking lot as well. This would encompass the onsite “book drop” stations commonly used for returning library materials. SB 115 is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, May 9. Please contact the Assembly Judiciary Committee members in opposition to this bill!
 

NY: Ethics panel sees no problem with Howard wearing uniform to pro-Trump rally
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Sheriff Timothy B. Howard did not violate the Erie County Code of Ethics when he wore his uniform to a pro-President Trump rally, the county's Ethics Board says.

...

The decision, reached this week, was sent to the five people who filed complaints after Howard on April 1 donned official garb for a rally with political overtones in Niagara Square. The event, one of a series of pro-Trump "Spirit of America" rallies staged across the country, was sponsored locally by the Tea Party and the Shooters Committee on Political Education, which resists gun-control measures.
 

WV: Manchin: The Clintons Are My Friends, But What She Said While In West Virginia Was Just 'Horrible'
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Centrist or conservative leaning—it doesn’t matter to him. He walks a careful path between both camps. On guns and abortion, two issues where you rarely see a Democrat take a rational position, Manchin may not be hardcore on both, but at least he’s willing to meet with both camps. On guns, he angered Second Amendment supporters by co-sponsoring a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) to expand background checks. I didn’t support Manchin-Toomey either, but that’s for another time.
 

NM: We’ll Drink to That: Bloomberg Spends (and Loses) Big in the Land of Enchantment
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Bloomberg trained his sights all the way out to New Mexico this year, financing a full-on effort to pass “universal” background check legislation for firearm transfers. That effort failed on the strength of opposition led by the NRA. Other opponents of the bill included the New Mexico Sheriff’s Association, which issued a statement emphasizing the proposal would “make it harder for law-abiding New Mexicans to exercise their Second Amendment rights” and “do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
 

GA: Another question: Why did Nathan Deal sign campus-carry bill so quietly?
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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But there is another point worthy of study: Why did Gov. Nathan Deal sign the gun bill so quietly?

This was a bill-signing by press release. There was no public ceremony. And last week’s annual gathering of the National Rifle Association in Atlanta would have provided a marvelous stage.

Republicans don’t normally play down Second Amendment issues. In 2014, Deal celebrated the signing of another gun bill, which also expanded the number of public spaces where concealed weaponry can be carried, with great fanfare on the banks of the Coosawattee River in north Georgia.
 

KS: Why I’m resigning from KU
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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In light of the state of Kansas’ apparent determination to allow the concealed carry of firearms in the classrooms of the University of Kansas, I am writing to tender my resignation effective two weeks from today as an associate professor of history and American studies at the university. I have accepted a job in a state that bans concealed carry in classrooms.

Ed.: Don't let the door hit you...
 

Custom Bowie Knife Brings Record Donation At NRA-ILA Auction
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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For six consecutive years, Knife Rights, a knife advocacy organization similar in purpose to the NRA, has donated a gorgeous custom knife to the Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) for the purpose of fundraising, and this year’s donation garnered an incredible $120,000—equal to the amount generated by the five previous knives combined. The action took place last Friday at NRA-ILA’s annual dinner and auction, as part of the NRA’s 146th Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Atlanta, Ga.
 

HI: Hawaii protection order bill on hold until 2018
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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The Hawaii Legislature adjourned its 2017 session Thursday, leaving a controversial protection order bill in limbo until next year.

Senate Bill 898 allows law enforcement to seize firearms from owners considered “at-risk” of committing a violent crime. It passed the Senate unanimously in March.

The measure faces staunch opposition from the National Rifle Association, state-based gun groups and concerned citizens — all of whom cited the proposal’s infringement on due process.
 

TX: Constitutional carry: a right or privilege?
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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The state slogan don't mess with Texas has taken on a new meaning as the State House [committee] has approved a bill that would make it legal for certain individuals to carry a hand gun without a license.

House Bill 1911 would allow Texans that are at least 21-years-old, have never been convicted of a felony and are not a member of a criminal street gang carry without a license.

Police chiefs from across Texas met at the Capitol on Tuesday to oppose the HB1911, saying it puts citizens and police in jeopardy.

...

As for HB1911, it has been added to the House of representatives calendar and will be heard on the floor for a vote.
 

Third Annual NRA-ILA Collegiate Leadership Conference Paves the Way for Freedom’s Next Generation of Activists
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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On Saturday, April 29, in conjunction with NRA’s Annual Meetings in Atlanta, the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division hosted its Third Annual Collegiate Leadership Conference.

Those future leaders in attendance were treated to a diverse group of speakers and heard from a top notch panel about student activism in defense of the Second Amendment.
 

TN: Guns and suicide go tragically hand in hand
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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The problem of gun suicides isn't improving, either. CDC statistics show that the rate of suicide-by-firearm climbed more than 14 percent from 2006 to 2014, while the rate of gun homicides declined.

Second Amendment advocates may take this column as a call for more gun control. That is not the intent.

This is, instead, a call for greater awareness of the connection between guns and suicide, and for forthright public discussion of the issue.

Suicide is by far the greatest public health problem involving firearms, and one of the major health issues of the United States.
 

GA: Wary college community braces for campus carry
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Michael Noll is feeling pretty good now about his decision to start transitioning his geography classes to an online classroom this summer, when Georgia’s new campus carry law will take effect.

The long-time Valdosta State University professor says he’ll also likely move to virtual office hours as well, even though firearms will continue to be barred from faculty office spaces.

“What am I going to do? Install a metal detector outside my door before you come in?” Noll said Friday. “This is, logistically and logically speaking, completely stupid.”

A violation for bringing a gun into an unauthorized part of campus, Noll noted, is $25 for a first offense.
 

LA: Disarm all abusers: bill includes violent dating partners in gun ban
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Right now the NRA is going, well, ballistic trying to kill House Bill 223 by state Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans. HB 223 would add abusive “dating partners” to the list of persons covered by Louisiana’s domestic abuse battery law.

Moreno’s bill arises from the indisputable fact that thousands of people are abused by lovers and ex-lovers every year in Louisiana, and too often the abused become victims of gun violence.
 

FL: Legislative fix to ‘stand your ground’ law goes to Rick Scott
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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The Senate blinked in a fight over a standard of evidence, sending a fix to the state’s “stand your ground” law to Gov. Rick Scott.

The House on Friday voted to “insist” that the Senate accept its amendment to Sen. Rob Bradley‘s bill (SB 128), which aims to streamline claims of self-defense.

Last month, it OK’d the bill but changed the burden of proof to “clear and convincing evidence,” a lower threshold than the Senate’s “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to overcome self-defense.

By Friday evening, the Senate finally accepted the change on a 22-14 vote.
 

FL: In a rush to the finish, lawmakers mostly defy priorities of Gov. Scott
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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The Legislature also passed a bill that would make Florida the first state to place the burden of proof in “Stand Your Ground” pretrial hearings on the prosecution rather than the defendant.

The Senate passed the bill Friday on a 22-14 vote, just hours before it would have died on the last day lawmakers considered non-budget related bills.

The Senate had earlier refused to consider changes the House made to the bill, then accepted them when the House stood its ground on its position.

The Senate bill originally said prosecutors have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a defendant wasn’t acting in self-defense. The House changed that language to the lower threshold of presenting “clear and convincing evidence.”
 

OK: Hoover Tactical Good Shot of the Month: man used AR-15 to stop home invaders
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Last month, an Oklahoma man defended himself and his property from masked home invaders with his AR-15, killing all three. The would-be robbers broke through the glass door of the Zachary Peters’ father’s residence while he was home alone. The 23 year-old resident opened fire in self defense and will not be charged thanks to Oklahoma’s “stand your ground” law.

The intended getaway driver, a 21 year old woman, turned herself in and has since been arrested by Broken Arrow, Okla. Police. She has been charged with first-degree murder. Investigators on the scene also found brass knuckles on the bodies of the home invaders.
 

KS: Kansas Senate panel adopts concealed-carry exemptions for medical facilities
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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A Senate committee triggered backlash from right-to-bear arms champions Friday with a bill exempting state government hospitals, the University of Kansas Health System and other publicly owned health facilities from state law allowing people to carry concealed guns into those venues.

The Kansas affiliate of the National Rifle Association and some lawmakers fiercely oppose alteration of a 2013 statute exempting public universities and governmental medical facilities from the concealed-carry mandate. Those exemptions expire June 30, but some legislators have been working to extend exemptions for facilities not yet required to welcome people carrying hidden guns.
 

April Background Checks: Strong Numbers Continue
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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The FBI released National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data this week and the numbers tell an interesting story.

There were just over two million NICS checks last month (2,045,564 to be exact).

While some who write headlines for a living may want you to believe we’re in a “funk” in firearms sales since President Obama left the White House, that shortsighted view neglects to consider that April 2017 was the second busiest April ever for NICS and the 21st busiest month of all time. There were only about 100,000 fewer background checks last month than in April 2016.
 

WY: UW Not As One-Sided On Campus Carry As Perceived
Submitted by: Mark A. Taff
Website: http://www.marktaff.com

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Wyoming Senator Anthony Bouchard has had his share of media attention over the last month for a tense exchange with three University of Wyoming students and a professor. The controversy revolves around a class project about how African-American males are stereotyped as dangerous, which Bouchard said was anti-gun and an example of the one-sided approach to the issue he says is pervasive on campus.
 

 QUOTES TO REMEMBER
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women. — Thomas Paine, The Crisis, Intro. (Dec. 1776).

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