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Second Amendment: How Does It Work? Left Has No Idea

Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:21 am

I genuinely want to be done with defending the Second Amendment from theregular barrage of its historically illiterate and inept detractorsthe people who say this amendment protects only the right of the militia to own weapons.

One friend and fellow gun rights activist said its best to just ignore such people, in the same way that you might ignore people who say triangles have four sides or that the Sun orbits the Earth. It is tempting to just stop engaging the dopeswho simply refuse to consider basic, objective historical facts.

But I actually think this might be a bad strategy, as it may allow the debunked and nonsensical militia reading of the Second Amendment to gain ground. With a Hillary Clinton presidency and Supreme Court on the way, we need an American population that is historically knowledgeable. That means fighting back against the corruption of American knowledge.

Anti-gun folks will cheerfully exploit (and in many cases encourage) the ignorance of the American body politic to get what they want. It is important to push back against that wherever and whenever possible. By way of example: at the Huffington Post this week, Daryl Sneath, a recreational grammarian, is trying very hard totake advantage of American historical ignorance:

One of those things [the Framers]knew about is the comma, the only purpose of which is clarity. Doubtless the writers were acutely aware of this grammatical truism (despite their apparent affinity for complex diction) when they drew their collective stylus southward (certainly aware too of that symbolic direction) making the little mark immediately following the phrasethe right of the people to keep and bear arms. As such, the subject of the predicateshall not be infringedis clearly notthe right of the people. No subject is ever separated from its predicate by a comma alone. Put more plainly, the principal clause (or declaration) of the whole amendment is this:A well regulated militia shall not be infringed.The middle bit modifies the main.

Leaving aside the dubious grammatical reading, as well as the utter travesty of ahistorical non-engagement with contemporaneous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century primary sources, just marvel at this: A well regulated militia shall not be infringed. What would such a right evenmeanin the context of extant constitutional structure and precedent? It would actually meannothing.

Sneath seems to suggest that the Second Amendment provides some sort of bulwark to protect state militias against congressional infringement. But this is objectively, factually false: Congress hascompletecontrol over state militiasthe federal governmentcan organize and abolish the militiawhenever itfeels like it, and for whatever reasonand no serious historical scholar has ever suggested that the Second Amendment somehow circumscribes this congressional power in any way. Put another way: Sneath is implying that the Second Amendment prohibits Congress from doingthe very thing Congress is fully empowered to do.

I am genuinely curious: is there any other constitutional right, or any other constitutional amendment, that is so consistently and so aggressively handled with such base and inexcusable stupidity, on so regular a basis, and on such an industrial scale?I am not sure. You dont usually see arguments of this idiotic magnitude when it comes to, say, the Fourth Amendment, or the Sixth. You certainly see dumb interpretations of the First Amendment, but thats usually a matter ofdegree, notkind:you will have people arguing that the First Amendment doesnt protect hate speech, for instance, but nobody ever argues that the First Amendment only applies to state governments, say, rather than to individual members of the body politic.

Only the Second Amendment is subject to such illiterate and ahistorical analyses. Onceyou realizethat, you can fully graspwhy: many people simply do not like guns, and they will lieor else keep themselves deliberately ignorantto prevent other people from having them.

This is not an isolated incident: anti-gun folks are very happy to resort to falsehoods to advance their cause. Recently the National Rifle Association put out an ad that claims Hillary Clinton doesnt believe in your right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. This is entirely true, but Glenn Kessler over at the Washington Post calls it false:

Clinton has said that she disagreed with the Supreme Courts decision inHeller, but she has made no proposals that would strip Americans of the right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. Clinton is certainly in favor of more gun regulations and tougher background checks, and a more nuanced ad could have made this case.Conjuring up a hypothetical Supreme Court justice ruling in a hypothetical case is simply not enough for such a sweeping claim.That tips the ads claim into the Four-Pinocchio category.

This is just a shameless mess.As I have argued before, Clintons disagreement with the Supreme Courts ruling inHelleris anunequivocal rejection of the right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.That is the very rightHellerdecided in favor of!To be againstHelleris to be against the individual right to own firearms. This is not up for debate.

Now, Clinton claims she merely disagrees withHellerinsofar as she believes cities and states should have the power to craft common-sense laws to keep their residents safe. But this is nonsense:Hellernot onlyallows for such laws, itexplicitly authorizes them.Given that Hillarys justification for opposingHelleris meaningless, we must assume she opposes it for its core substancenamely, that it affirms the individual right codified in the Second Amendment.

In other words, Hillary Clinton wants to take your guns away. Shes been honest about it; why cant our fact checkers?

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Second Amendment: How Does It Work? Left Has No Idea

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Trump foes miss the mark on Clinton’s Second Amendment …

Posted: August 19, 2016 at 4:08 am

Donald Trump keeps saying that Hillary Clinton wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment. But the media fact checkers are having none of it. Last week, CNN called his accusation persistent and false. At the same time, a Washington Post editorial also called the claim absurd.

In his analysis for CNN, Eric Bradner acknowledges Clintons support for many different types of gun control — a 25 percent tax on handguns, an assault weapons ban, repeal of laws allowing permitted concealed handguns, and background checks on the private transfer of guns. Clinton also has supported increased fees and a variety of regulations that her husband imposed. Thanks to Bill Clintons regulations, the number of licensed firearms dealers from 248,155 in 1992 to 67,479 in 2000 — a 73 percent reduction.

The media picks and chooses when to take Clinton at her word. CNN pointed to a recent Fox News Sunday appearance where Hillary Clinton claimed: “I’m not looking to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not looking to take people’s guns away.” The Washington Post noted a statement from her campaign website about how gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities.

But in June, ABCs George Stephanopoulos pushed Clinton twice on whether people have a right to own guns. But that’s not what I asked. I said do you believe that their conclusion that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right? Clinton could only say: If it is a constitutional right . . . .

Similarly, in New York Cityin the fall, she told donors: The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make that case every chance that I get. In Maryland in April, Chelsea Clinton promised that her mom would appoint to the Supreme Court justices who would overturn past decisions that struck down gun-control measures. But the only lawsthat the Supreme Court evaluated were complete gun bans and a law that made it a crime to use a gun.

Washington, D.C., had a complete handgun ban in place until 2008. It was also a felony, punishable by five years in prison, to put a bullet in the chamber of a gun. This amounted to a complete gun ban on using guns for self-defense. The U.S. Supreme Courts ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller struck down that ban.

Clinton told Stephanopoulos her opinion of this ruling: I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia. She continued, There was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulation.

Clinton went on to talk about her push for expanded background checks, an issue that was irrelevant to Scalias decision in Heller. Instead, the question is why was D.C.s local gun ban a reasonable regulation. Why should people be imprisoned for five years for defending their families?

In McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent: “I can find nothing in the Second Amendments text, history, or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as fundamental insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor signed on to Breyers opinion.

Breyer and Ginsburg were both appointed by President Bill Clinton. Sotomayor was Obamas first nominee to the Supreme Court. Obamas second nominee, Elana Kagan, would clearly have voted the same way had she been on the court at the time of McDonald. Indeed, Kagan served in Bill Clintons administration and helped lead the Presidents gun control initiatives.

The Washington Post dismisses all this talk about the Supreme Court by saying that appointing Justices to the court would not be anything like abolishing an amendment, which no court can do. And it is true that the court cant simply remove the amendment from the Constitution. But the media is appearing to be deliberately obtuse. If the court reverses Heller and McDonald and changes its interpretation of the Second Amendment as Hillary promises, what will really be left of the Second Amendment?

The media might not like to admit it, but The War on Guns is real. If Hillary wins in November, she will appoint Scalias successor and the Supreme Court will overturn the Heller and McDonald decisions. Make no mistake about it, the government will again be able to ban guns. Her claim that she isn’t looking to take people’s guns away is not consistent with her promise to overturn existing Supreme Court decisions.

John R. Lott, Jr. is a columnist forFoxNews.com. He is an economist and was formerly chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. Lott is also a leading expert on guns and op-eds on that issue are done in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Research Center. He is the author of nine books including “More Guns, Less Crime.” His latest book is “The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies (August 1, 2016). Follow him on Twitter@johnrlottjr.

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Supreme Court Declares That the Second Amendment … – NRA-ILA

Posted: July 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Supreme Court Declares That the Second AmendmentGuarantees an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms — June 26, 2008

Fairfax, VA Leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA) praised the Supreme Courts historic ruling overturning Washington, D.C.s ban on handguns and on self-defense in the home, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

This is a great moment in American history. It vindicates individual Americans all over this country who have always known that this is their freedom worth protecting, declared NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. Our founding fathers wrote and intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right. The Supreme Court has now acknowledged it. The Second Amendment as an individual right now becomes a real permanent part of American Constitutional law.

Last year, the District of Columbia appealed a Court of Appeals ruling affirming that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that the Districts bans on handguns, carrying firearms within the home and possession of functional firearms for self-defense violate that fundamental right.

Anti-gun politicians can no longer deny that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right, said NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox. All law-abiding Americans have a fundamental, God-given right to defend themselves in their homes. Washington, D.C. must now respect that right.

Read the opinion (1 MB)

Highlights From The Heller Decision

On March 18, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Listen to the audio recording of the oral arguments (RealPlayer required)

View the transcript

The Court announced its decision to take the case in which plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of the District’sgun ban last Fall. The District of Columbia appealed a lower courts ruling last year affirming that the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and that the Districts bans on handguns, carrying firearms within the home, and possession of loaded or operable firearms for self-defense violate that right.

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that [T]he phrase the right of the people, when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual. The D.C. Circuit also rejected the claim that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because D.C. is not a state.

The case marks the first time a Second Amendment challenge to a firearm law has reached the Supreme Court since 1939.

Briefs filed on behalf of Heller and Washington D.C.

Amicus brief filed by the United States

Amicus briefs filed in support of Heller

Click the links below to read recently filed amicus briefs in support of Dick Anthony Heller in the upcoming case District of Columbia v. Heller.

Click the links below to read recently filed amicus briefs in support of Washington D.C.

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The Right to Bear Arms

Posted: July 12, 2016 at 6:19 am

Miller was subject to two possible interpretations. One, that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but that the right only extends to weapons commonly used in militias (the defendants in Miller were transporting sawed-off shotguns). The second–broader–view of Miller is that the Amendment guarantees no rights to individuals at all, and the defendants lost the case as soon as it was obvious that they were not members of a state militia.

In 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court, in District of Columbia vs. Heller, struck down a Washington, D.C. ban on individuals having handguns in their homes. Writing for a 5 to 4 majority, Justice Scalia found the right to bear arms to be an individual right consistent with the overriding purpose of the 2nd Amendment, to maintain strong state militias. Scalia wrote that it was essential that the operative clause be consistent with the prefatory clause, but that the prefatory clause did not limit the operative clause. The Court easily found the D. C. law to violate the 2nd Amendment’s command, but refused to announce a standard of review to apply in future challenges to gun regulations. The Court did say that its decision should not “cast doubt” on laws restricting gun ownership of felons or the mentally ill, and that bands on especially dangerous or unusual weapons would most likely also be upheld. In the 2008 presidential campaign, both major candidates said that they approved of the Court’s decision.

Heller left open the question of whether the right to bear arms was enforceable against state regulation as well as against federal regulation? In 1876, the Supreme Court said the right–if it existed–was enforceable only against the federal government, but there was a wholesale incorporation of Bill of Rights provisions into the 14th Amendment since then. In 2010, in the case of McDonald v Chicago, the U. S. Supreme Court held (5 to 4) that the 2nd Amendment right has been incorporated through the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause and is fully enforceable against the states. The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Alito, proceeded to strike down Chicago’s gun regulation insofar as it prohibited the private possession in the home of handguns for self-defense. Justice Thomas, concurring, would have held the right to bear arms to be a right protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment, an approach to applying Bill of Rights protections against the states first rejected in the 19th-century Slaughter-House Cases and never used since.

Cases United States vs. Miller (U.S. 1939) District of Columbia vs Heller (U.S. 2008) McDonald v Chicago (U.S. 2010)

Justice Antonin Scalia, for the majority in District of Columbia v Heller (U. S. Supreme Court 2008)

The Supreme Court votes 5 to 4 to strike down a Washington, D. C. ban on the private possession of handguns. Justice Scalia authors majority opinion.

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The Right to Bear Arms

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Eugenics in Virginia: Buck v. Bell and Forced Sterilization …

Posted: June 27, 2016 at 6:27 am

Photograph of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. [1.1] Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Buck v. Bell

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind Three generations of imbeciles are enough. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Writing for the majority in the Supreme Courts affirmative decision of the Buck v. Bell landmark case, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. described Charlottesville native Carrie Buck as the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted stating that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.

Current scholarship shows that Carrie Bucks sterilization relied on a false diagnosis premised on the now discredited science of eugenics. It is likely that Carries mother, Emma Buck, was committed to a state institution because she was considered sexually promiscuous, that the same diagnosis was made about Carrie when she became an unwed mother at the age of 17 due to being raped, and that her daughter Vivian was diagnosed as not quite normal at the age of six months largely in support of the legal effort to sterilize Carrie.

2004 Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

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War-On-Drugs.net

Posted: June 21, 2016 at 11:19 pm

US Admits Failings As Afghan Poppy Output Doubles (And A Staggering 36 Times More Than The Taliban)

by Arianna Huffington, April 2, 2002

In an infuriating blow to reason, logic, fairness, compassion and equal justice, the Supreme Court ruled last week that people living in public housing can be evicted for any drug activity by any household member or guest — even if the drug use happened blocks away from the housing project and even if the tenant had no inkling that anything illegal was taking place.

Chew on that for a second. The highest judicial body in the land has said –unanimously — that it’s OK to toss people who the court acknowledges are innocent out of their houses for crimes they didn’t commit and didn’t even know about. The generals in the drug war are getting mighty desperate –and silly.

The justices did not just uphold the constitutionality of the “One Strike and You’re Out” eviction policy, first implemented by the Clinton administration in 1996; they also rushed to its defense, calling it “reasonable,” “unambiguous” and “not absurd.”

But try to tell Pearlie Rucker that the law’s not absurd. She was the named defendant in the case the court ruled on, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who found herself and everyone living with her facing eviction when her mentally disabled daughter was caught possessing cocaine — three blocks away from Rucker’s apartment. Or to co-defendant Herman Walker, a disabled 79-year old man, who now stands to lose his home because his full-time health care worker was found with drug paraphernalia in the apartment. You’d think that if the Supremes didn’t understand the hardship of poverty, they’d at least understand the hardships of old age.

When the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down this draconian policy, it ruled that it perverted the intent of the law, which was meant to improve the lives of public housing residents — not destroy them.

The high court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist no less, tried to buttress its cold-hearted argument by claiming that so-called “no fault” evictions are justified because drug use leads to “murders, muggings, and other forms of violence.” But he failed to point out how locking up innocent people solves that. Or what social ills will be avoided by Pearlie and Herman being cast out on their innocent rear ends. Surely even the most brutal and utilitarian calculus would at least balance the cost of punishing so many blameless victims against whatever perceived good is achieved.

But, no, the justices couldn’t be bothered. In adopting such one-sided reasoning and hyperbolic “Reefer Madness” rhetoric the Supreme Court is following in the fear-mongering footsteps of the administration, whose latest whacko anti-drug ad campaign tried to draw a link between teenage drug use and violent acts of terrorism.

In reality, two of the four plaintiffs in the case before the court were elderly women whose grandchildren were caught smoking pot in a housing project parking lot. I have a feeling the grandkids were far more interested in the munchies than in murder and mayhem.

The ruling is not only a galling example of drug war lunacy, but also a gut-wrenching reminder of just how differently America treats its rich and its poor. The multi-million dollar homes of Beverly Hills or the Upper East Side of Manhattan have more than their share of kids struggling with drug problems. But as concerned as these kids’ parents are, you can bet that their problems are not compounded by the additional worry that the entire family will be tossed out onto the street because their kid is seen smoking a joint three blocks away. Why should we hold poor people to a standard of accountability most of us could never meet?

“A tenant who cannot control drug crime,” wrote Justice Rehnquist in the majority opinion, “is a threat to other residents and the project.” I wonder if the Chief Justice would apply the same condemnatory logic to Gov. Jeb Bush, who also lives in public housing and was also unable to control his troubled daughter.

Indeed, our political establishment, whether ensconced in plush public housing or not, is filled with people unable to “control drug crime” by a household member. But none of them — including Sens. Ted Kennedy, Richard Lugar, and Richard Shelby, and Reps. Dan Burton, Spencer Bachus, John Murtha, Duke Cunningham and Maurice Hinchey — were punished for the sins of their kids. What’s more, unlike the thousands of poor and minority drug offenders who have had the book thrown at them, these lawmakers’ lawbreaking offspring were frequently granted special treatment.

Take the amazing case of Rep. Burton’s son, Dan II, who, in 1994, was arrested for transporting seven pounds of marijuana across state lines with the intent to distribute. He pleaded guilty and received probation, community service and house arrest. Soon after, he was discovered growing 30 pot plants in his apartment but skated on the charges once again — a federal felony carrying a mandatory-minimum sentence of five years in jail having been miraculously transformed into a state level misdemeanor.

It’s not surprising that poor kids are routinely sent to jail while rich kids are given a slap on the wrist and a ticket to rehab, or that poor parents are thrown out of their houses for not knowing what their kids are doing while powerful parents are given our sympathy and understanding. But it is unjust. And isn’t that ultimately what the Supreme Court is supposed to be about: dispensing justice?

Since Rehnquist and company were too busy taking hits from their double-standard bong, it’s now up to Congress to undo this discriminatory policy. Here’s a thought: Why don’t Ted Kennedy and Dan Burton call a joint Senate-House hearing on “One Strike and You’re Out” no-fault evictions. They can call Jeb Bush, Pearlie Rucker and their respective daughters (one taken to rehab, one taken to jail) as the first witnesses.

Source: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12747

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Don't Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

Posted: June 17, 2016 at 4:48 am

If you think the Supreme Court is poised to expand or restrict gun rights sometime soon, don’t hold your breath.

As handwringing continues over what might have prevented the Orlando massacre– an old-time filibuster sparked by it even broke outin the Senate on Wednesday — the justices are about to consider a state gun control law enacted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

According to its docket, the court on Thursday will weigh whether to take up Shew v. Malloy, a case with all the elements that could make it emblematic for the battle over the Second Amendment’s meaning.

It’s a dispute between a host of gun rights groups, businesses and individual gun owners against Connecticut over the constitutionality of a sweeping regulatory regime that bans so-called “assault weapons” — semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity magazines of the very sort used in Newtown and Orlando.

Back in October, an appeals court in Manhattan said the Connecticut law and a similarly restrictive law in New Yorkwere constitutional –and the plaintiffs vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court.

Tom King, the head of New York’s biggest gun rights group, even said he was “happy” to have lost the case because that meant his organization could now ask the highest court of the land to decide the issue once and for all.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

But then Justice Antonin Scalia died. And suddenly,the gun lobby’s calculations changed — including King’s, who told the New York Daily News weeks after Scalia’s death that it was “just the wrong time” to continue the fight in the absence of a reliable conservative vote at the Supreme Court.

That might explain why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) glowingly pointed to the National Rifle Association’s opposition to Merrick Garland, the president’s high court nominee, to rationalize his own refusal to hold a vote and a hearing for Garland.

None of this matters, and yet it matters a great deal.

Because despite the pleas from gun rights advocates who still want the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to the weapons ban, the justices could wield all kinds of reasons not to touch the case with a 10-foot pole.

It’s not that they aren’t interested in clarifying the scope of the Second Amendment in the wake of Scalia’s magnum opus in District of Columbia v. Heller, which for the first time recognized a fundamental right to gun ownership in the home. But to echo King, it’s just not the right time — not with a short-staffed Supreme Court, a volatile political environment, and a nomination fight that may very well continue after President Barack Obama’s successor takes office.

As things stand now, all signs point to an extremely quiet and uncontroversial Supreme Court term beginning next October — a dry season that will stand in stark contrast to the current term’s constitutional blockbusters on affirmative action, abortion and immigration, to name only a few.The court just isn’t taking many new cases.

This paucity of potential big decisions aside, the courthassent some signals that the Second Amendment is safe, even as it has rejected dozens of cases challenging gun control measures across the country, leaving lower courts as the final decision-makers.

Over the protest of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court refused in December to review an appeals court decision that effectively upheld an assault weapons ban in a small Illinois town. Thomas said that decision treated the Second Amendment as a second-class right.

But in March, a month after Scalia’s death, the justices tipped their hand the other way, ruling that a Massachusetts ban on stun guns may violate the right to bear arms, quietly but forcefully endorsing the late justice’s Heller decision.

The Second Amendment extends … to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” the court said in a very brief rulingthat no justice signed his or her name to.

But writing separately, Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have gone further, asserting that indeed, gun ownership for self-defense is a “fundamental right” while making clear that Americans’ safety shouldn’t be “left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.”

Fighting words, as well as fodder for debate about where the court may go next on guns.

It is precisely this seeming tension within the Supreme Court — plus the political fallout from Scalia’s vacancy and all the work that other courts are doing to make some sense of the Second Amendment — that indicates why the justices probably won’t pull the trigger on the next big gun rights case soon.

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Psychedelics: LSD, Mushrooms, Salvia | Facts | Drug Policy …

Posted: June 16, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Psychedelic drugs include LSD (acid), psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline (found in peyote), ibogaine, salvia, and DMT (found in ayahuasca). Psychedelic substances have been used for thousands of years for religious and therapeutic purposes.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, psychedelic drugs such as LSD were considered promising treatments for a broad range of psychological and psychiatric conditions. Tens of thousands of people were introduced to them in clinical studies, as an adjunct to psychotherapy, or as part of a religious or spiritual practice.

By the late 1960s, however, as millions of people experimented with them, psychedelics became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent. By the early 1970s, the government had halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy. The ban persisted for decades, but has gradually been lifted over the past decade.

Today, there are dozens of studies taking place to evaluate the medical safety and efficacy of psychedelics, and the Supreme Court has ruled that psychedelics can be used as part of the practices of certain organized religions.

Facts

Sources:

Grinspoon, Lester and James B. Bakalar. 1997. Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered. New York: The Lindesmith Center.

Grob, Charles and Roger Walsh, ed. Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Expore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics. SUNY University of New York Press, 2005.

Stamets, Paul, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1996.

Stolaroff, Myron. The Secret Chief. Sarasota, FL: MAPS, 2006.

Strassman, R. J. 1984. Adverse Reactions to Psychedelic Drugs: A Review of the Literature. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 172: 577-95.

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Psychedelics: LSD, Mushrooms, Salvia | Facts | Drug Policy …

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Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

Posted: at 5:41 pm

If you think the Supreme Court is poised to expand or restrict gun rights sometime soon, don’t hold your breath.

As handwringing continues over what might have prevented the Orlando massacre– an old-time filibuster sparked by it even broke outin the Senate on Wednesday — the justices are about to consider a state gun control law enacted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

According to its docket, the court on Thursday will weigh whether to take up Shew v. Malloy, a case with all the elements that could make it emblematic for the battle over the Second Amendment’s meaning.

It’s a dispute between a host of gun rights groups, businesses and individual gun owners against Connecticut over the constitutionality of a sweeping regulatory regime that bans so-called “assault weapons” — semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity magazines of the very sort used in Newtown and Orlando.

Back in October, an appeals court in Manhattan said the Connecticut law and a similarly restrictive law in New Yorkwere constitutional –and the plaintiffs vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court.

Tom King, the head of New York’s biggest gun rights group, even said he was “happy” to have lost the case because that meant his organization could now ask the highest court of the land to decide the issue once and for all.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

But then Justice Antonin Scalia died. And suddenly,the gun lobby’s calculations changed — including King’s, who told the New York Daily News weeks after Scalia’s death that it was “just the wrong time” to continue the fight in the absence of a reliable conservative vote at the Supreme Court.

That might explain why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) glowingly pointed to the National Rifle Association’s opposition to Merrick Garland, the president’s high court nominee, to rationalize his own refusal to hold a vote and a hearing for Garland.

None of this matters, and yet it matters a great deal.

Because despite the pleas from gun rights advocates who still want the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to the weapons ban, the justices could wield all kinds of reasons not to touch the case with a 10-foot pole.

It’s not that they aren’t interested in clarifying the scope of the Second Amendment in the wake of Scalia’s magnum opus in District of Columbia v. Heller, which for the first time recognized a fundamental right to gun ownership in the home. But to echo King, it’s just not the right time — not with a short-staffed Supreme Court, a volatile political environment, and a nomination fight that may very well continue after President Barack Obama’s successor takes office.

As things stand now, all signs point to an extremely quiet and uncontroversial Supreme Court term beginning next October — a dry season that will stand in stark contrast to the current term’s constitutional blockbusters on affirmative action, abortion and immigration, to name only a few.The court just isn’t taking many new cases.

This paucity of potential big decisions aside, the courthassent some signals that the Second Amendment is safe, even as it has rejected dozens of cases challenging gun control measures across the country, leaving lower courts as the final decision-makers.

Over the protest of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court refused in December to review an appeals court decision that effectively upheld an assault weapons ban in a small Illinois town. Thomas said that decision treated the Second Amendment as a second-class right.

But in March, a month after Scalia’s death, the justices tipped their hand the other way, ruling that a Massachusetts ban on stun guns may violate the right to bear arms, quietly but forcefully endorsing the late justice’s Heller decision.

The Second Amendment extends … to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” the court said in a very brief rulingthat no justice signed his or her name to.

But writing separately, Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have gone further, asserting that indeed, gun ownership for self-defense is a “fundamental right” while making clear that Americans’ safety shouldn’t be “left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.”

Fighting words, as well as fodder for debate about where the court may go next on guns.

It is precisely this seeming tension within the Supreme Court — plus the political fallout from Scalia’s vacancy and all the work that other courts are doing to make some sense of the Second Amendment — that indicates why the justices probably won’t pull the trigger on the next big gun rights case soon.

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Posted: June 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm

The en banc opinion by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could set up a new showdown on gun rights at the Supreme Court.

At issue was California’s law on concealed weapons, which requires citizens to prove they have “good cause” to carry concealed firearms to get a license. Plaintiffs challenged guidelines in San Diego and Yolo counties that did not consider general self-defense to be enough to obtain a license.

“The historical materials bearing on the adoption of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments are remarkably consistent,” wrote Judge William Fletcher, going back to 16th century English law to find instances of restrictions on concealed weapons. “We therefore conclude that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms does not include, in any degree, the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”

Fletcher also cited the most recent Supreme Court cases on gun rights, District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, which were major victories for gun rights activists, in making his case.

The Heller decision, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, solidified a Second Amendment right of the public to keep guns, but it specifically noted the right was not absolute, and Fletcher pointed out that Scalia cited restrictions on concealed weapons as a historical example.

The court was careful to make the ruling narrow. The opinion does not say concealed weapons are unconstitutional, nor does it make any decisions about openly carrying weapons in public.

The case was a blow for gun rights advocates, and sets up the fight on gun rights for the Supreme Court to consider, says UCLA law professor and gun law expert Adam Winkler.

“This case raises the next great question for the Supreme Court: Does the Second Amendment guarantee a right to carry guns in public? And if so, what kind of licensing can states use to permit people to carry concealed weapons?” Winkler said.

The Supreme Court would not necessarily have to take up the case. The ruling does not create a substantive divide among different circuit courts in the U.S., one of the major factors the court considers in weighing which cases to take.

Four judges dissented from the ruling, with the main dissent by Judge Consuelo Callahan arguing that California’s laws taken together amount to a substantial restriction on citizens’ right to bear arms for self defense, as protected by the Second Amendment.

Whether the court does or does not take the case, the early 2016 death of Scalia looms large over it. Scalia authored Heller, the most substantial gun ruling in modern history of the court. And Republicans in the Senate have refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for replacing Scalia on the court, meaning the eight justice panel can split 4-4.

Without a ninth justice, Winkler said, it’s unlikely the court would take up the case, even with Scalia’s allies on the issue Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas still on the court.

Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia, Judge Merrick Garland, was chosen in large part for his moderate record. But one of the most substantial conservative arguments against Garland has been that his record on guns is too liberal, though his written record on the issue is limited.

A partner for the law firm that helped argue on behalf of Peruta said that the plaintiffs were “disappointed” with the ruling but not surprised. He also said appealing to the Supreme Court is not a guarantee yet.

“An appeal to the Supreme Court is possible,” said Chuck Michel, senior partner at Michel and Associates. “But significantly, the Peruta decision specifically avoided answering the critical legal question of whether, if concealed carry is prohibited, some form of open carry of firearms must be allowed. California law bans open carry, so the constitutionality of that ban will now have to be tested.”

The case was primarily argued by Paul Clement, a former solicitor general under the George W. Bush administration and one of the top litigators for conservative causes at the Supreme Court in recent years.

Ever since the Supreme Court decided the Heller decision and a follow up case two years later, the Supreme Court has declined to take another major second amendment case, a frustration Clement cited in a 2013 filing with the court.

In the years since Heller had been decided many expected a “major consideration” or extant firearms laws, Clement wrote. “Instead, jurisdictions have engaged in massive resistance to the clear import of those landmark decisions, and the lower federal courts, long out of the habit of taking the Second Amendment seriously, have largely facilitated that resistance.”

California state Attorney General Kamala Harris said the decision “is a victory for public safety and sensible gun safety laws. The ruling ensures that local law enforcement leaders have the tools they need to protect public safety by determining who can carry loaded, concealed weapons in our communities.”

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