California Wins Battle in Ongoing War Against ‘Assault Weapons’

Law-abiding Californians’ right to buy and sell AR-15s and other popular semi-automatic rifles shrank this week after a judge upheld state rules targeting “assault weapons.”

The National Rifle Association’s state affiliate had challenged rules, set to take effect on July 1, that expand the existing definition of “assault weapon” to include centerfire rifles with “bullet buttons,” plus a slew of handguns and shotguns. Those rules, the group’s lawsuit argued, extend far beyond what a 2016 state law authorized.

“The legislature has found and declared that the proliferation and use of assault weapons poses a threat to the health, safety, and security of the citizenry of California,” Superior Court Judge Mark Snauffer, a Democratic appointee in Fresno, wrote in an little-noticed opinion published Wednesday. “The challenged regulations appear to carry out the intention of the legislature.”

Snauffer’s decision underscores how hostile to gun owners the California judiciary has become. Just as the state is trying to nullify federal marijuana and immigration laws, it’s also trying to effectively nullify the federal Second Amendment. And unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in, California’s anti-gun politicians and bureaucrats might get away with it.

“We’re disappointed but not surprised,” says Sean Brady, an attorney at Michel & Associates who represents the California Rifle and Pistol Association in the case, known as Villanueva v. Becerra. “These complex technical cases are usually challenging, particularly when you’re up against the state.”

The technical question arises from a fairly straightforward law. In 2016, the California legislature expanded the definition of so-called assault weapons to sweep in ones outfitted with a bullet button. A bullet button is a quick release system that allows magazines to be swapped in and out by using a bullet tip as a tool. The goal of the law was to restrict removable magazines.

But the state Department of Justice seems to be targeting more firearms—and requiring their registration by July 1 upon pain of criminal penalties—than the law actually authorizes. The plaintiffs argue, convincingly, that the department “has promulgated and is currently enforcing a whole host of regulations that go far beyond the registration process without adhering to the [Administrative Procedure Act’s] requirements.”

For instance, the regulations reclassify certain shotguns as assault weapons (assault shotguns?), move up the deadline for obtaining a serial number for 3D-printed or homemade firearms, and limit the definition of “family member” for joint registrations of affected firearms.

Under California law, probably the most Draconian in the country, so-called assault weapons are heavily restricted. They cannot be rented at gun ranges. They cannot be inherited. They cannot be sold to another California resident. They cannot be imported. And owning one is a crime unless it’s registered with the government. Officials appear to hope that the number of Californians with fully functional AR-15s or equivalents will keep shrinking and eventually, with time, drop to zero.

In addition to this administrative challenge to the 2016 Assault Weapons Control Act, the California Rifle and Pistol Association filed a constitutional challenge invoking the Second Amendment. It had no more success. U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton, an Obama appointee, sided with the state a few weeks ago, saying: “Even an outright ban on certain types of semiautomatic weapons does not substantially burden the Second Amendment right.”

A third lawsuit challenging the Assault Weapons Control Act on both constitutional and administrative grounds has been on hold since it was filed in November. Plaintiffs in this case, Holt v. Becerra, include the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation.

“We’re very disappointed in what I think is a very wrong ruling by the court in Fresno,” says Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition. “We’re reviewing it and reviewing options. We’ll do the best we can to give gun owners a fighting chance.”

Given the political leanings of much of the California judiciary, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Instead, this week’s decision will embolden government officials working diligently to turn the Golden State into a Second Amendment–free zone.

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Report: Former Tennessee RB John Kelly receives judicial diversion, settles marijuana charge

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SCOTUS Feigns Federalism in Sports Betting Decision

This week seven members of the Supreme Court agreed that Congress exceeded its powers when it passed a law that prohibited states from legalizing sports betting. But the ruling was not quite the vindication of state sovereignty that it appeared to be, since almost all of the justices also seemed to agree that Congress could have achieved the same result by passing a slightly different law that would have been constitutional.

The statute that the Court overturned, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), made it illegal for a state to “authorize by law” any sort of wagering on athletic contests. Enacted in 1992, PASPA made an exception for Nevada but otherwise left Americans, who according to informed estimates bet more than $100 billion a year on games, no legal way to do so.

New Jersey, which wanted to legalize sports betting at casinos and racetracks, argued that PASPA violated the “anticommandeering rule,” which says Congress cannot order state officials to carry out its policies. The Supreme Court agreed.

PASPA “unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do,” Justice Samuel Alito writes in the majority opinion. “It is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals. A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.”

Less direct affronts to state sovereignty, however, are easy to imagine, and the Supreme Court is OK with them. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly,” Alito says, “but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.”

The implication is clear: If Congress decides to “regulate sports gambling directly”—by banning it outright, say—each state is not free to act on its own. In that case, the federal ban would “preempt” state law, because acts of Congress are “the supreme law of the land.”

According to the Court, PASPA’s command regarding state law does not qualify as a “valid preemption provision” because it is addressed to legislators rather than “private actors.” It is an attempt to “regulate state governments’ regulation” of their citizens, Alito observes, and “the Constitution gives Congress no such power.”

By contrast, Alito takes it for granted that the Constitution gives Congress the power to ban sports betting. Writing in dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg identifies the source of this supposed power: the authority to “regulate commerce…among the several states.”

You might not realize you are engaged in interstate commerce when you bet on a basketball game with a local bookie. But as Ginsburg explains, “Our case law firmly establishes Congress’ power to regulate purely local activities that are part of an economic ‘class of activities’ that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.”

Ginsburg is quoting a 2005 decision dealing with the federal ban on marijuana, the upshot of which was that Congress can use the Commerce Clause as an excuse to regulate pretty much anything it wants. Clarence Thomas, one of three dissenters in that case and the only one remaining on the Court, is the only justice who saw fit this week to question the assumption that Congress has the authority to “prohibit sports gambling that does not cross state lines.”

The ridiculously broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause that most of the Court seems to accept is a relatively recent invention. It required a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol, and even Harry Anslinger, the legendary pot prohibitionist, took it for granted that Congress did not have the authority to ban intrastate cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

The Commerce Clause has not changed since then, but the ambitions of national politicians have, and the Supreme Court is eager to accommodate them. Notwithstanding its lofty talk about the importance of federalism in protecting liberty and promoting accountability, the Court lets Congress override state autonomy as long as it pretends to be doing something else.

© Copyright 2018 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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Marijuana, Unintended Consequences – When Federal & State Laws Conflict


Marijuana And Fireworks
Marijuana, Unintended Consequences – When Federal & State Laws Conflict

Ft Collins, CO –-( More “Unintended Consequences!”

This from an attorney friend and colleague in WI:

“I am in the process of reviewing title-work in order to insure the purchase of commercial property for one of our clients.

I ran into this ‘exception clause.’

It is new! I’ve never seen it before:

‘Notice: Please be aware that, due to conflict between federal and state laws concerning the cultivation, distribution, manufacture, or sale of marijuana, the Company is not able to close, nor insure, any transaction involving property that is associated with these activities.’

This is a big deal, and I’m not at all sure many in the real estate industry are even aware of it yet.

But, they will be!

It means that a marijuana-growing operation, or establishment that ‘dispenses’ marijuana, cannot get title insurance for their property, making it nearly impossible to sell the property. Note that the clause above does not enumerate any kind of time limit!

When you can’t get title insurance, you can’t get a loan!

I’d hate to be a landlord who has a ‘dispensary tenant,’ looking to refinance, only to anguishingly discover his otherwise-valuable property is permanently ‘contaminated,’ and thus effectively worthless, maybe forever!”


That landlord would probably be better-off if his property were contaminated with plutonium!

With this inherent and unresolvable state/federal law conflict, suddenly lawyers, realtors, landlords, underwriters, bank presidents, et al are faced with the prospect of an inadvertent mis-step that leads to them spending “quality time” in federal prison!

They predictably respond by washing their hands of the entire issue, and nervously writing “exception clauses,” as we see above.

“Public acceptance” of casual marijuana use is decades away, and it well may never happen, no matter what state legislatures do or don’t do.

In the interim, which probably includes the remainder of our lifetimes, significant risk will continue to attach,

… and not just for actual users, as we see!


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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Ohio recreational marijuana measure certified by Attorney General Mike DeWine

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Study: Majority of Colorado pot shops recommend pregnant women use marijuana for morning sickness

Nearly 70 percent of Colorado’s pot shops are recommending cannabis use for pregnant women who experience morning sickness, according to a new study.

The study was published Wednesday in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Its senior author, Dr. Torri Metz of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said the findings surprised her.

“We did not anticipate that 69 percent of the dispensaries contacted would have a recommendation. We expected a much higher proportion of them to say that they could not make a recommendation or to encourage women to talk with their health care providers,” Metz told KCNC-TV.

There’s a growing concern about the health of the fetus with more and more states legalizing the drug. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discourages physicians from suggesting or prescribing marijuana to women before pregnancy, during pregnancy, or while nursing.

“We do know that THC crosses into the placenta and so if a woman is using marijuana during pregnancy it does cross to the fetus, so it’s definitely plausible that there would be effects on the fetus,” Metz said.

Extensive research, including a recent study by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, has shown a link between marijuana use and low-birth weight, prematurity, and neurological defects in infants.

What’s the story?

In the study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, an anonymous caller contacted 400 randomly selected marijuana dispensaries last summer, which included shops licensed for medical sale, recreational sale, or both.

The caller told the dispensary that she was eight weeks pregnant and suffering from morning sickness.

The responses varied from “Google it first” to pot being a “smart choice” for a pregnant woman, according to the study.

“I know aspirin is OK for babies, and that is pretty much what you are getting in an aspirin. That is probably better,” one shop employee said.

Another told the caller some doctors “just lie” and want to “push pills on you.”

The majority, 69 percent, recommended treatment of morning sickness with cannabis products.

Most employees (65 percent) based their suggestions on personal opinion, but 36 percent stated marijuana is safe during pregnancy.

Finally, the majority, 82 percent, advised the caller to speak with their health care provider, and of those only 32 percent made the recommendation without prompting.

How can women treat morning sickness?

There are some safe ways for women to treat nausea caused by pregnancy.

“First line medical therapy for treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is vitamin B6 and doxylamine,” Metz told Reuters in an email. “This combination has been studied extensively and there is not concern for fetal harm, and there are numerous other agents that can also be prescribed if the first line therapy fails.”

As always, it’s recommended to follow the advice of your physician.

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