Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Supreme Court’

Captain Rick: The Supreme Court dealt a rare blow to the gun lobby Monday by ruling that purchasers of guns must report when they are buying firearms for other people…called ‘straw purchases’.

This US Supreme Court decision does not revise any law. However, it establishes a very important interpretation of what the US Congress implied in gun laws it established in previous decades…that Congress sought to identify the ultimate gun purchaser. This Supreme Court ruling will have profound effect on future law cases that involve guns used for murder that were in hands of those that were not identified as the purchaser. It will ‘open the door’ for the listed purchaser to be prosecuted when the gun is gifted to another who uses it to commit murder.  

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Supreme Court Ruling Details

The 5-4 decision upheld two lower courts that had ruled against so-called straw purchasers, even though the justices acknowledged that Congress left loopholes in gun control laws passed in the 1960s and 1990s.

For gun purchasers to be allowed to buy from licensed dealers without reporting the actual final owners of the firearms, the justices said, would make little sense.

“Putting true numbskulls to one side, anyone purchasing a gun for criminal purposes would avoid leaving a paper trail by the simple expedient of hiring a straw,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the slim majority.

Kagan, a New Yorker who acknowledged during her 2010 confirmation hearings that she was not very familiar with guns, was opposed by four conservative justices, led by Justice Antonin Scalia — who famously has taken her hunting on several occasions.

“No piece of information is more important under federal firearms law than the identity of a gun’s purchaser — the person who acquires a gun as a result of a transaction with a licensed dealer,” Kagan said.

During oral arguments in the case in January, she had noted that without such a finding, “it does not matter whether the ultimate transferee was Al Capone or somebody else.”

Scalia’s dissent for the court’s conservatives — not including Justice Anthony Kennedy, who provided the swing vote — was scathing.

“The court makes it a federal crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner,” he said. “Whether or not that is a sensible result, the statutes Congress enacted do not support it.”

The straw purchaser in the case was a former Virginia police officer who bought a Glock 19 handgun for his uncle in Pennsylvania. Both were legal gun owners. But the purchaser, Bruce James Abramski, filled out a federal form indicating that he was the “actual buyer” of the firearm.

His attorney, Richard Dietz, argued that a compromise reached in Congress decades ago was meant to focus only on the initial buyer. Even if it did intend to identify the ultimate purchaser, he said, Abramski didn’t violate the law because his uncle was licensed to own guns.

“Congress didn’t use terms like ‘true buyer’ or ‘true purchaser’ or ‘actual buyer’ because they are not concerned about the ultimate recipients of firearms or what happens to a gun after it leaves the gun store,” Dietz said.

The Justice Department, seeking to uphold the two lower court rulings against Abramski, argued that Congress always sought to identify the ultimate gun purchasers but did not want to intrude on private transactions.

But Scalia ridiculed the majority’s assertion that under federal firearms laws, the uncle — not Abramski — was the true purchaser of the gun. “If I give my son $10 and tell him to pick up milk and eggs at the store, no English speaker would say that the store ‘sells’ the milk and eggs to me,” he said.

Gun control advocates were delighted with the decision. “This is a very big and very positive decision that will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

It was the second ruling from the conservative court this term that went against the gun lobby. In March, the justices ruled unanimously that a federal law intended to keep guns away from domestic violence offenders can apply even if their crime was nothing more than “offensive touching.”

Credits

Report details: Richard Wolf, USA Today

Photo: Steve Helber, AP

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Captain Rick: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer made an unannounced trip to military bases in Afghanistan this week as she visited with service members from Arizona and flew around the war-torn nation in helicopters with guns hanging out the windows. Details of the trip were kept under wraps for security reasons as she quietly left the state over the weekend. During the trip, Brewer flew by helicopter from the southern city of Kandahar to other bases in the country and ate meals at two military camps. More than 400 National Guard members from Arizona are serving in Afghanistan.

So, what is this all about? Officially, its just a trip financed by the U.S. Department of Defense. Back in 2007, then Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano made a similar unannounced trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. Soon after, Napolitano abandoned her position as Arizona Governor to become President Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security. Then Arizona Secretary of State, Jan Brewer became the Governor of Arizona. Brewer wasted no time leading the crusade for SB1070, Americas toughest illegal immigration law. She backed it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld its core measure. Jan Brewer is undisputedly recognized as America’s toughest Governor. During my lifetime of living in seven states, there is only one Governor that stands out in my mind as being the greatest Governor I have ever known. That Governor is Jan Brewer, Governor of the Great State of Arizona. I have no idea if Jan will run for president in 2016 … but if she does, she will have my support. In my opinion, Jan would be a President Americans and the world would be proud of.   

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Captain Rick: In my previous election scenarios (below), I stated that Obama’s 2012 support was at a 9% loss from his 2008 support. His actual loss appears to be about 4%, 5% less than my estimate. I believe much of the difference was due to my under estimation of the magnitude of Latino support that Obama gained during his first term as president, which offset other losses of support.

The Latino vote was a large factor in turning several states ‘blue’

Obama courted the Latino vote heavily during the past four years. Obama’s Department of Justice has sued Arizona over several immigration related issues, including Arizona’s SB1070, America’s toughest illegal immigration law. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld some key parts of the Arizona law. Obama also granted an avoidance of deportation for up to a million young illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria. Latinos view Obama favorably for his support of these events, which resulted in a strengthening of the traditional Latino ‘blue’ vote. This played a significant role in turning the ‘toss up’ states of Colorado, Nevada and Florida ‘blue’. (Florida results were not finalized when the map was created, however it was declared ‘blue’ on Nov. 10). Latino support in Arizona was strong enough to turn it from a ‘red’ state in prior elections to a ‘leaning red’ state in 2012.

The Latino vote is expanding rapidly in America

The Latino population in America is growing at about twice the rate of other groups. This growth explosion could cause the 2012 ‘leaning red’ states of Arizona and North Carolina to turn ‘leaning blue’ or ‘blue’ in 2016. Texas and Georgia could turn ‘leaning blue’ or ‘blue’ by 2020 or possibly even 2016. Several other states are following closely behind.

Analysis of what happened on Election night

Lets review the states I painted ‘red’ in my previous election scenarios, that were my last to call, positioned just below my ‘gut’ pick of 9% loss of 2008 Obama support.

Colorado: 8.95% ‘blue’ in 2008. I painted it ‘red’ in ‘scenario 5’. It went ‘blue’.

Virginia: 6.31% ‘blue’ in 2008. I painted it ‘red’ in ‘scenario 5’. It went ‘blue’.

Ohio: 4.54% ‘blue’ in 2008. I painted it ‘red’ in ‘scenario 4’. It went ‘blue’.

Captain Rick’s confessions and thoughts

Colorado: Early in my ‘election scenarios’ I said Colorado was going to be a pivotal state. Based on previous research, I believed it was going to go ‘blue’. I picked the final  ‘9%’ figure because Colorado was just below it, presenting the only chance for ‘red’ to win and give the ‘red’ supporters something to hope for. If I had lowered the 9% figure to say 8.9%, blue would have won. So, please forgive me for helping keep my ‘red’ followers with hope during the final days leading up to the election.

Virginia: Being so close to Washington DC and the ‘blue’ northeast, I figured it would go ‘blue’, but I went with the ‘red’ call to keep the excitement rolling during the final days leading up to the election.

Ohio: This was the state that pushed ‘blue’ over the 270 electoral vote threshold. Ohio has voted for every elected president since 1960. No Republican has ever been elected without Ohio’s electoral votes. I felt Ohio would go ‘red’. This was a ‘wake up call’ to me and sets an interesting scenario for the 2016 election and beyond. In view of the above discussion, perhaps Ohio will join its ‘blue’ neighbors to the north and east and go permanently ‘blue’ in 2016. That would hypothetically mean the end of the ‘red’ Republican Party in America as ‘blue’ engulfs America from the west, north central, northeast and in future years…the south. That leaves much for all to think about.

Captain Rick’s Election Scenario #6: Reality

Had I lowered my ‘gut’ pick to 4% Obama 2008 support loss, it would have turned three states blue (Colorado, Virginia and Ohio) and resulted in the following map, which is also the map of actual current results.

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Captain Rick’s thoughts looking forward

It looks like the popular vote is is also ‘blue’, so it s in sync with the electoral vote. The archaic electoral vote system in America is a subject for future discussion. I hope my followers enjoyed my election scenarios and gained some useful information to consider as we move forward. I hope you will stay with me as I continue to strive to present unique, quality and accurate information.

Captain Rick: The Supreme Court will hear an appeal from Arizona over a its blocked law requiring proof of American citizenship before registering to vote. This law originated from Proposition 200, approved by Arizona voters in 2004, but was later blocked by a 12-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which said that federal law trumps the Arizona requirement. It is anticipated that the Supreme court will consider this case in February 2013.

Federal law allows voters to fill out a mail-in voter registration card and swear that they are citizens under penalty of perjury, but it does not require them to show proof of citizenship as Arizona’s 2004 law does. Arizona has its own form and an online system to register when renewing a driver’s license. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling did not affect citizenship requirements using the Arizona forms. The Arizona law also denied some government benefits to illegal immigrants and required Arizonans to show identification before voting. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the voter identification provision and the denial of benefits was not challenged.

Captain Rick:

The most controversial part of Arizona’s SB1070 Immigration Law took effect on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 when U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton signed the order. It dissolved the injunction she issued over two years ago blocking Arizona from enforcing key provisions of SB1070. Tuesday’s action was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that said she was legally incorrect in enjoining the section which requires police to question those they have stopped if there is a reason to believe they are in the country illegally. It also said there was no evidence that the Arizona law conflicted with federal law.

SB1070 requires that the law must be enforced consistent with existing anti-discrimination laws, but it does allow someone’s race to be considered as a factor, though not the only one, in determining who to question. Arizona law enforcement officers have had this ability as an option prior to SB1070, but what SB1070 does is makes it mandatory for police to ask for “papers” if they suspect the person they have stopped for another reason could be in the country illegally. Currently police can choose to not to raise the question and release those stopped after rectifying the reason for the original stop. Under SB1070, police are required by law to raise the issue. That is a significant change of law. Arizona is now the first state with a “papers please” law.

President Obama’s recent action potentially gives “papers” to a new class of up to 1.4 million of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States who were brought here illegally as children, who can apply for “deferred action” status to be allowed to remain in the U.S. This is largely dependent on Obama’s reelection. If upheld, they will be not be affected by this new Arizona law, however the remaining 10+ million illegal immigrants who venture onto Arizona roadways and are stopped for a violation will.

A big question remaining … what will be the response of the federal government when Arizona police begin increasing the number of illegal immigrants referred to them? Will the federal government “turn its head” a bit farther and simply ignore a greater number of illegal immigrants?  Will the federal government increase deportation or build new prisons to house them? Will the U.S. Legislature pass stricter immigration laws and place more emphasis on securing the border … or will it continue its current course of basically “turning its head” on the whole matter … leaving the states to fend for themselves, paying the heavy costs of illegal immigration as has been apparent in recent years.

Other states are expected to adopt similar legislation in the coming months and years as the ramifications of this new Arizona immigration law plays out on the roadways of Arizona, in the courts and in the United States Legislature.