One hundred more federal prison inmates had their sentences commuted by President Obama Thursday. This latest round of commutations makes for a total of 774, more than the previous 11 presidents combined. White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement that the majority of inmates who were granted clemency were in prison for “drug-related crimes under outdated sentencing laws,” and are for people “who have demonstrated that they are deserving of a second chance at freedom.”
However, in contradiction with his public crime control and anti-gun agenda, 15 of these inmates were convicted for gun-related crimes—either possessing a gun illegally as a convicted felon or using a weapon during a drug transaction. Another eight individuals were convicted of trafficking in more than five kilos of cocaine, and a ninth person was convicted of trafficking 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice: Second Amendment “... Not The Right Of An Individual ...”
In an appearance on PBS’s “Charlie Rose: The Week” last Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer waxed philosophical on the Second Amendment, arguing—with a straight face—that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect your individual right to own a gun to protect yourself in your own home.
With smug self-assurance, the proud and haughty jurist not only misquoted —slightly—the text of the Second Amendment, but also said that in his opinion, the constitutional provision merely prevents Congress from disbanding state militias, which, he concluded with a flourish, “is not the right of an individual to keep a gun next to his bed.”
The chilling truth behind Breyer’s pronouncement is that the Supreme Court is now apparently deadlocked, 4-4, with half the court agreeing with Breyer, and the other half agreeing that the right to arms is an individual right. The next president will tip the balance with his or her choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Clinton Calls For Supreme Court Judge Who Supports Gun Control
Sunday night, one debate question to the presidential candidates was as direct as it was telling: “What would you prioritize as the most important aspect of selecting a Supreme Court justice?”
Hillary Clinton’s answer took direct aim at the Second Amendment, calling for a Supreme Court nominee who would push stricter gun laws. “I respect the Second Amendment, but I believe that there should be comprehensive background checks,” said Clinton, adding that “we should close the gun show loophole and close the online loophole; we have to save as many lives as we possibly can.” She went on to say the court has “gone in the wrong direction.”
In the first debate, Clinton claimed race relations could be healed with stricter gun control measures: “We’ve got to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.” She followed that with an AARP interview last week, during which she compared American gun violence to “terrorism.”
Washington State: Shooting Areas Could Ease Conflicts Between Shooters And Parkgoers
The Second Amendment rights of parkgoers are being challenged by nonshooting recreationalists and nearby residents in several Washington state forests.
After state officials received over 300 reports of unsafe, noisy, destructive or illegal target shooting on Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lands between January 2011-May 2016, as well as calls to ban shooting altogether, the DNR began discussing establishing designated shooting areas in four of the forest areas.
If done correctly, this option could reduce friction between parkgoers while preserving recreational shooters’ rights: If most shooters are concentrated in the designated areas, the number of complaints regarding noise and shooting in unsafe areas would decrease dramatically.
Pro-gun advocates see this as a win—provided their right to target shoot outside these areas isn’t revoked. “We support the concept of designated shooting areas, we just don’t want to do so and lose the freedom to shoot in other safe areas,” Joe Waldron of the Washington Rifle and Pistol Association said.
Investor Said 19-Year-Old Smart Gun Inventor Would “Save America”—Before The Prototype Was Even Fired
The hype from people hoping to get rich on smart gun technology continued at the 2016 International Smart Gun Symposium when San Francisco investor Ron Conway told a teenage inventor, “Congratulations. You are going to save America.”
Conway’s proclamation was premature: Six months later, 19-year-old Kai Kloepfer invited a Wall Street Journal reporter for the first firing ever of his prototype. However, while showing the reporter how he had embedded a fingerprint sensor into the grip of a Glock 22, he pulled some wires loose and had to return to his parents’ garage to resolder them. When he returned, the prototype did fire—after a second and a half delay, and only if shooter’s clean, dry middle finger remains in the same place. In a further limitation of the gun’s usefulness, the technology reduces magazine capacity from 15 rounds to 9.
Conway said, “This is possible. It just has to be mass-produced.” However, there are bigger hurdles for this still-unreliable, expensive technology than just scaling it up for production.
Washington State Armed Robber Picks The Wrong Victims
Two men were sitting in a car in the parking lot of a Tacoma, Wash., burger restaurant Friday evening when an armed man walked up and robbed them at gunpoint, KIRO-TV reports.
According to witnesses, one of the men in the car then used his legally owned firearm to shoot the 26-year-old robber. A friend of the suspect drove him to Tacoma General Hospital, where police say he was pronounced dead.
“People do have the right to defend themselves, they do have a right to legally carry firearms, and in this case, this person did.” Tacoma Police Office Loretta Cool said. An unnamed man who lives near the restaurant agreed: “If you’re going to rob somebody, maybe you should think twice.”