CNN report on right-wing terror threat turns out to be greatly exaggerated

Last week, CNN revealed the existence of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that placed right-wing sovereign citizen groups on equal footing with ISIS and Islamist terrorists as the most worrisome and significant source of terrorism on U.S. soil.

“[F]ederal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS,” CNN’s report asserted.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was very happy at this news, welcoming a government-backed report that shifts the focus away from Islamists and, instead, toward “the threat posed by domestic right-wing violent extremists.”

Then on Wednesday, the folks at Reason got their hands on the DHS report itself. They had a hard time coming to the same conclusions about the right-wing “threat” that CNN had reached.

Here’s Reason’s Jesse Walker:

The intelligence assessment, which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prepared in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was circulated to law enforcement on February 5 but was not released to the public. (DHS did not respond to repeated requests from Reason for comment.) CNN revealed its existence last Friday, but the network quoted only a couple of lines from it and did not post the full document for everyone to see.

… The document declares on its first page that most sovereign citizens are nonviolent, and that it will focus only on the violent fringe within a fringe — the people it calls “sovereign citizen extremists,” or SCEs. It describes their violence as “sporadic,” and it does not expect its rate to rise, predicting instead that the violence will stay “at the same sporadic level” in 2015. The author or authors add that most of the violence consists of “unplanned, reactive” clashes with police officers, not preplanned attacks.

When sovereigns do plan an attack in advance, the report suggests that this tends to be “in direct response to an ongoing personal grievance, such as an arrest or court order.” It argues that sovereign citizens are unlikely to pick a symbolic target — like, say, the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City — and that in this way they are distinct from the killers who attacked two randomly selected cops in Las Vegas last year or three TSA officers at an L.A. airport the year before that. While some police assessments of the movement may give officers the impression that anyone asserting their rights or videotaping an encounter might be a sovereign citizen, the DHS report draws its distinctions fairly carefully.

In short, the DHS report presents sovereign-citizen violence as a fairly rare risk that officers should nonetheless be prepared for should it arise. It does not claim that the threat to police is growing, it does not conflate the sovereigns with other anti-government groups, it makes no broad claims about terror on the right (the word “right-wing” appears nowhere in the document), and it does not compare the sovereigns to ISIS or to any other foreign terrorists.

That, of course, didn’t stop CNN from making the comparison when it first revealed the report in a sensational story with the headline “Bigger threat than ISIS?”  (H/T to Reason for tracking down the archived original link to the CNN story page, whose headline CNN has since modified.)

Here’s the full DHS report, which CNN did not provide at the time it released its Web story exaggerating the “threat” from right-wing domestic terrorists.

Carson headlines CPAC 2015 with tough talk

Ben Carson kicked off this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with language that makes Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remark seem like a milquetoast recitation from a politically correct phone book.

Carson, who’s all but admitted he plans to enter the field of candidates who intend to seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, attacked the Obama-era American zeitgeist that favors dependency and government paternalism.

“It’s not compassion to pat [people] on the head and say, ‘There, there, I’m going to take care of all your needs, your healthcare, your food.’ That’s the opposite of compassion,” said Carson.

“I’m not interested in getting rid of a safety net; I’m interested in getting rid of dependency.”

Those words got a big response from the conservative crowd. It was only one of several applause eruptions Carson received as he touched on national defense, the myth that conservatives lack compassion, deficit spending and Obamacare — which he blasted as “absolutely about [wealth] redistribution and control.”

Carson also reiterated his desire for abolishing the IRS, name-checking the tax agency in the sort of casual fashion that suggests an idea so sensible and well received that it no longer bears a qualifying apology.

But his most succinct direct hit came at the expense of the Obama administration and its progressivist exploitation of identity politics.

“The real enemies in our country are the people who are the purveyors of division,” he said to applause. “I think we have to call them out on that and recognize [that] when we say ‘a nation with liberty and justice for all,’ [that] ‘all’ means ‘all‘ — it means everybody. It means we don’t pick and choose the laws that we want to enforce; we don’t pick and choose the people we want to favor. Everybody gets treated the same. … When our leadership begins to talk that way, I think it will make a dramatic difference for our nation.”

Virginia one step away from law denying out-of-state cops access to residents’ concealed carry data

The so-called “reciprocity” bill introduced in the Senate has gotten plenty of early attention as one possible answer to the concealed carry horror stories that have affected firearms owners who travel unwittingly into criminal territory when they travel into states with hostile gun laws.

Meanwhile, at least one state is attempting to address the issue form the other end — by taking up legislation that would prohibit law enforcement in other states from accessing its home residents’ firearms permit database.

Virginia SB 948 would deny other states’ police access to the Virginia Criminal Information Network database of concealed carry handgun owners, unless the host state is among the 30 that already honor Virginia CC permit holders within their borders.

Practically speaking, restrictive governments like those in Washington, D.C. and Maryland — where many Virginians are employed and spend much of their commuting time — would be cut off from the “gotcha” evidence that could make a criminal of a legal CC permit-holding Virginian during an otherwise-routine traffic stop.

From Guns.com:

Following apparent instances of concealed carry licensees being targeted by police while individuals travel out of state, Virginia is one signature away from blocking off its permit database from some law enforcement.

The measure, which will refuse access to Virginia concealed weapon permit information to states that do not have a reciprocity agreement in place, passed the Republican controlled legislature by large margins this week and is now headed to Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) for approval.

“It’s the policy of entrapment that has been used based on the concealed carry exchange information that has precipitated this,” said Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William, who lent his support to the bill in the state Assembly, where it passed by a commanding 66-33 vote Tuesday.

That margin could signal the legislative will to override a potential veto by McAuliffe, who has shot down previous gun reforms that have passed the legislature.

Something ominously close to the scenario SB 948 aims to remedy occurred in Maryland in late 2013, when a Florida gun owner traveling through the state with his family was questioned by mysteriously well-informed Maryland cops about whether he was traveling with his Florida-registered firearm.

And while most of you are probably familiar with the case of Shaneen Allen, we’ll keep mentioning it in stories like these, because it exemplifies how states with restrictive gun laws and enthusiastic prosecutors can ruin the lives of unwitting private citizens who operate under the assumption that the Constitution can protect their rights from statist innovators. Here’s a great summary of Allen’s ordeal.

Senator Obama argues with President Obama on FCC transparency as the era of government Internet looms

The Democratic-majority Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is on the cusp of a vote that could revolutionize the open Internet by placing pricing, products, services and future innovation under government control — all over the objections of the panel’s Republican minority membership.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has refused to release the content of the new proposals — all 332 pages’ worth — for public scrutiny. The FCC has to pass it, of course, so we can know what’s in it. Ajit Pai, the more vocal of the five-member panel’s two GOP commissioners, was unrestrained in highlighting the urgency of stopping Thursday’s planned vote on the new regulations in a passionately argued Chicago Tribune column he co-authored with Federal Election Commission member Lee Goodman Monday.

The Internet is an unparalleled success story. It is a free, open and thriving platform for civic and political engagement, economic growth, educational opportunity, entertainment and much more. It has made the United States the epicenter of innovation. It is why Internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban has observed, “There is no better platform in the world to start a new business than the Internet in the United States.”

… But regulating broadband service like a public utility denies the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] these powers and denies consumers the protections that come with them. That’s because the law makes clear that the FTC doesn’t have jurisdiction over “common carriers,” which is what broadband providers would become under the president’s plan.

Why would we want to neuter the FTC when the Internet has flourished under the current regulatory model?

If all of this comes as a surprise, you’re not alone. The plan has not been made public. And the FCC has made it clear that it won’t be released until after the agency’s commissioners vote on it. This is not right. We should have an open, transparent debate about whether the president’s plan for Internet regulation is right for America’s consumers. In our view, it most certainly is not.

The 2007 version of Barack Obama would agree with this, as House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) pointed out in a letter to Wheeler Monday.

Notwithstanding these efforts, many Members of Congress argued the Commission should be even more transparent. At a September 2007 public hearing in Chicago, Senator Obama submitted a statement that he “strongly requested” the FCC “put out any changes that they intend to vote on in a new notice of proposed rulemaking.” A month later, in a letter to Chairman Martin, Senator Obama argued that both the “proposed timeline and process are irresponsible.” He specifically noted while a certain proposal “may pass the muster of a federal court, Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy. And the commission has the responsibility to defend any new proposal in public discourse and debate. The following month Senator Obama cosponsored bipartisan legislation to block the Commission’s vote on the rulemaking, pursuant to a 90-day comment period.

Would President Obama veto such legislation in 2015? Effectively, his complicity in the FCC’s regulatory scheme amounts to the same thing.

Conservative panelist announced for 2016 Republican presidential debate

Wary of repeating another Candy Crowley moment in the upcoming presidential primary season, the Republican National Committee has secured at least one conservative panelist to help question GOP candidates for the first in its series of debates leading up to the 2016 nomination.

The RNC announced Tuesday that conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt will be among the panelists quizzing candidates at the first of three scheduled GOP primary debates, slated for Sept. 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. A CNN personality will handle moderating duties.

In a press release, Hewitt’s employer, Salem Media Group, said it will partner with CNN as the exclusive radio broadcaster for the three-debate cycle. CNN gets the TV broadcast rights.

Hewitt offered this statement:

I am delighted to be included with journalists posing questions as part of one of America’s finest political traditions — the presidential debate… These debates come at a critical time, and good questions will allow Republican primary voters the opportunity to see and hear their would-be nominees provide answers to issues that genuinely concern them. Any reporter who is also a political junkie welcomes the chance to be on such a panel, which of course I do.

While details only for the first debate were announced Tuesday, the release indicates that other “Salem national radio hosts will be announced later as leading participants in future debate coverage.”

The RNC signaled last year it was prepared to exert greater control over the personnel involved in running future primary debates. Spokesman Sean Spicer told Newsmax last May the committee would “have a greater say” in the process.

“For too long it has been the media who has decided when we’re going to debate, who is going to be in the debate, what questions we’re going ask, what subjects are going to be covered,” Spicer added. “[T]he liberal media does not have the interest of the party at hand… The conservative media is a heck of a lot tougher than the mainstream media.”

Cab companies go on mini-strike to protest Uber in Chicago… how does that hurt Uber?

“Occupy” thinking can produce some weird phenomena.

In Chicago last week, a bunch of cab drivers organized a no-service “strike” during which they drove around the city but refused to stop for fares. They were protesting Uber, a ride-sharing service that upends the traditional model by using real-time Internet dispatches initiated directly by customers. Uber’s a demand-based service that allows for on-the-fly price changes, and it’s angered a lot of cab companies.

Refusing to work in order to give your chief grievance more opportunity, though, is about as counterintuitive as it gets.

From CBS Chicago last week:

Some Chicago cab drivers staged a work stoppage Tuesday morning, protesting what they see as unfair competition from the less-regulated ride-sharing industry, a day after city officials granted a “transportation network provider” license to Uber.

Many cabbies drove through downtown for four hours Tuesday morning, refusing to pick up fares.

Dozens of cabs drive in circles around City Hall and the Daley Center for more than an hour, honking their horns to draw attention.

No word on how cab drivers’ refusal to take people’s money in exchange for giving them a lift affected Uber, which facilitates a crowdsourced version of exactly that same service — and is able to make more money for providing that service when demand is high (say, when there’s a cab shortage).

“[H]onk away, guys,” wrote TechDirt’s Timothy Geigner. “I’m sure Uber drivers are happy to pick up those fares you refuse.”

WaPo’s Scott Walker hit piece can’t find much to complain about

The Washington Post must be taking seriously the idea that Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican governor, could mount a credible presidential campaign in 2016, because the past week has seen a barrage of negative WaPo articles with headlines, captions and commentary that seem focused on discrediting him.

The paper’s Sunday effort, headlined “Walker’s anti-union law has labor reeling in Wisconsin,” suggests a tale of poorer workers, burgeoning exploitation at the whims of corporate oligarchs, and an ascendant, grass-roots backlash against an unpopular politician.

Instead, what we get are richer workers, freedom of choice for employees who harbor their own views on the value of organized labor, and a small cadre of old-line unionists who admit they’re extremely disliked and have been relegated to the margins of political influence by a majority of Wisconsinites who’ve seen the benefits of keeping union power in check.

Under the story’s headline appears this photo caption: “Judy Brey calls voters from her Reedsburg, Wis., home in advance of a Wisconsin State Supreme Court election. Brey became politically active after Gov. Scott Walker’s move to limit employees’ collective bargaining rights.”

To assess the damage intended by that statement, remove “employees’ collective bargaining” from that last sentence and see how anti-American Walker comes out smelling. Limiting Americans’ enumerated constitutional rights is a pretty bad thing, of course; and the caption does what it must to insinuate that rights have been curtailed.

But if Brey had instead become “politically active after Gov. Scott Walker’s move to limit the rights of union bosses to coerce money through conscripted membership,” then suddenly Walker looks rather brilliant — and that’s counterproductive to the story’s mission.

But that’s all just linguistic subtlety. What about the story itself? Let’s survey the worst of what WaPo unearthed to indict Walker in Wisconsin’s post-reform fallout:

Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers.

Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving ­public-sector unions were not just shrunken — they were crippled.

Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.

Detect a thread here? People weren’t crippled; unions were.

WaPo eventually gets to the human toll:

But recalling the benefits that union membership might have brought before the 2011 law stripped most public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights is difficult when workers consider the challenges of the present.

“I don’t see the point of being in a union anymore,” said Dan Anliker, a 34-year-old technology teacher and father of two in Reedsburg, a tiny city about 60 miles northwest of Madison.

The law required most public employees to pay more for health insurance and to pay more into retirement savings, resulting in an 8 to 10 percent drop in take-home pay. To help compensate for the loss, Anliker said he took an additional 10-hour-a-week job.

“Everyone’s on their own island now,” he said. “If you do a good job, everything will take care of itself. The money I’d spend on dues is way more valuable to buy groceries for my family.”

Thanks to some mission-critical tense juggling, you may need to read that twice to realize that this man is happy with the way things are now, and that it was in the past — before Walker’s reforms — that he had to work the 10-hour-a-week job in order to make ends meet… back when he was in a union, paying union dues.

Here’s another anecdote:

Sean Karsten, a 32-year-old middle and high school reading instructor in his first year of teaching in Reedsburg, said the unions are “just not something I concern myself with.”

“I just look to keep improving my teaching in the best way I can and try to keep my nose out of the other stuff,” he said.

Oh, the humanity.

Actually, the story does narrate one poignantly human casualty: People are openly ridiculing ground-level union activists.

“While some union members have been energized by the fight, they say they notice a new, more vocal animosity toward them. It has been particularly pronounced in rural areas, where public-sector jobs were some of the most prized gigs in town.

“In King, population 1,700, [nursing assistant Terry] Magnant said she couldn’t change a sign at the union hall without someone giving her the finger. Farther west, in Stanley, prison workers said they ditched their favorite pizza pub because the owner stood by while other customers called them ‘leeches.'”

Thanks, Scott Walker, for bringing out the worst in people. If unions were good at anything, they were good at preserving civility.

Scratch that — even this story doesn’t try to make that point.

“You have to be mean,” one union holdout said. “We never got anything by being nice. We’ve had to walk out. We got things when we banged our fists on tables.”

Her sister-in-arms’ response?

“Sometimes I think,” she stopped to collect the words delicately.

“Sometimes, I think, . . . that’s . . . why they came after us, Jenny. Because they thought these teachers were too demanding.”

And the light finally comes on.

Regulation-weary New York towns eye ‘secession’ to Pennsylvania

Americans — even the ill-informed ones — know a little something about secession. It’s something states have been known to do when their interests, for good or ill, conflict with the interests of the federal government.

We hear much less about municipalities trying to switch sides, but an instance may be playing out between the neighboring states of New York and Pennsylvania. To use language already in America’s secessionist vocabulary, the State of New York in this case would be the “aggressor” — high taxes, burdensome regulations and restrictions that stifle the local economy.

As for Pennsylvania? Well, right now, it’s just a state that looks mighty appealing to some of the residents and officials in the border towns that want in. Where they go from here is up in the air.

What has a sizable handful of New York towns so peeved? “[H]igh property taxes, low sales tax revenue and the recent decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York,” reports Binghamton, New York-based WBNG TV.

The fracking thing is particularly upsetting to the New York denizens. “Upset by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hydraulic fracturing ban in December, these places have threatened to abscond for Pennsylvania, which allows fracking,” The Washington Post reported Feb. 18.

“… This rural section of New York, close to Pennsylvania, has suffered acutely in recent decades. Manufacturing has withered and farming is getting tougher. People prayed for a casino to jump-start the local economy, but in December the state gaming board decided not to give them one. Many see these oil and gas wells as their last chance for economic revitalization.”

According to the WBNG report, 15 New York towns are interested in switching teams. Local leaders perceive the Keystone State as more business-friendly and less hostile toward heavy regulations and the development of mineral resources. Their setting may be rural, but what the area lacks in services it makes up for in natural resources.

“The richest resource we have is in the ground,” said Conklin, New York, supervisor Jim Finch. Conklin lies atop the Marcellus Shale formation, which is off-limits to exploration under New York environmental rules.

It’s not just local leaders, though. New York-based business owners in the Southern Tier area at center of the secession movement are also ready for a change.

“The tax structure in New York is just horrible to do business in,” business owner John Gage told WBNG. “Whether it’s fracking, or other reasons to secede, it sounds like a good idea to me.”

All the secession talk came just as libertarian celeb Ron Paul predicted a future in which secession in the U.S. will become a de facto affair — one not predicated on legal formality or the strength of the federal government to prevent break-ups, but on the real-world circumstances common to those in pro-secession areas who see their interests going unserved so long as remote ideologues remain in control of policy.

“[I]t’s not gonna be because there will be enough people in the U.S. Congress to legislate it. It won’t happen. It will be de facto. You know, you’ll have a gold standard when the paper standard fails, and we’re getting awfully close to that. And people will have to resort to taking care of themselves,” said Paul.

“So when conditions break down, you know, there’s gonna be an alternative. And I think that’s what we’re witnessing.”

Scott Walker says federal GOP candidates could learn something from state-level Republicans

For all their recent success at the state level, Republicans haven’t been very successful at leveraging the message that their policies might be preferable, on the federal level, to what’s currently on offer. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have shown early signs they’ll use their respective success stories as major talking points ahead of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, but they don’t have a lot of company.

Walker, whose name is starting to creep up the list of contenders in the speculation surrounding the 2016 race, made precisely that point during a stop in New York City last week, telling a group of Republicans that Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 campaign neglected to contrast GOP successes, at the state level, with Democratic failures under the first Obama administration.

“The big thing I thought Mitt Romney’s campaign missed more than anything was we already knew the narrative that the economy was failing, and that there was a compelling case to get rid of the president,” Walker said. “What we never heard — or at least didn’t hear very clearly — was why Mitt Romney would be a better alternative.”

Here’s more from Walker’s speech, as reported by The New York Daily News:

One of the big mistakes that I and (Iowa Gov.) Terry Branstad and other Republican governors thought the Romney campaign made was, you’ve got all these Republican governors talking about how much better things were in our states after the 2010 elections, and then those same states — in my case, after I spent $37 million on a recall election — you had the Romney campaign coming in and telling them how awful things were because of Barack Obama’s economy.

We said, “No, the better argument in Republican-led states was to say, ‘Look how much better it got — imagine how much better it would be if you put a Republican in charge of the federal government. You could get the same thing happening there…'”

They didn’t do that.

Walker’s message is similar in tone to that of other recent conservative stars like Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, who have argued that it’s more beneficial to appeal to Americans’ sense of opportunity than to their sense of dread.

Cruz in particular has repeatedly criticized the GOP’s recent strategy of offering up old-guard candidates who position themselves as the lesser of two evils — in the hope that voters will be motivated not by their greatest hopes, but by their darkest fears.

Nationwide concealed carry ‘reciprocity bill’ gains momentum with support of NRA, congressional GOP

Momentum is building for the passage of a “reciprocity” bill that aims to require each state to recognize concealed carry permits from visiting residents of other states, regardless of whether the visitors’ concealed carry permits fulfill the host state’s permitting requirements.

Introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in the Senate and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) in the House, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (CCCRA) has rapidly garnered the support of the major players in the pro-2nd Amendment lobby, including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

The NRA’s Chris Cox told The Hill recently that a nationwide concealed carry standard would remedy a “patchwork of state and local laws… confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders,” while emphasizing that concealed carry is a “fundamental right” that no state has the authority to undermine.

GOP control of both houses of Congress gives the bill a strong chance of passing; Democratic control of the White House gives it a strong chance of being vetoed.

But simply moving the bill through Congress could be a significant momentum-builder for the Republican Party in the run-up to the 2016 presidential race, as each of the two major parties vies to define and publicize issues that appeal to American voters’ sensibilities.

“While Obama is unlikely to sign the bill, given his support for stricter gun controls, getting the legislation through Congress would give Second Amendment advocates a significant victory,” The Hill observed. “Gun-control groups are planning to fight back hard, setting the stage for what promises to be a contentious battle over Second Amendment rights ahead of the 2016 elections.”

Whether the bill becomes law during Obama’s presidency or thereafter, it would bring uniformity to the byzantine patchwork of incompatible state laws that require concealed carry holders to thoroughly plan their interstate travel — or face the prospect of some very unpleasant outcomes.

Until then, the U.S. Concealed Carry Association offers a handy Web device to help determine whether your permit will be recognized in another state. As always, though, verify the accuracy of any information for yourself — and be aware that in the absence of a coast-to-coast standard, your experience with police on the ground may deviate from your expectation of what each state’s law actually says.

Finally, look out for states that allow municipalities to add layers of prohibition to statewide gun laws. Bringing an otherwise-permitted concealed weapon into the city limits of municipalities in such states can put you in a bad place with the local police.

Bill Nye seals up the semantics of ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’

Bill Nye, who is literally a “science guy” with a mechanical engineering degree and not a research scientist with any postgraduate study under his belt, has devised a way to pretty much be right all the time when speaking about weather phenomena that deviate from historical norms: just say whatever’s applicable to help you bolster your case.

Nye was amazingly transparent about the importance of framing the global warming (or climate change, or whatever it’s called at this moment) agenda with context-appropriate language in a recent interview on MSNBC.

Nye admonished Joy Reid, his sympathetic interlocutor, on the semantic difference between “global warming” and “climate change” with a simple, easy-to-remember tip: only say “global warming” if you’re talking about a weather incident that involves, y’know, warmth. If you’re just talking about crazy weather in general, say “climate change.” In either case, the integrity of your agenda won’t be compromised, he explained.

“No, no; let’s not confuse or interchange ‘climate change’ with ‘global warming,'” he instructed. “Global [warming means] the world is getting warmer; there is more carbon holding in more heat.

“When the climate changes, some places get colder. And the thing that’s really consistent with climate change models is this variance where it’s cold, it’s warm, it’s cold, it’s warm.

“And, so, what I would hope for — my dream, Joy — is that you all, you and the news business, would just say the word ‘climate change.'”

That’s pretty bulletproof, really. Following that rule would create a linguistic closed system so perfect that no amount of objection over the semantics of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) could thwart it. After all, everybody agrees that the climate changes, even if they don’t agree on which way it’s actually trending, whether “weather” is a component of “climate” or why any of the changes are occurring.

When you speak on behalf of taking action to halt “climate change,” using the science guy’s logic, you’re free to take your argument in whichever direction suits your emotional purpose, because you’re asking everyone who’s listening to simply follow a moving target.

The cherry on top is that you, the AGW evangelist, get to move the target as you see fit.

College effectively ends student’s career because he reminded rape victim of her attacker

Even though you haven’t raped anybody, or thought about raping anybody, or know anything about other rapes that may or may not involve perpetrators who resemble you in ways obvious and less so, you can still be singled out for unilateral persecution by college administrators if you remind a rape victim of the stranger who actually attacked her.

That’s the message one female attorney is sending with a piece in the Harvard Law Review that deals, in part, with the woeful due process double standard that separates alleged college rape victims from their alleged attackers… or innocent bystanders who happen to superficially resemble them.

Harvard law professor Janet Halley’s piece, “Trading the Megaphone for the Gavel in Title IX Enforcement,” describes one of Halley’s experiences assisting a male college student in Oregon who was never accused of rape — rather, he was simply accused of too greatly resembling the actual rapist for the victim’s emotional well-being.

I recently assisted a young man who was subjected by administrators at his small liberal arts university in Oregon to a month-long investigation into all his campus relationships, seeking information about his possible sexual misconduct in them (an immense invasion of his and his friends’ privacy), and who was ordered to stay away from a fellow student (cutting him off from his housing, his campus job, and educational opportunity) — all because he reminded her of the man who had raped her months before and thousands of miles away. He was found to be completely innocent of any sexual misconduct and was informed of the basis of the complaint against him only by accident and off-hand. But the stay-away order remained in place, and was so broadly drawn up that he was at constant risk of violating it and coming under discipline for that.

When the duty to prevent a “sexually hostile environment” is interpreted this expansively, it is affirmatively indifferent to the restrained person’s complete and total innocence of any misconduct whatsoever.

In other words, victim zero — the actual rape victim, that is — holds supreme prerogative in creating, from thin air, other victims, even for a goal as foreign to the law as catharsis.

College administrations, in recent months, have embraced this lazy, rigor-free approach to keeping up appearances when it comes to advocating for the rights of alleged rape victims. Under this approach, the rights of the rape victim trump the rights of all others.

“These cases are becoming increasingly easy. Interim measures and environmental security provisions are justified as ‘merely administrative,’ the equivalent of determining that more lights should be installed on campus walkways or that food safety certificates should be required for all vending machines. And like merely administrative acts conducive to public safety, they follow a strict liability model. But ending or hobbling someone’s access to education should be much harder than that,” writes Halley.

“It may well be that the only effective way to convince people that this tendency is dangerous is to point to the rights they invade: rights to privacy, to autonomy, to due process. But the tendency itself is due for scrutiny.”

Until colleges begin to face damaging lawsuits from bystanders caught in the crossfire of their knee-jerk responses to rape allegations — responses that increasingly deny everyone but the alleged victim of their due process — don’t hold your breath for their administrators to scrutinize their ill-conceived policies.

Montana legislator wants to limit use of license plate scanners

Montana lawmakers are taking up a state legislator’s new bill aimed at restricting the use of license plate scanners by law enforcement, over the predictable objections of the law enforcement community.

Montana State Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, a Republican, introduced a bill earlier this month that would limit the state’s legal authority to purchase and deploy the devices, in anticipation of a burgeoning market for scanners as the technology matures. Zolnikov also crafted the bill in the hope of setting some boundaries that would protect the data that the scanners, in limited use, collect so that the federal government can’t gain access to it.

“The purpose of this legislation is to severely limit Montana’s consideration of purchasing and implementing these devices,” Zolnikov told the Montana House Judiciary Committee at a hearing last week. “We have a very short period of time before the state likely starts implementing license plate scanners and starts sharing it with the Department of Justice.”

At the same hearing, however, law enforcement officials testified that the bill’s aim isn’t primarily to protect drivers’ info from the prying eyes of the Feds — rather, they claimed, it’s to “tie the hands of law enforcement” by effectively banning the devices altogether, even in cases involving the issuance of a search warrant. Specifically, they claim that the bill’s definition of scanning devices is so broad that virtually no device — whether a license plate “reader” or a camera — would be legal for police to use.

That language could change during the markup process. But while an outright ban on all such devices may not hurt the feelings of the bill’s supporters, Zolnikov’s concerns with the Feds are real.

“A year ago, the Department of Homeland Security killed a solicitation for bids to establish and maintain ‘a National License Plate Recognition (NLPR) database service’ after a chorus of public outrage,” Reason noted Tuesday. “… If passed, the Montana measure couldn’t block such efforts from D.C., but it would prevent agencies within the state from contributing to those schemes.”

Zolnikov’s bill includes a confidentiality clause which restricts data obtained by scanners as “private” and “not a public record” subject to “public disclosure,” and mandates that no state agency can retain the data for more than 30 days.

Man offers free books with curbside library outside his home; city forces him out of ‘business’

A Shreveport, Louisiana, man who wished to share his abundance of books with neighbors and passersby created a lemonade stand-type kiosk at the edge of his front yard so that interested readers could help themselves with a quick stop near the curb. The plan was to make the books free to take away and return, because the man behind the plan was interested in reading — not money.

But the city shut him down after a single anonymous complainer reported the activity. Officials with the Caddo Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission sent a cease-and-desist letter to Shreveport resident Ricky Edgarton, citing an alleged violation of a zoning ordinance that regulates “commercial activity” in residential zones.

From Watchdog.org:

Ricky Edgarton told Louisiana Watchdog he doesn’t make a cent from his makeshift library.

Caddo Parish officials, however, still regard it as a commercial enterprise and last month sent a cease-and-desist letter to his house.

The now-retired Edgarton, who said he has so many books at his home that he and his wife need a rolling ladder to reach them all, established the Little Free Library.

“When it said to cease any activity, I could have just taken the books out and brought them inside, but instead, for effect, I put a padlock around it,” Edgarton said.

Other Shreveport residents have set up similar libraries in front of their homes, but MPC officials have singled out Edgarton.

Edgarton set up the kiosk in the spirit of the “Little Free Library” movement, whose goal is as uncomplicated as its name: make reading materials available to borrow and return, for free, from a ubiquity of community-driven lending locations. “In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share,” the program’s website explains.

Edgarton told Watchdog.org that it will cost him $500 to appeal the city’s order — even though he believes his library does not fall under the residential zoning restrictions for a “commercial” enterprise.

City enforcers disagree, noting that the ordinance not only limits the type of activity that can take place in the R-1H residential zone, but where on the property that activity can legally occur.

“Libraries are only allowed in our B-2 commercial zoning,” said planning commission director Mark Sweeney. “… but the key issue here, more than anything else, is that under our ordinance, where it talks about accessory buildings and structures, well, those can only be located in the backyard.

“They can’t be located in the side or front yard of a residence. That’s the key issue.”

At least he — and that concerned anonymous neighbor — are diligent.

NYC collects, sets 2016 expiration date for illegal aliens’ personal info ‘in case a Tea Party Republican comes into office’

In only a month’s time, New York City’s new city-issued ID card program for illegal aliens has generated more than 200,000 responses. The municipal ID was conceived to afford illegals in NYC a measure of confidence in availing themselves of the same liberties the rest of the city’s citizens enjoy. Mayor Bill de Blasio describes the card as illegals’ “gateway to city services.”

Launched Jan. 12 of this year, the “IDNYC” card is, according to the mayor, “not only a card for all New Yorkers, it is the gateway to city services, the key to opening a bank account or getting a library card, and the ticket to many of our city’s finest cultural institutions.”

But the city council’s decision to approve the new cards last June carried a built-in feature that is only now coming to light, thanks to a new report by the New York Post: all the personal information the city collects on each illegal alien who receives a card is slated for destruction at the end of 2016, in the event a conservative president is voted into the White House.

According to the Post:

The city’s new municipal ID program allows for personal info provided by applicants to be destroyed at the end of 2016, in case a conservative Republican wins the White House and demands the data, the law’s co-sponsor told The Post on Monday.

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) said the measure was crafted so data submitted by those seeking the cards can be destroyed on Dec. 31, 2016.

The cards are aimed at undocumented immigrants.

“In case a Tea Party Republican comes into office and says, ‘We want all of the data from all of the municipal ID programs in the country,’ we’re going to take the data,” he explained.

The next president assumes office Jan. 20, 2017.

“That date is an important signal to the future of immigration reform. That allows us to prepare for any new leadership,” Menchaca said.

To obtain an IDNYC card, illegal aliens must give the city their real names, their aliases, addresses and birth dates, according to the Post. But municipal leaders have attempted to win the confidence of New York City residents living in the U.S. illegally by structuring the program so that illegal aliens understand, when they apply for the card, that they are sharing their information only with a sympathetic city administration — not with the federal government. Hence the expiration date on the personal data, which one advocate described as a “sunset.”

“The sunset is part and parcel of the effort to ensure confidentiality,” the New York Immigration Coalition’s Steven Choi explained.

ATF seeks to reclassify commonly used round as ‘armor piercing’ ammo in order to ban it

From the guns-don’t-kill-people; ammunition-kills-people files: The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is seeking the authority to reinterpret the Gun Control Act of 1968 so that a specific loading of 5.56 ammunition is deemed illegal, except for “sporting” uses determined by the bureau.

To accomplish this, ATF is proposing to remove the “armor piercing” exemption that has applied to SS109/M855 5.56 NATO ammunition. The proposal ostensibly would apply to handgun ammunition; here’s how Bearing Arms’ Bob Owens explains it:

SS109/M855 is one of the two most common loadings for 5.56 NATO chambered AR-15 rifles, featuring a 62-grain bullet with a mild steel penetrator core. The cartridge was adopted by NATO in the late 1970s to give soldiers better long range performance, and reduce the possibility of fragmentation seen in the prior 55-grain M193 round cartridge that some viewed as “inhuman” and “devastating.” Civilian shooters like it because it is accurate, plentiful, and relatively economical to shoot.

… The “logic” behind the ATF reclassification attempt is that recent prevalence of AR-15 pistols means that the SS109/M855 cartridge is now an armor-piercing pistol bullet according to the absurd definitions crafted by politicians and bureaucrats who can’t tell a bolt-face from a “shoulder thing that goes up.”

ATF has written up its proposal, which you can read in full here. There’s a public comment period that ends on March 16 of this year (the proposal gives instructions for commenting at the end of the document.)

Owens also argues that effectively banning — or, in ATF’s parlance, “reclassifying” — the SS109/M855 cartridge would be counterproductive to the bureau’s stated purpose of achieving “safer” ammunition:

The ban on “armor-piercing pistol ammunition” is a great idea in theory, but is utterly absurd as a practical matter. Rifle caliber bullets are much more powerful than true pistol calibers. And all will easily penetrate Level IIa, Level II and Level IIIa “soft” body armor worn by police, even fired from rifle-class “pistols.” The key difference is velocity, not the metals used in bullet construction.

Both lead-core M193 and steel core SS109/M855 easily penetrate all police soft body armor, but the tendency of lead bullets to mushroom and fragment means that a ban on the steel core bullets that holds their shape better would mean that people shot by rifle-caliber pistols (both armored and unarmored) are more likely to suffer “devastating” wounds once the bullet penetrates the body.

By banning a less damaging bullet, the ATF would create the potential for more grievous wounds.

If approved, the reclassification would make it illegal to manufacture, import, exchange or sell the ammunition. Here’s how the proposal attempts to reassure the arms-bearing public:

ATF recognizes that this ammunition is widely available to the public. Because it is legally permissible to possess armor piercing ammunition under current law, withdrawing the exemption will not place individuals in criminal possession of armor piercing ammunition. However, with few exceptions, manufacturers will be unable to produce such armor piercing ammunition, importers will be unable to import such ammunition, and manufacturers and importers will be prohibited from selling or distributing the ammunition. ATF is specifically soliciting comments on how it can best implement withdrawal of this exemption while minimizing disruption to the ammunition and firearm industry and maximizing officer safety.

Well, abandoning the plan entirely would be a good start. But, barring massive public backlash, the chances of that happening are slim.

Shaming whatever conservative lawmakers you may have into demonstrating their much-touted pro-2nd Amendment stance might be a good place to start, though.

Facing U.S. capital gains tax, London mayor renounces dual citizenship

London Mayor Boris Johnson was born in New York City in 1964, and he has held dual British and American citizenship throughout his life. Recently, after months of grousing about having to pay a capital gains tax to the U.S. on the sale of his house in Greater London, Johnson announced he would renounce his U.S. citizenship.

Johnson’s disgruntlement with U.S. tax laws for expatriates and dual citizens is, of course, less cut and dried than that of the many Americans who renounce their citizenship to avoid double taxes. Johnson’s political career may necessitate a show of full and exclusive loyalty to the U.K. (think Ted Cruz’s renunciation of his Canadian citizenship.) He has much to gain by going all-in for the Crown. And his recent comments about dropping his dual citizenship have more to do with patriotism and optics than with finances. He called his U.S. citizenship “an accident of birth” and reaffirmed his “commitment is, and always has been, to Britain.”

But there’s no denying Johnson holds the same aversion many other dual citizens harbor toward the IRS. And there’s a bit of irony in observing a prominent Brit revolt against American tax oppression.

Here’s a well-explained snippet of Johnson’s tax dilemma, taken from an article in The Spectator late last year, written by American expat Anne Jolis:

So it is with great interest — and some sympathy, on the part of yours truly — that we expatriates in London learn of Johnson’s dispute with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Speaking to American National Public Radio (NPR) this month Johnson said:

‘They’re trying to hit me with some bill, can you believe it?’

Yes, we can.

The IRS apparently wants its 15 per cent cut from the sale of Boris’s first home, a north London four-storey that he and his wife sold in 2009 for more than twice the 1999 purchase price. The sale of a first residence ‘is not taxable in Britain’, Johnson explained to American listeners (so there’s one stamp-duty loophole that he’s not clamouring to eliminate).

However, it is taxable for US citizens, no matter where in the world the transaction takes place and particularly if the gain has gone untouched by other jurisdictions. Asked if he plans to pay the bill, Boris retorted:

‘No. … I think it’s absolutely outrageous. Why should I?’

The short answer, to borrow the Mayor’s logic, would be because capital-gains tax on real estate is paid by virtually everyone else who holds US citizenship – except those who can afford the clever lawyers to avoid it.

That hardly makes it just, and this American wastes no love on the ‘incredible doctrine of global taxation’, as Johnson described it to NPR. Adding insult to absurdity, the IRS does not adjust for inflation in setting capital-gain tabs, so its bill to Boris probably reflects the full nominal increase on the sticker-price of his London home.

In that same conversation with NPR, Johnson elaborated on his reason for not hastening to pay the U.S. tax.

“I think, you know, I’m not a… I, you know, I haven’t lived in the United States for, you know, well, since I was 5 years old… I pay the lion’s share of my tax, I pay my taxes to the full in the United Kingdom where I live and work.”

As you’re probably aware, renunciation of American citizenship is at an all-time high, even as the government works out new ways to discourage it by making it more expensive.

“[I]t should come as little surprise that such a high number are prepared to… [renounce U.S. citizenship] because FATCA’s [the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act’s] reporting requirements are excessively onerous, burdensome and expensive,” international financial consultant Nigel Green explained last October. “Also many non-U.S. banks and other financial institutions will no longer work with Americans which can make living outside the U.S. achingly complicated.”

Senate bill would give concealed carry across state lines the same reciprocity ‘as a driver’s license’

You may recall the case of Shaneen Allen, a woman from Pennsylvania who was stopped for a lane-change violation in New Jersey — only to end up facing 10 years in prison, all because she told the police at the scene about the pistol she carried in her purse and showed them her Pennsylvania carry license.

Allen was on her way to a kid’s birthday party in New Jersey. A mother of two, she’d been robbed twice in the past before determining that getting herself a firearm and learning how to use it was probably a smart idea.

Like more than a dozen other states, New Jersey doesn’t recognize other states’ concealed carry laws, even for people just passing through. Atlantic County, N.J., prosecutor Jim McClain — “the same prosecutor who let Ray Rice off with pretrial diversion” — allowed the case to build toward a trial and had remained adamant that Allen would face a count of illegal possession of a firearm and another count for possession of illegal ammunition. Helped along by some public shaming, he finally reversed himself last September, allowing Allen to instead enter into a pretrial diversion program.

That is still a ridiculous punishment for an exercise of one’s natural and constitutional rights.

Fast-forward to now: A Senate Republican has introduced a reciprocity bill that would impose on every state a legal obligation to recognize the concealed carry permits of travelers hailing from any other state where they obtained their concealed carry permits.

The so-called Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (CCCRA), according to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the bill’s sponsor, is intended specifically to “eliminate some of the ‘gotcha moments,’ where people inadvertently cross state lines” without realizing that doing so can automatically make them a potential criminal.

“This operates more or less like a driver’s license,” Cornyn told The Hill. “So, for example, if you have a driver’s license in Texas, you can drive in New York, in Utah and other places, subject to the laws of those states.”

Cornyn sponsored a similar bill in 2013, and it fell only three votes short of passing the then-Democratic-controlled Senate.

Cold weather scuttles Yale protest against global warming

With most of the country’s eastern half in the doldrums of a wicked cold snap, one student-based group at Yale University that’s aiming to curb reliance on fossil fuels has been forced to put its plans for a weekend rally on ice.

You already know why: It’s just too cold.

The Fossil Free Yale group, whose self-stated mission revolves around “organizing for climate justice on Yale’s campus” — in part by persuading the university “to divest its $23.9 billion endowment from the fossil fuel industry” — had to indefinitely postpone its scheduled celebration of global divestment day because of anticipated blizzards, freezing temperatures and general icy ickiness.

Despite being chock full of academics, the group apparently didn’t apprehend their ironic position. The postponement owed to more than just cold weather, they explained; it also had to do with things not-so-tangential to the cold: logistics and speaker cancellations.

“[T]he event, which was meant to be held on Saturday [Feb. 14], has been postponed indefinitely,” reported the Yale Daily News. “FFY Project Manager Mitch Barrows [class of] ’16 said the delay is due to unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical issues, including some cancellations from speakers and performance groups.”

Regional cooling has far-reaching, yet instant, ramifications, it would seem.

Report links American hostage deaths with Obama administration decision to delay rescue

The Obama administration held on to British-sourced intelligence that could have saved the lives of American hostages held by ISIS in Syria, according to a report that all but pins the deaths of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Kayla Mueller on that decision.

The Daily Beast, a website that’s no enemy of the Obama administration, alleged in a scathing report last week that the White House frustrated British officials by sitting on the intelligence reports, waiting an entire month after receiving them only to stage a (failed) rescue attempt — based, in the end, on the exact same intelligence.

“White House Stalled ISIS Rescue. Foley, Sotloff, and Mueller Died,” the Beast’s headline reads.

Here’s more:

Toward the end of May, the British government had identified two or three locations in and around the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State, where the militants had moved hostages during the previous weeks and months. But the British were not absolutely sure in which location the Westerners were held. The captives included American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well aid worker Kayla Mueller. The information — based on debriefings of European captives who had been released, satellite and drone surveillance, and electronic eavesdropping — was not definitive in May.

Then, in early June, London had a “positive identification and that information was shared with Washington,” said a British source. The delay of nearly a month before the rescue bid was mounted remains a source of bewilderment for British officials.

But a U.S. official said that inside the White House, Obama’s senior national-security advisers were not willing to base a raid on intelligence developed by a foreign service. “The issue was that they didn’t trust it, and they wanted to develop and mature the intelligence, because it wasn’t our own,” said the U.S. official, who asked to remain anonymous when discussing sensitive hostage-rescue efforts.

“They got the information. They just didn’t trust it. And they did sit on it, there’s no doubt about that,” the official said.

After Americans began dying, one by one, in gruesome and public events tailor-made for the media-consumer culture, the victims’ families began to question the Obama administration’s decisions.

“The State Department said they were connecting with the French and everybody at the highest levels,” Foley’s mother, Diane, told the Beast. “Very specific information was available as early as mid-March. And that’s what’s been so tough for us as families, because apparently they were held in the same place all those months.”

Read the rest of the report here.

It’s come to this: a bill to forbid government employees from watching porn at work

This isn’t a commentary on whether it’s a good idea to heap rules on top of rules to address ever more-specific abuses and offenses; rather, it’s simply an observation that we live under a federal bureaucracy that invites lawmakers to make such rules.

On Wednesday, House Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) announced his sponsorship of a new bill aimed at stopping federal employees from watching porn while they’re at work — or, at least, from watching it on government computer screens.

Answering reports last year that one EPA employee had been discovered to have wasted hours and hours each day watching porn while on the job, Meadows’ “Eliminating Pornography from Agencies” (EPA — get it?) Act would prohibit federal employees from “accessing pornographic or explicit material on government computers and devices.”

In a release on his congressional Web page, Meadows said the case involving the EPA (the agency, not the bill) inspired him to craft the legislation.

“Last year, an Inspector General report revealed that one Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee was viewing as much as 6 hours of pornography a day in his office on his government computer. The same federal employee was found to have downloaded as many as 7,000 pornographic files onto his government computer. To date, this employee has yet to be fired and we continue to learn of similar bad actors.

“… While there are rules in place at most agencies to ban this kind of unprofessional and potentially hostile workplace behavior, it continues to take place. There is absolutely no excuse for federal employees to be viewing and downloading pornographic materials on the taxpayers’ dime.”

Last May, an inspector general’s report indeed revealed not only that the EPA employee had spent hundreds of hours watching porn at work, but that the unnamed employee was actually in the very act of downloading porn when the IG came into his office to investigate the matter.

A follow-up report in September revealed the same employee continued to earn a $120,000 annual salary while on administrative leave.

GOP Senator: ‘I smell a rat’ in thousands of recovered Lois Lerner emails

Usually when people say things like this on TV, they know enough of the backstory to say it confidently — or not at all. And while he didn’t get specific, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told a national audience Thursday that he’s all but convinced the Obama administration played a larger role in the IRS political discrimination scandal than it has so far admitted.

Despite ongoing protestations from the IRS that it had been unable to recover Lerner’s “missing” emails — or that retrieving them was proving to be an insurmountable task — an Inspector General’s investigation seized Lerner’s backup data and managed to retrieve tens of thousands of emails that had been stored on rewritable tape drives.

“The way they found these emails is they went to the backup tapes. But the IRS didn’t go to the backup tapes; the Inspector General Seized the backup tapes in June of 2014. And, of course, they reported last November that they though they found about 30,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails. Now, after further investigation, it’s about 80,000,” Widen told Fox News.

“… [IRS Commissioner] John Koskinen said they went to ‘extraordinary’ efforts to find these things. And obviously he didn’t because his inspector general, once he seized the backup tapes, within a couple of months uncovered 30 — and now 80 thousand — emails.”

A significant portion of those are duplicate emails, but Widen said he still believes there are roughly 16,000 unique email messages salvaged from the Lerner tapes. Considering these findings, as well as the timeline of the scandal, Widen said it’s becoming clearer to him that Lerner’s computer crash was part of a “plot.”

“What we have to do is, we have to piece together this plot,” he said. “This [presidential] administration has been completely opaque… Who was communicating with Lois Lerner? What emails were exchanged with the White House or the Treasury Department?”

Arizona lawmakers look to nullification to preempt future federal gun bans

Lawmakers in Arizona are advancing legislation that aims to preemptively nullify any future federal ban or other new limitation on 2nd Amendment rights, with support for the measure lining up along party lines.

Arizona’s state Senate may soon consider a GOP-backed bill that cleared a committee hurdle this week. The bill, SB 1330, would make any new federal gun law subject to state-level review before being cleared for enforcement. It also seeks to penalize any state or municipal officeholder or employee who knowingly assists the Feds in investigating alleged violations of such laws.

From the bill:

  1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, THE STATE TREASURER SHALL NOT TRANSFER ANY MONIES TO A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE IN THE FISCAL YEAR AFTER A FINAL JUDICIAL DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE ADOPTED A RULE, ORDER, ORDINANCE OR POLICY THAT INTENTIONALLY VIOLATED THIS SECTION.
  2. ANY AGENT OR EMPLOYEE OF THIS STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHO KNOWINGLY VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS DEEMED TO HAVE RESIGNED ANY COMMISSION FROM THIS STATE THAT THE PERSON MAY POSSESS, THE PERSON’S OFFICE IS DEEMED VACANT AND THE PERSON IS FOREVER AFTER INELIGIBLE TO HOLD ANY OFFICE OF TRUST, HONOR OR EMOLUMENT UNDER THE LAWS OF THIS STATE.
  3. ANY PERSON OR CORPORATION THAT PROVIDES SERVICES TO OR ON BEHALF OF THIS STATE AND THAT VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS FOREVER INELIGIBLE TO ACT ON BEHALF OF, OR PROVIDE SERVICES TO, THIS STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE.

Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward is sponsoring the bill. “The intent of the law is to allow Arizona to function under Arizona’s own power and not allow any current or future federal laws that go into effect [regarding] the Second Amendment to affect people who live in Arizona,” Ward said Monday.

According to the East Valley Tribune, lawmakers also are taking aim in a separate measure at Arizona municipalities that defy current state law by passing localized gun ordinances. “State law already bars cities from enacting regulations stricter than state statutes. But Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, said Tucson has ignored that preemption,” the Tribune reported.

Under SB 1291, individuals and entities “adversely affected” by local gun laws would gain the right to sue local governments for monetary damages (capped at $100,000) and empower judges to assess penalties on officials found responsible for enforcing local ordinances that reach beyond state law.