Governors Can Refuse Entry to Syrian Refugees

November 28, 2015

From The New American by Joe Wolvereton, II, J.D., November 20, 2015

In response to the deadly attacks last Friday in Paris believed to have been committed by Syrian-born members of ISIS, at least 31 state governors have declared their intent to refuse entry into their states of refugees fleeing Syria.

Can Governors Refuse Entry to Syrian Refugees?

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona (shown), for example, issued a strongly worded statement of his state’s intended refusal to allow settlement of Syrian refugees. “Given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona,” Ducey declared.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley expressed an equally terse promise to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state. “I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”

As with any question of superiority between state and federal policies, there are those who instantly assert the “supremacy clause” of Article VI in defense of giving the feds the upper hand.

The fact is the Supremacy Clause does not declare that all laws passed by the federal government are the supreme law of the land, period. A closer reading reveals that it declares the “laws of the United States made in pursuance” of the Constitution are the supreme law of the land.

In pursuance thereof, not in violation thereof. 

Alexander Hamilton reiterated this interpretation of this part of Article VI when he wrote in The Federalist, No. 33:

If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers intrusted [sic] to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies and the individuals of whom they are composed…. But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the larger society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. [Emphasis in original.]

Dismissing, then, with the “supremacy clause” argument is relatively easy. The problem remains, however, of whether the Constitution gives the federal government authority to grant entrance to the United States to those seeking asylum.

And a related question: Did the states grant to the federal government in the Constitution the power to put labels on immigrants, labels which remove them from any exercise of state sovereignty?


As this reporter has written on other occasions, the closest the Constitution comes to placing anything even incidentally related to immigration within the bailiwick of Congress is found in the clause of Article I, Section 8 that empowers Congress to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” That’s it. There is no other mention of immigration in the text of the Constitution. Somehow, though, the enemies of the right of states to govern themselves have extrapolated from that scant reference to “naturalization” the exclusive and unimpeachable right to legislate in the arena of immigration.

The difference between immigration and naturalization is one of definition.

Immigration is the act of coming to a country of which one is not a native. Naturalization, however, is defined as the conference upon an alien of the rights and privileges of a citizen. It is difficult to understand how so many lawyers, judges, and legislators (most of whom are/were lawyers) can innocently confuse these two terms.

Before the states sent delegates to a convention in Philadelphia in 1787 to amend the Articles of Confederation (the result of which was the Constitution), they were already defending their sovereign borders by setting rules governing the means by which one could lawfully enter the state. That is to say, they were policing the immigration of aliens, an act undeniably within their right as a sovereign government.

On not one single occasion during that summer of 1787 did any one of the 55 (on and off) representatives of the 13 states suggest the endowment of the new national government with the authority to set immigration policy for the entire nation. That is significant. Not even the most strident advocate of a powerful national government ever proposed granting the power in question to the central authority.

In fact, the sole reference to the federal government’s power to regulate immigration is Article I, Section 9 wherein Constitution forbids Congress from interfering in the “migration or importation” of persons into the several states until 1808. That this limitation touched and concerned the slave trade and only the slave trade is patently obvious to anyone reading the debates of the delegates as recorded by James Madison and others who were present at the time. In fact, the wording of Article I, Section 9 is precisely worded so as not to be confused with any other article of the Constitution.

There was a time in our nation’s history when this wasn’t such a difficult distinction to grasp.

During deliberation of the Civil War amendments (13th and 14th), President Ulysses S. Grant recognized that immigration was a state issue and not merely an aspect of naturalization. In a memo to the House of Representatives, Grant wrote: “Responsibility over immigration can only belong with the States since this is where the Constitution kept the power.” 

It seems we should accept that the Constitution’s silence on the issue of immigration and the 10th Amendment’s explicit reservation to states of all powers not granted to the federal government means that state governments can establish the policy they deem proper with regard to who can or cannot settle within their sovereign borders.

That’s not the end of the controversy, however. There are those who insist that the 1915 Supreme Court decision in the case of Truax v. Raich should be the final word on the subject.

Here’s a brief recitation of the facts of that case as published in Reason magazine:

At issue was the constitutionality of an Arizona law designed to prevent unwelcome foreigners from settling in that state by denying them the ability to secure meaningful employment. Under the terms of Arizona’s “act to protect the citizens of the United States in their employment against non-citizens of the United States, in Arizona,” all businesses with more than five employees were required to maintain a workforce that was comprised of at least 80 percent “qualified electors or native-born citizens.” As a direct result of this legislation, an Austrian-born cook named Mike Raich lost his job. Raich filed suit and eventually wound up before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court sided with Raich and struck down the nativist state action. “The assertion of an authority to deny to aliens the opportunity of earning a livelihood when lawfully admitted to the State would be tantamount to the assertion of the right to deny them entrance and abode, for in ordinary cases they cannot live where they cannot work,” the Court declared. “And, if such a policy were permissible, the practical result would be that those lawfully admitted to the country under the authority of the acts of Congress, instead of enjoying in a substantial sense and in their full scope the privileges conferred by the admission, would be segregated in such of the States as chose to offer hospitality.”

Reason goes on to restate the ruling as if they believe it applies to the current controversy:

Put differently, Congress possesses the constitutional power to regulate the admission of aliens to the United States. Once an alien has been lawfully admitted under federal law, no state may “deny them entrance and abode.” That standard plainly covers the treatment of Syrian refugees that have been lawfully admitted to the United States.

Is the Supreme Court designated the ultimate decider of issues pitting state sovereignty against federal prerogatives?


As this reporter has observed in a previous article on the subject of Supreme Court supremacy:

Thomas Jefferson had something to say in the matter. In 1804, he wrote that giving the Supreme Court power to declare unconstitutional acts of the legislature or executive “would make the judiciary a despotic branch.” He noted that “nothing in the Constitution” gives the Supreme Court that right.

In this Mexican standoff of states, Supreme Court, and federal government, the last man standing is the people acting in their collective political capacity as states.

Abraham Lincoln recognized the lack of constitutional authority for the Supreme Court’s assumption of the role of ultimate arbiter of an act’s conformity with the Constitution.

Lincoln said that if the Supreme Court were afforded the power to declare whether an act of the federal government was constitutional, “the people will have ceased to be their own masters, having to that extent resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

In his 1887 book The Constitutional Law of the United States of America, renowned German-American constitutional scholar Hermann Von Holst explained the error in accepting the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter of constitutional fidelity. 

“Moreover, violations of the Constitution may happen where the injured cannot, whether states or individuals, obtain justice through the court. Where the wrongs suffered are political in origin the remedies must be sought in a political way,” he wrote.

He continued, regarding this “aristocracy of the robe,” “That our national government, in any branch of it, is beyond the reach of the people; or has any sort of ‘supremacy’ except a limited measure of power granted by the supreme people is an error.”

Finally, in his statement discussed above, Governor Ducey of Arizona cites the provision of the U.S. Refugee Act requiring the federal government to consult with states prior to placing refugee populations.

He then pleads for the president and Congress to “immediately amend federal law to provide states greater oversight and authority in the administration of the placement of refugees.”

With respect to the difficult and potentially dangerous position in which Governor Ducey and the other 30 or so state executives find themselves, one wonders where in the Constitution states are required to ask the federal government’s permission to exercise a power they specifically retain under the Bill of Rights, namely the power to grant or refuse permission for entry into their sovereign territory to an immigrant, no matter what label that immigrant is given by the federal government.

Anti-gun Democrats Push to Remove Constitutional Rights Without Due Process

November 28, 2015

From The New American by Bob Adelmann, November 25, 2015

Seeking once again to take advantage of an opportunity, anti-gun Democrats are using the horrific massacre in Paris to revive a moribund bill by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to remove precious rights from anyone on the government’s “no-fly” or “terrorist watch list.”

Senate Bill 551, offered back in February, was dead on arrival, but the Paris massacre is being seen as an opportunity to breathe life back into it. In re-introducing the bill, she says if they can’t fly, they shouldn’t be able to buy a gun: “If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous to own a gun.”

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called it a “terrorist loophole”:

By leaving this terrorist loophole open, Republicans are leaving every community in America vulnerable to attacks by terrorists armed with assault rifles and explosives purchased legally, in broad daylight.

What, exactly, is that loophole? It is the whole host of protections provided by the Constitution, and more specifically the Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to it, that guarantee that rights may not be infringed without probable cause and without due process. That’s the “loophole” that Reid and Feinstein want to close. Merely being on the list does not automatically disqualify an individual from buying a gun. It takes much more than that — a fact that Reid, Feinstein, and others seem willing to ignore.

Those others would include Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said:

Under current law, suspected or known terrorists who are on a no-fly list can legally purchase firearms in this country. They can walk into a gun show, no questions asked, and buy a gun or buy explosives.

His excessive hyperbole notwithstanding, Schumer then blames the National Rifle Association (NRA) for standing athwart the effort:

Because of the NRA it hasn’t happened, but because of Paris we’re hoping there will be new impetus to do this and do it now.

Slamming this appalling loophole ought to be a no-brainer.

Looking carefully at the language of the bill, one can see exactly how precious rights would be abrogated, potentially leading to the disarmament of anyone “suspected” of terrorist activities. First, the bill would empower the attorney general “to deny the transfer of firearms … to known or suspected dangerous terrorists.” (Emphasis added.) The bill expands the definition of suspected:

The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm … if [he] … determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support of resources for terrorism; and has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.

This is such a far cry from constitutional protections that it’s no wonder that the NRA has cried foul ever since Feinstein’s bill was first introduced years ago by then-Senator Frank Lautenberg, the infamous anti-gun Democrat from New Jersey.

Such a far cry that Charles Cooke, a staff writer at National Review, took umbrage at the outrage of Feinstein’s bill:

This idea flies directly in the face of every cherished American conception of justice, and it should be rejected with extreme prejudice.

You will note, I hope, that Reid [and] Schumer … are not proposing to place restrictions on those who are “accused,” “charged,” or “convicted,” but upon those who are “suspected”….

Loudly and proudly, they are arguing in favor of removing fundamental rights from anyone whose name has been written down on a list.

Already rights are being violated. At present nearly one million names are on the no-fly watch list, but 280,000 of those names “have no recognized terrorist affiliation,” as noted by TechDirt. One of those on the list was Weekly Standard writer and Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes, who learned that fact to his dismay while leaving for a cruise. Someone had added his name to the list and, under Feinstein’s bill, he would be forever prohibited from owning a firearm. No charges filed, no hearing, no trial, nothing.

Sean Davis, the co-founder of The Federalist, made it personal:

You don’t have to be convicted of any crime whatsoever to end up on the terrorist watch list. You don’t even have to be charged with a crime to lose your constitutional rights under the proposed law.

If this proposed legislation were to become law, some DHS [Department of Homeland Security] bureaucrat … only needs to snap his fingers and add your name to the blacklist in order to immediately deprive you of your Second Amendment rights and your constitutional right to due process.

You don’t even get to review the entirety of the evidence against you.

The bill, if it passed into law, would not target just Muslim jihadists harboring hatred against the Great Satan but the average citizen upset with government intrusions such as this one into his life. According to Charles Kurzman, writing an opinion piece for the New York Times last June, “The main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists.” He quoted an officer from a large metropolitan area who said that “militias, neo-Nazis and sovereign citizens” are the biggest threat faced by citizens.

It is unlikely that Feinstein’s bill, like Lautenberg’s before it, will get much traction, especially during an election year. But it is more evidence, if more be needed, that (1) the long war on guns continues apace, and (2) eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Nothing less than the survival of the country as a free Republic is at stake. 

FBI Statistics Prove: More Guns, Less Crime

October 3, 2015

Inconvenient facts the gun control lobby cannot answer

Paul Joseph Watson,, January 7, 2013

Despite the onslaught of media propaganda in support of the Obama administration’s anti-second amendment agenda in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the statistics clearly illustrate that gun control does not reduce violent crime and in fact has the opposite effect.

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

As the graph above highlights, according to the latest figures obtained by the FBI, violent crime offenses in the United States have been falling since 2007. The five year trend clearly shows that, despite there being an ongoing national debate about gun violence in America, violent crime itself is actually becoming less of a problem.

The graph below from the Department of Justice also highlights the fact that over the last 40 years, the amount of guns in America per 1000 people has increased, whereas serious violent crimes have decreased.

In addition, despite the media drumbeat that murders involving guns represent the number one safety threat to American citizens, the reality is completely the opposite.

Amongst the “top ten killers” in the United States, homicide by firearms is at the bottom of the list, according to figures from the CDC and the FBI. Almost 20 times more people die in the United States from medical errors than they do from firearm homicides, but there is no outcry to slap draconian regulations on the medical industry.

In addition, the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs in the United States routinely outpaces the number of homicides committed using a rifle. Should US lawmakers introduce urgent legislation to outlaw hammers and baseball bats?

The figures clearly illustrate that rising gun ownership does not cause a rise in violent crime.

Look at Chicago, which in 1982 passed a ban on all handguns except for those registered with the city before the ban was enacted.

Since the handgun ban took effect, the number of murders in Chicago committed using handguns has been 40% higher than before the ban, and has spiked even higher in recent years, proving that the gun ban actually served to cause an increase in violent crime.

In comparison, let’s take a look at Britain, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the developed world. Given that one of the most vocal advocates for gun control in the aftermath of Sandy Hook has been a British citizen – Piers Morgan – who has used his platform on CNN to attack the second amendment, the contrast is illuminating.

Despite the fact that it is virtually impossible for an average citizen to obtain a gun through legal channels in Britain, the rate of violent crime in the UK is higher per capita than the US and the highest in the world amongst “rich” countries aside from Australia, which also instituted a draconian gun ban in the 1990’s.

Preventing law-abiding people from owning guns clearly has no impact on violent crime, and if anything causes it to rise because the criminals know their victims will not be able to defend themselves.

In addition, you are more than twice as likely to be a victim of knife crime in the UK than you are a victim of gun crime in the United States, but there is no media debate about banning kitchen knives.

Despite virtually all handguns being outlawed in 1996 following the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland, with law-abiding people people rushing to turn in their firearms, over the next decade gun crime in the UK more than doubled. This proves that while law-abiding citizens willingly disarmed themselves, criminals were unfazed by the new laws and continued to use guns illegally. Therefore gun control only disarms innocent people since criminals do not follow the law.

As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, “Strict gun laws in Great Britain and Australia haven’t made their people noticeably safer, nor have they prevented massacres.”

In summary, despite a widespread ban on gun ownership in the United Kingdom, it is the most dangerous place to live in terms of violent crime in the entire western world.

Another country where violent crime and rapes are soaring is India, recently in the news because of the tragic death of a woman who was gang raped and savagely beaten in New Delhi.

India has a gun control policy just as draconian as the United Kingdom, and despite Indian women begging the police to allow them to own firearms for personal protection, the vast majority of license applications have been rejected, leaving women defenseless against rapists and murderers.

Now let’s take a look at a country which is geographically-speaking a stone’s throw away from the United Kingdom – Switzerland.

With a population of just six million, Switzerland has 2 million publicly-owned firearms. Despite the fact that guns are everywhere in Switzerland and are a deeply-ingrained part of Swiss culture, the gun crime rate “is so low that statistics are not even kept,” reports the BBC.

Indeed, with its population of law-abiding armed citizens, Switzerland is one of the safest countries to live in the entire world, with homicide rates at just 2.2 people per 100,000.

So the UK is one of the most dangerous places to live in the developed world, while Switzerland is one of the safest, and yet Switzerland is a nation of gun owners. How then can we possibly conclude that gun control reduces violent crime when in virtually every instance it has proven to have the opposite effect?

The figures clearly show that gun control does not reduce violent crime, and in fact only emboldens criminals to use guns illegally – safe in the knowledge that their victims have been disarmed courtesy of government legislation.

Recent cases involving law abiding citizens in America, largely ignored by the mass media, who have exercised their second amendment right to prevent a crime and save lives, emphasize this reality, including an incident just two days after the Connecticut massacre during which a gunman entered a theater in San Antonio after killing his ex-girlfriend but was shot dead by an off duty policewoman.

In addition, last month’s mall shooting in Oregon was brought to an end when 22-year-old Nick Meli, who has a concealed carry permit, pulled a gun on the killer, prompting masked shooter Jacob Tyler Roberts to use his final bullet on himself.

In both cases, the media virtually ignored the fact that potential massacres were stopped by responsible Americans using firearms. Similar cases emerge on a weekly basis, including another incident on Friday where a woman in Atlanta defended herself and her young children against an intruder by using a legally owned firearm.

The National Safety Council notes that guns are used some 2.5 million times a year in self defense against criminals, meaning that firearms are utilized to protect innocent lives in 80 times more cases than they are used to end lives.

These figures, not just from America but from other countries around the world, send a clear and consistent message – gun control actually increases violent crime, more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens equals less crime, and only by allowing responsible, law-abiding people to be armed and not by disarming the victims can we hope to prevent or lessen the scale of future tragedies like the Sandy Hook massacre.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for and Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

PA Court: Parole Agents Can Frisk Non-Parolees to Check for Weapons

September 27, 2015

By Matt Miller,, September 23, 2015

Parole agents can frisk people other than parolees for weapons if they have a reasonable suspicion the person being searched poses a safety risk, a state Superior Court panel ruled recently.

The decision clarifies the scope of parole agents’ authority. President Emeritus Judge Kate Ford Elliott noted in the Superior Court opinion that Pennsylvania law doesn’t definitively address the issue.

In fact, Ford Elliott’s court looked to rulings from courts in other states, including Ohio and Louisiana, for guidance as it weighed the appeal of Darrin Orlando Mathis.

Mathis, 23, of Harrisburg, appealed to the Superior Court after Dauphin County Judge Todd A. Hoover convicted him in November on weapons and drug possession charges. Mathis, a convicted felon who was barred from possessing guns, was sentenced to 32 to 64 months in state prison.

On appeal, Mathis challenged a ruling by Hoover denying his pretrial request to suppress the evidence against him, specifically a pistol that was found when a state parole agent frisked him at a Harrisburg home. He claimed the agent had no authority to subject him to a pat-down because he wasn’t a parolee in the agent’s charge.

The pat-down in dispute occurred in December 2013 when two parole agents visited the home to check on another man who was a parolee. Mathis was only visiting the house to get a haircut.

During the visit, the agents smelled marijuana and took the parolee into custody. The agents noted that Mathis was acting as though he was nervous, court filings state.

Agent Michael Welsh testified that he decided to frisk Mathis after Mathis picked up a green jacket “kind of funny” and was “holding this thing like it was a baby… being real gentle with it.” The agent said he grabbed the jacket and felt the butt of a gun. After a brief tug of war, Welsh pulled the jacket away from Mathis, then aimed his Taser at Mathis and handcuffed him.

Mathis later admitted to having the gun – which was loaded – and some marijuana.

Ford Elliott observed in her court’s opinion that “there is little guidance in the way of published law in this commonwealth” regarding the issue of whether parole agents have the authority to pat down non-parolees.

Rulings by courts that dealt with the issue in other states convinced her that parole agents in Pennsylvania must have such authority in order to protect themselves, she wrote. Parole agents often face the same risks as police officers, who have broader power to frisk persons they deem to be potential threats, the judge noted.

In rejecting Mathis’ appeal, the Superior Court didn’t give parole agents permission to pat down whoever they please.

The agents can conduct weapons frisks of non-parolees who are present during arrests or home visits “where the parole agent has a reasonable suspicion that a person searched may be armed and dangerous,” Ford Elliott wrote.

Matt Miller is a reporter for The Patriot-News/PennLive in Harrisburg

Activist form Black Lives Matter Offshoot Arrested After Threatening Police

September 27, 2015

From by Lee Stranahan, September 26, 2015

Police in Clayton County, Georgia have arrested Black Lives Matter activist Latausha Nedd aka “Eye Empress Sekhmet” after she posted a video calling for “open season” on police and “crackers” that also called for taking over police stations. The three minute video that landed Nedd in legal trouble shows her menacing a gun and a machete while dressed in camouflage.

Nedd is part of the “Fuck Yo Flag” movement that’s a splinter offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement, as previously reported on by Breitbart News,

Nedd was taken into custody by FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and a joint terrorism task force. Clayton County Chief Michael Register told Atlanta TV station WSB,  “A lot of people talk on the Internet and on YouTube, but most people don’t make threats against segments of the community.”

Nedd—who has previously expressed hatred towards America by standing on a flag—was incredulous. While cuffed in the back of a police car she told the news station, “All I said was defend yourself against people who want to kill us. That’s all. I never said anything more than that.”

Although the original video by Nedd has been removed from YouTube, parts of it can be seen in WSB’s report on the arrest.


Illegal Alien Kidnapped Victims in Texas for Mexican Drug Cartel

September 27, 2015

From Breitbart News by Ildefonso Ortiz, September 26, 2015

MCALLEN, Texas – A convicted Mexican drug cartel kidnapper and suspected assassin will spend 40 years in prison for carrying out a kidnapping in this border city under orders from his bosses in Mexico.

On Thursday, Martin Casimiro Margarito went before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez who handed down a 480 month prison sentence on the case and set a $25,000 fine on his as well. Once his sentence is completed, Casimiro expected to face deportation procedures.

Martin Casimiro Margarito

Alvarez noted that “this kind of conduct goes on routinely in Mexico and unfortunately is seen more and more in Texas,” information released to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed.  “Alvarez hoped that this sentence would not only serve as a deterrent to Margarito himself but also to anyone seeking vengeance for a debt owned.”

The kidnapping in question took place on January, 2015 when, according to court documents obtained by Breitbart Texas, Martin Margarito Casimiro and 17-year-old Silvestre Lopez held Gustavo Burr and Andres Reyes at gunpoint at a north McAllen house, in order to collect money owed to a Mexican drug boss.

Burr was able to escape from the stash house and ran down the street with ropes still tied around his arms and legs, asking for help. Authorities responded to the scene and found a second kidnapping victim as well as various men attempting to flee the house. Authorities also recovered two handguns and an AR-15 rifle. The kidnapping appears to have been over a $300,000 drug debt.

In addition to the double cartel kidnapping, Casimiro also is facing capital murder charges in a Texas State Court for his role in a double kidnapping and execution tied to human smuggling, Breitbart Texas reported.

The execution took place in October 2014 when “three large Hispanic” men kidnapped in broad daylight 39-year-old Elia Margarita Flores in the border city of Pharr Texas. Authorities learned that the truck belonged to 24-year-old Victor Manuel Garcia who had also been kidnapped.

Days later, on November 4, workers in a rural area found the Garcia’s remains stuffed inside trash bags in the northern part of the border county of Hidalgo. Less than a week later authorities found Flores’ decomposed body in a rural area near the border town of Donna.

The execution of the two is tied to the trafficking of illegal aliens through South Texas while authorities have not said the name of the organization, as reported by Breitbart Texas, human smuggling has become a big money maker for Mexico’s Gulf Cartel.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

District of Columbia Has Lost Another 2nd Amendment Case

September 27, 2015

From by Hans von Spakovsky, September 25, 2015

Seven years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns, D.C. has lost another gun case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia—one that involves the very same plaintiff, Dick Heller.

In the latest case, Heller v. District of Columbia, a three-judge panel has thrown out several gun registration requirements that were clearly intended to discourage gun ownership and make it more difficult to own a gun in the nation’s capital.

The original Heller case, which was decided in 2008, was without doubt the most important case on the Second Amendment since the amendment was first ratified on Dec. 15, 1791 as part of the original Bill of Rights. It was the first case in which the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects the right of individual Americans to own a gun. The Court rejected the District’s “prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”

Immediately after the 2008 decision, the city council of the District enacted the Firearms Registration Amendment Act of 2008. Dick Heller filed another lawsuit challenging that Act, claiming it violated the Second Amendment, too. In response to the lawsuit and a decision by the appellate court, the city council in 2012 revised the Act to get rid of some of the conditions for registration, such as a requirement that all pistols be submitted for ballistic identification.

Heller then amended his lawsuit to challenge the remaining restrictions on gun owners that the District had left in place. The federal district court upheld all of these restrictions last year as “constitutionally permissible” efforts “to combat gun violence and promote public safety.”

However, the appellate court disagreed on Sept. 18.

It applied “intermediate scrutiny” to the D.C. gun law. To survive a challenge under intermediate scrutiny, the law must first promote “a substantial governmental interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation.” And second, the means chosen by the law must be “not substantially broader than necessary to achieve that interest.”

The Court of Appeals upheld D.C.’s basic registration requirement, which requires applicants to provide identification and other information, as well as pay fees to register. This is a “de minimis” requirement that is “similar to other common registration or licensing schemes, such as those for voting or for driving a car, that cannot reasonably be considered onerous.” De minimis requirements do “not implicate the second amendment right,” according to the court.

Further, D.C.’s requirement that gun registrants provide photographs and fingerprints “will directly and materially advance public safety by preventing at least some ineligible individuals from obtaining weapons and, more importantly, by facilitating identification of the owner of a registered firearm during any subsequent encounter with the police.” Thus, this requirement is constitutional.

On the other hand, the appellate court threw out the requirement that an individual submitting a gun registration to the D.C. metropolitan police department bring the gun with him. The court summarily dismissed D.C.’s claim that this would enhance public safety:

On the contrary, common sense suggests than bringing firearms to the MPD would more likely be a threat to public safety; as Heller maintains, there is a “risk that the gun may be stolen en route or that the [would-be registrant] may be arrested or even shot by a police officer seeing a ‘man with a gun’ (or a gun case).

The appellate court also threw out D.C.’s requirement that gun owners re-register their guns every three years. None of the so-called “public safety” reasons the city put forward for this requirement made any sense; for example, the city claimed that this would maintain the accuracy of its registration list, including if a gun has been lost or stolen. But the city already requires gun owners to update their registration information, such as a change of address. And gun registrants are required to “immediately” notify the city if their gun is lost or stolen.

The court did uphold the city’s requirement that gun owners take a one-hour firearms safety course. However, the court threw out a requirement that gun owners be tested on their knowledge of the District’s gun laws. While one can conclude that a gun safety course will promote “public safety by reducing accidents involving firearms,” there is no evidence “that passing a test of knowledge about local gun laws does so.”

Finally, the court struck down the District’s “only-one-pistol-per-month” rule. The city council banned the registration of “more than one pistol per registrant during any 30-day period,” claiming it would reduce gun trafficking and “promote gun safety by limiting the number of guns in circulation.”

The court was dismissive of the “experts” the city presented on this issue, saying that the “experts’ conclusion that limiting gun registration would likewise reduce trafficking is, however, unsupported by the evidence.” In fact, “the suggestion that a gun trafficker would bring fewer guns into the District because he could not register more than one per month there lacks the support of experience and of common sense.”

The argument that limiting the guns in circulation would limit accidents or gun misuse did not help the city, either. That theory, “taken to its logical conclusion,” would “justify a total ban on firearms kept at home.” And that is obviously unconstitutional.

For seven years the District of Columbia has spent an enormous amount of time and resources trying to either deny the Second Amendment rights of its residents outright or make it difficult for them to exercise those rights by enacting a bureaucratic maze of red tape. Imagine if it had spent those same resources on trying to protect its residents. Perhaps then D.C. wouldn’t be the crime-ridden battle zone it has been for far too long.

Originally published in PJ Media.

Sheriffs, Police Chiefs & Gun Control

September 16, 2015

From The New American by Larry Pratt, September 16, 2015

It’s 2 a.m. and you awaken to the sound of shattering glass. You are about to be the victim of a home invasion/rape/robbery. Do you do the politically correct thing and dial 911 — then simply hope that the police arrive in the next 90 seconds, before the invader(s) gets to you and your family? On the other hand, do you dial 911 (if you have time) or have a family member do so, and pick up your pistol or shotgun and let the thugs learn a Constitutionalism 101 lesson on the Second Amendment?

Gun Control, Sheriffs & Police Chiefs

The calculation and recording of police “response time” varies widely from one jurisdiction to the next, but various studies show it may be anywhere from four minutes to an hour before police come to the rescue. When every second counts, depending on 911 as your lifeline could leave you (and your family) as a chalk outline and a crime victim statistic.

There are plenty of actual, real-life 911 recordings you can listen to on the Internet of crime victims being brutalized and murdered while on the phone with 911, waiting for police help. There are calls such as the one last year from a man in New Port Richey, Florida, who called 911 when his home was invaded by four thugs. On the call’s recording, a woman screams in the background as the 911 voicemail states “If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911. Thank you for calling”! The invaders viciously beat the homeowner and his wife and mother-in-law, and even threatened to shoot the couple’s baby. Fortunately, the homeowner was able to get to his gun and shoot one of the attackers, putting the criminals to flight. The thugs were caught later by police, but it was the victim’s decision to fight that kept him and his family from becoming crime fatality statistics.

“Progressive” commentators went into full apoplexy mode in 2013 when Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. ran a radio advertisement that warned county residents that “simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.” “You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back,” Clarke said. The outspoken sheriff, who is black, urged listeners to take a firearm safety course and get a firearm “so you can defend yourself until we get there.”

“You have a duty to protect yourself and your family,” Sheriff Clarke advised.

Yes, you have a duty, as well as a natural right, to defend yourself and your family. Depending solely on uniformed agents of the collective (police officers or sheriff’s deputies of the city, county, or state governments) is not only dangerous to one’s immediate safety, but is also antithetical to the philosophical foundations of the natural rights of the individual upon which our constitutional government is based. By creating a police force to protect you and your family, you are by no means surrendering your right to self-defense.

The simple fact of the matter is this: When criminals decide to strike you, you’re on your own. The police may arrive in time to prevent harm — or, as is more often the case, in time to preserve the crime scene and take notes from survivors or neighborhood witnesses.

Like Sheriff Clarke, Detroit Police Chief James Craig has liberaldom up in arms (pardon the pun) over his calls urging more law-abiding citizens to take up arms in self-defense. “The message should be,” he told WDIV Channel 4 News in a March 2014 interview, “that people are going to protect themselves. They’re tired, they’ve been dealing with this epidemic of violence, they’re afraid, and they have a right to protect themselves.”

As a general matter, police chiefs tend to be rather more supportive of gun control and less sympathetic to the Second Amendment than are sheriffs. This is especially true of the big-city police chiefs of cities dominated by Democratic Party politicians. Police chiefs are appointed, whereas sheriffs are elected by the people, which often explains the differences among them.

In January of 2013, President Obama was pushing a range of gun-control measures, from banning semi-automatic firearms, to banning magazines over 10 rounds, to background checks for all sales. The president wanted to prohibit access to firearms “that aren’t necessary for hunters and sportsmen.”

Obama was hoping to lay down a definition of the Second Amendment totally excluding its main purpose, which is to ensure that the people retain the means to resist tyranny in government.

The president was hopeful that he could mobilize police and sheriffs to support his gun-control agenda. He had cherry-picked law-enforcement officials to attend a January 28, 2013 meeting at the White House for the purpose of getting behind his agenda.

But it turns out the two national groups representing police and sheriffs at the 2013 White House meeting — the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the Major County Sheriffs Association — disagreed on the initiative. The chiefs backed it, while the sheriffs opposed it.

There was a lack of support for banning semi-automatic firearms and magazines, so the focus among the law-enforcement officers tended to move toward mental health issues as a supposed justification for doing background checks of gun buyers.

The good news is that significant opposition has sprung up in Connecticut and New York to the draconian gun-control laws passed in 2013. Sheriffs, some police chiefs, and many gun owners have simply said they will not enforce or comply with these laws. The good news to take away from this is that in addition to elected sheriffs in New York, many police chiefs in Connecticut and New York also indicated they would not enforce their states’ new gun-control laws; New York’s law is known as the SAFE Act.

It is estimated that upwards of 300,000 owners of semi-automatic firearms in Connecticut have refused to re-register their guns. Refusal to comply with the New York SAFE Act seems also widespread. So far there has been no effort by police or sheriffs to pursue those not complying.

With the exception of a few police officers and officials, it has been sheriffs engaging in interposition. For example, Wicomico County, Maryland, Sheriff Mike Lewis warned the feds that there would be serious consequences if they attempted to violate the Second Amendment in his county. Gun-control advocates heads’ exploded when Sheriff Lewis said this: “As long as I’m the sheriff in this county, I will not allow the federal government to come in here and strip my citizens of their right to bear arms. I can tell you this, if they attempt to do that, it would be an all-out civil war, no question about it.”

The vast majority of rank-and-file cops do not support the gun-control agendas of their political overlords. In a March 2013 survey of more than 16,000 current and former police officers by Police One, some interesting results were obtained. Over 91 percent of those surveyed favored citizens carrying firearms. Nearly half said that if they were to become chief or sheriff, they would not enforce more restrictive gun-control laws. Seventy percent of the respondents opposed a national registry of firearms owners.

In the same 2013 survey by Police One, well over 40 percent did not support requiring training to carry a gun — a key feature of the laws in seven states that do not require a government permit to carry a concealed firearm. The survey also found that about 85 percent of officers say the passage of the White House’s 2013 proposed legislation would have a zero or negative effect on their safety, with just over 10 percent saying it would have a moderate or significantly positive effect.

A survey of police officers by the National Association of Chiefs of Police in 2011 found that 98 percent of those polled think “any law-abiding citizen [should] be able to purchase a firearm for sport and self-defense.”

In summary, a significant number of police officers are supportive of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in very specific ways. Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who once accepted the “progressive” dogma on restricting civilian access to firearms, now urges citizens to arm themselves. With encouragement from voters, more police chiefs and sheriffs are likely move in that direction. They may even adopt the attitude of Sheriff Clarke, who said in his address to the NRA in 2014: “If you’re going to stand with me, you have to be willing to resist any attempt by government to disarm law-abiding people by fighting with the ferociousness of a junkyard dog.”

Larry Pratt is the executive director of Gun Owners of America.

What About Police Brutality?

September 16, 2015

From The New American by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D., September 16, 2015

On July 11, 2015, Madison County, Indiana, sheriff’s deputies pulled over Ewart Kenneth Johnson, a 51-year-old black man. Johnson’s blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest was five times the legal limit. Later that night, while being booked into the Madison County jail, Johnson claims, four deputies beat him, resulting in a gash on his head and a severely swollen face.

What About Police Brutality?

Stories such as Johnson’s seem to surface every day. Headlines from coast to coast report cases of police brutality (often involving white police officers and black victims). This case has a different ending, however, one that doesn’t make it to the front page.

Video Vanquishes Lies

Rather than jump blindly to the defense of his deputies, Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger handled Johnson’s accusations in a way that should be followed by his fellow sheriffs throughout the country.

“We all know that nationally, there’s been all kinds of police-community antagonistic situations, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it,” Mellinger said, as reported in local Indianapolis media. “We need to go the extra yard and show people that number one, we have nothing to hide, and number two, as sheriff, I want transparency.”

Transparency. Going the extra yard. These are not the type of actions that will attract the rabid anti-cop crusaders, but they are exactly the type of responsible reactions to charges of police brutality that should be reported as widely as are those of the less reasonable sort.

True to his word, Mellinger handed over the investigation of the case to the Indiana State Police, completely removing his own department from the matter, thus heading off potential claims of pro-police bias or partiality. During the investigation, surveillance video was released that showed that, contrary to Johnson’s claims, the injuries he claimed were inflicted by the arresting officers were already clearly visible before Johnson was booked. When confronted with the video revealing his pre-arrest appearance, Johnson said he “must have dreamt” that he was beaten by deputies and he “made a big mistake.”

In the current socially combustible climate, this is the sort of “mistake” that could end careers and ignite potentially lethal protests. Had Sheriff Mellinger jumped to the blind defense of his officers, the firestorm could have flared and the facts would have been obscured by the tear-gas smoke.

Perhaps the most widely reported incident of a police officer exonerated of misuse of deadly force was that of Ferguson, Missouri, Officer Darren Wilson. In March, the Justice Department cleared Wilson of charges that he violated the civil rights of Michael Brown, who was killed last August. The New York Times reported that the 86-page report issued by the Justice Department

detailed and evaluated the testimony of more than 40 witnesses, the Justice Department largely corroborated or found little credible evidence to contradict the account of the officer, Darren Wilson, who is white.

Versions of events that sharply conflicted with Mr. Wilson’s were largely inconsistent with forensic evidence or with the witnesses’ previous statements, the report said. And in some cases, witnesses whose accounts supported Mr. Wilson said they had been afraid to come forth or tell the truth because they feared reprisals from the enraged community.

Though the dismissal of charges against Wilson didn’t go unchallenged, and the agitators didn’t go away quietly, content with the clearing of Wilson’s name, the situation demonstrates the difficulty of clearly discerning guilt and innocence in this volatile climate where acquittal and conviction can create combustible interactions between public servants and members of the public.

While Madison County deserves credit for its professionalism and transparency, too often the charges of police brutality aren’t so easily disproved and aren’t the result of “dreams,” but are nightmares that have become very real.

In Denver, Colorado, for example, a video not only didn’t exonerate police accused of beating a citizen, but revealed that their brutality was worse than expected. In July 2009, police subdued and handcuffed four women. Later, the women claimed the cops roughly threw them to the ground, sprayed them with mace, and continued beating them once they were down. The women, insisting they did nothing to deserve such savagery, filed a formal complaint with the Denver Police Department, accusing the officers of using excessive force. The officers adamantly denied the charges and a believing public backed them all the way.

That is until a video surfaced two years later revealing the truth of victims’ allegations and showing the officers lied about their treatment of the women they arrested. Before the video came to light, the officers accused of brutality claimed that the women attacked them and that they were quickly surrounded by a mob. None of that appeared on the video, however.

The city awarded the women $360,000, but the policemen who beat them and then lied about it were put back on the streets after the furor died down, this time as agents of the Denver Civil Service Commission.

Remarkably, this betrayal of the public trust went unnoticed until August 2015, when the women pushed back again, resulting in the dismissal of one of the officers. The other attacker had quit in 2013.

Despite the right resolution of this case, many other cases of police brutality go unpunished and, on the other hand, many false charges of police-inflicted injury are accepted without appropriate inquiry.

One of the most notorious examples of verifiable violence committed by cops against those undeserving of any level of abuse happened in Cornelia, Georgia, and left a toddler near death, horribly injured, and disfigured. Bounkham Phonesavanh was 19 months old and asleep in his crib when a sheriff’s SWAT team broke open the front door in the early morning hours on May 28, 2014 and threw a flash-bang grenade into the front room. His mother, father, and three sisters were in the room as well. The grenade attack came during the execution of a “no-knock” warrant, supposedly based on an anonymous tip regarding an alleged $50 drug deal.

“Everyone’s sleeping. There’s a loud bang and a bright light,” the boy’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, told local news station WSB-TV. “The cops threw that grenade in the door without looking first, and it landed right in the playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face.”

As a result of injuries from the SWAT team’s tactics, Bounkham was placed in a medically induced coma. “It blew open his face and his chest,” the boy’s mother told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution outside Grady Memorial Hospital. “Everybody was asleep. It’s not like anyone was trying to fight.”

According to an article in the U.K. Daily Mail, Bounkham Phonesavanh has endured some 10 surgeries costing more than a million dollars, “His nerve endings are dead around his mouth and chest, so they will not be able to properly develop as they are supposed to, so they [surgeons] will have to go in and do stretching and grafts.” He’ll likely need surgery at least every other year as he grows.

Do’s and Don’ts of Intervention

While public outcry against abuses of power by those carrying guns and charged with “serving and protecting” their fellow citizens is understandable and often justified, too often those demanding punishment of offending officers also demand that the federal government get involved to crack down on the rogue cops.

On the other side, the segment of society sympathetic to the perceived plight of police and hostile to those claiming abuse at their hands also petition the federal government, demanding that they send local law enforcement more powerful weapons to help them fight the foes of law and order and keep police on the street safe from rocks thrown by rioters.

Constitutionalists on either side of the issue should recognize the problem with both reactions: increased federal control over local law enforcement.

Of course, the federal government gets what it wants regardless of who wins the fight for “safer streets.”

A key plank of the Obama administration platform seems to be the conversion of the local police into a sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces, and all the attention paid to charges of police brutality and the riots that so often erupt is pushing that agenda forward at breakneck speed.

Cash-strapped local law enforcement gobbles up the federal “grants,” purchasing military-grade vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and surveillance technology that would make the National Security Agency (NSA) proud. In December 2014, President Obama proposed $263 million in federal funding for local law enforcement, which includes $75 million for body-worn video cameras for police officers, the latest panacea for police abuse. Budgetary considerations and the constitutional federalism issues aside, the body cam, like the dashcams mounted in many police cruisers and the audio recorders already worn by many peace officers, can offer some measure of accountability — both for the peace officers and those who accuse them of abuse. It is worth noting that available evidence indicates that more often than not, dash-cam and body-cam videos exculpate, rather than convict, officers of wrongdoing.

The recent case of liberal Connecticut activist Professor Minati Roychoudhuri, who falsely accused a state trooper of racial profiling, is one of many in which video/audio recordings have shown accusations of police misconduct to be totally false. The recordings show Trooper John Such was courteous and professional, and the professor’s public accusations were false and malicious. Roychoudhuri is being prosecuted for her demonstrably false charges against the trooper. In other similar recent examples, police videos have exonerated officers in “celebrity” racism/brutality accusation cases, such as these: in Texas, Democratic state representative Garnet Coleman; California,  actress Taraji Henson; Kansas, activist John Sherman; and California, actress Daniele Watts. Many additional cases have shown that ideologues with a political agenda, as well as opportunists attempting to avoid the consequences of their criminal activities, have adopted the practice of hollering “racism” and “brutality” at the first contact with police officers.

While the campaigns for body cams is relatively new, the campaign for establishing “civilian review boards” has been underway since the 1930s — when it was launched by the Communist Party. The term “civilian review” is deceptively appealing, and we already have it in the form of civilian officials elected by the people and other civilian appointees and institutions established under state constitutions and county/city charters: state and county grand juries, county commissions, city councils, mayors, county sheriffs, etc. The Communist Party and its fellow travelers intended to undermine this constitutional civilian process by inserting over the police and sheriffs an unelected board of activists (whom they intended to control). Unfortunately, this subversive program has now been instituted in more than 100 U.S. cities.

As it stands now, the multi-pronged war against locally-controlled police is dangerously advanced. Unless citizens awaken to this fact and reverse the trend, we will find ourselves accelerating faster down the trail to tyranny.

Sheriffs Are the Key to Local Control

September 15, 2015

From The New American by Joe Wolvereton II, J.D., September 15, 2015

As one by one the parchment barricades protecting the people from the destructive growth of government are being attacked and overrun, there is one key group of officials who are stepping into the breach — county sheriffs.

On August 6 of this year, a sheriff with an eye on the Constitution and his fellow citizens stood steadfastly against the federal usurpation in defense of one of the residents of his county.

On that day, about 100 residents in Priest River, Idaho, gathered outside the home of a U.S. Navy veteran to protest an effort by the federal government to confiscate the man’s guns.

Idaho state representative Heather Scott said that the veteran, John Arnold, received a letter from the Veterans Affairs office “warning him that he cannot possess or purchase firearms.”

Remarkably, found among the throng of protesters was Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler. Wheeler “promised to stand guard against any federal attempts to remove Arnold’s guns,” the Associated Press reported.

“I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and uphold the laws of Idaho,” Wheeler said, as quoted in the AP story. “This seemed appropriate to show my support. I was going to make sure Mr. Arnold’s rights weren’t going to be breached.”

Earlier this year, the Helena (Montana) Independent Record reported on the effort of the state legislature to protect not only the sovereignty of the state, but the status of sheriff as the highest constitutional law-enforcement authority:

House Bill 274, the “sheriffs first” measure, says federal agents may not make an arrest, search or seizure in the state without the written permission of the sheriff — or risk prosecution by the county attorney for kidnapping, trespass, theft or homicide.

“This bill is well intentioned,” said sponsor Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton. “Federal overreach is a real concern. Our people want to know there is a last line of defense when the feds come into their county. And that’s the sheriff.”

Sheriffs nationwide are awakening to the reality of their role as the ultimate constitutionally elected county executive. Once aware of this role and its responsibilities, the lawmen are stepping up in defense of the Constitution.

Elected sheriffs, as the top law-enforcement officers within their counties, work for the citizens and taxpayers in their jurisdictions, not the federal government. This is a critical distinction in the era of rapid federalization (nationalization of local law enforcement).

One group of lawmen in particular has provided inspiration and information to county sheriffs willing to be an impenetrable roadblock on the federal government’s path toward absolutism: the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA).

The CSPOA’s two-fold mission is to save America and to get enough people involved in that fight to make the dream a reality. The organization’s website describes precisely how they propose to achieve this lofty and laudable goal:

The answers lie within our grasp and come from the foundation of our country. The principles are embodied within the Declaration of Independence and outlined in the Constitution.

Yes, America is in deep, deep trouble. The good news is that there is hope and my [CSPOA founder, former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack’s] victory at the US Supreme Court proves that it only takes a few to stand to make monumental changes. We do not have to stand by and watch while America is destroyed from within. If our counties, cities, and states and all local officers keep their oaths to protect us from tyranny, we can win this battle to take our country back.

This is our plan, our goal and our quest. We are forming the Constitutional Peace Officers Association which will unite all public servants and sheriffs, to keep their word to uphold, defend, protect, preserve, and obey the Constitution of the United States of America. We already have hundreds of police, sheriffs, and other officials who have expressed a desire to be a part of this Holy Cause of Liberty.

We are going to train and vet them all, state by state, to understand and enforce the constitutionally protected Rights of the people they serve, with an emphasis on State Sovereignty and local autonomy. Then these local governments will issue our new Declaration to the Federal Government regarding the abuses that we will no longer tolerate or accept. Said declaration will be enforced by our Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers. In short, the CSPOA will be the army to set our nation free. This will guarantee this movement remains both peaceful and effective.

The history presented by the constitutional sheriffs is sound.

Although police officers are the most visible components of today’s law-enforcement apparatus, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, for most of the early history of the United States, the investigation of crime and the arresting of suspects was not carried out by a professional cadre of full-time police officers at all.

Before the creation of the modern police force, the members of society believed that they themselves were endowed by natural law with very broad law-enforcement power. In fact, it was only the so-called executive functions of the law (issuing warrants, carrying out judicial orders, delivering summons) that were carried out by lawmen.

In the early days of the Republic, these duties were assigned by the people to sheriffs or constables, who would be chosen from among the people themselves. They were chosen (elected, often, but sometimes appointed) by the people and thus were accountable to them. No one would have imagined being a sheriff for life. Acting as a county sheriff was seen as an act of public service, not as a career. One would leave his profession when called upon by his fellow citizens and then, once the prescribed term of his public service was over, the sheriff would return to his former profession, living among those he recently served.

This arrangement continued to be common practice even as late as the 1830s when the renowned Alexis de Tocqueville visited America. De Tocqueville found that in America the “means available to the authorities for the discovery of crimes and arrest of criminals [are] very few.” To his surprise, however, he found that there was likely no country on Earth where “crime so seldom escapes punishment.”

How did we manage? How is it that in an era when the people themselves assumed most of the burden of investigating crimes and bringing lawbreakers to justice, the streets were safer and the cities more well-ordered?

The answer is found in the wisdom of our Founders. Men and women who desire to live in a peaceful, safe society should be responsible for making it so. Sheriffs elected or appointed by the people should be tasked with carrying out the executive functions of law enforcement, but it is the responsibility of the people themselves to watch, warn, and weed out.

Much of the growth of the police state, then, is a result of a dereliction of duty on the part of the American people. We have allowed a law-enforcement bureaucracy to grow up as an alternative to our own participation in the policing of our towns, and now we are reaping the whirlwind of increased violence by and against the professional police.

As in so many other areas where we have seen government and the agents of government transformed from servants into masters, law enforcement will only grow as onerous as we allow it to.

We can prevent the federal government from using grant money and fusion centers to stealthily grow a national police force — a sixth branch of the armed forces — right under our noses, by insisting that those entrusted with protecting and serving be chosen by us and accountable to us for any abuses of that trust. We must return to the concept of citizen-sheriff embraced by our Founders and others for generations.

police under fire coverBy electing courageous and constitutionally minded sheriffs, citizens of the 3,007 counties in the United States can clearly communicate to Washington, D.C., their determination to protect themselves from the “swarms of officers” sent “to harass our people and eat out their substance,” and we can return to the days of peaceful, well-ordered cities that were once the pride of the United States.


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