Missouri Action Alert: Help Push the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act Over the Finish Line

On May 8, the Missouri legislature approved arguably the strongest defense of the Second Amendment in American history.

If signed into law, HB436 will nullify virtually every federal gun control measure on the books – or planned for the future.

All federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.

But work remains to make Second Amendment preservation a reality in Missouri. The legislature transmitted the bill to Gov. Jay Nixon on May 22. That gives him until July 6 (45 days) to make a decision on the bill.  Should he veto the measure, the legislature will reconvene in September and consider an override.

Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center indicate Nixon does not want nullification to become a reality in Missouri. But he has political considerations to take into account. Missourians overwhelmingly support the right to keep and bear arms, and if he actively blocks a measure protecting those most basic rights,  it would tarnish his credentials as a relatively Second Amendment-friendly politician, and possibly torpedo future political aspirations.

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N.H. Senate Passes Bill Nullifying Federal Marijuana Laws 18-6

CONCORD, N.H.  – New Hampshire moved a step forward toward legalizing marijuana for medical use, joining the swelling ranks of states nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban on weed.

On Thursday, the state Senate passed HB573 18-6.

The legislation would allow qualifying patients to legally possess and use marijuana to treat illnesses including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and Crohn’s Disease. It would also create a system for setting up dispensaries in the state.

The House passed the bill 286-64 in March, but the Senate approved an amended version to satisfy several demands by Gov. Maggie Hassan. The Senate version strips allowances for growing marijuana at home and drops the number of approved dispensaries from five to four.  It also removes post-traumatic stress from the list of approved conditions and adds a resident requirement for an affirmative defense in court. Hassan has indicated she won’t sign a bill with a home-grown option, although she supported it as a Senator.

The legislation will now go back to the House. According to an AP report, it will likely ask to negotiate a compromise.

Activists say they hope to resurrect the home grow option in the final version, but even with the restrictions, the bill would drastically improve prospects for New Hampshire residents who currently risk prison if they treat their pain with marijuana.

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Book Review: Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry

“There is a hidden country within the United States. It was formed from the astonishing number of secrets held by the government and the growing ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them.” So begins a synopsis of Deep State, a new book by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady.

While the book certainly delivers on dishing some of the stories surrounding past and present activities carried on in secret by the federal government, it does so in the form of a book that reads like an encomium rather than an indictment.

The accommodating and aggrandizing tone of the book is off-putting, especially in light of the publisher’s claim that “Deep State … disassembles the secrecy apparatus of the United States and examines real-world trends that ought to trouble everyone from the most aggressive hawk to the fiercest civil libertarian.”

From the first page, the authors seem smitten with the notion of painting with broad strokes the picture that there are “certain secrets necessary to defend the republic.”

Some of the hidden history laid out in Deep State includes the story of the surveillance program established by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the days after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Ambinder and Grady describe this warrantless wiretapping as “controversial” rather than with the word it deserves: unconstitutional.

The Fourth Amendment protects “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Any attempt by the NSA to monitor the electronic communication of an American without probable cause and without a warrant is a direct violation of that constitutional protection for a fundamental right.

Although this program is practically praised by the authors of Deep StateThe New American interviewed Thomas Drake, an eyewitness to the NSA’s assault on the Constitution.

Drake was a senior executive at the NSA who made the “mistake” of revealing to the Baltimore Sun that the NSA’s Trailblazer Project — intended to analyze data carried on in the United States and elsewhere through the Internet, cellphones, and e-mails — not only violated the Fourth Amendment’s proscription against unwarranted searches and seizures, but it was a “billion-dollar computer boondoggle.”

Other similar revelations found in Deep State include “how the increased exposure of secrets affects everything from Congressional budgets to Area 51, from Seal Team Six and Delta Force to the FBI, CIA, and NSA.”

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Full California Assembly to Vote on Rejecting NDAA “Indefinite Detention”

SACRAMENTO, Cal. (May 24, 2013) – Today, the California Assembly Appropriations Committee gave a “Do-Pass” approval to a bill that could render toothless the federal “indefinite detention” powers under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The bill, by ASM Tim Donnelly was previously passed unanimously by the Public Safety Committee and is expected to get a vote in the full state assembly in the coming week.

California residents are strongly encourage to contact their state representative immediately to request a YES vote on AB351.  (contact info here)

If passed into law, AB351 would require that the state refuse to enforce or assist in the enforcement of indefinite detention as may have been authorized by either the 2012 NDAA or the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).   It reads, in part:

“no agency of the State of California, no political subdivision of this state, no employee of an agency, or a political subdivision, of this state acting in his or her official capacity, and no member of the California National Guard on official state duty shall knowingly aid an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of a person within California pursuant to

(A) Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA,
(B) the federal law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40), enacted in 2001″

This would make a HUGE dent in any federal effort to detain without due process in California.  As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). Quite simply, the federal government is going to have an extremely difficult time – at best – carrying out indefinite detention in California without the assistance of California.

Weighing in on the bill, Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey noted the impact it would have if passed into law.  ”Passage of AB351 would mark the beginning of the end of indefinite detention in California.  In those limited situations where federal enforcement still does occur in the face of massive refusal by the state, Rosa Parks proved it: “No” can change the world.”

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State Non-Compliance is Its Own Penalty

Imagine for a moment that you are a basketball player.  The opposing team has the ball and you’re playing defense.  What would happen if you turned around to find that the court had doubled in size and the other team suddenly had 10 players?  With more court to cover and more players to defend, you would be playing a losing game.

That’s what happens to the federal government when states refuse to comply with their crummy unconstitutional “laws.”

Even so, there is sometimes disagreement among supporters of nullification as to whether or not nullification bills need to have specific penalties prescribed for anyone who violates the nullifying legislation.  For many, putting this kind of language into legislation is a sign that the bill has “teeth” and that the state is not willing to have its sovereignty trampled on.  In some states, the lack of penalties has been contentious to the point that even nullification advocates won’t support nullification or non-compliance bills.

This is an issue that Ohioans must address regarding Ohio Senate Bill 36, which would nullify federal firearms legislation and make it a first degree felony to attempt enforcement of any such federal laws.  Scott Landreth, Coordinator of the Ohio Tenth Amendment Center, reported today that SB 36 would die in committee “if the 1st degree felony charge for violators is not reduced or removed.”

The inevitable question was then posed:  ”Is passing SB 36 a step in the right direction, even if there are no penalties for those who violate the new law?”

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Solution: Label GMO Food Locally

Ever since food became easier and more profitable to create by machinery the government has tried to regulate it in some sort of fashion. The first English regulation of such was the Assize of Bread and Ale around the year 1266. In America the first endeavour into regulating food came in 1862 when President Lincoln launched the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Chemistry. These two organizations operated in what today we call the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Agriculture Department. Later on in 1906 the Pure Food and Drugs Act was passed and what we now call the Food and Drug Administration was formed. Through these early regulatory adoptions it was aimed to raise the standards in food and their truthfulness in packaging. The nutrition labels that we all now know were mandated in 1990 through the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) and amended by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004.

But how far do we go in demanding how manufacturers produce and label their food? Specifically speaking, how far can we go on a federal level? On a state level? Already, we have numerous states with specific laws for food that is imported or exported from that state  above and beyond the federal requirements.

This raises a question: should we rely on one-size-fits-all mandates from D.C.? Or would we be better served allowing states to determines the extent of their food labeling?

Considering the way big agribusiness manipulates the federal system, we might want to consider a more decentralized approach.

On March 26th President Obama signed HR 933 – called the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 – into law to stop the shutdown of the American government. Buried in this bill, we find the Farmer Assurance Provision – aka the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Lawmakers sneaked in Section 735 giving special privileges to companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMO), even allowing them to continue producing crops even if a court finds them harmful – which very well may not entirely be the case. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he will introduce legislation in the Farm Bill of 2013 to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act.

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Willful Blindness

The Hill

“White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and other senior officials knew of the general nature of the report but decided to keep the president in the dark about the report’s finding that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny. Carney said it was the White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler’s judgment that the matter should not be told to the president, and that she conveyed this sentiment to senior staff.”

Congressman Pat Meehan’s facebook status:

“Is there no accountability in government anymore?  In all of these scandals — the IRS, Benghazi, the AP wiretapping, Fast and Furious — we hear the same thing from the government officials involved:  It’s not my fault…  I wasn’t in the room…  I have no recollection…  I missed the meeting…  Not my responsibility…  I wasn’t aware…  I recused myself…  I only learned about it when you did.

What happened to accountability?  Is anyone in this administration responsible for their actions?”

How about two other people who “didn’t know” when systematic abuses took place on their watch?

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Fighting For Liberty at the Local Level

During the 2013 legislative session, we saw an explosion of state nullification bills dealing with issues ranging from heath care, to the Second Amendment, to NDAA detention.

Out of this renewed interest in nullification, a grassroots movement continues to grow and flex its muscles. Realizing they need to bring more pressure to bear on reticent state lawmakers, nullification advocates have taken the movement down to the local level.

Over the last several months, led by grassroots activists across America, city councils and county commissions have passed resolutions and ordinances in support of the Second Amendment and blocking NDAA detention provisions. Some bodies have passed legally binding legislation prohibiting local cooperation with unconstitutional acts. Others have approved non-binding resolutions supporting state efforts. Both strategies send strong messages to state lawmakers and will increase pressure to pass state-level nullification bills in the next legislative session.

Activists in Colorado serve as a powerful example of what local grassroots activism can accomplish.

At least six local governments in the Rocky Mountain State have passed resolutions supporting the right to keep and bear arms. These include the Weld County Commission, El Paso Board of County Commissioners, the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners, the Mesa County Commission, the Montrose County Board of County Commissioners and the Archuleta Board of County Commissioners.

Jeff Maehr hopes to harness the momentum created by these grassroots efforts and coordinate county level efforts across the state to nullify unconstitutional acts.

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Pennsylvania Town Makes First Move To Preserve The Second Amendment

Local resistance to unconstitutional violations of the Second Amendment continues to grow with the Mt. Holly Springs, Pa. council passing a resolution declaring that its citizens have the right to own firearms “free of unreasonable restraint and regulation.”

Council members voted unanimously May 14 to pass a resolution affirming the rights of its citizens to keep and bear arms.

The Second Amendment Preservation Resolution was based upon the Tenth Amendment Center’s model legislation and was proposed by resident Chris Rietmann. As reported in an article the Cumberland Sentinel, Reitmann explained why he proposed the bill saying, “I believe that the Framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully and, for the most part, it has worked very well for us for the last 200-plus years. I don’t believe you can legislate natural rights.”

The resolution is non-binding, and the city council chose to set aside a proposed Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance that would have nullified any federal gun control laws within city limits. The council sent the ordinance its legislative council for review.

Rietmann said the goal of the ordinance was to forbid borough officials, including the police, from assisting the federal government in carrying out what he called “acts that deny local residents their Second Amendment rights.”

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